This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Listen to the experts, End the Lockdowns!
Joe Biden has vowed that if elected, he would implement a national mask mandate. Dr. Anthony Fauci is saying that life may not go back to normal until 2022. President Trump, on the other hand, has called New York’s lockdown “a mess,” declaring, “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself…You can’t let this continue to go on with the lockdowns.”
One of the most common arguments on the pro-lockdown side is that Trump and anyone else who is against the lockdowns should listen to the experts. The author of this article did just that, he listened to the experts and they are saying that masks, lockdowns, and school closures are not only ineffective in saving lives or ending a viral epidemic, but are actually costing lives. The President’s words are in line with recommendations of Dr. Scott Atlas, an advisor on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, who said that prolonged lockdowns were a complete disaster.
The Democrats dismiss Dr. Atlas on two grounds: first, his expertise is in neuroradiology, and second, Trump likes him. Fortunately, Dr. Atlas is not the only expert on the anti-lockdown side. Oxford epidemiologist Professor Sunetra Gupta has recommended shielding “those most at risk while enabling the rest of the population to resume their ordinary lives to some extent.” World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme executive director Dr. Michael Ryan seems to agree, saying “What we want to try and avoid…are these massive lockdowns that are so punishing to communities, to society and to everything else.” Similarly, Dr. Tamara Moise, co-founder of Big Apple Urgent Care in Brooklyn, N.Y., explained the damage the lockdowns are doing to public health. “Health is wealth. If you’re losing your job, you’re not able to take care of your family. You’re not able to get proper health care too…if they’re losing their jobs, they’re losing their health plans as well.”
Doctors at Stanford University are among the growing voices in the medical community saying that general lockdowns should be ended. They recommend that we reopen schools and businesses, while protecting the elderly and those in high risk groups. Their treatise, the Great Barrington Declaration, has already been signed by more than half a million people, including 11,000 medical and public health scientists, 30,000 medical practitioners, and over 500,000 concerned citizens.
The declaration states, “As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists, we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies.” These doctors advocate herd immunity, which they explain in this way: “reaching herd immunity is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”
Doctors from Around the Globe Against Lockdown
In March, Stanford medical professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, one of the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, co-authored an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal “suggesting the new coronavirus may not be as deadly as many believe.” In April, he co-authored a Stanford study that indicated the prevalence of the virus was far greater than presumed, meaning that the death rate is far lower.
A group of doctors in Ontario have signed a letter, urging the Premier not to move forward with plans for additional lockdowns. “Lockdowns have been shown not to eliminate the virus. While they slow the spread of the virus, this only lasts as long as the lockdown lasts. This creates a situation where there is no way to end the lockdown, and society cannot move forward.”
A group of 600 doctors sent a letter to President Trump, telling him the lockdowns were a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing negative health consequences” to millions of non-COVID patients.” Among the health effects they cited were increased suicide rates, hundreds of thousands of missed cancer screenings, as well as missed heart disease and stroke diagnosis and treatment. Cardiologists are worried about a “second wave of deaths” caused by the lack of medical interventions during lockdown. Reports have found that in the US, lockdowns have resulted in to “increased thoughts of suicide from children, a surge in drug overdoses, an uptick in domestic violence,” and “stress and anxiety from lockdowns could destroy seven times the years of life that lockdowns potentially save.”
Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa published an article concluding, “Lockdowns are not solutions, they are in fact a crime against the innocent and the vulnerable.” He went on to say that for most people, Covid presents a relatively small risk. “Yes, Covid can kill you, but the odds, if you’re healthy, are massively in your favor. Even if you are old. The virus, although deadly to certain groups, isn’t that dangerous to the general population.” More recently, Dr. David Nabarro of the WHO urged world leaders to stop using lockdowns, as they are damaging, particularly to the poor. Belgian doctors published an open letter, reiterating the point of President Trump and many others, that the cure must not be worse than the disease. The doctors said that they recognized that the short and long-term damage currently being done to the population through the lockdowns was hurting more people than it was protecting.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has been against lockdowns, masks, and school closures since the beginning on the grounds that, “There is no “evidence-based medicine” showing effectiveness of lockdowns and mask-wearing in lowering the ultimate mortality from COVID-19.” In October, they published another report, urging the government against additional lockdowns.
Masks and Lockdowns Violate the Constitution
Belgian doctors appealed to their government to end lockdown and mask orders, restoring civil liberties. “We call for an end to all measures and ask for an immediate restoration of our normal democratic governance and legal structures and of all our civil liberties.” Similarly, The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has questioned the constitutionality of lockdowns. “Current policies, especially in states such as Michigan, California, New York, and Oregon, are violating basic constitutional rights and destroying the livelihoods of people arbitrarily declared to be ‘non-essential’.”
FreedomWorks, an activist rights group, claimed that “’many’ rights’ are being unconstitutionally suspended by [governors and mayors] acting unilaterally across the country.” Attorney General Bill Barr has issued a policy letter which seems to say that federal action will be taken against lockdown orders by state and local governments when they not only “overstep civil liberties but also when they result in what is tersely described as ‘undue interference with the national economy.’” The Michigan Supreme Court ended Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers, declaring her lockdown orders unconstitutional. Similarly, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s lockdown orders have been called unconstitutional by Law.com, predicting that the lockdowns will be struck down by the California state supreme court.
A federal court issued a temporary restraining order blocking an order by the governor of Kansas which restricted religious freedom. A similar ruling was made by a federal judge in Louisville, Kentucky, who “concluded that the city was unlikely to carry its burden of proving there was a constitutional reason for infringing free exercise of religion.” A federal court similarly declared Pennsylvania’s lockdown orders unconstitutional. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV wrote, “such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional.” Additionally, Ballotpedia published an extensive list of all lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus, of which, there are more than 100.
The American Institute of Economic Research published an article claiming that a federal mask mandate would be unconstitutional, citing several precedents of federal laws being infringements on the rights of local state and communities. One such example was US v. Lopez. This landmark case determined that the policing powers of the federal government were limited to “keeping the channels of interstate commerce free from immorality, e.g., laws against sex trafficking, maintaining the instrumentalities of interstate trade, e.g., trucks, even if only used intrastate, regulating economic activities that have a ‘substantial relation’ to interstate commerce.”
A mask mandate does not seem to be covered by the powers of the federal government. Apparently, Joe Biden’s mask mandate or Dr. Fauci’s two-year- lockdown would be a violation of the US Constitution.