Tim Harford raises one of the most vital challenges of our age in “Reopening the economy will divide society” (FT Weekend, May 23).
His moral case for equal sacrifice among all citizens, while laudable, would mean throwing out all our young with the corona-infused bathwater. Covid-19 is not the “great leveller” that Boris Johnson has proclaimed. Recent data from New York shows how highly skewed its impact is: patients under 45 years old with no known pre-existing conditions represent a tiny fraction of the city’s deaths from Covid-19.
While Mr Harford ponders the ethics of dividing society into age groups, it’s worth remembering that we create arbitrary age limits for many activities involving guns, cars, rollercoasters and even marriage. In California, everyone over 70 has to take a written driving test and eye exam; in the UK, military personnel are retired at 60. While I long to have tea with my favourite mother-in-law, I would prefer to see all our children (and young workers) released from their splendid isolation.
Then again, if pubs imposed an age limit of 50, I might be tempted to get a fake ID.
New York, NY, US