On this second anniversary of the first Lockdown, Dr Will Jones deserves special commendation for his fearless pursuit of the scientific truth about Covid-19; for his early exposure of its irrationality in face of national and international data about infection transmission and death. He was right in March 2020 as he is right now. From his very first article for the then Conservative Woman questioning the official narrative to his article yesterday on the Daily Sceptic, Lockdowns Are Unnecessary, Ineffective and Harmful and Must Never Happen Again, which we republish below, Will has systematically brought the facts as opposed to the fear to public attention.
As early as March 25, 2020 he showed, with supporting evidence, that the government had been unnecessarily spooked. His analysis of the significance of the case of the Diamond Princess stands up to this day as do his successive breakdowns of the virus figures generally. From the start he asked the pertinent questions. On May 1, he told the Prime Minister to look at the facts on Lockdown. Tragically Boris Johnson didn’t.
You can access Will’s complete TCW ‘Covid portfolio’ here.
No one is more authoritative or better placed to tell the political establishment, as he did yesterday, that lockdowns must never happen again. We reprint the article in full here.
TWO years ago today, the UK climbed aboard the international lockdown bandwagon that had been gathering momentum in the preceding fortnight and ordered the whole population to stay at home. The aim was to ‘flatten the curve’ of coronavirus infections, and thus (it was said) ease peak pressure on the health service.
The policy, as it turned out, was completely unnecessary. As Professor Carl Heneghan pointed out as early as April 20 2020, and Chris Whitty admitted to MPs that July, new daily infections were already falling ahead of the lockdown. The same thing happened on the next two occasions as well, as mathematician Professor Simon Wood has shown. All three times that the UK Government imposed a lockdown in England – March 2020, November 2020 and January 2021 – infections were falling before the restrictions came in.
The fact that infections and deaths in no-lockdown Sweden – where people were never ordered to stay at home, and schools and businesses were never closed – also went into decline around the same time as in the UK adds to the evidence that lockdowns are unnecessary.
Further evidence comes from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which, in February 2020, showed that a freely circulating virus in the confines of a cruise ship would peak and decline ahead of any intervention, eventually infecting a total of around 19 per cent of those on board.
The evidence is clear: lockdowns are unnecessary to ‘control’ a coronavirus outbreak. Like flu outbreaks, coronavirus outbreaks peak and decline by themselves owing to factors such as pre-existing immunity and (possibly) voluntary behavioural changes in the population – though note there were no voluntary behavioural changes on the Diamond Princess, and nor are there typically exit waves as restrictions are lifted and people mix more, meaning the role of behaviour changes may be exaggerated. Either way, if infections decline ahead of lockdowns then lockdowns are unnecessary.
As well as being unnecessary, lockdowns are also ineffective. Where they are imposed before an outbreak is already declining they make little difference to the outcome. Many studies based on real-world data (as opposed to modelling) have shown this, and a recent paper from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) reviewing these studies concluded that ‘lockdowns have had little to no public health effects’ and thus ‘are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument’.
The JHU study authors argue that prior voluntary behaviour change likely explains much of the ineffectiveness of imposing stay-at-home requirements on top of that. However, they also note that even with lockdowns and distancing in place, a considerable amount of contact continues, and some of the lowest mortality countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway – actually permitted the highest amount of contact in the first lockdown, allowing people to go to work, use public transport, and meet privately at home.
Even if lockdowns did have some effect, though, it would only be a matter of deferral, not prevention; everyone who was going to be infected would eventually be infected anyway. This might leave open the justification of flattening the curve, but since the NHS was never in danger of being overwhelmed, and given infections peaked and declined before lockdown, there was no need for such a costly ‘flattening’.
Lockdowns are not only unnecessary and ineffective, they are also devastatingly harmful.
Children were particularly badly affected, despite being at almost zero risk from the virus. Mental health problems in children increased 50 per cent, rising from affecting one in nine before the pandemic to one in six during 2020 and 2021. Childhood obesity rates increased 20 per cent or more above previous years. Around 100,000 ‘ghost children’ who were in school before the pandemic have never gone back.
Adult mental health has also been severely affected. The ONS estimates that the proportion of UK adults experiencing some form of depression is more than double what it was before the pandemic, increasing from 10 per cent in 2019 to 21 per cent in 2020.
The economic impact was considerable, affecting incomes and livelihoods. The UK economy shrank by almost 10 per cent in 2020, the largest annual fall on record, while national debt jumped during the pandemic to £2.1trillion.
The effect of lockdowns on poorer countries is terrible. The United Nations has estimated that an additional 207million people could be pushed into extreme poverty over the next decade due to the long-term impact of lockdowns.
Yet lockdowns were never part of the plan. Britain had a Pandemic Preparedness Strategy which, while primarily based on influenza, envisaged the possibility of a SARS-like pandemic and up to 315,000 additional deaths – well above the current UK total of around 133,000 excess deaths since March 2020. The strategy did not recommend lockdowns in any circumstances, implying they were ineffective and unethical.
During the pandemic the only opposition to Government policy has often come in the form of calls for restrictions to be imposed faster and harder. Now there is an official Covid-19 Inquiry and the worry is that the same will happen here, with the only criticism of the Government measures being that they weren’t severe enough or soon enough. Those running the inquiry and those presenting evidence need to ensure this doesn’t happen. The inquiry must be made to look at all the evidence, including the data which show that lockdowns were unnecessary, ineffective and harmful. Most of all, it needs to conclude that they must never happen again.
This appeared in the Daily Sceptic on March 23, 2022, and is republished by kind permission.