In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Dr. Ari Joffe, an infectious disease specialist at Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Canada, explains why he no longer supports lockdowns as a tool in fighting the spread of the Coronavirus. In his recent paper entitled, COVID-19: Rethinking the lockdown Groupthink, Joffe did a cost-base analysis of the lockdowns and estimated that the damage they cause exceeds their benefits by ten times.
Instead of locking down the healthy (and essentially causing them harm), Dr. Joffe states governments should focus their attention on protecting the people most vulnerable to COVID, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
In an interview with Anthony Furey, Joffe explains why he changed his mind:
Emerging data has shown a staggering amount of so-called ‘collateral damage’ due to the lockdowns. This can be predicted to adversely affect many millions of people globally with food insecurity [82-132 million more people], severe poverty [70 million more people], maternal and under age-5 mortality from interrupted healthcare [1.7 million more people], infectious diseases deaths from interrupted services [millions of people with Tuberculosis, Malaria, and HIV], school closures for children [affecting children’s future earning potential and lifespan], interrupted vaccination campaigns for millions of children, and intimate partner violence for millions of women. In high-income countries adverse effects also occur from delayed and interrupted healthcare, unemployment, loneliness, deteriorating mental health, increased opioid crisis deaths, and more.
In the cost-benefit analysis I consider the benefits of lockdowns in preventing deaths from COVID-19, and the costs of lockdowns in terms of the effects of the recession, loneliness, and unemployment on population wellbeing and mortality. I did not consider all of the other so-called ‘collateral damage’ of lockdowns mentioned above. It turned out that the costs of lockdowns are at least 10 times higher than the benefits. That is, lockdowns cause far more harm to population wellbeing than COVID-19 can. It is important to note that I support a focused protection approach, where we aim to protect those truly at high-risk of COVID-19 mortality, including older people, especially those with severe co-morbidities and those in nursing homes and hospitals.
This is not the first time, people have called for a full analysis of the costs of lockdowns. READ: ‘Give us facts about the true price of coronavirus’: Full cost of lockdowns should be disclosed amid fears of an ‘extraordinary toll’ on mental health, says senior Tory MP Sir Graham Brady