• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Here’s something: COVID lockdown story points to media failures

A recently published study overseen by a Johns Hopkins University economics professor comes to the same conclusion many have been saying for the duration of the pandemic – lockdowns are unprecedented government overreach and nearly unnecessary.

John Balentine, former editor of the Lakes Region Weekly, lives in Windham.

The study, published last week, found that government-imposed shutdowns and emergency shelter-in-place orders early in the pandemic — including the particularly draconian one imposed in Maine by Governor Janet Mills that made it a real crime. “non-essential” work and travel – have done little to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The study found such lockdowns only reduced deaths by two-tenths of 1% and should be avoided in future pandemics.

The summary of the “meta-analysis” study, which was a survey of a few thousand previous studies, reads as follows:

“Finally, allow us to broaden our perspective after presenting our meta-analysis which focuses on the following question: ‘What does the evidence tell us about the effects of lockdowns on mortality?’

“We provide a firm answer to this question: the evidence does not confirm that lockdowns have a significant effect on reducing mortality from COVID-19. The effect is weak or non-existent.

“The use of lockdowns is a unique feature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns have not been used to such a large extent in any of the pandemics of the last century.

“However, the closures during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic had devastating effects.

“They have helped reduce economic activity, increase unemployment, reduce school attendance, cause political unrest, contribute to domestic violence and undermine liberal democracy.

“These costs to society must be weighed against the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best. Such a standard calculation of benefits and costs leads to a strong conclusion: Lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.

While Sweden has mostly bucked the global lockdown trend (and hasn’t suffered much as a result, which unsurprisingly we never hear about in our mainstream media), Mainers and most other people around the world have suffered greatly from government directives. that have resulted in economic and social ills that will persist for generations.

And we all know that lockdowns have only delayed inevitable pain, like very slowly removing a bandage. And we still feel that pain, with small businesses and schools, in particular, continuing to dig into Mills’ missteps.

(Our weak governor, if you don’t recall, was quick to follow other Democratic governors on the lockdowns. Whatever disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did, Mills apparently copied in days. It was a bureaucrat’s rule-making dream come true, using the power of government to tell the public and business owners what to do, down to the smallest detail.)

You can be forgiven if you missed media coverage of this most illuminating and thought-provoking Johns Hopkins study. It was all over the “conservative” media, but nowhere in the leftist “legacy” newspapers and TV media. Why? I do not know. Is the deliberate blackout of anything that goes against Democratic-enforced lockdowns and mask mandates unworthy of legacy media coverage? I suppose. It sounds like a vast left-wing conspiracy, as Hillary Rodham Clinton’s opposite lookalike might put it.

Critics of the study say it was not peer-reviewed and was not affiliated with Johns Hopkins medical staff. But the authors’ economic conclusions were nonetheless interesting and worth reporting since they are based on thousands of other studies. That alone should provide some credibility.

The blackout of this story further proves what conservatives have been saying for decades: the liberal storytelling media cracks down on anything that goes against their entrenched narrative, which, when you sum it up, is that the Democrats are good and Republicans are bad. The media’s brutal and cynical treatment of former President Trump and their oddly stalled Pravda-echoing groupthink of whatever Democratic leaders are calling out regarding COVID has made it clear whose side the media is on. Hint, it’s not the sincerely curious and truth-seeking public.

To me, the almost complete ignorance of this study is just another clear indication that the mainstream media is doing something wrong. But their pride in staying on the “narrative” course, regardless of the evidence and the way they look into the eyes of their colleagues, seems to motivate and guide them, rather than truth and objectivity or, as is often the case, simply providing a variety of viewpoints when we don’t really know what the “truth” is.

Unfortunately, our current generation of news leaders seems unable to deliver the cold, hard news the way their dispassionate ancestors did. And that closed-mindedness can only end in the continued disintegration of legacy media and the rise of citizen journalism, which I don’t think is necessarily a better solution. A return to unbiased news and away from cheerleading, sticking to long-running narrative and cherry-picking stories is the only way forward.