by Toby Green
Friday, 25
March 2022
Factcheck
09:37

Don’t let the lockdown hawks re-write history

Certain commentators are claiming ZeroCovid was a purely pre-vaccine measure
by Toby Green
Credit: Getty

The past two days have seen sorties from scientists desperate to shore up the lockdown version of history. Lockdowns were necessary, and anyone who disagrees does not care about society or equality. This version of history is so fraudulent that it cannot be allowed to triumph.

Writing in the Guardian yesterday, Devi Sridhar asks: ‘Why can’t some scientists just admit they were wrong about Covid?’ Why indeed? Sridhar notes that scientists have divided into opposing camps, taking ‘particular pandemic positions…eventually building a base of followers that organise around that position and defend it viciously.’ She just doesn’t seem to recognise that this neatly describes her own approach.

Sridhar’s piece is a craven attempt to rewrite history by claiming that the Zero Covid position was only ever intended for the pre-vaccine era. Can this be the same Sridhar who said in a New Statesman interview in January 2021 that ‘the better option is to eliminate the virus’ – even after vaccines had started to be rolled out? Or who tweeted in June 2020 that ‘the fastest way to get economy & normal life back is to push for a ZERO Covid Britain. Clear virus, build domestic economy’? Still, as far as Sridhar’s concerned, if anyone got anything wrong, it wasn’t her.

Sridhar’s efforts to rewrite history were joined by a prominent member of Independent SAGE, Kit Yates. Writing in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday, Yates penned an op-ed on the theme “Was lockdown necessary?” Lockdowns, according to Yates, were necessary to protect the NHS and the vulnerable members of society — and yet at the same time ‘no one is in favour of lockdowns’. This sleight of hand followed his tweet in February that ‘everyone is lockdown sceptic’.

Have we all been dreaming about the vituperative onslaught on sceptical voices in the last two years? The answer becomes clearer in the last paragraph of the BMJ piece, where Yates concludes:

Whether you view [lockdowns] as necessary depends on your value system. Many people would place the lives of the most vulnerable high on their list of priorities. Many people would value a functioning NHS with equal access for all at the point of need. Many would place a high worth on the long term health of their population. But not everyone.
- Kit Yates, BMJ

Sadly for Yates, his article was published on the very day that Sir Chris Whitty admitted that the long-term health of children had suffered and their life expectancies were lower through increasing obesity brought on by lockdowns. With NHS cancer backlogs projected to last for a decade, it doesn’t seem that this “long-term health of the population” and “protecting the NHS” works out very well for Yates and his ilk.

This is why the strongest advocates of lockdowns such as Sridhar and Yates cannot be allowed to set the tone of the debate as we move away from the pandemic. Strong lockdowns promoted policies that were utterly uncaring of the young, the elderly in care homes, women in abusive situations, the poor whose work disappeared, let alone the hundreds of millions of people whose livelihoods have been destroyed in the Global South.

Meanwhile, 40% of Covid deaths in the West took place in care homes. Far from protecting the vulnerable, lockdown policies did not even protect the most vulnerable. Meanwhile, they have rendered hundreds of millions of people newly vulnerable. That is their legacy, and those who advocated hardest for them must not be allowed to escape it.

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Stephen Walshe
Stephen Walshe
3 months ago

There was a great article by Freddie here on 4th February 2021 “Inside the Zero Covid campaign”, which should serve as a permanent record of what Devi Sridhar, Tomas Ryan and their ilk were campaigning for in 2021, when vaccine rollout was in full swing.

Last edited 3 months ago by Stephen Walshe
Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
3 months ago

Many people are rewriting history as they slowly wake up and realise those they called conspiracy theorists were right all along.

Not so long ago talk of a lab leak from a Wuhan lab was borderline treason. Now it is accepted as pretty much fact

Amazingly in 2020 anyone who said that there’d end up being COVID pass was ridiculed as a nut job and yet in 2021 that became a reality. People now say they never supported such measures, but the reality is that they downloaded and used such apps so they did support it, or at least never boycotted it

Those who spoke of mandatory vaccines were seen as crazies, but guess what? Now people are saying the never supported such measures, but when we were at peak COVID these same people were not averse to everyone being injected.

People who tried to raise the issue of adverse events to the ‘you know what’ were labelled scaremongerers and were seen as heretics for not worshipping Fauci. Now, as more data comes out, people are saying they always questioned the ‘you know what’.

And we haven’t even touched on Ukraine and the flag waving, the hero worship, and the gung-ho attitude to war.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

‘We haven’t even touched on Ukraine?’ That’s possibly because the subject isn’t Ukraine! The West isn’t going to war, so I really do hope your comment isn’t a cover for yet another ‘useful idiot’ defence of Putin. Endless scepticism of our politicians – fair enough – but then endless gullibility when it comes to the claims and justifications of autocrats, especially those with a long and well documented history of lying to achieve strategic advantage. There has been of course, according to the tyrant Putin, no invasion of Ukraine!

Last edited 3 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
3 months ago

Indeed. And we’re not even beginning to look at the denial of any consequences of the vaccines themselves.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
3 months ago

Lockdowns ‘protected’ the people who least needed it – the healthy, white, middle class laptop class – and threw the old, the young and the working class to the wolves.
It quickly became apparent that those who were most at risk were either retired or living on benefits. The few who were in the workplace could have been allowed to work from home or given disability leave under the ‘reasonable adjustments’ provisions in the Equality Act. Employers of those in the private sector could have been compensated by the government. Anyone not in employment or education was free to make whatever changes to their lifestyle that they chose, without affecting anyone else. The closure of schools, universities and small businesses was completely unnecessary.

Dominic A
Dominic A
3 months ago

Any chance that we can set a standard of ‘average life lost’, rather than total numbers of lives lost? It is clear that the a huge number of covid deaths (the majority?) would have curtailed the person’s life by a few months, year or two (still a serious problem of course). The death of a young child is more tragic than the death of an old person (and that includes me). It is dishonest and immoral to simply say a life is a life – akin to those who claim there is no limit on the amount that should be sent saving a life.

Andrew F
Andrew F
3 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Exactly.
I had fallen out with some friends over that.
They claimed that most so called “covid victims” with average age of 83 had another 9 years of quality life ahead of them.
Why NICE formula was not applied in covid policies as it is in other medical cases?

Dominic A
Dominic A
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Yup, my admittedly ‘back of a fag packet’ calculation is that we’ve spent £300,000 on each year of life saved from COVID, whereas the general NICE guideline is £30,000. I had to work it out myself as despite being an avid reader of ‘the science’, no-one in the know thought it fit to mention it to the hoi polloi.

One way or another that untramelled spending will have real and severe consequences – almost certainly on the young generations (when they are older).

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I would reserve a circle of hell for those indulging in the mawkish ‘you can’t put a spending limit on saving a life’ manipulative cop-out.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
3 months ago

Thanks for this

Peter LR
Peter LR
3 months ago

Well said, Toby!

Sean Meister
Sean Meister
3 months ago

We must not let the Zero Covid camp nor the general pro-Lockdown camp from ever memory-holing their actions. They already memory-holed their opposition to even recognising the danger that was growing in China in Dec-19 (that many of us more savvy internet users were well aware of). I doubt many that should be publicly charged or rebuked over this whole affair ever will be of course.

Last edited 3 months ago by Sean Meister
Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
3 months ago

Thank you, Toby, for reminding us of Devi Sridar’s statements during the pandemic. You would never have gleaned that from her Guardian piece. Let us not forget she was an adviser for the SNP the severest of lockdown advocates.

Roger Tilbury
Roger Tilbury
3 months ago

And never forget that the decisions were driven by MODELS. Just like that other Net Zero obsession, Global Warming.

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
3 months ago

Last weekend, in a local mall, I entered a zero covid world; something of a South Pacific Island (soldier, 20 yrs after the war has ended, cut off from the world in which he no longer needs to fight) in the post-pandemic ‘liberty’ of maskless commerce. Needing the services of an optician, I walked directly into one, let’s call it the SS of High Street ophthalmic outlets. I was stopped by the young man on the door, insisting that I put a mask on. I shrugged his concerns and pressed on, deeper into the shop front with it racks of sparkly specs. I noticed that two other shop floor technicians were panicking and I heard one yelp and rush off to find the manager. He arrived and was adamant that I must wear a mask to enter the shop or leave the premises and visit another store of the same brand nearby. He was categorical, aggressive and intimidating, standing way too close without all the covid; blow the 2ms.
I stood my grounds, mentioned my rights and the appropriate law & guidelines but he was having none of it.
It was the most hostile mask-compliant-insistent person I’ve come across since the first mandate. Covid is far from over. Thank goodness the massage chairs weren’t to far away

R Wright
R Wright
3 months ago

I will never forgive the state and its acolytes for viciously foisting this onto people. I will never forgive it and I will never forget it, even as we move onto the next episode in the ongoing State if Exception.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
3 months ago

Excellent article! . We must not forget.