10 Reasons to end lockdown

Dr John Lee, Retired Professor of Pathology, writing in The Spectator:

Even if one could understand why lockdown was imposed, it very rapidly became apparent that it had not been thought through. Not in terms of the wider effects on society (which have yet to be counted) and not even in terms of the ways that the virus itself might behave.

 

…at the start, there was hardly any evidence. Everyone was guessing. Now we have a world of evidence, from around the globe, and the case for starting to reverse lockdown is compelling.

 

…Covid is not, in fact, an extraordinarily lethal pathogen, just a nasty one, similar to many others.

 

…our new normal should look very much like our old, perhaps with the addition of some social responsibility in the face of respiratory illness. It is the only way for us to live in the world.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/ten-reasons-to-end-the-lockdown-now

 

The Lancet: The invisible pandemic

It has become clear that a hard lockdown does not protect old and frail people living in care homes—a population the lockdown was designed to protect.

Neither does it decrease mortality from COVID-19, which is evident when comparing the UK’s experience with that of other European countries.

 

PCR testing and some straightforward assumptions indicate that, as of April 29, 2020, more than half a million people in Stockholm county, Sweden, which is about 20–25% of the population, have been infected (Hansson D, Swedish Public Health Agency, personal communication). 98–99% of these people are probably unaware or uncertain of having had the infection; they either had symptoms that were severe, but not severe enough for them to go to a hospital and get tested, or no symptoms at all. Serology testing is now supporting these assumptions.

Everyone will be exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, and most people will become infected. COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in all countries, but we do not see it—it almost always spreads from younger people with no or weak symptoms to other people who will also have mild symptoms. This is the real pandemic, but it goes on beneath the surface, and is probably at its peak now in many European countries. There is very little we can do to prevent this spread: a lockdown might delay severe cases for a while, but once restrictions are eased, cases will reappear. I expect that when we count the number of deaths from COVID-19 in each country in 1 year from now, the figures will be similar, regardless of measures taken.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31035-7/fulltext

Should New Zealand be eliminating coronavirus?

24 April.

Simon Thornley

The Government and its health advisers are taking an increasingly hardline against coronavirus, stating that it will be eliminated from our shores. It certainly is desirable, but is it realistic?

New Zealand is one of the only countries in the world to attempt this. Almost alone, we have shifted from agreeing with the international approach of flattening the curve to the objective of either eliminating or eradicating the virus. The latest claim, or clarification, is that the Government’s intention is ‘zero spread’ rather than ‘zero virus’.

We need to consider that the only means of achieving even zero spread are tough social restrictions, only ending when a vaccine is invented and most of the population is vaccinated. Let’s be clear – that means a form of very restricted activity for at least a year.

The Government contends that these are needed because our population is vulnerable to the virus, so the spread must be stopped. It paints a picture that the virus is contained by the current public health measures as well as lockdown, and we are effectively leaping on and isolating each new case.

Evidence emerging in the rest of the world, however, is that this picture of a lockdown-halted virus amongst a defenseless population is inaccurate.

Serological tests from samples of people in New York, Germany and California, in contrast, show that between 4 to 15 per cent of the population have seen the virus, recovered from it, and are now immune. This is a much larger proportion of the population than we have seen from positive swab tests of the virus.

This has important implications. First, it shows that the mortality of the virus is much lower than previously appreciated. Also, it demonstrates why a suppression strategy is better than elimination. China, which is trying to eliminate the virus, is now experiencing a resurgence in cases. The cat is well and truly out of the bag.

To boot, recent analysis from the US shows that lockdowns are not effective in reducing Covid-19 deaths, comparing states with such a policy to those without. The data shows that the strongest factor determining a State’s Covid-19 deaths is population density. The lower it is, the lower the death rate. This is a key factor in New Zealand’s favour.

In New Zealand, until we have some data on existing immunity, we just cannot tell how realistic elimination is. That’s without considering whether the goal is desirable or the means worth the cost.

We are betting the house on something that overseas data is showing to be an increasingly remote possibility. Perhaps the rest of the world knows something we don’t?

Study shows no relationship between lockdowns and lower Covid-19 deaths

uh-oh.

Comparing US states shows there is no relationship between lockdowns and lower Covid-19 deaths.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/04/22/there-is-no-empirical-evidence-for-these-lockdowns/

COVID-19 Antibody prevalence in California

Serology study identifies 50-85-fold more people infected than the number of confirmed cases – dramatically decreasing the case fatality rate.
The population prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in Santa Clara County implies that the infection is much more widespread than indicated by the number of confirmed cases. Population prevalence estimates can now be used to calibrate epidemic and mortality projections.
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14.20062463v1

Sweden’s approach is working

21 April: “Encouraging signs” that Sweden’s approach is working, and will work over the longer term. Sweden’s authorities proposed a liberal approach based on individual responsibility because it can be tolerated for longer and it has the effect of ‘flattening the curve’.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-swedish-experiment-looks-like-it-s-paying-off

UK Expert: lockdown now will outweigh coronavirus harm

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the centre for evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, told Radio 4’s Today programme: “In fact, the damaging effect now of lockdown is going to outweigh the damaging effect of coronavirus.”

https://in.news.yahoo.com/lockdown-damage-outweighs-coronavirus-warning-121940675.html?

Population-level Study: COVID-19 mortality risk for non-elderly individuals overall or without underlying diseases in pandemic epicenters

Study led by John P. A. Ioannidis, Stanford University, finds people <65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in the hotbeds of the pandemic and deaths for people <65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are remarkably uncommon. Concludes that strategies focusing specifically on protecting high-risk elderly individuals should be considered in managing the pandemic.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.05.20054361v1

 

World Data map

Data and case – world map. Updated.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/11/coronavirus-world-map-which-countries-have-the-most-cases-and-deaths

 

Yale Prof produces non-lockdown COVID19 protection system

A risk and vulnerability chart by David L. Katz, founding director (1998-2019) of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, shows how a non-lockdown system would protect vulnerable people from Covid19.

https://davidkatzmd.com/coronavirus-information-and-resources/