Continuation of the COVID-19 Lockdown is Even More Indefensible in Light of Survival Rate


As noted, the survival rate of COVID-19 in United States is over 94%. Now for the implication of this data point with regard to our government’s choice of course – an onerous and heavily damaging lockdown. The lockdown had one goal – to ensure that hospitals are not overwhelmed. That was accomplished weeks ago, in part, due to overstated projections and in part, to the credit of actions taken by state and federal officials.

The lockdown should have ended then, everywhere, but inexplicably and indefensibly did not. It has massive, negative, short and long term ramifications for the public’s health, physical and mental; for our healthcare system; for our education systems at all levels; for our economy.

On the global level, a new analysis via the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research has just been released that the effects of the lockdown will be nothing less than catastrophic, including deaths that will far exceed fatalities from the disease itself.

Experts warn that deaths from secondary impacts – poverty, hunger, diseases, and violence exacerbated by the pandemic – may dwarf the number of those who die of the coronavirus itself.

Back here in Rhode Island, state officials have said that their decisions with regard to COVID-19 will “focus on facts and science.” We will pass lightly over the questions and implications surrounding this for the moment and simply point out that the facts call clearly for the lockdown to end immediately and completely, with no curb on crowd size or reduction in coded building capacity and with reasonable mitigation measures and vulnerable populations self-isolating if they choose. To do otherwise is to willfully disregard clear data and dire warnings from highly respected institutions.

  • Lou

    I love when you quote the UN like that!

  • Mario

    I am skeptical that you can blame too much of the economic reduction on the shutdowns. It is the personal response to the danger that caused people to pull back, the restrictions emphasized and supported those decisions, and were helpful on their own (if, apparently, insufficient), but removing them doesn’t bring everything back. Removing the danger brings things back, whether the restrictions are in place or not.

    I tend to look at the reopening as an off-ramp. No matter what, any return to normal activity will increase the rate of the spread and slow the recovery. So we choose what kind of persistent danger we live with based on how soon we get off. Assuming people still have some sense of self-protection (and the Boston protest suggests that many don’t), I think we can avoid scenarios where the virus disappears only because it hit literally everyone in the state. So the real question is how many deaths per day is a low enough level that people are comfortable behaving normally. I don’t know what that number is, but even five per day would suggest that we need to stay shutdown for at least another two weeks.