Alex Berenson delves into 'unprecedented' COVID lockdowns: '90 percent of media is saying the same thing'

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Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson’s latest booklet on coronavirus was released on Tuesday, focusing on the unprecedented decision to shut down parts of America in an attempt to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think the history of lockdowns is really interesting,” Berenson told Fox News. “There are times when you research something and you find yourself saying, ‘Wow, I’m excited to learn this,’ and that’s a good feeling as a reporter. I had that in writing this.”

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“Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 2: Update and Examination of Lockdowns as a Strategy,” is the second installment of the self-published series.

The first part of Berenson’s series, about coronavirus death counts, hit No. 1 best seller in Amazon’s Kindle Store, but the former New York Times reporter said “they’re supposed to be standalones” and you don’t need to read the first chapter to get something from the second one.

“You don’t have to read them in order,” he said. “Part 2 is really about our response… the lockdown portion of our response."

Berenson, who has been a vocal critic of the government's reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, isn’t sure how many editions he will ultimately write, but feels that everyone should be open to diversity of thought and encouraged his critics to pick up a copy.

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“I think it's really important, at a time when 90 percent of media… is saying the same thing, with very little pushback or smart questioning, to get different perspectives,” Berenson said. “Even if you disagree with me completely, it’s always good to know what other people are thinking."

“Even if you disagree with me completely, it’s always good to know what other people are thinking." 

Berenson said he grew fascinated by the idea of lockdowns and wanted to write something that people can easily digest to educate them on the unprecedented decision to essentially shut down the nation.

“Lockdowns really came out of nowhere. When you look at the history of lockdowns, they were rejected over and over again as a tool when we were considering what to do about flu epidemics, including flu epidemics that would have been much worse than what the coronavirus epidemic is,” Berenson said. “I’m talking about something up to the Spanish Flu, or possibly even worse than that. The health authorities and the scientists who considered this said, ‘No lockdowns. Lockdowns don’t work.’”

While Berenson said previous data suggests that lockdowns don’t work once you get to an epidemic stage, the complicated decision to implement them anyway was made in a matter of days as leaders struggled to understand COVID-19.

“We threw out a lot of work that we had done in a matter of days,” Berenson said. “It is completely unprecedented. Wherever you stand on lockdowns, you should understand how unprecedented this is.”

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Berenson said the closest comparison is during World War II, when the government essentially took control of society.

“Even during World War II, yes the U.S. government took over large industries and quasi-nationalized production of essential commodities and stuff, there weren’t efforts to control people’s actions,” he said. “This really is unprecedented.”

Meanwhile, Berenson would be surprised if there were additional lockdowns going forward, partially because now “there is an understanding now of how destructive” they were to both society and the economy.

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“The idea that there will be national lockdowns or large state lockdowns is hard for me to imagine,” Berenson said, noting that recent spikes were handled without additional lockdowns.

“In Arizona, Texas and Florida, the worst of it is behind us in terms of the number of people hospitalized,” Berenson said. “The death counts will still continue to rise, but they accomplished that without a major lockdown. So, I think, rationally, governors who look at that and distance themselves from the media hysteria, will say, look in Houston… Phoenix, Miami, without lockdowns those hospitals continued to function.”

The author added that “rationality has played only a small part” in decision making thus far when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, so nothing would absolutely shock him at this point.

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“The point of the lockdown is supposed to be to save the hospitals from being overrun, to save us all from some sort of massive societal collapse, that didn’t happen,” he said. “So what on earth would we be doing it for going forward?”

Amazon initially told Berenson the first part didn’t meet the company’s guidelines, but the online retailer reversed its decision after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and other prominent journalists spoke out on the author’s behalf. He didn’t have similar problems with the second chapter and it is currently available online.

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