Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief infection expert, believes that the benefits of confinements during the COVID-19 pandemic can never be determined. He also acknowledged that the restriction measures had negative consequences on society.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to be able to determine what the right balance is (…) I think the restrictions, if you want to use that word, which I tend to shy away from, lockdowns, they certainly prevented a lot of infections, prevented a lot of hospitalizations, and prevented a lot of deaths,” he said during an interview on the BBC.
However, he argued that “there are unintended negative consequences, particularly in children who are not allowed to go to school, in the psychological and mental health aspects it has on children, in the economic stress that it puts on society in general, on individual families.”
The impact of lockdowns
Fauci’s statements come after a February meta-analysis of several Johns Hopkins University studies showing that lockdowns only reduced COVID-19 deaths by 0.2% during the first wave of coronaviruses in Europe and the United States.
“An analysis of each of these three groups support the conclusion that lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality,” the paper explained.
The meta-analysis detailed that limiting going out and gatherings may have played a role in the increased mortality from the disease. “Isolate an infected person at home with his/her family where he/she risks infecting family members with a higher viral load.”
Finally, he revealed that lockdowns had other consequences that affected citizens directly. For example, an increase in unemployment, reduced schooling, increased incidents of domestic violence and increased drug overdoses.