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Lockdowns: The Biggest Public Health Mistake Ever Made?

Global lockdowns were ostensibly initiated to protect the general public and “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 infections. Yet, experts agree that this policy may well have been one of the biggest public health mistakes ever made.1

Public health is a system designed to promote health, prevent disease and encourage healthy behaviors. The goal is to encourage proper medical care and healthy efforts through the implementation of policies and programs.

In a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health2 in 2009, the authors offered evidence that public health policies have a significant effect on health, citing changes in seat belt laws, workplace health and safety and public tobacco use that have significantly affected health outcomes.

The health of communities is highly influenced by these policies, which governments use to help prevent obesity, control infectious disease, provide clean air and water and more. Yet, in the past year, it has become apparent that public health policies have moved away from evidence-based decision-making and are being driven by another agenda.

Experts Call Lockdowns the Biggest Health Mistake Ever Made

In an interview with Daily Clout, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya declared that the COVID-19 lockdowns may well be remembered as the “single worst public health mistake” in the last 100 years.3 The full interview is found inside the Daily Clout membership area. Bhattacharya also emailed a journalist from Newsweek about his interview, reiterating his statements:4

“I stand behind my comment that the lockdowns are the single worst public health mistake in the last 100 years. We will be counting the catastrophic health and psychological harms, imposed on nearly every poor person on the face of the earth, for a generation.

At the same time, they have not served to control the epidemic in the places where they have been most vigorously imposed. In the U.S., they have — at best — protected the "non-essential" class from COVID, while exposing the essential working class to the disease. The lockdowns are trickle-down epidemiology.”

During the interview, Bhattacharya indicated that his belief and subsequent work on the Great Barrington Declaration5 was a product of two basic facts.6

"One is that people who are older have a much higher risk from dying from COVID than people who are younger ... and that's a really important fact because we know who is most vulnerable, it's people that are older.

So the first plank of the Great Barrington Declaration: let's protect the vulnerable. The other idea is that the lockdowns themselves impose great harm on people. Lockdowns are not a natural normal way to live."

He goes further into the explanation in an open letter published November 25, 2020, on the website.7 The Great Barrington Declaration calls for “focused protection” and finding a middle ground between locking down an entire economy and just “letting it rip.”

Although naysayers encourage the public to remain fearful, wear masks and seek a vaccine, it’s telling that thus far, the declaration has collected over 41,500 signatures from medical practitioners and over 13,500 signatures from medical and public health scientists.8

In addition, the declaration is open for public signatures and has collected over 758,500 from concerned citizens from around the world. The website allows you to read and sign the declaration, answers many frequently asked questions, shares the science behind the recommendations and explains how the declaration was written.

Analysis Shows Lockdowns Increased Public Health Damage

In 2019, before the pandemic, the World Health Organization published a document on nonpharmaceutical public health measures to mitigate the impact of epidemic and pandemic influenza, another potentially deadly respiratory illness. They clearly state, “there is a very low overall quality of evidence that workplace measures and closures reduce influenza transmission.”9

In the past months, scientists have learned more about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and many teams have analyzed the impact that lockdowns may or may not have had on the spread of the virus and the economy in several countries.

A paper published by the University of Bristol, U.K., in June 2020, found that the distribution of infections was on the decline, even before the U.K. had instituted lockdowns.10 The paper does not take into account the expected “second-wave" in the fall, but it is apparent from their analysis that infection rates were on the decline during the summer months well before fall.

A second paper,11 also published by U.K. scientists, found that closing schools and prohibiting mass gatherings may have helped to lower the incidence. However, stay-at-home orders and mask-wearing in public “was not associated with any independent additional impact.”

In New Zealand, communities were under a level 4 lockdown, which cost the country at least $10 billion.12 Using empirical data and comparing the numbers against areas in the U.S. that were practicing only social distancing at the time, one analysis found that lockdowns did not reduce the number of deaths and the ineffectiveness triggered large economic losses with little benefit for New Zealand.

In an analysis13 of nonpharmaceutical interventions, including business closures and mandatory stay-at-home orders in 10 countries, researchers found “no clear, significant beneficial effect” in countries using more restrictive policies as compared to those with less restrictive policies.