Whilst scenes such as these are now considered normal across the globe:
Those of us fighting for proportionality and rationality based on evidence and data have been maligned and dismissed for more than a year. Noone more so than some of the world’s most accomplished Infectious Disease Epidemiologists. Some continue to speak out despite an incredibly hostile and vicious opposition, including Professors Bhattacharya and Kulldorff who wrote the below commentary, published yesterday.
Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, The Telegraph, 24 April 2021
A year ago there was no evidence that lockdowns would protect older high-risk people from Covid-19. Now there is evidence. They did not.
With so many Covid-19 deaths, it is obvious that lockdown strategies failed to protect the old. Holding the naiive belief that locking down society would protect everyone, governments and scientists rejected basic focused protection measures for the elderly. Whilst anyone can get infected, there is more than a thousand-fold difference in the risk of death between the old and young. The failure to exploit this fact about the virus led to the biggest public health fiasco in history.
Lockdowns have, nevertheless, generated enormous collateral damage across all ages. Depriving children of in-person teaching has hurt not only their education but also their physical and mental health. Other public health consequences include missed cancer screenings and treatments and worse cardiovascular disease outcomes. Much of this damage will unfold over time and is something we must live with – and die with – for many years to come.
The blame game for this fiasco is now in full swing. Some scientists, politicians and journalists are complaining that people did not comply with the rules sufficiently. But blaming the public is disingenuous. Never in human history has the population sacrificed so much to comply with with public health mandates.
Strangely, lockdown proponents are also trying to blame the scientists who opposed lockdown measures. Though she has repeatedly argued for better protection of the elderly, with specific suggestions that could have saved many lives, Oxford Professor Sunetra Gupta, one of the world’s pre-eminent infectious disease epidemiologists, has been attacked with particular viciousness.
Here are just a few examples. Tory MP Neil O’Brien wrote an article in The Guardian under a headline that attacked the “fantasies” and “tall tales” of Dr Gupta and other critics of lockdown. They “make stuff up”, he said, and “have a hell of a lot to answer for”. Based on a lay website full of misleading claims about the pandemic, The Guardian’s George Monbiot ironically claimed that Dr Gupta is a “pundit” who makes “misleading claims about the pandemic”.
In March, Dr Gupta offered a wide range of plausible infection estimates, which good scientists do under uncertainty (Imperial College, hint hint). Inevitably, some of those plausible estimates will turn out to be wrong, as only one can be correct. That Paul Mason and The New Statesman would then cherry-pick one of the wrong estimates and call Dr Gupta’s work “laughable” is in itself laughable.
A few academics have jumped on the bandwagon. Dr Deepti Gurdasani at Queen Mary University, for example, accused Dr Gupta of pseudoscience, suggesting that she should be deplatformed and Oxford University should act against her. Unfortunately, such behaviour intimidates other academics into silence, undermining scientific debate.
Last spring, the pandemic was waning due to a combination of immunity and seasonality, and many lockdowners claimed that lockdowns had succeeded. Still, it was obvious to any competent infectious disease epidemiologist that it would be back, and in June, Dr Gupta said she expected a resurgence of Covid-19 in the winter months. This didn’t prevent journalists and politicians from falsely claiming that she thought the pandemic was all over.
The fact is that with a lower herd immunity threshold in the summer than in the winter, immunity can drive a pandemic on its way out during the spring but then resurge next autumn, and that is what happened. A year into the pandemic, one would think that politicians and journalists writing about Covid-19 would have bothered to acquire some basic knowledge of infectious disease epidemiology.
Anticipating the resurgence, in early October, we authored the Great Barrington Declaration with Dr Gupta, hoping to avoid a repeat of the spring disaster. We called for focused protection of the old while lifting lockdowns and letting children and young adults live near-normal lives. At the time, we were accused of raising a strawman, and that further lockdowns were neither needed nor proposed by anyone. Unfortunately, that strawman only survived a few weeks until the lockdowners were at it again, doubling down on their prior failures without protecting the old.
The central fallacy in pro-lockdown thinking is that more restrictions automatically lead to fewer deaths. This reasoning shows stunning ignorance of basic infectious disease epidemiology. One example among many is the closure of universities last spring, which sent students home to live with higher-risk older family members, increasing multi-generational mixing. Now politicians and public health officials have work to do to regain public trust. Blaming the public and scientists like Dr Gupta to deflect from the lockdowners’ own mistakes is not the right way forward.
Martin Kulldorff is Professor of Medicine at Harvard. Jay Bhattacharya is Professor of Medicine at Stanford.
Dr Reiner Fuellmich met with Canadian lawyer Dominic Desjarlais on 19 April to discuss the international collaboration working on the class action law suits playing out against the scientists and public health experts who have used SARS-CoV-2 to instigate a corrupt pandemic response. Moderated by Stephane Blais, President of the Foundation for the Defense of the People’s Rights and Freedoms, the video meeting is 1h8m long. He outlines events as they have played out, and the fraudulent science which led to the public health fiasco.
Yesterday the empty streets and parks of London came alive in a March for Freedom with at least 100,000, some estimates as high as 750,000 people marching. It covered Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Oxford St, Holborn, City, Embankment, Parliament Square and back to Hyde Park Corner. Barrister Francis Hoar described it as “Nine miles of people; hundreds of thousands”. One of the largest mass events the world has ever seen yet few media outlets anywhere covered it. The Daily Mail provided some photographs, most of which were captioned “the crowds, which included families, did not appear to be adhering to social distancing and were not wearing face masks” which is newsworthy under so-called “new normal”. And a couple of others shared via Twitter.