“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.“
The Bulletin, Jack London, 2nd December 1916.
We all want to know whether lockdowns work, we will look at the data to see how effective they really were. There’s been many studies on this that show no correlation between lockdown severity and COVID outcomes indicating that lockdowns do not work as a long term control measure for COVID-19.
With that said we will look at data from England to figure out if any lives were saved because of lockdown. The below graph shows the day on day growth rate of COVID-19 and cases.
The above graph charts cases and the daily growth rate. It’s important to note that when looking at daily growth rate the actual numbers are not important what is important is if the line is above the baseline of 100,000. Above 100,000 means that the growth rate is positive and below 100,000 indicates that the growth rate is negative. The reason why the actual numbers are not important is because the growth rate is relative, so for instance if one day you had 20 cases then the next day you had 100 cases the growth rate would be huge however, going from 20 to 100 cases is not an issue if it’s isolated. You can see this during the summer of 2020 where we had low case levels but a high growth rate.
As you can see the growth rate is negative during lockdown and goes positive when we are not in lockdown for the majority of time. This is an obvious effect of lockdown as people are not as mobile making it harder for the virus to circulate however, this does not mean that lockdown had a meaningful affect on COVID-19 transmission throughout the pandemic.
If we look at the graph again you will see that the growth rate of the virus was negative before lockdown 3 started. This tells us that even if we did not go into lockdown cases would have started to decrease. The data shows us that lockdowns could have contributed to decreasing cases but lockdown did not cause cases to decrease. The growth rate was decreasing before lockdown 1 and lockdown 2 where during lockdown 2 the growth rate went negative a few days after lockdown started decreasing PCR tests could have contributed to this.
I make the above point because in 2020 I heard at least 20 politicians talk about exponential growth in cases and that if we did not lockdown, the whole of the country would get infected. This goes to show how dim these people really are, the growth rate was never exponential for more than a few days at a time and even if it was the virus would never have infected the whole country because not everyone would develop COVID-19 after being exposed to SARS-COV-2. That’s not how viruses work and all virologists agree, viral susceptibility depends on many factors; this is why we have flu season for instance. These politicians were clearly talking from briefing notes and choosing not to engage their brains.
Growth rate went positive after the 8th May 2021 during lockdown 3 as restrictions started to ease and people got lockdown fatigue. The government decided to extend lockdown up to the 19th July even though the growth rate was positive and an extension of lockdown had no effect as most people started to ignore the restrictions. Extension of lockdown 3 had no affect on transmission however, it did have an affect on the viability of small businesses putting a lot of them out of business.
We can now confidently say that lockdowns did not cause cases to decrease contradicting what the Government tells us and that cases would have decreased anyway. With this in mind we can also say that lockdowns could have saved lives, up to 25,000 (est) people from dying with COVID-19 by bringing the curve down faster due to sustaining a negative growth rate for most of lockdown. These people would have mostly been the elderly or sick as COVID-19 does not kill healthy people.
Below is some light relief of a family singing about lockdown and how it affected their lives. The interesting thing is that not a single person in this family is at risk and should never have been locked down. The story they tell will resonate with many of us.
UPDATE: Lockdowns in the Omicrons Era. Data from December 2022 has proved that lockdowns are not needed. In fact with Omicron we saw a highly transmissible virus spread and self regulate transmission once all of the susceptible people caught it. This is how we understand viruses to work and this would have happened for all other strains if lockdowns were not used. An example of how out of touch the modellers are is that they predicted 6,000 deaths a day if we did not lockdown; our highest death day in January 2022 was just below 300 (by specimen date). These same modellers were the people who told our government that lockdown 1,2 and 3 was necessary. A study from John Hopkins was released in Feb 2022 detailing that lockdowns decreased deaths by just 0.2% and a recent FOI request to the ONS details that out of all of the COVID deaths around 17,000 had no comorbidities, meaning that 12% of the total COVID deaths in England were actually due to COVID alone. This might sound like a lot but it is in less than a normal flu season and we must remember that we were not counting flu deaths in 2020 and these were all classed as COVID deaths further reducing the number of actual COVID deaths.
Cost of Lockdowns and Collateral Damage
At time of writing (June 2021) PHE has admitted that the NHS missed 3,000,000 cancer screenings because of lockdowns. This will result in an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 premature deaths from cancer over the next couple of years. Not to mention deaths from heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and every other disease that can kill a human being. We should have concrete evidence of this at the start of 2022. PHE released a report in June 2020 detailing that lockdown 1 would have killed 200,000 people in England over the next 3 years and have a bigger impact than COVID-19. Bristol University puts this figure at just over 500,000.
NHS waiting lists are at 5,000,000 with an estimated 7,000,000 people waiting to see a doctor before being put on a waiting list. This alone will result in many more deaths over the next few years. As of July 2021 the NHS has confirmed that waiting lists are at 13,000,000 people a national scandal in itself.
So we could have saved up to 25,000 (Estimated by me looking at the increased rate of falling transmission and using the growth rate as a moderator, the real figure will never be known due to noisy data) lives of old and sick people with lockdowns who were due to die within the next few years anyway and traded those lives for between 200 and 500 thousand people between the age of 40 and 60 who will get diseases such as cancer and die due to late diagnosis. If this doesn’t boil your piss I don’t know what will.
Why Did the UK Do So Badly Regarding COVID Deaths With a Hard Lockdown
The thing that people are not talking about is if the NHS did a good job looking after seriously ill patients during COVID-19. We have 7.3 critical care beds per 100,000 people in England this is far below the European average and far below countries like Germany (33) and France (22). The NHS operates on a lean model ensuring that 80% of critical care beds are occupied at any one time leaving around 20% free for seasonal surges. As we know this operating model does not work as the NHS becomes overwhelmed every winter during the flu season.
The lack of critical care beds meant that doctors and nurses were working around the clock being responsible for up to 3 patients per nurse. This would have meant that the patients were not looked after properly due to nurses being over worked which explains our high death rates when compared to the rest of Europe. The NHS increased critical care bed capacity by around 1,000 beds during COVID helping to meet demand however this had a detrimental effect on patient care. Not to mention the stress that these poor nurses underwent adding to a mental health crisis in the NHS and damaging retention.
This is the fault of the British Government as they have been warned many times by doctors that we need to increase critical care bed capacity. They ignored the warnings at every stage resulting in a badly prepared NHS forcing the government to lockdown the country against their better judgement causing many more collateral deaths and bankrupting the country in the process. This could be why the government decided to use fear tactics to control the population distracting them from governmental incompetence.
In conclusion it appears that lockdowns did more harm than good. Collateral deaths from lockdowns will outstrip the potential saved lives not to mention the economic damage and damage to our civil liberties that lockdowns have caused.
Some experts say that lockdowns could have prolonged the pandemic taking longer to meet herd immunity threshold. A policy of focused protection would have given the UK government better results allowing people who were not at risk to get on with their day to day lives while protecting the elderly and vulnerable. The Great Barrington Declaration describes a better way to navigate the pandemic with a focus on protecting the vulnerable while everyone else gets back to normal.