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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Four months ago, I wrote a column titled “The Worldwide Lockdown May Be the Greatest Mistake in History.” I explained that “‘mistake’ and ‘evil’ are not synonyms. The lockdown is a mistake; the Holocaust, slavery, communism, fascism, etc., were evils. Massive mistakes are made by arrogant fools; massive evils are committed by evil people.”
Regarding the economic catastrophe in America and around the world — especially among the world’s poor who are dependent upon America and other first-world countries for their income through exports and tourism — I wrote, “It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe.”
Unfortunately, I was right.
The world should have followed Sweden’s example. That country never locked down and has even kept children under 16 in school the entire time. As Reuters reported on July 15, the number of Swedish children between 1 and 19 years of age who have died of COVID-19 is zero. And the percentage of children who contracted the illness was the exact same in Sweden as it was in Finland, which locked down its schools.
As regards teachers, Sweden’s Public Health Agency reported that “a comparison of the incidence of COVID-19 in different professions suggested no increased risk for teachers.” Nevertheless, with few exceptions, teachers in Los Angeles and elsewhere refuse to enter a classroom that has students in it. Their disdain for their profession has been superseded only by that of the Los Angeles teachers union, which announced that teachers will not resume teaching until the police are defunded.
People who defend lockdowns and closing schools point out that Sweden has the eighth-highest death rate per million in the Western world. But, needless to say, this has no bearing at all on the issue of whether Sweden was right to keep schools open or whether our country was wrong to close them, let alone keep them closed now. The overwhelming majority of deaths from COVID-19 in Sweden were among people over 70 years of age, and most of those were people over 80 and with compromised immune systems.
Reuters reported that three separate studies, including one by UNICEF, “showed that Swedish children fared better than children in other countries during the pandemic, both in terms of education and mental health.”
For more than a month, Sweden has had almost no deaths from COVID-19 while the entire society remains open and almost no one wears masks. (In Holland, too, almost no one wears masks.) For all intents and purposes, the virus is over in Sweden.
I live in California, a state governed by that most dangerous of leaders: a fool with unlimited power. Despite the fact that California ranks 28th among the 50 states in deaths per million, Gov. Gavin Newsom has destroyed and continues to destroy tens of thousands of small businesses and untold numbers of livelihoods. His continuing to forbid — a half-year after the onset of the pandemic — indoor dining in restaurants is leading to a projected permanent closure of approximately 1 in every 3 restaurants in the state. The same catastrophic destruction will likely affect retail businesses and services such as hair and nail salons. But all this human tragedy — not to mention increased depression and suicides among the young and increased abuse of children and partners — means nothing to Newsom, to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti or to the Los Angeles Times, whose editors and columnists continue to advocate for the lockdown while they receive their salaries.
Why can people eat with no mask in an airplane — inches, not six feet, from strangers — but cannot eat in a California restaurant, which is so much bigger than the inside of an airplane, while sitting six feet from others? Because Newsom ordered it, the Los Angeles Times supports it and, like sheep, Californians have accepted it.
According to the California Association of Museums, “Museums are losing over $22 million a day due to the statewide quarantine. As of August 1, 2020, California museums have lost more than $2.9 billion in revenue. Museums have a $6.55 billion financial impact on California’s economy, support 80,722 jobs, and generated $492 million in tax revenues for the State of California in 2017 and over $1 billion in federal taxes.”
And the American Alliance of Museums issued results from a survey on July 22, 2020, that warned 1 out of every 3 museums may shutter forever as funding sources and financial reserves run dry.
On Aug. 3, The Wall Street Journal wrote, “In March … There was broad public support for the prudent goals of preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed and buying scientists time to develop therapies.” But the left — the media and Democratic governors and mayors — immediately moved the goal posts to “bending the curve” and “saving one life,” enabling them to get away with destroying lives and livelihoods.
I conclude with the words of a Swedish medical doctor, Sebastian Rushworth:
“Covid is over in Sweden. People have gone back to their normal lives and barely anyone is getting infected any more. I am willing to bet that the countries that have shut down completely will see rates spike when they open up. If that is the case, then there won’t have been any point in shutting down in the first place … Shutting down completely in order to decrease the total number of deaths only makes sense if you are willing to stay shut down until a vaccine is available. That could take years. No country is willing to wait that long.”
The lockdown is a crime. But even more upsetting is that it is supported by so many Americans. This country is unrecognizable to those of us who lived through the 1968-1970 pandemic, which killed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 100,000 Americans — the 2020 equivalent of 170,000 Americans. Nothing shut down. Not one mask was worn.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is “The Rational Bible,” a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, “No Safe Spaces,” will be released to home entertainment nationwide on Sept. 15, 2020. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.
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