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President Trump delivers remarks at a coronavirus press briefing Friday, March 20, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Official White House Photo / Shealah Craighead

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May 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As the contrast grows between states that have begun to reopen and those that continue their COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, hundreds of physicians are speaking out about the medical dangers of lockdown itself.

Numerous doctors recently spoke out against the lockdowns’ medical effects in a conference call hosted by Tea Party Patriots Action, Breitbart News reports.

“All you have to do is watch the six o’clock news here in L.A. to know why they are avoiding the health care system,” said Dr. Steven Giannotta, chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Southern California. “They give two statistics every time — they open their newscast with the number of people who have tested positive for COVID and immediately adjacent to that, the number of people who have died with COVID making, unfortunately, in the viewer’s mind, a nexus between COVID positivity and death.”

“The reality is that we are way past the time where being locked down makes any scientific or medical sense,” said Dr. Jeffrey Barke, co-founder of the Person Care Physicians in Newport Beach, California. “We are taking the healthiest folks – the youngest, the strongest, our children – and we are in effect protecting the healthiest herd from being exposed and allowing them to get herd immunity. So this idea that somehow we have to wait for a vaccination or a cure to this virus in order to open up schools just makes no scientific sense whatever.”

In fact, more than 500 physicians have signed a letter to President Donald Trump expressing their concern over the fallout if the shutdowns continue much longer.

“It is impossible to overstate the short, medium, and long-term harm to people’s health with a continued shutdown,” the letter reads. “Losing a job is one of life’s most stressful events, and the effect on a person’s health is not lessened because it also has happened to 30 million other people. Keeping schools and universities closed is incalculably detrimental for children, teenagers, and young adults for decades to come. 

“The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure,” the letter continues. “In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse.”

Other experts have previously spoken out about the mental health toll of the lockdowns.

“The isolation, the fear, the uncertainty, the economic turmoil – they all cause or could cause psychological distress,” Devora Kestel, director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) mental health department, acknowledged recently in a report to the United Nations.

A growing number of medical experts also argue that, in light of the fact that COVID-19 primarily affects the elderly and immunocompromised, but poses relatively little risk to the young, policymakers should pursue a narrower strategy of protecting the former groups while allowing the rest of society to resume normal life. “If we focus on the elderly, we will bring a death rate that is likely no more than 1% down to fractions of a percent,” says Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

As of May 21, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 1.6 million COVID-19 cases, with more than 95,000 deaths and 373,000 recoveries. An estimated 40% of those deaths have come from nursing homes (with the percentages for specific states often much higher), and mounting evidence suggests far more of the public has contracted and recovered from the virus than the official count indicates. 

In response, many states have imposed strict limits on “non-essential” activity, including delays of non-urgent medical procedures. As a result, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, with more than 33 million Americans filing for unemployment and studies predicting that tens of thousands of small businesses that have closed down will never reopen.

Defenders of the lockdown strategy have insisted this was a necessary sacrifice to save lives, although mounting evidence suggests that the response to COVID-19 carries public-health consequences of its own, such as the steep declines that have been seen in people seeking and receiving care for everything from cancer to heart disease, either because “non-essential” procedures have been delayed or because patients are scared of catching COVID-19 in hospitals.

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