Perhaps when this Covid flap is over, we can have a serious discussion about *every single thing* the modern left has to tell us about housing, transit and urban zoning and land use policy.
Mass Transit as it is today might not have actually been built as a contagion transmission mechanism – but if it had been, it’d be hard to see what they’d have done differently. I’m thankful my 18 months of daily use of the Vomit Comet (“Green Line”) didn’t coincide with a major pandemic – I’m pretty sure I caught a cold or two, and most likely the flu, from the train.
“There is ample documentation that mass gatherings can amplify and spread infectious diseases,” a World Health Organization analysis on “mass gatherings in the context of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza” stated. “Such infections can be transmitted during the mass gathering, during transit to and from the event, and in participants’ home communities upon their return.” The WHO recommended, “Those who are ill should be strongly encouraged to avoid air travel or other forms of mass transit.”
A 2013 “Guide for Public Transportation Pandemic Planning and Response” prepared for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program Transportation Research Board of the National Academies stated that “although some pandemic plans for transportation systems existed, there were limited resources and plans targeted to rural and small urban transportation systems … As a result, although some agencies had all-hazards response plans available, measures for pandemics were not included.”
Last month, the Brussels-based International Association of Public Transport, in its “Management of COVID-19 Guidelines For Public Transit Operators,” conceded that “Public transport systems have to be considered a high-risk environment due to: high number of people in a confined space with limited ventilation; no access control to identify potentially sick persons; a variety of common surfaces to touch (ticket machines, handrails, door knobs, etc.).” Still, it also called public transit “an essential service to be maintained as long as reasonable.” When does mass death become unreasonable, the WHO might be asked in regard to mass transit.
I suspect we’ll see it suppressed sooner than later, if we let it.
Likewise – making it impossible to find anything but “high density housing” (especially by zoning out all alternatives, which has the inevitable, “unintended” effect of jacking up housing prices, which leads to people doubling-up on roommates or living in less-healthy housing they can afford) has *got* to be the dumbest idea out there, if a “resilient” society is what you seek.
On a semi-related side note: I can imagine things more hellish than a couple of weeks of “social isolation” stacked on top of and next to other potentially-contagious people “socially isolating” themselves – but unless all those neighbors get along *really* well, it’s not as easy as you’d think.