Unintended Consequences of Covid-19 Restrictions Are Now Hitting Us Hard
We tried something in 2020 and 2021 (and perhaps even now still) as a world society.
We tried to eradicate a disease that is virtually impossible to get rid of.
Nothing else mattered. We didn't think about the mental consequences of isolating ourselves. We didn't think about the emotional consequences of cutting ourselves off from loved ones. We didn't consider the toll school shutdowns and mandatory masking would have on learning.
And apparently it never occurred to us and our leaders that all these extreme measures would ultimately have an effect on our long-term health.
We are in the midst of unprecedented (there's that word again) outbreaks of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the lingering Covid-19 and have a triple-demic alarms sounding throughout the country.
Just look at the headlines from Chicago "What is RSV and why are infections surging?"; New York: "New York mom whose baby struggled with RSV has urgent message for parents."; London "High rates of RSV and flu may be making kids more susceptible to falling seriously ill with usually-harmless bug"; Berlin: "RSV surge pressuring German children's hospitals."; and St. George, Utah "Doctors warn flu season is 'fierce' and is getting worse"
It looks like, to me, that we have shielded our immune systems with all the Covid restrictions and left ourselves more susceptible than ever to getting really, really sick from other illnesses.
"That's an interesting point you make and I actually think there's something to that," said Southwest Utah Public Health Director Dr. David Blodgett. "We're seeing a lot more RSV hitting the emergency rooms and there actually is in the published literature, statements saying that you need that constant stimulation of your immune system to stay at its best and be active against what's going on out there."
We masked up, we disinfected door handles, elevator buttons and counter tops, we stayed away from each other, we scrubbed our hands until they were raw.
"When we took that (stuff) away, we made ourselves susceptible to all the rest of the diseases that were out there that would normally be (gradually) circulating through the population."
I always like to use sports analogies. But basically what we've done is taken away the other team's running game, but given them wide open lanes to pass the football. We protected against layups, but are giving away wide-open 3-pointers.
"There's all these unintended consequences of something we've never tried as a society, which is to try to eradicate a disease which is really not eradicable. We did all these things, and now we have to pay the consequences."
Indeed. This winter is going to be a rough one. People, especially the infirmed, are going to die.
In our rush to kill Covid-19, we've upset the delicate nature of our bodies, our ecosystems, our very lives.
Consequences, unintended or not, are still consequences.