The duplicitous and totally incompetent World Health Organization (WHO) has finally come around to the common-sense conclusion that prolonged economic shutdowns wind up being worse than the coronavirus itself.
The WHO has seen the light, but only after millions of people have had their lives destroyed and many thrown into poverty.
Meanwhile, 30,000 scientists and medical practitioners have now signed the American Institute for Economic Research’s “Great Barrington Declaration” against lockdowns.
So now it can be confirmed that all those condescending windbags who said “science” was on their side in closing down our economies were wrong. Really wrong.
And despite this revelation, power-hungry pols, best exemplified by New York’s governor, are threatening to close us down once again if the number of infected rises.
The catastrophic consequences of these shutdowns haven’t just affected restaurant or salon owners who’ve filed for bankruptcy, but it’s now being felt by people who work for local governments and those who pay taxes to support them.
Take Suffolk County, a suburb on Long Island with a population of 1.5 million.
The county budget unveiled last week calls for over 500 layoffs, a canceling of police classes, and cutting almost half the county’s bus routes.
The county executive blames it on the federal government’s failure to provide a second bailout to the first federal package of $257 million. Instead, he should be blaming the governor, whose shut down cratered sales tax collections for the state and county.
These sales taxes which account for 40% of the country’s revenue, sank by 8% in the state.
Many government employees who I spoke to back in May were happy with being able to collect a check while working or sitting at home.
If someone had to shut his business, it was the price we had to pay to flatten the curve (no skin off the public employee’s back, since, just like the politicians and media blowhards, they continued to get paid).
But now the county workers are starting to see the consequences when those closed down private-sector folks don’t have any earning to be taxed.
That in turn means their public sector salaries can’t be funded.
This is what we warned about, and it’s now coming to pass.
Few could argue with the shutdown first suggested by the president and shortly thereafter implemented by various governors immediately after the COVID 19 outbreak.
Our hospitals were being overrun and there was fear needed resources such as ventilators would not be available.
We were asked to lockdown until we could flatten the curve and relieve the stress on our intensive care units.
We agreed by closing down one of the most robust economies in modern times.
But shortly thereafter, governors moved the goalposts and began demanding that we maintain a continuous shutdown to save every life possible.
The problem is that by doing so, they were causing unintended deaths in other areas.
The preliminary results are in, and they aren’t pretty. A report cited in Our World in Data noted that non-COVID-related deaths are spiking by more than 90,000 over a normal year for categories including drug overdoses, suicides, and missed diagnoses.
Yes, we’ve had over 200,000 deaths due to COVID, but the evidence does not suggest that draconian shutdowns succeeded is saving any more lives than states where the business remained open while secluding the elderly and medically vulnerable.
Studies have shown that the death rate in Sweden, which never closed its economy, is lower than numerous nations that had significant shutdowns.
The United States currently has 578 COVID-19 deaths per million compared to Sweden’s 577 per million, according to the global statistics web site Worldometers.
Here in the U.S., those states that closed down, leading to economic ruin for thousands of their businesses, have had more deaths than many of those that remained open.
Of course, much of that is due to the fact that states such as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut got hit hard, without much warning, and had higher population density.
But it was the foolish policies in these states — forcing infected patients back into nursing homes — that accounted for the disproportionately high death rates there.
But even if we could prove that the shutdowns saved 100,000 lives, which we can’t, we’d have to factor in that they also caused over 90,000 non-COVID deaths.
Meanwhile, the death rates in years to come will continue to rise due to missed diagnoses and the poverty that resulted from preventing people from working.
The WHO just realizes that poverty causes death. Dr. David Nabarro, the WHO’s Special Envoy on COVID-19, conceded this week that the shutdown may contribute to a doubling of worldwide poverty and child malnutrition next year. This may lead to millions of deaths. More, dare we say than would have died from the virus itself.
Little is to be gained by us saying “Told you so.”
Let’s be grateful that the condescending elites who tried to justify lockdowns through “science” might finally see the error of their ways.
Steve Levy served as Suffolk County Executive, as an NYS Assemblyman, and host of “The Steve Levy Radio Show.” He is the author of the just-released “Solutions to America’s Problems.” Www.SteveLevy.info tweet to @SteveLevyNY. Read Steve Levy’s Reports — More Here.