Faking it for lockdown

At the start of this pandemic this web site was (literally) screaming for the government to introduce lockdown measures. I simply read the statements from the WHO, saw what was happening in Italy and applied my basic GCSE level knowledge of biology. I was right. The UK government (Johnson, Hancock, Vallance and Whitty) delay in introducing the first lockdown earlier led to the completely needless deaths of tens of thousands of people.

And now the question is whether they are not restricting too much. The key point here is this; had the lockdowns and quarantines been driven by medical-scientific reasons with the aim of reducing the spread of the virus then they would have been brought in at the beginning. But by bringing them in later (especially quarantine for arrivals to UK shores – which measure was brought in almost exactly one year too late) and maintaining them in the face of dramatic falls in deaths (excess deaths are currently below the seasonal average) we can ask; are the reasons for these lockdowns and quarantines anything to do with medical science? Or, perhaps, they’ve just discovered a taste of restricting the liberty of the population?

Total excess deaths in the UK to March 2021 appears to be around 123,000. [1] Currently deaths are below average. [2] Presumably because people who would normally be dying off now have been taken early by Covid. Of these, 30,000 occurred in Care Homes. [3] Virtually every single one of these deaths was avoidable; simply by blocking anyone without a recent negative PCR test entering a care home and using social distancing measures within care homes. Deduct these 30,000 avoidable deaths and we are left with 93,000. Now deduct the numbers of avoidable deaths caused by the late lockdowns. These figures are contested but here are some examples:

Delay to initial lockdown: 21,000 avoidable deaths [4]

Delay to Winter 2021 lockdown: 27,000 avoidable deaths [5]

Of course had the first lockdown been brought in earlier and the overall pandemic reduced then the second figure above would be lower.

The failure to bring in an early quarantine – i.e. to stop thousands of selfish rich people coming back from plague-ridden Italy bringing the virus with them in March 2020 would have reduced the overall death count by a huge amount. [6] Let’s guess 30,000.

Now let’s deduct our 50,000 deaths (failure to being in early lockdown and quarantine) from our 93,000 and we are left with 43,000 – not much more than in a bad flu season.

Ok. These figures are estimates and contestable (especially my figure for the effect of no quarantine; though no one disputes that this would have had a large effect), but the main point remains. Robust early measures as recommended by the WHO (and as this web site was calling for) would have massively reduced the overall excess death toll in the UK. To the extent that we would probably not need lockdowns now.

The problem is that, precisely, the government (including the government’s medical advisers) have not been ‘led by the science’. They believe, because it is the paradigm of the day, in surveillance as a cure. So they have spent billions on a largely irrelevant [7] test and trace regime (Covid testing is a form of surveillance and house-quarantine for even contacts of positive tests a disciplinary measure). And they have a blind faith in lockdowns because they just think (unconsciously perhaps) – if we punish and discipline the population that will work. It does for everything else. This is seen very clearly in the authoritarian behaviour of the police and local authorities which has frequently exceeded their lawful authority. Emblematic of excessive police action was the apparent belief of police in Derbyshire that stopping people walking as a couple in the fresh air was going to help reduce the pandemic. Had we had lockdowns for scientific-medical reasons we would have had them early and we would now be over them. As it is we have them because of a blind faith in government in applying disciplinary systems on the mass population – mass systems of surveillance and punishment. And this is also why we haven’t had them in targeted contexts such as care homes where they would have actually made a difference. The reason the government keeps faking the figures (the most recent scam to be exposed is how they have been passing off all deaths where someone had a Covid diagnosis has having been ’caused’ by Covid; a previous example involved using out of date data) is because the current lockdown and quarantine measures cannot be fully justified in medical and scientific terms.

The mistake they are making is that they don’t understand the scientific and rational basis for lockdowns and quarantines. So they misapply them. And then have to (probably unconsciously) fake the figures to justify them.

It is easy to establish that gross stupidity and failure to proceed scientifically has led to a vastly inflated and unnecessary death toll. In fact while we can argue about the exact numbers this basic point is incontestable. It is quite weird in this context to see Ministers and their Health advisers carrying on as if nothing has happened. The reality is so egregious that one cannot help but wonder if there hasn’t been something nastier than sheer incompetence at work here. Are the excess deaths simply understood as acceptable collateral damage in some other project?

Notes

  1. https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-a-year-on-from-lockdown-watershed-moment-brings-some-relief-but-this-is-far-from-over-12254506
  2. https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiYmUwNmFhMjYtNGZhYS00NDk2LWFlMTAtOTg0OGNhNmFiNGM0IiwidCI6ImVlNGUxNDk5LTRhMzUtNGIyZS1hZDQ3LTVmM2NmOWRlODY2NiIsImMiOjh9
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53280011
  4. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/coronavirus-dithering-delay-cost-21000-lives-spring-analysis/
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/18/delaying-englands-winter-lockdown-caused-up-to-27000-extra-covid-deaths
  6. https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-quarantine-delay-let-up-to-10-000-travellers-bring-covid-19-to-uk-senior-mps-12042620 / https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-55919040
  7. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-56340831

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer