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Thousands of new coronavirus cases are beginning to spread throughout the United States, filling, flooding and saturating the health system in general. Large and radical confinements have been practically declared in other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom, ignoring any knowledge that could have been obtained last year. With these new waves of contagion, experience-based measures must be applied to avoid chaos.
According to an extensive report in The Wall Street Journal, hospitals across the country are not adequately supplied, including those in metropolitan areas and large cities with rampant cases of coronavirus.
“The crisis is a threat to public health that goes far beyond the major cities. The largest hospitals in major metropolitan areas often have specialists and lifesavers that do not exist in smaller regional hospitals.” Larger institutions serve as an escape valve when smaller facilities are overflowing. As large hospitals fill up, local ambulances continue to approach and most patient must be transfered, creating a far-reaching strain on regional health networks.
John Friel, CEO of Big Bear Lake Hospital in California, says that smaller hospitals “are all packed.” The institution he heads does not have an Intensive Care Unit and only uses its emergency room to care for patients in serious condition from coronavirus. Friel says that they had to use an air ambulance to transfer a patient to Reno, Nevada, to make a bed available.
As of January 2nd, the population diagnosed with coronavirus that is currently in hospitals reached 129,600 with 21,300 hospitalized in California. Christina Ghaly, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services says that “many hospitals have reached a point of crisis and have to make many difficult decisions about patient care.”
In the last two weeks, 13,988 new cases of coronavirus presented and the numbers will only increase, reports The Wall Street Journal. Given this, it is clear that difficult decisions will have to be made not only by hospitals, but also by public authorities, so it is critical to take into consideration several lessons learned in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lockdowns do more damage than good
According to a Revolver News study, lockdowns are ten times more lethal than the coronavirus pandemic itself, as the life years lost are virtually unrecoverable.
The study focused on the effects of unemployment on health to estimate how many years of life would have been lost due to containment in the United States, compared to an estimate of how many lives would have been saved by it.
Revolver News argues that “comprehensive research on labor displacement can be used to estimate the lifetime economic impact of sharply increased unemployment for mid- to late-career workers. The study finally reveals that the estimated number of life years lost will be approximately 18.7 million (in the United States) due to lockdowns.
The mechanics of the lockdown, while it may have some logic in at-risk populations, produces unprecedented negative effects on younger populations. But economically and commercially it has also proven to be counterproductive. Although the World Bank blames these figures on the pandemic rather than on lockdowns (which were the main reaction to it), it is estimated that 150 million people will be in extreme poverty. On the business side, Fortune reported in September that 100,000 businesses have closed for the same reason.
Lockdowns, it is clear, are not a viable solution to this second wave of the developing pandemic.
Lockdowns increase public spending
Senator Rand Paul has probably been the clearest issuer of a clear solution: to open up the country. In one of his last speeches last year, Paul clarified that the radical stimulus package that was passed is a clear consequence of the lockouts and the serious effects it will have on subsequent generations. The American government’s debt increased radically thanks to this package, which was only right because the governors – whom he called “brass dictators” – stifled business with absurd confinements and their intermittent wills in the face of the coronavirus.
The problem of public spending is not coronavirus but confinements, the absurd limitations that the governors impose on businesses, and the arbitrary closures that stifle them without mercy. Opening up the country is the only thing that can work so that businesses can afford their expenses, their salaries, and can begin the tortuous road out of an eternal debt provoked fundamentally by governors.
Lockdowns only make the powerful more powerful
The tyrants in the country’s governorships only maintain their power because they continue to receive federal funds. Without lockdowns, neither the stimulus packages nor the sending of federal funds would have happened because businesses in the cities and states would have been able to pay their taxes and debts. Crippling the states killed hundreds of thousands of businesses that employed hundreds of thousands of families more than the coronavirus could have – and did not – kill.
Without gold, tyrants don’t make the rules, citizens do. This has to be learned too well, and it is probably the most important lesson, for the misery that hundreds of thousands of people go through because of the lockdowns is exactly that.
Lockdowns weaken the citizen, regardless of whether the intentions of the rulers are good or not. The results has been terrible, and in this second wave of coronavirus it is essential to avoid its repetition.
Rafael Valera, Venezuelan, student of Political Science, political exile in São Paulo, Brazil since 2017 // Rafael Valera, venezolano, es estudiante de Ciencias Políticas y exiliado político en São Paulo, Brasil desde 2017