Letter to the Editor: Your money or your life?

Dr. John Stapleford’s Commentary on how the shutdown hurts the working poor (“COVID-19 shutdown hurts the working poor,” June 8) seemed to express his great unhappiness. The lockdowns were initiated almost all over the United States, and almost all over the world, to prevent the greater and faster spread of COVID-19.

Yes, the shutdowns clobbered a major fraction of all the economies and probably hurt the working poor more than anyone else. With a raft of statistics of millions of dollars lost, thousands of lost jobs, and – as he presented it – an “infinitesimal” number of virus-based deaths, it appears that Stapleford has much disdain for the lockdowns.

He and people who suffered because of the lockdowns have a right to have their dim view of them.

However, Stapleford did not look at the other side of the coin. First, studies can be found by internet search that say that the lockdowns, to date, saved over 36,000 lives in the United States and 3 million in the world.

Second, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and Stapleford did not account for estimates of future loss of life with or without lockdowns.

Third, I would expect each loss of life to negatively affect at least several other lives. Where is Stapleford’s account of that?

Fourth, all the virus-induced deaths caused a loss of all future revenue compared to if that death took place much later (as if the virus were not there). Where is Stapleford’s estimate of that?

Fifth, what is a life worth? My answer is: It is priceless.

Sixth, what is the dollar value of people being sick for, say, two to four weeks, or the financial burden in cases of the 5% to 10% with permanent incomplete recovery?

Seventh, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and China got their COVID-19 countermeasures together much sooner and more effectively and with less deaths and sickness, and their economies were barely affected. They are all pretty much back to normal.

Eighth, we have one compensating item: the various stimulus actions. In record time and with unexpected bipartisan cooperation, packages of various assistance sailed through Congress and the White House in record time. And I and many other people and many businesses received stimulus assistance, and this should have helped even though there were some problems and we are not out of the woods yet.

The virus was the fault of no one. My wish would be that those less better off receive some charity from those who are better off. And maybe next time people in high places could be less “asleep at the switch.”

Compare my hope with Stapleford’s hope.

Arthur E. Sowers