Lockdown evidence-free antiscience (by law)

I’m never quite sure what proportion of my readers are highly science-literate and informed, and what proportion are not. In any case, Google searchers do come across these posts. So with your indulgence it’s time for a simple update on why the UK’s continuing lockdowns and mass testing are no more than the quickest way to destroy the country socially and economically for no benefit whatsoever. To understate the case somewhat.

The situation is quickly illustrated by the fact that the Daily Mail yesterday had a very complete and well-illustrated article on the actual science being hidden from us by our government and their advisers. My pharmacist friend actually e-mailed me to say how useful it was, and I agree. But in response the Department of Health used its offical account to tweet:

“This article is misleading.
“This is a global pandemic – national restrictions have been introduced to keep people safe and save lives. It is vital people follow the rules and continue to stay at home so we can bring the transmission rates back down and get back to normality.”

Now, Twitter is not the place for full academic discussion, but this tells us as much as the whole output of offical science has done in recent months: mere assertions in response to the Mail writer’s analysis of real data. If it’s misleading, then give your interpretation of the data for comparison. But not a single one of the statements in the tweet holds water scientifically, from the reality of the pandemic (according to historical definitions) to the promise of a return to normality (when there is no exit strategy and an already ruined economy – not to mention murmurings and trumpetings of “new normals” and “great resets.”).

As regards lockdown, today’s news confirms the reality of the psy-op ground preparation for it since this latest lockdown: that when it ends we’ll only be permitted to return to a toughened-up tier-system (graded from “catastrophic” to “apocalyptic,” perhaps?) if we are to be counted good enough children for Santa to call. In other words, lockdown simply continues under a new name. As a policy, it assumes a completely unsubstantiated and anti-scientific claim that lockdowns are a kind of fine-tuned thermostat to control epidemics. Hence the nonsense that 5 days or normality costs 25 days of lockdown.

But way back in early May I wrote about the demonstrable failure of the first lockdown whose end we were approaching. Nothing has changed since then except for confirmatory evidence in numerous studies , and more scientists remembering, and checking up, that we always knew lockdowns, as well as the mass testing now being rolled out at the same cost as our total gold reserves, could not work.

For as late as the end of last year, the WHO advice on pandemics clearly included scientifically long-verified statements that:

  • Quarantine of healthy individuals is ineffective and socially destructive.
  • Tracking and tracing is only of value to prevent an epidemic at the earliest stage, when cases are few.

The reasons are as obvious as the fact that you can quash an embarrassing breach of national security by silencing the whistleblower and his contacts next day, but not once it’s all over the news and social media. Or you can stamp out a campfire that catches grass alight, but are on a hiding to nothing once the fire has spread over multiple foci and many square miles. In both cases, the problem is everywhere and there aren’t enough people on the planet to get it under control.

Regarding track and trace, the government confirmed its limitations when it said its “world-beating” system would only be introduced once cases had fallen low enough from their peak in March and April to make it viable. This was spin – they just didn’t have the thing ready. But it was a correct principle, which they completely abandoned (thinking you’d forget) when “cases” began to rise to insane levels in line with their test-fever.

The “Moonshot” is therefore, by government’s own prior admission, a useless money-pit. I clarified the reasons last week. Even if it did not suffer from the inappropriateness of the test for screening, the technical errors, and the administrative inadequacies, then putting a firescreen around every bush you find to be at risk would still not be the way to manage a rampant wild fire.

It is similar for lockdowns – once the virus ceases to be confined (for example once it spreads beyond the people bringing it in for the first time on a plane) then preventing people’s movements is useless, except perhaps to protect isolated communities like care homes, as mentioned in the 2019 WHO guidelenes. Once it is epidemic, the virus is already everywhere, and that is proven by the very fact that the initial epidemic burned itself out in May. It declined (predictably) because the virus was finding too many immune people across the country, and for no other reason.

40,000 people died, all over the country, and with an Infection Fatality Rate of 0.12%, one can assume that at least 33 million people had been infected by it, and we know that many more will have been naturally immune or protected by T-cell immunity to other viruses. By the end of the summer, that number was certainly far greater, and even more evenly spread. In fact, the evidence was that it was spreading silently from last November, like a smouldering bonfire waiting to burst into flame once the the wind blows.

By the nature of herd immunity, scattered individuals are still somewhat susceptible, as are individual communites that were relatively spared in the spring (like the northern cities, perhaps).

But the virus is now endemic, and has been for twice as long as the initial wave lasted, and you just cannot contain an endemic virus effectively whatever trendy name you give to lockdown. Unless you wall up the entire population in bunkers, you may as well try to quarantine everyone who finds a fly in their house.

Furthermore, many studies have now come out demonstrating that there is no correlation whatsoever between severity of lockdown and severity of the epidemic, across the world. Two studies now show that lockdowns even cause deaths from COVID to increase. Studies like this were were never done before, because no nation had ever had the stupidity to try to control an established epidemic that way, and no public health authority had ever advised it before the WHO suddenly went ape and reversed their advice. On logical grounds, every doctor knew it would be useless, and they also knew the insupportable cost to society that must result (which is why the WHO now advises against lockdowns again – advice our government is completely ignoring).

But now, we have been able to prove their uselessness empirically, in much the way that a nuclear bomb enables theories about radiation sickness to be tested in an unsavory way. We can measure the effect on infections, and we can count the thousands dying from collateral damage, and watch the recession and debt increase in real time. Even without reading the studies, a quick look at the public statistics shows any of us that, both in March and this month, deaths were dropping before lockdown, and in some cases even before the Tier 3 restrictions now said to be inadequate.

But the stats also show that neither the national nor regional lockdowns produced any visible changes to the curves of death or disease at times relevant to their initiation, or their lifting for that matter. If a new medicine doesn’t change the pattern of people dying, it doesn’t work – it is no coincidence that NICE has not been consulted on lockdowns, because they would never have passed the first cost-benefit analysis.

Indeed, the very fact that whatever clowns are in charge of these things claim we have not done sufficiently well to lift restrictions altogether proves that this lockdown hasn’t worked any better than 2019 science predicted. Not that there appear to be any set criteria for success, when even an R-number below 1 doesn’t count any longer. It seems as if the Chief Medical Officer sniffs the air and says, “Doesn’t smell right to me yet.” Maybe he casts runes. Whatever is done, though, it is nothing to do with science.

Nevertheless, one can see this as an actual scientific success, although a national disaster: the WHO and all established epidemiology claimed up to 2019 that lockdowns would achieve nothing, and they have been spectacularly vindicated. The hypothesis was tested, and found valid, and so the nations abandoned their dangerous experiment and returned to the established science.

Except that they didn’t, did they? Instead, the effectiveness of lockdowns – a totalitarian panic measure copied from Communist China – has became an unquestionable, even a religious, axiom. Consequently every time lockdowns fail – as fail they must each and every time – the powers and principalities in high places decree more of them.

To a medic like me, living in Britain at the moment is like getting a hospital job in a developing country, and finding that the politically appointed Medical Director is a witch-doctor who advocates blood-letting for everything. You see recoverable patients succumbing to anaemia from blood loss, and the response is to bleed them some more. When they (inevitably) die, it is put down to starting the venesection too late. You protest, but the staff call you racist and remind you of the prestige and credentials of the MD, and the Director himself threatens to sack you or get his brother (the President) to imprison you if you question his policy. Even the patients complain about you as a science-denier.

The only difference, when it comes to real life, is that the hospital is one’s entire nation and most of the others. It is not a good place to be, emotionally, apart from a theological understanding of the inevitability of the spirit of deception’s rise before Christ returns.

Jon Garvey

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
This entry was posted in Medicine, Politics and sociology, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Lockdown evidence-free antiscience (by law)

  1. Stuart Kaye Stuart Kaye says:

    Jon, much of what you write is pertinent to the UK but will you please include the situations in New Zealand and Victoria in your discussion. Here, we have had a severe lockdowns twice -both times very successfully – and a very well developed test and trace mechanism. It is wonderful to be able to walk around and meet together with minimal fear of the virus though I have to acknowledge that the tourist industry is in tatters. Please also discuss the present situation in Sweden.

  2. Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

    Hi Stuart

    I’ve concentrated on UK partly for simplicity – the US and Europe have much in common, but the US is complicated by its size and range of latitude.

    You’re better equipped to comment on the NZ scene. Probably on Australia, too – what I see there is more about abuse of civil rights than public health: it’s an entire continent, after all, so seems unreasonable to treat it as an isolation ward for a single virus with a low lethality for most.

    Certainly as an island nation you’ve insulated yourselves in the same way that America was isolated from the Old World until the conquistadores arrived and epidemics wiped out millions. Were there any similar disease depradations amongst the Maoris when Europeans arrived, I wonder? But you’re an example of how the old guidelines were valid – few cases, so track and trace effective. Early isolation, so quarantining the well at least worked (a good question is whether quarantining only the sick and banning foreign travel would have worked as well, at lower cost).

    My feeling is that the problem now is whether you want to be isolated from the pool of COVID-19 for ever. If not, I guess you have to hope for artificial immunity from vaccines – which has, of course, has yet to be evaluated against the natural sort, side effects, and so on. The financial cost is greater than natural immunity – but our costs have been escalated out of all proportion by our panic response: we are literally bankrupting ourselves, and making ourselves sicker, too. If, like most vaccines, they don’t actually protect all (as per flu) then you may still have to face a bad year when the borders are opened. Let’s hope you don’t follow our example if that happens.

    But I’m pretty sure that one way or the other, herd immunity will eventually put you back into circulation, and maybe I can see South island again before I die! I can’t see any valid science behind these “nothing can ever be the same again, and hugs will be impossible in the new world” claims. Indeed, they are what turns “bad science” into “sinister policy.”

    The bottom line is that this is a variant of an old bug with cross-immunity, is behaving like a typical seasonal Coronavirus, has a fatality rate similar to flu, and a death count here that is pretty much the same as winter two years ago.

    Sweden is a classic case, both of textbook management (apart from stupidly listening to WHO advice to get the elderly out of hospitals and into care homes), and of sour grapes from the rest of Europe, which was hoping it would come a cropper and vindicate their own mad-scientist policies.

    But it clearly hasn’t come a cropper, despite minimal, targeted precautions. The initial epidemic was somewhat less severe than ours, though ours had a shorter tail that might have been the effect of lockdown. Life went on, and goes on, more or less as normal. And now they have about the smallest winter death rate in Europe – I believe September was the second lowest mortality on record there. Its economy has suffered only from the policies of others.

    The frequent adverse comparisons with Norway, Finland and Denmark didn’t take into account that Sweden had a much lower winter mortality the last couple of years, so there was more low hanging fruit, as there was in most of the badly hit Northern European nations. But Sweden’s winter is looking better than theirs. Some of Sweden’s people are twitched about increasing positive tests, but see “Casedemic,” given the poor correlation with morbidity. They are having a light, normal winter – we’re having an average normal winter, with a peak possibly due to restrictions limiting spread of COVID in the summer, when it would have caused least harm. It looks as though that peak’s passing now.

    Belarus has also done well from not locking down (I suspect more by inertia than judgement). Their deaths have been low and fairly evenly spread – possibly because more southern.

    My overall impression is that we can explain most of what’s going on now, always appreciating the complexity of epidemiology. Whereas the official narrative is utterly opaque and full of esoteric lore propagated by wizards.

    Ivor Cummins points out that, unfortunately, they may be able to spin the story forever with a placebo cure: they’ll keep us locked down until Spring, when COVID is likely to fade permanently, but meanwhile will have spent another king’s ransom on vaccination, to which they will attribute its diminution. Fear of its return will enable them, if desired, to make vaccination every few months permanent, making them look like saviours rather than the cause of millions of deaths and a shattered economy long-term. But having shares in the vaccine companies helps insulate them from any adverse criticism!

  3. Stuart Kaye Stuart Kaye says:

    You young people are very dismissive of your elders. At 82 I do not like being described as “low hanging fruit”!
    Nevertheless, please look us up next time you are in Godzone, although we live north of Auckland and you may have been in the North Island before.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      But the low hanging fruit is the ripest! 🙂

      I’ve not been to North Island: one set of distant relatives live there, one of whom was the first Kiwi to fly solo round the world. And my brother’s good schoolfriend, Simon Morris, I believe had a cult radio show somewhere up there.

      The way things are looking, I won’t be granted a travel permit by either government.

  4. Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

    After being severely down-voted on Twitter, the DOH tweet has been removed – but neither an apology, nor an actual defence against the Daily Mail, has appeared.

    Science and proper journalism 1: government propaganda 0

  5. Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

    Update: Ivor Cummins now cites no less than 22 papers that show lockdowns have minimal or no effect on deaths and hospitalisations… and don’t forget the papers that show that delaying the spread of the disease, if you can do it, increases COVID deaths.

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