The lockdowns still aren’t working

They are not reducing the number of Covid-19 cases, but they are destroying our economies.

Wilfred Reilly

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece for spiked arguing that there is little empirical evidence that regional lockdowns prevent the spread of Covid-19 better than well-done social-distancing measures. The piece received far more of a response than I expected. After literally thousands of email and Twitter comments – mostly positive – I have returned to respond to some of the more common methodological points raised by readers. Once again, I find limited – if any – evidence for the efficacy of lockdowns. My data set is available for anyone to request it via my Twitter.

The most basic response I received was that this could all change in a fortnight. The lockdowns simply needed more time to succeed. This argument has turned out to be false. As of the close of business Friday 1 May, the number of documented Covid-19 cases across the US states and territories ranged from 146 (in Guam) to 315,222 (in New York), with a per-state US average of 20,954. New York State is an outlier, so with that removed from the mix, state caseloads varied between 146 and 121,190 (New Jersey) for a mean average of 15,295.

Unlike most US states, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming did not issue ‘shelter in place’ orders and have enacted social-distancing measures instead. South Carolina did eventually lock down, but not until 6 April. It was the last state to do so, locking down some three-and-a-half weeks after California and New York. It also allowed major exceptions, such as religious services. The mean for the number of cases across social-distancing states was 3,895. Without South Carolina, the mean was 3,600.

Essentially, there is the same pattern for Covid-19 deaths. On 1 May, deaths nationally ranged from seven in Wyoming up to 24,069 in New York, for a mean of 1,229 deaths per state. With New York removed, the deaths varied between seven and 7,538 (New Jersey). The mean number of cases was 789. In the non-lockdown social-distancing states, the 1 May mean for deaths was 98.9 – falling to 79.3 with South Carolina removed from the analysis.

As before, I next adjusted for population. As of 10pm EST on 1 May, officially tested Covid-19 cases per million state residents in the US ranged from a low of 435 in Montana and Hawaii up to 16,068 in New York. The per-state average was 2,882 cases-per-million, or 2,624 with New York removed. Deaths per million ranged between 11 (Hawaii) and 1,227 (New York) for a mean of 147. Without New York, this falls to 126, with New Jersey (849) as the worst-hit state. In contrast, the non-lockdown social-distancing states averaged 1,704 cases per million and only 34 deaths per million. In other words, the number of deaths in social-distancing states is just 27 per cent that of the lockdown states.

A second suggestion was that I improve my regressions, by (1) re-running them using more up-to-date cases and deaths data for my dependent variables, (2) running them with current active cases as a dependent variable, and (3) adding variables. These new variables include the rate of testing, the date the epidemic started, and even temperature. Even with these adjustments, little has changed.

First, I treated caseload and deaths as of 1 May 2020 as the dependent variables. Population, population density, ‘strategy’ (lockdown or social distancing), median age, median income and diversity (minority-population percentage) were my independent variables. The regression analysis produced results very similar to those I wrote about in my earlier spiked piece. The main difference was that with the more-up-to date figures, population density became more significant as a predictor of caseload and deaths.

Secondly, the results were almost identical when current active cases of Covid-19 were used as a dependent variable. Again, both population and density were significant predictors in the model. But the strategy used by a state to respond to Covid-19 – social distancing or lockdown – was not a significant predictor of Covid cases or deaths.

Third, I added all of the new variables suggested by spiked readers and those in the online modelling community to my regression analyses. I first regressed each of these separately against the ‘cases’ and ‘deaths’ dependent variables. The ‘state temperature’ variable had little influence. However, the ‘testing’ variable – representing the number of Covid tests administered by a state per million residents – was highly significant. The p-value for testing – the probability that its relationship with cases and deaths is down to just random chance – was only .006 for cases and .005 for deaths. The date-of-onset variable (days since the first confirmed in-state Covid death) was also significant against cases and was nearly significant against deaths (p=.026, .064).

Next, each of these variables was cycled into my original six-variable linear model. In this multivariate model, the relationships between testing rates and both cases and deaths remained statistically and meaningfully significant. In this model, the relationships between date-of-onset and the two dependent variables fell below statistical significance.

Interestingly, I observed a strong, significant and meaningful correlation between increasing temperature and decreasing Covid-19 caseload (B= -2,065, p=.029) and death totals (B = -169, p=.025). The unstandardised regression coefficient (B) means that, with all other variables adjusted for in the model, each one-degree increase in mean temperature correlated with a 2,065-unit decrease in Covid-19 cases and a 169-unit decrease in Covid deaths.

It should be prudently noted that, while the coefficients for the temperature variable remained consistent in the same direction (B = -900, -74.1), these relationships between temperature and the primary dependent variables did not reach significance (p=.199, .185) in the final model I ran – an ‘all critical variables’ regression which included population, population density, strategy, temperature, rate of testing and date-of-onset. In that model, the only conventionally significant variables were population and testing. However, the relationship between temperature and the fight against Covid-19, which has been the subject of much media speculation, should be explored in the context of data sets larger than mine.

In the context of my fairly small data set, I certainly encourage scholars to add individualised weights to the data (something I have largely resisted doing) and to try out log-linear rather than linear analyses. However, I will point out that my focus variable of government strategy has not proven to be a significant predictor of any of my dependent variables, in any model.

A final claim made against my original model is that I should compare the rates of weekly increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths. Data from day-by-day tracking resources like Covidtracking.com does indicate that, while their overall case numbers are low, states like Wyoming and South Dakota have seen major increases in their death totals during some recent weeks – 250 per cent and 300 per cent respectively.

However, the ‘surges’ we hear of in the social-distancing states tend to be tiny. Wyoming’s ‘250 per cent increase’ was a jump from two total deaths to seven. What is more, Wyoming’s death toll has remained stable at seven total deaths since 23 April – implying a zero per cent increase in death rate over the past week.

Also, other social-distancing states have done quite well against the same week-to-week metrics. Covid Tracking data for Arkansas indicate that the state’s death rate grew only from 37 to 45 between 17 April and 24 April, roughly half the increase of the week before and one of the top three performances among all states.

Finally, the varying dates-of-onset for different states indicate that regions are at different points along their epidemic curves, and this could easily affect rates of new cases and deaths in heartland states versus coastal states, regardless of response strategy.

With all that said, the fact that I have compiled two fairly solid Covid-19 data sets within a two-week period allows me to conduct a more comprehensive test of the effectiveness of lockdowns.

When I wrote my last piece for spiked, the US states overall had an average of 54 Covid-19 deaths per million persons. The social-distancing states, with South Carolina counted as a social-distancing state, had an average of 12 Covid deaths per million. As of today, that figure has jumped to 147 deaths per million for all US states (126 per million minus New York), and 34 per million for social-distancing states. Deaths per million have increased by 22 in the social-distancing states, and by 72 to 93 in the lockdown states, during only the past two weeks. This gap in new, post-lockdown deaths per million people once again suggests that the lockdowns are not working.

This should be a powerful argument for adopting social distancing. While social-distancing measures – like wearing a light medical mask or washing one’s hands 11 times a day – might be annoying, the practical impact of country-wide lockdowns has been utterly devastating. Unemployment in the US is approaching (if not surpassing) Great Depression levels. Thirty million Americans have filed jobless claims since March. Almost eight million small- to medium-sized businesses are at risk of closing permanently.

The original argument for the lockdown policies which have caused all this pain is that they were necessary to avoid an almost unprecedented wave of mass death. Early analyses from the WHO and from serious scientists estimated the infection fatality rate (IFR) for Covid to be between roughly one per cent and four per cent. They projected infection rates of up to 80 per cent, and argued that ‘mitigation’ alone would do little to stop it. Faced with the apparent prospect of corpses littering the streets, entire countries essentially shut themselves down.

Now, however, serological testing tells us that the actual IFR for Covid-19 may well be on the order of 0.3 or 0.4 per cent. Even the WHO is now lauding social-distancing Sweden as an effective model for other nations going forward. Sweden, which never locked down, currently ranks 20th in Europe in terms of cases-per-million and ninth in deaths-per-million – ahead of the locked-down UK in both categories.

None of this means that those making the case against lockdowns should do so glibly. Any human death is a tragedy. It is certainly possible that US states which lift lockdowns could see spikes in Covid-19 cases and deaths – particularly if residents do not embrace voluntary distancing. Press photographs of packed beaches and flag football games in the park are hardly manna for those of us who favour ending the lockdowns (although many of these photos have been taken during lockdowns).

It is also worth noting another unsayable fact at this point: approximately the same number of people have always been projected to contract Covid-19 in most ‘curve flattening’ scenarios. Lockdowns simply spread the deaths out across a longer period of time.

The original argument for locking down to ‘flatten the curve’ was very specifically about stopping patients from entering hospital in a single stream that would overwhelm healthcare resources and cause millions of incidental deaths. Now, however, we know that hospitals have not been swamped on a large scale in any of the non-lockdown US states, nor in nations such as Sweden which never locked down. In fact, more than 200 hospitals in lightly hit areas of both lockdown and social-distancing states have begun to furlough their employees, after cancelling elective procedures in preparation for a Covid wave that simply never arrived.

Much of this result is almost certainly explained by the IFR for Covid-19 being apparently far lower than that originally predicted. The prevalence of the virus among the population is also much higher than expected. And now that we know the hospital system has not been swamped, there is arguably no reason whatsoever to destroy our economies simply to experience roughly the same number of infections later rather than sooner.

Again, there may well be responses to these points. Given the gravity of the situation, some might seriously expect to see a Covid-19 vaccine in three to six months, rather than the usual 12 to 18. But, to be useful, any such assertions must be based on facts, rather than hope and speculation.

No single set of numbers can be perfect, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that numbers, not emotions, must guide the debate about how best to respond to Covid-19. And the numbers just discussed, human and economic, do not make the case for lockdowns.

Wilfred Reilly is author of Taboo: 10 Facts You Can’t Talk About, published by Regnery.

Picture by: Getty.

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Comments

Stuart Warren

5th June 2020 at 3:42 am

I’m not sure how widespread this is and sorry if it’s a bit off topic but here in Philippines private hospitals are being funded directly from Manila government for Covid 19 related cases. I know of one such case, untested but 99% not Covid where the cost was first massively inflated and then passed to government for payment. That would be a corruption funded statistic.
I wonder if our modeler friends remembered to factor that one into the equation?

Marvin Jones

13th May 2020 at 11:36 am

Are we as the electorate so ignorant and stupid? The lockdown is not working they scream. How can it, with this bunch of lying and deceitful mob who were staring at the headlights for a couple of months, incapable of making an intellectual decision. Instead they resorted to lying and deceit, the policies of Cameron and May. How could we deal with this Armageddon when through out, they have let in thousands of illegal migrants unchecked to pile onto our shores, heaven knows how many by the usual routes on trucks from the rest of the planet, plane loads of potential carriers or infected people strolling in through our airports, again unchecked, to the tune of 20,000 a day. Why are they not being interrogated? AND NOW! no one from France or Ireland will have to be quarantined. WHY?

steve moxon

10th May 2020 at 11:22 pm

Governments who went with ‘lockdown’ are more clueless even than they seem.
The nature of the pandemic is contrary to what we’re told.
My 87-year-old mum tested positive for the virus over a fortnight ago, along with half the others on her wing of the care home, and NOT ONE OF THEM HAS ANY SYMPTOMS AT ALL. Reporting the same thing are care homes across the USA and Canada.
Explanation: they’ve all got antibodiies from contracting a variant of the virus before — my mum about 18 months ago.
Large numbers of people where I live out in the sticks have long pointed out they had the virus LAST AUTUMN.
‘Lockdown’ was the worst UK government decision since 1914: the entirely needless entry into a continental European war that did not concern us or have any even indirect impact on our interests. As with ‘lockdown’ the decision was completely counter-productive. Instead of protecting empire it destroyed it, through bankrupting the country, making it impossible to provide the necessary forces and investment. The ‘lockdown’ likewise will destroy the economy to the extent of undermining the NHS, adding to the very large number of deaths through neglect of standard NHS work through total focus on the virus despite all of the ‘Nightingale’ overspill hospitals being empty.
This idiocy is what happens when instead of those trained in science and statistics, PR stuntsmen and wonks with PPE degrees and a gullible head full of extreme ideology are put in charge of everything.

Mor Vir

10th May 2020 at 7:18 pm

Never has a UK PM been so completely out of touch with the electorate. Next to no one wants any softening of the lock down. As far as the British ppl are concerned, our lives come first. Boris’ c orona response has been an utter shambles and the clown needs to go now.

> Nine in 10 Britons do NOT want lockdown to end immediately and half are happy to stay off work if they are getting paid amid signs of mounting backlash at government’s response

As Boris Johnson prepares to unveil his ‘exit strategy’, Deltapoll found just 4 per cent believe the draconian restrictions should start to be lifted now, and another 7 per cent were not sure

– DM

steve moxon

10th May 2020 at 11:05 pm

Guffaw! The electorate are those out of touch here re COVID-19!

bf bf

10th May 2020 at 2:18 pm

It never fails to amaze me how people just accept the COVID 19 death stats as being a given fact. We know that they have been gaming the figures from the off……..How….. because they have admitted to it in country after country (both officially and from whistle blowers). We probably will never know the true figure, but I would hazard a guess at less than 50% of the official figures.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

10th May 2020 at 10:50 am

In today’s DM, Peter Hitchens (who is no Marxist) exposes Johnson for the incompetent, opportunist and dangerous fool that he is:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8303715/PETER-HITCHENS-mad-mass-house-arrest-Covid-19-saved-single-life.html

When the general population realises the immense damage that Johnson has caused unnecessarily to the UK economy, his reputation will be (rightly) destroyed and there will be hell to pay.

Marvin Jones

13th May 2020 at 11:26 am

During the 2015 GE, Hitchens categorically stated in the Mail on Sunday, that the Tory’s had a zero chance of winning. Unlike his intellectual brother, sadly not with us anymore, Hitchens is a total bore who just cannot shut his mouth once set in motion.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

9th May 2020 at 8:21 pm

The difference between Churchill and Johnson is that Churchill killed Na z is whereas Johnson helps to kill his own people through cackhanded incompetence, dissembling and bullsh i tting.

Marvin Jones

13th May 2020 at 11:38 am

You may very well have a point there. I never ever though that our ruling establishment were SO incompetent.

James Knight

8th May 2020 at 7:00 pm

“Flattening the curve” does not reduce the final number of people infected, but it does result in extending the lockdown. Saying the lockdown will end “when it is safe” means “never”.

Vivian Darkbloom

8th May 2020 at 5:53 pm

There’s a very basic problem with UK population statistics. If researchers are basing their findings on official figures, they are in danger of underestimating the extent of the UK population.

Nobody seems to know the true number of people who reside temporarily or permanently in this country. Visitors are counted in but not counted out; people arrive for a holiday and stay on; Channel crossings are not always intercepted; migration from the EU has been underestimated by the ONS; and so on. I sometimes read that the official figure of 66 million is actually far higher if one takes into account supermarket stock and retail figures and utilities usage rather than rely on ONS and census stats; perhaps as high as 80 million. 80 million seems pretty high; possibly the real figure lies somewhere between the two but who really knows?

Government laxity over decades has led to this situation. If a country doesn’t know how many people are resident then this will lead inevitably to ineffective forward planning. Every year it’s reported that there are not enough school places; the NHS is overburdened; socials services are struggling, etc. If the population is many millions higher that is no surprise. So it must be with statistics. As the punchline to the old Irish joke has it, “you shouldn’t have started from here.”

The Times reported recently that “while most domestic flights are grounded, more than 100,000 passengers a week are still arriving at UK airports.” There is no testing for these passengers; they simply walk through and disperse into the wider population. Furthermore they are counted in but not counted out.

Marvin Jones

13th May 2020 at 1:55 pm

I have this itch that I just can’t get to. Which part of the lock down does 1000 illegals from France being taken in, brought in, or just let in apply to. AND! these are not the 17,000 strolling in at our airports unchecked, or the hundreds coming in on 50% of trucks from Europe, UNCHECKED!

Warren Alexander

8th May 2020 at 12:54 pm

Sadly, it is now politically impossible for the government to admit they have destroyed our economy for no good reason. The lockdown will be lifted slowly because to do otherwise would be to admit their strategy was wrong all along.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

9th May 2020 at 8:18 pm

Which just shows how incompetent and mendacious Alexander ‘Churchill’ Johnson is. Etonian imbecile who is doing massive (probably permanent) damage to our economy, culture and freedoms.

Marvin Jones

13th May 2020 at 1:34 pm

With the madness of the rush hour back and the trains and buses jam packed like sardines, we will know in a few weeks if the lock down did any good, or today’s actions will be extremely disastrous.

Paul Beardsell

8th May 2020 at 11:41 am

THIS ARTICLE FALSELY COMPARES THE PREVALENCE OF COVID-19 HIGH POPULATION STATES WITH OTHER LOW DENSITY STATES

I do not disagree with the general conclusion, that lockdowns have not been particularly effective overall. BUT THE STATISTICAL TECHNIQUES USED HERE ARE SERIOUSLY PROBLEMATICAL. Spiked would have been well served by asking a good statisician for a review. What is happening here is that readers (and the editors at Spiked) think all these numbers say what they (and presumably the author) think they say. Once again I do not quibble with the conclusion, what I am saying is that the conclusion does not follow from the presented stats as one might think.

Let me give but one example to illustrate why the statistical techniques used here ought be rejected. Again and again an average figure for something or another (death rate etc etc) for the USA is calculated by averaging figures from the different States. This is invalid nevermind statistically but also arithmetically. An example:

If the number of deaths in Utah is 100 per million but in Texas it is 900 per million we all understand that the total deaths is not 1000/million (and the article does not make *that* stupid mistake). But the article does make the *stupid* mistake of saying the average number of deaths over the states is 500 per million. It naively averages rates per population by ignoring the populations! Given that there are 3 million in Utah and 30 million in Texas the average deaths is not (100+900)/2 = 500 per million. That is WRONG. The average number of deaths is ((100*3)+(900*30))/(30+3) = 827 per million.

Again and again he smaller states are weighted as if they are the same as the bigger states in many of the calculations made to in this statistically incontinent article. My argument is valid for almost any statistical measure when comparing and aggregating figures state by state. It works for number of pigs farmed or road accidents. But my argument is much more telling when it comes to contagious disease.

Diseases work differently in larger populated states to smaller ones. Smaller populated states have such a low population density that everyone is as good as locked down in Utah already. And THIS ARTICLE FALSELY COMPARES THE PREVALENCE OF COVID-19 HIGH POPULATION STATES WITH OTHER LOW DENSITY STATES. Low population density states were always more socially distancing than the strictest lockdown high population states.

When one says lockdown doesn’t work because those states without lockdowns have a similar prevalence of disease to those with lockdowns one is ignoring that lockdowns are much more strict in high population states and more or less non-existent (or make no difference) in low density states.

Weyland Smith

8th May 2020 at 4:20 pm

I’ve skimmed the article a couple of times, and it’s not clear whether the averages are calculated incorrectly as you demonstrate, or whether the wording needs to be more precise. Without the raw data (and I don’t have a twitter account to request it), I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Either way, I agree that cases-deaths per million doesn’t say very much when some populations are stretched over vast areas, and others compressed tightly in towns and cities. If population density were to be expressed in people / square km, or average separation between people, I’d expect a correlation saying more cosy -> more covid. If you don’t come into contact with it, you’re not going to get it.
One thing I do take issue with is U S I N G C A P I T A L I S A T I O N to shout your views. People will read you comments, and make their own judgements and contributions. Shouting can prove a point, but not always the one you’re trying to make.

Paul Beardsell

8th May 2020 at 5:21 pm

You leave my material points unaddressed and instead attack my style. That is ad hominem and UNWORTHY of you. Don’t tell me how to write. I am surprised neither you nor Spiked! have fact checked the material upon which you base your article for methodological correctness. You do write as if these are ideas with which you are comfortable. Pretend journalist more interested in STYLE than FACTS.

James Knight

8th May 2020 at 7:08 pm

That doesn’t mean the statistical methods are wrong. A statistician once wrote that “all models are wrong, some are useful”. It just mean you think there should be another variable factor in the model.

It is up to the people who want to blow up the economy to show compelling evidence that lockdowns are effective. In the UK the panic policy was triggered by one non-peer reviewed paper which was another model. Not actual empirical evidence, just a model.

There is herd immunity and herd stupidity based on panic. Lockdowns look like the latter.

Mark Houghton

8th May 2020 at 11:25 am

Who cares about transmission rates if most healthy people who get this virus don’t die and don’t need medical intervention? Protect the vulnerable (we know who they are) by all means until we get a vaccine (if we ever do) but don’t lock everyone else down and kill the economy.

Christopher Tyson

8th May 2020 at 10:56 am

When I write things people sometimes think that I’m pre-occupied with myself. But this is not the case, as a phenomenologist I simply put my own foibles and subjectivities out there, to be ‘bracketed’ (phenomenologists are fond of brackets) or to be taken into account.
I studies economics at school and university, suffice to say with diminishing returns (a joke there for economists), I wouldn’t dare to claim expertise. But strangely economics as a discipline and economists in general have been fairy reticent during the current crisis. We expect to hear from epidemiologists but these days we are more likely to hear from behavioural psychologists than any other social scientists. Economics has fallen in prestige in recent decades, even its own practitioners appear chastened and students and graduates, disaffected. But perhaps economists have from bitter experience learnt the limitations of their ‘science’. Even as we are encouraged to defer to experts, any economic expert input into the decision to close down the British economy appears to be quite low in the pecking order in relation to other disciplines. The closing down of the British economy struck me as something that would have profoundly serious consequences. The precautionary principle of responding to the imminent threat by creating another threat that could be kicked down the road. We are now down the road. As a non expert economists I could see this coming, I’m hoping but sceptical, that someone, somewhere knows what they are doing and I have a non expert feeling that we should be panicking now.

Christopher Tyson

8th May 2020 at 11:27 am

There are certain people of colour who are deferred to by the white liberal establishment. When interview by white journalists they are given free reign and are not rigorously interrogated.
They use a category called ‘BAME’ which is never clearly defined. They talk about ‘black people’ making no distinction in terms of country of origin or other significant differences, class or religious differences or others. They have already decided that BAME is a causal category. They then find evidence to support this, and then come to conclusions which supports their initial assumptions. They then use these result to guilt trip their already guilt tripped white liberal audiences, for what purpose, who knows? It’s like a cycle that is an end in itself, mixed metaphor there.
In relation to covid-19, one familiar self appointed BAME spokesperson, spoke about ‘taking over the narrative’. Why? There is already huge support for the NHS and its workers why should BAME’s take over the narrative? There is an assumption that wider society is not concerned about BAME’s and that when BAME’s are dying that is a matter of concern for BAME’s and not for white people. Why assume that these death rate of BAME’s is not a concern for wider society? Indeed society has been locked down at huge cost to defeat covid-19, no one has said ‘it’s only killing BAME’s, let’s end the lockdown’.
The high incidence of BMAE death amongst health workers now seems to be elided with the high rate of BAME deaths in the general. This seems to confuse the causality, initially the implication was that BAME health workers were not being given sufficient protection (presumably in comparison with white staff, although I believe that some white people are BAME, I await clarification on this), the suggestion is now that being BAME us the causal factor. We nave an industry of race, diversity and inclusion activists and advisers, when a genuine crisis appears, they have nothing enlightening to say, they take no responsibility for their part in failing to protect the people they pretend to speak for, and they politicise the terrible event in keeping with their role, to guilt trip white liberals and demand that they do something. It is understandable that BAME activists are not expert on epidemiology and virology, but what is the excuse for their lack of political nous and the absence of any ideas or proffered sociological explanations? We know that there are disadvantaged communities. We know that poor people die earlier and have poorer health than the wealthy. We need to be dealing with covid-19 specific issues, not using it as a hook to bring all manner of other concerns and grievances.

James Conner

8th May 2020 at 10:15 am

Following on from the oustanding success of the anti-coronavirus measures implemented by the government, Boris Johnson has now decided to turn his attention to the shocking figures for the UK annual road traffic casualties.

“Over 26,000 people of all ages are either killed or seriously injured on the road every year”, said Boris at a press conference. “With this in mind I have today ordered that from now on all vehicles will be limited to a top speed of 5mph, and full harness seat belts and crash helmets must be word by all occupants.”

Mor Vir

9th May 2020 at 2:08 pm

After all, cars kill 100 x per year that IS/ AQ ever killed in UK. And look how seriously we took that threat. We clearly need new laws against vehicular extremism and de-radicalisation programmes to stop teenagers from taking driving tests.

Pfff to knife crime, they are about as dangerous as desert spoons compared to those veritable tanks ploughing down UK citizens at 20 mph.

And laughing gas, do not make me laugh, that is about as problematic as a blow off in a field next to car fumes. Why ban dru gs when the real speed problem has us all caught like a dear in headlights?

Death is death and cars kill far more than pandemics.

A penny farthing was good enough for my great granddad and it ought to be quite enough eye sore and noise pollution for the danger freaks of today.

Marvin Jones

13th May 2020 at 1:39 pm

Poor Rover.

Jerry Owen

8th May 2020 at 9:23 am

I believe Texas is ending its lockdown this Sunday, it will be a place to watch.
If the virus doesn’t increase the death rate then I think it’s safe to assume that lockdown doesn’t work… for a virus, but a lockdown does work if you are a green or environmentalist.
The gurning non entity idot known as Brian Cox thinks we are living a better existence and we should carry on like this.
That’s all well and good if we can start growing some magic socialist money trees. If we can’t then that makes Cox a cock.

Korina Wood

8th May 2020 at 9:13 am

When Sweden announced that 50% of deaths from Covid were in care homes it was no surprise to learn later that the figures in Scotland were the exact same. 50% of Covid deaths in Scotland were in Care homes but Scotland was in Lockdown Sweden was not. Sweden has 301 deaths per million, Holland 309 per million and Ireland 284 per million. Simply put it looks like Sweden is the Winner, we are not at the end for Covid deaths and we are no where near the end of the Financial Destruction that lockdown will cause but Sweden looks like the right approach on all counts, Death, Finance and citizens sanity.

Highland Fleet Lute

8th May 2020 at 9:10 am

British swamp creature Mark Sedwill is leveraging Corona1984 to return UK to EU…

https://www.sott.net/article/434070-British-swamp-creature-Mark-Sedwill-is-leveraging-Corona1984-to-return-UK-to-EU

Highland Fleet Lute

8th May 2020 at 11:17 am

Funny name, isn’t it, Mark Sedwill?

One of those names that hangs around on the tip of the tongue but doesn’t remain in your head for too long.

I guess, bearing a monicker like that is almost a prerequisite for establishment-swamp-eminence-grise-hood.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/13/russia-tested-nerve-agent-on-door-handles-before-skripal-attack-uk-dossier-claims

With regard to his involvement with the so-called “Skripal Affair”, it’s interesting that a lot of people around Sedwill: Johnson, Cummings, Hancock, simultaneously developed Covid 19 symptoms.

Maybe someone or other wiped something or other on some door handles.

Either way, it was mighty convenient for someone like Sedwill to have those key pieces removed from the chessboard for a couple of weeks.

Marvin Jones

13th May 2020 at 1:46 pm

This is where I began to part allegiance with the buffoon Boris. After the sewage that this EU obsessed rodent Sedwell dumped on the leave side right through the campaign, Johnson, on winning the GE, kept this treacherous civil servant on as his adviser.

Clueless 1

8th May 2020 at 8:26 am

Interesting article, although a lot of the stats went over my head.
Just one point, on your statement that Any human death is a tragedy…..underlines the way that some governments seem to have approached the issue.
Death is a fact of life……all that lives is gonna die……and death at the end of a long productive life cannot be seen as a tragedy albeit it’s very emotional for the family. Early deaths which could be prevented are more devastating but I’m not certain about tragic.

Dodgy Geezer

8th May 2020 at 8:10 am

Age seems to be a critical factor in mortality. Deaths are pretty much confined to the 70+ age group.

Is there any way to fit this into your analysis – perhaps modelling an increased CFR for 70+ and differential lockdown?

James Conner

8th May 2020 at 6:39 am

Stay Home – Protect the NHS – Save Lives.
The NHS doesn’t need protecting. It’s a service staffed by an army of skilled men and women, all doing the job they are paid to do. It is, and always has been operating well beneath capacity.

No lives are being saved. Stay at home and all you’ll do is put off the day when you’ll catch covid-19. It will get you sooner or later. They you’ll either die (very unlikely) or fully recover (most likely).

There will not be a vaccine. What there will be, if this idiotic government continue down this path, is economic ruin on an unimaginable scale for decades to come.

Ad Dam

8th May 2020 at 9:49 am

“They you’ll either die (very unlikely) or fully recover (most likely).” That is so totally false!

Many people are surviving but they are NOT fully recovering, and with issues such as heart and liver damage, blood clotting and such, full recovery may NEVER come or take many months.

I think the lockdowns were to try and contain it. That has clearly failed in the UK and in America, most places really, so containment is now off the table. They clearly ARE working to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed though.

If anything they are working almost too well regarding hospitals, leading people to suggest they were never necessary…!

What we need now is to help isolate and protect those most at risk – older people, especially men, those with asthma, diabetes, obesity etc. in the meantime the rest should go back to normality but with some common-sense restrictions on crowding, physical contact etc.

I agree there is unlikely to be a vaccine – it’s a coronavirus like the cold and we’ve never cured that either – but we CAN slow things down long enough for solid, safe and effective treatments to be found for those at risk.

As for “very unlikely” to die, do you know what the actual death rate is for those considered a ‘case’, ie with symptoms and a test to confirm? Because it’s far from “very unlikely”.

Mark Houghton

8th May 2020 at 11:23 am

“Many people are surviving but they are NOT fully recovering, and with issues such as heart and liver damage, blood clotting and such, full recovery may NEVER come or take many months.”
How ‘many people’? Define ‘NOT fully recovering’.
Provide evidence to support your statement ‘full recover may NEVER come or take many months’. Also explain that weasel word ‘may’.

michael savell

8th May 2020 at 5:03 pm

I agree Covid19 will hit the majority of people and there is no vaccine except Hydroxychloroquine.Given early it would have saved many lives as it has already in other countries.
For some reason we intend to wait until Bill Gates or Fauci walks in with a needle to hand.We shall see,in a few days professional doctors taking umbrage against this system but it will probably be all too late.It is absolutely certain that we are sleepwalking our way into a far worse crisis if we follow the americans which ,I am sure we are presently doing.

Paul Beardsell

8th May 2020 at 5:24 pm

Your hydroxychloroquine point is a false fact easily checked. You also DO NOT KNOW the meaning of the word vaccine. It has not “saved many other lives”. You should be ashamed of yourself. And Spiked! should not republish you. https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/hydroxychloroquine-for-covid-19-what-do-the-clinical-trials-tell-us/

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Deplorables — a spiked film