RSV, covid and flu are keeping kids out of school — and parents out of work

Kenneth Griffin

HR Legend
Jan 13, 2012
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This fall has been a blur of runny noses, body aches and lost paychecks for Jacob Terry.​

His 18-month-old daughter came home from day care with Respiratory Syncytial Virus a few weeks ago. Now he’s got it, too, while trying to juggle child care responsibilities with his job as a marketing freelancer.
“My daughter’s at home, she’s sick, I’m sick,” said Terry, 39, who lives near Los Angeles. “If I don’t work, I don’t eat. I’m medicating myself and staying up all night to catch up. It’s one big mess.”
A new round of viral infections — flu, RSV, covid-19 and the common cold — is colliding with staffing shortages at schools and day cares to create unprecedented challenges for parents and teachers. More than 100,000 Americans missed work last month because of child-care problems, an all-time high that’s even greater than during the height of the pandemic, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Those absences are rippling across the economy and straining families and businesses, just as many thought they’d turned a corner.
“We have sick kids at the same time we have a child-care crisis — you put the two together and there just isn’t any wiggle room,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at KPMG. “People are falling through the cracks. It means missed paychecks, disruptions at home, and staffing shortages that erode productivity growth and increase costs at a time when we’re already worried about those things.”
Nearly three years into the coronavirus pandemic, families, businesses and health-care facilities say they’re under renewed pressure. Children’s hospitals nationwide are at capacity, in large part because of RSV and other respiratory viruses. Workplaces are reporting unfilled shifts and lost revenue as employees call out for extended periods of time. And parents are, once again, caught in an impossible position, balancing sick children, school closures and workplace demands.
There are signs that those pressures are taking a toll on the economy. Worker productivity — a measure of goods and services an employee can produce in an hour — posted the sharpest plunge on record in the first half of this year, according to federal data.
“When you have so many workers out unexpectedly, it’s a quiet drag on productivity,” said Sarah House, senior economist at Wells Fargo. “Child care has always been an impediment for working parents, but the problems with inconsistent child care that we’ve seen more recently — your child is sick or has to quarantine, or day care is closed — is making it really difficult for working parents to weave back into the labor force.”
The country’s child-care system is still reeling from the departure of thousands of educators and staffers who left during the pandemic for higher-paying work. Although the overall job market has more than made up for early 2020 losses, the child-care sector remains a major exception. Public schools are still short nearly 300,000 workers, while day cares are down 88,000 employees from pre-pandemic levels.
“We still haven’t dealt with some of the major problems from early in the pandemic, especially when it comes to child care,” said Elizabeth Palley, a professor at Adelphi University who focuses on education, health and child-care policy. “The median child-care worker is paid less than $12 an hour, which means you can make more working at McDonald’s. A lot of people have left the industry and new ones are not coming in.”
That shortfall is putting increased burden on the educators who remain. In interviews, many teachers said they felt they had little choice but to keep working while sick. Dozens of schools — including in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee — have gone so far as to cancel classes in recent days because so many students and teachers are sick.
Kathryn Vaughn, an art teacher in Covington, Tenn., works at a rural elementary school that’s so understaffed that she’s kept teaching — with a mask — even with RSV and walking pneumonia. Roughly 15 percent of the school’s teachers are out sick on any given day, with RSV, covid or flu, she said. Substitute teachers — who are paid $65 a day — are increasingly tough to find. That means more classes are being combined and support staff, including secretaries, are filling in for teachers. Five nearby school districts, she said, have recently closed for days at a time because of illness and staffing shortages.
“It feels like we’ve made absolutely no progress,” Vaughn, 42, said. “We don’t have enough teachers. Access to health care is still an issue — a lot of students here don’t have pediatricians they see regularly. Hospitals all over the state are shutting down.”
Infectious-disease specialists say a confluence of factors, including weakened immune systems from covid-19, could be contributing to the recent spike in viral illnesses. It’s also possible that “pandemic babies” who were protected from respiratory pathogens because of social distancing and other preventive measures are now getting sick. And although many schools encouraged, even required, masks last fall, that is no longer the case, making it easier for a variety of viruses to spread.
In Lincoln, Neb., Lindsey Dick had just started a new job as a case manager for a workforce services company in mid-October when her 3-year-old son came down with RSV. Dick, 37,didn’t have paid time off yet, so she took unpaid leave for a day. Her husband watched their son the rest of the week while working his tech-support job from home.
“It was just quite a lot for all of us,” she said. “I could only miss one day and even that felt stressful.”
Low-income families — especially those less likely to receive paid sick leave and employer-provided health insurance — have been hit disproportionately hard. While 96 percent of the country’s highest paid workers received paid sick leave last year, only 40 percent of the lowest earners did, according to federal data.
In Sevier County, Tenn., neither Drew Moore nor his wife, Raven, receive paid leave. Their children, ages 2 and 4, have been sick for weeks, which means they’ve both had to cut back at work, cutting into their annual household income of about $30,000. Moore said he’s lost out on thousands of dollars’ worth of landscaping projects this fall, while his wife has had to forego lucrative weekend shifts at the steakhouse where she works.
The timing is especially bad: Business tends to be busiest in the fall, when tourists flood nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Moore said. He recently had to pass up a two-day job cleaning a koi fish pond, which would’ve brought in about $1,000, his biggest job in months.
“Fall is the time to make money around here; it’s what gets us through the rest of the year,” said Moore, 36. “But of course it’s also right when the kids’ sickness kicks off. I’m really scared it’s going to screw us up financially.”
Back in Los Angeles, Terry, the freelancer who’s been caring for his daughter, estimates he’s lost at least two weeks’ worth of work because of RSV-related child-care disruptions. He and his wife, who works two jobs as an aesthetician, have been eating into their savings to make ends meet.
“It’s been difficult for all of us,” he said. “We thought things were finally going back to normal, but it’s just one snowball after another.”
 
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Pinehawk

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2003
21,003
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Weird, I’ve been told staying home did nothing to stop people from getting sick.
No, I don't think anyone said staying home and never interacting with people wouldn't keep you from getting sick.
I always said, if you don't want to get sick, stay home. Let the rest of us go on about our business and you can come out and rejoin society whenever you're ready.
Problem was you and others refused to do so.
 

Kenneth Griffin

HR Legend
Jan 13, 2012
11,821
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No, I don't think anyone said staying home and never interacting with people wouldn't keep you from getting sick.
I always said, if you don't want to get sick, stay home. Let the rest of us go on about our business and you can come out and rejoin society whenever you're ready.
Problem was you and others refused to do so.

Maybe you forgot about liking this post a few days ago that said staying home didn’t stop people from getting sick?

But the lockdowns did nothing to stop the spread of said deadly contagion. I’m surprised there are still people out there like you who believed that was the right course of action with the devastating effects we have seen with school closures and the economy but then I remember “Go Team Blue!”
 

Pinehawk

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2003
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I liked it because he was correct that it is extremely surprising that there are still people out there that thought lockdowns and restrictions were the right course of action.

They clearly were not, and we are paying for it now. With Covid levels still as high as they were during previous times of restrictions, inflation, supply chain issues, education fallout, economic losses, newly created health concerns and more.
 

Kenneth Griffin

HR Legend
Jan 13, 2012
11,821
17,448
113

Hospitals are full of kids sick with RSV—and anti-vaxxers think it’s a hoax​


Across the country, children’s hospitals are reporting record numbers of admissions—not just from Covid, but also from a host of other seasonal respiratory viruses.
Particularly worrisome among these is respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly known as RSV. The illness, which can make breathing difficult for young children and elderly adults, can be fatal, typically killing a few hundred children and as many as 10,000 seniors every year. Drug companies have been trying for years to develop a pediatric vaccine for the virus with little success—until last month, when Pfizer announced that it would seek approval for its new shot after clinical trials showed it was extremely effective. Pfizer’s RSV vaccine, which is given to pregnant women before delivery so that they can pass antibodies on to the developing fetus, was hailed by pediatricians as a major accomplishment.

Yet it didn’t take long before anti-vaccine activists began to distort the facts about this vaccine and others in the pipeline. Some of the most prominent have suggested that pharmaceutical companies are exploiting the current RSV surge in order to create a market for their forthcoming shots. Joseph Mercola, the influencer who built an empire on spreading health misinformation, made this argument in a rambling article he published earlier this month. “The fact that RSV is now being highlighted as a severe risk is understandable,” he wrote, “in light of the fact that the first-ever RSV vaccines are now in the pipeline.” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the founder of the anti-vaccine advocacy group Children’s Health Defense, swiftly tweeted that article out to his 481,000 followers.

Dr. Kristina Bryant, a pediatrician who specializes in infectious disease at Norton’s Children Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said that any attempts to portray the current RSV surge as a marketing ploy are demonstrably untrue. Her hospital recently had to add extra bed capacity due to the overwhelming number of RSV cases. She pointed out that RSV numbers were lower in the last few pandemic years because more people were wearing masks, which prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. But before the pandemic, the cases of the disease regularly strained hospitals during particularly intense surges. The virus, she said, has “been a concern for pediatricians and parents for a long time,” she said. “RSV is real.”

The current surge in RSV misinformation has also alarmed Aoife Gallagher, an analyst with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, an anti-extremism think tank with offices in Europe and the United States. At the beginning of the fall, during the start of the current wave of RSV cases, Gallagher said, she observed that the most widely shared tweets about RSV came from trustworthy medical authorities. When she ran the same analysis earlier last week, though, she found that seven of the top 10 tweets repeated conspiracy theories or misinformation.
The sources of the false RSV narratives, she found, were well-known anti-vaccine activists. Del Bigtree, the host of an online anti-vax show called The Highwire, falsely claimed that Covid vaccines were responsible for RSV infections. Judy Mikovits, the discredited virologist behind the Plandemic Covid conspiracy film, falsely suggested that RSV (along with Ebola and Zika) could be cured with the drugs hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
Some of the misinformation that Gallagher found contained violent ideology. In an interview earlier this month with right-wing TV host Stew Peters, Stella Immanuel, a physician and former Trump adviser who suggested that reproductive health problems were caused by having dream sex with demons, claimed that mRNA RSV vaccines were part of a grand plan to surveil citizens. “They want to make sure that the mRNA technology gets into everybody because their whole idea is to monitor the whole of the human race,” she said. “They want surveillance under the skin like The Matrix, like a human cyborg.” Peters chimed in that if he were president, public health officials who promoted Covid vaccines would be “immediately arrested, indicted, tried. and if convicted, they would be fried—publicly executed.”

As troubling as the wild and rapidly spreading RSV myths are, Gallagher says they aren’t surprising. Nearly three years after the emergence of Covid, she says, a pattern of infectious disease misinformation has emerged. After public health officials sound an alarm about an outbreak and well-established anti-vaccine networks mobilize, they quickly pump their narrative into social media channels to be picked up by influencers. “If you even go back to the monkey pox surge, at the start of the summer, we saw the same thing,” she says. “With any news of a virus or disease outbreak, we expect to see the same tropes used and recycled.”

Not all of the false narratives around RSV have to do with vaccines—some attack public health measures more broadly. Another promoter of RSV conspiracy theories is the Southern California-based anti-vaccine crusader Leigh Dundas, who gained prominence during Covid by leading efforts to harass public health officials who promoted mask mandates, helping to orchestrate the anti-vaccine trucker convoys, and riling up a DC crowd ahead of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. Earlier this month, public health officials in Orange County declared a health emergency in response to rapidly rising rates of pediatric hospitalizations due to respiratory viruses. The declaration was meant to allow general hospitals to open up more beds to sick children—yet Dundas claimed that the true intent was to usher in another era of lockdowns. At a comment session at an Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting on November 2, she compared public health officials to Nazis, adding, “You will not mask us! You will not quarantine the well or the sick!” The clip, Gallagher noted, made the rounds on social media, with 6,000 reactions, nearly 5,000 shares, and 1,000 comments on Dundas’ post about it on Facebook. A tweet with the clip was retweeted more than 5,000 times.
Gallagher sees the current wave of RSV misinformation as part of a larger movement to erode trust in public health in the wake of the pandemic. Earlier this month, I wrote about the ominous downturn in rates of routine childhood vaccination rates in Florida. Pediatricians there told me they believed that misinformation around Covid vaccines had scared some parents off of immunizations more broadly. Bryant, the pediatrician, said she, too had noticed “more vaccine hesitancy, not just about Covid vaccines, but more questions about routine vaccines.”
“We’re starting to see the impacts of the broadening of anti-vaccine campaigns over the last few years,” says Gallagher. “But I think it’s going to be years down the line until we really come to terms with the effect they’re having.”
 

IaHawk44

HR MVP
Feb 20, 2006
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People who knock masks and social distancing or suggest lockdowns were the wrong thing to do after the fact, like Monday morning quarterbacks, that's who.

Forget about misinformation and conspiracy theories, it's the damned masks and social distancing that people are concerned about.
 

Pinehawk

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Sep 16, 2003
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"Children build natural immunity to viruses when they’re exposed to them. Most kids catch RSV at some point before they turn 2, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Newborns get some passive protection from their mothers, who pass along antibodies through breast milk.

But for a couple of years, there was little opportunity for children born during the pandemic or the people around them to catch RSV – or other viruses, for that matter. Their immunity waned or never formed at all. So when those little ones and their parents started to interact with others, they were more likely to get sick.

“Decreased exposure to endemic viruses created an immunity gap – a group of susceptible individuals who avoided infection and therefore lack pathogen-specific immunity to protect against future infection,” Messacar and Baker wrote this summer in a commentary published in the medical journal The Lancet."

https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/26/health/rsv-immunity-gap
 

Hawki97

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Dec 16, 2001
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Exactly.
People seem surprised that keeping kids in a bubble for two years, resulted in the inability of their immune systems to fight off illness they otherwise would have.

It’s everyone, not just kids. Seems like an obvious outcome to me. I’m not sure why people would be surprised.
 
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Hawki97

HR Heisman
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Dec 16, 2001
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"Children build natural immunity to viruses when they’re exposed to them. Most kids catch RSV at some point before they turn 2, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Newborns get some passive protection from their mothers, who pass along antibodies through breast milk.

But for a couple of years, there was little opportunity for children born during the pandemic or the people around them to catch RSV – or other viruses, for that matter. Their immunity waned or never formed at all. So when those little ones and their parents started to interact with others, they were more likely to get sick.

“Decreased exposure to endemic viruses created an immunity gap – a group of susceptible individuals who avoided infection and therefore lack pathogen-specific immunity to protect against future infection,” Messacar and Baker wrote this summer in a commentary published in the medical journal The Lancet."

https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/26/health/rsv-immunity-gap

You don’t need to be an epidemiologist to understand this common sense.
 
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bagdropper

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Oct 17, 2002
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I had some sort of bug for 4 weeks now. "viral flu-like illness" my doc called it. Tested negative for Flu A/B, Covid.

I just cannot shake this damn thing. I'll become ill Saturday, spend the entire weekend coughing up a lung and in bed, then begin to come out of it roughly Tuesday. Wednesday thru Friday, back to near normal. Then Saturday comes and it hits me all over again.

Frustrating...today I'm beginning to improve but am now losing my voice. At least I'm not running a temp with body aches this go-round.

I've already told my brother and sister, I'm not doing Thanksgiving. You don't want whatever this lingering crap is.
 

Pinehawk

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2003
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Well scientists and most people do understand it.
But, it's a concept some on this board seem to struggle with.
 
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IaHawk44

HR MVP
Feb 20, 2006
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I liked it because he was correct that it is extremely surprising that there are still people out there that thought lockdowns and restrictions were the right course of action.

They clearly were not, and we are paying for it now. With Covid levels still as high as they were during previous times of restrictions, inflation, supply chain issues, education fallout, economic losses, newly created health concerns and more.
Lockdowns showed how weak minded individuals suffered from a lack of social interaction.

"Most scientists agree that lockdowns did curb COVID-19 deaths and that governments had little option but to restrict people’s social contacts in early 2020, to stem SARS-CoV-2’s spread and avert the collapse of health-care systems. “We needed to buy ourselves some time,” says Lauren Meyers, a biological data scientist at the University of Texas at Austin."

 

Hawki97

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 16, 2001
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Iowa City, IA
I had some sort of bug for 4 weeks now. "viral flu-like illness" my doc called it. Tested negative for Flu A/B, Covid.

I just cannot shake this damn thing. I'll become ill Saturday, spend the entire weekend coughing up a lung and in bed, then begin to come out of it roughly Tuesday. Wednesday thru Friday, back to near normal. Then Saturday comes and it hits me all over again.

Frustrating...today I'm beginning to improve but am now losing my voice. At least I'm not running a temp with body aches this go-round.

I've already told my brother and sister, I'm not doing Thanksgiving. You don't want whatever this lingering crap is.

I had that for about 3 weeks. I’m terrible about “resting a cold” and choose the “sweat a cold” option. Working out outside and breathing in cold air…I’d just cough up a lung after. Eventually it just (mostly) cleared, almost overnight. I’ve still got an occasional cough, but it’s not bad. Not sure what it was.
 

Hawgk

HR MVP
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Aug 8, 2013
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I had some sort of bug for 4 weeks now. "viral flu-like illness" my doc called it. Tested negative for Flu A/B, Covid.

I just cannot shake this damn thing. I'll become ill Saturday, spend the entire weekend coughing up a lung and in bed, then begin to come out of it roughly Tuesday. Wednesday thru Friday, back to near normal. Then Saturday comes and it hits me all over again.

Frustrating...today I'm beginning to improve but am now losing my voice. At least I'm not running a temp with body aches this go-round.

I've already told my brother and sister, I'm not doing Thanksgiving. You don't want whatever this lingering crap is.
Im not a doctor, but sounds like RSV. My child and wife had it a few weeks back and it seems to reappear in waves that aren’t as severe as the initial wave, which lasted about 5-6 days.

When our child began to improve, the doc said “you aren’t out of the woods yet, this stuff has a tendency to cycle back”.
 
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Pinehawk

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2003
21,003
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I had some sort of bug for 4 weeks now. "viral flu-like illness" my doc called it. Tested negative for Flu A/B, Covid.

I just cannot shake this damn thing. I'll become ill Saturday, spend the entire weekend coughing up a lung and in bed, then begin to come out of it roughly Tuesday. Wednesday thru Friday, back to near normal. Then Saturday comes and it hits me all over again.

Frustrating...today I'm beginning to improve but am now losing my voice. At least I'm not running a temp with body aches this go-round.

I've already told my brother and sister, I'm not doing Thanksgiving. You don't want whatever this lingering crap is.

I had that for about 3 weeks. I’m terrible about “resting a cold” and choose the “sweat a cold” option. Working out outside and breathing in cold air…I’d just cough up a lung after. Eventually it just (mostly) cleared, almost overnight. I’ve still got an occasional cough, but it’s not bad. Not sure what it was.

I, and others I know had this as well. It wasn't covid, but it was worse than covid. Lasted about three weeks.
Finally got past it.
 
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coasterhawk75

HR Legend
Dec 2, 2001
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I had that for about 3 weeks. I’m terrible about “resting a cold” and choose the “sweat a cold” option. Working out outside and breathing in cold air…I’d just cough up a lung after. Eventually it just (mostly) cleared, almost overnight. I’ve still got an occasional cough, but it’s not bad. Not sure what it was.
That's kind of what I have right now. If I'm inside and not doing anything much it's more like a cold. If I'm outside I cough myself dizzy. Hoping it passes quick. I swabbed negative for Covid, RSV, and influenza.
 
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Pinehawk

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2003
21,003
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Lockdowns showed how weak minded individuals suffered from a lack of social interaction.

"Most scientists agree that lockdowns did curb COVID-19 deaths and that governments had little option but to restrict people’s social contacts in early 2020, to stem SARS-CoV-2’s spread and avert the collapse of health-care systems. “We needed to buy ourselves some time,” says Lauren Meyers, a biological data scientist at the University of Texas at Austin."


"Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have concluded that lockdowns have done little to reduce COVID deaths but have had “devastating effects” on economies and numerous social ills.

The study, titled “A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality,” said lockdowns in Europe and the U.S. reduced COVID-19 deaths by 0.2 percent.

The study concluded that lockdowns “are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”

“They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy,” the report said."




 

Hawki97

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 16, 2001
9,731
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Iowa City, IA
That's kind of what I have right now. If I'm inside and not doing anything much it's more like a cold. If I'm outside I cough myself dizzy. Hoping it passes quick. I swabbed negative for Covid, RSV, and influenza.

Yeah, I didn’t really have anything else associated with it (fever, aches, etc.) - just the cough so it’s not debilitating. Just a low, deep lung grumbling cough. I typically hit anaerobic threshold for periods of time in my workouts. With it being so cold in Iowa the last few days I could cough up a pretty massive yellow goober after! Glad it has mostly cleared before the Turkey Trot on Thursday!
 

hawkland14

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Feb 26, 2013
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"Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have concluded that lockdowns have done little to reduce COVID deaths but have had “devastating effects” on economies and numerous social ills.

The study, titled “A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality,” said lockdowns in Europe and the U.S. reduced COVID-19 deaths by 0.2 percent.

The study concluded that lockdowns “are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”

“They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy,” the report said."




And...... end thread
 

Crimea River

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