It is hard to destroy your own cause and feel righteous while doing so, yet the American left has done it. After more than two centuries at the vanguard of the struggle for freedom, the American left, broadly defined, executed a volte face and embraced anti-working-class policies marketed as purely technical public health measures.
by Christian Parenti
Part 6 - Lockdowns Also Kill
Death, or “all-cause mortality” increased during the pandemic but not all of it was caused by Covid. This fact is often overlooked. A study out of the UK published in January 2022, found that non-Covid deaths due to delayed medical care quadrupled during the Covid pandemic. This sort of dangerous unintended consequence from lockdown was predicted during the pandemic’s first year. A study published in late 2020 estimated that over-zealous Covid restrictions would lead to 18,000 extra cancer deaths in the UK that year.
Most left intellectuals however, following in lockstep with the Democrats, refused to acknowledge that lockdowns also kill. They could not do so for a very simple reason: Trump had done it first, when he called for the economy to reopen. “Permanent lockdown is not a viable path forward…Ultimately [it would] inflict more harm than it would prevent,” Trump said during an April 3, 2020 White House briefing. “Lockdowns do not prevent infection in the future. They just don’t. It comes back many times, it comes back,” Trump said.
Trump’s concerns about the risks of lockdown were immediately excoriated and mocked in the press. But we now know he was right – lockdowns also kill. The pandemic has seen record surges in fatal drug overdoses and homicide. The CDC found a 28 percent increase in drug overdose deaths from April 2020 to April 2021. While the homicide rate increased by 30 percent. Bizarrely, traffic deaths went up by 7 percent in 2020, even as the total number of miles driven declined by 13 percent.
Early on, the New York Times briefly acknowledged the health risks from lockdowns. An op-ed by two physicians turned healthcare executives noted that: “The toll from deaths caused by lockdown related impacts may have killed as many as the disease.” As the authors explained: “Government orders to shelter in place and health care leaders’ decisions to defer nonessential care successfully prevented the spread of the virus. But these policies — complicated by the loss of employer-provided health insurance as people lost their jobs — have had the unintended effect of delaying care for some of our sickest patients.” The authors reported, “sizable decreases in new cancer diagnoses (45 percent) and reports of heart attacks (38 percent) and strokes (30 percent). Visits to hospital emergency departments are down by as much as 40 percent, but measures of how sick emergency department patients are have risen by 20 percent, according to a Mayo Clinic study, suggesting how harmful the delay [in receiving healthcare] can be.
Meanwhile, non-Covid-19 out-of-hospital deaths have increased, while in-hospital mortality has declined…. In the case of cancer alone, our calculations show we can expect a quarter of a million additional preventable deaths annually if normal care does not resume. Outcomes will be similar for those who forgo treatment for heart attacks and strokes.” Unfortunately, this argument seemed to have no impact on policymakers when it counted, nor on the organized left today, which still ignores copious evidence that lockdowns had wreaked massive destruction on the most vulnerable.