In 2019, the coronavirus family, which has been causing respiratory disease in millions of humans worldwide every year for
millennia, welcomed a new member. The disease it causes, COVID-19, proved to be about as deadly as the seasonal flu
in healthy, relatively young people but posed a more serious threat to older people or those made vulnerable
by serious pre-existing conditions. The difference in mortality risk is vast, with the elderly at 1,000 times more risk than the young.
Rather than focusing protective measures on the people at heightened risk of illness, governments around
the world imposed and continue to impose severe restrictions on their entire population. With routine medical care disrupted,
businesses shuttered, curfews imposed, travel restricted, and socialization criminalized, a devastating
amount of harm is being caused.
The negative effects of lockdown are too often dismissed as small sacrifices, necessary
to keep a highly deadly disease from spreading. These sacrifices are, in fact, neither necessary
nor small. The disease is a serious threat to a minority of the population
that can be protected without lockdowns. All too often, when major harms become
hard to ignore, they are lamented as damage caused by COVID-19 itself, even though
it is our panic-driven measures that are to blame.
This is an effort to bring focus to the magnitude of suffering
taking place around us because of lockdowns.
Last updated: March 21, 2021