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The authors and supporters of the great Great Barrington Declaration warned that school closures and other lockdown measures would result in tragic trends such as the one documented in this Wall Street Journal report. (HT Todd Zywicki) A slice:

Police, prosecutors and community groups attribute much of the youth violence to broad disruptions that started with the pandemic and lockdowns. Schools shut down, depriving students of structure in daily life, as did services for troubled children. Increased stress compounded a swelling mental-health crisis. Social-media conflicts increasingly turned deadly.

My Mercatus Center colleague Kofi Ampaabeng writes sensibly about the damage caused by covid lockdowns. A slice:

This week The Economist published an article showing healthcare systems under stress around the world. The magazine argues that the source of the stress is pent-up demand from COVID lockdown policies and delayed medical care occasioned by COVID. Several papers have shown that delayed medical care could have far-reaching consequences. In the US alone, about 9.4 million cancer screenings were missed during the pandemic. There was a 90% drop in colonoscopies; 41% of patients with chronic conditions delayed care, and so on. Overall, about a third of Americans delayed medical care due to the pandemic. Early cancer detection has direct correlation with survival chances. The reason most healthcare systems are under stress is because of the backlog in medical care. These would eventually be cleared. However, for some diseases, the delay could prove consequential.

Take colorectal cancer, for example. According to one study, by 2044 mortality from the disease could be almost 10% higher than pre-pandemic trends. For all cancers, there would be almost 100 more deaths per 100,000. In addition to delayed diagnosis or delayed treatment of chronic conditions, there are significant effects of stringent lockdown policies on mental health, particularly of adults. In the UK, for example, there was a significant increase in depression, anxiety and alcohol use, among other afflictions. (Surprisingly, a number of studies show no increase in suicide rates.)

I have yet to find any studies that analyze the effects of delayed medical care in Sweden. However, we know that from other mortality analyses such as all-cause mortality, excess mortality, Sweden fared much better than countries with some of the most stringent restrictions. In a recent analysis from the UK’s Office of National Statistics, Sweden has one of the lowest excess mortality rates (almost indistinguishable from Norway and Iceland) for the period January 2020 to July 2022. Why is this still the case? This is not a rigorous study, which could rule out specious reasons. Yet, it’s somewhat surprising that over the past 12 months, Sweden has lower excess mortality than Denmark and Norway. Another puzzle is that excess mortality keeps rising even “after” the pandemic, and it is unclear when this rate would peak.

A headline from Great Britain: “Excess deaths highest since pandemic second wave – and less than 5 per cent are from Covid.”

Inspired by this spot-on short video by Matt Orfalea – which is less than five minutes long – Matt Taibbi rightly criticizes the media’s and politicians’ Orwellian scaremongering over the risk that covid posed to children.

Coronavirus Plushie tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Dr. Scott Atlas: Lockdowns were a gross moral failure of public health leadership and an egregious abuse of public health. Families in lower socio-economic groups were destroyed by lockdowns, while the pro-lockdown affluent and ‘elite’, like Fauci & Birx, were spared their impact

Sean Thomas decries East Asians’ insistence on masking.

My GMU Econ colleague Vincent Geloso busts myths that fuel the efforts of many governments to prevent real estate in their countries from being purchased by Chinese nationals. A slice:

There are two strong reasons to resist these xenophobic – for there is no better term – policy proposals. The first is that the pressure on housing prices has little to do with rising demand; it has to do with inelastic supply. The cities where the backlash against foreign buyers of real estate is strongest are generally known for restrictive zoning policies, land-use regulations, construction regulations, and building codes that make it nearly impossible to add housing units. This makes the supply of housing highly inelastic.

The more inelastic the supply, the greater the price increase when demand shifts up. This means that the root cause of the rising rents and house prices is bad housing policy that restricts the supply side. The effect of some additional Chinese buyers is trivial in comparison to the noxious effects of these supply-restricting measures.

There is another reason, however, to resist this proposal. A far more important one, in moral terms. The ban makes it easier for the Chinese government to abuse its citizens.

Also expressing well-founded opposition to bans on land sales to foreigners is GMU Econ alum Benjamin Powell.

Billy Binion applauds Alliance Defending Freedom’s defense of Priscilla Villarreal.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, is rightly relentless in criticizing politicians’ fiscal incontinence. A slice:

I am sorry, but it is worth repeating that Republicans systematically fail to talk about fiscal responsibility when they are in the majority but suddenly remember that deficits matter when in the minority. As Chris Chocola, former head of the Club for Growth, once asked, “What good is a majority if you aren’t going to use it? What good is being part of a team, if the team is the problem?” Good question. Moreover, when Republicans stand up for fiscal responsibility, their efforts tend to fail because they are heavy on unrealistic promises (like balancing the budget in ten years without touching defense and entitlements) and gimmicks.

And now for the file titled “Yet Further Evidence of Monopsonized U.S. Labor Markets” is this report in the Wall Street Journal: “Walmart to Raise Starting Hourly Wages to $14 From $12: Country’s largest private employer seeks to close pay gap with rivals as workers remain scarce.” Oh, wait….