On Friday night on The Ingraham Angle, Laura Ingraham reported her conversation with an unidentified doctor in Queens who shared his concern that non-Covid patients are being ignored in the United States as the medical community reacts to the surge of viral cases that are either overwhelming them or are predicted to do so in the near future. The physician was ultimately restricted from openly sharing his opinion by his hospital so a live discussion was ultimately stymied. And although Ingraham did not definitively answer the question on Friday night, the New York physician is absolutely correct. They are.
Since the predictions made by the CDC and publicized by the likes of Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, our various governments, the medical community, and the general public have entered into a state of general quarters where the economy has been trounced and the usual conduct of medical care paralyzed. But the predictions foreseeing 2.5 million deaths in the United States as a result of inaction are nonsensical. This is not to say that the United States is not faced with a serious challenge to the health, welfare, safety of the American people, but either the calculations or assumptions of these predictions are leading to indefensible results. Consider that at the time of this writing, over four months, in the whole world, there are 976,249 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 50,489 deaths. So, after four months of free reign at the global population with infiltration into many underserved, third world, poverty-stricken countries, the Wuhan Pandemic has caused 50,489 deaths. With this backdrop, it is inconceivable that 2.5 million Americans would die in April in the United States alone unless harsh and almost draconian mitigation efforts are undertaken.
Although I review many cases of negative government interventions on healthcare in my book The Case for Free Market Healthcare, this present response overwhelms the magnitude and misguidedness of any other. The reality is that any time an intervention is undertaken by fiat therewill be negative repercussions. Thus far, much of the nation's attention has centered on the economic effects. But it is true that the effects on the health of many patients who do not have Covid are significant. I know this because I see this personally throughout my community on a daily basis and am actually active in the implementation of this plan locally.
Throughout the country, hospitals are no longer performing "non-essential" procedures. People in need of pain-related surgery, low-grade cancers, many diagnostic procedures, orthopaedic interventions, prostate cancer, and hysterectomies, to name a few, are being prohibited from undergoing necessary interventions. Note that just because a procedure is non-essential does not make it unnecessary, but despite this reality, patients are unable to access them regardless of whether their state has 10 reported cases like in Alaska, or 102,870 like in New York.
The needs of non-Covid-19 patients are being placed on the backburner while the nation responds to what has become a massive pandemic. Whether this is appropriate, and whether this prioritization ought to be undertaken in a blanket fashion or regionally tailored is an analysis that needs to be completed.
Editor's note. In erratum: On April 9, 2020, the number of cases cited in this article was corrected.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages andThe Case for Free Market Healthcare. He can be reached through http://www.thefederalistpages.com/contact.html or at firstname.lastname@example.org.