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The risk of eternal lockdown The implications for human rights could be worryingly far-reaching

Credit: David Cliff/NurPhoto/ Getty

Credit: David Cliff/NurPhoto/ Getty


February 8, 2021   6 mins

Periods of society-wide threats are danger-times for rights. Anxious populations tend to accept restrictions on liberty which would be strongly resisted at other, more peaceful, moments. During the “War on Terror” which followed the 9/11 attacks, detention without trial, mass surveillance and torture were authorised by liberal democracies. We may be seeing that dynamic repeated today, as the legally enforced social-distancing restrictions put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19 raise some of the most difficult questions in modern times about life, liberty and the basic tenets of democracy.

Human rights law has built into it a deep scepticism of state power, particularly of the untrammelled variety, and so it is a useful lens through which to consider lockdowns. After the Second World War, human rights laws were created to ensure that even during those danger times certain basic rights were protected. But the basic psychology of threats and emergencies remain.

So let us consider a year of Covid-19. Twelve months ago, the first two cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the UK. Fifty days later, on 23 March, the Prime Minister announced that he would “give the British people a very simple instruction — you must stay at home”. Three days after that, the first set of emergency lockdown regulations arrived. These were undoubtedly the most severe restrictions on liberty imposed in peacetime, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock reportedly described them as “Napoleonic”. “In lockdown”, he told the Cabinet, in a reversal of the usual principle of English law that whatever is not explicitly prohibited is permitted: “people would be forbidden from doing anything unless the legislation said, in terms, that they could”.

It is extraordinary that restrictions which a judge described as “possibly the most restrictive regime on the public life of persons and businesses ever”, could be made without prior Parliamentary scrutiny. But it took just 11 pages of law and one signature for Matt Hancock to impose the 26 March lockdown, which came into effect the moment he put down the pen.

Those 11 pages closed all non-essential businesses, meaning that people could only leave their homes if they had a “reasonable excuse”, and largely banned gatherings between people not of the same household. Any breaches could be punished. The police were also given power to take “such action as is necessary” to break up gatherings or ensure business closed.

That first lockdown — all 11 pages of it — was, in fact, stricter than the two that followed. The current lockdown law is over 120 pages, and a long list of exceptions — involving bubbles, animal welfare, picketing and “death bed visits” — have been added to the (deceptively) simple edict to stay at home. The rules for businesses have become more complicated too. 64 sets of regulations have followed the first, all using the same emergency procedure. And while the severity of social distancing measures has ebbed and flowed, at no point have they been entirely withdrawn. It is therefore possible to argue that lockdown has never ended, just changed shape.

Indeed, the meaning of “lockdown” remains elusive. It is generally understood as not being able to leave our homes except in limited circumstances. But there are other measures, such as non-essential business and school closures, and bans on gatherings, which some people, and the government, consider part of “lockdown”. There are also the self-isolation rules which became legal requirements at the end of September. These are stricter than the lockdown rules themselves, allowing for leaving home only in emergencies

Some of these measures have a long history. The Old Testament contains rules for individual quarantine. City-wide institutional restrictions were developed to prevent the spread of plague in the Middle Ages. In his 1665 diary of the Plague, Daniel Defoe records measures to prevent public and private gatherings, feasts and begging. Curfews and travel bans were also enacted. During the 1918-1920 Spanish Flu pandemic, American cities prohibited public gatherings, and closed schools, churches and theatres with varying degrees of success.

But the idea of city or even nationwide lockdowns is of recent vintage. The 2002-4 SARS outbreak led to city-wide restrictions and a guarded quarantine of a housing estate. Mexico imposed a national lockdown to contain the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak. And national lockdowns were imposed in Sierra Leone to control Ebola in 2013 to 2014. The Sierra Leone lockdown was criticised at the time for being heavy-handed, causing food shortages and driving social activity underground. The reality is that, prior to Covid-19, large-scale lockdown had been rare and their efficacy unproven.

So have Covid-19 lockdowns been justified? Were they worth it? And at what cost? These crucial questions, after a year spent in stasis, have become highly politicised — and so even harder to answer.

The starting point must be the indisputable seriousness of Covid-19, a once-in-a-century virus. It spreads easily and in many cases asymptomatically, has a relatively high fatality rate which, when combined with excessive transmission, has already led to over 100,000 deaths in the UK alone. It also causes lasting damage in some survivors. If it is allowed to move through the population at speed, there would be too many serious cases for hospitals to manage.

To put it bluntly, this is as serious a pandemic as the modern world has faced. It therefore requires the kind of restrictions to limit social contact which we have seen during other plagues, such as the quarantine of infectious individuals and gatherings bans. After 10 months of restrictions it appears that the three separate periods of lockdown have assisted in bringing transmission rates under control and saved lives — although the range of measures makes it difficult to know exactly which will work. This is one of the most difficult apects of assessing lockdowns; we cannot say for sure which measures will work and why. And because of the many psychologies of populations experiencing a pandemic, some measures may work in a particular place and time, but not elsewhere and later.

The next question is what restrictions on other liberties, such as preventing ordinary family interactions or stopping children attending school, can therefore be justified and if so to what extent. In human rights law, a number of rights, such as to family life, free speech, peaceful enjoyment of property and education, may be interfered with but only if the interference is for a legitimate reason and is proportionate to the end sought — in other words, is no more than is necessary.

Even if certain lockdown restrictions are proportionate, that does not mean they all are, or that they can be allowed to become permanent. There are three main areas of concern.

First, some lockdown measures work but they have serious knock-on effects including a shrinking economy (which itself causes higher mortality), delayed cancer treatment and surgery. The move to online education has most severely affected those from lower socio-economic groups. While this doesn’t negate the need for restrictions, it illustrates how damaging they can be and why they must only be used for as long as necessary and no longer.

Second, the method by which lockdown has been imposed in England borders on anti-democratic. There may have been justification in March for using emergency procedures to bypass Parliament but there has not been since. The most severe legal restrictions on liberty require the gold standard of democratic accountability, not a rushed procedure which side-lines Parliament. This has likely led to illiberal outcomes, for example the explicit allowance for protest being removed in early December, meaning that it is unclear whether socially-distanced outdoor protests are a criminal offence or not.

Protest is the lifeblood of liberal society; in a democracy its legality should never be in doubt. It appears the same democratic deficit will apply to the incoming hotel quarantine rules, which involve detaining potentially thousands of citizens. Such an important law should be properly scrutinised.

Third, the lockdown laws themselves have become overly-complex, poorly communicated and almost impossible for a non-lawyer (including the police) to digest. Guidance and law have become elided by both politicians and public, leading to wrongful enforcement and widespread confusion. Then there are the exceptions. On one level, it is positive that exceptions have been added to allow for the many vicissitudes of human life, but they have been at the expense of simplicity.

So we have to ask: have our lockdowns been strict enough to be worth it? This raises something of a paradox from a rights perspective. The UK has one of the highest death rates in the world. Is this because our lockdowns have been too late and too loose, particularly in their later iterations? Might our looser lockdowns, taking into account their collateral damage, been all sound and fury without accomplishing very much, and might stricter, earlier lockdowns have been more justified?

The question of whether lockdowns have been proportionate is a tricky one. But there is an urgent question for the coming weeks. If the vaccination drive works as planned, and those who are most likely to die from Covid-19 are vaccinated by Spring, the proportionality of lockdown measures will shift. If rates of serious illness and death from Covid plummet, then the justification for general restrictions on liberties will diminish. This will, of course, also depend on whether new strains emerge which are vaccine-resistant.

But hard questions will need to be asked as to what to do next, and it will require a rights-based approach to resolve. It is essential that we don’t enter a semi-permanent state of emergency laws and basic rights switched on and off by the government at will and without democratic scrutiny. Lockdowns may have been necessary, but we cannot be locked down forever.


Adam Wagner is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and the host of the Better Human Podcast

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Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago

Adam Wagner says: The starting point must be the indisputable seriousness of Covid-19, a once-in-a-century virus. It spreads easily and in many cases asymptomatically, has a relatively high fatality rate which, when combined with excessive transmission, has already led to over 100,000 deaths in the UK alone. It also causes lasting damage in some survivors. If it is allowed to move through the population at speed, there would be too many serious cases for hospitals to manage.
Is the seriousness of ‘Covid-19’ indisputable?
Remember that many people who encounter the virus SARS-CoV-2 will not progress to serious disease, i.e. ‘Covid-19’.
We also need more evidence about ‘lasting damage’ after this virus, this also occurs with other viral infections.
There’s also a very big question mark over the classification of ‘cases’ with this virus, due to unreliable PCR testing.
As for the 100,000 deaths attributed to Covid-19 in the UK over the past year, this must be viewed in the context of a country with a population of over 60 million, with around 600,000 deaths expected each year.
The way in which deaths are attributed to Covid-19 is also very questionable, just how many deaths are accurately attributed this way?
As for hospitals having too many ‘cases’ to manage, every year the NHS experiences problems dealing with flu etc. And if treatments and preventatives such as vitamin D had been promoted, instead of being suppressed to facilitate the fast-tracked experimental coronavirus vaccine products under very questionable FDA Emergency Use Authorizations, perhaps the death toll attributed to Covid-19 would have been much reduced?
There is a growing ageing population. Longer lives don’t mean people will be in good health, more likely the opposite in fact, with ageing populations being an increasing burden on the health services. So if people want to live longer, the health services will have to grow and adapt.
It’s insane to expect the general population should give up their social and economic lives to supposedly protect the health services, how has this ridiculous idea been allowed to take hold?
The bureaucracy needs to be overturned, particularly the likes of SAGE and the politicians in their thrall, time to bring these individuals to account for the social and economic disaster that has been allowed to unfold.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Is the seriousness of ‘Covid-19’ indisputable?

Yes

We also need more evidence about ‘lasting damage’ after this virus

And then in a couple years time you have the evidence, then what? Turn back time? After millions have had it? Pretty wreckless strategy there

There’s also a very big question mark over the classification of ‘cases’ with this virus, due to unreliable PCR testing.

If you’re struggling to trust any data you’re coming across, take a stroll down memory lane and read accounts of how quickly this spread in Italy of MARCH 2020 and how quickly their hospitals were collapsing in a matter of weeks – that’s a good datum for a starting point.

this must be viewed in the context of a country with a population of over 60 million

Most illnesses don’t affect hundreds of thousands of people all at the same time. That’s a very very different situation.

The way in which deaths are attributed to Covid-19 is also very questionable, just how many deaths are accurately attributed this way?

Once again if you can’t trust any numbers you hear, just talk to a doctor or nurse or literally anyone near a hospital in a city in the UK (or any country for that matter). One group of people who aren’t suspicious of the numbers they hear is the people seeing what’s happening first hand – curious no?

As for hospitals having too many ‘cases’ to manage, every year the NHS experiences problems dealing with flu etc.

When was the last time that most cancer treatment was cancelled because of the flu? Speak to any hospital worker, none of them would describe this as akin to flu season

So if people want to live longer, the health services will have to grow and adapt.

Again you’re focusing entirely on deathrate here, but what do you think it looks like when there is no hospital capacity, and millions of people needing medical attention, all at the same time?

The bureaucracy needs to be overturned

What bureaucracy, the global one? Every single country on the planet is responding with different but extreme measures.

time to bring these individuals to account

It would be great to hold these viruses to account yes, but they have rights too no?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Excellent response.

CL van Beek
CL van Beek
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

“Every single country on the planet is responding with different but extreme measures”. Except for Sweden, Croatia, Florida, South Dakota, amongst others.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  CL van Beek

South Africa only had one hard lockdown last year and still the epidemic curve rose and fell. The surge we have just experienced had no hard lockdown, just some restrictions many of them which had no bearing on the virus.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
3 years ago

Despite a lighter lockdown, SA has 775 deaths per million population compared to the UK’s 1,651. Meanwhile, the UK Government is whipping up fear about the SA variant and imposing even stricter measures, such as hotel quarantine, when there is no evidence to show that it is any more deadly than the variants currently circulating in the UK.

Karen Burgess
Karen Burgess
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

You do have to look at the age profile of the UK compared with SA

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Re Italy, who could possibly forget all the dramatic footage that flooded the media when this thing started…
The blueprint for the response to this virus is Event 201, a simulation of a coronavirus outbreak, which was held in October 2019, convened by the World Economic Forum, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. An amazing coincidence this occurring before the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.
Check out Segment 4 of the Event 201 videos, the Communications Discussion, where the participants in the simulation discuss flooding the media with information about the pandemic, making sure they control the narrative.
And that’s what we witnessed in the mainstream media in the real world event, non-stop alarm, and constant reporting re ‘cases’ and deaths, with a particular emphasis on ‘cases’ because they really had trouble cobbling together the death numbers…
In the Event 201 scenario, their simulated pandemic resulted in 65 million deaths in the first 18 months, but in the real world they’re up to around 2.3 million deaths over 12 months, and those figures have to be seen in the context of a global population of around 7.8 billion, where 59 million would have been expected to die in the past year.
Back to Italy, it appears there have been problems with hospitals in the Lombardy region for a while, for example look for this article published in January 2018, titled Milano, terapie intensive al collasso per l’influenza: già 48 malati gravi molte operazioni rinviate. English translation:Milan, intensive care collapsing due to flu: 48 seriously ill patients have already been postponed many operations. (I was able to translate the article to English on the internet.)
Also, I understand treatment via ventilators was a problem, a deadly problem.
What’s desperately needed now is independent and objective retrospective critical analysis of the handling of this coronavirus situation, including careful examination of global statistics, including the definition of ‘cases’, and the attribution of deaths to Covid-19.
And yes, there may well have been excess deaths due to this virus, as has happened in the past without society being upended.
I question the ill-targeted and disproportionate response to this virus, and those responsible must be brought to account.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

You’re missing the point. Stop focusing on deathcount for a second; what do you think it looks like when there is no hospital capacity, and millions of people needing medical attention, all at the same time?

The point was not about the specifics of Italian healthcare, it is about looking at the rate of spread of a virus and having and some understanding of multiplicative events. If you’re convinced that the events in Italy were a mere strategic fabrication by the folks at TheMedia .com , just speak to anyone that works at a hospital in a city, wherever you live.

With regards to modelling, it is almost impossible to model such events because they are just too complex. A lot of those models are run on assumptions that everybody continues behaving exactly as they do, but that isn’t true. In places where there are no governments to enforce anything, people take matters into their own hands by naturally avoiding people and wearing masks etc. (And they certainly don’t sit on facebook bickering about whether they work or not). And in that 12 month period in which you say that more people were predicted to die, you’re ignoring how much connectivity had reduced already. Fewer flights, lockdowns had begun all over the world, mask-wearing, instinctive social distancing etc. which the models don’t, and can’t factor in.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Really Stan Glib, what is your point?
You just want the world to shut down forever?
Despite all the opprobrium shovelled on them, Sweden seemed to be doing pretty well, a neat little control group for us to observe.
And then…when the vaccine was ready to be rolled out…it all seemed to change. All of a sudden things weren’t so good apparently, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and King Carl XVI Gustaf said so, and Anders Tegnell folded.
Was it anything to do with the British-Swedish AstraZeneca, and the lucrative global market for coronavirus vaccine products that beckons?

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

a neat little control group for us to observe.

This is bad reasoning, again. Imagine for a second that every single country OTHER than Sweden had a zero-covid approach, and Sweden carried on as it was. It would still slow the spread inside Sweden because there would be no connectivity to the rest of the world! All countries are intertwined, what is China’s problem is Sweden’s problem is Australia’s problem is your problem and my problem.

What do I want? What I want is to stop seeing the Unherd comment section flooded with rattled, useless rants by people who can’t wrap their head around how this is different to a bad flu season.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

And what I want is to stop seeing the UnHerd comment section dominated by people who want to wallow in this virus forever.
Fix it. Find effective treatments. Promote appropriate preventatives. Encourage people to live healthy lives. Expand the health service as necessary.
It is weird and sinister that there are people who want to curb people’s lives and shut down society.

Steve Dean
Steve Dean
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Agree with your solutions, but they won’t be delivered, this week/month/year, will they? What do you suggest we do until the world is a better place as far as Covid is concerned?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

What I want to stop seeing is *illogical* people wallowing in lockdowns and the virus. Truly this is bad for the health of millions more people than will ever get the virus.

gbauer
gbauer
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Yes. There is indeed a fate worse than death.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

One significant preventative measure is masks, but not many here want any measures that change their way of life. You won’t even persuade them to make a minor irritating adjustment, so what now?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Well put. I too wonder why massive resources weren’t put into expanding public health services, even temporarily, right at the start of the pandemic, so there wasn’t a risk of the whole system “collapsing” under the weight of an explosion of seriously ill people, the whole justification for jailing an entire population. It’s not like those resources were never available, in the wealthiest countries of the world, and with ample warning and time to prepare. I keep thinking of the Navy hospital ship sent to NYC harbour, which never got used. How could such a resource remain unused, in a supposed public health crisis?

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago

Because it doesn’t matter how much you scale up the hospital capacity, when the virus spreads at an exponential rate. If you’re going to ask these silly questions over and over at least read the answers.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

The projections about how this virus would spread, and how fast, were all wrong. They were based on absolute worst-case scenarios, imagining this virus was both far more easily transmitted and far more deadly than any other virus ever known, eg., “Asymptomatic person exposed to virus gets on bus with 30 other people, every person on bus infected, every person gets sick and dies, after each infecting at least 5 other people, who all get sick and die…” It was unscientific and nonsensical. If the virus had just been allowed to run its course, the health care system would have coped, or if they hadn’t, they would have been piss poor at their jobs, for which the taxpayers pay a huge amount of money. They are SUPPOSED to be able to cope with occasional, temporary crises like this one. What were people with cancer told during the Blitz, that they couldn’t go in for surgery or treatment because hospital beds had to be freed up for bombing victims?

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago

Literally no models were predicting

‘every person on bus infected, every person gets sick and dies’.

It was already clear that only about 5 – 15% needed hospitalization in around Jan 2020.

‘If the virus had just been allowed to run its course’

– It was, between December 2019 and Early 2020, and eventually no populated place could handle the number of people needing hospitalization.

‘They are SUPPOSED to be able to cope with occasional, temporary crises like this one.’

This is like blaming a nurse because they couldn’t handle the number of burns victims from a building that is still on fire and still spreading. Hospitals won’t reduce human connectivity, it’s just damage control. Firefighters stop fires, not the nurses.

It does not matter how much capacity/staff a hospital has, if transmission is going up exponentially quickly. Google the terms ‘exponential’, ‘multiplicative’, and ‘second order effects’ for a start.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

My point was that they probably came up with that ridiculously inflated deaths projection number by assuming that all or most people within proximity of a person carrying the virus would be infected. That’s not the way it works, even with the most infectious viruses. Especially not when a carrier has no symptoms. If they did work that way, I would have gotten the flu or at least a cold every time I attended a crowded indoor event in the past. When I lived in Japan I regularly traveled in sardine-packed trains and subways and went to nightclubs so crammed with people one could barely move. I also went to many galleries and museums, which were always very crowded on weekends. Most people didn’t wear masks, and certainly not in bars or nighclubs. Never got sick, except a couple of times in the dead of winter.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago

they probably came up with that ridiculously inflated deaths projection number by assuming that all or most people within proximity of a person carrying the virus would be infected

– so this is wild speculation based on nothing so I’ll just ignore this part.

Aside from that, you’re talking about other illnesses there, such as cold and flu. This is a completely different virus.

In the scenarios you gave here, you’re right that *surely* you would have caught something. But remember, you were likely sharing pathogens which didn’t develop into anything because of your and others’ immune system. At a certain viral load, they will develop if you can’t fight it off, right?

And for whatever reasons, it is clear that COVID either somehow transmits easier than other viruses, or, peoples’ immune systems can’t fight small viral loads off as easily as colds/flus and all the viruses we catch which never amount to anything.

If you disagree with me regarding all that, just strip things down to the bare basics; Without knowing anything about the way a virus spreads, one could look at the rate at which people were needing hospitalisation with similar symptoms to know that something was spreading at a rate that would soon overwhelm hospitals, thus transmission had to be reduced somehow.

Karen Burgess
Karen Burgess
3 years ago

One can expand physical infrastructure and equipment more quickly than doctors and nurses can be trained. Already there was a large shortage of medical professionals prior to Covid. They can’t be magicked into existence in the space of a few months.

Liewe Lotta
Liewe Lotta
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Some of us “ranting” people are actual virologists/scientists/doctors/epidemiologists working in the field with many years of experience.

Whereas this virus was a disaster for a small percentage the old and infirm, it is now an economic and social (by extension health) disaster for the young and healthy. Congratulations, we’ve ruined the lives of our children to save ourselves.

gbauer
gbauer
3 years ago
Reply to  Liewe Lotta

I agree. A society that sacrifices its young for its old does not have my respect, and I’m 64. This doesn’t mean that I “want old people to die.” I’m just more concerned about giving young people the opportunities that I had and creating the conditions for them to live fulfilling lives.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  gbauer

Hear! hear! I’m 68. 🙂

TIM HUTCHENCE
TIM HUTCHENCE
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

So Sweden’s hospital weren’t over-run because all their neighbours locked down?!! I’d love to be on your side of the argument – you don’t need any facts, just assert when challenged that Armageddon happens unless you trust what I say.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  TIM HUTCHENCE

In a globally connected world, what happens in one country affects all other countries. You dispute that?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

You are doing a great job and I don’t want to steal your thunder. For some reason, people believe that they can do a summary of events as they see them and that it is useful. How is it useful to anybody?

I have been with UnHerd for 5 weeks and find it stuck in a groove like a record. Constant facts and analysis of things people have said or done. Meanwhile, the Left has real ideas. With the wisdom of maturity these facts are rubbish but as a young person they would be devastating.
‘The old people on the Right, the fat cats, have destroyed the world for us. Time for them to go and make a new world for us. Who cares about civil liberties or industry or wealth or property. Take it all away, scale down, grow our own vegetables and be happy again.’

Are there any counter ideas instead of constant analysis of the problems?

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Because it isn’t worse than a bad flu season, look at the statistics by the ONS. Overall mortality for 2020 is not worse than an average year. So where are the thousands of extra covid deaths? Also many of those deaths were CAUSED by the lockdown, by withdrawing treatment and undiagnosed serious illnesses.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Crisp

What do you mean, where are the excess? The lockdowns are to prevent the spread in the first place, hence they don’t happen, hence the figures are what they are. They’re preventative measures, that’s the whole point.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

This is pure misinformation and a loony conspiracy theory. In fact, Sweden has very high excess deaths starting from last spring, just as U.K. does. Also a big economic hit.

Debate policy on the basis of the world as it is, not as you want it to be.

(I posted a link to the Swedish government stats showing excess deaths in a comment to Mr Sayers’ “Zero Covid” article, so you can check that. I won’t post it again here because the moderators take days to approve any comment with an external link in it.)

SC Fung
SC Fung
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

I have to defend Elizabeth here – she is raising a valid point (or many valid points actually) about the lockdown strategy and the negative reporting by the media to dumb us down into defeat, without any positive news at all. Daily Sky reports figures of doom and gloom without qualification. Death rate seems to be a dead cert, without questioning what the causes were. Save the NHS? What a joke. As some doctors friends of mine said – the NHS is supposed to save us! Not the other way round. The NHS must be overhauled and refitted to suit the country’s needs.

Liewe Lotta
Liewe Lotta
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Failure of governments to anticipate and plan for seasonal viral hospitalizations results in many unnecessary deaths. Medical personnel have been warning and pleading for more beds/help for years. This is a monumental world wide government failure – wrecking the lives of many of their citizens in the process.

And still they do not stop. Vaccination for Coronavirus and despotic measures will never bring this mess under control. Pay attention to prophylaxis and community health and we might get somewhere

TIM HUTCHENCE
TIM HUTCHENCE
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

You’re missing the point. NHS capacity isn’t a static and can be and is increased during times of stress. The trick is to learn how to do this effectively every winter. And have something in place – like for instance a million trained ‘reservists’ – to help when the next pandemic arrives. Not easy for sure and will require significant military-esque style planning.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  TIM HUTCHENCE

You don’t get it, at all: It doesn’t matter how much you scale up hospital capacity, all that does is delay the point at which it becomes overwhelmed. The virus spreads at an exponential rate, you cannot scale hospital capacity at the same exponential rate.

Alex Camm
Alex Camm
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Except it did not spread exponentially in those areas with the least draconian measures. If Ferguson had been right there should have been 40000 deaths in Sweden.

John McCarthy
John McCarthy
3 years ago
Reply to  TIM HUTCHENCE

Like the idea.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Everything you are saying is with hindsight. How easy it is to sit in front of your computer and analyse everybody’s thoughts and errors. Either this post is not sincere or it is a total waste of time.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Really? You don’t think it’s appropriate to try and evaluate the shambles of the past year?
Maybe others should be taking a closer look at the World Health Organisation, which is now an operating front for the vaccine industry, and see how things have been changing there in regards to handling ‘pandemics’…
And also a very close look at the ‘philanthropic’ Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which appears to be dominating this area of public health, with politicians such as Boris Johnson at their beck and call.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

I don’t think that constant analysis is of any use at all – and it is easy to do.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Its always difficult not to join in the panic / run with the pack. Its even more so when any attempt to think about the issue and respond in a way different to the majority is castigated by the media.

gbauer
gbauer
3 years ago

… not to mention the keyboard warriors. For questioning the proportionality of the lockdown policies I have been called a sociopath, Trumptard, flat-earther, neckbeard, and all the rest. (I’m a 64-year-old left-leaning woman.) The suppression of dissent has been off the charts.

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
3 years ago
Reply to  gbauer

Not to forget covid denier, covidiot and antivaxxer… Oh and granny killer!

John McCarthy
John McCarthy
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Well put.

Lindsay Gatward
Lindsay Gatward
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

This says it all – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQc...

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Elizabeth, I vote for you to be on SAGE. Thank you for your clarity. Also, Stan’s name would imply you don’t need to take him seriously. And further, there are two Elizabeth Harts on this thread, one with a picture of a Victorian-looking gentleman. What is going on?!

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

Thanks Helen.ðƾ˜Ơ
I can’t see the picture of the Victorian-looking gentleman, although that is an avatar I use, i.e. a picture of John Stuart Mill…gosh, I wish he was around now, what would he make of it all?

erik.lang321
erik.lang321
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

More official propaganda. “Speak to any hospital worker etc”.
Many of us have – and were told that the official figures and narrative have been largely exaggerrated and while some hospitals were under a lot of pressure – as they are every winter, as much due to lack of organisation and poor management as due to increased workload – many hospitals were around half of usual capacity and some even less than that.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  erik.lang321

I guess it’s your word against mine then isn’t it. I have one friend who’s a surgeon in an East London hospital who’s had to cancel most cancer surgery over the last year, because beds were needed for covid patients. Other friends who are nurses across London confirm that almost all admissions since Christmas have been people needing ventilators. Entire teams have been reconfigured and desperately retrained to deal with these. They would all agree that hospital management is not optimal, but none of them would see the situation as anything but a crisis, wildly different to a flu season.

But these are just some examples of many; my point is, stop searching for data that leads to the conclusion you wish to hear; talk to people who are seeing the bare reality of what’s happening. Some countries will fare better than others, and no country will respond optimally.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

I have one friend in a East London hospital who’s had to cancel most cancer surgery over the last year, because beds were needed for covid patients.
How’s that worked out for the people whose surgery was canceled? They were only cancer patients, so no big deal, right? No doubt, some of those patients have since died and unnecessarily so. This is not to downplay covid, but what kind of policy tells a cancer patient needing surgery to suck it up for a while.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Oh I agree with you completely – he had one patient in his 20s with bladder cancer whose app was delayed indefinitely. Most people would agree this is terrible. But consider the alternative; all standard protocols continue, regarding who to help, and the government says ‘If you get covid, stay at home and if you die, we’re very sorry’. Imagine the response to that.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

The virus has been prioritized above all else, irrespective of what impact such steps will have. It’s one thing to delay a nose job, quite another to do so with cancer. In the US, thousands of hospital personnel were laid off because of the fixation with covid. That makes no sense at all.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I’ve spoken to you in other threads elsewhere and you still haven’t grasped the problem here. It is a systemic problem.What do you think happens when millions of people need medical attention at the same time, and all hospitals are full?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

I know what happens when people are denied care. I know what happens when the economy is shut down for months at a time. I know that thousands of medical workers being furloughed is not an indicator of hospitals being full. And I also know what happens when Naval hospital ships are brought in and secondary facilities are created for an overflow that never comes.

All the hospitals are not full. All the hospitals have never been full. Using bold font and underlining the question does not change that. Again, nose jobs vs cancer; one is elective, the other really isn’t. When the same excuses and approaches do not work, it may time to question the wisdom of the steps taken.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Dude, answer my question, what do you think would happen?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Hypothetical scenarios are just that. It hasn’t happened. It is likely to ever happen. I pointed to several other things that have happened and you ignore them all.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Governments can’t just respond to crises after they’ve happened though. Some measures have to be precautionary, preventative and based on uncertainty. All of the problems you listed would happen anyway, on top of all the other second order effects of a pandemic.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

It’s completely reasonable for some measures to be taken in times of uncertainty that then turn out to be less than optimal. I think that applies to the authorities’ reactions during the first few weeks or even months of the pandemic and we should view those actions with charity. What we see now though is a lack of political will to change those approaches after new data emerges and after we’ve had time to evaluate the trade-offs. Politicians are mostly terrified to change these harsh approaches. I saw that coming last February—once imposed, any deaths that occur after lifting a lockdown will be laid on that politician. It’s his/her fault that people are dying. From a pandemic; from a natural disaster.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Can I answer that question IF we ever see it happen.

But I’d also ask – what happened to the Nightingales? If the NHS is so desperate why did they come up with an absurd “training” program to give an injection?

john h
john h
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

What about the angel hospitals?? where are they still ???

Get those brain cells whurring please.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

So, someone in his 20s dies of an otherwise treatable cancer, so someone in their 80s can be hospitalised and intubated for a respiratory infection and probably die anyway (from the tube, if not the infection itself). Yes, that makes total sense. Probably many of the elderly patients who died (supposedly) of COVID in hospital would have had a greater chance of recovery just being looked after at home, in their own beds.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Again, this is with hindsight and, possibly, not relevant. I have members of my family who have cancer and are delayed with their treatment but I know for a fact that they are not blaming people who are in hospital with Covid.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Well, no; they are not going to blame sick people but delaying cancer treatment isn’t good. In the US, thousands of hospital personnel were furloughed, so the issue was not a system being overrun with covid.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Exactly!

john h
john h
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

So why close down the back up hospitals then ??? Answer that please. They were built only to be never used. This fact is extremley important in your analysis of this crisis. This doesnt make sense and is the common theme running through the whole pandemic.

jud.gou
jud.gou
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

My impression (I am a retired GP) is the same as yours Stan. A friend who is nursing in ITU says that this year the patients are younger and sicker..the virus is much nastier than your average flu because it damages blood vessels as well as preventing oxygenation of the blood. I thoroughly dislike lockdown and hope that March will see the end of it…but our previous virus-lite travel- rich life has changed forever.

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
3 years ago
Reply to  jud.gou

I read a very interesting article in Sciencemag org entitled – Why covid 19 is more deadly in people with obesity – even when they are young. By
Meredith Wadman.
Could this account for the number of younger and sicker people presenting in hospital?

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Gibson

The increase in younger people is because of the increase in cases full stop. If 1 in 100 patients is a 30 year old, by the time 100,000 have covid, one thousand patients will be a 30 year old. And so you’ll hear about more cases of younger patients.

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Hmmm, a rather glib response to a more nuanced problem, if you don’t mind me saying!

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Far more younger people are getting tested now. If they weren’t, even the most severe cases requiring hospitalization or antibiotics prescriptions would have been put down to ordinary pneumonia or other respiratory infections common at this time of year. Pneumonia can still be a killer of the young if it isn’t caught and treated early. I knew a young woman who had most of one of her lungs removed due to a bad case of pneumonia, back in the early 90s. She had had no other health problems before that.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Why, then, is the solution widespread application of severe, unproven (and sometimes ludicrous) mandatory lock-down rules? If the main problem is medical capacity, then our efforts and economic resources can and should be applied to fixing that.

Imagine that instead of ruining a country, we got on with as much of business as usual as we reasonably could, and used the resulting economic health to fund targeted approaches such as adapting medical capacity and implementing new and innovative standards of care. As everyone knows, this is not the last pandemic.

As far as having to cancel cancer treatments due to hospitalization of covid patients, why was there was no emergency plan to be able to expand medical facilities to begin with? Why hasn’t this been done, going on a year now? In the US, there is no particular issue with lack of ability to treat other illnesses along with covid patients. What we do have is a huge wave coming of people who will die of cancer because they have been made too afraid to seek treatment and regular exams.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

Because, even if you expanded the medical capacity by x10 tomorrow, all that does is delay the day on which hospitals become overwhelmed. The problem is that transmission happens exponentially quickly, and has to be prevented sooner than later, like a fire.

Lockdowns aren’t necessary, what’s necessary is the most efficient and cheap way of reducing human connectivity. Masks for example. But the indignant vitriol towards masks on this site is perhaps even greater than towards lockdowns, which tells you something – many people actually don’t want anything in their lives to have to change.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

You sound rather like the person on Twitter who claimed that “22 family members” had either died or been seriously ill from COVID. How the hell many people these days have that many family members that they see regularly and know by name, other than Mormons? Never knew of someone not in the health care field having that many friends who happened to be doctors and nurses.

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Thanks for this – it has to be repeated again and again as the official horror narrative is hammered home by all media every day – morning till night!

Hopefully, something will get through to the hopelessly indoctrinated, who are currently busy helping this new tyranny along!

Stu White
Stu White
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

I read as far as “has already led to over 100,000 deaths in the UK alone.” What utter rubbish

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  Stu White

Even the ostensible ‘sceptics’ throughout the media are now using the 100,000 deaths figure as though it were true. It beggars belief.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  Julian Hartley

It may well be more.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Or it may be a lot less. Just like in the US, we don’t have accurate statistics on how many people have actually died from COVID-19, because deaths are being recorded as COVID-19 deaths automatically if the patients tested positive for the virus. We are just being told to accept that every one of those people – the vast majority of the m very elderly and/or with at least one other serious health condition – would still be alive now if i weren’t for that dastardly virus. It’s nonsensical.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago

Kathy Pendergast you make these same claims over and over again, if you cannot bear to trust any of the data you hear, just talk to literally any hospital workers in any city in this country, get some feedback from them about your suspicions. Throughout each peak they have been inundated with patients needing ventilators. Just talk to actual people who are seeing the bare reality, if you can’t trust anything you read.

Anna Tanneberger
Anna Tanneberger
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Compared to the plague, or ebola, or malaria or rabies, or the 1919, we knew right at the beginning, very specifically who is vulnerable to this virus, the people who might die from it. They could very easily have been protected, while the able-bodied memebers of the family could continue working and earning money to be able to provide for the vulnerable members. And the old saw that “what to do about multi-generational families?” Well, what are you doing about them now? How did the lockdowns work for them? The elderly were carted off to care homes where they became infected by staff coming and going, and died.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Right on, sister.

If the matter were “indisputable”, one would not have to belabor the point.

eleanorhazleton
eleanorhazleton
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Power is in the hands of the people… It is time for us to practice polite civil disobedience

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago

But most people support lockdown. Rightly or wrongly.

Maxine Shaverin
Maxine Shaverin
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

That is the problem, you start with ‘indisputable seriousness’. That IS disputable. It is a form of pneumonia. Many fragile and elderly people will die of pneumonia

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Excellent piece! Wagner’s starting point virtually cancels the rest of his article with its rote-learned, standard offering, unchallenged Covid Horror narrative .

Instead of wondering whether our rights will be affected he should be asking why, specifically western Governments and media , have co-ordinated to close down all dissent and use the virus as the excuse to withdraw all the most basic human freedoms – then he might just wake up and smell the coffee.

As for bringing anyone responsible to account her seem to be no courts interested in the UK ( not so in Europe though), which surely makes the sinister agenda even more obvious?

Perhaps he should bother take a look at the players involved in the US election result as well?

Future generations ( we hope!) will ask why this was all allowed to happen with no resistance?

John McCarthy
John McCarthy
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

Points well made.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

Has all dissent been closed down? I read a lot of ‘dissent’. I see protesters outside hospitals shouting that the staff inside are propagating lies.
Most people believe Covid is serious and believe it kills people and leaves people very ill. Most people know this because they know people, or know of people, who have been affected.
Most people also believe that restricting contact between individuals in certain circumstances reduces transmission.
You still get to say you disagree with most people so dissent is not being closed down – it’s just that most people continue to disagree with you.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Dissent is being closed down all over the place. I was “permanently suspended” late last year from two major social media platforms, simply for questioning the official COVID narrative in the comments sections. At least, I’m assuming that’s why, as I don’t post racist or otherwise abusive or offensive comments. This kind of silencing of dissenting voices is far more insidious than chasing groups of protesters away from hospitals. It makes the government look good, to tolerate the odd group of people standing out in the cold, waving placards and shaking their fists, all the while shutting down the real flow of information where it matters. The CCP in China are experts at that.

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Thank you very much for this, Elizabeth. My heart sank as I reached that paragraph of the article. It seems that there is no honest analysis of the virus anywhere in the media.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Julian Hartley

Do you live under a rock Julian

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Far from it!

John McCarthy
John McCarthy
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Excellent comments.

sjmartin63
sjmartin63
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

well said

Sean Arthur Joyce
Sean Arthur Joyce
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

I couldn’t have stated the case better myself. At least, however, Mr. Wagner is raising the very real issue of the impact of lockdown policies on civil liberties, including the right to protest and dissent against government policies”the key cornerstone to any functioning democracy. We risk forgetting that our ancestors fought and died for these freedoms. We shouldn’t be so willing to give them up for a virus that is barely worse than seasonal flu.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

You’re free to argue about how to respond to COVID, but as long as you post bonkers conspiracy theories about PCR, Bill Gates, and general anti-vax nonsense, serious people will ignore you, never mind anyone in Government with any power to actually change anything.

This is the problem with most of the “lockdown sceptics” I’ve seen so far: they are clearly unqualified if not actually crazy. They just can’t seem to help themselves: every attempt at looking serious ends up with them tripping over their own feet: see Yeadon’s failure to delete his old racist tweets after he got Twitter-famous; or the “fair and balanced” Hart Group coincidentally setting up their web site on the same server as a Yeadon fanclub and a PCR conspiracy group who are trying to get people to sue the government.

In your own case, you have both complained that the low number of positives in Australia means their lockdown was not justified and complained that the PCR test has too many (false) positives, without apparently realising you’re talking self-contradictory nonsense.

What do you understand by the terms “linear” and “exponential”, and how do they apply to the growth of hospitals vs the growth of the virus?

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

The ‘Lockdown happened and then only X died so Lockdown wasnt necessary’ line of logic crops up time and time again.

I hope the current generation of maths teachers do a better job of teaching about linearity/exponentiality in prep for future pandemics or god help us all

At the beginning of all this I had the deluded fantasy that ‘Ah, but we now have magnificently illustrated free youtube videos to help people grasp exponential virus spread and act early’. Ha ha ha

Simon Sharp
Simon Sharp
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

All I can say is that some of the dissenting epidemiologists & Doctors i’ve listened to obviously need to watch those youtube videos or learn from your expertise. Then maybe one day they too will understand exponential virus spread.

Unless of course those ones are the ones paid by corporations..(which is something i’ve heard from people who were..a hot minute ago ready to ridicule anyone who remotely questioned the wisdom of the current approach as being a ‘cinspiracy looney’)

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

What point are you making about Bill Gates?
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is exerting extraordinary influence over international vaccination policy.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest funders of the WHO, along with the Gates Foundation-backed Gavi Alliance, and Germany, USA, UK and the EU Commission (as noted on the WHO’s Contributors webpage updated until Q3-2020).
It seems to me the WHO is a front for the vaccine industry, being run by organisations and countries that are heavily involved in promoting vaccine markets, most recently coronavirus vaccine products.
In regards to the Gavi Alliance, this was set up in 1999 with a $750 million pledge from the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation is a key Gavi partner in ‘vaccine market shaping’.
Bill and Melinda Gates pledged $10 billion for the ‘Decade of Vaccines’. Check out the ‘Decade of Vaccines Collaboration’, consisting of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, GAVI Alliance, UNICEF, US National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and WHO, along with others, including many governments, non-government organizations and other agencies.
At the Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the UK in June 2020, the Gates Foundation-backed Gavi raised “more than $8.8 billion from 31 donor governments and 8 foundations, corporations and organisations to immunise 300 million children and support the global fight against COVID-19”. (See: ‘World leaders make historic commitments to provide equal access to vaccines for all’ on the Gavi Alliance website.)
And check out the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. CEPI was launched in Davos in 2017 and co-founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the governments of Norway and India, the Wellcome Trust, and the World Economic Forum.
CEPI is an “innovative global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations. We’re working together to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and equitable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks”.
In other words, CEPI is working to develop massive global vaccine markets.
To date, CEPI has secured financial support from Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USAID, Ethiopia, The Republic of Korea, Indonesia, and Wellcome.
Additionally, CEPI has also received support from private sector entities as well as public contributions through the UN Foundation COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
CEPI seems to be a bit cagey about clearly defining vaccine industry involvement, but representatives of Sanofi Pasteur, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and MSD Wellcome Trust Hillman Labs are on its Scientific Advisory Committee.
Check out CEPI’s website for more info, including the about / who we are webpage.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg… There’s a massive international web behind the burgeoning global vaccine industry…and it’s time it was investigated…

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Bill Gates has world leaders at his beck and call, meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November 2020 to discuss rolling out coronavirus vaccination[1], and pursuing vaccine financing with other world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayued of the United Arab Emirates[2].
Bill Gates deliberately sabotaged the establishment of a Vaccine Safety Commission in the United States. Gates boasted that when he met Donald Trump on two occasions, including in the White House in 2017, Trump asked Gates “if vaccines weren’t a bad thing, because he was considering a commission to look into ill effects of vaccines”, and that Robert Kennedy Jr. “was advising him that vaccines were causing bad things”. Gates told Trump “…no, that’s a dead end, that would be a bad thing, don’t do that.”[3] And it seems that’s when the idea of a Vaccine Safety Commission died, because Bill Gates said “…that would be a bad thing, don’t do that”.
How appalling that Bill Gates deliberately sabotaged consideration of vaccine safety, when he was awash in conflicts of interest via his own promotion of vaccine products.
References:
1. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Bill Gates to discuss COVID-19 vaccine. WION, 12 November 2020.
2. Inside Bill Gates’ high-stakes quest to vaccinate the world against COVID-19. The Seattle Times, 23 November 2020
3. A video of Bill Gates comments is currently accessible on YouTube, under the title: Bill Gates Dishes About President Donald Trump Meetings in Exclusive Video, MSNBC, 18 May 2018. It’s notable that the transcript on this video does not include a clear transcription of Bill Gates saying “…no, that’s a dead end, that would be a bad thing, don’t do that”, despite these words being clearly audible in the video (around 2:30).

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is exerting extraordinary influence over international vaccination policy.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest funders of the WHO, along with the Gates Foundation-backed Gavi Alliance, and Germany, USA, UK and the EU Commission (as noted on the WHO’s Contributors webpage updated until Q3-2020).
It seems to me the WHO is a front for the vaccine industry, being run by organisations and countries that are heavily involved in promoting vaccine markets, most recently coronavirus vaccine products.
In regards to the Gavi Alliance, this was set up in 1999 with a $750 million pledge from the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation is a key Gavi partner in ‘vaccine market shaping’.
Bill and Melinda Gates pledged $10 billion for the ‘Decade of Vaccines’. Check out the ‘Decade of Vaccines Collaboration’, consisting of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, GAVI Alliance, UNICEF, US National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and WHO, along with others, including many governments, non-government organizations and other agencies.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

At the Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the UK in June 2020, the Gates Foundation-backed Gavi raised “more than $8.8 billion from 31 donor governments and 8 foundations, corporations and organisations to immunise 300 million children and support the global fight against COVID-19”. (See: ‘World leaders make historic commitments to provide equal access to vaccines for all’ on the Gavi Alliance website.)
And check out the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. CEPI was launched in Davos in 2017 and co-founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the governments of Norway and India, the Wellcome Trust, and the World Economic Forum.
CEPI is an “innovative global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations. We’re working together to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and equitable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks”.
In other words, CEPI is working to develop massive global vaccine markets.
To date, CEPI has secured financial support from Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USAID, Ethiopia, The Republic of Korea, Indonesia, and Wellcome.
Additionally, CEPI has also received support from private sector entities as well as public contributions through the UN Foundation COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
CEPI seems to be a bit cagey about clearly defining vaccine industry involvement, but representatives of Sanofi Pasteur, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and MSD Wellcome Trust Hillman Labs are on its Scientific Advisory Committee.
Check out CEPI’s website for more info, including the about / who we are webpage.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg… There’s a massive international web behind the burgeoning global vaccine industry…and it’s time it was investigated…

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Are you saying there aren’t false positives in PCR testing?
This is from an article in The Lancet*: To summarise, false­-positive COVID­19 swab test results might be increasingly likely in the current epidemiological climate in the UK, with substantial consequences at the personal, health system, and societal levels (panel).
*False-positive COVID-19 results: hidden problems and costs.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

In regards to testing in Australia, I’m challenging the enormous amounts of money, time and resources going into testing. There’s been more than 13.3 million tests, with 0.2% positive. How much is this costing? If we say $200 a test, which is likely an underestimate, that’s $2.6 billion, what a waste.
And the interesting thing to think about is whether people would have some sort of immunity if the virus was here. But who is capable of answering these sorts of questions because who has any expertise in virology and immunology?!?! The conversation is dominated by epidemiologists, medical officers and behavioural scientists, who are clueless on this matter.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Re your reference to ‘anti-vax nonsense’, what’s that?
Are you suggesting that people shouldn’t be allowed to question taxpayer-funded vaccination policy and practice?
Have you any idea how vaccination schedules are escalating, the amount of vaccine products, revaccinations, multi-component shots, aluminium-adjuvanted vaccines that are on the schedule?
Children in particular are bearing an increasing vaccine load, but adults are increasingly in the frame for more vaccines.
And now fast-tracked experimental coronavirus vaccines are being pressed on everyone, and they’re planning on including children too, so that’s more vaccines every year for children, along with flu vaccines, and everything else on their schedule. We have no idea of the cumulative long-term consequences of this vaccine load.
Are you in the UK? Have a look at the NHS schedule and let me know how many of these vaccine products you’ve had?

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Woke woke woke…. And more woke

Joe Reed
Joe Reed
3 years ago

Human rights are incompatible with an infection control regime that political scholars would regard as a form ‘biopolitics’. If the primary responsibility of the state is the control of our bodies, our rights and status and citizens, which transcend our mere biology, are cancelled out. This state of de-citizenised subjugation is what philosopher Giorgio Agamben terms ‘bare life’ – life with no significance beyond the biological fact of itself. To Agamben, under lockdown the condition of bare life that was once reserved for marginalised groups or the inmates of detention centres and concentration camps has been extended to the entire populace.

Along with the biopolitical, Agamben sees the State of Emergency as the other means whereby a nominally liberal democracy can become a state with overtly totalitarian features while still masquerading on the rhetorical level as the former. For as with the the pandemic and other emergency regimes such as the post-9/11 anti-terror state, the justification is not an overtly authoritarian goal, but imperatives that are understood to transcend politics, or which are seen as rightly excused from democratic norms, such as ‘security’, and ‘public safety’. In the case of Covid, the widespread appeal to ‘the science’ further barricades the debate from political contestation. Institutionalised science, wrongly presupposed to exist outside of politics and ideology, can be used to legitimate almost anything. All rights, liberal norms and democratic standards can be suspended in its name.

Hence, what was hitherto unimaginable has become acceptable, even semi-normalised. People are being incarcerated in hotels having committed no crime. It is illegal to leave the country. Public protest has been prohibited. Essentially, if a policy is supported by ‘the science’ or enacted in the name of ‘safety’, it goes largely unquestioned.

What is particularly notable is that this state of exception has even many liberals advocating authoritarian policies that they previously would never have countenanced. In March, the New York Times had denounced Trump’s call for travel bans as racist, and condemned the authoritarian approach of China, but in September led with the headline “To Beat the Coronavirus, Build a Better Fence.” Similarly, The Guardian is now brimming with demands for closed borders, seemingly having fully-embraced the view of SAGE scientist Gabriel Scally that “the only thing that brings this deadly virus to our shores is human bodies. We need managed isolation for all people arriving.”

The demotion of human beings to “human bodies” is a perfect illustration of a politics of ‘bare life’. And if we are not careful, such an attitude will become normalised along with what Agamben terms a “techno-medical despotism”.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

Yes, everything you say is so true. We are in a horrifying place.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

The demotion of human beings to “human bodies”

Isn’t that exactly what we are though? One fragile animal among many?

If at any time humans appeared to have been promoted out of its nuisance of a meaty vessel, that was quite clearly an illusion.. a performance-review bonus at best.

Joe Reed
Joe Reed
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

You misunderstand. Agamben looks back to Ancient Greek societies to find a distinction between two states of social existence: Bios and Zoe. Bios is ones full-existence as citizen, ones public life with all the status and recognition that carries. In contrast, Zoe characterises the slave, the woman, the one without public status who exists outside of the law, and can be killed.

In modernity, Agamben, following Foucault, sees this distinction reformalised under institutionalised biology, in conjunction with the legal system. To both Agamben and Foucault biology has totalitarian tendencies as it sees life as something to be measured, managed, surveilled and controlled. Yes, we are given rights, but these rights can be removed at any moment, reducing us to Zoe – ‘bare life’. We do not have a right to rights. Nor is ‘life’ something that defines us in our entirety – in our full state of ‘bios’.

To give an example, I am having my rights taken away to protect my health and that of others. But the concept of health here employed does not include my mental health, or even the much evidenced interplay between my mental health and my immune system, but merely my immunological biology as though it had no connection to the rest of me as a person. I simply become a walking vector of disease.

Moreover, I don’t exist as an individual but as a member of a biological group. To Agamben and Foucault, this is where biopolitics becomes really dangerous. For paradoxically it can legitimate murder. Imagine if a government felt it had no choice but to protect the life of the the nation by killing those who attempted to cross its borders. Biopolitics is always in danger of eventuating in such dark extremes.

Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

If biology has totalitarian tendencies then The Enlightenment is most certainly over. Don’t know Agamben, but Foucault is one of those pseudo lefties who use long words to try to persuade us that they have something worthwhile to say.

The Government apparently thought that if Covid was let rip, the hospitals would be overwhelmed and their chances of re-election would be reduced to vanishingly small. They were probably right.

Joe Reed
Joe Reed
3 years ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

Foucault wasn’t really a lefty. In fact he ended up in hot water with the left for appearing to reject Marx and flirting with libertarian ideas.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

To give an example, I am having my rights taken away to protect my health and that of others. But the concept of health here employed does not include my mental health, or even the much evidenced interplay between my mental health and my immune system, but merely my immunological biology as though it had no connection to the rest of me as a person. I simply become a walking vector of disease

Your assumption that the concept of health ‘Does not include mental health’ isn’t true though, because you’re ignoring the toll on mental health if nothing is done to control a rapidly spreading virus. Your mental health loses, no matter what.

A global, heavily-connected and interdependent world of creatures with bodies, comes with huge costs and fragilities. The benefits aren’t some kind of innate human privelage. Humans are bodies, and we transmit disease. Microbes couldn’t give a damn about my BIOS.

I appreciate that utilitarian analyses of biological tradeoffs can very quickly start sounding dark and sinister, which I agree with. But precautionary measures neednt go down that road in the first place.

Joe Reed
Joe Reed
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

*”Microbes couldn’t give a damn about my BIOS.”*

Precisely. In this biopolitical regime, ones humanity ceases to matter.

No one is arguing that nothing is done, just that lockdowns and social distancing harm mental health. And I can tell you that my mental health would certainly not have suffered like it has had we not locked down. Though in fact there is no such thing as mental health if we reject the dualism of mind and body. There is just health (stress impairs immunity). Lockdowns therefore exist purportedly to protect health while damaging it. One may argue that health suffers less in the long-term as a result of locking down than not (though this is highly debatable), though even then not *my* health, only the health of the populace, the group, however defined and demarcated. My health doesn’t matter at all. Remember, my situation might become so intolerable that I kill myself, but from the biopolitical perspective of public health my death would not matter, only that the spread of this one disease is arrested.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

Lockdowns are the least efficient, most expensive, last resort efforts by a government to reduce human connectivitty.

So long as one can’t appreciate how quickly things would get out of hand without hugely reducing connectivity, ones doomed to being uttery baffled by these measures, which will seem to be no more than an unnecessary trade-off.

You’re still seeing it as Lockdown + Collateral vs. No Lockdown but if a pandemic gets out of hand that quickly, you can wave everyone’s ‘mental health’ out of the door, before we even begin to talk about the other second order effects (let alone the unknown unknowns!).

It’s debatable insofar as ‘are lockdowns the most efficient way to reduce connectivity’ which clearly they aren’t, but clearly other measures weren’t working quickly enough (social distancing, mask usage, no large events, contact tracing, etc) and so the lockdowns arent surprising when the gov is up against it.

Joe Reed
Joe Reed
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

In what sense would my mental health be worse off had there not been a lockdown?

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

If no other measures have worked, and your hospitals are looking to be completely overwhelmed in a matter of weeks/days, if they aren’t already, your only choice left as a government is to lockdown, or, wait until so much chaos has ensued that people instinctively start distancing and wearing masks etc (like in places like Brazil where they have no options, and it’s already complete chaos). Maybe that would work better, who knows? But what government would take that risk?

Have a little browse for reporting on the events in busy parts of Brazil, and ask yourself, how is their mental health doing?

So long as you can’t really imagine how bad things can get and how quickly, in a pandemic, you will find measures like lockdowns utterly perplexing, unnecessary and insane.

Joe Reed
Joe Reed
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

You use the word ‘imagine’. This is the problem: lockdowns are justified by an unprovable negative: that things would be so much worse had they not been implemented. I’m interested to know whether this precautionary principal will be brought to bear on flu spikes in future years, as the NHS is reported to be struggling to cope most winters. What do you think? Lockdowns every year?

However, if the NHS is struggling to cope this would suggest there is a problem with the funding and resourcing of the NHS, not with people for feeling entitled to live a happy, prosperous, socially rich life. I find it truly bizarre that the political left are using the same logic as people on the right who place the onus on the citizen for burdening services. Apparently, the NHS no longer exists to protect me; it is my job to protect the NHS by sacrificing so much of my health, wealth and happiness. I find this logic grotesque.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

You’re doing the equivalent of complaining about furniture which has been ruined by sprinklers, to prevent a small fire on the hob. We can argue about better methods to put out the fire, certainly. And sprinklers are an extreme way to tackle fires early on, but in this scenario, none of the other methods were having enough of an impact, ie masks, distancing, no large events, and so on. Once shit hath already hit the fan, what do you expect a government to do, when hospitals are in a state of total chaos, and more and more people are needing ventilators and medical attention, as they were in Italy 2020?

What we’re doing is arguing about how much damage *this* fire in particular would cause eventually. You have to ask yourself, what do you think it looks like, when every hospital is full, and millions of people need help, all at the same time? And this is where a modicum of imagination would take you a long way.

People can’t afford to just sit around and wait to see how many rooms get burnt down, see if it maybe just stops of its own accord, and then set off the sprinklers while the roof’s on fire.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

You’re doing the equivalent of complaining that the furniture is getting ruined by the sprinklers, just to stop a small fire. We can argue about better methods than sprinklers, certainly. But once it’s clear that current measures aren’t slowing transmission down enough, as a government, the easiest though most expensive measure is to just shut everything down.

Government or no government, people can’t afford to sit around and wait to see how bad it gets, see if the fire maybe dies down of its own accord, and then turn on the sprinklers once the roof is on fire.

‘a problem with the funding and resourcing of the NHS’ is like saying ‘well, if we had more nurses, we could handle even more burns victims!!’

Hospitals aren’t for stopping transmission (even though that’s now partly their function). Reducing connectivity is what slows transmission.

To be clear, I think lockdowns are the end result of bad, early decisions, a sprinkler approach rather than putting out the fire on the hob before it spreads. But to try to claim that lockdowns have no effect is defective reasoning. A better question is How long can a country afford to rely on lockdowns and vaccines to reduce connectivity?

What you can learn from this pandemic is that the UK government won’t be prepared for the next one.

Joe Reed
Joe Reed
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

No lockdown = worse mental health is a strange, counter-intuitive assumption.

Colin K
Colin K
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

So long as one can’t appreciate how quickly things would get out of hand
without hugely reducing connectivity, ones doomed to being uttery
baffled by these measures, which will seem to be no more than an
unnecessary trade-off.

In many countries you can see that numbers of covid cases / deaths flattened off naturally, before lock down had a chance to take effect. Sweden, Uruguay, Japan didn’t bother with lock-downs, and Switzerland didn’t bother with a second one. None of those countries stands out as having had a more difficult time dealing with the virus than countries that did lock down. Their health services were not overwhelmed. So for that reason I do see lock downs as an unnecessary trade off.

debbie.kean
debbie.kean
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

The virus may be rapidly spreading but it doesn’t kill

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  debbie.kean

Now that’s a hot take

debbie.kean
debbie.kean
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

Too true! I am writing a novel about just that, “killing to protect”.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

Joe, you say, what was hitherto unimaginable has become acceptable, even semi-normalised. People are being incarcerated in hotels having committed no crime. It is illegal to leave the country. Public protest has been prohibited. Essentially, if a policy is supported by ‘the science’ or enacted in the name of ‘safety’, it goes largely unquestioned
This virus is a Trojan horse, being used as the excuse to exert dramatic control over our lives. Unelected medical officers and academics have astonishing power over us, exerting medical tyranny through ‘our political representatives’ who have become our masters, relishing exerting control via ’emergency laws’.
How has this happened?!?!
It’s bewildering that we’ve been trapped like this, subject to knee jerk incarceration in our homes or quarantine, muzzled with masks, for a virus that isn’t a problem for most people.
Some people suspect Australia has been a testing ground for the controls, closing its international and state borders, draconian lockdowns, particularly in Melbourne, with police menacing ordinary citizens protesting for their freedom.
We thought we were free people in liberal democracies, but it seems there has been a coordinated effort to put in place a regime that strips us of our autonomy.
Again, how did this happen? Where are the checks and balances that should have protected us from this coup?

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

We were never free, we just didn’t notice. For a while the leash placed around our necks was a little longer than it has historically been, but our overlords have decided to give it a good sharp yank and pull us all to heel. You’re free to do as your masters tell you.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Yes Mike, I wonder if it was an illusion…
And maybe we don’t want to ‘go back to normal’…
A ‘new normal’ is in order, and I don’t mean the ‘Great Reset’.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Do you personally want this “new normal”?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Recently this is a question I have ponder at length. I have to say you must be right.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Depends on how you define “free”. I’m content with accepting that it’s a matter of degree; in 1989 it was easy enough for millions of people in the Eastern Bloc countries and the Soviet Union to see that they were far less free than people in the West, and not like it at all. I think human beings are biologically hardwired to want to be as free from tyranny as possible; they’re always going to hate, and bitterly resist, impersonal, governmental restriction on their freedom of movement, commerce, and assembly and personal lives, because – and this is where the paradox is – those kinds of restrictions clash with our social nature. If we were naturally solitary animals, like tigers, instead of naturally social ones, like lions, it might be a lot easier for governments to control us.

SC Fung
SC Fung
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Can I add that people who advocate stricter and stricter controls and lockdowns are generally people who have
1. large garden and other ‘luxuries’ that 90% of the country cannot even fathom! a swimming pool anyone?
2. have no life – no relative, no family, no love, no interests, no sports etc.
3. don’t know what isolation and loneliness feel like, and no apathy for others
Prof Whitty mentioned his mother in a care home early last year, and that he had to ‘sacrifice’ blah blah to save the NHS.
Then we hear this week how 2 elderly couples, married for over 60 years, and are not ALLOWED to see each other! Eventually when the one was offered a vaccine, he complained that he could be released to have the vaccine but now allowed to see his loving wife?
This is what the tragedy we are facing today. A so called liverbal PM, a democratic society and country, and a fairly elected government – all trying to kill all that we have lived for, all that we’ve voted them to protect….

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  SC Fung

Cannot say I entirely agree. I found that I have been practicing social distancing for at least 20 years and I am very much against stricter controls

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

It’s one thing to live like a hermit out of free choice, but another thing to be forced by the government to do so. I’m a bit of a solitary misanthrope myself, but that may just be due to my age and the fact that I had plenty of non-socially-distanced fun in my youth.

debbie.kean
debbie.kean
3 years ago
Reply to  SC Fung

That’s appalling for you! We are so lucky here, all because of geography, nothing else

Clach Viaggi
Clach Viaggi
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

I am happy English speaker as well read Giorgio Agamben.
I have been re-reading all his articles (available in italian in quodlibet website) he wrote in the last year since the First prophetycal “the invention of and epidemy”

debbie.kean
debbie.kean
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Reed

Well said!

nickwiz1
nickwiz1
3 years ago

Govts are treading a fine line between docile compliance and revolution. There is a lot of data analysis which shows that in fact lockdowns have little effect on the spread of this disease. That mortality rates in different countries depend far more on demographics and underlying health of populations than on any govt mandated measures. At present this information is largely supressed by mainstream media and govt bit it is there. People are restive. They are accepting this on the basis of a deal with govts. ‘ We will take the vaccine but we expect our lives to return to normal if we do ‘ If govts try to renege on that deal I predict civil unrest or at the very minimum simple non compliance to grow. Govts can only push people so far. And if they do not allow open debate and discussion they are in fact damaging their own ability to govern by consent in the longer term. And short of martial law they cannot enforce these rules without consent of the population.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  nickwiz1

I saw some anti-lockdown stickers on lampposts for the first time yesterday. People who were previously pro-lockdown are starting to grumble. People are snapping at shop staff who demand that they use hand sanitizer. There’s a general air of surliness and weariness about… We’re a long way from revolution, but another 3 months of this would put us a lot closer to it, and when/if the current lock down lifts, the next one will be met with active resistance by a lot of people.

andy young
andy young
3 years ago
Reply to  nickwiz1

I urge everyone to look at the euromomo graphs & see if they can find any correlation with lockdowns. Look at Portugal & Spain for example. A lot of countries didn’t even see any excess mortality in the spring outbreak. It’s bonkers.
I’m no covid denier but we need to be a lot more focussed on what we can & can’t do & how to target the most efficient means to ameliorate the effects of the disease & limit its spread to the most vulnerable rather than simply locking down willy-nilly in the hope of achieving zero virus – which apparently some people believe is possible. There is of course logically one certain way to eliminate the problem: eliminate the human race. I suspect there are a surprisingly large number among us who would consider this to be the best option.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  andy young

And looking at epidemic curves presented together with when lockdowns and e.g. masks were introduced, you see that lockdowns had no impact.

john h
john h
3 years ago
Reply to  andy young

No one is a covid denier. They do not exist. To question the strategies employed to get on top of this virus must be encouraged. Please people do not feel shame by challenging the current narrative.

SC Fung
SC Fung
3 years ago
Reply to  nickwiz1

But that’s what I am so surprised about! How the Brits just take it all with a stiff upper lip! I am a new immigrant and I am adapting fast. But how come people would protest and jump up and down for Captain Tom, the NHS, BLM, Extinction R etc but sit quietly at home like a mouse without a sound?
I am an active tennis player and a gym goer, and without these actives I am depressed and moody. I am not yet suicidal but the thoughts (without any history of such things) have been circling around in my head.
Sometimes I dream of myself self-isolating in front of No 10, with placards saying lockdowns kill lives! Depression kills.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  SC Fung

There is no evidence that I’m aware of that shows you are at greater risk playing tennis on an outdoor court and, from all that is known about the way Covid spreads, it seems highly unlikely that anyone would contract it playing tennis, particularly if you’re sensible about distancing. It is the lack of logic/science around so many of the restrictions that is really galling.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

Robin, you have identified one of the worst aspects of this problem. These restrictions and laws and policies are so often devoid of logic and science. How can I accept being ordered by my own government to give up my liberty to, say, walk outside, alone, for as many hours as I please, when I KNOW that it is literally impossible for me to contract, or to spread, this virus by doing so? Where is the rock-solid evidence and clear explanation of why this type of restriction is completely necessary? Where is the acknowledgment that any severe restrictions must be based on the strongest of reasons and lifted as soon as possible? Some of these rules make as much sense as being ordered by the Ministry of Silly Walks to use only a step-hop-step when in public—on alternate Tuesdays.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  nickwiz1

‘ We will take the vaccine but we expect our lives to return to normal if we do ‘

The UK Government is already ramping up project fear about the SA variant and is introducing more stringent measures, such as hotel quarantine. The AstraZeneca vaccine is not very effective against the SA variant, which is already circulating in the UK, so it might be some time yet before “our lives return to normal”.

Paul Reidinger
Paul Reidinger
3 years ago

I must say I have lost patience with these on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand considerations of so-called “lockdowns.” Sweden and the American state of South Dakota give the lie to the whole proposition. They never “locked down” or imposed mask mandates, and they have done just fine. They didn’t escape, they didn’t come up with a magic bullet, but their experience indicates that “lockdowns” had no meaningful effect on the course or impact of the pathogen.

It is quite clear to me now why Sweden and South Dakota (in particular its governor, Kristy Noem) have been the subject of such relentless attacks and derision. If they had given in to the bullying, we would have no evidence as to the true worthlessness of “lockdowns”, at least in terms of contagion control. But they didn’t, and so we do. They have exposed the lockdown nuts for what they really are.

The true purpose of “lockdown” is to punish and demoralize people, and at least in this respect, they have been highly effective. They have isolated and depressed people, wrecked small business, wrecked public education and so forth. They have brought hell on earth to ordinary people. Please see “The Thirty Tyrants” on the Tablet magazine website, tabletmag.com. It is chilling. The people behind these policies are evil.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Reidinger

Well said indeed Sir.
Sadly this has a very long way to go.
Here in the wretched UK the average age of C-19 death is a staggering 82.4, whilst life expectancy is 81.1.

With circa 3.5 million people over the age of 80, and a mere 100K culled so far, the ‘Reaper’ is going to have up his game considerably. Can we really wait that long? Or are we on the cusp of the Apocalypse, which frankly is long overdue.?

David Ford
David Ford
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Would you be prepared to say that to the face of someone who lost a mother or father as a result of Covid?

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  David Ford

Yes, but more delicately I would hope.

David Ford
David Ford
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

I’ll send you my address.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  David Ford

1 Corinthians 15:55-57.

Stu White
Stu White
3 years ago
Reply to  David Ford

I certainly would.

Geraint Williams
Geraint Williams
3 years ago
Reply to  David Ford

They’ll say yes, but judging by their moral stances, I think in reality they wouldn’t have the courage. They would, however, be happy to hide behind Bible quotes as a means of avoiding reality.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
3 years ago
Reply to  David Ford

I would not. What I would offer is that I, personally, along with my husband, are in a somewhat vulnerable category if we contract this disease. So my life is on the line, and I oppose any unnecessary restrictions, period, even if it leads to my death. My husband feels the same. Any serious mandatory restrictions should be justified only by rock-solid evidence and should be tailored as narrowly as possible. Western democracies used to understand this principle. I don’t recognize this Cowardly New World and I do not want to live in it nor do I want our children to inherit a world broken by over-reactions and thoughtless policies.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

I have a cunning plan, developed after your comment last week about most people over 80 wearing nappies.
Why don’t we help these 3.5 million to survive by moving them to a large holiday camp, full of attentive nurses who can ensure that they are treated well and never run out of nappies. Since, as you said, they are not the future we should really disenfranchise them to ensure that they don’t have any stress about who to vote for.
As I am thinking about this I realise that the NHS could save a lot of money by allowing the camp members to share nappies.
Just think, when people reach 79 (don’t need nappies) they can look forward to a future where they never have to worry again.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Given the bureaucracy of the NHS there would soon be ‘nappy shortages’.
However to refine your plan slightly why not some sort of exam at 80? To keep with tradition let’s call it the ’80 plus’.
That would sort out those who need nappies and those who don’t.
The holiday camp smacks a bit of Gulags or Adolph, although perhaps another Plantation of Ulster might work.
They must retain a vote, but ‘others’ should have more than one, perhaps based on income, property, number of children etc.
Anyway thank you for your stimulating ideas! It keeps Lock Down Fever (LDF) at bay.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Without being callous I’d like to know the percentage who would notice if they were wearing nappies or not.

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I’m in this bracket. Great idea but how old and what gender would the nurses be? 🙂

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Just to clarify – life expectancy at 82 is around 7.3 years for men, 8.6 for women. So C19 is not just knocking off a cohort of old bastards who should have died the year before, as I think you are trying to imply.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

No; I’m implying that those killed have used up 90% or so of their life expectancy. How much more do they want?

There is also the quality of life to consider. Is life in an excrement packed nappy, confined to a wheelchair, with Alzheimer’s really a good quality of life or mere vegetive existence?

Plus there is always I Corinthians 15: 55-57 is there not?

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

An odd reference for a neo-pagan like yourself to cite, Mr “Lake”! Wouldn’t Lucretius be more to your liking?

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

Yes I agree, but Epicureanism might enrage the Censor, so I decided, uncharacteristically to exercise caution on this occasion.

I dare say ‘Fortuna’ will smile on me in due course, she normally does.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

meantime, how many people well below 82 are going to die from the economic harm done by lockdowns? Because economic harm always leads to health harm. It happened after the global recession in 2008 and it will happen again, with far more than 7.3 or 8.6 years of life expectancy cut short. People hate the idea of tradeoffs while engaging in them.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

I should have added I’m one of those “old bastards”, so I am not entirely disinterested in this topic, and the untold damage it is doing to the fabric of our somewhat feeble society.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

This is not exactly true. Many if not most of of those 82+ year old killed by Covid will have been in the last stages of life anyway, and it would have been as toss up as to whether they died this month or next month and whether Covid or a.n. other was the actual cause.

Also, perversely, if Covid has hastened the deaths of a lot of people aged 82+ who were already in poor health, then it has, as of now, statistically lengthened the life expectancy of all those individuals aged 82 or over.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Reidinger

In the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swedish national response continues to be an outlier with cases and deaths increasing more rapidly than in its Nordic neighbours.1, 2 On Dec 20, 2020, COVID-19 deaths in Sweden had reached more than 80003 or 787 deaths per 1 million population, which is 4·5 to ten times higher than its neighbours.1, 2, 3 This difference between Nordic countries cannot be explained merely by variations in national cultures, histories, population sizes and densities, immigration patterns, the routes by which the virus was first introduced, or how cases and deaths are reported. Instead, the answers to this enigma are to be found in the Swedish national COVID-19 strategy, the assumptions on which it is based, and in the governance of the health system that has enabled the strategy to continue without major course corrections..
The Lancet, 22/12/20, just for balance.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago

There’s something wrong with the people, and it isn’t covid. The entire western world closed down on the strength of a virus that has a 99% survival rate? No, I’m sorry, but it’s just cowardice and nothing more. The Boomers and the Millennials, if they really want to do something for the world and the human race, are going to have to publicly own up to being the utter disgraces they truly are, admit to the upcoming generations that they have absolutely nothing to teach them except as a negative example, encourage them to look to the past for their values, not to them, and then retire from the public square. Really, as a species, we’re at the “kill or cure” phase now.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

Joe, see my comment below re Event 201. If you haven’t seen the videos for this pandemic simulation, you should take a look, at least watch the highlights reel and Segment 4 re communications.
People have been terrified by this virus, particularly older people who feared it was a death sentence for anyone over 70, via a horrible death that was described as resembling drowning when the lungs are too full of fluid to breathe.
When you think back to media reporting at the beginning it was non-stop fear-mongering.
It was portrayed as ‘us against the virus’…this is a war…and we’re all in it together.
So everyone is expected to do their bit, and not put others at risk.
And people were paid off with furlough so they would comply. And for good measure the police force was turned on the community to make them comply, including the threat of hefty fines.
Get tested, lock down, wear a mask, isolate from family and friends, live in fear. And now…get vaccinated with fast-tracked experimental vaccine products…and even then they’re not promising you’ll be out of lockdown!
Honestly, it’s inspired, how else could they have controlled people like this?
Only problem is, this virus doesn’t justify the over the top response, it’s been disproportionate and ill-targeted. They couldn’t have handled it worse really.
And we need analysis of all this now, including how unelected medical officers and academics, and manipulated politicians, were able to implement drastic emergency laws that denied people freedom of movement and association on the back of this virus that currently isn’t a serious threat to most people.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

‘Manipulated politicians’? You mean ‘ordinary, everyday politicians’, just unfortunately (in this instance) taking actions with which you disagree. Also, very few doctors and academics are ‘elected’ in order to carry out their main functions, thank goodness- they tend to be ‘trained’.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

I am sorry but I cannot agree. The job of a politician is to lead and to take difficult decisions. on this occasion they sought to hid behind the skirts of the experts in the hope that this would shield them from criticism. This was not only an abdication of responsibility and cowardice, it was also wrong. If you allow experts to dictate government policy it only goes one way, the wrong way. To quote Churchill, “nothing would be more fatal than for the Government of States to get in the hands of experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge, and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man who knows where it hurts is a safer guide than any rigorous direction of a specialized character.”

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

At last someone who has the courage speak out against this madness. Well done.

However David Ford (below) maybe a little unhappy.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

At last? Almost all the Unherd articles about covid are plastered with comments by ‘courageous’ plonkers like this.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Hey, plonkers are people too. We have an inalienable, God given right to plonk. We form a vital and indispensable part of the ecosystem and we have a function: to stop, or at least obstruct and inhibit, ideas which, to quote George Orwell, are so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

Plonk on

Fred Bloggs
Fred Bloggs
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

LIfe’s too short for plonk. I prefer vintage curmudgeonliness.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

It is indeed very refreshing in these troubled times that we can have a candid exchange of ideas in such a forum as UnHerd don’t you think?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Very rare. As the guy says below, vintage.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Is a plonker someone who drinks plonk?

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

99% survival rate when hospitals aren’t full

Imagine being arrogant enough to think that billions of people are mere cowards, rather than considering that there may be something they’ve grasped, that Joe Francis hasn’t.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago
Reply to  Stan Glib

Billions of people are mere cowards. That’s because everyone is a coward. It’s just that sometimes, you get tired of being a coward and you just have to say, “enough”.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

Have you tried asking the Boomers if they support lockdown or if they’d be willing to take their chances?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

Did the boomers give us a choice when the looted the system and left us to pay for it

Jenny P
Jenny P
3 years ago

The lockdowns will never work, they only delay the natural course of spread. Those who brag of zero Covid do so with extreme restrictive measures in place and that comes at a high price to humanity. As a senior member of society, born in the 1950s I refuse to live my life in fear of a virus that has a 99% survival rate. Most of the 1% of reported deaths are associated with the vulnerable groups and that cannot be said enough times.

I am truly staggered by how society have accepted the shocking tactics of induced fear to bring about compliance and control. There can never be any justification of the draconian measures, “to save the NHS”, that have brought the rest of society to its knees. Nobody wants to really talk about the hardship and suffering that so much of our society has now endured due to the lockdowns. The list is endless.

The NHS has suffered decades of under-funding in a growing population and yet our government, in the knowledge that the threat of a worldwide pandemic had been known for more than 20 years, made it our problem.

As if all of that isn’t bad enough our society now welcomes a vaccination program with very few questions asked. I for one would like to know how did we manage to produce “safe” vaccines in 10 months that usually take up to 10 years. Furthermore, forgive my ignorance of understanding the manufacturing processes of vaccines but its seems incredulous that millions of doses have been made in such a short period of time.

I will never concede to the lockdowns, they have brought about more harm and untold damage to human society that will leaving us bleeding for years to come.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

We’ve piled so many new normals on top of eachother that it’s not enough just to go back to the old normal. We need to go back to three or four normals ago to set it right.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

The next question is what restrictions on other liberties, such as preventing ordinary family interactions or stopping children attending school, can therefore be justified and if so to what extent.
The “next” question is an exercise in missing the point. Once you have accepted that it’s okay to restrict some liberties, you do not get to quibble about restrictions on “other” liberties. The precedent has been set. Plenty of folks tried to warn about never-ending, poorly thought out lockdowns beforehand, but they were ignored.

To date, no one can explain why closing bars makes sense but not adult stores, why churches but not groceries. It was considered out of bounds to discuss the impact of lockdowns themselves and how forcing people into unemployment would lead to increases in other issues. Well, here we are.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago

“If it is allowed to move through the population at speed, there would be too many serious cases for hospitals to manage.”

This fact is often offered to us (usually phrased in terms of exhortations to “protect our NHS”) as if the fundamental issue is the virus. But what if the main issue is the hospitals? That a viral epidemic should lead to there being “too many serious cases” for hospitals to manage suggests that we don’t have enough of them. This is surely the result of three factors:

1) The dominance during the last forty years of neo-liberal economic policies, which have dramatically reduced tax revenues and made it difficult to fund a public health system.

2) The notion that the health service (and other public services) can and must be “efficiently” run, which is to say, that they should aim to deliver treatment while spending as little as possible – thus ensuring that services are stretched to breaking point at as matter of course, and inevitably leading to crisis when rates of disease surpass normal expectations.

3) The actual inefficiency of the health service (and other public services) as a result of a bloated managerial superstructure devouring funds that ought to be paying for more doctors, nurses, beds, equipment, etc, etc.

I’m not really opposed to the lockdowns although their rights implications do worry me. I am angry at the thought that lockdowns and other draconian solutions may have become necessary because our health services aren’t set up to cope with an epidemic.

inigoval
inigoval
3 years ago

Completlely agree with this. The same neoliberal Tories who eviscerated the NHS during austerity are now blaming the public for it’s inability to handle the case load of a pandemic….

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Re: #2: it is lockdown policies that ensure services “stretched to the breaking point” by prolonging the impact of the virus for as long as possible. And what’s wrong with running public services efficiently? That you’re spending someone else’s money does not eliminate all responsibility to spend it in a smart way.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Of course public services should be run efficiently in principle, but it’s the definition of efficiency I’m taking issue with. A health service which is placed under strain every winter by ordinary seasonal flu – let alone an unexpected viral epidemic – is hardly efficient. A health service which spends vast sums on managerial bureaucracy (see point 3) is also inefficient.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

As an extension to your number 3 I’d add

The insertion of “professional” managers who’s response to everything is “give us more money”. I’m not sure how much of that more would be to improve their bonus.

I’ll be 70 in October and I can remember lots of “we won’t be able to cope” during flu seasons, and yes there were some bad occasions. But I can only remember these after the “professional” managers got there. My often fallible memory says that before that the NHS just got on with it.

clements.jb
clements.jb
3 years ago

I’m long past knowing what to think or caring for my own sake (being very low risk). But I care deeply for the country’s sake that we learn from the difficult and painful experience we’ve been through.

I value UnHerd not for any particular bias, but for the fact that discussion of opposing ideas is much more civil than is typically encountered elsewhere.

Please keep it up! Those who troll here and try to put down discussion by being uncivil in discourse are the only voices I consider unwelcome.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  clements.jb

I suggest you write a couple of lines to say that you support Socialism and then wait to see how unbiased UnHerd is.

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago

The problem is that the biggest curtailment of peoples liberties at the moment is their own fear of the virus. If people gave any signs of wanting their freedoms back they would get them – the cost and effort of keeping this up would be too much in the face of widespread public opposition. You just need a shift in peoples priorities as reflected by political pressure.

Unless people start to fear the permanent loss of their freedom as much as they fear the virus, then there doesn’t seem much hope that this dystopia will ever end or – if it does – will not be defaulted to again in the face of similar threats.

I think the mistake many lockdown sceptics have made is trying to contextualise the threat of the virus in order to produce that change in priorities. The problem is, when the sceptics do then get something wrong about the virus, they are held to account for it harder than the lockdown advocates are for their errors. The advocates mistakes are numerous – but as they are all made whilst erring on the side of caution against the threat that has primacy in the peoples imaginations, they get more of a free pass.

You can also see this because lockdown sceptics are often said to have been proven wrong because of the existence of the ‘second wave’. However, multiple waves of the virus do not validate lockdowns – they just validate the lockdown advocates fear of the virus. You could even make the case that the lockdowns – if you believe they suppress the virus – also increase the selection pressure on the virus to mutate to a more transmissible form, thus contributing to the very problem now being used to validate lockdowner’s continual fear. However, that would be to miss the point of why it keeps coming up as an argument.

Pointing out the unprecedented nature of lockdowns doesn’t seem to work either, despite the fact this response has more in common with Hollywood than history – a kind of romanticised apocalyptic-ism (I am sure the Vallance’s and Ferguson’s of this world currently consider themselves the heroes in a disaster movie).

Yet people seem oblivious to the bizarre nature of all this. If a sceptic points out that covid – whilst deadly – is not uniquely deadly and therefore not requiring of a unique intervention, it just doesn’t land.

I have come to the conclusion that it is not worth trying to argue about the virulence of Covid to get people to reverse their support for lockdown, just focus on the observation that it is ethically indefensible. The harms that it causes – and that have been inflicted to maintain it – are so heinous that it’s difficult to justify in any circumstances.

Beyond that, I think we are just living through the frightening consequences of widespread fear and it’s impact on what it means to be human, something that would have been familiar to our plague experiencing ancestors. I just wish I knew why it was a virus no more deadly than others we have had in the past 100 years that has done it.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

An excellent synopsis.
The fear you speak of is generated by the ‘usual suspects’, the Press/Media. We used to say of the Press that, “after the battle is over, they come down from the hills and bayonet the wounded”. This present synthetic crisis has taken them to new Olympian heights of absurdity.

For many of us this Chinese Virus is the third in living memory, the others being 1957-8 & 1968-9. Both these pervious ones killed between 1-4 million world wide and around 30K on each occasion in the UK.*
Was there Government inspired national panic aided by an overtly grovelling and obsequious media? No.
In 1957 the Daily Mail did attempt to ‘throw a hissy fit’ but was quickly brought to heel by the then Conservative Prime Minister,
Harold Macmillan. The same phlegmatic approach was followed in 1968.

So in answer to the question posed in your final sentence, we are not the same people, something terrible has happened to the national character in the last fifty years. To lapse into the vernacular ” we have lost our bottle”, and, sadly, will almost certainly never regain it.
* source:Wikibeast.

George Carty
George Carty
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

I wouldn’t call Covid-19 the “Chinese Virus”, both because there have been other significant Chinese viruses this century (SARS, bird flu) and because as far as the Western world was concerned it was more of an “Italian Virus” (or perhaps an “Austrian Virus” even, given the pivotal role of Ischgl).

The vast majority of European countries including the UK were able to avoid large-scale infection direct from China, only to be swamped by infections from other European countries.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  George Carty

I disagree, this wretched plague originated in the Biological Warfare
Establishment in Wuhan, China. That it spread to Austria is of little consequence, it its the origin of the source that really counts.
.
As you correctly state: “there have been other significant Chinese viruses this century (SARS, bird flu)”.

How long the world community will tolerate this pestilential plague pit is a matter of conjecture, but next time, and there wii be a next time, maybe too late.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Why? Because the Twitterati et al started to spread the panic a year ago and as journalists are too lazy to find their news elsewhere, they picked up on it.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

The question of Human Rights, in the way that it is referred to is not an Anglo Saxon question. We have Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights, we have constitutional rights along with constitutional protections and we are a Christian country.

It is the Napoleonic approach to ‘Human Rights’ which has allowed this dreadful mess to occur (mostly as a result of 40 years of EU membership). It is disgraceful that the politicians who fought so hard for our sovereignty during Brexit had no idea what that meant in reality.

The end result of this must be that we get back our Anglo Saxon attitude to Common Law and freedom, that the existing constitution (not some new fangled version dreamed up by Jonathan Sumption et al) is reaffirmed and we move forward on our ancient footing, so that torture and violence to liberty, such as has occurred this year can never occur again.

Kevin Ford
Kevin Ford
3 years ago

Interesting article and very concerning over the shift in what we consider to be normal life. I would question the underlying premise “The starting point must be the indisputable seriousness of Covid-19, a once-in-a-century virus. It spreads easily and in many cases asymptomatically, has a relatively high fatality rate which, when combined with excessive transmission, has already led to over 100,000 deaths in the UK alone. It also causes lasting damage in some survivors. If it is allowed to move through the population at speed, there would be too many serious cases for hospitals to manage.”

Sar-Cov2 and its associated disease has killed a great many people – that is indisputable. But we are mistaken in putting it into a category of unique seriousness. It is not flu, but we have relatively recent experience of flu pandemics – WHO reports two in the last 70 years 1956/7 and 1968/9. Both are reported to have killed between 1 and 4 million people. These numbers are higher when adjusted for population growth – 1956 adjusted would be 2.7 – 11 million deaths, 1968 adjusted would be 2.2 – 9 million deaths. The Sar-Cov2 pandemic is currently at the low end of the impact of these two pandemics. In neither of the two flu pandemics did we resort to nationwide lockdowns. Having lived through both I do not recall any great alarm from the pandemics, or the NHS being seen as about to collapse.

I am delighted that we have been able to develop vaccines so quickly, but these will not eradicate Sars – Cov 2. We will eventually have to adapt to live with it as we have adapted to live with other pathogens. There are indeed many serious questions to be discussed about what that adaptation will look like and the discussion is not helped by categorising Sars- Cov 2 as uniquely serious.

Lindsay Gatward
Lindsay Gatward
3 years ago

History will surely see this whole panic as the greatest self inflicted wound of all time – There could hardly be a milder pandemic where total deaths are near average and most have to be tested to know they are infected so mild are the symptoms – Also what we are doing via Lockdown and Mask if they actually do restrict infection could make things worse as follows – If the restrictions work then a disease will become more infectious as only the more infectious overcome the restrictions – Normally the more debilitated leave the arena leaving those infected with less or no debilitation to pass on that less debilitating variety this process is lost or even reversed when everyone regardless of debilitation is removed from the arena – Also if your restrictions work herd immunity can be held off long enough for mutations to occur – Wonder if that will happen…oh yes it has.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

Well put, in less than twenty lines you have encapsulated the full horror of this fiasco. Bravo!
May I be so insolent as to suggest that the primary cause was a belief that a National Treasure, namely the NHS was about to collapse. This paragon of virtue, the one (great?) legacy of the Attlee government, bloated by years of gargantuan, self indulgent bureaucracy was finally to be exposed in front of the World for the Byzantine horror it really is.

The shame would have been just too great, hence the humiliating slogans such as ‘Protect the NHS’ or the simply dreadful ‘Don’t kill your Gran’. How future historians will explain how one of HM’s Ministers of State could have uttered such emotional nonsense, will be entertaining to say the least.

Perhaps predictably, I have noticed on this forum that it is NHS workers, one even claiming to be a Doctor, who are the most vociferous in defending this putrefying corpse, and national disgrace. We need a fresh start, but sadly as we now embark on a Hundred Years War with Covid, that is somewhat unlikely.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

“To put it bluntly, this is as serious a pandemic as the modern world has faced. It therefore requires the kind of restrictions to limit social contact which we have seen during other plagues, such as the quarantine of infectious individuals and gatherings bans. […] So we have to ask: have our lockdowns been strict enough to be worth it? This raises something of a paradox from a rights perspective. The UK has one of the highest death rates in the world. Is this because our lockdowns been too late and too loose, particularly in their later iterations? Might our looser lockdowns, taking into account their collateral damage, been all sound and fury without accomplishing very much, and might stricter, earlier lockdowns have been more justified?”

This, I think, is a very good point that is frequently lost in the “lockdown” debate (in addition to the point that the meaning of “lockdown” is ill-defined).

For example, Sweden’s Anders Tegnell has suggested on more than one occasion that in practice the UK and Sweden’s behaviour during the pandemic has not been that different overall, when one takes into account mobility data, public transport usage, working from home, reduced cinema/restaurant/bar attendance etc etc.

I have certainly questioned the wisdom here in LA of outdoor dining being closed (temporarily) over Christmas/January when so many continued to socialise in public and private anyway (LA’s “stay at home” orders, incorrectly described in the UK press as a strict “lockdown”, were totally unenforced and the streets and beaches have been crowded pretty much throughout the pandemic). It seemed possibly the worst of both worlds in terms of trying to balance the healthcare and economic harms.

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
3 years ago

Thank you for this article. I would suggest that the legal and democratic implications of Lockdowns can often be lost in all the noise of whether or not they work as a policy.

Mr Wagner expresses it in a nutshell when he says
“It is essential that we don’t enter a semi-state of emergency laws and basic rights switched on and off by the government at will and without democratic scrutiny.”

This would be a very bad state of affairs for us all.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Gibson

Isn’t that precisely where we are now, and have been for nearly a year? We’ve passed that rubicon… Any time there’s another “emergency” (new variant, climate change, terrorism, killer bees, take your pick) your “rights” will disappear faster than you can say “it’s for your own good”

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I fear in my darker moments that you are right.

Ian Campbell
Ian Campbell
3 years ago

The lockdowns were a mistake because Mother Nature was in charge all along, as the recent seasonal downturns in case numbers across many northern hemisphere countries demonstrates.

Colin Baxter
Colin Baxter
3 years ago

We are destroying the private sector to protect an inefficient public sector – what is wrong with this picture?

andrew harman
andrew harman
3 years ago

Was listening to an “expert” called Simon Clarke from Reading Uni today and he seemed to be so negative and pessimistic, saying we would be in this for years, not months and almost implying that mass events like Glasto would be things of the past. He then seemed to backtrack and say not for “this year”. I then did a bit of research on him: as late as October, he was saying there was no imminent vaccine (having said in March that we should not hope for one) Got me thinking, do some of these guys almost have a vested interest in this continuing as it means they can draw attention to
themselves. it is as if they want us in a permanent state of lockdown and restrictions

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
3 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Simon Clark, a thoroughly ill mannered and arrogant man. I listened to him a few months ago on the Nicky Campbell radio 5 live show. He spoke with utter contempt to those callers who happened to have a different opinion to him, telling one man he was “talking through a hole in his head”.
The arrogance and vileness of the man prompted me to phone the 5 live number to lodge a complaint about his behaviour. I also considered writing to his University, as he is representing them, however I did not. Folk like him should be put back in their box forthwith.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Gibson

Stick to Radio 3, it is sheer nectar by comparison, and doesn’t harbour the sort of ill- mannered toads that you speak of.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Now is that Clarke or Clark as A Gibson Esq has it below?
Either way if he had come from the ‘dreaming spires’, 23 miles to the north I might just have been impressed.

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

My mistake, it is indeed Clarke.

sjmartin63
sjmartin63
3 years ago