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Covid doomsday modellers face challenge of real world facts


Yesterday in TCW Will Jones reported evidence from the United States that lockdowns don’t work, showing how the states which stayed open during the autumn and winter (eg no stay-at-home orders) all saw their case rate declining last month, at the same time as cases in Lockdown UK started to decline. He asked how, in light of this, can Sage stick with their irrational adherence to lockdowns – the belief that without them the NHS would be overwhelmed and deaths would rocket. The comparative death toll figures reported below make further nonsense of their position.

ELEVEN states in the US refused to lock down this autumn and winter, as I detailed in TCW yesterday. According to the doomsday models churned out by Sage, Imperial College and others, any country, region or state that declined to lockdown would face overrun hospitals and massive death tolls compared with those that did lock down, as the virus ‘ripped’ through the population.

Perhaps the authors of such models would care to explain the following? The chart below shows in red the Covid death toll per million people of the no-lockdown American states up to February 1. If the doomsday models are correct, why don’t the bars for those states clearly stand out from the bars of the lockdown states in blue? Furthermore, why are the top five states for Covid deaths lockdown states?

In fact, if the doomsday modellers were to examine this graph, they’d see that the lockdown states on average had 5.6 per cent more deaths than the ‘no-lockdown’ states (see the orange bars). If anything, this suggests lockdown made things worse not better. At any rate there’s no sign that it helped.

Positive cases are now sharply in decline in the US, and no less sharply in no-lockdown states than in lockdown states. This means there is no reason to think the gap between lockdown and no-lockdown states will be closed this winter.

Isn’t it time the lockdown proponents of Sage and Nervtag put their models to the test in the real world? Time to put up or shut up. Either their models can reproduce the outcomes of real states which don’t lock down, or they can’t. And if they can’t they need to be fundamentally revised. No more hiding behind counterfactuals of ‘it would have happened but for lockdown’. The facts are here and waiting to be explained.

Comparison of European countries comes up with the same finding. Alexander Fiske-Harrison in the Telegraph has pointed out that ‘the European countries with the strictest lockdowns have come out no better’. 

He grants that ‘comparing the severity of various lockdown measures across Europe is complicated’ but adds: ‘However it is safe to say they have varied greatly. In France, citizens had to print out certificates before stepping foot outside, whereas in Sweden, everyday life appears to have carried on relatively unchanged.

‘Despite these vastly different approaches, however, when we look at the number of Covid deaths per capita in these countries – a metric not without its problems, mind – France and Sweden are almost neck-and-neck. And Spain’s draconian measures didn’t save it from recording far more fatalities than Austria, where the lockdown was comparatively relaxed.’ 

Which brings us, he says, ‘to question the effectiveness of these countermeasures, and the ethics, politics and legality of imposing them’. Indeed it does.

This article first appeared in Lockdown Sceptics on February 3, 2021, and is republished by kind permission.

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Will Jones
Will Jones
Will Jones is editor of the Daily Sceptic.

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