March 25, 2021 | Why we must never lockdown again | by gary sidley | Coronababble | Source
“At a coronavirus press conference on the 22nd of February the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, shared his ‘roadmap’ outlining the UK’s route out of lockdown. On several occasions in his presentation, Mr Johnson emphasised that each step to release the unprecedented restrictions must be irreversible. Contrary to previous expressed intentions, let us hope that his resolve on this issue is unshakeable: we must never again lockdown the country.
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’.
1. LOCKDOWNS DO NOT REDUCE COVID-19 MORTALITY
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. A sample of these research reports, along with their conclusions regarding the impact of lockdown, is provided below:
a) Data analysis of 50 countries up until April 2020 deduced that, ‘Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people’.
b) A comparison of the epidemic trajectories in Italy, UK, Spain and France before and after the lockdown found that lockdowns ‘might not have saved any life in western Europe’, nor did they have any impact on infection growth rate. A further finding was that, ‘Neighbouring countries applying less restrictive social distancing measures … experience a very similar time evolution of the epidemic’.
c) Comparing empirical data from states in the USA that had varying degrees of restrictions led the author to conclude that, ‘Lockdowns do not reduce COVID-19 deaths’.
d) An exploration of the all-cause death rates in 24 different countries found ‘No clear association between lockdown policies and mortality development’.
e) An analysis of the data on viral growth rates around the start of the pandemic revealed that, ‘The spread of the coronavirus in Germany receded autonomously, before any interventions became effective’.
f) Analysis of case numbers and COVID-19 deaths led to the assertion that, ‘The currently most reliable data strongly suggest that the decline in infections in England and Wales began before lockdown’.
g) Another exploration of the relevant data reached a similar conclusion, stating that the initial UK lockdown was ‘superfluous’ (in failing to prevent viral spread) and ‘ineffective’ (in failing to slow the death rate).”