Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown (“restriction”, “pause”), let’s pull back and examine some critical items.
Never has a broad scale economic and social lockdown been implemented to slow or stop the spread of a disease. But this became the path that leaders chose to take in the spring as the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Now, for many states, “fifteen days to flatten the curve” has morphed into an eight month involuntary experiment of the effectiveness of a lockdown to combat a contagious disease; eight months of harsh economic measures, social distancing orders, regular goalpost shifting, constant haranguing by our elected leaders that we are not taking the disease seriously – and no end in sight.
And it HASN’T WORKED. Coronavirus, which is highly contagious but with a very high survival rate, continues to spread and spike. Lockdowns have not worked to slow the spread any place other than an isolated island in the pacific.
Lockdowns do not work even to reduce COVID deaths, per a study, released late last week.
Stringency of the measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death rate.
As we see by the current spike, lockdowns have not “put a lid” on the disease, as we have been promised for eight months – if we would just behave! – that they would do. What lockdowns have done, very effectively, is decimate: lives (literally; suicides, overdoses), livelihoods, mental health, businesses, people’s access to healthcare (health insurance). Here’s a list, by no means exhaustive, of the negative consequences of the lockdown:
~ As of October, the best estimate for deaths in the United States caused by the lockdown stood at approximately 80,000 to 100,000. This will almost certainly rise as data collection accelerates.
~ There has been a horrifying impact of the lockdown on congregate care residents. (What has been going on in Rhode Island’s congregate care facilities?)
~ This report outlines the impact of the lockdown on mental health, healthcare, unemployment, education and crime.
Now, this brings us to another disturbing aspect of lockdowns: our elected leaders have perpetuated them with studied disregard for these “unintended” consequences, effectively dismissed via hollow platitudes like, “I know it’s hard”.
What our leaders do say, time and again, emphatically, is that it is our fault that the lockdown and social distancing have not worked because we, the people, have not done it good enough.
This accusation not only blames the victims but is false and it is important to debunk it. I have never seen or could have even dreamed of a level of compliance as we have seen with masks and other executive orders. Everyone, but everyone, is very aware of COVID-19. Ninety nine point nine percent of people are taking COVID-19 very seriously. And because our elected leaders have hyper focused on only certain aspects of the disease (the death rate and the case count) while carefully omitting information about the most important aspect of it (the very high survival rate), many, many people are very scared of COVID-19.
If your solution is not working with this incredible level of compliance and fear, IT WAS NEVER A VIABLE SOLUTION.
Governor Raimondo, with the hearty consent by silence of Speaker Mattiello, the presumed next speaker, Joe Shekarchi, and Senate President Ruggerio, has announced a two week “pause”, i.e., a ratcheting up of the lockdown, starting November 30, though with the warning that it may be extended if we don’t (say it with me) “follow the rules”.
As the death and destruction from a now clearly failed public health policy inexorably mounts, a two week heightening of that policy goes in exactly the wrong direction – particularly in light of the absence of science correctly noted by Justin.
Governor Raimondo says “COVID fatigue” is real. If, by fatigue, you mean extreme anxiety, disgust, anger and frustration to watch our state leaders continue to pursue a public policy that is clearly not working but instead, is needlessly, systematically destroying the system by which we and our neighbors sustain and improve our lives and – insiders and special interests, take notice – which funds the state and local tax base — yeah, we’re fatigued.
COVID-19 lockdowns (“restrictions”, “pauses”) were a first ever, real life experiment to slow or stop a contagious disease. Eight months in, with cases spiking, not slowing, lockdowns are a complete failure BY THE STANDARD THAT LOCKDOWN LEADERS THEMSELVES SET. We need to end the experiment now and do what we’ve known almost from the beginning: protect vulnerable populations; open up fully, including all schools; wear masks, wash our hands and go about our lives and our business.