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Paul Berger: Shutdowns saved lives

The recent column by Marc Cuniberti, “The Cost of Covid,” should have been titled, “The Cost of Business Shutdowns.”

Cuniberti acknowledges the seriousness of the virus and the benefits of masks, but argues vociferously that business shutdowns have cost more lives than they saved. His lone source is Scott Atlas, MD, Trump’s former special adviser to the Coronavirus Task Force. Scott Atlas, a radiologist with no background in infectious disease or public health, advocated opening businesses, abandoning safety precautions and “letting ‘er rip” until we get to herd immunity, a plan that reputable infectious disease experts said would result in a nightmare scenario.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, once said of Atlas: “Everything he says is false.”



In some places during surges of the disease, hospitals were overflowing, corpses were sitting in freezer trucks, ICU patients were lying in hallways, and health care workers were pushed to exhaustion and beyond.

Does Cuniberti seriously think we would have been better off without shutdowns? I believe every country that has tamed COVID-19 has accomplished it through shutdowns. I think the science is indisputable. No one wants business shutdowns. But I shudder to think where we’d be without them.



Paul Berger

Nevada City


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