End of Lockdowns

The World Health Organization (WHO) finally recognized that lockdowns were an ineffective method for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. David Nabarro, the WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19 stated that the organization no longer advocated lockdowns as a primary method of controlling the virus. Prior to the WHO issuing their statement U.S. authorities were already questioning the benefit (or lack of) from the original lockdown. Some politicians were suggesting shutting down sections where numbers of infections had spiked but no medical authorities were recommending any additional lockdowns. The initial “lockdown” was presumably done to prevent hospitals from exceeding their ability to care for the sickest of patients. Intensive care unit (ICU) beds are limited in every medical facility and many of the patients who were infected in the early weeks of the pandemic required ICU monitoring and care. To meet the demand temporary hospitals were constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers and two hospital ships were mobilized to heavily infected areas. The initial lockdowns did nothing to control the virus, but it did allowed time for doctors to develop treatment strategies and learn from the experiences of doctors in Europe and Asia. Survival rates today are significantly greater than in the early days of the pandemic. Ongoing research is producing new therapeutics and three promising vaccines that are in phase III trials (nearing approval). The Democrats believe they have a winning issue over the number of deaths due to the coronavirus. Most of the early deaths (and since) occurred in the elderly. Many of these individuals had comorbidities such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease. The number of COVID-19 related deaths in the U.S. has exceeded 225,000 thus far this year. A certain number of those deaths would possibly have taken place even in the absence of a COVID-19 infection. Putting the number of COVID-19 deaths in perspective the Journal of the American Medical Medical Association (JAMA) estimated that in 1990 tobacco caused 400,000 deaths, diet and activity (or lack of) caused 300,000 deaths and alcohol caused another 100,000 deaths. Lastly infectious agents resulted in yet another 90,000 deaths.

No one wishes to lose a loved one regardless of their age or the circumstances surrounding their departure. Many of our everyday actions carry a degree of risk but it is a part of our daily lives. Each of us will die some day but more Americans are willing to assume some risks of COVID-19 rather than living in fear. The coronavirus remains a serious threat and everyone should take appropriate precautions when in public settings. It is comforting to know that many of those who do become ill are recovering quickly thanks to early diagnosis and aggressive medical care. This should be a time when all Americans pull together rather than divide one another along political lines.

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