Before we dig into today’s even more controversial than usual opinion piece, I’d like you to meet someone who is no stranger to controversy himself.
Sam Volkering first told me about bitcoin back in 2012, when the price was closer to $10 than $60,000 or $30,000. And yet, all the news has been about that latest drop, not the vast amount of wealth the initial boom created.
Along the way, we saw many price plunges. And each time, Sam nagged me to buy. But then, one day, he suddenly stopped. And said this instead.
Oh boy… are we on thin ice today.
But at least we haven’t been literally put on ice, like so many people out there over the past two years. Indeed, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a whopping 1,549 people in England and Wales below the age of 65 died solely of Covid-19 in 2020.
Wait a minute… that’s fewer than motor vehicle deaths in 2019!
SHUT DOWN THE ROADS!
But seriously, if only 1,549 people below the age of 65 died solely of Covid-19 in 2020, is that a good enough reason to lock down all healthy people below the age of 65?
If you think so, maybe you should avoid roads after all…
This data comes from a freedom of information request, the necessity of which is half the scandal here.
But wait, there’s more.
The average age of death in England and Wales from Covid-19 was 82.5 years, which is higher than national life expectancy…
Keep in mind that, given how many years of life there are before 82.5 relative to how many there are after, this suggests that a lot more than half of the deaths were above the age of 82.5 years.
To sum it up, this is not an epidemic requiring a belt and braces, inclusion of kitchen sink, and dispersal of baby and bathwater response.
It is merely a new illness. Admittedly, it is a severe and dangerous one for a subset of our population. However, that is an identifiable subset that needed our protection, not our entire nation’s lockdown.
Indeed, those with co-morbidities should have been protected. Those who chose to isolate should have been supported. But locking down the rest of the nation, including its health service, seems like a rather bad way of going about this.
Now it might seem cruel to suggest isolating only those who are vulnerable. And I agree, which is why it should’ve been voluntary. But locking down the rest of the nation is even worse than locking down part of it.
If all this weren’t extreme enough, here’s the real worry: the consequences of the lockdowns could end up vastly exceeding Covid-19’s toll.
Here’s some context for you, from the European Journal of Cancer in July 2021:
Substantial delays in cancer diagnosis have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. In England, 3,620 avoidable cancer deaths have been predicted for four major cancers representing about 40% of total burden.
So, lockdown-associated, but otherwise avoidable, cancer deaths of the top four cancers alone are estimated to have killed about as many people as Covid-19 killed otherwise healthy people under the age of 65 right up to the third quarter of 2021.
Who is more important? A cancer sufferer needing care, or someone barely at risk of Covid-19, but who has the choice to isolate? Because politicians decided that the nation must go into lockdown, abandoning so many of those seeking care for health issues other than Covid-19, instead of keeping care going and isolating only those vulnerable.
But the cost of lockdowns is only just getting started. This is from the Journal of Social and Economic Development:
The World Bank has estimated that 71 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty across the globe as a result of the pandemic (World Bank 2020). The UN has stated that we are facing an impending food emergency and the World Food Programme estimates that an additional 130 million people could fall into the category of being food insecure.
This is from the UN Global Compact:
COVID-19 has killed hundreds of thousands over the past few months. But as the health crisis becomes an economic one, funding shortfalls and supply chain issues could see millions more die of hunger.
This is from the New York Post as early as 2021: “The data shows lockdowns end more lives than they save”.
According to the Wall Street Journal: “There’s a reason no government has done a cost-benefit analysis: The policy would surely fail.”
And so on and so forth, you get the idea.
Lockdowns’ impacts are going to be with us for a very long time. And, cumulatively, I predict they will outweigh Covid-19 itself, by a long shot.
The real question is a matter of accountability. Will those who made these decisions be held accountable for having caused these consequences?
It needs to be clear that we had a choice. We could have protected those vulnerable to Covid-19, while the rest of us keep society functioning in ways that does not result in poverty, starvation and chaos for years.
In fact, the idea that you can impose lockdowns on the world without causing the deaths of millions of people is so terrifyingly arrogant. Just because our developed economy societies could afford it, and just because those deaths do not show up on ONS statistics, does not make it OK.
The good news is that even the Western world is now getting what it deserves: empty shelves, food shortages, spiking inflation and a cold dark winter without enough heating. This is what we dished out to much of the world for two years…
Editor, Fortune & Freedom