One of the most distasteful things regarding the lockdown vs. economic re-opening debate has been the disingenuousness of both sides. In the early days I admit that I tired of the libertarianesque voices suggesting that every Governor imposing stay-at-home orders was a mini-Mussolini-in-the-making. The inability to consider that those leaders were bearing a terrible weight of responsibility and didn’t have any desire to have the deaths of citizens take place on their watch, was really bothersome to me.
And now, in the days of economic re-opening, I admit that I am very weary of the now-standard, “Oh, so you want people to die then?” retort from those who argue for continued lockdowns.
Like I mentioned earlier, what particularly annoys me about this response is that it is overwhelmingly disingenuous. How disingenuous? It pretends to ignore the reality that people are dying, and are dying in ever-increasing numbers because of the lockdowns.
Again, let me reiterate, I don’t think any executive authority, federal, state, or local, had this in mind when they ordered the stay-at-home orders as a safety precaution. This wasn’t on their radar screen. I do think, however, that though they should not be held accountable for what they didn’t realize at the time, we do realize it now and therefore anyone who claims to care about saving lives can’t ignore it.
More than 600 doctors signed and sent a letter to President Trump urging him to reopen the U.S. economy, calling the coronavirus lockdowns a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing health consequences.”
The letter warns that tens of millions of Americans are at immediate risk of serious health concerns or death directly caused by the shutdown due to issues such as missed preventative healthcare checkups, suicide, alcoholism, drug abuse, homelessness, heart attacks, and strokes.
Anecdotally, I can tell that as of this week, I know my first person diagnosed with COVID-19. But as of this week, I know at least 5, maybe as many as 10, who have had fairly significant doctors’ appointments, cancer check-ups, and even surgeries postponed indefinitely because of the lockdown rules.
Will all those people die? No, of course not. But it speaks to the reality these 600 doctors address. These people are real, their situations are serious, and at some point the “you just want people to die” argument has to take this new information into consideration.
Yes, quarantining the workforce, labor market, and consumer population in their homes is having a severe economic impact. Everyone knows that. It’s time everyone also recognize it’s exacting quite a human toll as well.