Dr. Anthony Fauci is back in the news. After several months of misleading comments, White House health advisor and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Thursday that states with rapidly expanding coronavirus outbreaks should seriously consider “shutting down” again like the country did when the virus first hit the U.S. in March. If Fauci’s advice were followed, the shutdown will have catastrophic effect on the affected states.
Fauci statements are complete opposite of what other respected health experts have recommended. For example, Dr. Scott Atlas, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, warns COVID-19 shutdown will cost Americans millions of years of life. But Dr. Fauci’s myopic view is only focused on the deaths from coronvirus without looking at other deadly consequences associated with the shutdown. Researchers warned the COVID-19 lockdown will take its own toll on health, cause economic damage and costs of throwing millions of people out of work and millions of students out of school.
Yes, COVID-19 is deadly, and so is people not getting treatment for cancer. Also, keeping millions of people out of work for a long period could lead to increase in mental health deaths. For example, according to research at Oxford University, suicide rates rise about 1% for every percentage point increase in unemployment.
Based on data from the last recession, Aaron Reeves, an Oxford researcher, warned the COVID-19 lockdown will take its own toll on health. Reeves told Reuters:
“I think there is a good chance we could see twice as many suicides over the next 24 months than we saw during the early part of the last recession.” That means keeping the economy shut could add 20,000 additional deaths by suicide on top of the estimated 48,000 Americans who already die by suicide each year .
Fauci comments come as the U.S. continues to see rapid increase in the number of coronavirus cases, driven primarily by states in the South and West, across the so-called Sun Belt.
“What we are seeing is exponential growth. It went from an average of about 20,000 to 40,000 and 50,000. That’s doubling. If you continue doubling, two times 50 is 100,” Fauci said on a Wall Street Journal podcast. “Any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It’s not for me to say because each state is different.”