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January 13, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A Canadian doctor argued in a research paper that the collateral damage caused by COVID-19 lockdowns will cause more harm than the virus itself, and will also far outweigh any benefits that might have been incurred by keeping everyone at home.
The case was made by Dr. Ari Joffe in a paper published on November 4, 2020, titled “COVID-19: Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink.”
Joffe states that excess deaths not related to COVID-19 in high-income nations account for up to 50 percent of deaths.
“In high-income countries, the collateral damage has also been staggering, affecting visits to emergency departments and primary care for acute (e.g., myocardial infarction, stroke) and ‘nonurgent’ (‘elective’ surgery, and cancer diagnosis and treatment) conditions, intimate partner violence, deaths of despair, and mental health,” Joffe writes.
“Of excess deaths occurring during the pandemic in high-income countries, 20-50% are not due to COVID-19. There was an unexplained 83% increase of 10,000 excess deaths from dementia in England/Wales in April, and an increase in non-COVID-19 Alzheimer disease/dementia deaths in the US, attributed to lack of social contact causing a deterioration in health and wellbeing of these patients.”
Joffe works as a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, and is also a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta.
In a Q&A regarding his paper published in the Toronto Sun recently, Joffe stated that millions of people globally can be projected to have been “adversely” affected by the lockdowns.
“This can be predicted to adversely affect many millions of people globally with food insecurity (82-132 million more people), severe poverty (70 million more people), maternal and under age-5 mortality from interrupted healthcare (1.7 million more people), infectious diseases deaths from interrupted services (millions of people with Tuberculosis, Malaria, and HIV), school closures for children (affecting children’s future earning potential and lifespan),” said Joffe.
In his paper, he writes that he was initially on board with lockdowns as he noted early modeling predicted a high mortality rate. He changed his mind after it became clear the true mortality rate was much lower.
He mentioned this in the Sun Q&A as well, saying, “emerging data showed that the median infection fatality rate is 0.23%, that the median infection fatality rate in people under 70 years old is 0.05%, and that the high-risk group is older people[,] especially those with severe co-morbidities.”
“In addition, it is likely that in most situations only 20-40% of the population would be infected before ongoing transmission is limited (i.e., herd-immunity),” said Joffe.
When it comes to Canada, Joffe said that the data has shown COVID-19 has been the cause of less than 6 percent of all estimated deaths in the first part of 2020.
“Similarly, in Canada, COVID-19 was the cause of 5.96% of estimated deaths over the first 6 months of 2020, again meaning (more than) 94% of deaths are not a focus of our attention, and not being reported daily in the press as are COVID-19 deaths,” stated Joffe in his paper.
“An important point must be emphasized. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much morbidity and mortality. This morbidity and mortality have been, and continue to be, tragic,” states Joffe.
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Virtually all of Canada is in a state of some sort of lockdown at the current moment, the most severe being in Quebec with a strict curfew in place, followed by Ontario, which yesterday announced new stay-at-home orders.
In his paper, Joffe notes that the only clear exit strategy to COVID-19 is through herd immunity, either through a natural way or a vaccine.
“Herd immunity appears to be the only exit from the response to COVID-19. This can be achieved naturally, or through vaccine. For the reasons given here, it is very possible that the lockdowns are only delaying the inevitable,” states Joffe.
As part of this paper, Joffe talks about the cost-benefit analysis of lockdowns in Canada, which appears to be the first of its kind for Canada.
In his Q&A with the Sun, Joffe touched on this, saying, “framing decisions as between saving lives versus saving the economy is a false dichotomy,”
“There is a strong long-run relationship between economic recession and public health. This makes sense, as government spending on things like healthcare, education, roads, sanitation, housing, nutrition, vaccines, safety, social security nets, clean energy, and other services determines the [populations’] well-being and life-expectancy,” said Joffe.
He went on to note in the Q&A that if the government is “forced to spend less on these social determinants of health,” then there “will be ‘statistical lives’ lost, that is, people will die in the years to come.”
Joffe added that he “underestimated the effects of loneliness and unemployment on public health.”
“It turns out that loneliness and unemployment are known to be among the strongest risk factors for early mortality, reduced lifespan, and chronic diseases.”
“Third, in making policy decisions there are trade-offs to consider, costs and benefits, and we have to choose between options that each have tragic outcomes in order to advocate for the least people to die as possible,” he explained.
In the conclusion of his paper, Joffe states that it is time for society to “open up,” so that more lives can be saved. “We must open up society to save many more lives than we can by attempting to avoid every case (or even most cases) of COVID-19.”
“It is past time to take an effortful pause, calibrate our response to the true risk, make rational cost-benefit analyses of the trade-offs, and end the lockdown groupthink.”
Joffe reiterated in the Sun Q&A that lockdowns cause “far more harm” to the population than COVID-19. “It turned out that the costs of lockdowns are at least 10 times higher than the benefits. That is, lockdowns cause far more harm to population wellbeing than COVID-19 can.”
“It is important to note that I support a focused protection approach, where we aim to protect those truly at high-risk of COVID-19 mortality, including older people, especially those with severe co-morbidities and those in nursing homes and hospitals,” he clarified.
Joffe is not the only doctor in Canada who has called lockdowns into question.
In December, Dr. Gil Nimni, a York, Ontario, emergency room doctor said that lockdowns which send people into “financial ruin” are not the “answer” to the COVID-19 crisis, and that he shakes “his head” at his co-workers who go on social media “ranting” about a full emergency room.