Tag Archives: Lockdowns

They Will Lock You Down Again, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

They got away with it once; they will surely do it again. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at brownstone.org:

The lords of lockdown barely escaped their worst possible fate, namely that the topic would become the national and international source of scandal that it should be. And let’s add the vaccine mandates here too: even if such had been morally justified, which they were not, there is absolutely no practical reason for them at all.

To have imposed both of these within the course of one year – with zero evidence that they achieved anything for public health and vast amounts of unfolding evidence that they ruined life quality for countless millions – qualifies as a scandal for the ages. It was in the US but also in nearly every country in the world but a few.

Might that have huge political implications? One would suppose so. And yet today it appears that truth and justice are further off than ever. The most passionate of the anti-lockdown governors – those who never locked down or opened earlier than the rest of the country – won on their record. Most of the rest joined the entire political establishment in pretending that all of this is a non-issue. Tragically, this tactic seems to have worked better than it should have.

Meanwhile, a few points to consider:

The US government, through the Transportation Safety Administration, has signed yet another order extending the ban on unvaccinated international visitors until January 8, 2023. This means that no person who has managed to refuse the shot is allowed to come to the US for any reason. This is 30% of the world’s population, banned even to enter the US on their own dime. Something like this would have been inconceivably illiberal three years ago, and been a source of enormous controversy and outrage. Today, the extension hardly made the news.

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The Vaccine Narrative Is as Leaky as the Vaccines, by Ramesh Thakur

Unlike the vaccines, vaccine narratives don’t actually kill people, they just lead them to the slaughterhouse. From Ramesh Thakur at brownstone.org:

Let’s start with two simple questions. If regulators had the information available to them of the leakage between Covid-19 vaccine efficacy rates in controlled trials and their effectiveness in the real world, would they still grant emergency use authorization? Would their legal framework permit them to do so?

Remember, all laws serve a dual purpose. On the one hand, they are permissive and enabling, granting powers to do certain things. On the other, they are limiting and restrictive, ring-fencing what may lawfully be done even by the state.

Second, is Denmark being ruled by an anti-vaxxer government and health authority? From July 1 Denmark, which has an excellent health infrastructure including data collection, banned under-18s from being vaccinated and in mid-September the ban was extended to boosters for under-50s, other than in exceptional circumstances for immunocompromised and high-risk individuals in both cases.

The explanation offered by the health authorities is interesting both for what they said and what they did not say. They anticipate a rise in Covid-19 infections over autumn and winter and “aim to prevent serious illness, hospitalisation and death.” This risk applies to 50-year olds and above and not those younger. Because the vaccines are not meant to prevent infection, they will no longer be offered to the under-50s.

However, governments don’t ban products merely because they are not beneficial. Bans apply only to products that inflict harms. So the unstated reality is the benefit: harm ratio is no longer favorable. The really interesting question therefore is: why don’t they say so? The empirical data from around the world demonstrates negligible to negative vaccine effectiveness for healthy under-50s and greater risk of serious adverse events. Denmark’s decision marks official if implicit acknowledgment that harms are greater than benefits.

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Doug Casey on How COVID Lockdowns Will Become Climate Lockdowns

Lockdowns are good because people aren’t driving and otherwise creating CO2. Of course, people don’t create CO2 when they don’t expell it by breathing, i.e. they’re dead. Don’t think the green movement isn’t looking at that as a potential solution. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

International Man: The COVID lockdowns established a terrible precedent.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has issued what they call a “dire warning.” They say there will be a 5% increase in carbon emissions as global economies reopen after the COVID shutdowns and that it will be “anything but sustainable” for the environment. This implies that the shutdowns have been good for the environment and that returning to normal is bad.

There has also been a flood of articles in the mainstream media advocating for the use of lockdowns to address so-called climate change.

Do you think that the COVID lockdowns could become climate change lockdowns?

Doug Casey: Without exception, almost everything they say in these articles is either an overt and intentional lie or just factually incorrect. Things that are controversial at best are presented as incontrovertible facts.

Let me first reiterate a few facts about COVID.

It’s hard to be sure because everything about it has become highly politicized, but COVID itself seems no more serious than the Asian Flu, Hong Kong Flu, Bird Flu, or Swine Flu that have come and gone in recent decades and is not even remotely comparable to the Spanish Flu of 1918.

The numbers show that COVID is a risk for people over 70, the obese, and the sick—but a medical non-problem for everyone else. That’s why the average age of decedents is 80, even though it appears that everyone who dies with the virus in their system is reported as a statistic—even if they die of an auto accident or a heart attack. People with zero symptoms are, nonetheless, listed as “cases” if they fail the overly sensitive and very expensive PCR test.

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New Study Concludes Lockdowns Caused AT LEAST 170,000+ Excess Deaths In U.S., by Steve Watson

They’re still reckoning the ever-increasing costs of lockdowns, and the full tally may not be known for another five or ten years. From Steve Watson at summit.news.com:

Research finds a 26 percent spike in non-Covid excess deaths among working age Americans in 2020 and 2021

Yet another study has concluded that restrictive lockdowns contributed to a massive spike in excess deaths, with a 26% jump in mortality rate for working-age adults in America.

The study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that there were conservatively 170,000+ non-Covid excess deaths in the U.S. through 2020 and 2021.

The study notes that the real number is likely closer to 200,000 because over 70,000 so called “unmeasured Covid deaths,” that is people who may have died only with the virus and not from it, were not taken into account.

The researchers wrote that “Summing our estimates across causes and age groups, we estimate 171,000 excess non-Covid deaths through the end of 2021 plus 72,000 unmeasured Covid deaths. The Economist has assembled national-level mortality data from around the world and obtains a similar U.S. estimate, which is 199,000 (including any unmeasured Covid) or about 60 persons per 100,000 population (Global Change Data Lab 2022).”

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Lockdowns, Not The Pandemic, Created The Havoc, by Chris Calton

The pandemic was the flu. The lockdowns were tyranny. From Chris Calton at mises.org:

It may be years before we fully realize the ramifications of the lockdown policies governments around the world have imposed on their citizens in response to covid-19, but evidence of the costs is starting to trickle in.

A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed thousands of high school students on the effects of the pandemic. “Since the beginning of the pandemic,” the study reports, “more than half of students found it more difficult to complete their schoolwork (66%) and experienced emotional abuse by a parent or other adult in their home (55%),” which correlated heavily with students who “experienced insecurity via parental job loss (29%), personal job loss (22%), and hunger (24%).”

A related CDC study, released the same day, examined the effects the pandemic has had on the mental health of high school students. It found that “during the 12 months before the survey, 44.2% experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, 19.9% had seriously considered attempting suicide, and 9.0% had attempted suicide.”

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President Xi Faces An Impossible Dilemma In Shanghai As COVID Outbreak Worsens Despite Lockdown, by Tyler Durden

The dilemma is not impossible, it’s just that the solution requires the Chinese government to admit it was wrong. That’s something governments rarely do. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

In the span of just over a week, CCP authorities have gone from denying plans for a citywide lockdown of Shanghai to announcing what was supposed to be a two-part staggered lockdown – to simply locking down the entire city and sending in the military and a contingent of medical workers as locals accuse the government of violating its social compact to put the people’s interests first.

Now, as the entire city of roughly 26 million faces what’s already shaping up to be the most punishing lockdown in China since the original three-month Wuhan lockdown nightmare, Nikkei reports that Beijing has found itself in an incredibly difficult position.

On Sunday, Shanghai counted 9,006 mainly asymptomatic infections, more than two-thirds of the national tally.

The reason the situation in Shanghai presents such a difficult conundrum is that backing down from its lockdown in Shanghai would mean admitting that the “Zero COVID” approach has been an abject failure.

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The CDC Discovers Actual Public Health, Just in Time, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

The CDC “discovery” comes just a few months before this fall’s midterm elections. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at brownstone.org:

One day I’m reading an internal memo commissioned by the Democratic Party to provide advice to dealing with Covid policy. The next day I’m reading headlines about how the CDC has drastically altered its advice on how to deal with Covid.

Is there a relationship? At this point, only the hopelessly naive would think otherwise.

Let’s look at the memo produced by Impact Research. Some excerpts:

  • Democrats have a tremendous opportunity to claim an incredible, historic success – they vaccinated hundreds of millions of people, prevented the economy from going into freefall, kept small businesses from going under, and got people back to work safely. Because of President Biden and Democrats, we CAN safely return to life feeling much more normal – and they should claim that proudly.
  • Six in ten Americans describe themselves as “worn out” by the pandemic. The more we talk about the threat of COVID and onerously restrict people’s lives because of it, the more we turn them against us and show them we’re out of touch with their daily realities.
  • [I]t means recognizing that the threat of COVID is no longer what it was even a year ago and therefore should not be treated as such – shutdowns, masks, and lockdowns were meant to save lives when there was not yet a vaccine that could do that. Voters know we now have the tools in the toolkit to be responsible in combatting and living with COVID – vaccines and boosters to minimize illness, and masks and social distancing around vulnerable groups.
  • They think the virus is here to stay, and 83% say the pandemic will be over when it’s a mild illness like the flu rather than COVID being completely gone, and 55% prefer that COVID should be treated as an endemic disease. And that’s what most Americans are dealing with—a disease with fatality rates like the flu—because most of us took the personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our families by getting vaccinated.
  • Stop talking about restrictions and the unknown future ahead. If we focus on how bad things still are and how much worse they could get, we set Democrats up as failures unable to navigate us through this. When 99% of Americans can get vaccinated, we cause more harm than we prevent with voters by going into our third year talking about restrictions. And, if Democrats continue to hold a posture that prioritizes COVID precautions over learning how to live in a world where COVID exists, but does not dominate, they risk paying dearly for it in November.

A few points. There is no strong evidence that “shutdowns, masks, and lockdowns” saved lives which is perhaps why the memo backs away slightly from the claim with the words “meant to.” Good intentions, but ruined lives.

This memo is not epidemiology but politics, most strongly illustrated by the idea that polling should make the difference as to whether a pathogen is pandemic or endemic. The constant incantation of “vaccines” here has nothing to do with the known data: they have nowhere stopped infection or spread, a point which the memo obscures with the line about how they “minimize illness.” They minimize serious outcomes for some strains so long as they last.

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They Are Still Defending Lockdowns, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

The defenders of lockdowns usually ignore contrary studies. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at brownstone.org:

Fifteen years ago, writers schooled in computer science began to imagine various totalitarian schemes for pandemic control. Experienced public health officials in 2006 warned that this would lead to disaster. Donald Henderson, for example, went through the whole list of possible restrictions, shooting them down one by one.

Still, a decade and a half later, governments all over the world tried lockdowns anyway. And sure enough, since April of 2020, scholars have observed that these lockdown policies haven’t worked. The politicians preached, the cops enforced, citizens shamed each other, and businesses and schools did their best to comply with all the strictures. But the virus kept going with seeming disregard for all these antics.

Neither oceans of sanitizer, nor towers of plexiglass, nor covered mouths and noses, nor crowd avoidance, nor the seeming magic of six feet of distance, nor even mandated injections, caused the virus to go away or otherwise be suppressed.

The evidence is in. Restrictions are not associated with any particular set of virus mitigation goals. Forty studies have shown no connection between the policy (egregious violations of human liberty) and the intended outcomes (diminishing the overall disease impact of the pathogen).

You can forget about “causal inference” here because there is an absence of correlation of policy and outcomes at all. You can do a deeper dive and find 400 studies showing that the impositions of basic freedoms did not achieve the intended result but instead produced terrible public-health outcomes.

The two years of the hell into which hundreds of governments simultaneously plunged the globe achieved nothing but economic, social, and cultural destruction. Very obviously, this realization is shocking, and suggests a crying need for a reassessment of the power and influence of the people who did this.

This reassessment is happening now, all over the world.

A major frustration for those of us who have denounced lockdowns (which goes by many names and takes many forms) is that these studies have not exactly rocked the headlines. Indeed, they have been buried for the better part of two years.

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New Johns Hopkins Study: “Lockdowns Have Had Little To No Public Health Effects” And “Imposed Enormous Economic and Social Costs”, by Steve Watson

Some of us were saying this before lockdowns were even imposed. From Steve Watson at summit.news:

“Lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument”

A new study out of the renowned Johns Hopkins University has concluded that global lockdowns have had a much more detrimental impact on society than they have produced any benefit, with researchers urging that they “are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”

The study was authored by Jonas Herby, special advisor at Center for Political Studies in Copenhagen, Denmark; Lars Jonung, professor emeritus in economics at Lund University, Sweden; and Steve H. Hanke, a Professor of Applied Economics and Founder & Co-Director of The Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.

The authors wrote that “While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted.”

The focus of the study, according to the authors was to “determine whether there is empirical evidence to support the belief that ‘lockdowns’ reduce COVID-19 mortality.”

The researchers defined lockdowns as “any government mandate that directly restrict peoples’ possibilities, such as policies that limit internal movement, close schools and businesses, and ban international travel.”

The researchers further noted that “To answer our question, we focused on studies that examine the actual impact of lockdowns on COVID-19 mortality rates based on registered cross-sectional mortality data and a counterfactual difference in-difference approach.”

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Has the Great Barrington Declaration been vindicated? By Thomas Fazi and Toby Green

Whispers are being heard on the left that maybe, just maybe, lockdowns weren’t such a good idea after all, and maybe, just maybe, the Great Barrington Declaration has some merit. From Thomas Fazi and Toby Green at unherd.com:

Has the Left finally woken up to the devastating costs of implementing lockdowns? In its first edition of 2022, the Observer carried a surprisingly balanced interview with Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of Sage whose new book — The Year the World Went Mad — argues that long lockdowns promoted more harm than good and failed to protect the vulnerable. Its favourable reception appears to herald a new direction in the critique of Covid measures and policies on the Left; for the first time, the question of what really represented the collective good in the Covid debate has been put on the table by a mainstream left-liberal publication.

This is certainly a new departure. As we have previously noted on UnHerd, the Left has strongly supported restrictive measures in the fight against the pandemic.

It argued that these restrictions, which clearly infringe on individual freedoms and rights, were nonetheless justified in the name of “the collective good” and “the collective right to life”. This allowed them to pre-empt any criticism of the new Covid consensus: if you’re against any of these measures, you’re against the collective interest. And so thinkers like us, who have always criticised neoliberal individualism and argued in favour of progressive state intervention, suddenly found ourselves accused of being libertarians or outright “Right-wingers”, just for taking a critical stance of governments’ response to the pandemic.

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