During the COVID-19 pandemic, stringent measures such as mandatory masking, vaccination, and “quarantining healthy populations” have turned the United States into a “Biomedical Security State,” Dr. Aaron Kheriaty told EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program on April 9.
“This welding of public health with digital technologies of surveillance and control and the police powers of the state allows for intrusions on our privacy, on our bodily autonomy, that are unprecedented in history,” said Kheriaty, a psychiatrist and medical ethicist.
Kheriaty, chief of medical ethics at the Unity Project and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, added that a “probably north of 70 percent of Americans still got COVID in spite of almost a year of lockdowns,” and that the lockdowns have essentially brought on “massive collateral damage” in the form of a mental health crisis.
He cited the pre-pandemic opioid crisis accounting for a total of 70,630 drug overdose deaths in 2019 in the United States, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) The lockdown has only “poured gasoline on [the] fire” of the existing drug overdose crisis, resulting in the skyrocketing of drug overdose deaths to over 100,000 last year, said Kheriaty.
An August 2021 study published on Pub Med found that “state lockdown policies precede greater mental health symptoms,” and that many “non-heavy drinkers” turned to alcohol during lockdowns as a coping mechanism for “anxiety and depressive symptoms.”
The results may warn against “greater addiction following the pandemic warranting further investigation into utilization of substance use treatment,” the study reported.
Furthermore, one insurance company has reported a 40 percent rise in death rates during the third quarter of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic rates, which is the highest rate the company has ever seen.
J. Scott Davison, CEO of insurance company OneAmerica, said during a news conference in December 2021 that the deaths of working-age people between 18 and 64 years of age are on the rise, and are being consistently seen in all insurance companies offering life insurance.
“Just to give you an idea of how bad that is, a one-in-200-year catastrophe would be a 10 percent increase over pre-pandemic,” Davison said during a health care conference organized by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in December 2021.
Given that 2021 was the year a “mass vaccination campaign” was implemented and that the 18–64 year age group has relatively low COVID-19 mortality rates compared with the over 65 age group, Kheriaty said that “we ought to be very concerned” and dig deeper into whether the deaths were the “effects of the lockdowns that were emerging the following year,” or whether the deaths were due to “vaccine adverse events that may have gone unreported or under-reported,” or a combination of those factors and others that require further investigating.
“This is a very pressing question that public health authorities need to contend with,” Kheriaty said.