CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Corona: All Lives Matter

May 22, 2020

Numerous experts are warning that the lockdowns are far worse than the virus:

Job losses, unemployment, malnourishment, starvation, depression, mental health problems, suicide – these are just some of the direct results of draconian lockdown and shutdown policies that governments have foisted upon us. But it seems we are not allowed to discuss such matters. The corona alarmists have always insisted that to talk about the economy and jobs is to put ‘profit ahead of people’!

By their faulty reasoning, if millions of people lose their jobs, and hundreds of thousands die from starvation or suicide, it is all worth it if it saves just one life – from the virus. Such has been the irrational and one-eyed panic mongering and hysterical fear that has gripped far too many people.

Of course it is NOT about either saving lives or saving the economy – it is both. The truth is, both matter and both have to do with reducing fatalities. And yet even now, when we see all the devastation caused by these over the top lockdowns, we still have the corona alarmists coming out with these lame and patently false claims:

-‘People before the economy’
-‘You just want people to die’
-‘You don’t care about the elderly’
-‘You are selfish for wanting to end the lockdown’

Good grief. Some of these folks are so strung out on fear and hysteria that you simply cannot reason with them. No amount of evidence will persuade them. They have allowed panic and feelings to totally paralyse them. Well, my advice to them is simple:

If you want, just lock yourself in your home for the next ten years. Stay there until all viruses and germs and bacteria have been eliminated from planet earth. Wait until the average age of death is 160 years. Wait until life offers zero risks. But I will go out and seek to feed my family thanks.

For those who are still able to think and assess evidence, let me offer a few recent headlines by various experts who are warning about the massive negative fallout – and fatalities – that these lockdown policies are having. Here are some headlines and/or opening lines of some new articles on this:

Doctors raise alarm about health effects of continued coronavirus shutdown: ‘Mass casualty incident’. More than 600 doctors signed onto a letter sent to President Trump Tuesday pushing him to end the “national shutdown” aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, calling the widespread state orders keeping businesses closed and kids home from school a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing health consequences.” www.foxnews.com/politics/doctors-raise-alarm-about-health-effects-of-continued-coronavirus-shutdown

The economic devastation the pandemic wreaks on the ultra-poor could ultimately kill more people than the virus itself. The United Nations predicts that a global recession will reverse a three-decade trend in rising living standards and plunge as many as 420 million people into extreme poverty. www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-05-11/more-than-a-billion-people-escaped-poverty-in-the-last-20-years-the-coronavirus-could-erase-those-gains

Overdose deaths outpacing COVID-19 deaths in Tri-State area. The number of drug-overdose deaths across the Tri-State area continue to outpace the number of individuals who have died as a result of the coronavirus as of Friday, officials said. www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/special/coronavirus/overdose-deaths-outpacing-covid-19-deaths-in-tri-state-area/article_a36e41cf-8c97-5881-9aed-0668b24b67c2.html

An estimated 265 million people will be pushed into starvation due to the global economic shut down orders instituted due to COVID19. The number of lives that will be lost due to starvation and malnutrition will be of biblical proportions. www.teaparty.org/shutdown-orders-cause-starvation-of-millions-439534/

100,000 Businesses Have Permanently Collapsed Under Pandemic Lockdowns. More than 100,000 small businesses have permanently shuttered within just two months as pandemic lockdowns devastated the nation’s economy landing 36 million Americans out of work, according to a new survey this week. thefederalist.com/2020/05/15/100000-businesses-have-permanently-collapsed-under-pandemic-lockdowns/

“The COVID-19 virus is not only attacking our physical health; it is also increasing psychological suffering: grief at the loss of loved ones, shock at the loss of jobs, isolation and restrictions on movement, difficult family dynamics, uncertainty and fear for the future,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a video message launching a mental health policy brief this week. He added: “Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, are some of the greatest causes of misery in our world.” www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/14/855894146/some-of-the-greatest-causes-of-misery-u-n-warns-of-pandemic-s-mental-health-cost

Poll: 37% of unemployed Americans ran out of food in past month. www.detroitnews.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/14/poll-coronavirus-enough-eat/111715302/

Coronavirus Australia: suicide’s toll far higher than virus. Regions hard-hit by a collapse in tourism are expected to be particularly vulnerable to an increase in suicide. www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/suicides-toll-far-higher-than-coronavirus/news-story/25a686904b67bdedbdcd544b1cab7f96

Let me share some words by a former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ramesh Thakur FAIIA. He is also the Emeritus Professor of the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University. He recently wrote a piece titled, “Lockdowns Can Be Cruel, Heartless, and Deadly”. It begins:

Human beings are family- and community-oriented social animals. Sharing food and drink at home or in restaurants, enjoying the cinema, watching cricket, or appreciating a concert or a play are not optional add-ons but fundamental to our daily life.

Those of us who argue the coronavirus cure can indeed be worse than the disease, are sometimes accused of putting the economy ahead of lives. This is morally offensive. Unless someone is silly enough to claim saving just one life is worth a complete shutdown of the whole country, the debate is about the thresholds of mortality against the human, health, social, and economic costs of different strategies. Judged against these criteria on the evidence to date, it’s a challenge to justify the hard lockdowns of Australia and New Zealand.

He looks at the tragic consequences the lockdown policies are having on the poor in India, and then concludes:

Many Westerners seem to have some strange notions about the human right to be protected from all life-threatening risks and emotional trauma. How dare we say: all life ends in death, get used to it. To my astonishment, the pandemic has brought an expansion in state power right into our homes and across public spaces to an extent not seen previously, even in wartime. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warns the pandemic is becoming a human rights crisis, with authoritarian responses, surveillance, closed borders, and other rights abuses.

The price paid in civil liberties and individual freedoms is eloquently expressed by Lord Sumption, former judge of the UK Supreme Court. Saying life is priceless is a slogan, “just empty rhetoric,” else the Allies would not have gone to war against Hitler. Human beings are family- and community-oriented social animals. Sharing food and drink at home or in restaurants, enjoying the cinema, watching cricket, appreciating a concert or a play are not optional add-ons but fundamental to our daily life as human beings. “Social distancing” by contrast is profoundly anti-social and rubs against every fibre of human civilisation. From everything we now know, the elderly should be free to meet, greet and hug grandchildren under 10 to bring back joy and cheer to their lives. www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australianoutlook/lockdowns-can-be-cruel-heartless-and-deadly/

I finish with quotes from another recent piece that questions the numbers, the modelling, the lockdowns, and the panic: “How Fear, Groupthink Drove Unnecessary Global Lockdowns.” It begins as follows:

In the face of a novel virus threat, China clamped down on its citizens. Academics used faulty information to build faulty models. Leaders relied on these faulty models. Dissenting views were suppressed. The media flamed fears and the world panicked. That is the story of what may eventually be known as one of the biggest medical and economic blunders of all time. The collective failure of every Western nation, except one, to question groupthink will surely be studied by economists, doctors, and psychologists for decades to come.

To put things in perspective, the virus is now known to have an infection fatality rate for most people under 65 that is no more dangerous than driving 13 to 101 miles per day. Even by conservative estimates, the odds of COVID-19 death are roughly in line with existing baseline odds of dying in any given year.

Yet we put billions of young healthy people under house arrest, stopped cancer screenings, and sunk ourselves into the worst level of unemployment since the Great Depression. This from a virus that bears a survival rate of 99.99% if you are a healthy individual under 50 years old.

New York City reached over a 25% infection rate and yet 99.98% of all people in the city under 45 survived, making it comparable to death rates by normal accidents.

But of course the whole linchpin of the lockdown argument is that it would have been even worse without such a step. Sweden never closed down borders, primary schools, restaurants, or businesses, and never mandated masks, yet 99.998% of all their people under 60 have survived and their hospitals were never overburdened.

The piece concludes:

Besides deaths, there were also doomsday projections about hospital capacity, but those models also proved to be grotesquely exaggerated. On March 29, Columbia University projected a need for 136,000 hospital beds in New York City. The maximum ever used was under 12,000. At peak, New York City still had around 1 in 6 hospital beds open and around 1 in 10 ICU beds open. Hospitals had capacity, both in New York City and in Sweden.

While far below projections, Sweden’s short-term results are worse than Norway, Finland, and Denmark, but better than the U.K., France, Spain, Italy, and Belgium. Sweden likely also benefits from longer-term herd immunity, faster economic recovery, and fewer deaths from lockdown collateral damage.

Political leaders ignored early evidence when it conflicted with their models

There are those who say that we couldn’t have known these outcomes early on, so even if lockdowns were unjustified later they were still necessary early due to lack of information. That is plainly false. Italy’s alarming number of deaths fanned many of the early fears across the world, but by March 17 it was clear that the median age of Italian deaths was over 80 and that not a single person under 30 had died in that country. Furthermore, it was known that 99% of those who died had other existing illnesses.

A much more rational strategy would have been to lock down nursing homes and let young healthy people out to build immunity. Instead we did the opposite, we forced nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients and locked down young people.

There are now places like Santa Clara County in California, entering its third month of lockdown despite COVID-19 patients occupying less than 2% of hospital capacity and none on ventilators. Yet there are 2 million county residents effectively under house arrest. Some doctors and nurses in the area had their pay cut by 20% so hospitals could avoid bankruptcy, reflecting perhaps the epitome of this senseless catastrophe.

There were, of course, people warning us all along. Among them was as John P.A. Ioannidis of Stanford University School of Medicine, who ranks among the world’s 100 most-cited scientists on Google Scholar. On that pivotal day of March 17 he released an essay titled “A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data” – but it got little attention. Mainstream media was not interested in good news stories or dissenting views. The world instead marched lock step into its man-made calamity. www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/05/21/how_fear_groupthink_drove_unnecessary_global_lockdowns_143253.html

All the data and evidence provided in that piece is fully referenced, so I urge you to read the entire article, and follow the links. I still have to agree with Dennis Prager who wrote a piece recently with this title “The Worldwide Lockdown May Be the Greatest Mistake in History”. www.dennisprager.com/column/the-worldwide-lockdown-may-be-the-greatest-mistake-in-history/

[1897 words]

11 Responses to Corona: All Lives Matter

  • Bill thank you for your well researched article. To me the affects of the Lockdown and the loss of freedoms in a supposedly democratic society is far more damaging to health and our economy then the virus in Australia. NSW Health only allows one half hour visit per week by one person to a relative (or friend) in Residential Care. The visitor must have had a current flu shot.
    My 91 year old Dad is in care and feels as though he is in jail. He felt prior to this that the facility was his home where he could have his family and friends visit. A place he could leave to do his shopping or go out for the day. Now if he attempted to leave he would be isolated in his room for 14 days upon return and not even allowed to walk out into the corridor.
    This is heartbreaking.
    There are no Covid -19 cases in Young where he is. Should any occur in Nursing Homes then the patient should be taken to hospital where protocol measures are in place to isolate infectious patients.

    I have contacted the Health Department about my concerns but had no reply.
    I am sure if there was an online petition asking to lift harsh lockdown restrictions that many would sign.
    Our freedom and family support systems are being taken from us.

  • Time to restore as normal as possible, Bill. Small towns and even regional towns like Horsham already had for lease on quite a few shop fronts before Covid19. One cafe has closed for good, selling off all its fixtures because it couldn’t sell its cafe even before we had most shops closed down and we were isolated. Horsham city itself had no more then 4 cases of Covid19.

  • I’m sorry to be off-topic but this is one of those causes to fight for:
    https://www.amandastoker.com.au/stand_up_to_the_transgender_agenda

  • I am so glad I have not been bullied into putting ‘that app’ on my mobile phone.
    This email was descending into complaint and slander, so I have dumped all that and thanked God for His patience and asked him for another chance.
    Really it all comes down to how I handle the mistakes of others and my own. The bureaucracy have made a heap of ‘costly’ errors, the media has done its usual ‘headlining’ to sell, whilst my neighbors have been more neighborly and my family their usual good selves. We have not panicked nor have we done anything that ‘might’ endanger others, by making ‘politically incorrect’ choices, oh, the self discipline this has cost us.
    All good experience if it has in any way added to God’s glory, for we are indeed His work and His glory.
    Now we need to convince our elected leaders that it is their turn to make politically ‘honest’ efforts for all those they have put out of work, out of pocket and out of sorts.
    One of the mistakes the politicians and the editors have made is in juggling the stats, counting the death of the aged as corona inflicted when many were already on their way; not giving honest comparisons with ‘normal’ seasonal death rates, particularly from influenza and the usual annual flu virus genetic changes that take several month to catch up with, etc..
    This is what we need to promote, honest repentance, humility, and willingness to get on with the corrections needed. Have they learnt the lessons they should, most us plebs have learn our lessons, if they are not careful we will rise up, at the next elections, and show them how to change.

  • Thanks Bill for all your research etc. People like Bill Gates and Dick Smith won’t have to worry about overpopulation anymore. In fact, for the Great Tribulation to start, a quarter of mankind is predicted to die from wars, famines, pestilences and even wild animals Revelation 6:8.
    What I am concerned about is if President Trump doesn’t win the US Presidential election on 3/11/2020, Israel may not be as protected and Luke 2:20 may happen “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near”. This has happened before in 70AD but it is also predicted to happen just a few years before Jesus returns. Hopefully President Trump will win in November but due to Covid-19 Lockdowns, Americans may be swayed into believing he caused it and therefore vote Democrat. I don’t think this will happen, God willing, and we will have four more years of peace in most of the world even though things may be a lot worse as you’ve written. Thank you so much for your Culture Watch articles.

  • I can’t speak for all countries, but I shall comment on the Australian situation. The death rate for those infected with COVID-19 is no worse than for the flu. The difference is that it spreads much faster, and there is no vaccine. While we fight the flu with vaccines, COVID-19 had to be fought with other measures. The number of deaths per million of the population is in the range of 300 to 500. In Denmark and Norway it is 40. In the US it is 300, ranging from 1,400 in New York down to 40 in Texas.
    In Australia it is 4 per million. We have had only 100 deaths. Obviously, we did something right – the most obvious being the quick banning of international travel, plus quarantine, and the lockdown no doubt played its part. But the number of deaths is far less than we accept for the flu. In Queensland we now have only 12 confirmed cases. Even if we assume that there are a lot more asymptomatic cases still out there which may pass on the infection, the chances of you or I meeting them is very small, and the hospitals are in no danger of being overwhelmed.
    In short, although we should still retain quarantine of international visitors, it is now time to remove the domestic restrictions. We can now get by with the reduced risk.

  • Thanks Bill for your insightful articles on the Coronavirus hysteria and the unreasonable, draconian lockdowns from governments. I share you concerns about the agenda being pushed. I find it interesting that the government considered the church to be a “non-essential service” and required them to be closed down, and the pastors and churches that complied have in effect agreed that their church ministries are “non-essential”. Does this mean they consider the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be “non-essential”? I am not aware of any churches in Australia resisting the lockdown orders as yet. This is a big own goal on the part of the church. Why should society take the church seriously if the churches don’t consider their ministry to be essential? I am afraid we have consigned ourselves to irrelevance. At least NSW Reformers have started an online petition to reopen the churches. The petition can be found at https://nswreformers.nationbuilder.com/sos_open_up_our_churches?recruiter_id=8118&fbclid=IwAR3tZdgZS550sW8sUDB2ggZwYmyEvk4jM_-3z0grVVVOOgnPEyAI-fLJPWI. Also a handy one page flyer about Covid-19 and the agenda being pushed can be found at https://dollarvigilante.com/flyer/ .

  • Dear Bill, Thank you so much yet again. Yes! There has been a MASSIVE amount of suffering and I am sure some of it could have been avoided.

    One story not given much coverage by the MSM I might add, was about the stranded babies in a hotel in the Ukraine. They had been born to surrogate mothers and paid for by rich people around the world but could not be collected due to the pandemic. I think surrogacy and IVF are against God’s laws because if people want a child so badly and can’t have one of their own there are many orphans around the world who need parents.However, God still loves these poor little babies who have come into the world in this way through no fault of their own and it is so sad to think that they have started their lives in this way.

    Another story which upset me was the plight of the Indian migrant workers who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and were walking back many hundreds of miles to their villages.

    Then there was the many old people who have died without anyone to hold their hand.I have compared this with what my niece has told me about how her parents died in Ireland. She sang hymns and said prayers beside their bed. They say the hearing is the last of the senses to go and what a lovely way to die hearing the voice of a beloved something that these poor people who died of the Covid 19 virus were denied.

  • Agreed. Yet if this COVID-19 Pandemic and its consequences are also a Divine “Chastisement”, has humanity really earnt the fatal consequences of atheistic living, ignoring God and the Divine Law governing the life He gave us?

    Notwithstanding that, secular Government responses to the Pandemic reality clearly show a lack of reference to a genuine religious challenge, so:

    “I still have to agree with Dennis Prager who wrote a piece recently with this title “The Worldwide Lockdown May Be the Greatest Mistake in History”. https://www.dennisprager.com/column/the-worldwide-lockdown-may-be-the-greatest-mistake-in-history/“…

    “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”

  • People argue the lockdown is about saving lives, yet at the same time we get news showing that the goal isn’t to save lives. New York’s Governor Cuomo was recently asked if he regrets putting patients\carriers into nursing homes. His response was a blunt no. His lengthier answer was to blame Trump, the CDC, and nursing homes for the roughly 5,500 residents officially killed by his orders – actual deaths may be higher still.

    If saving lives is the exclusive goal, and nothing – not Third World hunger, not the economic meltdown of the country, not the complete destruction of rights and freedoms afforded citizens, then how is it that some lives are being deliberately sacrificed to at very most keep beds free? It seems that hypothetical lives are priceless, but in practice only some lives have value, and the rest can simply be discarded.

Leave a Reply