Sunday, June 16, 2024
 
 

The cure for COVID-19 has been worse than the disease

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The American entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said that it is important to count the cost first before doing anything. This watchword has not been followed by politicians during the COVID-19 pandemic and the policies that have been enacted have had huge implications for the economy and public health as well as freedom and personal choice.

Nothing is as permanent as a temporary measure

As many countries have realized that a zero-COVID strategy is impossible to achieve, and begin to roll back restrictions, societies begin to count the full cost of the pandemic. As the dust starts to settle we are starting to see how truly damaging the pandemic has been from an economic, personal freedom and even – perversely – a public health perspective.

In the UK, for example, the National Health Service has reported a 77% increase in the number of children needing treatment for severe mental health issues – including suicidal thoughts, self-harm and chronic depression – during the pandemic. These alarming figures are tragically mirrored around the globe.

On the economic front, the impact has been equally brutal. Global GDP has taken a pounding while many businesses have gone to the wall. At the same time, government debt-to-GDP ratio has soared on the back of furlough schemes and more people claiming unemployment benefits.

From a personal freedom perspective, COVID-19 lockdowns have been no less devastating. People across the world have been told where they can go, what they can do and who they can meet. The range of new powers that have been brought in by authorities to ostensibly protect society is terrifying. It is of little surprise that people from Australia to the Netherlands have been protesting and fighting back against the rapid erosion of personal liberty.

Equally worrying is the treatment of the few who went against the grain. While the Swedish approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic – led by the Swedish Public Health Authority (Folkhälsomyndigheten) – has been vindicated, Sweden has endured a tough time. Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell was a voice of reason but treated as crazy for suggesting we need to learn to live with the disease by protecting the vulnerable while allowing society to remain open. Sweden was also repeatedly bullied on the global stage while being ridiculed and attacked from all sides for its response to the pandemic.

The mask is slipping

Our view is echoed by a recent study by Johns Hopkins University which concluded that lockdowns are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument. The study, titled “A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality,” said lockdowns in Europe and the U.S. reduced COVID-19 deaths by a mere 0.2 percent.

The draconian lockdowns that were forced on societies across the world over the past two years have been shown to have had little impact on the spread of the virus, but there are still countries that push forward with their wrong-headed zero-Covid approach. Despite the strategy of governments like New Zealand seeming increasingly ridiculous, they have invested so much in their erroneous plan of action that they cannot backtrack and are therefore forced to double down. 

Politicians however need to face voters who have effectively been robbed of two years of their lives while businesses collapsed, children were not being educated and mental health issues have soared. There is a saying that people who do bad things cover their faces with masks so that they cannot be judged. When it comes to the elected politicians who instigated crippling lockdowns on their populations, however, there is nowhere to hide.  

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