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The coronavirus has been tragic. Whether you believe the officially-reported death tolls have been accurate or inflated, there’s no denying that hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of people have been killed by this thing worldwide, all of them gone earlier than they should have. Since the first signs of this pandemic earlier this year, governments almost everywhere have scurried to enact new laws and policies to lower the number of cases and deaths, and that’s an admirable goal. The problem, though, is that most of these new laws and policies – even if they are reducing the spread of covid – are unintentionally, but undeniably, increasing the spread of other conditions that destroy even more peoples’ lives. Sure, shutting down absolutely everything everywhere and punishing people who don’t stay exclusively in their homes (like so many have called for) might lead to significantly fewer cases of covid, but even with the partial lockdowns we’ve seen here in the U.S., unemployment has skyrocketed, resulting in a dramatic decrease in charitable donations, while simultaneously, many doctors have been told to turn away patients for cancer screenings. And when you add up those three factors (not to mention countless others), lockdowns are going to hurt and kill far more people than covid. It’s time for the lockdowns to end.
You’ve seen it everywhere, just as directly as I have: People have been told that their businesses aren’t allowed to open, and so countless people have been laid off from companies, many of which will never open their doors again. Just to compare, before the pandemic, in October 2019, about 12 million Americans were unemployed. In October 2020, that number nearly doubled – about 23 million. Sure, even without mandated lockdowns, some of these people would still be unemployed (since even voluntary fear has a detrimental effect on the economy) but not 23 million. That jump is staggering. That’s 11 million new people with an income of zero, 11 million new people that now require some kind of assistance to survive.
Not only is that assistance that used to go to funding other things (many of them productive), but it’s also millions of people who used to donate to charity, and can’t afford to anymore. As you probably know, tens of millions of people worldwide are usually able to avoid starvation only because of charity. But how many of them will now die when there isn’t enough charity to go around, because people have been told that they aren’t allowed to work, and can therefore not afford to donate to charity and feed these tens of millions of people?
Wanna know something else that kills millions of people every year? (60 million people globally, to be more precise?) It’s cancer. And it’s widely known that the earlier cancer is detected, the more likely someone is to survive it. Just like you (probably), I know several people with family members who are alive today because they had an early diagnosis, and a handful of people with family members who died because they didn’t get that early diagnosis. But do you know what’s happening during these forced lockdowns? Many doctors are also being mandated to close their doors to patients who are not in immediate danger. As much as 90% of high-risk cancers have gone undetected during lockdowns. Oh, they’ll detect those cancers eventually, but what do you think the survival rates will be by then?
It’s not a debate between “saving lives” vs. “saving the economy.” The economy is lives! It’s a debate between “saving lives” vs. “saving more lives.” So, the next time you advocate for government to do something to help Group A, think for a moment about what that action is going to do to Group B. In the case of covid, lockdowns may well help Group A (people who are less likely to contract the virus), but there is no question that the larger Group B (the unemployed, the starving, the cancer-stricken, and more, which I haven’t even touched on here, but you can explore for yourself elsewhere) will be completely destroyed, and in greater numbers. But most politicians won’t care about that Group B, because by the time those effects are tallied, they won’t be in office anymore. This blog post isn’t a scientific paper by any stretch, and frankly, it’s beyond my scope and expertise to cite everything in here, but if you care enough to do so, you can find all the documented data out there yourself. In my mind, there’s no question about it anymore: Lockdowns do far more harm than good.
So, let’s end them. Now. Let young, healthy people weigh the risks themselves, and decide for themselves if they want to work or not. Let the elderly and at-risk (and their caregivers) decide for themselves if they should quarantine while the rest of the world remains more active in an environment with a highly contagious virus. Of course, if we do that, more people will get covid and die, but fewer people will die overall from other terrible things. When you let people and businesses make their own decisions about health and safety, they don’t always choose wisely every single time, but in the aggregate, they make far better decisions than governments who force things down our throats without having to worry about the long-term effects of their actions.