Perhaps the World Health Organization (WHO) can help settle the insane political argument over lockdowns in the United States. Lockdowns have become highly partisan rather than something based on data and information. The world has seven months of experience with COVID-19 now, and a few facts have become more than clear.
According to the CDC’s Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) calculations, COVID-19 is rarely fatal to those under 19. In fact, IFR for those under 50 is lower than that of the seasonal flu. These calculations were made based on early data from Europe, and treatment has improved. Additionally, U.S. hospitals have never been overwhelmed, nor has any American ever been denied treatment.
At the beginning of the outbreak, this strain on resources was a primary concern. Since then, we have increased the supply of ventilators, personal protective equipment, and other needed supplies. The health system has demonstrated the ability to surge resources where they are needed quickly. Several therapeutics are also helping people survive and recover more quickly.
In light of this, the World Health Organization has a message for world leaders: Stop using lockdowns as a primary control for the pandemic. Like President Trump, they note the health and economic costs of lockdowns, especially in a global economy:
WATCH: Dr David Nabarro, the WHO's Special Envoy on Covid-19, tells Andrew Neil: 'We really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method'. Watch the full interview here: https://t.co/XLdaedsKVS #SpectatorTV @afneil | @davidnabarro pic.twitter.com/1M4xf3VnXQ
— The Spectator (@spectator) October 9, 2020
Dr. Nabarro says specifically, “I want to say it again, we in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as a primary means of control of this virus.” The only time the agency recommends one is for a short period to reorganize or redeploy resources to areas with needs. This matches the Trump administration’s initial “15 Days to Slow the Spread” message. Somehow that became “Lockdown Until the Virus Disappears,” and we have entire states on the 210th day of that project.
Nabarro goes on to talk about how some of the poorest regions are being impacted. Without tourism, many workers in the Caribbean and some areas of the Pacific lose all income. Small farmers globally are suffering, and the WHO estimates we could double the global poverty rate — reversing stunning improvements over the last ten years. He estimates a similar doubling of child malnutrition because of school cancellations where kids get at least one meal.
He closed by saying, “And we really do appeal to all world leaders, stop using lockdown as your primary control method. Develop better systems for doing it. Work together, learn from each other, but remember lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.”
This is true on a national level as well as on a global scale. We have impacted children’s learning in ways we won’t understand for years. Yet, these effects are already being felt more keenly in low-income households. Nationally nearly 50% of children get at least one meal for a reduced price at school. While innovation in delivery has closed some of those gaps, it is not perfect.
Because of the types of businesses deemed “non-essential,” working class and low-wage workers are hardest hit. As an example, 28,000 workers were laid off at Disneyland in California. The property had asked the state for safe reopening guidelines for months and got no response from Governor Newsom’s office. Amusement parks in other areas of the country had opened up without issue, yet many of the people who kept Disneyland clean, safe, and entertaining are now out of a job.
So, even though President Trump has had issues significant enough with the World Health Organization to yank its funding, he instinctively understood that the cost of prolonged lockdowns would outweigh their benefits. It seems the agency agrees. Because Democrats hate Trump, they have obstinately continued lockdowns, despite evidence they cause more harm than good. It seems the WHO might be more inclined to agree with President Trump’s approach of not letting COVID-19 dominate your life.
Democrats constantly insist we should listen to the experts, and they are big fans of the WHO. Still, Joe Biden has said that he will lock down the country again if the scientists tell him to do so to control COVID-19. It appears the experts at the World Health Organization would disagree with this approach. It’s time for a reality check aimed directly at Democrat leaders who are the ones making poor people poorer in the United States.