Those who do not weep, do not see. — Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
In 2019, the coronavirus family, which has been causing respiratory disease in millions of humans worldwide every year for millennia, welcomed a new member.
The disease it causes, COVID-19, proved to be milder than seasonal flu in fairly healthy people under 70, but it was nearly 1,000 times deadlier in older people or those made vulnerable by serious pre-existing conditions.
Rather than focusing protective measures on the people at heightened risk of illness, governments around the world imposed and continue to impose severe restrictions on their entire population.
With routine medical care disrupted, businesses shuttered, curfews imposed, travel restricted, socialization criminalized, we are causing a devastating amount of harm.
The negative effects of lockdown are too often dismissed as small sacrifices, necessary to keep a highly deadly disease from spreading.
These sacrifices are, in fact, neither necessary nor small, and the disease is only a threat to a minority of the population that can be protected without lockdowns.
Sometimes, when major harms become hard to ignore, they are lamented as further damage caused by Covid, even though it is our panic-driven measures that are to blame.
The Price of Panic project is an effort to bring focus to the magnitude of suffering taking place around us because of lockdowns.
We do not have to accept the fallacy that this price, in lives and livelihoods, is necessary in order to limit the toll of Covid. To learn more about focused protection measures, please refer to the Great Barrington Declaration, a statement by infectious disease and epidemiology experts.