Many people have put forward many suggestions to the question that Chris Snowdon believes the asking of to be equivalent to “anti-science”; although, isn’t the asking of questions the definition of science..?
Others have said that the onus is not on the sceptics or anti-lockdowners to provide the justification, only to point out that the data does not support the lockdowns.
Others say that we cannot determine how much worse it would be without lockdowns; the response is to point at Sweden or Florida, at which point the doubters tell the sceptics that that isn’t a fair comparison.
One argument that isn’t often put forward is the very simple one of applying the IFR as set out by the WHO across 80% of the population. When 80% of a population has immunity to a virus, as is to be expected to be obtained in this case, then we achieve a robust level of the bizarrely feared “herd immunity”. 0.23% applied to 80% of the UK population would leave a tragic toll of 123,000 dead.
However, given that deaths within 28 days of a positive test stand at 122,415, and deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate stand at 135,613, it stands to reason that one can say, with a good degree of certainty, that things would not have been any worse without lockdowns.
However, we are currently in a situation where the anti-lockdowners are considered loonies by the lockdowners, and the lockdowners are considered lazy, simple, or manipulated by the mainstream media.
Therefore, the only way to progress is to put forward the answer to the question of why lockdowns “don’t work”, because otherwise, as Snowdon states in the Great Debate, we must contend with the contradiction that either it’s a lack of compliance that stops the lockdowns working (and therefore we can’t lay the blame for all the harms at the feet of the lockdown), or that people would have behaved as they did under lockdown with only guidelines in place instead of lockdowns.
But let’s start with the issue of how people would have behaved without mandatory restrictions in place. I believe it’s highly likely that had I been able to continue playing sport, seeing people in pubs, and working in the office that I would have seen fewer people at home. I also believe that had these parts of my life been left to me that I would have been able to stay in my apartment in London living alone and would not have been forced to move back home with others where the risk of the virus being brought into the home and spread there is obviously increasing with each person you live with. It’s also inevitable that had I been able to continue doing my shopping online that I would have come into contact with fewer people in the supermarkets.
Can these factors be applied countrywide though? To an extent that is certainly sufficient for them to be considered, but what about all those who have stayed on their own in little flats in London or other major cities?
Extended periods of isolation lead to loneliness – to dispute this is to delve into anti-science. This is important not just because it is the collateral damage of the lockdowns, but because loneliness is a killer. Cacioppo published a paper stating that extreme loneliness increases the risk of premature death in the elderly by 14% (three times the IFR suggested by the worst case scenarios for Covid-19 and the elderly; and Hawkley states in a 2015 paper that “Cortisol has immunosuppressive effects, and elevated cortisol levels in lonely individuals were associated with lower natural killer cell activity and poorer T-lymphocyte responses to mitogen stimulation” and that “loneliness was associated with poorer antibody response to a component of the flu vaccine.”
Not only have the lockdowns increased loneliness, dramatically increasing chance of premature death, suppressing immune systems, and potentially reducing the efficacy of the vaccine, but we have been catastrophically and perpetually placed in a state of fear, further driving up cortisol levels and deepening these issues.
There are two other arguments I’m going to make; first is the argument around asymptomatic spread. As written up by Jonathan Engler and Clare Criag, the case for this is “woeful”. The question that is therefore posed is, how much symptomatic spread have the lockdowns prevented? It stands to reason that the answer would be, not very much. If sick people are sick, then they tend not to be very keen on going out and partying with or without a lockdown.
“But!” Cry the lockdowners, “we are a country notoriously bad at going to work when we have a cold!”
Thank you, this is my final argument, and it is the same one Sir Desmond Swayne made in the commons earlier this week: when those people with mild cold symptoms don’t go out and spread their softer, milder strains of the virus, those strains go out of circulation, removing the possibility of immunity that can be gained from those easily beaten strains, and leaving the population susceptible to the more aggressive strains when they have to go into hospital for any reason at all.
Now, is it necessarily the case that all I’ve said here is certainly, categorically and scientifically true? No, because I only have the same medical and epidemiological qualifications as Neil Ferguson, but there is more than enough in here to say with confidence that there are reasons why the lockdowns might not work, why the impact of reduced social interaction might be reversed, and without robust proof against these arguments – which does not exist, the Government does not have a legitimate claim to implement them.
So… Get out. See a friend. Share a hug.