Remember what The Duke said…we are being forced to live it vicariously through our political leaders.
Here we are at the end of the worst year in memory, rendered even worse by the united folly of the political class of most Western countries, beating our lives and livelihoods into a pulp because they cannot recognize a mistake or come to grips with the fact that they may have to learn something about medicine and biology.
After a few months when it became apparent that covid-19 was not the Black Death, or the Great Plague, some common sense might have been injected into the maelstrom of doom propaganda and hysteria. But no, politicians love their new tyrannical powers. Lock everybody up, that will do it. So what if millions lose their jobs, businesses and livelihoods? –After all, we are “saving lives”!
By now, it is perfectly apparent that these lockdowns have had no effect on stopping the coronavirus (impossible anyway) but plenty of effect on destroying lives. A paper in The Lancet, [here] one of the world’s leading medical journals, reports, after surveying the effects of lockdowns in a multitude of countries, that….
We accessed publicly available COVID-19 surveillance data from the top 50 countries in terms of reported cases to assess the impact of population health interventions (e.g. containment measures such as lockdowns, border closings), country-specific socioeconomic factors, and healthcare capacity on overall COVID-19 cases (recovered or critical) and deaths.
When COVID-19 mortality was assessed, variables significantly associated with an increased death rate per million were population prevalence of obesity and per capita GDP (Table 4). In contrast, variables that was negatively associated with increased COVID-19 mortality were reduced income dispersion within the nation, smoking prevalence, and the number of nurses per million population (Table 4). Indeed, more nurses within a given health care system was associated with reduced mortality (Fig. 1). Mortality rates were also higher in those counties with an older population upon univariate analysis, but age as a factor was not retained in multivariable analysis (Fig. 2). Lastly, government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.
It is a detailed and dense paper, but worth the effort.
Another, very recent, paper in Frontiers in Public Health [here] from French researchers analyzed various effects and measures over 160 countries. [The section on Principal Component Analysis is most revealing].
Results: Higher Covid death rates are observed in the [25/65°] latitude and in the [−35/−125°] longitude ranges. The national criteria most associated with death rate are life expectancy and its slowdown, public health context (metabolic and non-communicable diseases (NCD) burden vs. infectious diseases prevalence), economy (growth national product, financial support), and environment (temperature, ultra-violet index). Stringency of the measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death rate.
Conclusion: Countries that already experienced a stagnation or regression of life expectancy, with high income and NCD rates, had the highest price to pay. This burden was not alleviated by more stringent public decisions. Inherent factors have predetermined the Covid-19 mortality: understanding them may improve prevention strategies by increasing population resilience through better physical fitness and immunity.
An article in Spiked in the UK [here] highlights the little-mentioned side effects of lockdowns, namely, the increase in deaths caused by the interruption of normal medical practice…
The effect on broader health has been similarly catastrophic. Hospital appointments, operations and screenings have been cancelled, often in cases where capacity was nowhere close to being reached. Patients took ‘stay at home’ messages far too much to heart and didn’t get serious illnesses checked out, including cancers which could have been detected and stopped. The number of Brits waiting for routine hospital treatment has risen from 1,613 to over 160,000 this year – a hundredfold increase.
In the developing world, where Covid itself has had a much lesser impact than in the West, lockdowns have disrupted an estimated 80 per cent of programmes aimed at treating tuberculosis. In 2019, TB killed 1.4million people worldwide. But this year, thanks to a 25 per cent reduction in case detections, 1.7million deaths have been projected.
In Canada, in the great province of Ontario, another lockdown is in place until January 23rd. What is the status of the pandemic of this “terrifying disease” [aka bad ‘flu]….
Ontario population: 14.7 million.
Total hospitalized patients: 823 [or 1 in 17 861]; in ICU 285; on ventilator 194.
Total beds: ~34 700 [here]
Acute care beds: 22 400.
In the city of Ottawa (population ~950 000), capital of the Frozen North, total hospitalized patients 13, in ICU 1. 89% of acute beds are occupied, 83% of ICU beds occupied out of a total of 1224 beds. So just over 1% are COVID-19 patients. Since acute beds are usually 90–95% occupied, only a small increase would lead to big problems. This is not a product of a mass pandemic, but a feature of health systems always working at near capacity.
Even worse, these lockdowns lead to massive cancellations of general procedures and surgeries. As the Toronto Sun [here] reports…
To free up beds, Ontario’s hospitals have cancelled 52,700 surgeries since March 15, and are delaying 12,200 additional surgeries each week that operation rooms remain idle…
“As of April 23, there were 910 hospitalized COVID-19 patients leaving over 9,000 unoccupied acute care hospital beds including over 2,000 critical care beds,” an FAO statement says. “As a result, the province has a significant amount of remaining available capacity to accommodate COVID-19 hospitalizations.”
So if there are 823 patients now (December 27), why is it likely that hospital capacity will be overwhelmed?
That never happened in the spring and it will not happen now. More critical and rational thinking is required by political leaders, and less attention paid to hysterical and fear mongering journalists. It is time to end this foolishness of lockdowns and let the young and productive get back to work and play. Locking people up is absurd. And worse than useless.
Politicians need to understand that scientific thinking requires open inquiry and debate, not rote chanting from a government script. It is time to get back to rationality.