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If Lockdown Was a Drug, Would We Use It?

On Thursday I asked why lockdowns aren’t subject to the same rigorous safety and efficacy protocols as drugs and vaccines despite their huge collateral harms for questionable pay-offs. Today we’re publishing an original piece by three scientific researchers that looks at exactly this question.

The authors are Dr Kerry Nield, Dr Juergen Dobmeyer and Dr David Cook, who between them have over 60 years’ experience in the field of drug development and clinical research. So they know what they’re talking about when they say: if Lockdown was a drug, we would not use it. From the introduction:

One of the central tenets of healthcare provision is that all patients have the right to expect equal treatment. Unfortunately, much as we might wish to offer the best treatments to all, there are only finite resources available and so it is necessary to balance the needs of different patients to ensure their fairest distribution. This is a difficult balancing act, but over the years we have developed approaches to ensure such judgements are as objective and as equitable as possible. In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for doing this, but the approaches taken by NICE are not unique and similar methods are used by healthcare systems around the world.

Non-pharmaceutical interventions such as the imposition of societal restrictions, ‘lockdowns’, aim to have clinical outcomes i.e., a reduction in COVID-19 cases and deaths. However, unlike almost all other medical inventions these have not been subjected to the normal assessments used to test their effectiveness and worth.

So, what if lockdowns were a new treatment, ‘Lockdown™’, would we use it?

Three important areas are considered by authorities before a new therapeutic is recommended for use:

1. Efficacy and cost effectiveness
2. Safety and the Benefit/Risk profile
3. Lost opportunity cost

This is a thorough, professional analysis of the question by specialists in the field and is not to be missed. We’ve given it a permanent home on the right-hand menu and you can read it in full here.

Covid Crazy: How One Man’s White Lie Locked Down a State

What follows is a guest post by Lockdown Sceptics regular Guy de la Bédoyère on the farce going on down-under.

I can’t be alone in feeling a mild sense of panic that we are being engulfed in a form of lockdown madness. It’s everywhere now. Northern Ireland gets out of one lockdown and throws itself straight back into another. SAGE ‘experts’ have even dreamed up a bizarre form of punitive transactional lockdowns for England: one day off, five days of flagellation back in the clink as retribution for “giving Granny Covid for Xmas”. Christ, it’s like some dystopian vision of public schools.

It seems a thousand years since Imperial College’s infamous 500,000-deaths report from March conceded that it was ‘not at all certain suppression will succeed long-term’ and that attempting measures with such disruptive consequences had never been tried before. Looking back now, Neil Ferguson and his Hole in the Wall Gang sound like lockdown sceptics. Almost.

But now lockdown has become a way of life and government policy. Indeed, in some places it’s the only government policy (apart from not accepting responsibility for anything). In an astonishing development, it turns out South Australia’s instant overnight lockdown was triggered by a lie. A pizza restaurant worker claimed to have caught the virus after a single visit to the pizzeria, not mentioning that he worked there. State officials knew that another employee had tested positive and assumed the strain in question must be incredibly virulent if this young man had become infected after one visit. In a moment of frantic overreaction, the government of South Australia ordered an instant shutdown, throwing businesses back into turmoil and ensuring the masses would immediately pile into their cars to buy life-saving toilet paper in industrial quantities. That’s how a nuclear war could get started.

It’s our version of the 1518 dancing mania that broke out in Strasbourg, a mass psychogenic illness, triggered by a young woman who started spontaneously dancing in public. Sounds familiar? With nerves frayed to the bare bone, people crippled with anxiety provoked by razor brains like Professor Andrew Hayward of SAGE the other day, and stress afflicting everyone from politicians to the residents suffering from dementia in care homes, the conditions are ripe for panic-stricken lockdowns ranging from state sponsored hysteria to individual self-imposed gibbering behind locked front doors.

Even though the vaccine has hoved into view on the horizon, I rather think we’d better grit our teeth and prepare for more of this mania in the last few weeks and months of Lockdown World. South Australia won’t be the last place to go bonkers.

To define true madness, what is’t but to be nothing else but mad? (Hamlet 2.2)

Stop Press: Guy has a piece in the Telegraph reflecting on how “our ancestors would be baffled by our hysterical response to this modern plague“.

Covid Infections Continue to Drop

The latest ONS infection survey published yesterday shows new infections in England continuing to fall. Matt Hancock predictably tried to claim it was the lockdown wot dunnit, despite the ONS concurring with ICL’s REACT study and KCL’s ZOE App that infections were falling before lockdown began on November 5th.

Professor Neil Ferguson was at large again yesterday warning that we now must keep lockdowns in place to avoid a third wave.

We now have clear evidence that Tier 3 measures were working to bring down infection rates in some areas. Tier 2 was also having an impact, but a smaller one. The decision is a political one, but if we don’t want to see infection levels rebound from December 3rd my assessment is that measures between Tier 2 and Tier 3 will be necessary in the great majority of locations.

Clear evidence Tier 3 works? Right, let’s have a look shall we. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of places where positive “cases” peaked and began to fall before Tier 3 (or in some cases Tier 2) was imposed:

  • Liverpool was placed in Tier 3 on October 14th but positive cases had been declining since October 8th, six days earlier.
  • West Lancashire was placed in Tier 3 on October 17th but positive cases had been declining since October 13th, four days earlier
  • Manchester was placed in Tier 3 on October 23rd but positive cases had been declining since October 1st, 22 days earlier.
  • Sheffield was placed in Tier 3 on October 24th but positive cases had been declining since October 8th, 16 days earlier
  • Warrington was placed in Tier 3 on October 29th but positive cases had been declining since October 27th, two days earlier
  • Nottingham was placed in Tier 3 on October 29th but positive cases had been declining since October 9th, 20 days earlier
  • Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire was placed in Tier 3 on October 30th but positive cases had been declining since October 20th, 10 days earlier.

It’s that pernicious myth again, put about by Ferguson and the SAGE modellers, that COVID-19 epidemics only peak and decline once restrictions they’ve recommended are introduced. Yet in Sweden infections declined in April without any new restrictions, and in Switzerland infections are currently declining despite no new restrictions being imposed.

WHO Europe director Hans Kluge has warned that Europe faces a “tough six months” waiting for a vaccine, noting that Switzerland in particular has intensive care units operating at 95% capacity. However, the “Swiss Doctor” Covid fact site has pointed out that this doesn’t take into account all Swiss intensive care beds, and that the high occupancy level is not unusual for winter.

Recently, a lot has been reported internationally about the utilization of Swiss intensive care units. The fact is: the certified intensive care beds are used to almost 100%, the currently available intensive care beds to 79% , and the maximum available intensive care beds to approx. 56%.

Occupancy rates between 85-100% are the norm in winter, and overloads in Swiss intensive care units, including postponing operations and moving patients, are also common during strong flu waves. In 2015, the price watchdog criticized the fact that Swiss hospitals were underutilised with an average of 80% occupancy.

Switzerland’s spring wave never produced above average mortality so the strength of this autumn surge is likely to be in part a delay of the first wave. And in any case, the epidemic appears already to be on the decline with no lockdown necessary.

In England we see from ONS data that regions have tended to go into decline before they reach 2.5% infection rate, sometimes well before. This appears to be independent of the varied restrictions imposed on them, and in many local areas (Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, etc.) occurred prior to new restrictions coming in.

These are not the patterns of a viral epidemic being kept under control primarily by lockdowns but rather by natural limitations such as the availability of susceptible hosts. The evidence is clear that local restrictions are no more necessary to cause a COVID-19 epidemic to peak and decline than national restrictions are, whatever Hancock and Ferguson may say.

Stop Press: Camilla Tominey has put together a great short video in the Telegraph rubbishing the government’s data for Lockdown II and showing all the ways it was wrong. Unfortunately, she then argues the tier system was working, but don’t let that put you off because the skewering of Witless and Unbalanced’s dodgy dossier is beautiful.

Bang Pots and Pans to Protest Lockdown

Two Lockdown Sceptics readers emailed us today independently with the same idea. Maybe there’s something in it.

The first reader pointed out that in Denmark during the nine-day protests that overturned the law mandating the vaccine for some groups they banged pots and pans. “If everyone came out of their front door, say, every Friday at 7pm and banged pots and pans to show we don’t consent might it catch on?”

The second reader wrote:

I am trying to get something off the ground for those like me disabled and not able to get to protests, plus everybody around the country. The plan would be on Sunday December 27th and Sunday January 3rd everyone should get out on their doorsteps with a saucepan and bang for an end to this Covid nonsense and freedom. The police could do nothing to stop it and if it was publicised by all those supporting getting out of what the Government is doing to us now it really could be big. Maybe I am dreaming but who knows.

Friday or Sunday, weekly or one off? Time to put it out there on social media and see if it flies: #PotsPansProtest.

Escape YouTube Censorship

An executive from odysee.com got in touch to say there is an alternative to the petty censors at Google.

With the Anna Brees situation I figured I’d check-in. All anyone needs to do is sign up at odysee.com and we can copy an entire YouTube channel over, on an ongoing basis. It takes just a minute.

What’s going on is absolutely awful and we’re extremely committed to keeping this content safe and available. Anything you can do to spread the word would be greatly appreciated. 

Stop Press: Maybe Unlocked – the anti-lockdown embryonic TV channel – should move its YouTube channel to odysee, following the social media company’s decision to censor its interview with Dr Mike Yeadon yesterday. Happily, Facebook hasn’t yet followed suit and you can watch the video here.

Devil’s Dictionary

More entries have come in for the Covid version of the Devil’s Dictionary. (You can see the first set here, the second set here and the third set here.)

Contrarian, n. Someone who disagrees with one’s opinion. (qv controversialist).

Libertarian, n. A selfish person who cares more about themselves than others (qv Granny killer)

Free speech, n. Hate speech; misinformation; fake news.

Civil liberties, n. Antiquated “freedoms” beloved of granny-killing libertarians, based on rose-tinted and historically illiterate misinterpretations of English historical events such as the signing of the Magna Carta, the glorious revolution of 1688, etc.

Protest, n. (1) Pejorative: The propagation of misinformation and conspiracy theories, sometimes accompanied by the defiance of social distancing by granny-killing libertarians and believers in the old normal. (2) Complimentary: The courageous and laudable advocacy of certain approved causes related to environmentalism and anti-racism.

Fact check, n. The replacement of an inconvenient set of contested statements and opinions with a convenient set of contested statements and opinions.

Expert, n. Credentialled scientist/researcher/academic whose opinion one agrees with. (qv “The science”).

Pseudo-expert, n. Credentialled scientist/researcher/academic whose opinion one does not agree with. (qv charlatan/outlier/controversialist).

Death with covid, n. Unacceptable, tragic, entirely avoidable cessation of life which must be be prevented at absolutely any cost whatsoever.

Death from other cause, n. The human condition.

Flatten the curve, v. Archaic. The original meaning of this phrase has been lost to history (qv squash the sombrero).

Herd immunity, n. (1) Scientific myth peddled by pseudo-experts and charlatans, based on the discredited notion that the human immune system can, without unprecedented societal transformation and the advent of a vaccine, cope with a virus without suffering a calamitous collapse. (2) Genocidal strategy proposed by granny-killing libertarians in order to kill as many grannies as possible.

Round-Up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Four today: “Freedom come freedom go” by the Fortunes, “C*nts are still running the world” by Jarvis Cocker, “We’re All Criminals” by Right Said Fred and “Can’t Stop Christmas” by Robbie Williams.

Love in the Time of Covid

We have created some Lockdown Sceptics Forums, including a dating forum called “Love in a Covid Climate” that has attracted a bit of attention. We have a team of moderators in place to remove spam and deal with the trolls, but sometimes it takes a little while so please bear with us. You have to register to use the Forums, but that should just be a one-time thing. Any problems, email the Lockdown Sceptics webmaster Ian Rons here.

Sharing stories: Some of you have asked how to link to particular stories on Lockdown Sceptics. The answer used to be to first click on “Latest News”, then click on the links that came up beside the headline of each story. But we’ve changed that so the link now comes up beside the headline whether you’ve clicked on “Latest News” or you’re just on the Lockdown Sceptics home page. Please do share the stories with your friends and on social media.

Woke Gobbledegook

We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today, the BBC’s diversity drive. From the Times.

The views of white men must not be allowed to dominate decisions about the BBC’s news coverage, according to a senior executive.

Jonathan Munro, head of newsgathering, said that the corporation’s diversity drive was necessary because too many senior editorial positions had been held by Caucasian males.

Mr Munro also admitted that the national broadcaster and other news organisations were blindsided by the failings that led to the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 because so few journalists had grown up on housing estates.

Tim Davie, the new BBC director-general, has made diversity one of his priorities, promising to transform the corporation into a “50/20/12 organisation” – with a workforce that is 50% female, at least 20% black, Asian and minority ethnic, and 12% disabled. Recruitment policies are also being rewritten so that bosses hire fewer people with private-school educations and Oxbridge degrees to address perceptions that it is dominated by upper middle-class graduates.

Mr Munro said that when he joined from ITN in 2014 every editor in BBC newsgathering was a white man. The only woman at that level, Stephanie Flanders, the economics editor, had just left to join JP Morgan. “I don’t think anybody can possibly think that that’s right [or] justifiable,” said Mr Munro, who is white.

Creating a “pipeline” of diverse young staff who could be trained to take leadership roles had “changed the complexion of what we do on air for the better. We don’t want all our editorial meetings to be dominated by what white people think. We don’t want any single group in society to dominate our editorial thinking, because we are not being diverse in our thought process.”

Racial stereotypes and pigeon-holing, obsession with people having the right skin colour, patronising, anti-meritocratic recruitment policies, and an underlying hostility and delegitimising of one racial group because of their skin colour. What century is this again? And one thing the BBC can hardly be accused of is not going on about race enough.

You can listen to the Media Masters podcast in which Jonathan Munro made these remarks here. Funnily enough, he didn’t end his interview by announcing he would stand aside in favour of a woman of colour.

“Mask Exempt” Lanyards

We’ve created a one-stop shop down here for people who want to buy (or make) a “Mask Exempt” lanyard/card. You can print out and laminate a fairly standard one for free here and it has the advantage of not explicitly claiming you have a disability. But if you have no qualms about that (or you are disabled), you can buy a lanyard from Amazon saying you do have a disability/medical exemption here (takes a while to arrive). The Government has instructions on how to download an official “Mask Exempt” notice to put on your phone here. You can get a “Hidden Disability” tag from ebay here and an “exempt” card with lanyard for just £1.99 from Etsy here. And, finally, if you feel obliged to wear a mask but want to signal your disapproval of having to do so, you can get a “sexy world” mask with the Swedish flag on it here.

Don’t forget to sign the petition on the UK Government’s petitions website calling for an end to mandatory face masks in shops here.

A reader has started a website that contains some useful guidance about how you can claim legal exemption.

If you’re a shop owner and you want to let your customers know you want be insisting on face masks or asking them what their reasons for exemption are, you can download a friendly sign to stick in your window here.

And here’s an excellent piece about the ineffectiveness of masks by a Roger W. Koops, who has a doctorate in organic chemistry.

The Great Barrington Declaration

Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya

The Great Barrington Declaration, a petition started by Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya calling for a strategy of “Focused Protection” (protect the elderly and the vulnerable and let everyone else get on with life), was launched last month and the lockdown zealots have been doing their best to discredit it ever since. If you Googled it a week after launch, the top hits were three smear pieces from the Guardian, including: “Herd immunity letter signed by fake experts including ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’.” (Freddie Sayers at UnHerd warned us about this the day before it appeared.) On the bright side, Google UK has stopped shadow banning it, so the actual Declaration now tops the search results – and my Spectator piece about the attempt to suppress it is among the top hits – although discussion of it has been censored by Reddit. The reason the zealots hate it, of course, is that it gives the lie to their claim that “the science” only supports their strategy. These three scientists are every bit as eminent – more eminent – than the pro-lockdown fanatics so expect no let up in the attacks. (Wikipedia has also done a smear job.)

You can find it here. Please sign it. Now approaching 700,000 signatures.

Update: The authors of the GDB have expanded the FAQs to deal with some of the arguments and smears that have been made against their proposal. Worth reading in full.

Update 2: Many of the signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration are involved with new UK anti-lockdown campaign Recovery. Find out more and join here.

Update 3: You can watch Sunetra Gupta set out the case for “Focused Protection” here and Jay Bhattacharya make it here.

Update 4: The three GBD authors plus Prof Carl Heneghan of CEBM have launched a new website collateralglobal.org, “a global repository for research into the collateral effects of the COVID-19 lockdown measures”.

Judicial Reviews Against the Government

There are now so many JRs being brought against the Government and its ministers, we thought we’d include them all in one place down here.

First, there’s the Simon Dolan case. You can see all the latest updates and contribute to that cause here.

Then there’s the Robin Tilbrook case. You can read about that and contribute here.

Then there’s John’s Campaign which is focused specifically on care homes. Find out more about that here.

There’s the GoodLawProject’s Judicial Review of the Government’s award of lucrative PPE contracts to various private companies. You can find out more about that here and contribute to the crowdfunder here.

The Night Time Industries Association has instructed lawyers to JR any further restrictions on restaurants, pubs and bars.

Christian Concern and over 100 church leaders are JR-ing the Government over its insistence on closing churches during the lockdowns. Read about it here.

And last but not least there’s the Free Speech Union‘s challenge to Ofcom over its ‘coronavirus guidance’. You can read about that and make a donation here.

Samaritans

If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.

Quotation Corner

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

Mark Twain

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.

Charles Mackay

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin

To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions…

Ideology – that is what gives the evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts. If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require to have their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury

Nothing would be more fatal than for the Government of States to get into 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 specialist.

Sir Winston Churchill

If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science.

Richard Feynman

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

C.S. Lewis

The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.

Albert Camus

We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

Carl Sagan

Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

George Orwell

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Marcus Aurelius

Necessity is the plea for every restriction of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.

William Pitt the Younger, House of Commons 18 November 1783

Shameless Begging Bit

Thanks as always to those of you who made a donation in the past 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of this site. Doing these daily updates is hard work (although we have help from lots of people, mainly in the form of readers sending us stories and links). If you feel like donating, please click here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links we should include in future updates, email us here. (Don’t assume we’ll pick them up in the comments.)

And Finally…

Toby appeared on talkRADIO yesterday to talk about the extreme Covid censorship being perpetrated by technology companies online and now the Labour Party is joining in. Watch him here.

Stop Press: Professor Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson’s Spectator piece summarising the findings of the Danish mask study was censored by Facebook yesterday because it was supposedly “false information”. Carl tweeted: “Here’s what happened when I posted our latest @spectator article to Facebook – I’m aware this is happening to others – what has happened to academic freedom and freedom of speech? There is nothing in this article that is ‘false'”. This is extraordinary overreach on the part of Facebook, presuming to tell an Oxford professor writing in a mainstream magazine about a peer-reviewed study that he is wrong and may not write about it on their site. Who do they think they are?

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