After 10 months of pandemic lockdown in Colorado and across the nation, a growing number of scientists and public health policy experts are speaking up about the horrific impacts, correctly asserting the lockdown “cure” is worse than the disease.
The Great Barrington Declaration, a document expressing concern over lockdown policies states, “Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”
Authors include Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in mathematical modeling of infectious diseases, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases. They are joined by more than 50,000 medical practitioners and medical and public health scientists from around the world.
Now that we know approximately 90% of COVID-19 deaths occur in individuals over the age of 65 and/or with underlying health conditions, those facts should inform decisions about COVID-19 response to reduce fatality and minimize impacts for all citizens.
When businesses close due to government-imposed restrictions, unemployment soars; the consequences are real and lasting. This year, unemployment numbers skyrocketed with nearly every state reaching record-breaking highs. This was after many states saw the lowest unemployment rates in history before the pandemic began.
“Saving just one life is worth lockdown sacrifices!” is a common cry among lockdown apologists. "What are a few business closures compared to human life?” they ask. Unfortunately, that perspective fails to connect the reality of economic harm to the people it devastates: the middle-age couple who invested every penny to open a restaurant only to see it crushed by mandates and now worries about retirement, the single mother who lost her job when the restaurant closed struggling to make ends meet while also trying to guide her daughter through remote learning at home.
“Better to be unemployed than dead!” apologists say. This fails to acknowledge two undisputed facts: poverty and unemployment are related to shorter life expectancy (MIT researchers found ten to fourteen years less) and those outside of the vulnerable category are exponentially more likely to experience mild, moderate, or no symptoms. In reality, risk is a part of life; the COVID-19 risk to the young and healthy is not a significantly higher risk than other risks encountered daily. On the other hand, unemployment and isolation caused by lockdown policies increase the risk of domestic abuse, depression, suicide, drug and alcohol related deaths, deaths from chronic illnesses left untreated, and more.
Lockdown apologists insist that while there may be consequences, things could be far worse. Comparing data from across states tells a different story. Florida’s governor embraced focused protection strategies for the vulnerable as advocated by The Great Barrington Declaration after early lockdowns failed. Florida now has a lower death rate than Colorado, California or New York, states with the most stringent restrictions. Today, Florida ranks among the 10-lowest COVID-19 death rates per capita in the nation.
Science is the systemic study of our world through observation and experimentation. Good policy is informed by evidence, including science. It must also take into account a variety of truths about society and human nature to be most effective. It is now obvious the lockdown experiment has failed spectacularly by ignoring all three. It is time for Gov. Polis to find the moral conviction to acknowledge his failures, follow the growing number of scientists, health policy experts, and the voice of the people and lift these failed lockdown restrictions.
Carrie Geitner is a former teacher, charter school founder, and business owner. Geitner was elected in November to El Paso County Commission District 2, representing the eastern portion of Colorado Springs and unincorporated El Paso County.