Six months ago, I argued that it was time to end the lockdowns (“Time to Rein in Government’s Response to Coronavirus,” Reactionary Times, April 8, 2020). I was accused of being selfish, of not following “the science,” of not caring about the health of my fellow citizens. Six months later, it turns out that the lockdowns may have caused more deaths than the virus.
“Were the lockdowns a mistake?” asks Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner. “To that nagging question, the answer increasingly seems to be yes. We’ve never responded to a contagion by closing down whole countries.” Michael Levitt, professor of structural biology at Stanford Medical School and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry, said, “There is no doubt in my mind that when we come to look back on this, the damage done by lockdown will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor.”
The current death toll, Barone reports, is about the same magnitude as previous flu outbreaks and less deadly for those under 65. Ironically, Dr. Fauci himself wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine that, “The overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza.” This prompted Michael Thau to write in RedState: “So the next time someone tries to convince you that COVID-19 is substantially more deadly than the seasonal flu, just tell them they need to shut up and listen to Dr. Fauci.”
Barone goes on to say, “Governments can sometimes channel, but never entirely control, nature. There is no way to eliminate risk entirely. Attempts to reduce one risk may increase others.” What are those other risks? More than 600 physicians, in a letter to President Trump, spelled it out. “Keeping schools and universities closed is incalculably detrimental for children, teenagers, and young adults for decades to come,” the physicians wrote. “The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse.”
“People took a very, very aggressive action without necessarily thinking through what the economic or societal consequences were going to be,” says former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson. “Right now, every day that goes by, there are more people who can’t pay their bills, every day that goes by kids are being stuck at home sometimes with abusive parents. Every day that goes by our society frays a little bit more. Let’s worry about fixing this now,” Berenson concludes, “and then we can try to sort out what went wrong in the coming weeks and months.”
David Beasley, director of the United Nations World Food Programme, reports that, “We could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries. There is a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.”
The International Monetary Fund has quantified the economic destruction: The global economy will shrink by 3% in 2020, marking the biggest downturn since the Great Depression, and the US, the Eurozone, and Japan will contract by 5.9%, 7.5% and 5.2%, respectively—all because of the lockdowns, not the virus. It will take years to fix this.
Donald Luskin reported in the Wall Street Journal that statistical analysis by analytics firm TrendMacro “shows that locking down the economy didn’t contain the disease’s spread, and reopening it didn’t unleash a second wave of infections. Given the high economic costs and well-documented long-term health consequences beyond COVID-19,” Luskin concludes, “imposing lockdowns appears to have been a large policy error. Evidence proves that lockdowns were an expensive treatment with serious side effects and no benefit to society.”
What should we make out of all the noise we hear about the science? The Daily Mail reports that more than 4,000 doctors and scientists from around the world are calling for life to return to normal because of the damage caused by strident coronavirus policies. “The idea that there’s some scientific consensus in favor of the extreme measures inflicted on us in response to COVID-19 couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Michael Thau. “Though you don’t hear their perspectives on CNN, countless scientists and doctors have tried to warn us not only that COVID-19 isn’t nearly as deadly as we’ve been led to believe; they’re also confident that the real threat to public health we’re facing is from the lockdowns.”
Two California emergency room physicians, Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi, gave a press conference in which they refuted every premise used to justify the lockdowns. They presented data from all over the world, confirming that Dr. Fauci’s overreaching response to COVID-19 was entirely out of proportion with the threat it posed. As reported in RedState, the doctors explained that “isolating healthy people is an unheard-of response that violates the basic tenets of both microbiology and immunology.” YouTube banned the video of their presentation and censored Laura Ingraham’s interview of Erickson and Massahi on Fox News. The media does not want us to know the truth.
Dr. Scott Atlas, appointed by the president to his COVID-19 task force, also has confirmed the futility of lockdown policies. The overwhelming majority of people, he says, do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19. According to Dr. Atlas, total isolation policies prevent vital herd immunity and only prolong the problem. Sweden’s decision to forego a lockdown confirms Atlas’ conclusions. “Sweden has gone from being one of the countries with the most infection in Europe,” writes Dan Hannan in the Washington Examiner, “to one of those with the least infection and it has happened not despite the absence of a lockdown but because of it. After all, if Sweden’s strategy was viable, the rest of us ruined ourselves for nothing. That is a disquieting thought, almost an unbearable one. But Sweden forces us to confront it.”
I have saved for last what is perhaps the most important reason in support of my position. The lockdowns violate our rights under the Constitution. The virus is being used as an excuse to accelerate government intrusion into our lives. “Placing Americans indefinitely under house arrest without any due process, transparency, time limit, guidelines, or checks and balances on a single executive is something that should shake us to our core,” warns attorney Daniel Horowitz. “The real disease is bigger than the coronavirus,” writes Daniel Greenfield in FrontPage Magazine. “It’s a fatal illness called big government. Unlike the coronavirus, it has a total mortality rate. No society that has succumbed to it has ever survived.”
There is another political motivation—a really insidious one—behind government anti-virus policies. “What’s the difference between the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak and the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak?” asks California Globe. “In 2009 Barack Obama was President, and in 2020 Donald Trump is President. This leaves many to believe the complete shutdown of American society over questionable health concerns is having the desired effect—destroying Donald Trump and tanking the US economy before the 2020 Presidential Election.” My gut feeling is that influencing the election is the dominant reason behind the lockdowns and if they win, the Democrats will call for the country to open up on November 4th.
Author Dennis Prager, writing in Townhall, summed up the situation: “The worldwide lockdown may be the greatest mistake in history. It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe.”
Ed Brodow is a conservative political commentator, negotiation expert, and regular contributor to Newsmax, Daily Caller, American Thinker, Townhall, LifeZette, Media Equalizer, Reactionary Times, and other online news magazines. He is the author of eight books including his latest blockbuster, Trump’s Turn: Winning the New Civil War.