Never Mind Work–Lockdowns Don’t Even Make Sense

The justification given for the lockdowns is to slow the spread of the virus so that hospitals don’t become overwhelmed. But if the problem is that there won’t be enough hospital beds, equipment, and staff to treat patients… why not get more beds, equipment, and train more staff?

Of course, that’s not something that can be done overnight, and it wouldn’t be cheap. In comparison with doing nothing, that’s a big task. But we didn’t do nothing–we shut down schools, restaurants, concerts and cultural events, small businesses, churches and we banned family gatherings, weddings, funerals, and even just having guests visit, imposed other unprecedented restrictions like mandating people wear something to cover their faces, and paid lots of people lots of money to sit around and do nothing.

This is a massive disruption to normal life with a massive cost and loss of productivity, and this is not disputed. To quickly set up a few field hospitals, rush order the needed equipment at a multiple of the normal expense, and train volunteers or cross train existing healthcare staff would have been overall much cheaper, and would have caused much less disruption to normal life. Maybe there are some physical limitations on how quickly new equipment can be made, but then couldn’t we have thrown a few billion at it to make it work, or found some alternative? It’s been more than a year!

When the impending problem is not enough healthcare capacity, it makes much more sense, is cheaper, easier, less disruptive, to try to get more healthcare capacity than to shut down everything else.

And the cherry on top is that when faced with this potential healthcare capacity shortage, we reduced healthcare capacity for other ailments by cancelling treatments and surgeries and denying people health care. The problem is that people won’t get the healthcare they need, and the solution is to deny people healthcare.

And the other cherry on top is that if it really was about saving lives and good health, then there would be some analysis of the overall effects of these lockdowns, and excess deaths they cause would be compared with excess deaths they prevented. The excess deaths that could be prevented by lockdowns is the proportion of people who would die from this virus only if they didn’t get access to healthcare–that’s it. The excess deaths that are caused by lockdown are things like suicides and drug overdoses from isolation, loneliness, and loss of livelihood, cancer and other diseases that could have been caught and treated earlier,

Whether or not we should be making these types of massive interventions based on predictions of possible statistical changes in mortality is another question. Do we want to live such controlled and managed lives? Is longevity of life always more valuable than quality of life? Does the potential for death always trump any potential for human flourishing?

These are very important issues, but we don’t even have to go that far to see that the lockdowns are and were a bad idea, because the justification given for them doesn’t even make sense. The given rationale doesn’t hold up. It’s far from the best way to achieve what it is purported to achieve.

The story that best embodies these absurdities is that of Nancy Russell.

Residents eat meals in their rooms, have activities and social gatherings cancelled, family visits curtailed or eliminated. Sometimes they are in isolation in their small rooms for days. These measures, aimed at saving lives, can sometimes be detrimental enough to the overall health of residents that they find themselves looking into other options.

Russell, described by her family as exceptionally social and spry, was one such person. Her family says she chose a medically-assisted death (MAID) after she declined so sharply during lockdown that she didn’t want to go through more isolation this winter.

Facing another retirement home lockdown, 90-year-old chooses medically assisted death

She needed to be forced to stay in a room by herself because the risk that she would get sick and die was too great, but this experience was so miserable that it made her want to die, and so the same government that was imposing the miserable conditions ostensibly intended to save her life helped her kill herself.

They tortured her to save her life, then helped kill her when it was too awful.

Did no one think to just… let her live her life normally? What’s the worst that could happen, she gets sick and dies? You helped kill her! How did no one realize that they could have just let her live her life with some happiness instead of locking her up or killing her? Not her doctor? Her relatives, or friends?

No one wanted to try just living? Just imprisonment or death, those are your options.

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