There are so many great comments below the line on Lockdown Sceptics that it seems a great shame that they will be lost to most people. So I've decided to feature some as standalone posts on Lockdown Truth.
QUESTION BY IANRIC
This is a question I would like to ask anyone with medical expertise. Common sense dictates that we quarantine sick people until they are better so they don’t spread a disease. The problem with lockdowns is that it is a blunt policy where everyone is quarantined regardless of whether they have coronavirus and contact between people is kept to a minimum. Lockdown policy work on the assumption everyone is possibly infected and if they are in contact with others they will pass on the infection. The only way a lockdown can be justified if there is a strong possibility asymptomatic carriers will spread the disease. How likely are asymptomatic carriers to spread disease in comparison with symptomatic carriers. I would assume unlike symptomatic carriers asymptomatic carriers are less likely to cough and sneeze. Would asymptomatic carriers have a lower viral load and how long will they carry the virus. If large numbers are asymptomatic how is this explained if coronavirus is so dangerous?
ANSWER BY MATT
I am not medically qualified, (though my wife claims I think I am by osmosis, having grown up surrounded by medics). However:
To address your actual question, the answer is not known with any kind of certainty, but there are the current theory is that people very often contract the virus and are asymptomatic, that it takes around a week to become symptomatic for those who do, and that both the asymptomatic and the pre-symptomatic can spread the disease more easily than is the case with other viruses. It’s unusual to be contagious with the ‘flu, for example if you have no symptoms. Much less so with SARS2. We think. This is the theory behind the idea of the so-called “superspreaders” – individuals have the virus and don’t know it And go around giving it to many other people without being aware.
As you say, that is the apparent Justification behind imposing lockdown.
However, even if it is true – and I’ve no reason to doubt that it might well be – it is still no justification for lockdown for many, many reasons. And bear in mind, that never in the whole of human history – before 2020 – has any country anywhere responded to any infectious disease by enforcing quarantine on their entire population, whether sick or healthy.
Firstly – coronavirus is not actually especially dangerous. It seems increasingly clear that only somewhere between 0.25% of people and – at an absolute maximum – something short of 1% of people who catch it will actually die from it and there is more and more evidence that the answer is much closer to 0.25% than to 1%. That would mean that it will kill something like 25 out of every 10,000 people who actually catch it. This makes it somewhat more dangerous than a bad year of seasonal ‘flu, but only a little more. Until just a couple of weeks ago, Covid had in fact been on fewer death certificates in the UK than ‘flu and pneumonia (that’s ‘flu and pneumonia as a combination) than had Covid. And this year has been a gentle year for the ‘flu, comparatively.
It also seems to be the case that so-called “herd immunity” is in fact achieved when 20% of the population have been infected (not 60% as was being quoted by the government at the beginning of the outbreak). This is a number that has come up many times – only 19.2% of the passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship were found to be infected (and only 0.23% of those died); serology tests in New York have shown that 21% had been infected – and infections are vanishing; serology tests in London have found 17% of the city’s population have had the virus – and infection rates are vanishing.
In addition, it only seems to pose any threat at all to people who have other complicating health factors. Significantly less than 2,000 of the people who have died “of” (or with) Covid in the UK have had it listed as the only cause of death on the death certificate. The huge – absolutely overwhelming – majority of all deaths have been over 75 and virtually none Have been under 45.
40,000 (or 50,000) deaths may sound like an awful lot of deaths, but it really isn’t in the context of the number of people who die in the UK anyway, in the normal run of things when there are no new viruses to contend with. It’s about an additional month’s worth of deaths (600,000 deaths is a pretty usual number for the UK for a year). And those deaths are in fact only “additional” if you assume that none of those would have died this year anyway, while even Neil Ferguson has admitted that around two thirds probably would have done.
So you have a disease that you probably won’t catch, even if you are allowed to go to the pub, and which almost certainly won’t kill you, even if you do, unless you’re already really very sick, or you’re very, very, very unlucky.
Secondly, lockdown doesn’t work to stop infections or to save lives anyway. The easiest ways to point this out are that:
1) The pattern of infection rates and death rates has been remarkably similar across almost all countries that have had the virus, regardless of whether or not the country has imposed lockdown, how quickly lockdown was imposed or how draconian their lockdown rules have been. You will find many links in various of the posts Toby Young has made on this blog to studies that have shown this
2) As a Bristol University study has just shown, infections in the UK had already peaked and were on their way down before lockdown was imposed, meaning that it wasn’t lockdown that caused the fall in infection rates. It was either the “social distancing guidelines” that had been put in place in the few weeks before lockdown, or the fact that, in certain parts of the country (chiefly London), the 20% figure had already nearly been reached and we were coming close to her immunity. Personally, I think the latter.
Thirdly, the side effects of lockdown will in the short, medium and long term cost far more lives than even the best timed and most effective lockdown could have saved:
– Cancer, heart problems, diabetes, kidney problems and any number of other acute and chronic illnesses have gone untreated, because the NHS has been almost entirely dedicated to dealing with Covid since March.
– The effects of solitude and the fear propaganda that has been pumped out into the population will have had a very significant psychological effect, and suicides will likely increase as a result (not to mention the long term psychological effects).
– Many businesses of all sizes have already gone to the wall as a result of shutting down the economy for an entire quarter and of the new rules that make it very much more difficult and very much more expensive to trade and which limit the amount of trade they can do anyway. Many more will follow over the coming weeks – regardless at this point of how much and how quickly lockdown is relaxed. And this is about the economy, but the economy is also about lives. The government will have less money coming in in the future through tax receipts to pay for things – including things like public health and the NHS and millions of people who had jobs until March of this year will be unemployed (millions are already, basically, even if they’re on furlough right now and so they don’t know it yet). Unemployment and the poverty that it causes leads to far worse health outcomes and shorter life expectancy and far worse life prospects – and health outcomes and life expectancy – for their children.
So, all in all, it’s a pretty stupid idea. And I haven’t got to all of the constitutional and philosophical problems, but basically, governments shouldn’t be able to decide to place their entire citizenry under house arrest for 3 months and convince them to be grateful to be “allowed” to go for a run in the park more than once a day.