Horowitz: Bad medicine: The devastating and shocking effects of lockdown

· May 15, 2020  
    Font Size A A A
Emergency sign
pablohart | Getty Images

“The negative consequences of large-scale quarantine are so extreme (forced confinement of sick people with the well; complete restriction of movement of large populations; difficulty in getting critical supplies, medicines, and food to people inside the quarantine zone) that this mitigation measure should be eliminated from serious consideration.” ~Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Nov. 4, 2006

When God wanted to punish King David for a sin, he offered him a choice between three years of famine, three months of pursuit by his enemies, or three days of a plague. King David relayed the message to Gad the prophet that he chose the plague: “David said to Gad, ‘I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD; for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.’” (2 Samuel 24:14). Thus, he established a principle that a plague – which is the ultimate and exclusively divine punishment – is superior to any man-made catastrophe. If only our government had made that choice.

Whenever God confronts us with a serious challenge, he gives us natural tools to cope with the situation, but the outcome is ultimately in his hands. What our government has done is anything but natural and has never been done in human history. It was akin to dropping a nuclear bomb on ourselves to deal with a virus that posed a serious danger only to a defined population we could have protected more efficiently.

Now we are facing the nuclear-level fallout of the man-made crisis rather than the God-made crisis of the virus. We cannot even begin to imagine the near-term and long-term first- and second-order effects of every facet of our national health and lives now that we have state and federal officials who want to continue decapitating us until there is a complete cure for the headache.

In short, we overestimated the danger of the virus to most people, overestimated our ability to mitigate even those effects no matter what we did, and forgot that other considerations, especially other health concerns, exist in the world. We acted as if coronavirus is the only challenge we are confronted with and as if we had infinite resources to balance out a panicked and imbalanced response to one challenge.

It turns out that the states that shut down the latest and least severely and reopened the earliest now have the flattest curve of all – not just in terms of the virus, but all of the effects of the lockdown. For most states, we will be left with endless deadly curves that we have yet to flatten.

Here is a list of curves that none of the politicians even recognize they have caused and now need to flatten:

The steep curve of stroke deaths

Doctors from Stanford University and the Washington University School of Medicine posted an analysis last week of a neuroimaging database that show a 40% drop in stroke evaluation since the shutdown. This is due to a mix of the mandatory delays in “elective” procedures as well as the inordinate degree of panic that scared people away from clinics and hospitals, particularly those with signs of the onset of a stroke. Approximately 140,000 Americans die every year from strokes, and one has to wonder not only how many have needlessly died but how many others will lose years of their lives from not catching these symptoms earlier.

The steep curve of heart attacks

Some ERs have seen a 50% drop in heart patients. There is no logical reason why the number of heart problems should have declined, because, if anything, the stress of the crisis would trigger more hypertension. Just like with stroke patients, it’s likely that many people are too scared to come to ERs, which are seeing an across-the-board steep decline in patients, as much as 50%-60% in some hospitals in Hawaii (which only had seven total COVID-19 deaths), out of unfounded fear of catching the virus and dying.

One of two things is true: The missing heart attack deaths are manifested in the excess deaths we are seeing at home in many states, or they are really being wrongly coded as COVID-19 deaths, which would be another example of how the panic over the lethality of the virus is overstated. In King County, Washington, commensurate with a 25% drop in 911 calls is a 10% increase in EMTs discovering people dead at home. Again, our government and media are scaring people to death with this disproportionate response to the virus and exaggerating the risk to an individual vs. other health care needs.

The steep curve of missing organ transplants

The number of living organ donor transplants dropped by 90% during the peak of the lockdown. Has Dr. Fauci modeled how many people have died or will die early as a result of it?

The steep curve of missed cancer diagnoses

One study found that screening and monitoring tests for breast, prostate, colorectal, cervical, and lung cancer were down 39% to 90% and estimated a 20% drop in overall interaction between cancer patients and oncologists. As such, QVIA Institute for Human Data Science estimates that 80,000 cancer diagnosis will be missed. Given that the difference between curable or operable cancer is often a matter of weeks, that alone could cost tens of thousand of lives or millions of life years. University College London predicts an excess of 33,000 cancer deaths in the U.S.

The steep curve of maternal and child deaths

In the irony of all ironies, a new comprehensive study funded by Johns Hopkins and the Gates Foundation, two of the staunchest proponents of lockdown, show that in the least severe scenario “over 6 months would result in 253,500 additional child deaths and 12,200 additional maternal deaths” due to reduced access to food and health care, vaccinations, and child care – all caused by the lockdown and disproportionate panic. They estimate a steep cost of lives for pregnant women and young children under all scenarios.

As my colleague at the TheBlaze reported, in New York, a 26-year-old pregnant woman died of a rare liver condition as the baby was born because she was denied access to maternity health care that would have caught her dropping platelet levels before the birth. In general, New York City has seen 5,000 excess deaths that were not due to the coronavirus. They likely were due to the panic that led to missed care or people too scared to get treated.

Additionally, a report published Tuesday in the Lancet Global Health journal found that child mortality globally could rise for the first time in 60 years thanks to the shutdown of health care and food supply chains.

Also, due to the disruption in health care, there will likely be millions more dead in the coming years from AIDS, TB, and malaria, according to one estimate, although this would mainly affect third-world countries, not the U.S. However, some estimate that 80 percent of four-month-olds in the U.S. are not current on vaccines, and the number of MMR vaccines has dropped by 60 percent.

The steep curve of the mental health crisis of isolation, financial ruin, and panic

According to one study, an extra 75,000 are at risk of dying due to substance abuse or suicide. Also, a hotline run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services saw a 1,000% increase in calls during April. Based on an extrapolation of one Swiss study, we could see up to 6.9 million Americans lose an average of nearly 10 years of their lives due to the mental health crisis. None of this even takes into account the increased mental health and suicides from financial ruin.

The steep curve of an economic nuclear winter

No words, charts, or data can capture the unconscionable degree of economic depression that the lockdown has triggered. 36 million people have filed for unemployment, but that doesn’t begin to quantify the true number who lost their jobs but aren’t reflected in the unemployment filings, or who had their hours cut back. That is closer to 30% of all workers and well above that for low-income earners. Just the full job losses alone are 40% of households earning under $40,000.

Just as of now, a minimum of 100,000 small businesses have been permanently destroyed, and the market distortions created by the depression will likely destroy most other small businesses in most industries in favor of the big conglomerates that benefit from the government’s fiscal and monetary policies. Roughly half of all small businesses will be out of cash within a month.

Wow, this worked out so well, why didn’t anyone think of something like a lockdown in all our history? Well, as Anthony Fauci himself said in an interview during the 2009 swine flu epidemic, “You can’t isolate yourself from the rest of the world for the whole flu season, but use some good judgment.” Now we know why.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article said the child mortality rate could decline rather than rise in the following corrected sentence: Additionally, a report published Tuesday in the Lancet Global Health journal found that child mortality globally could rise for the first time in 60 years thanks to the shutdown of health care and food supply chains. Conservative Review regrets the error.

Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.