5 February 2021
An Open Letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Dear Prime Minister:
Like all New Zealanders I received an emergency alert yesterday evening via my mobile informing us of your decision to impose Level 3 restrictions on the Auckland region and Level 2 restrictions on the rest of our country, as a result of the discovery of people who have tested positive for COVID.
I offer my opinions, as a physician (M.D. 1986, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine) on what I believe is a dangerously misguided policy that New Zealand has adopted towards viral infections.
Viruses will take their course throughout a population. They typically become attenuated and community immunity is eventually reached. It is impossible to ‘eliminate’ this or any other Coronavirus, of which the common cold is one. People will forever ‘test positive’, particularly given the known fallibility of the PCR testing method.
As a practicing psychiatrist I am seeing a plethora of patients who have been adversely affected by snap lockdowns and liberty-destroying restrictions that result in escalating levels of stress and depression, diminishing incomes and the losses of jobs and businesses.
Would it not be a more eminently rational approach simply to promote preventative measures, efficacious treatments and normal – not ‘new normal’ living?
Instead of relying on measures that seek to isolate and extirpate this infectious agent, meanwhile choking off our joys, our pleasures, our economies and our hopes – why not
1. Treat those who are sick
2. Test only those who are actually sick
3. Promote the use of hydroxychloroquine/zinc and other effective therapeutics
4. Encourage the use of vitamins D and C, exercise, healthy nutrition, etc.
I fear that your administration’s approach will lead to nothing but an endless cycle of lockdowns, fear and ongoing mental and economic damage – damage that is, in essence, far greater than what is attributed to the virus. It is an approach which, I am sorry to say, is highly unscientific.
I will also point out that it is perfectly normal for people to die – from influenza, from cancer, from heart disease and many other eventualities. We will never, in my opinion, be able to eradicate death in our country, but we can certainly optimise the joy of living.
As hastily developed vaccines begin to reach our shores I encourage you to think about their role, particularly in light of the adverse effects that have already been widely reported, and in light of the efficacy of cheap and easily available treatments at our disposal.
Emanuel E. Garcia, MD