by Andrew Lilico
Tuesday, 14
September 2021
Response
11:30

The case against new Covid restrictions

Cases are shrinking without them — exponential growth now seems impossible
by Andrew Lilico
Yesterday’s Covid press conference at Number 10 (Credit: Getty)

In today’s piece the estimable Tom Chivers reflects on recent coronavirus data, wondering why we are not more worried about the chances of a new winter lockdown. He suggests we should consider bringing in certain restrictions early, such as masks, encouraging working from home, and vaccine certificates.

On this occasion I must confess I don’t recognise the outlook Tom describes. Let me explain why.

The level of spread of Covid has thus far not been significantly related to the time of year, so we needn’t be too concerned with the fact that we have more cases now than at the same moment last year. We have more cases than we did in February 2020, too, and fewer than we had in July 2021.

Similarly, he notes that there was widespread concern about the September 2020 forecast that we would reach 200 deaths per day by November of that year, but seem unperturbed that we are gradually reaching similar levels now. This omits a crucial detail. The disturbing thing about the September 2020 forecast wasn’t that there would be 200 deaths per day. It was that 200 deaths per day would be reached quickly and that it would likely continue to accelerate from there. 200 deaths per day then implied we would reach 1,000 deaths per day and more, shortly thereafter, and without intervention that might be 2,000 or 4,000 deaths per day. The current trajectory implies no such thing.

Cases in England by reported date since the start of the pandemic (data: gov.uk)

Infection numbers in England are not growing at present. They are shrinking. And they are shrinking without our having imposed any new restrictions to make that happen. They shrank in July; they shrank in the second half of August. Average case numbers reported in England over the past seven days are lower than they were from August the 12th to the 30th or July the 9th to the 29th. We have reached a situation where the virus is unable to extend its reach consistently, despite the absence of any new restrictions to impede it. This suggests one thing: that exponential growth in infections for a sustained period is no longer possible.

Hospitalisations have also waxed and waned — as it happens they have fallen slightly recently. But until then they’d risen gradually through much of August. This reflects the fact that cases amongst older people grew a little in that period even though cases numbers in other age groups (eg young adults) were falling. Recently cases amongst older people have also started to fall, so hospitalisations should fall back slightly. But even if they stayed about where they are indefinitely, at roughly one new admission per day for every two hospitals in England or around half a per cent of all hospital beds per day, that would not pose an existential challenge to the health service.

There may be a little more spread from schools returning, for a brief period. But there’s no reason to believe that, now cases have stopped being able to grow exponentially despite there being no restrictions, they will start doing so again any time soon, so we don’t need any new, “act early” restrictions to stop that from happening.

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Alyona Song
Alyona Song
9 months ago

The rational sobriety of the article is uplifting. Thank you, Andrew Lilico.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Alyona Song

I find it not so much as rational, as being less hysterically crazy than the mad Chivers.

A rational article would be laying out the sort of trials the lockdown making leaders need to undergo for their destruction of society as we once knew it. Remember – the real effects of these criminals who shut society and yet printed such excess money is that the future is likely to be another Great Depression – and for what? Only to have killed more people, shortened more lives, blighted more business, increased mental health problems, deaths of despair, addictions, abuse, social destructive and self destructive behaviors – LET alone the destruction of Rights and Freedoms we were guaranteed before these monsters began their unethical and criminal covid response – – Than if they had just allowed individual responsibility to manage the epidemic, like South Dakota and Sweden did.

Andrea X
Andrea X
9 months ago

Amen!
I read Chivers’s piece just before breakfast which wasn’t a good idea as it made my appetite go away.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrea X
Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago

At last the voice of common sense to counter doom and gloom Chivers. Well done!

Last edited 9 months ago by Johann Strauss
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago

Some people enjoy the drama of lockdown and are keen to embrace the new normal. It wouldn’t surprise me if we soon witness ‘Marches against Freedom’ if lockdown restrictions are lifted. The Babylon Bee is becoming less satire these days and more prophecy.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I am expecting loads of marches in the coming years demanding to be paid to sit at home, calling it ‘Equity’. Being paid to not work has become a new norm it would seem. Biden’s 4.7 Trillion ‘Human Infrastructure’ bill is mostly that – About 5 times what the USA spends on its Military!!!

Covid response has changed the West as much as WWII did (if you do not count the lives lost, just the economic, social, and political, technological changes – And not for the better.)

Dr Stephen Nightingale
Dr Stephen Nightingale
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Bombing countries to rebuild them only to make them safe for McDonalds for a while is what the US Military has been doing at least since Korea in the 50s, if not since Teddy’s adventure in 1898, and that at the cost of many trillions of dollars, and an enormous proportion of the creative lives of millions of Americans. Spending 3.5 trillion for American citizens to sit on their hands for a while should come as quite a relief to People of Other Continents.
Read also David Graeber on Bllsht Jobs: the vast majority of what the MIC has been doing for decades is firmly in that category.

David Slade
David Slade
9 months ago

A welcome return to sanity on Unherd after Mr Chivers early morning embrace of medievilism masquerading as public health. Maybe it’s something in his coffee.

J Bryant
J Bryant
9 months ago

I agree with the arguments made in this article. One question though: when did we ever see true exponential growth in case numbers?
The nobel laureate Michael Levitt, who has been banished to Twitter for questioning the wisdom of lockdowns, has carefully studied case numbers in various countries and, if I understand him correctly, concluded that the case numbers always follow an S-shaped curve, not the scarier exponential curve.
Can someone point me to a country where true exponential growth in covid cases was observed? Was that typical or an outlier?

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
9 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

It’s a very good point. Depending on how you define exponential growth (there have been localised surges, but they always peaked in the way Levitt and other level-headed data scientists suggest)
Of course, the lockdown advocates would respond that the reason we didn’t see more exponential growth was because of the restrictions imposed. When you mention ‘Sweden’ they stammer “low population density, good hygiene, higher rates of infection than Denmark or Norway”
None of which credibly explains why Sweden didn’t have expontential growth.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
9 months ago

How did this piece pass me by for most of the day. How uplifting and logical.

J Bryant
J Bryant
9 months ago

How did this piece pass me by for most of the day?
For the same reason we overlook the dowdy thrush with its beautiful song in favor of the gaudy, attention-seeking peacock. 🙂

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
9 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

That gave me a good laugh, thanks!

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
9 months ago

Finally someone speaking sense …

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
9 months ago

This is indeed a more reasonable article but please journalists: first inform you about what you are writing about:
For instance: What is generally considered a case in covid in the media is only a positive test , a test which is not supposed to be used the way it is used currently by the government (would not be admissible in court). A real covid case is somebody with a set of symptoms the medical community agrees upon relates to covid and has a strong positive test (not the week positives used to ‘grow numbers’).
It is estimated that based on this: 5000 ‘cases as mentioned in the press and by the government’ represent on average one real covid case.
Further, covid has only changed (worsened) the health statistics for the over 65 or those with some underlying conditions.
etc etc etc
worth watching this for more info: https://www.questioneverything.io/
and check: http://www.globalcovidsummit.org