Lockdowns Should Never be Allowed Again
By Dr. Christopher Casscells, M.D.
Center for Health Policy at the Caesar Rodney Institute
August 18, 2022
In the early days of COVID-19, Delaware's Governor John Carney expressed his desire to avoid a legacy of being an example of "What NOT to do." With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as his guidestar, he proceeded to do just that. Delaware's economy has suffered some sectors deeply, particularly its students, small businesses, the healthcare sector, and the hospitality industry.
Delaware's COVID-19 response began with an Emergency Order on July 24, 2020, fully three months following the peak of COVID-19 deaths, which has since been extended 26 times, some as "modifications."
Despite there being no emergency, the Governor just renewed the order. Each renewal is time-limited, but no consequence for repetition. For the last year and a half, a "bill" requiring the Governor to get legislative approval to renew the Emergency Order stayed idle. The Legislature still has not considered this "bill."
The original intent of a lockdown was to limit the spread of disease in order to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed, in particular, beds and intensive care unit utilization.
Neither problem happened. Neither the mask mandate nor the lockdown decreased the spread of COVID-19, as CRI's Health Policy Center predicted.
Cloth masks are useless and have become a fashion statement, while paper masks merely collect bacteria from the wearer. Masks are the angstrom particulate equivalent of trying to stop a mosquito with a chain link fence.
Lockdowns to prevent the spread of disease were discredited in the 7th Century with the Justinian Plague. The resurgence of these techniques is simply epidemiologic malpractice. However, the adverse consequences of these policies are undeniable.
For two years, our school-age children were denied an education and the socialization that accompanies in-person schooling.
This disproportionately injures those who cannot read, which would usually be 1st grade and below but in Delaware, that extends up to half of the third graders. Socialization of behavior defaulted to internet games, replete with violence and pornography. Marijuana, alcohol, drug use, and suicide attempts increased shockingly. Parents without childcare at home were relegated to computer babysitters and supervision.
The feared shortage of hospital beds never occurred.
The Christiana Care Center for Advanced Joint Replacement 30 beds specialty unit was commandeered for COVID-19 and never used. The population was terrified to seek medical care in a hospital for fear of contracting COVID-19. This attitude was widely prevalent among the disadvantaged and older population. People deferred routine medical care and are now sicker. The backlog of people waiting for elective treatment has risen.
The economy now broadly suffers from lockdown-induced supply chain issues severely hamstringing building and construction.
Both new and used automobiles are simply not available as inventories of many goods have dried up. When the government picks winners and losers, like you're "essential" and "non-essential," things go badly. How do the people feel about being told you're "non-essential?"
Small businesses closed in droves. The hospitality industry and tourism simply disappeared. Restaurants closed or barely limped along with draconian ineffective regulations about masks, social distancing, and outdoor dining or takeout. Regulations on top of regulations is madness.
In short, there was no justification for a lockdown, and the desired result of slowing the spread and 'bending the curve' simply did not happen.
The health experts driving the policies focused on the number of new cases instead of the number of hospitalizations and their disparate impacts on older patients. The proven notion of herd immunity and natural immunity was laughed at. It was and still is an uninformed policy that yielded predictably bad results, however well intended.
Lockdowns should never be allowed again, and a thoughtful Legislature should temper the authoritarian mandate from a chief executive going forward in a timely fashion to prevent ongoing harm.