U.K. Lockdown Could Last Nearly Three Months

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the end of lockdown may be delayed beyond mid-February and would last until the end of March, telling MPs the government will be “extremely cautious” about lifting restrictions and reopening schools.

On Monday, Prime Minister Johnson plunged England into a third national coronavirus lockdown. The lockdown includes a strict stay at home orders and the closure of all schools.  Mr Johnson resisted calls from Tory MPs to guarantee the rules will start to be eased after the first review on February 15, the prime minister made it clear that a successful roll-out of the vaccine programme  to the most vulnerable will be key to determining when the lockdown measures can be lifted. Adding on a lag for achieving immunity after vaccination and relieving “the pressure on the NHS”, he then tacked on a further two or three weeks, saying “we should remain cautious of the timetable ahead”, Breitbart reported.

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Commentary: Lockdowns Are Killing Young Adults

On Dec. 16 the top-ranked Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a headline-grabbing article about the risks that Covid poses to young people. The article and an accompanying New York Times piece by its authors strongly implied that people under the age of 45 face a high risk from the disease and, furthermore, this risk is understated by official statistics.

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Commentary: Why Politicians Are Incentivized to Embrace COVID-19 Restrictions—Even If They Don’t Work

Over the weekend Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, took to Twitter to criticize Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker for not taking more assertive government action to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Massachusetts has more new COVID cases per capita than Georgia, Florida, or Texas,” observed Jha, who also serves as the Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “Our hospitalizations, deaths are up 100% in [the] last 3 weeks. But our casinos and tanning salons are still open.”

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Commentary: Three Studies That Show Lockdowns Are Ineffective at Slowing COVID-19

Across America and Europe, many government officials are resuming lockdowns and tightening restrictions in the face of rising COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The collateral damage of lockdowns, which has been well documented, includes widespread poverty, depression, bankruptcy, and unemployment. Meanwhile, the benefits of lockdowns remain murky.

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Commentary: New State Lockdowns May Put 16 Million Jobs Recovered Since April in Jeopardy

16.4 million jobs have been recovered since April when labor markets bottomed amid the state-led Covid pandemic economic shutdowns, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But with Covid cases once again on the upswing as the cold and flu season kicks into higher gear — about 166,000 confirmed new cases daily, and then the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reports 255,000 probable new cases daily when projected asymptomatic cases are factored in — states appear ready to go right back into shutdown mode.

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Italy Shuts Down Four Regions as Europe Tries Lighter Lockdowns

Luxury fashion boutiques, jewelry shops and most of Milan’s flagship department stores were shuttered Friday, as the center of Italy’s vibrant financial capital fell into a gray quiet on the first day of a partial lockdown in four regions aimed at stopping the coronavirus’s resurgence.

The new restrictions — which led to closures of a patchwork of nonessential businesses — allow a great deal more freedom than Italy’s near-total 10-week lockdown that started in March, but nonetheless brought recriminations from regional governments that feel unfairly targeted. In particular, the south, which was largely spared in the spring, chafed the most, despite concerns that its weaker health care system was especially vulnerable.

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Commentary: COVID-19 Lockdowns Have Created a New Feudalism

On February 28, the idea of locking down and smashing economies and human rights the world over was unthinkable to most of us but lustily imagined by intellectuals hoping to conduct a new social/political experiment. On that day, New York Times reporter Donald McNeil released a shocking article: To Take On the Coronavirus, Go Medieval on It. 

He was serious. Most all governments – with few exceptions like Sweden and the Dakotas in the US – did exactly that. The result has been shocking. I’ve previously called it the new totalitarianism. 

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New Protests Loom as Europeans Tire of Virus Restrictions

Protesters set trash bins afire and police responded with hydrant sprays in downtown Rome Tuesday night, part of a day of public outpouring of anger against virus-fighting measures like evening shutdowns for restaurants and bars and the closures of gyms and theaters — a sign of growing discontent across Europe with renewed coronavirus restrictions.

Pedestrians and motorists returning home from work in Rome were taken by surprise when protesters, some of them hooded and members of an extreme-right political group, set afire to trash bins in Piazza del Popolo, overturned parked motor scooters and mopeds and hurled smoke bombs, state TV reported. Police vans unleashed torrents of water to disperse them.

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WHO Official Warns Against Coronavirus Lockdowns

A World Health Organization (WHO) official urged world leaders this week to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, The Daily Caller reports.

The statement has prompted questions about whether the WHO has backflipped on its advice, after they previously advised against lifting lockdown restrictions too quickly. Back in June, Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, explained, “We all want to avoid whole countries going back into total lockdown, that is not a desire anybody has,” continuing, “But there may be situations in which that is the only option.”

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Commentary: Five Charts Showing Sweden’s Strategy Worked

Government officials in Sweden announced this week that the government expects to maintain its mild restrictions on gatherings “for at least another year” to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Unlike most other European countries and nations around the world, Sweden declined to initiate a nationwide lockdown or mask mandates, opting instead for a policy that restricted large gatherings and relied on social responsibility to slow transmission of the virus.

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Commentary: Four Life-Threatening Unintended Consequences of the Lockdowns

When policymakers across the country decided to “lock down” in response to the March outbreak of the novel coronavirus, they took a leap into the unknown. Not only did we know little about COVID-19 itself at that time, but we knew almost nothing about how shutting down nearly all of society would affect people.

Policymakers focused on their models predicting how lockdowns could help limit the spread of COVID-19; an important factor, to be sure. So, too, many acknowledged the negative economic ramifications of lockdowns. But in the months since, we’ve seen many other dire consequences stem from the unprecedented shutdown of society.

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Commentary: The Lockdowns Crushed Minority-Owned Businesses the Most

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, minorities have disproportionately suffered from the virus’s health effects. A new study reveals that the government-mandated economic lockdowns have also hit minorities hardest.

In response to the outbreak and under the guidance of federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, state and local governments imposed quarantine orders and mandated shutdowns for many businesses deemed “non-essential.” Whether one supports lockdowns as a public health measure or not, they undoubtedly resulted in tens of millions of Americans and counting filing for unemployment and a sharp economic downturn.

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Commentary: The Unintended Consequences of COVID-19 Lockdowns

The costs of the government responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic have been severe. New evidence suggests they could be even worse than we imagined.

An ABC affiliate in California reports that doctors at John Muir Medical Center tell them they have seen more deaths by suicide than COVID-19 during the quarantine.

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Commentary: COVID-19 Lockdowns May Destroy Our Immune Systems

What happens when trees are planted in a “perfect” growing environment? Give the trees rich soil, just the right amount of water and no wind, and they grow rapidly, but topple over before they reach maturation. Wind stimulates the tree to grow stress wood, which “helps a tree position itself for optimal sun absorption, and it also helps trees grow more solidly.”

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