Last week, the Centers for Disease Control did an about-face, announcing that the fully vaccinated among us may resume normal activities. The news came more than a year after California initiated the first lockdown on March 19, 2020.
The CDC’s new posture comes with some narrow exceptions. If you’re traveling on a plane or find yourself in a homeless shelter or in a medical or correctional facility, you still need to wear a mask; and the CDC made sure to clarify, apparently out of great deference for federalism and Hayekian spontaneous order, that its guidance does not predominate over the requirements of federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
Before the CDC updated its pandemic guidance, this was exactly the position espoused by libertarian law professor Ilya Somin of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law. Writing from his regular perch at the legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy, Somin’s argument is summarized nicely in the subheading of his piece, “Free the Vaccinated from COVID Restrictions”: “Doing so will protect constitutional rights, reduce vaccine hesitancy, and increase liberty—all at once.”