In this letter in The Lancet, Alexander Broadbent, Damian Walker, Kalipso Chalkidou, Richard Sullivan, and Amanda Glassman argue that “[l]ockdown is not egalitarian: the costs fall on the global poor.” (HT Jay Bhattacharya) A slice:
It is unhelpful to characterise lockdown scepticism as a neoliberal political stance. Lockdown is demonstrably not egalitarian in either its costs or its benefits.
SIR – Businesses gone and going to the wall; the middle-aged made redundant probably unable to regain employment at a similar level; deaths from diagnoses not made in time; early mental deterioration of elderly people unable to see friends and family; an increase in domestic abuse (partners and children); missed education; an increase in mental health problems; young adults effectively with their lives on hold – when will there be a calculation of these negative aspects of the draconian measures that have been imposed on society since the start of Covid?
So how is that a Conservative government has presided over such a disastrous assault on liberty? Months when people were banned by law from seeing their children or grandchildren. Businesses forced to close; the state not just telling people not to go to work but paying them not to. And yes, nearly half a year in which we went full Eastern Bloc and no one was allowed out.
The government’s behavioural scientists began by thinking that Britons would never, ever slavishly follow the kind of diktat issued in Communist China. Instead, they soon found that as long as they spread enough fear people would kowtow to the state.
A senior NHS neurologist writes to me that he sees the ever-changing rules and restrictions reducing people’s confidence and making them feel uncertain. The inability to make plans or live a normal life is, “breeding health anxiety, I am seeing a lot of this in my clinical practice. Neurology is one of those areas in which health anxiety manifests as clinical symptoms – currently off the scale”.
The rage against this event is based on two things. The first is that, at the time of these illegal junketings, insane regulations were keeping husbands from wives, and children from their parents, on their deathbeds. The other is that the courts are still imposing appalling fines on private citizens who likewise defied the Christmas party ban a year ago.
The real reason for fury is that these regulations existed at all. Even if you believe that measures of this kind are much help (I don’t), anyone with any sense could see that cruel separation of close relatives at the end of life was not a proportionate response to Covid.
It was a fanatical, inhuman Communist measure that should never have been allowed, like the fearful, heartbreaking limits placed on funerals and the police raids on churches. I keep hearing the word ‘proportionate’ being used about Covid measures now. But it was not so common then. As I said then, we went mad, like a man who burns down his own house to get rid of a wasps’ nest.
What you should be angry about is not that people in Downing Street held Christmas parties, but that everyone else was forbidden to do so. If we lived in China, where the authorities actually welded people into their homes, then I suppose such rules would have been normal. But we do not live in that dreadful police state. As Sweden proved, trusting free people to behave sensibly produced results that were certainly no worse than ours.
This part of a report…
Dr. Anthony Fauci said a booster shot specifically for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may not be necessary for vaccinated people.
The White House chief medical advisor said that the existing shots could be enough to provide protection against the new variant.
“I’m not so sure that we’re going to have to get a variant-specific boost vaccine to get an adequate protection from Omicron,” Fauci told the health website STAT in an interview published Friday.
“Because if you look at protection against variants, it appears to relate to the level of immunity and the breadth of the immunity that any given vaccine can instill on you.”
… is more surprising than is this part:
Fauci’s optimistic prediction about the variant is not necessarily shared by some of the drug companies that developed the existing vaccines.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla had suggested last week that a fourth shot might be necessary to combat the new variant.
“I think we will need a fourth dose,” Bourla told CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” adding that the variant may speed up the timeline for that shot.