The lockdown will cause the worst depression in history, and it will be deadlier than COVID. Governor Sisolak and countless other people don’t understand or accept this reality.
THE LOCKDOWN IS ANTI-TRIAGE.
Catastrophes such a wars, tornados, and pandemics force authorities to confront an extremely painful reality: It’s absolutely impossible to save everyone.
That reality forces them to make a terrible decision: Who will live or die?
Strong leaders don’t duck that responsibility. They apply the triage principle by dividing victims into three categories:
- Those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive. They ignore them.
- Those who are unlikely to live, regardless of what care they receive. They give them painkillers, but don’t invest much time or resources treating them.
- Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome. They concentrate on saving these people.
COVID kills mostly people in category #2. They are old and have serious illnesses. Even without COVID, they would soon die no matter what care they receive. We’ve all read about the numerous deaths in nursing homes. Most of them wouldn’t have lived much longer. In addition, the numbers are inflated: COVID did not cause many of these deaths.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s Corona Response Coordinator Virus, said: ”In the U.S. you are counted as a victim of the pandemic if you die while testing positive for the virus, even if something else causes your death.”
The lockdown ignores reality and the logic of triage. As the Wikipedia article put it. “It becomes the task of the disaster medical authorities to set aside some victims as hopeless, to avoid trying to save one life at the expense of several others.”
The lockdown and depression will kill mostly people in category #3. First, that group is much larger than the other two groups combined. Second, they either won’t get the care needed to save their lives, or they will take actions which kill themselves or others. For example, they won’t get treatments for cancer and other serious diseases, or they will abuse alcohol or drugs, or they will kill other people or themselves.
The lockdown and depression will even kill or shorten the lives of unborn babies. Their mothers won’t get the treatments and advice needed to have healthy children.
In other words, the lockdown and depression will not just kill more people. The lost lives will be much more valuable. Sacrificing many babies, children, and productive adults to protect a fairly small number of extremely sick people in hospitals and nursing homes is particularly foolish. They have terrible lives, and some are so sick that they want to die.
Those words will enrage some people. They will insist, “All lives are equal, and all must be saved.”
If we could save everyone, of course, we should do it. But we can’t save everyone. All good decisions are based on a realistic cost-benefit analysis: What do we lose versus what do we gain? In this case we must make a painful trade-off: Is it better to save babies, children, and productive adults or old, sick people?
The answer is obvious. If we trade the life of one baby for the life of one sick old person, we gain seventy-five years of life and sacrifice one or two. In addition, the years we gain will be much happier and more productive than the ones we sacrifice.
Some readers have said, “I don’t feel right trading lives.” But we can’t avoid trading them. The only question is: Do the trades make sense?
The lockdown is already killing people, and the depression will kill young, productive people to save sick, old ones. Governor Sisolak, many other politicians, and the media just deny that reality because it would force them to make painful decisions.
MOST OF THE UNNECESSARY DEATHS WILL BE “INVISIBLE.”
It’s easy to deny reality because the words “lockdown,” “depression,” “unemployment,” etc. won’t appear on death certificates, and many deaths will happen years later, but the lockdown will be the ultimate cause.
Because the deaths will be invisible, Governor Sisolak and the other politicians, journalists, and bureaucrats who created and are prolonging the lockdown won’t be held accountable. The longer the lockdown lasts, the worse the depression will become, and the more people will die. Let’s discuss five ways that the lockdown and depression will kill people.
- Locked down and unemployed, uninsured people don’t see doctors.
- Locked down and unemployed, unhappy people eat unhealthy foods.
- Locked down and unemployed, unhappy people abuse drugs and alcohol.
- Locked down and unemployed, unhappy people kill each other.
- Locked down and unemployed, unhappy people commit suicide.
LOCKED DOWN AND UNEMPLOYED, UNINSURED PEOPLE DON’T SEE DOCTORS.
They can’t afford it. Unless they are painfully sick, they just skip visits they would make if they had jobs and insurance. Every doctor knows that delays kill people. If you treat many illnesses quickly, patients soon get well. If you wait too long, they’re dead.
Unemployed, uninsured people are especially likely to skip expensive preventive examinations such as lab tests, MRI, and X-Rays:
- Many women won’t get mammograms, and some of them won’t know they have breast cancer until it’s too late to save their lives.
- The same thing will happen to countless men with prostate cancer screenings.
- Most people will ignore small skin growths. Since the growths don’t hurt, they won’t pay for doctors and tests. Some growths will become cancers that spread and kill them.
- Here’s a headline: “UK: 18,000 EXTRA CANCER DEATHS COULD HAPPEN WITHIN A YEAR BECAUSE OF FOCUS ON COVID-19. Cancer victims not able to get early screenings and treatment.”That headline was about the United Kingdom which has far fewer people than the U.S. It was for only one year, and most cancers don’t kill that quickly. Long after COVID is a distant memory, delayed treatment will be killing cancer victims.
Cancers aren’t the only killer diseases that can be prevented by prompt treatment, but they are the most frightening ones. The same principle applies to heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, and many other diseases. Omitting or delaying treatment now will kill people later.
Not seeing doctors is especially dangerous for pregnant women. If an unemployed, uninsured and pregnant woman has to choose between putting food on the table and seeing a doctor, she will often choose food. When the baby dies or has severe problems, hardly anyone will blame the lockdown.
The lockdown is also killing employed and insured people. They want to see doctors, but the doctors won’t see them. Either they have closed their offices or are seeing only certain patients. Doctors are especially unwilling to accept new patients, including pregnant women.
It doesn’t matter why people don’t get prompt treatment. Missing or even delaying treatments will unquestionably kill some of them.
LOCKED DOWN AND UNEMPLOYED, UNHAPPY PEOPLE EAT UNHEALTHY FOODS.
Many experts regard our unhealthy diets as a major cause of premature deaths. They’ve told us again and again to avoid foods that cause heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Poor people have shorter lives partly because they eat worse food than more prosperous ones.
Since the depression will impoverish millions of people, they will eat more unhealthy foods. First, they’re cheaper, and unemployed people have to cut expenses.
Second, they will eat them to relieve their misery. Even if they know the dangers of “comfort foods,” they may eat them just to feel better. The relief is very brief, and one long-term consequence is premature death.
LOCKED DOWN AND UNEMPLOYED, UNHAPPY PEOPLE ABUSE ALCOHOL AND DRUGS.
Abuse of alcohol, street drugs, and prescription drugs has always killed many Americans, and misery increases abuse. Abuse has increased during the lockdown, and it will get worse during the depression. The worse people feel, and the longer they feel miserable, the more they will need relief.
Alcohol and drug abuse will kill some pregnant abusers’ children. Every obstetrician tells pregnant women, “Don’t drink or use drugs.” Some women will be so miserable they will ignore that advice. The ones who don’t consult doctors, may not even know that they should completely avoid most drugs and all alcohol. Even moderate use of them can severely harm babies.
Sometimes they will miscarry. Some children will be born with serious diseases and birth defects. They may die quickly or just live shorter than average lives.
LOCKED DOWN UNEMPLOYED, UNHAPPY PEOPLE KILL EACH OTHER.
Forcing frightened, angry people to spend long hours locked up with each other has increased domestic violence.
“The United Nations called … for urgent action to combat the worldwide surge in domestic violence. ‘I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic,’ Secretary General António Guterres wrote on Twitter.”
The longer the lockdown lasts, the more people will kill their families and others near them.
After the lockdown is over, the depression will create other types of anger and violence. The longer people are unemployed, the angrier and more violent they will become. Angry people start fights, and the angrier they are, the more often those fights will cause homicides.
LOCKED DOWN AND UNEMPLOYED, UNHAPPY PEOPLE COMMIT SUICIDE.
The more miserable people become, and the longer the misery lasts, the more likely they are to kill themselves.
“In Tennessee, the crisis is taking its toll on those who were not physically sick, but who appear to have fallen victim to the virus anyway… more people have died from suicide in Knox County than people have from the virus in the entire state… Knoxville, Tennessee Mayor Glenn Jacobs [said]. ‘We have to determine how we can respond to COVID-19 in a way that keeps our economy intact, keeps people employed and empowers them with a feeling of hope and optimism – not desperation and despair.’”
“Suicide rates increase in times of economic strife and uncertainty. Previous research estimates that the 2007 economic crisis in Europe and North America led to more than 10,000 extra suicides.”
Some experts will insist that it’s too simplistic to blame the depression because most suicides have multiple causes. They’re right about multiple causes, but the inescapable fact is that suicides become more common during depressions. If thousands of additional suicides occurred during the 2007 economic crisis, how many will happen during the worst depression in history?
The depression will cause other types of deaths, but there’s no need to discuss them. The central facts are:
- The lockdown has already caused some deaths.
- The depression will kill many more people.
- The longer the lockdown lasts, the worse the depression will become, and the more people it will kill.
- Hardly anyone understands or accepts points 1-3.
Why don’t most people understand or accept those points?
WE NATURALLY FOCUS ON THE SHORT TERM.
Thousands of studies prove that immediate, small rewards and punishments (R&P) have much greater effects on us than much larger, but delayed, R&P. The more visible the short-term R&P are, and the less visible the longer-terms ones are, the more we focus on the short-term. It’s built into our DNA.
The COVID death statistics are extremely visible. We see and hear them constantly. The lockdown’s deaths are mostly invisible, and the ones from the depression won’t occur until the future, sometimes not for years or decades. By then the causal relationship will be completely hidden. When someone dies prematurely from cancer, a heart attack, drug or alcohol abuse, birth defects, etc., nobody will think, “The lockdown killed him.”
SOME VERY CRUDE NUMBERS
A friend told me, “Don’t make predictions you can’t prove,” but it’s impossible to prove a prediction. By definition, a prediction is a statement of what’s expected to occur in the future. Since the future hasn’t happened, nothing can be proved. The correct question is: Does the evidence justify the prediction?
No reasonable person could challenge the point that some people will die because they don’t see doctors, but we can’t say how many. The same point could be made for each of the other causes. How many deaths will the combination of all these factors cause?
Nobody knows, but there is a plausible case that all those factors combined will kill more people than COVID. You’ve probably read extremely different predictions of how many deaths COVID will cause. Those predictions are based on very questionable models and statistics. All models have flaws, and Dr. Birx has admitted that some deaths are falsely blamed on COVID. Since we can’t trust the statistics, predictions based on them are little more than guesses.
In addition, we’ve had several depressions and recessions, and we know some of their effects. COVID is brand new, and we don’t understand it. That’s one reason that the total predicted COVID deaths vary so widely.
The bottom line is that predictions of deaths from the lockdown and depression are more plausible than the predictions you have repeatedly read about COVID deaths.
If COVID mimics the flu, it will soon be gone, but the lockdown and depression will cause invisible deaths year after year, decade after decade.
No sane person could claim that the factors listed earlier won’t cause some deaths.
How many deaths?
Because most deaths will be invisible and won’t occur for years, nobody will ever know the total, but there is a very high probability that it will be more than COVID. The most publicized projections are that COVID will kill between 60,000 and 240,000 Americans.
Before COVID about 8,000 Americans were dying every day. Therefore, the total of predicted COVID deaths is about the number who would die every week for the lower prediction (60,000) or every month for the higher one (240,000).
Let’s compare those numbers to the mostly invisible deaths from the lockdown and depression.
The U.S. Congressional Budget Office predicted:
- The U.S. unemployment rate will surge to 16%.
- The “deep recession”will last at least two years.
About 155 million Americans were employed on January 1, 2020, and the unemployment rate was 3.6%. Here’s some very simple math:
- 16 – 3.6 = 12.4% additional
- 4% of 155 million is 19.2 million additionalunemployed.
That is, the killers discussed earlier will affect 19.2 million newly unemployed people, many of them won’t have health insurance, and the damage to their health can last for decades.
We will never know how many of these people will have shorter lives because of the depression. But let’s make some estimates. If the combination of all of the factors earlier shortens the lives of just 3% of the additionally unemployed, the total premature deaths would be 576,000. If the lives of 5% are shortened, it’s 960,000 deaths.
Those numbers are for the future depression. We must add the deaths from the lockdown. Since these deaths are invisible, we can’t even estimate them accurately, but a few have been reported. For example, Tennessee was opened because there had been so many suicides. Some people have certainly died or will die from untreated illnesses because they don’t see doctors.
Nobody can accurately estimate the effects of all these killers over a multi-year period. And a death twenty years from now is much better than a death today. But any open-minded person who seriously considers all the evidence should conclude that: Prolonging the lockdown will kill more people than it saves.
HOW LONG SHOULD THE LOCKDOWN LAST?
That’s why the arguments are so bitter. If there was a clear case that we should completely open next Tuesday or wait until next January, the experts and politicians wouldn’t argue so vehemently.
Some data suggest that the lockdown was a stupid, tragic mistake. For example, Sweden never locked down, and its death rate is lower than the European average, but higher than ours.
The experts are arguing about whether Sweden made the right decision, and both sides can make a good case about the medical consequences. But there is no argument that Sweden’s economy will be less damaged than ours. Sweden expects a recession, while we’re heading for the worst depression in our history.
If we add the deaths from all causes during the lockdown and depression to the ones caused by COVID, Sweden’s total death rate will be much lower than ours.
Regardless of whether you think the lockdown was a good decision, the inescapable fact is that the longer the lockdown continues, the worse the depression will become, and the more people will die from the lockdown and the depression.
Because I believe that the lockdown and depression will kill so many people, I think the lockdown should end soon. I’m also convinced that the lockdown – or parts of it – will last too long.
WHY WILL THE LOCKDOWN CONTINUE TOO LONG?
Governor Sisolak, many other politicians, and countless journalists don’t even try to objectively analyze the evidence about all the consequences. They just select whatever supports their personal, political, or economic agenda. They also play the “blame game,” acting like small children, pointing fingers at each other, screaming, “It’s your fault!”
Why do they act so destructively?
Because their decisions are based, not on the long-term consequences for our country, state, and citizens, but on their own agendas. The four groups that have pushed hardest for increasing the length and tightness of the lockdown are the media (especially the liberals), the government bureaucrats, the hard leftists, and the selfish politicians, including Governor Sisolak.
The Media (Especially The Liberals) Love The Lockdown.
CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other organizations love anything that gives them an excuse to attack President Trump. They have blamed him for almost everything except deliberately causing the pandemic.
In addition to their election agenda, they have applied one of their oldest and most important rules: If it bleeds, it leads.
Bleeding and death are dramatic. TV networks and newspapers emphasize them to increase their audiences and advertising revenue. They emphasize stories about COVID deaths, and ignore the invisible deaths caused by the lockdown and future depression. They also ignore or minimize the reports that the COVID death statistics have been inflated.
Even conservative media organizations have applied the rule, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Fox News, The New York Post and similar organizations emphasize the visible deaths and pay little attention to the invisible ones.
Regardless of when the lockdowns end, some death statistics will get worse, and those statistics will be extremely visible. The liberals will blame the conservatives and vice versa. Everyone will publicize the statistics that support their bias, ignore the contrary data, and blame their enemies for everything that goes wrong.
- They shouldn’t have done it so quickly.
- They should have planned better.
- They should have made sure there were enough masks or test kits or ventilators.
- They are “stupid,” “selfish,” “calloused,” “uncaring about human lives,” “irresponsible,” even “murderers.”
The Government Bureaucrats Love The Lockdown.
Regardless of their political bias, bureaucrats want to increase their own power. COVID has caused an unprecedented expansion of government power. The politicians make policies, but the bureaucrats make and enforce the detailed rules. They just love telling us what we can and can’t do, and the more tightly they control us, the bigger their empires and budgets become.
The Hard Leftists Love The Lockdown.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she was glad the oil industry was being destroyed. She didn’t care about the families of the hundreds of thousands of people who would lose their jobs and health insurance. Destroying their lives was a small price to pay to move us toward socialism.
When she realized that she had been too open, she quickly deleted that tweet. Even though many people already knew that she wants to destroy our economy, she didn’t want to be too obvious.
Many leftist politicians, journalists, and professors have the same goal, but they are smarter, more subtle, and more dangerous. They know that most Americans want to preserve capitalism. If their goal is too obvious, there will be a backlash.
They aren’t revolutionaries. They’re not ready to kill people directly, and they don’t want blood on their hands. But they welcome the depression, They hope it will convince people that capitalism is as evil as they have always claimed. Since the depression will cause invisible deaths, they won’t feel guilty. They’re hoping and working for an indirect and slow “bloodless coup.”
Most Politicians, Including Governor Sisolak, Are Selfish.
Most of the depression-caused deaths won’t occur for years, and they will be invisible. Since opening the economy will cause visible deaths, the governor and most other politicians lack the courage to act decisively and risk being blamed for results.
Governor Sisolak has even joined with California and other states to avoid the responsibility to make any decision. He knows that California, Oregon, et al have extremely different economies, but joining that group lets him hide.
Strong leaders accept their responsibility to make tough decisions. Weak ones avoid responsibility to protect themselves. Harry Truman was a strong leader. He was so annoyed by officials who wouldn’t accept responsibility that he put a sign on his desk, “The buck stops here.”
When anyone complained about being criticized, he said, ”If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I wish our governor and many other politicians had the courage to accept responsibility.
7Some experts claim that there will be a second wave. At the moment there is no way to know whether it will occur.
8Of course, Bernie Sanders and his supporters regard the loss of insurance as proof that we need socialized medicine. Perhaps we do, but people’s lives depend upon the system we have now.