Your editorial “The J&J Covid Vaccine Pause” (April 14) doesn’t make the necessary inferences. Six people in 6.8 million vaccinated have had cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). The “natural” annual incidence of these brain blood clots ranges from two to 16 per million. Using these figures, we would expect between 13 and 109 clots annually in 6.8 million people. Since the vaccine has been available for around six weeks, however, we’d expect between two and 13 clots over this period. Thus, the rate of clots in the vaccinated is similar to the “natural” rate. A U.K. study also shows that a Covid patient’s risk of CVST is 100 times greater than normal and eight-to-10 times that of a vaccinated person. The CDC and FDA may be overreacting.
In any event, COVID-19 surges are happening mainly in states with more legal restrictions than Florida or Texas is imposing. The Washington Post nevertheless says “experts…agree” that rising infection numbers are largely due to “a broad loosening of public health measures, such as mask mandates and limits on indoor dining”—a claim that is tenable only if you ignore all the countervailing examples.
States differ from each other in various ways that may affect the spread of COVID-19, of course, so you can learn only so much from comparisons like these. But several systematic studies have cast doubt on the effectiveness of broad legal restrictions.
In a 2020 National Bureau of Economic Research paper, UCLA economist Andrew Atkeson and two other researchers looked at COVID-19 trends in 23 countries and 25 U.S. states that had seen more than 1,000 deaths from the disease by late July. After finding little evidence that variations in public policy explained the course of the epidemic in different places, they concluded that the role of legal restrictions “is likely overstated.”
That much seems safe to say in light of more recent experience in the United States.
Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered local governments to back off of any plans that would force citizens to carry around “vaccination passports,” instead leaving it to local businesses to determine their own best practices.
Our Prime Minister, who used to have balls, has just cancelled his visit to India, a move he described as “sensible”. Well, that’s a novelty, common sense being in notably short supply among Boris’s Health Secretary and scientific advisers. Apparently, they see no contradiction in “trialling” bigger crowds at major sporting events while a vaccinated resident in a care home is forced into solitary confinement for 14 days if they dare to so much as leave the premises for a walk in the park with their vaccinated spouse.
It pains me to say it but, increasingly, I feel ashamed to have voted for a Government that has institutionalised such inhumanity and continues to disregard evidence that proves it’s unnecessary.
Lockdown has crushed this nation’s spirit. We have all learnt to keep our heads down and meekly obey many nonsensical rules (or break them on the quiet). What a pleasure and a relief, then, to see Rod Humphris, the landlord of The Raven in Bath, yelling at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer: “Get out of my pub!” A Labour voter, Humphris railed at the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition for his failure to provide any opposition to the draconian diminishment of British freedoms.
This used to be a country of profound good sense. Many of us would quite like it back. The descent into lockdown lunacy continued apace yesterday with the news that the British Town Crier Championships is to be held in complete silence (written entries only).
All I did was offer him data and request the issues it raised get talked about – and that the whole thing gets seen in context. I’m not suggesting that there hasn’t been a pandemic. I’m not suggesting that Covid doesn’t exist, or that it’s not serious. It’s just that our reaction to Covid has been out of proportion.
Forget about the Covid surge predicted by the Government’s scientific advisers when schools went back on March 8 which failed to materialise. The British variant that we’d been told by the Government was more deadly and more contagious than what had gone before failed to live up to its headlines.
Nevertheless the myth of these deadly variants continues to be useful. On the back of them one government adviser after another predicted spikes from June through to August. British, Brazilian and South African variants have all been mooted. Ramping up the variant scare last week was Imperial College’s Professor Danny Altmann, who claimed that ‘we should be terribly concerned’ about the discovery of 77 cases of the Indian Covid variant in Britain. Covid variants, he asserts ‘are things that can most scupper our escape plan at the moment and give us a third wave. They are a worry.’ Given how wildly wrong Imperial College’s predictions have been so far it’s astonishing that the MSM gave this one any credence. This scaremongering however seems to suit the Government.
“[I]t is possible that lockdown will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history.” This line is from the abstract of Simon Fraser University economist Douglas Allen’s new paper titled “Covid Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the Literature.” (HT Art Carden) Here’s the full abstract:
An examination of over 80 Covid-19 studies reveals that many relied on assumptions that were false, and which tended to over-estimate the benefits and under- estimate the costs of lockdown. As a result, most of the early cost/benefit studies arrived at conclusions that were refuted later by data, and which rendered their cost/benefit findings incorrect. Research done over the past six months has shown that lockdowns have had, at best, a marginal effect on the number of Covid-19 deaths. Generally speaking, the ineffectiveness of lockdown stems from voluntary changes in behavior. Lockdown jurisdictions were not able to prevent non-compliance, and non-lockdown jurisdictions benefited from voluntary changes in behavior that mimicked lockdowns. The limited effectiveness of lockdowns explains why, after one year, the unconditional cumulative deaths per million, and the pattern of daily deaths per million, is not negatively correlated with the stringency of lockdown across countries. Using a cost/benefit method proposed by Professor Bryan Caplan, and using two extreme assumptions of lockdown effectiveness, the cost/benefit ratio of lockdowns in Canada, in terms of life-years saved, is between 3.6–282. That is, it is possible that lockdown will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history.