In a previous article, I discussed whether or not it was bad that lockdowns delayed the spread of COVID in the spring of 2020. I argued it was good. I remember what it was like when forklifts were moving corpses into overflowing trucks. I also know that someone who gets COVID today, after being vaccinated and boosted, is much more likely to survive than someone who got it in March 2020, when hospitals were overwhelmed and we had no idea how to treat this new virus. Indeed a study published this week estimated that COVID vaccines saved 3.2 million lives, prevented 18.5 million hospitalizations, and saved $1.15 trillion in medical costs. So yes, I think it’s good that lockdowns delayed the spread of COVID.
Doctors who never treated COVID patients don’t see it this way. One of the authors of the anti-vaccine Great Barrington Declaration said this.
His co-author of the GBD, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, elaborated on this point, saying frontline healthcare workers violated medical ethics by trying to stop people from contracting a virus that could kill them. He said:
If you think about medicine as a vocation, you’re supposed to devote your well-being to the life a patient that you are caring for…lockdowns actually reversed that and said look, ‘you the population should suffer so that my job in medicine can be easier‘, so a reversal of the norms of medicine where medicine serves people, not people serve medicine. The fact that medicine, especially the leaders of medicine were so strongly in favor of the lockdowns is a violation of the ethics of the medical profession. It essentially transforms the doctor-patient relationship to one where the patient serves the doctor rather than the other way around.
When I think back to those pandemic’s first days, I remember deserted streets, but an overwhelmed hospital, where dozens of people died daily, including some who were young and healthy. There was nothing we could do to save them. We didn’t know when it would end and we saw some of our co-workers get really sick themselves. Despite this, Dr. Bhattacharya, who wisely avoided COVID until August 2021 after he was vaccinated, feels doctors should have looked at the suffering and death around us and honored the ethics of our profession by declaring: We need more people to get COVID right now.
Only a laptop class doctor, who experienced the pandemic from the safety of his couch, could say something this absurd.