by Karol Sikora
Monday, 21
November 2022
Analysis
07:00

The lockdown cancer wave has only just begun

Advocates for harsh Covid measures are finally waking up to their actions
by Karol Sikora
Credit: Getty

The underreported story of the entire pandemic is excess deaths — not from Covid, but from other health conditions which were so brutally pushed to one side. There have been huge rises in the number of people dying from causes unrelated to the virus, accelerating throughout the year and showing no signs of slowing down.

To begin with, it was driven by diabetes, cardiac issues and a handful of other concerns — but recently the number of people dying from cancer is starting to increase considerably above what is expected. Will this continue? Nobody can say for sure, but I suspect it will for many years to come.

When I outlined the scale of the cancer crisis previously on Twitter, various voices took great pleasure in pointing out that cancer deaths weren’t rising — I don’t hear from them anymore. Indeed, many of the more vocal lockdown commentators are actively drawing attention to the problem now.

Cancer is slow, but it’s relentless. An undiagnosed tumour won’t cause severe complications in days or weeks. But if it’s left untreated for a year or two then the odds of survival drop precipitously. I fear that those lockdown delays are now starting to bite.

NHS Digital states that in 2020 there were 288,753 new cancer diagnoses — that is 38,421 fewer than in 2019. Full statistics for 2021 aren’t available yet, but it’s fair to assume that it would be a similar number again. A recent report estimated that across Europe the number was a gargantuan one million fewer diagnoses — it really is scandalous. Yet no public outcry, no emergency press conferences, no outrageous scaremongering tactics. Why is that?

Proponents of harder and longer lockdowns will go to great lengths to deny the impact that lockdown and associated fear-based messaging had on these numbers. There is a concerted effort to whitewash the health consequences of relentless restrictions, but that stain is not easy to remove.

Those of us with clearer memories will recall the one overriding instruction we were all given — ‘stay home’. And that’s exactly what millions of seriously ill people did, regardless of the state of their own health. Just look at the excess death figures in private homes right from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 — sky-high every single week. Tens of thousands of people stayed and died at home. That’s a sorry fact.

Reporting a worrying symptom to a professional requires a high threshold of concern even at the best of times, especially for men of a certain age. But to do so when reports of overwhelmed hospitals are being beamed into your front room on a daily basis? It just didn’t happen for thousands and thousands of people. The tumour went undetected and continued to grow, only to be discovered a year or two later at a far more advanced stage. Chances of long-term survival drop from about 90% at stage one to roughly 10% at a later stage. A stark difference.

It is a biological fact that if approximately 70,000 cases went undetected, a vast number of life years would be lost. Lockdown messaging was undoubtedly to blame for a significant percentage of that.

Another enormous contributing factor towards that overall number was access to healthcare, in terms of both entering the system and then receiving the appropriate diagnostic tests. However people want to spin it, getting a face-to-face GP appointment has been and remains an extremely difficult task. Even if you managed to follow it up with a timely biopsy or scan it was yet more convoluted. Covid-induced staff absences did contribute to this, but so did a blinding focus on one disease from our establishment’s leadership.

Think of all of those press conferences. Scotch eggs were mentioned more than cancer. And what of the vaccine rollout? Had a fraction of that effort been directed towards supporting services for non-Covid diseases, so much suffering would have been averted.

This just scratches the surface on diagnosis. Delays are as awful as I have ever seen — targets which are seen as pathetic in countries of similar wealth continue to be missed.

Personally, I’m involved in an ongoing struggle to reopen a network of world-class cancer centres after closure following the pandemic. The decision-maker, an investment fund manager named Equitix, holds the power but refuses to act — thousands of patients would benefit.

There are fires to put out everywhere, in both the public and private sectors.

Not to forget the impact on long-term prevention. Britain is now fatter, unhealthier and more likely to develop cancer directly because of lockdown policies. We were dealing with a virus that disproportionately targeted the obese and what was our response? Legally mandate people to stay at home and ban so much exercise, even for children. A disastrous mistake that will take countless lives over the coming years and decades.

Anticipating the usual lazy response of smearing those of us concerned about the irrefutable evidence of lockdown’s health impact as wanting to ‘let the virus rip’, I’d like to point out that despite parts of this crisis being caused by Covid, our own policies contributed far more in my view.

Lockdown policies were a choice. Intense fear-based messaging was a choice; essentially locking people in their homes was a choice; failing to give attention to anything that wasn’t Covid was a choice.

It wasn’t our lockdown or absolutely nothing. There was a better, more balanced way. This isn’t hindsight: plenty of us said so at the time, in the face of appalling personal attacks and abuse.

Cancer services in Britain are in a truly horrific place and I sincerely appreciate that the causes are complex, ranging from brutal Government lockdown propaganda to a severely stretched workforce. However, attempts to rewrite pandemic history must be resisted — lockdowns and associated choices had an unforgivable impact on cancer patients with an immeasurable amount of suffering as a result. I fear it has only just begun.

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chris Barton
chris Barton
8 days ago

Oh look….another conspiracy theory coming true! I said roughly this time last year you’d struggle to find anyone in favour of lockdowns and so it turns out.

Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
8 days ago
Reply to  chris Barton

I said roughly this time last year …

Cast your mind back roughly a year further still to 2020 and you will find that Karol Sikora was vilified almost everywhere in the media for voicing his concerns.

It is only right that rational voices such as his should be heard again and again if we are to avoid a similar catastrophe in future.

Last edited 8 days ago by Ray Mullan
chris Barton
chris Barton
8 days ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

I remember and completely agree.

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
6 days ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

What would be “right” would be for every one of the totalitarians imposing mandates of every sort be imprisoned for life or hung as an example to others. After fair trials, of course.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
8 days ago
Reply to  chris Barton

Yep people rewriting history. Bet the left will jump on this bandwagon big scale soon enough. Meanwhile those of us who *actually* said the lockdowns were a disaster, are left scratching our heads.

Will Rolf
Will Rolf
8 days ago
Reply to  chris Barton

In the US they haven’t backed down from their lockdown stance

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
8 days ago
Reply to  chris Barton

What makes me nervous is that the same conspiracy crowd that have correctly predicted every single thing about Covid and the vaccines and the mandates are now saying that the vaccine is much more damaging to people than acknowledged. Prominent cardiologists have said that we may all have ‘sub-clinical’ damage to our hearts and other organs that will manifest itself as health issues in the future. I can’t dismiss this out of hand given what has happened to date. The compilation videos of athletes and others literally dropping dead on the spot are quite disturbing to look at.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
8 days ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Fit young people dropping dead from cardiac problems is actually a thing. It’s the leading cause of death in young athletes. It’s just that no-one noticed pre-Covid vaccinations. Beware the base rate fallacy.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-cardiac-arrest/in-depth/sudden-death/art-20047571#:~:text=Most%20sudden%20cardiac%20deaths%20are,sudden%20cardiac%20death%20each%20year.

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
6 days ago

Not a fallacy, Cletus. The rate has more than doubled.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
7 days ago
Reply to  chris Barton

Lest you think that all the pro-lockdown people are silent, cowed or repenting: I, for one, still think that the lockdowns etc. were quite likely the best thing to do at the time, with the information available. We will never know the death toll from the Barrington strategy, after all. Only my posts keep disappearing. Maybe the same is happening to others?

Raf M
Raf M
7 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

From what I have been able to gather since early 2020, the effectiveness and efficacy of lockdowns had long been understood by the scientific and political community. Hence, it was almost universally derided as a hopeless policy which would cause far more harm than good. The National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies 2017 was and is the framework document that provides information and guidance on precisely this scenario. The policy has been developed over many decades and most countries follow a similar, general line. There was never any ‘benefit’ to lockdowns and anyone that pointed this out was roundly vilified. The information is readily available now, as it was then should anyone care to look.

Last edited 7 days ago by rafmakda
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
6 days ago
Reply to  Raf M

The policy has been developed over many decades, yes, but based on known epidemics – basically the flu. Which, among other things, does not have asymptomatic transmission. Where there is some partial immunity already in the population, and where the medical system is already as ready to deal with the disease as it will ever be. As a temporary measure to ‘spread out the peak’ and gain time for developing treatments and vaccines for a brand new disease the lockdowns were neither unreasonable nor unsuccessful.

As for being a hopeless policy, lockdowns have undoubtedly saved lots of lives, if nothing else in Australia, New Zealand and China. China in particular- caught out with a weak health system at the very start – may not have had many alternative courses of action. The big difference of course is that Australia and New Zealand used the respite from lockdown to get people vaccinated in order to open up, whereas China just kept doubling down.

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
6 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Lockdown saved nobody, and when the final tally is in we will understand they killed millions.

Totalitarianism never benefits anyone but the totalitarians.

Bruce Crichton
Bruce Crichton
7 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The best thing to do if destruction for the sake of destruction is your goal.

You achieved your goal, congratulations.

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
6 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Crichton

Phase II – the war against energy will kill millions more.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
7 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Sweden says otherwise. As for the posts, hard to say why they’d disappear, you are always polite and Unherd doesn’t seem like the sort of company that would delete comments merely for pro-lockdown opinions. You’ve been able to post such views many times.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
6 days ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

Does it? Back when the main point of discussion is that Sweden had twice as many deaths as Denmark (it did) many were quick to point out that Sweden was different because of population structure, holiday timings etc. Now we might point out other differences (like a very high proportion of one-person households) and, not least the fact that Swedes did a lot of the reduction in social contacts anyway simply because of fear and a strong tendency to follow official advice even without sanctions. At least one peer-reviewed paper modelled that Sweden could have halved its death toll by locking down like Denmark, mainly because the reduction in social contacts that happened anyway would then have happeend faster. Now I would not take that as gospel either, but this does need some thorough checking before youget a reliable conclusion and we are not there yet. Cherry-picking two countries that happen to prove your point is wrong, whether you pick Sweden v. Denmark (lockdown good!) or Sweden v. the UK (lockdown bad!).

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
6 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Your post is quite present.
Recommendations – fine. Mandates only serve totalitarians.

Last edited 6 days ago by eskimoelevator
Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
8 days ago

Just wait until the childhood leukaemias start ramping up.

For 30 years, the world-leading cancer specialist Professor Mel Greaves dedicated his life to working out why kids got cancer. He was knighted for his groundbreaking findings in 2018. Below is reportage in the Guardian on 30 December 2018, detailing how social isolation in the first year of life is a necessary but not sufficient condition for childhood leukaemia.

Let’s be clear: Whitty and Vallence KNEW this. The politicians they were advising KNEW this. At least some of the sheep-journalists KNEW this – they wrote articles about it. Shame on those in positions of medical and political authority who didn’t speak up and share their knowledge to allow people to make informed choices, and shame on the journalists for not investigating it. We continue to live through a collapse in medicinal, political, and journalistic ethics. It’s time for people to summon the courage to apologise and make sure this never happens again – and most of all to stop the WHO’s tyrannical pandemic treaty that could perpetuate these maniacal unscientific policies without any accountability.

“Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is caused by a sequence of biological events. The initial trigger is a genetic mutation that occurs in about one in 20 children. …

For full leukaemia to occur, another biological event must take place and this involves the immune system. “For an immune system to work properly, it needs to be confronted by an infection in the first year of life,” says Greaves. Without that confrontation with an infection, the system is left unprimed and will not work properly.”

And this issue is becoming an increasingly worrying problem. Parents, for laudable reasons, are raising children in homes where antiseptic wipes, antibacterial soaps and disinfected floorwashes are the norm. Dirt is banished for the good of the household.

In addition, there is less breast feeding of infants and a tendency for them to have fewer social contacts with other children. Both trends reduce babies’ contact with germs. This has benefits – but also comes with side effects. Because young children are not being exposed to bugs and infections as they once were, their immune systems are not being properly primed.

“When such a baby is eventually exposed to common infections, his or her unprimed immune system reacts in a grossly abnormal way,” says Greaves. “It over-reacts and triggers chronic inflammation.”

As this inflammation progresses, chemicals called cytokines are released into the blood and these can trigger a second mutation that results in leukaemia in children carrying the first mutation.

“The disease needs two hits to get going,” Greaves explains. “The second comes from the chronic inflammation set off by an unprimed immune system.”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/30/children-leukaemia-mel-greaves-microbes-protection-against-disease

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
8 days ago

As someone against lockdowns, masks and the rest, I do not impute foul afore thought to those who locked us up. Pressure came from the public, particularly from the shrill voices of those wishing for a nanny state.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
8 days ago

I disagree. They may have been under political pressure – but they knew it was wrong. The impact was going to be obvious. The next impact is going to be a recession caused by inflation and debt – both direct and inevitable consequences of Covid policies. I don’t forgive people for being weak – especially when they are the same class of progressives who are constantly telling how morally superior they are.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
8 days ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I think you need to define carefully who you mean by “they”. Most politicians’ skill set is focused around influencing people to vote for them. If they have the skills to run a department as a minister that’s an accidental bonus. So it’s unsurprising that, faced with a Macmillanite “event” of seismic scale they didn’t know what to do, other than what the experts told them. And it’s hopelessly utopian to expect politicians to resist irresistible political pressure, especially as a frightened public were all in favour of lockdown at the time.
Focus should be on the experts and the “experts”. Whitty started well, spending the weeks before lockdown telling us that lockdowns had downsides and couldn’t be maintained for long periods. Perhaps the Inquiry will find out what changed his mind.
Focus also on the MSM and the opposition parties whose “what can we blame the wicked Tories for today” mindset totally failed to rise to the occasion of a national emergency.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
7 days ago

Probably nothing changed his mind. People like Whitty seem unable to directly contradict other people of the same social class (academics, civil servants, etc). For Whitty to have pushed back on lockdowns he’d have had to publicly argue that Ferguson’s “best epidemiologists in the world” were incompetent hacks who were lying through their teeth. That would have been true but the Prime Directive of people in that sort of job is that you cannot make enemies because it’s all so reputation driven and political. So the moment Ferguson went out there and said “we’re the experts and doom doom doom” the rest of them all folded like a cheap suit. To do otherwise would have required them to basically demand Ferguson should be fired and they just can’t do it.

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
6 days ago

The alleged Covid “experts” were the same ones who funded the bio weapon and all have their hands in the big pharma till.

Totalitarianism never helped anyone but the totalitarians.

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
6 days ago

I cannot agree with you, particularly given that nearly all the totalitarian measures were pushed by one political party.
Totalitarianism never helped anyone but the totalitarians.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
8 days ago

That the average age of those who died “with Covid” (since that is the measure our government chose) is higher than the average age of death from all causes tells you all you need to know about the criminal actions of the British state.
With hindsight the hundreds of scientists and medical professionals who signed Great Barrington Declaration have been proven absolutely right. Those who vilified, excluded and cancelled them should be hanging their heads in shame.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
8 days ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could take them out on the street and shave their heads as a public demonstration of their shame.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
8 days ago

I’d quite like to mention that fear and social isolation are really stressful, and stress damages the immune system. The fear was definitely whipped up and despite my assurances (I am a biology graduate former teacher/lecturer) that because I had had Covid before the vaccine was rolled out then I had natural immunity (much superior to vaccine induced) and was not a danger to my choir or my discussion group I was asked not to attend. The failure to collect data on natural immunity is shameful in the extreme but Phizer stock is doing great……..

Steve White
Steve White
8 days ago

Are they waking up to what they have done? In order for me to believe people are waking up to what they have done, you have to believe that the system in place is about truth. That the truth is really desired. Is the truth really desired by those who control information? Really? Why would they do that? What’s in it for them? I believe you are operating on an old paradigm in the postmodern/post-truth world. What is useful is valued now over what is true, and who it’s useful to is what will control information and therefore policy and action.

Last edited 8 days ago by Steve White
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve White

They are still recommending vaccines for 5 year olds in Canada – which has no basis in science – so they still haven’t stopped doing harm – let alone admit it. They are never going to acknowledge this – and since mainstream media were complicit cheerleaders in all of this they won’t admit it either.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve White

And therefore people.

Rob Keeley
Rob Keeley
8 days ago

Whitty and Vallance should be stripped of their knighthoods and put on trial for manslaughter.

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
8 days ago
Reply to  Rob Keeley

Whitty at the time quite clearly stated that lockdowns were not cost free. He was not understood at the briefings.

Andrew F
Andrew F
8 days ago

Great article by Prof Sikora.
One of the main problem with NHS is lack of diagnostic capacity.
Maybe prof Sikora can explain why prostate cancer test costs 6 quid in Poland and 90 quid in UK (Polish wages are about half of uk)?
In provincial Polish city you can have battery of about 30 tests for about 50 quid, with results available the same evening (for many of them).

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 days ago

I am absolutely d’accord with criticism being levelled at the apocalyptic pandemic messaging and the retrospective discussion on the true cost of lockdown. That discussion needs to be had out fully and publicly and mea culpas given where necessary.
HOWEVER, my response to this article also encompasses criticism of patients who could have gone to the doctors but allowed themselves to be cowed by the messaging. If that was the case – then sorry to say it (I know it’s brutal) but they also bear responsibility for not being pushy enough. You need to think of yourselves as customers of the health service and you have to go and get what you need and not be fobbed off. This does not fit in with the British fear of confrontation and general attitude of entitlement with regard to the NHS but so what? If you want decent service sometimes you have to go and bang your fist on the table and not do the passive aggressive tutting thing.
However, the foregoing comment does not apply if patients simply couldn’t go because the relevant offices/surgeries weren’t letting anyone in. Then the health services should bear the full responsibility for the failings.]

Last edited 8 days ago by Katharine Eyre
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
8 days ago

Why are comments being deleted again? This trend really needs to stop!

Frank Smith
Frank Smith
6 days ago

Dramatic embellishment aside:
I do not think your thesis state accurately reflects what occurred and is more hyperbolic and inflammatory than constructive. Yes, there were many undiagnosed cancers (and other illnesses) during the pandemic this is clear.The lockdowns severed to reduce the strain on the medical system and they achieved that goal.It’s unclear if the lock downs are solely to blame for the prevalence of other illnesses we are seeing now. Yes, they kept people home. The implicit assumption you are making is that there was hospital capacity to address COVID patients and all others illnesses at the same time. That was simply not the case.Most hospitals (in Canada at least) were at capacity with critical and ICU care for for COVID patients. Nurses and doctors seemed to have not been available. I agree that there needs to be a better mechanism to deal with a serious outbreak and be able to stick handle this difficulty situation more effectively in the future.The merits of a lockdown and the access to preventative healthcare are closely related but not mutually exclusive. You can have both simultaneously to an effective degree. If you are truly concerned about the state of the preventative healthcare during the pandemic feel free to suggest solutions (I am sure they are many) but to simply blame the lockdown is not accurate. Questions to be answered:
How can the current health care system balance an extreme event and preventative health care. What did the lockdown accomplish. Though you choose to not discuss this, they did meet some of their goals. What did the lockdowns not accomplish.What preparations need to be made moving forward.

Theo Bane
Theo Bane
6 days ago
Reply to  Frank Smith

Dear Mr. Smith,
You seem be be a rather well balanced individual capable of putting forth an argument in a proper form. Your initial statement, ‘Dramatic embellishment aside,” should serve as a warning to others who somehow believe that shouting loudest (or vilest) is more convincing than logical discussion. It’s sad, they waste their own time producing ‘content’ that is not convincing to their intended audience.
It’s also good that you put forth some questions that readers might research.

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
6 days ago

Totalitarianism never benefits anyone other than the totalitarians. We need mass hangings for the totalitarians – after fair trials, of course.

Will Cummings
Will Cummings
8 days ago

primum non nocere

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
6 days ago

This is getting tiresome – my posts keep disappearing and getting reinstated. If I am doing something wrong, could you tell me what it is? If (as I suspect) someone is gaming the reporting system to get automatic removals, you really need to find a way to avoid this. Otherwise sooner or later someone is going to start retaliating when their posts disappear, and the whole comment section will fall to pieces.

Michael Sinclair
Michael Sinclair
3 days ago

Well , profs. Gupta, Kulldorff and Bhattacharya – Oxford, Harvard and Stamford – were the most clear in their direction and advice contained within their ‘Great Barrignton Declaration’ – focus protection to those that need it and avoid lockdowns. To my mind these last two/three years have exemplified the1963 Milgram Experiment concerning individual and group dynamics. When I met with Kulldorff and Bhattacharya in June this year I asked them if what, I phrased as ‘mass acquiescence’ as evidenced by the Milgram experiment was an overiding consequence and people reaction as to how covid was managed – not just in the UK. They both agreed.

Last edited 3 days ago by Michael Sinclair
Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
8 days ago

Admin, you have a problem! spellcheck not working too well!

Frank Freeman
Frank Freeman
3 days ago

More blame should be placed on lack of funding, and staff shortages. Instead of playing the blame games lets find solutions. Increase taxes on the very rich, close down tax havens, cancel the proposed upgrade of Trident, and increase taxes on corporate profits. Also stop spending taxpayers money supplying Ukraine with weapons and encourage peace talks instead.
This would provide money to restore nurses bursaries, and grants for training doctors and other medical staff. The government wasted billions giving their mates contracts for PPE, and they individually should be held accountable.
Does the author want to do something about rising cancer deaths, or does he just want to complain about it?

Last edited 3 days ago by Frank Freeman
Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
7 days ago

I wonder how many detractors of the lockdown policy actually experienced a life threatening or profound illness with Covid. Any thinking person knew there had to be consequences of a lockdown but surely it was the lesser of two evils? I say this with great sadness for those that lockdown lead to a lonely or unnecessary death. The alternative and the, even more dire, consequences of allowing a seriously dangerous virus to run rampant (when the NHS was already failing through lack of expertise – lost to the private sector – and trained health workers not growing on trees) – doesn’t bear thinking about. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! If there’s blame to be laid at any door, read ‘Viral’ by Alina Chan and Matt Ridley.

Bruce Crichton
Bruce Crichton
7 days ago
Reply to  Diane Tasker

Lockdown saved no lives whatsoever, your Communist trolling is obvious

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
8 days ago

How would the people on this forum have protected the vulnerable?

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
8 days ago

With targeted protection, a la Great Barrington Declaration, which was widely condemned at the time by the propagandists and hysterics.

Jim R
Jim R
8 days ago
Reply to  Adam Bacon

I don’t think the person who asked the question stuck around to hear the answer. Which tells you everything you need to know about where we find ourselves. The general public overwhelmingly bought into the narrative, because they thought it was their moral duty to do so. The possibility that a movement on this scale might have been disastrously wrong is simply too scary for most people to even entertain.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
8 days ago
Reply to  Jim R

Or maybe I’m reading the comments that accumulate before I reply?

I don’t know why I got so many dislikes when I just asked a simple question.

My own thoughts were a Blitz-style evacuation of children from vulnerable people, sending them to younger foster-parents for a year so that they could be let out and sent to school. Speed-training of younger people (including those on benefits) to undertake roles previously taken by older more-vulnerable people.

Use of outdoor dead-drops for delivering supplies for vulnerable people, delivered 24 hours in advance to allow as much time as possible for COVID to disappear from physical packaging.

I would not have done track-and-trace. That’s 30bn instantly saved.

When I asked that question, I wanted to know what the logistics of it would have been. The Great Barrington Declaration made some references to out-door gatherings, but I want to go deeper than that.

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
8 days ago

Oh, the problem with internet forums rather than face-to-face discussion! Like many others I assumed your question was rhetorical rather than genuine. Glad I didn’t respond but i still feel apologetic.

Nikita Kubanovs
Nikita Kubanovs
8 days ago

I think your comment is the answer, protect the vulnerable. Rather than shutting the nation down in fear we should have protected the most vunerable to the virus and let the rest carry on with living like every other pandemic in history.

Jonny S
Jonny S
8 days ago

The vulnerable were exactly that, vulnerable. Ill old people in hospital receiving medical attention mainly to prolong life were kicked out of hospital back into locked up care home for 24 hours a day with no medical treatment and surprise surprise, died in very quick manner. That was the beginning of all normal medical care being closed down. Now it’s done. The lauded NHS will collapse, not because of lack of money but bloated lazy bureaucracy. The UK had the highest death rate in 2020 since ………2008. this has been the greatest con played on humanity.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
8 days ago
Reply to  Jonny S

‘Bloated lazy bureaucracy’ is an easy phrase to use but it’s not true. Unless you have some stats to back it up? I agree that the NHS is a difficult institution to support in many ways, but bloated bureaucracy is not the problem.I’d suggest political interference at all levels is the main issue.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
8 days ago

When the NHS treats you as a unit of work towards achieving a management target – that’s a definition of a ‘Bloated lazy bureaucracy’ 
When the system is organised around the convenience of the provider not the user – that’s a definition of a ‘Bloated lazy bureaucracy’ 

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
8 days ago

Perhaps you are part of the NHS bureaucracy if you don’t recognise it is bloated? I’ve been a recent non- urgent customer in various departments and there’s noticeable over-staffing – and I’m not the only one to have observed this during a 2 hour wait in a cold corridor to have a blood test. Casualty/intensive care and ‘actual’ nurses doing ‘actual’ nursing are another matter. I will put my hand in my pocket to give a pay rise to them, but would need to see less socialising and more elbow grease applied to some of the increasingly grubby hospitals before rewarding the rest. My dog would hesitate to do business in the grubby ‘rest room’ I visited. Appointment letters are late or wrong: a lineup of 4 receptionists (with no queue) growl at you to use automated checking when you approach. Frankly, I’m ‘clapped’ out!

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
3 days ago
Reply to  Diane Tasker

No, since you ask. I was looking for stats and not your uncheckable anecdotes, btw – I too can give you stories about irritating delays and slack processes, but ‘management targets’ in the NH are commendably linked to clinical outcomes these days.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
8 days ago

How did Sweden manage it. With death figures no different from those countries who locked down aggressively? How did Florida, when neighbouring states who locked down for much longer ended up with exactly the same mortality rates?
But all that in truth is the least of it.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

We moved from New Hampshire to Florida in the middle of the panic. Our former town up north is still in the throes of WuFlu hysteria, still masking and distancing and getting shots. We not only didn’t get any shots, we never got sick. Everyone I know who has submitted to the shots and boosters has gotten C19 more than once, but it’s very hard to let go of a lie so powerfully clung to.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 days ago

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Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
8 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

How did third world countries manage it. One of many unreported things is that countries with no vaccines or mandates did fine.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
8 days ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

This was something I discussed BTL at the time. I knew the situation in various parts of India during an intense eight week period around May 2021 by when vaccines had already started in the UK but were not yet available at scale in places like India. and many people I knew over there caught COVID there, and a couple died – one old, one in the 50s with conditions, who couldn’t get oxygen or into hospitals because hospitals in the cities were briefly swamped and things like oxygen were selling for ludicrous amounts on the black market on the back of panic. For a few weeks it looked like the county would be overwhelmed as much bigger numbers of people got the condition. Instead, the wave passed even more quickly than it built, without devastating the country, for reasons *still* unknown, but following patterns seen in many parts of the world including the poorer bits of Europe, during earlier waves. By the time of the subsequent waves that pattern was pretty much clear – albeit unexplained -, but nevertheless the political and medical establishment across the developed world insisted on further and prolonged lockdowns because by then lockdown culture had assumed religion status. In truth there is still a *lot* unknown about why the virus spreading patterns behaved the way they did, and I *still* haven’t seen anyone offering a convincing explanation from the biomedical research establishment.

It was pretty obvious to me from pretty much the outset that the lockdowns would eventually cause a global depression, plunging hundreds of millions into destitution which would end up killing far more people worldwide long term than the lockdowns ever saved – and we are still only in the foothills of that playout. I didn’t anticipate so many who didn’t get treatment here in the UK during that period would deteriorate so quickly because I didn’t guess our medical services would go to pot in such a spectacular way once out of the lockdowns, but I suppose in hindsight that was not unexpected either.

Last edited 8 days ago by Prashant Kotak
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
8 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I did read an interesting article on substack discussing viral interference. It was a concept I’d never encountered formally but it did fit at least some thoughts I’d been having on the phenomona you describe. I’ve no idea if it is a complete explanation.

Early in the pandameic, the word “exponential,” was being used like some kind of occult incantation. Nobody, apparently, wanted to ponder why the flu season is a season and doesn’t continue indefinitely until everyone is wiped out. Oddly enough, if I forget about some uneaten bread, my entire house isn’t taken over by mold.

The interviews with the Swedish epidiomologists showed one of, if not their main concern, was the lockdown was doing little other than kicking the can down the road. This was contrasted to the main argument for lockdown, indeed the only argument that made a jot of sense to me, which was slowing the spread to stop health services being overwhelmed. Our policy morphed into exactly the problem the Swedes feared and predicted.
This leaves us with a resource deficient economy attempting to pay back health debt incurred by the lockdown policies. This all looks like the public health equivalent of a pay day loan.

Jake Taylor
Jake Taylor
1 day ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Indeed

Last edited 1 day ago by Jake Taylor
Rather Sceptical
Rather Sceptical
1 day ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

There is another reason for the ‘deteriorate[d] so quickly’ part….

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
8 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I think it’s a lifestyle thing. The British like a drink if you haven’t noticed from the furore over no booze at the World Cup. You won’t see High Street pubs in Sweden late on a Saturday night full to over capacity with people who have consumed alcohol to the extent that they lose all inhibition. Their High Streets won’t be ‘no go’ areas for the sober who are not looking for trouble or to be snogged by a uninhibited Madonna tottering on impossibly-to-walk-on stilts (and who will fill up casualty depts country wide with broken ankles.) Nationwide on all levels the majority of Brits’ favourite Saturday night out is drinking in their favourite pub,
shedding and sharing lots of virus

chris Barton
chris Barton
8 days ago

Don’t send sick people into care homes and then claim the NHS needs saving.

Terry M
Terry M
8 days ago

Most of the vulnerable know who they are. They can self-isolate.
My wife is immuno-compromised due to her chronic asthma and my daughter was undergoing treatment for breast cancer in Feb-June 2020. So we formed a ‘health bubble’ with one other 3 generation family that also had vulnerable persons (total 14 persons, 1-70 yrs old). We were never in the same room with ANYONE ELSE for about a year until we were all vaccinated. My daughter had to take chemotherapy in the hospital by herself – very lonely and frightening. None of us got C19 until almost a year later when omicron was going around and the kids were back in school. No one ever became seriously ill.
It can be done. You alone are responsible for your health.

Last edited 8 days ago by Terry M
Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
8 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

I’m glad you were getting together with at least one other set of people.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
8 days ago

How’s this for a starter for ten:

– not going into a blind moral panic and bombarding them with propaganda deliberately intended to frighten them and make them anxious, and weakening their immune systems

– not encouraging them to “stay at home” and out of sunlight and do light exercise in an unseasonably warm and sunny April, reducing their Vitamin D levels and weakening their immune systems

– not isolating them from other people and obsessively sanitising their environments. reducing their social wellbeing and exposure to normal levels of pathogens, and weakening their immune systems

– not withdrawing other forms of medical and social care, and weakening their immune systems

– not indiscriminately prescribing a miracle pharmaceutical intervention, on which no data on longer term safety, efficacy or links with auto-immune diseases was available and without taking into account individual medical histories and … you guessed it …

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Within 10 years, some enterprising attorneys, along with gullible government “leaders” will create a huge state-sponsored reparations scheme for those suffering from the aftermath of COVID Lunacy. It would be the perfect ending to this saga and a perfect way to print another $5 trillion.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 days ago

The people on this forum were not in charge of lockdown protocols and many were vociferous in their opinions against the lockdowns. It is not up to people in chat rooms to decide on public policy, otherwise nothing would ever get done. If you might recall, the Great Barrington Declaration proscribed how to deal with the vulnerable, but they were demonized by the media and “those in charge”. We have every right to voice our protests about this diabolical response to a virus. That is how change happens.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
8 days ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

There is nothing wrong with seeing what people think of ideas and probing their understanding of logistics.

The GBD only made some token suggestions as to how to manage non-lockdown. More practical suggestions in the public realm might have been helpful- or may be helpful in the future if we have to deal with this sort of thing again without another long lockdown.

The best forums like Unherd are a conduit for education, both in the article and the comments. I have learnt much from them.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
8 days ago

Just want to thank for what was a rather gracious response to a lot of anger and some degree of sarcasm (including from me) in response to your question. I don’t agree though that the GBD made “token” suggestions; and it’s not right to frame the alternative to “lockdown” as “non-lockdown” as if “lockdown” were the default when it was discounted as a viable option in all pandemic planning documents. And many people did make practical suggestions as to what to do – which include just basically carrying on as normal, with the doctors doing their thing maybe with little extra practical and financial help, as we always have done.

But practicality is important – what isn’t practical, or effective, is consolidating power in the hands of one man at the head of the WHO to determine policy for the world, which is what the pandemic treaty will do.

What’s important is that those of us who remain angry about lockdowns etc acknowledge your point of view and try our best to understand it; and at the same time that you acknowledge our anger, and try your best to understand the reasons for it. None of us wants to do harm to anyone and we all want to live a good life. Accepting that premise allows us then to try and work together try and work out what it is that we are not seeing.

Rather Sceptical
Rather Sceptical
1 day ago

I work in politics, and behind the scenes when The GBD was made, the main objection from Boris Johnson & Co was that it would be too expensive.

I think the latest figure for covid spend is about *350 billion*.

For that, every vulnerable person in the country could have had michelin star dinners by post, their own personal gofer and a visit from the Bolshoi Ballet each Friday night.

Another anecdote – earlier this year, Boris was apparently annoyed that none of his team of modellers had told him about lockdown harms at the begining. The fact that the modellers worked for HIM and HE set the terms for their reports seemed to escape him.

Is there a conspiracy here? Or are our politicians just all a little dim? Both, I think..

Last edited 1 day ago by Rather Sceptical
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
8 days ago

why the downvotes – its a fair enough question if one is recent in one’s enquiries – lets be a little bit kind here………….

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
7 days ago

Governments should have done nothing. The vulnerable could have then decided what to do based on discussions with their doctors, workplaces, friends, neighbours, whomever.
The disaster we now face was caused by governments deciding that people couldn’t figure out what to do on their own and had to be forced. Not so. If they’d just let people get on with it, things would have worked out far better.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 days ago

Proponents of harder and longer lockdowns will go to great lengths to deny the impact that lockdown and associated fear-based messaging had on these numbers. There is a concerted effort to whitewash the health consequences of relentless restrictions,

Nothing new here. Opponents of lockdowns have gone to great lengths – throughout the pandemic – to deny the risks and damages of COVID, to trumpet unproven treatments as ‘cures’, and to make dodgy claims about how we could avoid all the problems by targeted protections of just a few groups. Each side pushes for his own opinion to win.

It was a disease that killed a lot of people and put heavy stress on the health services. The cost would be big regardless and nobody knew enough. The question was how to mitigate – and distribute it. We went for the benefits and costs of lockdowns, so the opponents have a strategic advantage. They can point to the visible costs while no one can prove how many lives were saved. If the Barringtoners had won the debate, they would today be defending themselves against the claim that they deliberately sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives to keep the economy open.

How about letting go of all the ‘I was right, you were wrong!!’ stuff and getting on with the job?

Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
8 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Oh wake up and smell the coffee.

chris Barton
chris Barton
8 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Still clinging to the comfort blanket of “we didnt know any better?” pretty pathetic at this point. With all the damage that has been to the economy, kids education, the NHS, mental health not to mention the corruption we cant just move on and forget about it, the people who made and supported the lockdowns need to answer for it. All of us were duped, you just cant accept it yet.

Last edited 8 days ago by chris Barton
Arkadian X
Arkadian X
8 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“nobody knew enough”
Yes, for the first three weeks or so, not for two years and counting.
Thanks goodness for partygate! It should be remembered with a public holiday, lest we forget.

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
2 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

We knew the figures from the Diamond Princess before the first lockdown. 7 deaths out of 3,711 on board, something like one fifth of one per cent.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

There was a large study done by ICL in May 2020, which demonstrated that lockdowns did not reduce infections rates during the first lockdown. It showed that infections were falling prior to it, in fact the data showed that the infections started falling a week before. This was when the government stated on the 16th March that we should look to restrict our movements. The same type of data, shows that this was the case for the other two lockdowns. The NHS’ data showed that infections peaked a week before the last lockdown, the ONS and ZOE data showed the same. Good luck with trying to convince people that an amnesty is now required, you picked the wrong approach based on zero scientific evidence.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

The last article I happened to see said that Sweden could have halved the number of dead if only they had locked down in the same way as Denmark. This is not to restart the discussion, just to point out that there is *not* any general agreement even now about the effect of various measures. It is too easy (for both of us) to pick an article that matches our preferred result and claim this proves us right.

Last edited 7 days ago by Rasmus Fogh
Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
8 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m not going to be polite as others have been with your ridiculous comment above – f**k OFF you t**d.

Last edited 8 days ago by Andy O'Gorman
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy O'Gorman

And a very good morning to you too, Sir 😉

Last edited 7 days ago by Rasmus Fogh
Chris W
Chris W
8 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Exactly! The comments are trivial because they only think about blame. Who can I blame today because things are not going well?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris W

I do agree with you to some extent, but it’s all so double-standardy, isn’t it? Because I questioned masking and lockdown policy, I was blamed for COVID deaths. Many people lost their jobs and risked their reputation for speaking out against the ridiculous measures that took place. I was unable to attend to a dying loved one and their subsequent funeral due to lockdown restrictions. I suppose those of us that were labeled ‘deniers’ and accused of putting ‘the economy above lives’ could be magnanimous and let it all slide – it’s just that those most who are now keen to forget about all the silly lockdown nonsense, at the time were most eager to vilify those of us who vocalized our concerns.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
8 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

how do we ensure such things don’t happen again? Certainly not by swiftly moving on and not examine the results of the actions taken. We sacrificed our economy and our health and the future of our children for the sake of the old and sick. There is no justification and those who knew and continued to push their agenda should be held accountable!

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
8 days ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

“…how do we ensure such things don’t happen again?…”

Well, I quite like the system the Yakuza use, to apply to our technocratic decision makers: chop off a third of a digit for every three mistakes.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
8 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

And you know what the big difference was (and largely still is)? Proponents of lockdown were never challenged through any official means while those of us who were sceptical of the policy were silenced and vilified.

D Glover
D Glover
8 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Good point. The lockdown was introduced by executive power without any parliamentary debate. Then, there was no opposition at all because the ‘opposition’ parties, and nearly all media, were crying out for more, harder, and longer lockdown.
Democracy was one of the casualties of covid. I bet the Chinese are smiling at that.

David Simpson
David Simpson
8 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Err, Sweden?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
7 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

All the angry downvoters seem to think that they have already been vindicated. It was obvious (to them) right at the start, and now it is shown that they were right all along. And now they want this acknowledged,, and those who disagreed with them punished.

Well, it is not true. The costs are becoming clearer, let us say, what was once only speculation is actually showing up. But it is very unclear how exactly things would have gone differently with different approaches. You did not know then, and you do not know now, any more than the pro-lockdowners do (or did). And since none of the alternatives were actually tried there is no way of checking the consequences; you are free to assume that everything would have been so much better, if only …
My personal estimate is still that the Barrington proposal would never have been able to protect the vulnerable, in practice. Adopting it would simply have meant (as Lindsay S might put it) ‘sacrificing the old and the sick for the sake of the economy’ etc. It is certainly possible that this might have been a better trade-off (though I have my doubts). But if we are to learn anything from this, point one is to calm down and investigate what has happened, not hold the whole thing hostage to a lot of angry people who want their feelings affirmed.

Last edited 7 days ago by Rasmus Fogh
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
7 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The costs were already clear to many people.
If anything, they are even worse in reality.
Some might have said , “There will be costs” as a kind of throwaway acknowledgement, but not only was there no detailed public discussion on what the cost would probably be, but any suggestion of it was hysterically trampled on.

Bruce Crichton
Bruce Crichton
7 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Lockdown is domestic abuse as government policy

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
7 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

We actually do know what would have happened because lockdowns had no effect. SARS-CoV-2 spreads like a gas, primarily through aerosols, and primarily at home. Lockdowns can’t stop or even slow down a virus like that, hence why it’s so hard to show any effect and the best counter-examples that exist don’t have worse results.
i.e. the alternative was for governments to do nothing. COVID deaths would have been the same, and policy-induced deaths would have been far lower or zero.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
6 days ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

Interesting theory, that. If you had limited yourself to saying that lockdown cannot *stop* the virus we could have argued, built ‘cannot slow down’? So you are saying that even if you stay in your apartment and do not meet anyone else, COVID will spread through the air at the same rate, over tens of meters and through your walls? Even if no one moves from the outside world to Australia, the virus will move through the air and get there as fast anyway? If the virus is that strong there is indeed no hope for us.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
3 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

We were relentlessly told health before wealth. Spoken to like we were greedy. However health and wealth are intrinsically linked and the old and sick today would be better off if the economy had been allowed to stay strong. Not only that but the furlough or bribe for lockdowns would’ve been better spent looking after the old and sick, while everyone else was allowed to carry on working.
Lockdowns exacerbated vitamin D deficiency which had an impact of covid infections, this was reported on during lockdown and still ignored. Excessive use of antibacterial products led to weakness in immunity. We’ve known this for an incredibly long time and ignored it for no good reason.
I get people were scared and the government and media fed that fear but the fact is; the old and sick will die, usually a [email protected] sight faster than the rest of us and we have to let them go or we’ll all be dragged along with them. It may seem harsh but it was how our ancestors survived and allowed humanity to flourish today.

Jeremy Eves
Jeremy Eves
3 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

A sensible civilised view. Life is not a fair test. We have no way of knowing how alternatives might have panned out. The public was scared witless and so was the government at the queues and deaths outside Italian ICUs. There is a bigger debate to be had on what we expect governments to do for us citizens absent actual warfare

P Branagan
P Branagan
2 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy Eves

Garbage Mr Eves. We know exactly how alternatives would have worked out. We only have to be open and honest and look at the outcomes in Sweden and Florida. But there are none so blind as those who. WILL NOT SEE.

Last edited 2 days ago by Peter Branagan
P Branagan
P Branagan
2 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The self righteous totalitarian thuggery displayed by Governments and their many fanatical supporters among the public sickened me from Day 1 of the ‘pandemic’.
My view on human kind went from: (a) on balance there’s more good in human beings than bad, to (b) on balance human beings are more evil than good as it takes so little to turn them into fanatical fascist thugs othering everyone who doesn’t comply with their own hysteria.

Bruce Crichton
Bruce Crichton
7 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Lockdown saved no lives whatsoever, you were wrong and you will not be allowed to whatabout your way out of the atrocities you approved of.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
7 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Crichton

How would you know that – loudmouth?