Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Expanding Horrors of the Lockdowns

By Robert Wenzel

In a free and civilized society, individuals and groups have the opportunity to adjust to threats and opportunities in front of them on their own terms. They understand most of the dangers of their different options much better than an outsider can. They understand their risk profiles and tolerance for risks better than an outsider can.

Not so with government central planners. When it comes to central planning, blunt instrument choices and options are made for everyone even though the central planners can't possibly know the circumstances of each individual and group and how the blunt instrument edicts will impact under different situations.

As F. A. Hayek once wrote“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design. To the naive mind that can conceive of order only as the product of deliberate arrangement, it may seem absurd that in complex conditions order, and adaptation to the unknown, can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions and that a division of authority will actually extend the possibility of overall order. Yet that decentralization actually leads to more information being taken into account.”

It sounds so easy to order a lockdown, but Hayek is right that in complex conditions order, and adaptation to the unknown, can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions.

The world is sadly learning this lesson as the lockdowns continue or, I should say, at least the astute are noticing the horrors of the authoritarian edicts. There are still many of the naive minds that Hayek mentioned that cheer the blunt instrument lockdowns.

These minds seem not to understand the dangers that the lockdowns have created. It is a steel door around their mind that locks out reality. They seem unable to deal with the fact that a complex world can not be planned by a führer, even Führer Fauci.

Führer Fauci has admitted that he has not looked beyond the immediate consequences of the lockdowns (SEE: Anthony Fauci Admits He Has Not Taken Into Consideration The Unseen Deaths Caused by the Lockdowns). It is the same with other top lockdown advocates(SEE: POWERFUL: A Brilliant Exposure of a Major British Epidemiologist and His Failure to Consider All Lockdown Ramifications).

So what have they not considered? Let us take a look.

Suicides, overdoses and just deteriorating mental health because of the lockdowns for one.

The Virginia Mercury reports:

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, fatal drug overdoses have exploded in Virginia, and health officials are predicting “the worst year on record by far” for such deaths in the commonwealth.

From January through June, at least 1,086 Virginians died from overdoses of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, prescription opioids and other drugs, the state medical examiner has found. That represented a 39 percent increase from the first half of 2019.

Deaths rose especially during the second quarter of this year (April through June), shortly after Virginia mandated social distancing and other measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The state registered at least 634 drug fatalities during those three months — 67 percent more than during the corresponding period in 2019.

Kathrin “Rosie” Hobron, the Virginia Department of Health’s statewide forensic epidemiologist, called the second-quarter spike “absolutely shocking.”...

Experts attributed the increase to social isolation, job losses and other fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I do think it’s a combination of those things,” said Dr. Taylor Ochalek, a research scientist at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

“Social isolation can obviously increase feelings of depression and other mental health symptoms. So people are feeling really alone during this time. That might put them at a higher risk of relapsing. They don’t have their normal social support.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports

New numbers provided to The Chronicle show 1,070 bodies were examined by the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31. And 468 of them died of an overdose.

That puts San Francisco on track to lose more than 700 people to drugs in 2020 — or nearly two every day. That’s a shocking rise from the 441 people who died of drug overdoses in 2019 and the 259 who died the year before that.

“It’s exponentially growing. Every day — every day now — we’ve got deaths from overdoses,” said Dr. Luke Rodda, chief forensic toxicologist at the Medical Examiner’s Office, noting that the stunning rise has been a challenge for his team...

“I’m honestly floored,” said Supervisor Matt Haney, who pushed legislation requiring quicker, more frequent reporting of drug overdose deaths. “It’s already killed four times as many people as COVID. Where’s the urgency? I’m seeing far too much business as usual.”

 France 24 reports:

The French health minister began his weekly press conference with a sombre assessment of how the virus – and two ensuing lockdowns – had taken a toll on people's mental wellbeing.

"The mental health of the French significantly deteriorated between late September and early November," he said.

"A consequent increase in depressive syndromes" has been observed in recent weeks, "for all socio-demographic profiles", the minister continued. "It seems to be particularly pronounced among people in financial difficulty, 18-24-year-olds and, those suffering from psychiatric disorders."

Poverty is surging:

Healthline reports:

Researchers say people are more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack during the COVID-19 pandemic because many aren’t going to the hospital after experiencing symptoms of heart trouble...Lifestyle changes and additional stress during COVID-19 may be increasing certain people’s risk of having a heart attack...
What’s worse is that shelter-in-place orders can make people fall into unhealthy routines, which could increase the risks of a heart attack. These include eating poorly, exercising less, or leaning more heavily on substances such as alcohol

 And then there are consequences that would be more difficult to expect in advance, even if a central planner tried to.

From The San Francisco Chronicle (my emphasis):

Doctors across California are reporting an unusual jump in painful symptoms from a very treatable disease: gonorrhea.

If left alone, the sexually transmitted pathogen can enter the bloodstream and cause painful infections that typically hit joints but may also move to heart valves or to the fluid around the brain. Some complications are permanent. Untreated, gonorrhea can also be fatal, although California doctors have not reported deaths.

Instead, state public health officials have been surprised in recent months to see a spike in complications from gonorrhea — mainly swollen and painful joints — because the infection is easily treated with antibiotics. But the experts suspect that people are avoiding treatment and routine screenings because of the pandemic.

“I am very concerned that we are seeing completely preventable complications of sexually transmitted disease infections that went undiagnosed and untreated,” said Dr. Erica Pan, acting state public health officer. “STD risk has not gone away.”

And there is this from a research paper in the Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection:

Children of parents who experienced job loss related to the COVID-19 pandemic were nearly five times as likely to be psychologically maltreated during the pandemic compared with children of parents who did not lose their jobs. Psychological maltreatment includes behaviors such as verbally threating to harm children, belittling, and ridiculing children. Children that have been psychologically maltreated exhibit higher rates of aggression, hyperactivity, conduct problems, anxiety, and depression across the lifespan (Cicchetti, 2016), even when considering whether children were also physically or sexually abused (Spinazzola et al., 2014). Thus, parental job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic presents significant risk for children’s concurrent development and long-term adjustment through increased psychological maltreatment. Parental job loss was additionally associated with an increased probability of physical abuse during the pandemic

And there is this shocking news from AP. Apparently, visitors before the COVID-19 panic (and now prevented from visiting) were a strong check, ensuring that nursing homes were doing their jobs: 

When COVID-19 tore through Donald Wallace’s nursing home, he was one of the lucky few to avoid infection.

He died a horrible death anyway.

Hale and happy before the pandemic, the 75-year-old retired Alabama truck driver became so malnourished and dehydrated that he dropped to 98 pounds and looked to his son like he’d been in a concentration camp. Septic shock suggested an untreated urinary infection, E. coli in his body from his own feces hinted at poor hygiene, and aspiration pneumonia indicated Wallace, who needed help with meals, had likely choked on his food.

“He couldn’t even hold his head up straight because he had gotten so weak,” said his son, Kevin Amerson. “They stopped taking care of him. They abandoned him.”

As more than 90,000 of the nation’s long-term care residents have died in a pandemic that has pushed staffs to the limit, advocates for the elderly say a tandem wave of death separate from the virus has quietly claimed tens of thousands more, often because overburdened workers haven’t been able to give them the care they need.

Nursing home watchdogs are being flooded with reports of residents kept in soiled diapers so long their skin peeled off, left with bedsores that cut to the bone, and allowed to wither away in starvation or thirst...

A nursing home expert who analyzed data from the country’s 15,000 facilities for The Associated Press estimates that for every two COVID-19 victims in long-term care, there is another who died prematurely of other causes. Those “excess deaths” beyond the normal rate of fatalities in nursing homes could total more than 40,000 since March.

And this is to say nothing of the long-term consequences given the massive debt governments have taken on during the lockdowns and the massive money printing that has occurred. The full economic consequences, beyond those who have lost their jobs and businesses that have closed, still appears to be in the future.

And further, despite the many horrendous consequences listed above because of blunt instrument government edicts, many are now trained to look to the government for answers in any crisis.

As Murray Rothbard once pointed out:

In most cases, the worse the worse. The government gets worse, things are bad, but the public gets inured to these measures, they can't identify the cause-and-effect relations anyway~ and so things steadily get worse.

This is where we stand, the lockdowns have resulted in horrific second-hand consequences but the big lesson has still not been grasped by most that central planning is always dangerous and that free choice is the best way for a society to evolve.

Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.


  1. Unfortunately, four words repeated over and over by the state and the dependent media have completely numbed the incurious population's ability to correctly understand what's going on. Those words are "caused by the pandemic." No, these collateral consequences have been caused by the state's edicts.

    1. This is an important word play an inaccuracy to be pointed out whenever we can. It is used every time by the criminals in corporate media.

  2. If the plan is to reduce teh population, these are acceptable, even laudatory results.

  3. “Deaths rose especially … shortly after Virginia mandated social distancing and other measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.”

    Increases of overdose deaths are 25% of reported C-19 deaths in Virginia. Virginia increases in overdose deaths caused by lockdowns were 424 January 2020 through June 2020. Virginia reported 1,763 C-19 deaths during the same period https://data.cdc.gov/Case-Surveillance/United-States-COVID-19-Cases-and-Deaths-by-State-o/9mfq-cb36/data.

    That is just the OD death increases for the first half of 2020. Add in all the other death and destruction from C-19 mitigation against death and destruction caused by C-19 and what do you think we will see. Now consider the future and how much more mitigation policies and the new (ab)normal will cause much more death and destruction than C-19

  4. Great post. Love the Hayek quote but the lesson seems lost. As Ben Franklin said:
    “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that.”

    Nature will take its course and after countless tragedies perhaps there will be fewer fools.

    1. "When passion governs, she never governs wisely"---Ben Franklin.

  5. The drug overdoses are mainly among Whites, so who cares?