In late January, Johns Hopkins published an intensively researched and explosive study about the destructive results of COVID-19 lockdowns: “A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality.” Researchers concluded “while this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted … In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”
The report asserted that while the lockdowns cut death rates by, at most, .2%, they indirectly caused substantial deaths associated with the lockdowns, like the increase in drug overdose deaths of 78,056. The study went so far as to conclude, “Lockdowns should be rejected out of hand.” This is in stark contrast to the claims by many leading health experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who have claimed the lockdowns saved “millions” of lives and were worth the damage it has caused to the American people and the economy. John Hopkins is arguably the top university in the world in health care-related fields, so this report is unimpeachable and demanding of full coverage.
Unfortunately, the media's stake in previously defending lockdowns while slamming lockdown critics has caused a dangerous censoring of the report. Let me explain.
As reporter Joseph A. Wulfsohn has observed “the John Hopkins study received no mention on any of the five liberal networks this week. According to Gabien transcripts, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC all ignored the anti-lockdown findings after having spent much of the pandemic shaming red states with minimal restrictions and events deemed by critics as ‘superspreaders’.” It wasn’t just the networks avoiding the study. The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, Axios, Politico among other outlets also turned a blind eye to the findings.”
This is part of a disturbing media trend Americans have seen with other stories like the Hunter Biden laptop scandal and the censoring/downplaying of the lab leak theory of COVID origin. When information disputes the progressive talking points, the information is suppressed.
The John Hopkins researchers not only showed the indirect damage of lockdowns, but even found the lockdown policies likely helped further the spread of COVID: “[Shelter-in-place orders] may isolate an infected person at home with his/her family where he/she risks infecting family members with a higher viral load, causing more severe illness ... often, lockdowns have limited peoples’ access to safe (outdoor) places such as beaches, parks, and zoos, or included outdoor mask mandates or strict outdoor gathering restrictions, pushing people to meet at less safe (indoor) places.”
This is in addition to a survey showing around 97% of American teachers claim students experienced learning loss. Skyrocketing unemployment and the shuttering of small businesses caused further havoc. The lockdowns turned out to be worse than useless. This information is critical as we must prepare to handle further waves, or even new pandemics.
During the lockdowns, which were primarily pushed and enforced by Democratic politicians, the media was relentless in denigrating the critics. They went so far as to claim, as Dr. Anthony Fauci has, that opponents of lockdowns are actually opponents of “science.” The following quote from the Global News was repeated in substance by much of the mainstream media over the past two years: “But defying lockdowns because you’re fatigued by the pandemic is completely different than what many of these protesters are doing, which is denying the science … (their actions) seems so counter-rational that it has to be emotionally fueled.”
It’s time for the Center for Disease Control, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and much of the mainstream media to show a modicum of humility. They have been proven wrong about the lockdowns. At the same time, some level of accountability is demanded of those who attacked lockdown critics. Freedom of speech was attacked over and over the past two years by those screaming about the dangers of “misinformation” or “disinformation.” It continues to this day.
As with the Global News article, the Left has even questioned the psychological well-being of lockdown critics, similar to what was done in the Soviet Union to those criticizing the party line. We have seen the same treatment of those who questioned the “party line” about COVID coming from a wet market, and not the Wuhan Institute of Virology (which most scientists now agree was the likely origin of COVID-19).
The Progressive Left, including allies in the media, cannot be allowed to continue their monopoly on what constitutes “science” and suppress everyone else. Science comes from continually questioning and demanding proof. That didn’t happen with lockdowns, and hundreds of millions suffered. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). When it comes to determining the truth in this world, let’s allow the debates and disagreements necessary to find the truth.
Bill Connor, a retired Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.