OXFORD, England (ChurchMilitant.com) - Scientists on two continents are decrying Wuhan-virus lockdowns for causing more harm than good.
Epidemiologists in England and a Nobel Prize-winning structural biologist in California have been spotlighting the adverse consequences of quarantine.
"While the number of deaths in care homes and hospitals remains below the average, the number in private homes remains higher than the five-year average. There were 727 more deaths in private homes in the week ending the 30th of July," said Professor Carl Heneghan, an epidemiologist and director of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford.
"Deaths at home have been almost 40% higher than the number registered with COVID-19 in any other setting in the last six weeks, (4,526 versus 2,799)," he continued. "It is not clear why there is such an excess of deaths in the home but one thing is clear: It is not COVID. Fewer than 5% of deaths in private homes are due to the virus."
Heneghan explained that these deaths are unexplained and seem to center largely around people who avoided the hospital so as not to put pressure on the National Health Service (NHS).
"Analysis of NHS data reveals the deadly consequences of the government's messaging to 'stay at home, save lives, protect the NHS,'" he explained. "During the lockdown, there was a near 50% decline in admissions for heart attacks. The risks of COVID-19 outweighed the risk of seeking NHS care despite worsening symptoms for many people: 40% more people died from lower-risk treatable heart attacks than usual."
The situation for strokes is worse, according to Heneghan, since 98% of stroke-related emergency calls are made by somebody other than that the victim of the stroke.
The professor went on to cite a government report that suggests 200,000 people could die owing to delays in health care along with the social and economic consequences of lockdown.
Another epidemiologist weighed in last week.
Mark Woolhouse is professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Edinburgh University in Scotland and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviors that advises the government of the United Kingdom.
I suspect right now more people are being harmed by the collateral effects of lockdown than by COVID-19. I never want to see national lockdown again. It was always a temporary measure that simply delayed the stage of the epidemic we see now.
It was never going to change anything fundamentally, however low we drove down the number of cases, and now we know more about the virus and how to track it. We should not be in this position again.
At the time I agreed with lockdown as a short-term emergency response because we couldn't think of anything better to do, but it was always clear that the moment we started to relax enough measures we were likely to see infection rates rise again either nationally or locally.
Hindsight being 20/20, he added, "My hope was that we would have learned how to handle the virus better so lockdown would no longer be necessary."
Michael Levitt, Nobel Prize-winning structural biology professor at Stanford University in California, has been tracking the Wuhan virus since late January.
"I think closing schools, closing business and places of work is not such a great idea and causes huge damage to the economy," he said. "It's wicked to people in the economy, because if you're a gardener or you own a restaurant, you can't work from home. These people have been very badly hit."
But Levitt noted how losses for some have been gains for others, saying, "I think that the retail sector in the United States is not going to recover, which has been a great gift to Amazon."
"It's also very unfair to the younger people and to the disadvantaged people — people have not fully estimated some negative results of the lockdown," Levitt explained. "Suicides, for example, have increased dramatically in certain locations, along with marital abuse, child abuse and addiction."
"Tobacco use has increased very substantially, and that is going to end up killing people. If people smoke 5% more, it would result in many more deaths than all the COVID-19 deaths by far," he continued.
Echoing Professor Heneghan's observations, Levitt said "a lot of people chose not to go to hospitals for regular treatments. So how many cancers were we exacerbating? How many strokes happened? How many children have [been] paralyzed because they have hyperglycemia?"
Summarizing a main theme running through the scientific commentary, Heneghan concluded, "When it comes to COVID-19, the real threat is not the disease; it's how we react to the emerging information."