Wednesday, December 22, 2021

"COVID-19: Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink"

Still trying to understand how the world to the dark tower came.*

Via Frontiers In Public Health:

REVIEW article
Front. Public Health, 26 February 2021 |
  • 1Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Stollery Children's Hospital, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
  • 2John Dossetor Health Ethics Center, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada


The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide pandemic in 2020. In response, most countries in the world implemented lockdowns, restricting their population's movements, work, education, gatherings, and general activities in attempt to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases. The public health goal of lockdowns was to save the population from COVID-19 cases and deaths, and to prevent overwhelming health care systems with COVID-19 patients. In this narrative review I explain why I changed my mind about supporting lockdowns. The initial modeling predictions induced fear and crowd-effects (i.e., groupthink). Over time, important information emerged relevant to the modeling, including the lower infection fatality rate (median 0.23%), clarification of high-risk groups (specifically, those 70 years of age and older), lower herd immunity thresholds (likely 20–40% population immunity), and the difficult exit strategies. In addition, information emerged on significant collateral damage due to the response to the pandemic, adversely affecting many millions of people with poverty, food insecurity, loneliness, unemployment, school closures, and interrupted healthcare. Raw numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths were difficult to interpret, and may be tempered by information placing the number of COVID-19 deaths in proper context and perspective relative to background rates. Considering this information, a cost-benefit analysis of the response to COVID-19 finds that lockdowns are far more harmful to public health (at least 5–10 times so in terms of wellbeing years) than COVID-19 can be. Controversies and objections about the main points made are considered and addressed. Progress in the response to COVID-19 depends on considering the trade-offs discussed here that determine the wellbeing of populations. I close with some suggestions for moving forward, including focused protection of those truly at high risk, opening of schools, and building back better with a economy.

*Either Robert Browning:
My first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the workings of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored
Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby....  
Or Shakespeare on Imperial College London's Neil Ferguson:

Child Rowland to the dark tower came.
His word was still "Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man."


If interested most of what has turned up is linked in WSJ: "The Fickle ‘Science’ of Lockdowns".