What is "the biggest public health fiasco in history"? If you had guessed the COVID-19 pandemic itself, you would actually be quite wrong. As horrible as it is, anyone who has read a history book or stayed awake in history class can tell you there have clearly been far, far worse pandemics than this one. No, that dubious honor would actually in fact go the highly counterproductive countermeasures--lockdowns.
That is the headline conclusion arrived at by the preeminent expert authors of a Telegraph article (worth reading in full), Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Martin Kulldorf, both of Great Barrington Declaration fame. In a nutshell, the lockdowns and related restrictions not only failed to stop the virus, but also utterly failed to protect the most vulnerable members of society, and caused a massive amount of collateral damage as well, to say nothing of the unprecedented assault on our hard-won civil rights and liberties.
Many, many studies bear this out quite nicely. In fact, lockdown states and countries tend to have, on average, higher death rates than their free and open counterparts. You read that right: greater government stringency is actually correlated with higher death rates. It is thus painfully obvious now that the "cure" was far worse than the disease.
Just like we at the TSAP have been saying for over a year now, basically. And we are at nearly day 400 or so (!) of "15 days to flatten the curve" now. Groundhog Day effectively became Groundhog Year. So what has become of the specious claims used to justify all of these unprecedented restrictions?
First, the infamous Imperial College model (devised by Professor Neil Ferguson) that was initially used to justify lockdowns was, in a word, wrong. Not just a little bit wrong, but often orders of magnitude wrong for so many countries, both in countries that eschewed lockdowns and those who implemented them, and everything in between. Once it became clear by the end of April 2020 that the model had utterly failed its first real-world tests in places like Sweden, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and the few US states that did not lock down or barely did, that really should have been the end of it. But the lockdown zealots then simply moved the goalposts again, and clung to a few other very questionable assumptions that supposedly made these restrictions necessary regardless of the models. So what about those?
We know now that truly asymptomatic spread, while possible, is a lot rarer than most people think, a mere 0.7% even in that very closest and riskiest setting of all, within households. And outdoor spread? A vanishingly low 0.1% of cases. And fomites (surfaces)? An even lower still < 0.01%, and probably even less than that if people wash their hands and don't touch their faces or keep fiddling with their masks! All for a disease with an infection fatality rate within the ballpark of a nasty flu season for most people, and that we know now how to treat effectively. This is what the actual science says, folks. And it utterly demolishes any need for lockdowns, closures, mask mandates, or any other New Abnormal restrictions at this juncture, period.
As for indoor aerosol (airborne) transmission, which looks like the real dominant way it is transmitted as opposed to large droplets, if we put even a smidgeon of the effort we have been putting into masks, distancing, and disinfecting surfaces (which are largely useless against small aerosols) instead into simply improving ventilation and airflow, air filters and UV light, and avoiding indoor overcrowding, that would have made a far greater difference had we done so before or during the worst of the pandemic.
The TSAP currently advocates going "cold turkey", ending all restrictions and opening up 100%. And yesterday is not soon enough! Look, it's not April 2020 anymore. We have not one, not two, but THREE vaccines now, and even well before that we already had proven treatments and prophylactics (including, but not limited to, Ivermectin, Budesonide, HCQ, and various vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium, Quercetin, Resveratrol, Niacin, Thiamine, B-12, and the amino acid Lysine) that the ghouls in charge wilfully chose to ignore, deny, or greatly downplay. Which, by the way, is literally murder by omission. Not only do we know a LOT more now, but knowing that lockdowns would do more harm than good is something we should have known before the pandemic--and in fact we did. But then we threw the hard-won wisdom of the ages out the window like so much garbage, and now we are all paying a heavy price for it.
So what are we waiting for? Set a hard and permanent "quit date" no more than a week or two in the future, commit to it, and lift ALL restrictions on or before that date, period. That is, revert back to being no stricter than we were in 1957-1958, 1968-1969, 2009-2010 (all pandemic years, by the way), 2018, 2019, or January-February 2020. That is, return to the true normal 100%. And finally end the officially declared state of emergency as well. And make sure this public health fiasco NEVER, EVER happens again!
UPDATE: We should all know by now that lockdowns are worse than useless, at least for a disease of this type. The data clearly speaks for itself. But even if they were somewhat useful in fighting the virus, the collateral damage is so massive and so predictable that, according to Julius Ruechel's excellent article, they are morally equivalent to pulling the switch in the classic Trolley Problem. Which is to say, lockdowns are inherently immoral unless one is a truly incorrigible cold-hearted utilitarian who could care less about human rights and human dignity. We at the TSAP believe in "first, do no harm", and lockdowns of course inevitably do plenty of harm (especially to the most vulnerable and underprivileged members of society) no matter how much money we may print in an attempt to paper over such contrived and unnecessary harm.
There is even a good Covid Charts Quiz as well. See if you can spot the difference in the trends between lockdown vs. open, and masked vs. unmasked states.
JUNE UPDATE: And according new studies, two other things we can add to the list of worse than useless measures are Plexiglass (or Perspex in the UK) screens and nighttime curfews. Both seem to be not only useless, but even counterproductive, in that they may even increase transmission of the virus! So along with lockdowns and general mask mandates, these NPIs should also be scrapped yesterday and permanently removed from serious consideration ever again. To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, "Mr. Biden, tear down this plexiglass!"