In an open letter signed by over 500 doctors, the COVID-19 lockdown is classified as a "mass casualty" event, with the doctors stating, "It is impossible to overstate the short, medium, and long-term harm to people’s health with a continued shutdown."
The letter opens with the doctors expressing alarm over the "exponentially growing negative health consequences of the national shutdown." After a brief description of the concept of mass casualty triage, in which the primary goal is to keep patients from getting worse, a number of real-life examples are provided. These include:
- A patient whose hip replacement surgery was delayed, resulting in a pulmonary embolism.
- A nursing home resident who was on track for a full recovery from a minor stroke, but because of social isolation is now deteriorating instead of improving.
- A college freshman who cannot return to normal life, school and friendships, and is now at risk for addiction and trauma.
"We are alarmed at what appears to be the lack of consideration for the future health of our patients," the doctors write. "The downstream health effects of deteriorating a level are being massively under-estimated and under-reported. This is an order of magnitude error ... Because the harm is diffuse, there are those who hold that it does not exist. We, the undersigned, know otherwise."