The consequences of the SARS2 coronavirus pandemic and its management are enormous. More than 400,000 US deaths have been attributed to the virus; there will certainly be more to come. Even after almost a year, the pandemic is still paralyzing our country. Despite all efforts, there has been an undeniable failure to prevent cases from escalating rapidly and preventing hospitalization and death.
Here's the reality: Almost all states and major cities, with a few exceptions, have put in place severe restrictions for months, including business and personal school closings, mobility restrictions and curfews, quarantines, group meeting restrictions, and mask mandates dating back to at least summer. These measures did not significantly alter the typical pattern or damage caused by the SARS2 virus. President Biden openly admitted this in his speech to the nation on Jan. 22, when he said "there is nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the coming months." Instead of it Results of the implemented policy, many would blame those who opposed lockdowns and mandates for the failure of the lockdowns and mandates that were widely implemented.
Ironically, all the new policies coincide with a decrease in the number of cases, because that decrease is already clearly in the United States. Hospital admissions in any age group, on CDC data, as well deaths, have started to decline. This trend is confirmed by the marked decrease in the number of symptomatic COVID-19 patients coming to the emergency rooms, down 40% from peak almost a month ago to get lower than before Thanksgiving. Despite that reality, is there any doubt how most of the US media will portray this in their analysis of the government's "First 100 Days"?
And let's be clear about behavior: social mobility tracking of Americans and data from Gallup, YouGov, the COVID-19 consortium, and the CDC have shown a significant reduction in movement, as well as a consistently high percentage of mask wearing since late summer, comparable to Western European countries and approaching those in Asia.
America has an internal comparison. A large, diverse, densely populated state, Florida stands out as one of the tallest percentages of frail older people across the country, one of only two states with more than 20% over the age of 65. Florida opened schools and businesses on a grand scale months ago, lifted most of the mobility restrictions and ended mandates. Florida hasn't eliminated cases, hospitalizations, or deaths, but Florida has exceeded many states during the recent rise, including those with warm climates, such as California, that have been around for a long time lockdowns. Florida & # 39; s deaths per capita also beat half the country, as well as the national average. Even if Floridians behaved only as people under mandate, why is that not a subject of open discussion and not emphasized by the media?
Separate from them limited value in containing the virus – efficacy often & # 39;grossly exaggeratedIn published articles – lockdown policy has been extremely harmful. The harms for children the exit from personal education is dramatic, including poor learning, early school leaving, social isolation and suicidal thoughts, most of which are far worse for lower income groups. A recent study confirms that up to 78% of cancers were never detected due to missed screening for three months. If one extrapolates to the whole country, where about 150,000 new cancers are diagnosed every month, three quarters to over a million new cases over nine months will have gone unnoticed. That health disaster contributes to missed critical surgeries, delayed presentations of pediatric illnesses, heart attacks, and stroke patients too scared to call emergency services, and others are all well documented.
In addition to hospital care, the CDC reported a four-fold increase in depression, a three-fold increase in anxiety symptoms, and a doubling of suicidal ideation, especially among Adolescents after the first few months of lockdowns, echoing the AMA reports of overdoses and suicides. Domestic violence and child abuse have been sky high because of its isolation and specifically because of the job losses, especially in the strictest lockdowns. Since many personal schools have closed, hundreds of thousands cases of abuse are never reported as schools are the number one institution where abuse is detected. Finally, the unemployment "shock" from lockdowns, according to a new NBER study, will generate a 3% increase in the death rate and a 0.5% decrease in life expectancy over the next 15 years, which will have a disproportionate impact on African-Americans and women. That translates into what they called an "staggering" 890,000 additional US deaths as a result of the lockdowns.
We know we haven't seen the full extent of the damage from lockdowns yet because it will take decades. Maybe that's why lockdowns were not recommended in previous pandemic analyzes, even for infections with much higher mortality rates.
To determine the best way forward, shouldn't policymakers objectively consider both the data and the overall impact of the policy to date? That is the importance of health policy experts with broader expertise than that of epidemiologists and basic scientists. That necessarily means admitting that social exclusion and significant restrictions are deadly for individuals and extremely harmful, especially for the working class and the poor.
Optimistically, we see the light at the end of the long tunnel with the rollout of vaccines, now on 1.5 million a day. On the other hand, using logic that would put "Alice in Wonderland's" Mad Hatter to shame, the new vaccines have more often been given first to healthier, younger people rather than those at risk of dying. At the time of writing, few states have administered the most vaccinations to people over 65; many have given more than 80% to low-risk age groups. And why is the fact that dozens millions already have biological protection after they are infected with the virus – so they shouldn't be immediate priorities – not even recognized?
Just like in Galileo & # 39; s another problem is the & # 39; established academic interests & # 39 ;. Many universities have openly intimidated views that contradict theirs, ostensibly for political motives, causing many to fear to speak up. Maybe college mottos like the & # 39; truth & # 39; from Harvard, the & # 39; winds of freedom & # 39; from Stanford and Yale & # 39; s & # 39; light and truth & # 39; to be revised. Social media has been ramping up to eliminate the discussion of conflicting evidence. Without allowing and even encouraging open debate and admitting mistakes, we might never resolve a future crisis.
America is now a country where different interpretations of science to seek the truth is the new anathema. I fear that "science" has been seriously damaged, and many have simply become weary of the arguments. This is even worse, because fatigue causes fallacies to overcome the truth. Perhaps Harvard Medical School professor Martin Kulldorff was right when he did complained, "After 300 years, the Age of Enlightenment has ended."
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