Doug Axe, William Briggs, and Jay W. Richards, authors of “The Price of Panic,” have examined the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns across the country. They found no benefit. In nearly all places, the rates of infection and death turned downward before the lockdowns began, and the lockdowns caused no noticeable change in the trend.

Had I been President I would have spoken against the lockdowns daily. I would have encouraged a more flexible response. Stores should have been free to set their own policies, such as whether to require masks and social distancing rules. Individuals should have been allowed to decide the level of risk they want to take. They would pick the store policies they prefer the libertarian way: by voting with their feet. The economic impact would have been far less. Even the health results might have been better than what lockdowns have yielded, as more healthy people developed resistance faster.

With a much stronger economy, there would have been no cries for spend-thrift government spending bills like the CARES Act, which I would have vetoed.

Going forward, I would take steps to decentralize our public health response. Pandemics are best guided by the cumulative knowledge of a vibrant free market, not by politicians or bureaucrats at the FDA, the CDC, or the WHO.