13 August 2020
Epidemiologist Simon Thornley says the new virus outbreaks and lockdown responses are proof that New Zealand must, as the WHO has recently said, learn to live with the virus.
“An outbreak was inevitable, and therefore lockdowns were never a viable repeatable solution – you pay a high price, repeatedly.”
“As we’re about to experience yet again, lockdowns harm everyone more than the coronavirus does.”
“Protecting the elderly, staying at home if you are ill and hand hygiene are the mainstays of reducing the spread of the virus.”
Thornley says it is ironic that the Government had now also decided to lock down all aged care facilities.
“This is precisely the solution we advocated three months ago. Proof has since mounted that those of us over 65 are the only people at real risk: the age of death with this virus is much the same as what we observed in people who died last year. The risk is extremely low for people aged less than 65. No one has yet died in their fifties or younger in New Zealand.
Even in apparently ‘hard hit’ regions of the world, people aged less than 65 without underlying conditions were very unlikely to die from the virus. They accounted for 0.7–3.6% of all COVID deaths in France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Georgia, and New York City.
“Safe hygiene practices and protection of the elderly is the best solution.” Thornley said.
Thornley points out that the Government promised that the first lockdown was to eliminate the virus, and its four-day extension would ‘lock in the gains’.
“Yet here we are, with the virus, locking down again. Proof, if you needed it, that lockdowns only delay, or even magnify, the health and economic harm.”
On Monday 17 August, the Covid Plan B group is live streaming the COVID-19 Science and Policy Symposium, featuring international experts analysing the New Zealand situation.
The international speakers confirmed include founder of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre Dr David Katz, who worked at the front line of New York hospitals dealing with patients, and viral immunologist Dr Byram Bridle who is part of a team commissioned by the Canadian Government to develop a COVID vaccine.
To find out more information about the COVID-19 Science and Policy Symposium, visit here.