‘Where would we put the sick and dying when the hospital beds ran out?’
This comment is laced with accusation, and most of us have heard it – the sentiment being that if you even think that it might be time for the lockdown to end, you are basically begging for the streets to be filled with bodies.
What this argument fails to acknowledge, however, is that the bodies are already piling up. The only problem is that they aren’t the right kind of bodies. Teen suicides, overdoses, child abuse, mental health, domestic violence victims are all overlooked. Because in our distorted reality, it only appears to matter if your death certificate says ‘COVID-19’.
While we all hide away in our homes and cower at the ‘case numbers’ read out at the frequent press conferences, we fail to see the evidence of a much bigger problem in our own communities.
People are really struggling.
One of your neighbours just lost the business he built up from the ground because he can no longer pay the rent. Another is lying on the floor of her daughter’s room every night on suicide watch. That lady you passed in the supermarket may be afraid she doesn’t have enough in her wallet to pay for the few things in her basket. There’s a boy staring at his computer screen convinced he is going to flunk out of school, and another losing himself in the virtual and hazardous world of the internet because he has been starved of the contact of his peers. And sadly, the elderly – those whom we have all worked so hard to protect these past 18 months – lie in bed night after night wondering if anyone will even notice if they don’t wake up in the morning.
But the virus!
The fact is, when we fixate on case numbers and ICU capacities we fail to remember an undeniable truth. People will die. As Death, the narrator in The Book Thief bluntly says: ‘Here is a small fact: You are going to die. I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations.’
The question we must ask ourselves is this: which deaths are actually preventable?
Let’s be brutally honest. COVID-19 has a survivability rate of around 99.8%. There’s a vast array of early treatments that have been proven to be safe and effective. There are vaccines, for those who wish to avail themselves of other treatment options. Will people still die of this virus? The answer is yes, they will. Some of those who are over 75 or have an average of 2.6 comorbidities may still end up succumbing, particularly if they aren’t made aware of the vital importance of prophylactic treatment.
While this may sound shocking, it is a reality we must be willing to face. If you really are afraid for your life even in light of these facts, then by all means, take appropriate precautions (or at the very least commit to strengthening your immune system).
But for the rest of us, why are we being forced to remain at home? Lockdowns have never historically been touted as a responsible solution until we panicked and played ‘follow the blind’ last year. Study after study has shown that lockdowns are inadvisable, likely to cause lasting economic, developmental, health-related and psychological damage. Even the World Health Organisation has recommended that world leaders not use lockdowns as a primary control measure. The worst part is that not only do lockdowns not work, they actually cause additional deaths – deaths that could have been easily prevented. In Canada alone, this has added up to 5,535 extra funerals. While in America, they estimate an extra 0.8 million people will die over the next fifteen years.
The well-meant compassion for victims of COVID-19 is blinding us from the undeniable carnage that these lockdowns are creating in our communities. Our politicians need to zoom out from this one cause of death and wake up to the reality that plugging the small gap in one area of the ship, while ignoring the gaping hole in the other side of the hull is only going to hasten the total destruction of the entire vessel.
We are fast taking on water and people are already drowning.
Let’s not wait until it is too late.
Risk of Covid
The Effects of Lockdown