CNN infectious disease expert says coronavirus lockdowns ‘were worth it’
Lockdowns during the pandemic were a ‘failure’, says a new book. But in response, CNN published a dissenting opinion piece — written by physician and infectious disease expert Kent Sepkowitz of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York — which said “you bet it was worth it.”
(Authors Joe Nocera and Bethany McLean) view lockdown as one activity spanning the entire pandemic; On the other hand, I would like to distinguish between the initial lockdown, which was decisive, and intermittent lockdowns as treatments, vaccines and comprehensive care improve. There is an argument that these were in no way effective… One only had to work in health care in New York City to see the difference between early 2020, when an explosion of cases swept through the city, versus later in 2020. 2020, when an effective treatment was identified, supplies and diagnostic tests were greatly improved (although still not entirely adequate) and temporary intensive care units and emergency rooms were established. It was still a nightmare, sure, but it was a vastly more organized nightmare.
It is easy to describe the “short-term benefits” at the beginning of the pandemic: every infection delayed by lockdowns was a good day, a day closer to the launch of mRNA vaccines in December 2020, or less – a busy day for healthcare workers, a day for clinical trials to mature. Therefore, the authors’ statement that lockdowns “were a mistake that should not be repeated” because they had “no purpose other than to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed in the short term” is to me a fundamental misunderstanding of everyday life. The work that was going on. What is most troubling to me about this and other assessments that have come is the minimal mention of death and debilitation caused by the infection. A reminder to those who have forgotten how brutal the pandemic is: 7 million people have died worldwide. In the United States, there have been more than 1 million deaths, millions suffer some debilitation after infection, and many health care workers remain extremely frustrated. (According to these numbers, the United States, which has 4.2% of the world’s population, recorded 14% of Covid deaths.)
In this context, many of the troubling findings cited by Nocera and McLean—suicidal thoughts in teens, increased alcohol and drug abuse, and violence—are as easily explained by this staggering number of deaths, as is the cabin fever caused by the lockdowns. Again: About 1 in 350 Americans has died from the COVID-19 pandemic. Another way to look at the impact of this large number of deaths is to examine life expectancy. It should be noted that life expectancy in the United States decreased in 2020 (1.8 years) and in 2021 (0.6 years), the largest decline since the 1920s; According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 74% of the decline is attributable to Covid-19… and a rapid decline of more than two years would require many people in their 30s, 40s and 50s to die, as happened the first time. The year of the epidemic.