On March 2, 2021, Texas governor Greg Abbott conditionally eliminated all state-mandated Covid-19 lockdowns and other restrictions. The result was a predictable wave of mindless predictions of rising danger (such as the Washington Post Editorial Board’s claim that “Greg Abbott is endangering the health of Texas and beyond”). So Jeffrey Tucker wonders why these predictions aren’t panning out. A slice:
What’s striking about all the above predictions of infections and deaths is not just that they were all wrong. It’s the arrogance and confidence behind each of them. After a full year and directly observing the inability of “nonpharmaceutical interventions” to manage the pathogen, the experts are still wedded to their beloved lockdowns, unable or unwilling to look at the data and learn anything from them.
The concept of lockdowns stemmed from a faulty premise: that you can separate humans, like rats in cages, and therefore control and even eradicate the virus. After a year, we unequivocally know this not to be true, something that the best and wisest epidemiologists knew all along. Essential workers still must work; they must go home to their families, many in crowded living conditions. Lockdowns do not eliminate the virus, they merely shift the burden onto the working class.
Here’s more on Texas from the Wall Street Journal. The title of the report is “Weeks After Texas Reopened, Health Experts Look for Impact.” It’s followed by this description of facts on the ground discounted by those who apparently wish to keep humanity in a state of perpetual Covid hysteria: “State hasn’t seen rise in cases two weeks after businesses fully reopened, but public-health officials say it’s too soon to tell.”
Gary Sidley writes that “There are four key reasons why quarantining the healthy in their own homes, along with the shutdown of schools, retail and hospitality businesses, must forever be consigned to that skeleton cupboard labelled, ‘Cataclysmic Government blunders never to be repeated’.” Here’s another slice:
Prior to March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other public health bodies consistently recommended against the imposition of lockdowns as a way of managing a pandemic. For example, a comprehensive review of the available evidence by the WHO in 2019 stated that the quarantining of exposed – but currently healthy – individuals was ‘not recommended under any circumstances’ (p3), and later concluded that ‘There is a very low overall quality of evidence that quarantine of exposed individuals has an effect on transmission of influenza’ (p45).
Recent evidence supporting the assertion that lockdowns save lives largely derives from mathematical modelling, involving hypothetical predictions of the type, ‘If we hadn’t have done x, then y would have happened’. The most prominent proponent of this approach is Professor Neil Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London. Modelling for the purpose of forecasting COVID-19 cases and associated mortality has been widely criticised. The accuracy of such predictions is highly dependent on the assumptions made within the model, omission or inaccuracy of key variables often resulting in wildly pessimistic forecasts.
Undoubtedly, the most reliable data to evaluate the efficacy of lockdowns is that derived from measuring the real-world impact of this intervention. Over 30 studies of this type have now been reported; they have consistently failed to find evidence that lockdowns reduce COVID-19 mortality.
THE Covid virus is no longer a credible threat to the population of the United Kingdom. Hospitals are no longer under pressure. Mortality rates are stable. The emergency is plainly over.
Yet here we are, chained for a further six months by a government who dismiss our capacity for individual responsibility in favour of police state control.
Few in the media system seem willing (or able) to wave the banner for our liberty in opposition. Uncritical reporting on the extension of the Coronavirus Act, which is anathema to our values, underlines how wretchedly detached the media class are from truth. Do they not comprehend what it means that they won’t challenge the indefensible position Johnson’s men have taken against the people?
An ever-consuming Covid narrative has done much to spread fear but little to inform. The context of the virus’s severity, its potential to harm – virtually zero for the vast majority of us patient Brits – never gets a mention.
“Sweden: more freedom, less death.” A slice:
Data from Eurostat, compiled by Reuters, show that in 2020 Sweden’s overall mortality rose by 7.7 per cent. In Spain and Belgium, which had some of Europe’s harshest lockdowns, overall mortality rose by 18.1 per cent and 16.2 per cent respectively. Sweden ranked 18th in terms of mortality increases out of the 26 countries considered.
All of this despite the fact that Sweden has largely remained open. In December 2020, Sweden enacted its harshest Covid measures of the year – closing schools for over-16s and limiting the opening times of bars and restaurants. But even this pales in comparison to the restrictions found elsewhere in Europe.
Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, told Reuters: ‘I think people will probably think very carefully about these total shutdowns, how good they really were … They may have had an effect in the short term, but when you look at it throughout the pandemic, you become more and more doubtful.’
Not only have Swedes been freer than most Europeans during the pandemic – their economy has also fared better. It was estimated last month that Sweden’s GDP was 2.6 per cent lower in the fourth of quarter of 2020 than the year before – for the EU as a whole, the fall was by 4.8 per cent.
Sweden’s moderate approach has exposed the key myth of lockdown: that fundamental freedoms can be traded off to reduce mortality. Who could possibly argue with more freedom and fewer deaths?