Outlets like The Washington Post, CNN and the Los Angeles Times have breathlessly covered the international coronavirus pandemic and the lives it has taken. They’ve used that death toll as justification for the spate of restrictive lockdowns across the country.
But now, their respective tunes appear to be changing as devastating byproducts of those very same lockdowns have emerged.
Although many of these outlets have only now caught on to this problem, economists and conservatives have been crying out about it for weeks.
The Times wrote a story on Monday detailing how a global recession may send half a billion people into extreme poverty. A May 8 article from CNN shared more bad news about the economic effect of lockdowns, saying as many as 75,000 Americans could die from drug and alcohol misuse as well as suicide because of the economic downturn. Only a few weeks prior, The Washington Post published a story about the economic impact of COVID on less wealthy nations, including some in Africa.
“Policymakers everywhere may be tempted to focus on the immediate fatalities from covid-19 while eliding the equally real but more remote mortality from malnutrition, psychological distress, extreme poverty and sociopolitical unrest that lockdowns and economic disruption can cause,” economics professor Julian C. Jamison wrote for The Washington Post.
Charles N. Steel, an associate professor and Herman A. And Suzanne S. Dettwiler Chair in Economics at Hillsdale College, described in a statement to The Western Journal the increasingly dire conditions that would likely be brought about by an overly extended shutdown.
“The effects of lock down depend on duration. The logic is simple. If a person misses one day of work or a business must be closed for a day, that’s typically not much of a problem. If it is one week, that’s problematic but usually not a crisis,” Steel told The Western Journal.
“A month is usually a serious problem, and that worsens with multiple months. The COVID lock downs are creating serious problems. They are causing high rates of unemployment ad threaten high rates of business failures. I think that if the lock downs don’t end soon, they’ll cause far more damage and death than the virus.”
The economist went on to explain how extending the lockdown could destroy small businesses across the country.
According to Steel, small businesses make up half of the employment in the United States and most of them don’t have the cash reserves to last more than a month without revenue.
According to one study Steel reviewed, “a lock down that extends for four months would likely result in permanent closure of over half of small businesses.”
“While loans and cash grants from the federal government can slow some of this and perhaps save [individual businesses], these programs simply spread the economic damage. They do nothing about the real losses of production. And it’s the lost goods and services that actually matter,” Steel said.
Steel then explained how these business closures could lead to a huge increase in unemployment, which could rise to as high as 32 percent. He argued that unemployment at that level would lead to a huge increase in fatalities related to unemployment, which even the several aforementioned liberal outlets are now beginning to admit.
“It’s well known that an increase in the unemployment rate leads to an increase in mortality. With unemployment comes rising rates of death from heart attacks, stroke, suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse. Other contributing problems include increased rates of depression, divorce, domestic violence, and other crime. Several estimates have suggested that unemployment from the U.S. lock downs could will result in over 70,000 excess deaths from suicide and drug abuse alone,” Steel told The Western Journal.
“The lock downs kill people,” he said.
While these lockdowns may, in fact, save lives from COVID-19, it would be wrong to understand that as a net number. Some will be saved who might have died; others will die who might have been saved.
“The correct way to understand governors’ actions is that they choosing between deaths from overwhelming the hospitals from COVID, and deaths from lock down. If they do not choose carefully, their cure will kill more than the virus, and it looks to me like to many are locking things down with no attention at all to this,” Steel explained. “It’s very dangerous and life-threatening.”
Originally, there was great concern over whether America’s health care system had the capacity to support the oncoming influx of COVID-19 cases. According to Steel, it is now in fact the lockdown itself that is causing “damage” to the health care system.
“Most hospitals are nearly empty because of the shutdown. The American Hospital Association believes hospital losses from lack of patients will exceed $200 billion. Hospitals are laying off and furloughing staff, and a number of hospitals fear bankruptcy and permanent closure. Our own local hospital in Hillsdale has said it believes (itself to be) on the verge of permanent closure because of losses from the cancellation of surgeries and other activities,” Steel explained.
Steel revealed that researchers at the University of London estimate the U.S. will have upwards of 33,000 deaths from patients missing cancer treatments during the lockdown.
He also relayed CDC research showing that vaccinations for children have fallen sharply, putting many people at risk of spreading various diseases.
“Since the original rationale for lock down was to ‘flatten the curve’ and save the health care system, I see no sense at all in continuing a general lock down. Perhaps high-risk people should isolate themselves, but the rest of the country should get back to work. The longer the lock downs go, the more harm, including death, they will cause,” Steel told The Western Journal.
“They should be ended now,” he said.
If only someone had said this daily for two months. https://t.co/kjCyKybJsX
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) May 12, 2020
While many organizations were considering the health consequences of the novel coronavirus’ spread, they were not considering the social and economic causes a lockdown might have.
Now liberal outlets such as CNN and the Los Angeles Times are starting to catch up. At this point, however, much of the damage may have already been done.
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