The mainstream media can’t seem to find a single doctor or epidemiologist in favor of reopening the country, but somehow, 600 doctors found each other. They did so to sign a letter to President Trump, urging him and his administration to push for an end to the national shutdown in a warning that says keeping businesses closed and schools shuttered could have catastrophic effects that are every bit as damaging – if not moreso – than the coronavirus itself.
The letter points out some of the same concerns that have been shared by conservatives (and really, anyone with a pulsing brain) since the beginning of the shutdown: Namely, that widespread unemployment could be every bit as deadly as the disease. But they go further, noting that poverty and financial uncertainty is not the sum total of ill effects caused by the lockdown.
“We are alarmed at what appears to be the lack of consideration for the future health of our patients,” the doctors wrote. “The downstream health effects are being massively under-estimated and under-reported. This is an order of magnitude error.
“The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure,” they continued. “In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse. Because the harm is diffuse, there are those who hold that it does not exist. We, the undersigned, know otherwise.”
To make their point clear, they included specific examples of people who are suffering – not because of the coronavirus but because of the measures the government has taken to curb the spread of infection.
“Patient E.S. is a mother with two children whose office job was reduced to part-time and whose husband was furloughed,” the doctors wrote. “The father is drinking more, the mother is depressed and not managing her diabetes well, and the children are barely doing any schoolwork.
“Patient A.F. has chronic but previously stable health conditions,” the letter continued. “Her elective hip replacement was delayed, which caused her to become nearly sedentary, resulting in a pulmonary embolism in April.”
We’re sure they could have gone on indefinitely.
Granted, not all of these people will be instantly helped by a massive reopening, if only because there is still a lot of fear and uncertainty out there. Not everyone, for instance, avoided going for medical treatment because it was unavailable; many stayed home because they didn’t want to chance catching the virus. Likewise, many restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and stores would be hurting badly today even if no one had ever issued a single shutdown order. Some of this stuff is just going to take time to clear up.
That said, the government-enforced shutdown in many states is exacerbating the problem. Reasonable government-level recommendations are good and prudent at a time like this. But it’s just about time for us to move past the executive orders and start trusting the American people to take care of ourselves.