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Horowitz: Lockdown claims a big scalp: Mayo Clinic furloughs or cuts pay of 30,000 employees due to shutdown

Conservative Review

The dubious lockdown strategy of our governments is causing endless job losses that are not only affecting 401Ks and paychecks, but are likely costing thousands of human lives.

Yesterday, I reported on the University Hospitals system in Ohio cutting back 4,100 employees from full-time work. Today, the Mayo Clinic, one of the most prestigious hospitals in the world, announced the furloughing or reducing of salaries for 30,000 employees, 40 percent of its employees nationwide.

"Approximately 30,000 staff from across all Mayo locations will receive reduced hours or some type of furlough, though the duration will vary depending on the work unit," said a spokeswoman for the prestigious hospital system.

The main campus is located in Rochester, Minnesota, but the system also has branches in Jacksonville, Florida, and Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as dozens of affiliates and partially owned hospitals throughout the country and the world. Thanks to the ban on non-emergency procedures, the Rochester campus is operating at 35 to 40 percent capacity, and surgical volume is at 25 to 30 percent of the typical level. The company is now projecting a $3 billion revenue loss.

The Mayo Clinic is often the destination for people facing life-threatening illnesses who have lost all other hope and for other complicated, lifesaving procedures. It’s truly hard to understate the number of lives that will likely be lost from this shutdown just of this hospital system alone.

It’s not coronavirus shutting down these hospitals, because none of their locations, especially in Minnesota, are in particularly high coronavirus outbreak areas. It’s the arbitrary orders from governors to shut down numerous procedures and checkups for chronically ill patients, as well as the panic they have sown in the public, which is keeping people from seeking even medical care that has not been officially shut down by order.

Earlier today, I interviewed Dr. Scott Atlas on my Blaze TV podcast. Dr. Atlas is a neuroradiologist and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, and he warned that the skipped or denied medical care is one of the most severe consequences of the rash policy decisions being made.

“Acute stroke patients are not coming in to be treated. … These are people that have three to six hours to get to the hospital; they're not coming in. That business is down 50 to 60 percent,” warned Dr. Atlas, the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center.

In addition, he says 80 percent of brain surgeries are not being performed and people experiencing heart attacks are not calling the ambulance in time.

Some of the worst effects we are seeing are on cancer patients. “Chemotherapy is being skipped intentionally,” asserted Dr. Atlas.

What about elective surgeries? You probably think of breast implants as the main casualty of this shutdown, right? Nope. Try organ transplants!

“When people say nonessential procedures, essential surgery is being skipped – we're not talking about plastic surgery for noses,” said Dr. Atlas. “We're talking about serious illness. 85 percent of live organ transplants are not being done. That's comparing this past 30 days to last year, the same 30-day period. It's down almost 90 percent. These people needing transplants … that disease didn't disappear. These are people who are near death.”

He predicted that many people will needlessly die because we are making a decision that “not only has serious trade-offs, it is actually ignoring fundamental biology.”

Dr. Atlas wrote a widely read column at The Hill earlier this week calling for an end to the complete lockdown and for a more balanced and prudent approach to protecting vulnerable populations while allowing younger people to come out and develop herd immunity.

His main concern, a point increasingly echoed by dissenting views in the medical and scientific community, is that we are allowing panic to govern medical decisions, and that out of fear of what we don’t know about the virus, we are throwing out everything we do know about basic biology.

“There's a lot of things we in medicine don't know that doesn't paralyze us. We don't panic when we make medical decisions and health policy decisions. We use our fundamental knowledge and we can look at the empirical data. We don't disregard common sense … we make a rational decision.”

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