COVID vs. lockdowns

The latter is apparently much deadlier, according to one liberal’s scientific model.

A Minnesota biochemist and immunologist recently put up a billboard in south Minneapolis to tout his eye-popping COVID-19 modeling: lockdowns will cost Americans about two million more years of their lives than they will save. 

Hugh McTavish, 58, started a nonprofit organization called COVID Sanity ( to highlight the failure of elected officials — especially Gov. Tim Walz — to focus on protecting the elderly and those with preexisting conditions, while still allowing more business-friendly and socially-open policies for everyone else. The kicker: he’s a self-proclaimed liberal. 

“If I’m contributing to Republicans winning elections, that would be bad,” he said. “But I’m right and Walz is wrong.” 

McTavish, the author of 18 scientific journal articles and the inventor of 21 patents, calculates lockdowns may have prevented 200,000 COVID deaths and will prevent about 800,000 person years lost to COVID. But these restrictions will rob us of almost 2.6 million life years in increased alcohol and drug abuse deaths as well as suicides, while adding 24 million years of depression to our lifetimes. His calculations rely almost exclusively on federal data, university studies, peer-reviewed science.

His data go on to say that COVID lockdowns, on average, extend life by just under a day in prevented COVID deaths, while cutting our lifetimes by two to three days in increased deaths of despair. That means, in the end, Americans will suffer a net loss of about two days of their lives because of the government’s overreaction to the virus.  

“I really think it’s a lot like the Salem Witch Trials, where people go insane,” he said. “We kind of did it with child abductions 40 years ago. Then we went nuts on daycare child abuse and some people are still in jail for completely implausible stories.” 

Church, tennis and poker nights with his buddies are the activities McTavish misses most. His friends continue their card games by Zoom, but McTavish won’t play that way. 

He’s even thinking about leaving Minnesota for the first time since his family moved to the Chicago suburbs when he was nine. And where might he move? Florida. The Sunshine State does not have any strict lockdown laws and has not enforced anything of the sort since last May.

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of our initial article.