Imagine administering a dose of chemotherapy to a healthy patient with no sign of cancer? After all, it can only help, right? That has been the attitude of our government as it continues to push lockdown policies and the trickle-down panic that flows from them – without any evidence that they help mitigate the virus and without any regard for their side effects.
California never really emerged from its original lockdown, yet Gov. Gavin Newson is now reinstituting the closure of many businesses. Evidently, a few dozen people carefully spaced in a gym or salon are a greater threat than thousands of people jammed pack in uncontrolled protests.
The Houston mayor is calling for another lockdown as well, with no mention of the fact that George Floyd had the largest funeral held in his city (while everyone else had to be buried without a proper funeral) and Houston police began contracting the virus in greater numbers right after the protests.
But they all fail to learn the lessons of the first lockdown – in that they don’t work to stop the deaths and they cause so many more excess deaths from the inimical side effects.
Lockdowns kill more people from the side effects
According to a recent published by Jama Network, there were 87,000 excess deaths from March 1 to April 25, but only 56,246 (65%) were attributed to COVID-19. What happened to the remaining 31,000 excess deaths? Until now, supporters of lockdown like Dr. Anthony Fauci have attributed those excess deaths to an undercount of the virus death toll. However, the study’s authors found that “The 5 states with the most COVID-19 deaths experienced large proportional increases in deaths from nonrespiratory underlying causes, including diabetes (96%), heart diseases (89%), Alzheimer disease (64%), and cerebrovascular diseases (35%).”
Clearly, as we observed during the peak of the lockdown, so many people were scared to come in for other urgent treatments as a result of the fear generated by lockdown policies. Also, thanks to the suspension of other medical maintenance procedures and critical but not emergent surgeries, people likely died from untreated ailments.
The numbers were particularly jarring in states like California and Texas, which saw 55% and 64% of its excess deaths respectively attributed to non-COVID-19 deaths. These were states where the virus barely spread during April but the lockdown likely shut down and scared off other medical care like it did in the harder hit states. Thus, for much of the country outside of the northeast until May, the lockdown was the bigger plague than the virus.
When the economic and mental health factors are coupled with the denied care, one study estimated that 65,000 people would die per month of lockdown. Also, given that the victims of lockdown, on average, were younger than those of the virus, they estimated that the lockdown, over its entire duration, has caused the loss of 1.5 million life years, as compared to 800,000 life years from the virus itself. Do we really want to continue propagating a feedback loop of panic that results in more deaths for a strategy that is completely unproven?
Lockdowns simply don’t work to stop a virus
Whether you compare state to state or country to country, there is absolutely no correlation between positive results and lockdowns, especially after the virus had already become so pervasive. Lockdowns have been in place in so many states like California and yet the virus still spread. Other states like Wisconsin haven’t had restrictions for two months because of a state Supreme Court ruling and has had very few hospitalizations or deaths.
J.P. Morgan conducted a data analysis on a scatter diagram of all 50 states and found that “reopening dates also don’t predict infections and hospitalizations.”
“There are no easy answers for why US infections have soared recently; reopening dates, mobility changes and other empirically measured behaviors do not lead to higher infections in any statistically consistent way,” wrote the major financial institution in its latest economic assessment.
The reality is that the timing of the spike occurred way too late to blame on the late April/early May openings. On the other hand, they have coincided perfectly with the mass protests, and in the case of the border states, with Mexico’s peak from its first round. Miami’s mayor admitted the demonstrations played a major role in the resurgence in Florida, which, unlike northeastern states, did not achieve enough immunity to withstand such ubiquitous mass gatherings. Either way, people are forgetting that the virus will always spread to any place that has not already achieved 15%-20% seroprevalence, irrespective of human factors.
The virus does not go away simply because of a lockdown. Countries like Israel and Australia are learning that now. They are similar to America’s south and west in the sense that they locked down early before the virus spread much (unlike in America’s northeast where it was too late). However, lockdowns don’t kill the virus. They kill many citizens from the collateral damage and just delay the ability to achieve herd immunity with a less vulnerable population.
This is why Sweden is pretty much done with the virus, having achieved de facto herd immunity without having shut down the country and without suffering all of the collateral deaths. Their only fault was failing to protect senior care facilities. Nearly 90% of all deaths were among those over 70 years old and there were more than twice as many deaths among those over 90 than under 70. It’s likely that many of them were going to die within a few months or actually died of old age, but thanks to Sweden’s liberal coding of COVID-19 deaths, they were included in the count. This is why a view of their excess deaths this year compared to past years shows almost no significant epidemic to speak of.
Sweden’s numbers are getting better every week and they are now in a period of negative excess deaths. Again, all without any lockdowns or mask mandates. Now, they are in better shape than every other country that forestalled herd immunity at a very painful cost to their medical care, mental health, and economy.
For such tough chemotherapy as a lockdown, shouldn’t we have to see results? How many more states can continue intermittent lockdowns and mask mandates for months while the cases continue to spread before we realize that this is a farce?
What we should really do is shield the vulnerable and avoid large gatherings like mass riots. That way we can achieve herd immunity through the less vulnerable and without spreading it too rapidly as to overwhelm the system. Yet, these are the two things most governors failed to do, and in the case of 26 million protesters, they actually encouraged and facilitated the greatest mass gatherings in recent memory – in midst of a pandemic they believe should lock us in our homes. Are we going to allow these mendacious politicians to get away with this libel against our liberty and lives?