The damage from Covid-19 in both economic terms and human lives is tragic. The economic devastation hoisted upon the world’s economies by the Covid shutdowns is unprecedented.
It is no secret I have been against shutdowns from the onset of the virus and have written such on numerous occasions.
My standpoint is/was not based on the debate of the use of masks or how deadly the virus was or is. In fact, I stand more in line with the majority on these two points. However, in reality, no one really knows the effectiveness of masks or the true lethality of the virus. That is a contentious statement to say the least, but truthfully, both sides of both arguments have their scientific backing.
In addition, it is not possible to go back in time and try the “other” way on any of this. So goes another impossible experiment in an alternate universe where we try it with no masks and no shutdowns.
My support of not shutting down the economy was based on the realization that much more damage, both economically and in the human cost, would be caused with the shutdowns.
This statement will once again undoubtedly spawn hot debate, but look no further than the latest article out by Scott W. Atlas, M.D., whose resume is longer than this article.
His top honors (and there are many) include Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, as well as chief professor and head of neuroradiology. He served as senior health care advisor to several presidential candidates in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and was a member of the Nominating Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine and Physiology.
Comparing the death and sickness toll of the massive shutdowns, he lays out his case against shutdowns based on the same criteria I detailed in many previous articles.
Mainly that the death toll from the shutdowns is far greater (or will be) than the virus itself.
In his article “Science, Politics and Covid: Will truth prevail” Feb 2021, he states between 750,000 and one million cancer cases will go undetected due to patients not getting checkups or screening due to CoVid fears.
An untold number of children will suffer from suicide, depression, drug addiction, gang involvement, domestic violence, poor education and more, from the social isolation of the being out of school.
Adult domestic violence has skyrocketed as well as drug abuse, depression, more suicide and similar maladies.
The CDC reported four-fold increases in depression, three-fold in anxiety and twice the number of suicide ideation among young adults.
Child abuse, most often reported from school observation, has undoubtedly gone unattended.
The National Bureau of Economic Research states a three percent increase in the future mortality rate and a 0.5 percent drop in life expectancy due to unemployment and lock downs.
No doubt, suicides may rise and more marriages will blow apart due to the financial stresses of the shutdowns and subsequent shuttered businesses. In the U.S. alone, forecasts from the University of Santa Cruz shows nearly 317,000 businesses closed between February and September. That works out to 1,500 business closures a day.
Multiple prognostications on skyrocketing starvation is also hitting the news wires. “More than 130 million more could go hungry in 2020” said Arif Husain, chief economist at the World Food Program, a United Nations agency. Even more frightening is a statement from David Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, where he warned in June. “We could see 300,000 die a day, for several months, if we don’t handle this right”……as a result of global shutdowns.
In conclusion, many argue the shutdowns and masks were necessary and may still be, and that without them, the death and sickness toll would be higher.
But much like the forecasts above, they are just that: forecasts and guesses based on a variety of methodologies and theories. No one can say for sure what would have happened had the global authorities taken another path. What we do know for sure is the impact from Covid has been horrific. Whether humankind made it worse by shutting down the planet is and will always be an unknown.
To this analyst however, the numbers sure do look like we made some huge mistakes.
The views expressed herein are those of the author, Marc Cuniberti, and may not reflect those of this media outlet, its staff, members or underwriters. Mr. Cuniberti holds a B.A. with honors in Economics from SDSU, 1979 and is the host of Money Matters Financial Radio on 66 stations nationwide and financial columnist for a variety of newspapers. He has been featured on ABC and NBC television and a host of TV documentaries for his financial insights. His website is www.moneymanagementradio.com. Mr. Cuniberti holds California Insurance License #0L342449 and is a Medicare approved agent in California. (530) 559-1214.