During Monday’s COVID-19 news conference, State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan made a disturbing admission: “Despite the effectiveness of the social distancing measures to date, there is likely a large percentage of people in the community who remain unexposed and without any evidence of protection [from the virus]. We certainly are at risk for a worsening outbreak or potentially even a second wave if we relax our social distancing measures too quickly.”

Obviously, Chan misspoke when he said New Hampshire’s population was still extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus “despite the effectiveness” of the state’s lockdown. He meant “because of.”

The lockdown policy has left about 95 percent of the state unexposed to the virus, according to the state’s testing data, and therefore the risk of a second wave among (to quote Chan) “unprotected” Granite Staters is as high as ever.

Gov. Chris Sununu also acknowledged during the news conference that he’s anticipating, though hoping we avoid, a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks in the fall.

In other words, when it comes to preventing future coronavirus cases, the lockdown — and the 200,000 lost jobs and hundreds of businesses it cost us — accomplished nothing.

Yes, the lockdown certainly “flattened the curve” to keep hospitals from being overrun by COVID-19 patients. But once the curve was broken, by April 1 or so, the lockdown had done its job. Which was never to reduce the number of infections. It just spread them out over a longer period of time.

RALI New Hampshire

“This is one of the risks of the suppression strategy,” Jared Rhoads of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice told NHJournal. “The strategy makes decent sense if you have a high degree of confidence that a silver bullet, like a vaccine, is around the corner — or that you can extinguish it because you know where all the cases are. But otherwise, it is just an extremely long and drawn-out approach.

“Suppression doesn’t allow you to work through cases. Further, I’d say that if your health system capacity is ‘too idle,’ then you are probably too locked down — you aren’t working through the population, allowing immunity to build,” Rhoads said.