Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya: Lockdowns Haven’t ‘Contributed In Any Meaningful Way’ To California’s COVID-19 Death Toll

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Stanford University professor of medicine Dr. Jay Bhattacharya suggested that California’s ongoing lockdowns have not “contributed in any meaningful way” to saving lives in the state long-term.

Bhattacharya appeared on Fox News’ “The Story” with guest-host Will Cain Monday night to discuss the effectiveness of lockdown measures imposed by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom in an attempt to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“California has the strictest lockdowns in the country and cases there are absolutely exploding,” said Cain. “What am I supposed to take from the usefulness of lockdowns?”


“Lockdowns are not a tool to eradicate the disease,” Bhattacharya responded. “At best what they do is push the cases into the future. And California is reaping the whirlwind of that policy. For nine months we’ve been in lockdown. We’ve had schools closed, businesses closed, churches silent, private gatherings outlawed, travel restricted, and yet you can see the cases are still growing very, very sharply in California.”

Cain then played a clip of Newsom arguing that the imposition of such measures “have worked, substantially so,” then likened the California governor’s position to “asking for more cowbell.”

“I mean, the problem is that he’s not a very good scientist,” the Stanford professor said of Newsom. “You always need a control group when you’re thinking about whether something has caused A or B. You brought up Florida at the beginning. That’s a pretty good control group. It’s similar in climate to California in some ways and yet — and it’s basically been open since September. Disney World is open, schools are meeting in person.”

“There are very few business restrictions, and yet Florida actually has fewer deaths per capita now than California has,” he concluded. “The lockdowns have not actually contributed in any meaningful way to the death toll from Covid-19 in California. And in fact the lockdowns contribute to deaths themselves. They’ve made it more difficult both physically and psychologically for the population of California.” (RELATED: Actor Kirk Cameron Hosts Christmas Caroling Event To Oppose California Lockdown Restrictions With No Social Distancing, No Masks)

While California is currently 40th out of 50 states in deaths per million, that position is likely to rise as the November / December COVID-19 surge continues to bring record daily deaths in the state. Cases topped 1 million on November 12, and has since more than doubled to 2.2 million despite some of the strictest coronavirus measures in the country.