Lockdowns case of mass hysteria
The Philippines has a population of 110 million people. The latest statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) indicate that in 2019, there were roughly more than 600,000 registered deaths in the country. These deaths were mainly due to cardiovascular and pulmonary problems, and cancer, mostly among senior citizens. This means that on a daily basis, some 1,650 die throughout the country. The figure is probably much higher considering that the statistics cover only registered deaths.
Let us take a closer look.
On the island of Luzon, there are three areas with the most reported COVID-19 cases. These are the Calabarzon area (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), the National Capital Region, and Region 3 (Central Luzon). These three areas have a population of roughly 40 million. In 2019, the areas accounted for more than 180,000 deaths out of the 600,000 throughout the nation.
On a daily basis, my rough computations put the Calabarzon area with the most deaths at 251. This is followed by the NCR at 217, and Region 3 at 203, for a total of 671 deaths each day in 2019. Again, I reiterate these are registered deaths.
The number of reported COVID-19 deaths for the past 50 days is now about 500, with most of the deaths occurring in the month of April when the lockdown was in effect keeping us at home with our movements restricted. By the way, those COVID-19 deaths may also have been the result of pre-existing vulnerabilities of people.
One may say statistics can be twisted to give a different picture of a situation. But statistics don’t lie. We shut down our commerce, business, trade, transport — affecting the lives of the vast majority of our people and I would add, the most vulnerable. These are the daily wage earners, those working in the informal sectors of the economy, the poor especially those with disabilities. The wealthy, the powerful, and influential who get tested first or who flout the restrictions imposed upon us lesser mortals — they can survive lockdowns and stay-at-home regulations. Their medical needs are brought to them. But how about those who have to scrounge around for a living day after day after day? They may not be in the pink of health but are forced to continue to labor in order to put food on the plates of their children. What happens to them?
The wealthy countries that institute lockdowns are rich enough to provide their people unemployment benefits, relief packages, and stimulus funding for business. We like to follow suit by imposing similar measures so that other nations will say the Philippines is doing the right thing. But we don’t have the resources to assist those affected by a lockdown. The money promised by our government for our poor is tied up in bureaucratic red tape, or in a national ID system that does not exist. Let us pray it doesn’t end up in some politician’s election campaign kitty otherwise the French Revolution will be a picnic compared to what may take place here.
If you do some “googling” on the internet, you might come across the name of a retired Israeli Air Force general who is currently chairman of the Israel National Council for R&D (since 2010). Maj. Gen. Isaac Ben-Israel (ret.) has an impressive curriculum vitae, but he is not a doctor or a medical expert. He holds a BS in Mathematics and Physics and a Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University. His views on the measures taken to address the COVID-19 problem in his country have not gone unnoticed. He said, “In Israel, about 140 people normally die every day. To have shuttered much of the economy because of a virus that is killing one or two a day is a radical error that is unnecessarily costing Israel 20% of its GDP. The policy of lockdowns/closures is a case of mass hysteria.”
In addressing our COVID-19 problem, we should listen not only to medical experts (after all, this is a new virus) but also to economists, scientists, mathematicians, and others. Just as war is too important to be left to generals, the health of the economy should not be left in the hands of the medical profession.
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