We are just beginning to see the effects of the shortsighted policies we were forced to follow in the name of public health as the nation slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic nightmare that we have endured for more than two years. It’s not pretty.
It would be reasonable to assume that public health policy would promote or protect some kind of health. Unfortunately, the government can make words mean less than they should.
Public health policy was characterized as “a lot of throwing out the baby with the bathwater” in the rush to stop the spread of the COVID virus. In the initial stages of the pandemic, officials had no idea what they were dealing with. This was understandable and tolerable. However, the pandemic became more about preserving lives than defending power.
For example, school shutdowns. Teachers’ unions worked tirelessly to keep schools open, acting as though they were fighting for their lives in the Battle of Fallujah. The consequences for the children were not considered. We are only beginning to see the extent of the damage done. It is unlikely that post-mortem news about this subject will improve.
We have the first numbers available about non-COVID issues such as alcohol-related deaths.
The New York Times: There have been many reports that Americans drank more in order to cope with stress from the pandemic. The number of alcohol-related deaths from overdoing and emergency rooms for alcohol withdrawals increased. The new report revealed that alcohol-related deaths from liver disease, accidents, and alcoholism rose sharply, reaching 99,017 in 2020 from 78,927 in 2018. This is a 25 percent increase in deaths per year. This compares to an average annual increase in alcohol-related deaths of 3.6 percent between 1999 and 2019. The death rate has been increasing in recent years but it increased by only 5% between 2018 and 2019.
Who would have thought that putting people in prison, depriving them of contact with their dying loved ones, and bombarding them daily with predictions about imminent death would encourage more people to drink? A friend of mine was a nurse and alerted me to the problem several months back. She told me that alcohol-related liver problems were increasing at her large hospital after pandemic restrictions had eased.
During the first year, two already serious health issues–stroke and disease–also experienced increases.
The Wall Street Journal: In 2020, the mortality rates for stroke and heart disease rose by 4.3% and 6.4%, respectively, in part of an even larger wave of deaths that occurred in the first year after the pandemic. This was according to a JAMA Network Open study published Wednesday. According to the analysis that was based upon data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overall, the U.S. death rate rose 15.9% in the same year. For a long time, heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke is now the fifth leading cause.
Ronald Reagan, the legendary American President, famously stated: “The nine most frightening words in English are: ‘I’m not from the government, and ‘I’m here to assist. ‘”
Anecdotally I witnessed what quarantine did to my mother. She flew to Phoenix in February 2020 to visit my aunt. After visiting, she rented a car and drove down to Tucson for a few days to see me. She drove around the area to visit friends and enjoyed a few happy hours. As an independent, 81-year old woman, it was a great time. To put it mildly, she was not well treated in quarantine.
Her physical condition worsened after she sat at home for the first year of COVID. There was nothing else except loneliness and inactivity. We tried to reverse the trend for more than two years, but it was not working. Also, think about the emotional and long-term effects on loved ones who can’t be there for their dying loved ones. It was unbearable for the two of them I know.
We are only a few steps away from this horror house: Researchers will need to spend years studying the full impact of Covid-19 on health, including the physical and social effects of the pandemic on other diseases. Many people couldn’t or refused to go to hospitals or doctors for other health issues than Covid-19 during the pandemic. Many died at home or were too late to get to the hospital. Many people are under extreme stress and haven’t been as active or kept up with their medical and social routines.
These numbers are not valid for 2020. Many places saw lockdowns and school closings that extended into 2021, especially those controlled by leftist government fetishists. Although it would be nice to believe the government was acting in our best interests, we have already seen numerous instances of dishonesty by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is easy to wonder if more honesty from bureaucratic petty dictators could have saved more lives.