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March 11, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Stanford University professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya recently slammed COVID-19 lockdowns as the “biggest public health mistake we’ve ever made.”

“The harm to people is catastrophic,” he told the Daily Clout in an interview last month.

Bhattacharya, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford University Medical School and an economist with the Freeman Spogli Institute, reiterated his comments to Newsweek, calling lockdowns “the single worst public health mistake in the last 100 years.”

“We will be counting the catastrophic health and psychological harms, imposed on nearly every poor person on the face of the earth, for a generation,” Bhattacharya predicted. “At the same time, they have not served to control the epidemic in the places where they have been most vigorously imposed. In the US, they have — at best — protected the ‘non-essential’ class from COVID, while exposing the essential working class to the disease,” he continued.

A peer-reviewed study from January co-authored by Bhattacharya indeed found “no clear, significant beneficial effect of [more restrictive COVID-19 restrictions] on case growth in any country.”

Based on more than a dozen comparisons of coronavirus responses from around the world, harsh restrictions actually are connected to increases in cases, according to the study. “It is possible that stay-at-home orders may facilitate transmission if they increase person-to-person contact where transmission is efficient such as closed spaces,” the authors said.

Dr. Bhattacharya also notably co-wrote the Great Barrington Declaration, a petition to end the COVID-19 lockdowns and “resume life as normal.”

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” like “lower childhood vaccination rates,” and “worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes — leading to greater excess mortality in years to come,” the petition reads.

“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk,” it adds. “Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal.” Over 65,000 scientists and medical practitioners, as well as around 754,000 “concerned citizens” reportedly have signed the declaration.

Shocking” devastation

“The initial rationale for lockdowns was that slowing the spread of the disease would prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. It became clear before long that this was not a worry: in the U.S. and in most of the world, hospitals were never at risk of being overwhelmed,” Bhattacharya wrote in an article published with LifeSite. “Yet the lockdowns were kept in place, and this is turning out to have deadly effects,” he said.

Bhattacharya highlighted estimates that 130 million additional people may have starved in 2020 as a result of economic damage from COVID-19 restrictions. He also noted that precipitous decreases in life-saving cancer screenings, because patients “were more afraid of COVID than cancer.”

The Stanford professor pointed to mental health devastation caused by long-term COVID-related isolation as the “most shocking thing,” particularly for young people.

In the U.S., lockdowns coincided with a 25.5% rate of suicide ideation among young adults, as Bhattacharya referenced. According to a November report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), emergency department visits for mental health issues rose 24% among children aged 5-11 and 31% among adolescents, amid school closures and lockdowns last year. Insurance claim lines for suicide and self-harm by teenagers accordingly shot up, skyrocketing nearly 100% in April alone.

Children and young adults have accounted for only .2% of American COVID deaths, by contrast.

“Was it appropriate to shut down so many things back then when there was so little, if any transmission? I think you can argue now that probably was not the best use of resources,” Biden transition advisor Dr. Michael Osterholm admitted in December, just days after the CDC released the highest annual U.S. drug death count in history. The agency pointed to COVID-19 measures as a likely culprit.

“It is unsurprising that the lockdowns have had the psychological effects that they’ve had, especially among young adults and children, who have been denied much-needed socialization,” Dr. Bhattacharya said. “In effect, what we’ve been doing is requiring young people to bear the burden of controlling a disease from which they face little to no risk. This is entirely backward from the right approach.”

At least eight U.S. governors have begun to fully roll back state COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates and capacity limits, in the last two weeks. The Biden administration, which has been releasing COVID-positive illegal immigrants into the country, insulted the governors for “Neanderthal thinking.”