Will the New York Times begin publishing the names of those who died from the man-made lockdowns alongside those who died from the God-made plague of the coronavirus? Will it publish a state-by-state and country-by-country dashboard and demographic breakdown of those who lose their lives thanks to these unprecedented political decisions?
Four professors with backgrounds ranging from medicine to economics attempted to quantify the number of lives lost from the devastation of the lockdown itself – something our government failed to simulate when it embarked on this novel policy. Using health and labor data as well as various actuarial tables, they projected 65,000 lives lost per month of lockdown in the U.S. – greater than the loss from the virus. That number was calculated by dividing the estimated $1.1 trillion lost from economic productivity per month of lockdown by $17 million because the best estimates predict one life lost from suicide, alcohol or drug abuse, or stress-induced illnesses per $17 million lost.
“These financial losses have been falsely portrayed as purely economic,” wrote the four professors in The Hill on Monday. “To the contrary … we calculate that these policies will cause devastating non-economic consequences that will total millions of accumulated years of life lost in the United States, far beyond what the virus itself has caused.”
The four authors were Scott Atlas of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, John Birge of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Ralph Keeney of Duke University, and Alexander Lipton of the Jerusalem Business School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The point the authors make, that lockdowns are destroying so many more cumulative years of life, is very poignant to the situation we find ourselves in. For every 1,000 lives lost to the virus, the corresponding 1,000 lives lost to the lockdown will destroy exponentially more “life years,” because the median age of those who die from the virus is 80, while the median age for deaths caused by the lockdown – those who die due to suicide, substance abuse, despair, and poverty – is much lower.
This point was accentuated by one commentator who compared the cumulative years of life lost to the virus from Feb. 1 through May 13 to the years of life lost to fatalities from the flu and pneumonia over the same time.
As you can see, there were actually more life years lost due to flu and pneumonia, even though this was a mild flu season in most places and the time frame of reference here doesn’t include December and January, which include a large share of the annual flu deaths.
We have already seen that doctors in Northern California are reporting more than a year’s worth of suicides in just four weeks. Knox County, Tennessee, experienced nine suicides in just one 48-hour period in March. On the other hand, there have only been five COVID-19 deaths in Knox County over nine weeks! One can only imagine the number of suicides that will pile up if these draconian measures are continued indefinitely until there is a vaccine, as so many liberal politicians are advocating.
Also, the death toll of the economic consequences of the shutdown is just one piece of the pie. As the authors note, stroke patient evaluations are down 40%, nearly half of cancer patients have missed treatments, two-thirds to three-fourths of routine cancer screenings have been delayed, nearly 85% fewer living-donor transplants have occurred, and more than half of childhood vaccinations are not being performed. They estimate that the total years of lost life per month of shutdown from these missed treatments and diagnosis are 500,000! In total, they estimate that the lockdown, over its entire duration, has caused the loss of 1.5 million life years, as compared to 800,000 life years from the virus itself.
It is truly shocking that nobody in our government has even attempted to model the number of lives lost due to lockdown. The falsity behind the original virus models became apparent a few days into the lockdown. Any sane government would have weighed the collateral damage at that point and repudiated any severe lockdown absent clear evidence that it was necessary. European countries and the Israelis have realized this was a big mistake, but our politicians continue to double down on it.
Yoram Lass, former director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Health, said in an interview with online media outlet Spiked that nothing about this virus can “justify this destruction of people’s lives.”
“It is the first epidemic in history which is accompanied by another epidemic – the virus of the social networks,” said the Israeli scientist. “These new media have brainwashed entire populations. What you get is fear and anxiety, and an inability to look at real data. And therefore you have all the ingredients for monstrous hysteria.
One would think that, with Israel’s low death rates, Israeli scientists would want to play up the success of the lockdown. But they realize what so many of us do, which is that the lockdowns were completely unnecessary and caused much more collateral damage. A prominent epidemiologist at Hebrew University concluded that once it was clear Israel’s health care system was not going to be overrun, there was no justification for the lockdown and that the damage it did to the country, which now faces 25% unemployment, outweighed any other consideration.
“We are not trying to minimize the number of people infected – the price of the lockdown is too catastrophic,” said professor David Gershon, one of the Hebrew University researchers involved in their study. “The price of more than one million people unemployed is so crazy that to say we want to minimize the number of infected people is ridiculous.”
The sooner our government realizes that, the fewer lives we will continue to bleed.