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The dark side of lockdown

November 2, 2020 - 7:16am

When it comes to human life, the very idea of a cost-benefit analysis strikes us obscene. Isn’t every life of infinite worth?

Yes — but that doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility for making difficult decisions. For instance, we can’t point to the lives saved through lockdown measures without also taking into account the downsides — because those can be measured in lives too.

There was a grim reminder of that last week in a tweet from the London Ambulance Service:

To be clear, there’s no direct claim here that these numbers are explained by the stresses of lockdown or the wider impacts of the Covid crisis. But it’s hardly unreasonable to come to that conclusion, and with lockdown coming into effect on Thursday, it’s worth taking note. While the constraints we’ve placed on everyday life may be necessary, they carry costs that go to the heart of who are.

Of course, there are few simplicities when it comes to the mental health of an entire population. For instance, the psychologist Jean Twenge highlights the remarkable resilience of (American) teenagers during the Covid crisis. Indeed, in respect to depression and loneliness the situation appears to have improved this year — and that’s against a longer-term trend of deteriorating teenage mental health. For teenagers, at least, lockdown may have some compensations — like spending more time with family.

There is a reminder here that while we need to get back to normal, we should also think about what ‘normal’ ought to be. ‘Building back better’ isn’t just about infrastructure.

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david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago

This is rapidly becoming Boris Johnson’s Suez. The model predicting 4000 deaths per day is 3 weeks old, used the 60 day reporting metric and forecast 1000 deaths yesterday. That’s that one done with. Statistically based on a population of 67million and Prof Ioannidis’s peer reviewed IFR of 0.15% if everyone gets it the limit of deaths is 100,500. 4000 deaths per day and this is over in two weeks. What questions are the politicians asking when these outrageous models are put in front of them? Get some data analysts, project managers and immunologists in there and sack a few of the 8 mathematical modellers.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

Apparently the overall death rate this year, so far, is only the eighth highest in the last 27 years. And remember, the population is at around 10% larger than it was 27 years ago.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yeah but Covid Deaths are far more important than any other deaths.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

To me it looks like the positive test results are slowing down https://www.worldometers.in
The governments own figures also suggest that the R rate is coming down, from 1.4-1.6 to 1.2-1.4

This is inline with the burnout from uni students and back to school, regional lockdowns, changes in behaviour and immunity rates.

Like lockdown v1 it’ll be declared a great success, even when brought in around a month after the R rate peaked. And like lockdown v1 it’ll just push things back, but this time there’s no summer to save us.

The only serious question is whether like me you think this is largely safetyism, media hysteria and politicians being seen to ‘do something’ – or if you think there’s something more sinister going on.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I love they talked about exponential growth in one slide, and then showed the exponent (R) falling in another slide.

Anyone who passed A-level maths and didn’t spot that outrageous use of the word exponential deserves lockdown.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

What’s worrying is when I see them and other intelligent people happily lie, cheat and never get called on it. I understand why the politicians give into the media hysteria, and we all know politicians lie and cheat.

But to see members of the scientific community outright lie to promote lockdown is disgusting.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I’ve been tracking the data for some time now and I think today may be the turning point but I’d like to wait to the end of the week to be sure just in case there’s some weekend effect in there. Hospital admissions and people in hospital data has slowed towards the end of last week and may have tipped over the weekend. Testing numbers may be an indicator as it’s an “on demand” indicator. Although they’ve hit the 500k target they sat only just over 50% of that capacity was used today and the pure number is way down on the numbers from last 7/10 days. Cases (woops, positive tests!) by specimen date have also flattened. Johnson’s statement in the HoC today about people in hospital doubling since last Sunday will definitely prove to be wrong when the data is declared for yesterday. Carl Heneghan and Tim Spector are looking to be almost certainly right. Fingers crossed for the data for the rest of the week!!

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

I suspect the turning point will be Thursday, and they’ll declare victory 4 weeks from now, having destroyed a swathe of jobs in the south west for nothing.

If Boris realises he’s been fooled (the schemers in SAGE started briefing the press on Friday, so that Rishi didn’t get to see the weekend figures I suspect) and if he reverses the lockdown in a fortnight I’ll respect him. I suspect that won’t happen though.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

p.s.
“Hospital admissions and people in hospital data has slowed towards the end of last week”- where do you get that data? I follow the data too.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Hi Adrian, the government dashboard. I try to look at the trend rather than one or two days. I thought 7 to 10 days in the middle of last week and that would coincide with your Thursday but I noticed quite a slip over the weekend. Sometimes you have to go to the by nation and regional data as there are reporting lags from some areas. I hope I’m not being overly optimistic but of course that is entirely possible. The number of tests has also fallen quite a bit. This may be interesting to follow as it’s an on demand number. Lets see where we are on Thursday!

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

I can’t pretend to have heard of the CEBM before Covid, but I’ve become a big fan of them.

I’d like to take your positive view of the data, but anything against the narrative will be ignored or spun away. The BBC have finally reported on the fact that T-Cells are present in 100% people 6 months after they were infected, that they were not seriously ill, or had no symptoms at all (sample was 100 people). But the article isn’t a big dramatic headline, quite negative and will probably be hidden away by tomorrow.

There’s an interesting thing with immunity, there’s been a few documented cases of reinfection (I’ve heard of some with seemingly good tests). But out of the 100,000s who’ve tested positive in the UK, how many have tested positive again? I get the feeling that if it was a significant number they’d be shouting it from the roof tops. My guess is that it’s extremely low, they know it, they’ve known it for months and suspected it from the beginning.

They’re were technically right to say that there was no proof of immunity at the beginning – if they were being good scientists. But they’ve been keen to promote wild speculation about Covid where it suits them.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Richard Tice has just claimed on Talk Radio that there are more suicides each day in London than there are Covid deaths. (Of course, this does not necessarily mean that the number of suicide deaths has increased).

But apparently the number of suicide attempts rose by around 1000% in California during lockdown, which certainly would suggest causation.

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Why are we hearing so little about this? What and why are these numbers not being reported and why are we not all crying from the rooftops? We hear so much about the at risk groups from covid, we all know who is at high risk what the risk factors are etc… Why the hell are we not talking about those at risk of suicide? It could be your friend, neighbour, grandad for Pete’s sake! Do their lives not matter also!!!!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

You are not hearing about this because the authorities and the media are now working as one to ensure that you do not hear about it.

We live in decidedly evil times characterised by politicians whose craving for power is matched only by their incompetence, and a media that has abandoned almost all pretence to proper journalistic methods and principles.

Katy Randle
Katy Randle
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

Because we don’t matter, those of us who are lonely, whose livelihoods have disappeared, whose only human contact is with masked strangers. We are collateral damage. Those who are in comfortable domestic circumstances have decided that our savage hell is worth it for their families to be Safe and evidently Never Die.

Ben Scott
Ben Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  Katy Randle

Possibly the most accurate and concise summary of the last 9 months I’ve come across. Thank you.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

Because if more were to be heard, people might question just what their “leaders” are doing. They might wonder if those whom they elected know what they’re doing or if they are actively causing harm.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

suicides, substance and physical abuse, depression, and the list goes on, to include no small number of medical conditions that arise of delayed or denied procedures and treatment. Who knew that an action might have a reaction, even a reaction that was negative? Well, who knew other than sane people.

Sean Arthur Joyce
Sean Arthur Joyce
3 years ago

That we are prepared to put people into a psychological pressure cooker with potentially lethal consequences from overdoses and suicides for a middling flu virus is reprehensible, unforgivable. Stanford University medical expert Dr. Scott Atlas explains how much suffering this has created”not to mention the many deaths caused by lockdown:
“We must open up because we’re killing people. In the US, 46% of the six most common cancers were not diagnosed during the shutdown”Š These are people who will present to the hospital or their doctor with later stage disease”many of these people will die. 650,000 Americans are on chemotherapy”half of them didn’t come in for their chemo because they were afraid. Two-thirds of screenings for cancer were not done; half of childhood immunisations did not get done; 85% of living organ transplants did not get done. And then we see the other harms: 200,000 cases plus of child abuse in the US during the two months of spring school closures were not reported because schools are the number one agency where abuse is noticed; we have one out of four American young adults, college age, who thought of killing themselves in the month of June.”