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DUNBAR: Ending the Shutdown Now Will Save Thousands of Lives

What started in March as a short 2-week shutdown to “flatten the curve” has now turned into nearly a 6 month boondoggle with no real end in sight.

I keep seeing the same recurring meme on social media that says, “Am I shopping for school clothes or more alcohol? Asking for a friend.” Yes, it’s nice that we can inject some humor into what has been a bizarre year to say the least. What started in March as a short 2-week shutdown to “flatten the curve” has now turned into nearly a 6 month boondoggle with no real end in sight. As nation after nation around the world are going back to business as usual, many states in the US are still on nearly total lockdown. Schools are staying closed, businesses are still closed, and mask mandates are in place complete with mask bullies at the doors of many businesses ready to threaten those who dare not comply, ADA exceptions be damned. As the folly of trying to stop or control a virus continues, the mental health of millions of previously well-adjusted Americans is deteriorating rapidly.

I never thought I took my freedom for granted. Having learned about the horrors of tyranny in world history classes and through watching the world news, I have always been grateful to have been born here in the United States of America. I am descended from Italian and Irish immigrants, who came to this country seeking freedom and a more satisfying way of life. They found it here, and they made sure to let us know as we were growing up just how lucky we were to be in what they believed was the greatest country in the world.

But just as our forefathers warned would happen, our freedoms have been incrementally taken away for the past 200 years. Much like the advancement of technology that happens exponentially over time, so too is our freedom erosion. The more power we allow our government to take, the more they demand. This is especially insidious when they claim that their power grab is for our own good.

So here we are, September 2020, nearly 6 months since the bulk of our great country was shut down “temporarily” to “protect our most vulnerable” from what was thought to be a deadly virus with no known cure. The shutdown was supposed to be “temporary” to ensure hospitals wouldn’t be overrun. I guess that worked. How many videos did you see on social media of healthcare workers dancing and singing with seemingly nothing to do? Meanwhile people with serious illnesses couldn’t get the healthcare they needed to live, and people with terminal illnesses died alone with no family around to comfort them during their last days on earth.

Suicides are up. According to an article in, from August 5, 2020, “The National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine has seen a 65 percent increase in calls and emails since March….” In the same article, CDC Director, Robert Redfield is quoted as saying in July, “There has been another cost that we’ve seen, particularly in high schools. We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from COVID. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose.”

The question we all should be asking is, what the hell is actually going on? The costs of continuing this shutdown are tremendous! Even the CDC Director admits that far more lives are being lost as a result of the shutdown, than as a result of the virus. And now these same health officials are quietly admitting the virus isn’t as contagious as we once thought, and it isn’t as deadly either. In an analysis done of the CDC’s death rate numbers, Jack Davis of the Western Journal wrote “Overall, of the 161,392 deaths covered by the report, 42 percent (68,004) of those who died also had the flu or pneumonia while 34 percent (54,803) had an underlying condition of respiratory failure.” While the deaths are still tragic, this shows clearly that like the flu, this virus is by far most deadly to those with underlying, chronic health conditions. Meanwhile, the vast majority of otherwise healthy Americans are being locked down in their homes, losing their livelihoods, watching their children struggle with the isolation and deterioration of their way of life. Make no mistake this is taking a much greater toll on our mental health as a country than anyone is willing to admit.

As someone who has worked to help people to overcome addiction for nearly 30 years, I can tell you that the longer this travesty goes on, the greater the death toll will be for people who feel trapped, isolated, and like prisoners in their homes. It’s time to open the country back up and let people go back to living their lives and doing the things they need to do to keep their sanity. There are ways to protect the most vulnerable while preserving the freedoms that help keep Americans happy, joyous, and sane.

Michelle Dunbar is the co-author of The Freedom Model for Addictions: Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap and The Freedom Model for the Family. She is the Executive Director of the Saint Jude Retreat. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use problem, there is an empowering solution that has proven to be three times more effective than addiction treatment and twelve times more effective than 12 step meetings. Go to for more information or call 888-424-2626.

For more information about The Freedom Model go to


Davis, J. (2020, August 30). CDC Nows Says 94% of COVID Deaths Had an Underlying Condition, Only 6% Were COVID Alone. Retrieved September 02, 2020, from

Raman, S. (2020, August 05). Pandemic’s effect on already rising suicide rates heightens worry. Retrieved September 02, 2020, from


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