Opponents of lockdowns raised their voices, we protested, we published viral content, we had our spotlights in the media, we stood behind what few leaders we had in government, we put out cutting-edge research, we even mobilized some of the top medical experts in the world to support our cause. Perhaps things would have been worse without our efforts, I don’t doubt that for a second, but at the end of the day, the lockdowners dragged society through the mud.
From Nature: “Deaths from COVID ‘incredibly rare’ among children.” (DBx: And so why does almost no one call out Washington Post columnist Leana Wen when she describes Covid as “now one of the leading causes of death among children”?)
Here’s yet another study – this one from the CDC – showing that Covid-19 does not strike randomly. (DBx: Given this information – which was known almost from the start of Covid-19 – why was the the advice of Focused Protection offered by the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration dismissed as impractical and even dangerous? Why was Covid treated as a disease that strikes and inflicts its harms randomly across all ages and regardless of underlying health conditions? And why were the many politicians and pundits who endorsed – and who still endorse – this mistaken approach to Covid regarded as “following the science” while those, such as the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, regarded as rejecting the science? What is responsible for this madness?)
Now, as a Prime Minister with a 83-strong majority, he is forcing through an even more expansive, illiberal and intrusive version of the scheme he pledged to scrap. We’re told that he’s curtailing liberty with a heavy heart, but no one has explained why he is pressing ahead with it. Blair, at least, had an open debate in parliament so MPs such as Johnson could make their case, ask questions and vote against the plan. Johnson’s government prefers to avoid debate and instead have the private sector do its dirty work. Voluntary systems are being established, but with the clear threat of government making business impossible for companies that don’t oblige.
The pandemic has shaken faith in liberal democracy: opinion polls show huge support for curfews and quarantines. Johnson himself has remarked in private that he has been amazed at how easy it is to take freedoms away — and how hard it is to give them back. It’s quite possible he has concluded his liberalism was for an era that perished in the pandemic. Some of the most liberty-loving Tories have looked with envy towards Asian countries whose surveillance technology seemed to do a better job of stopping the spread of Covid. The future may well be one in which the government knows your temperature wherever you go, and vaccine passports may be welcomed as an alternative to blanket lockdowns.
A second question is whether a particular variant is making infected people sicker. This question is answered fairly easily by looking at publicly available data from the CDC and comparing hospitalizations per case, particularly in regions where a new variant is more common. We analyzed these CDC data and found that the hospitalization data support none of the alarming headlines suggesting Delta is more dangerous than earlier strains.
But the bump in infections is nearly entirely among the unvaccinated. The authorized Covid-19 vaccines appear to be effective against Delta. And Delta is not clearly more dangerous than earlier variants: the average Covid-19 case with Delta is no more likely to lead to severe disease, hospitalization, or death than cases with other variants. Despite rising numbers of U.S. Delta cases, hospitalizations in July have risen only minimally, while Covid-19 deaths have remained flat.
The accumulating evidence shows that the authorized vaccines are highly effective at lessening transmission for all variants—including Delta. In the rare cases where vaccinated people become infected, their disease is mild and they pose a lower risk of transmitting the virus to others than do unvaccinated people.