"The lockdown has saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives and spared American hospitals the horrors of rationing care."
That was the resolution of a public debate hosted via Zoom by the Soho Forum on Monday, June 1, 2020. It featured Marty Makary, a surgical oncologist at Johns Hopkins, and Knut Wittkowski, former head of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design at The Rockefeller University.
The Soho Forum typically hosts Oxford-style debates, in which a live audience votes before and after the event, and the debater who swayed the most people wins the contest. Because this debate took place over Zoom, we did things a little differently. The online audience was asked to vote before the debate. If you voted before the debate, please go to sohovote.com after you listen to the podcast and cast your final vote. But if you didn't register your initial vote before the debate started on Monday evening, your final vote won't be counted.
Arguing for the affirmative was Marty Makary, a surgical oncologist at Johns Hopkins and the author of the 2019 book The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care—and How to Fix It.
Knut Wittkowski argued for the negative. Wittkowski is the CEO of ASDERA LLC, a company discovering novel treatments for complex diseases from data of genome-wide association studies. Wittkowski also served for 20 years as head of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design at The Rockefeller University in New York City.
The Soho Forum, sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.
Update: Voting on this debate ended on Monday, June 8, 2020, at noon EST. Knut Wittkowski won by convincing 11.43 percent of the audience to change their minds. Marty Makary convinced 8.57 percent.
Audio production by John Osterhoudt.
Photo: Maria Khrenova/ZUMA Press/Newscom