The world's toughest lockdown has resulted in the world's highest COVID-19 death toll

Lockdown: a case study of failure.

Once hailed as a COVID-19 “success story,” Peru is now the COVID-19 case study that lockdown advocates no longer want to discuss. Lima is on pace to surpass Belgium (another strict lockdown country) sometime next week as having the world’s highest COVID-19 deaths per million. So why is no one talking about it?

Pandemic panic promoters have been quick to criticize neighboring Brazil for its leadership’s more relaxed policies towards the virus, but they’ve been noticeably absent in discussing Peru. That’s because Peru implemented arguably the earliest (for their region) and strictest lockdowns in the entire world, along with several attempted suppression measures with the hopes to contain the virus, and none of it worked.

For months on end, Peruvians were largely forbidden from leaving their homes. The country began its lockdown like many others, by cutting itself off from the rest of the world, closing its borders to outsiders, and shutting down the nation’s economy and society. Similar to policies seen in U.S. lockdown states and Europe, only “essential” businesses were allowed to be open. Peru then took the shutdown a step further. The military has enforced a nationwide mandatory 10pm-4am curfew (some cities have lengthened the curfew to 8pm-5am), most “essential” stores are only open for a handful of hours a day (most grocery stores close at 3pm), and citizens face extreme penalties and legal consequences for failing to abide by the rigid restrictions. 

Even the pro-lockdown mainstream press, from the BBC, to The Wall Street Journal, to The New York Times, has acknowledged that Peru has had one of the strictest, if not the toughest lockdown in the world.

In addition to the lockdown, Peru implemented a universal masking mandate in its attempt to “stop the spread.” The country has even gone as far as to mandate the use of face shields on public transportation in some cities, including the capital city of Lima.

Whether it was lockdown, face shields, masks, military curfews, and countless other human interventions, none of it is working. Similar to nations on its equatorial plane, Peru is facing a new surge in cases, and a resulting jump in COVID-19 deaths. Peru’s excess deaths this calendar year is now among the highest worldwide.

Instead of learning from their mistakes, and admitting that the lockdown failed and the several suppression measures undertaken were a catastrophic error, Peru is doubling down on the madness. Last week, the country reimposed and tightened nationwide curfews. The new curfew prevents any citizen from leaving their home on Sundays. 

Tragically, the lockdowns will result in even more excess suffering for a nation that does not have the fiscal or medical capacity to handle its side effects. Unlike much of Western Europe and the United States, Peru is much poorer per capita and does not have quality healthcare available to all of its citizens. Most country healthcare rankings systems place Peru firmly in the bottom half of nations when it comes to both capacity and standards. This reality has undoubtedly contributed negatives to Peru’s epidemic.

Here in the United States, we have the benefit of a robust economic engine and sophisticated healthcare system that will help us recover from the lockdown madness. Peru does not have the same luxury, and their COVID-19 data continues to show the tragic consequences of implementing self-destructive shutdown policies.

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