The argument against Lockdowns

Over the last year, I have been following Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at Oxford University. She uses simple mathematical models to generate new hypotheses regarding the processes that determine the population structure of pathogens, and has applied her theories to Covid-19. She has opposed lockdowns as a mechanism for controlling the pandemic and has advocated alternative policies, and was a leading signatory of the Great Barrington Declaration. (GBD)

The GBD recommend an approach called “Focused Protection”  which involves adopting measures to protect the vulnerable as the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19, and allowing those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection. As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. It is known that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e.  the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. The goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity. 

This alternative approach has not been properly debated, although She was asked to present our ideas at a cabinet meeting of the Government, but they were then immediately dismissed and did not get to be debated at all. There was no debate at all, and in fact, debate was actively shut down. Since then, a series of ad hominem attacks and campaigns have been launched against Professor Gupta and fellow scientists who share her views, which is unacceptable.

Appearances in the mainstream media have disappeared over the last six months, but Professor Gupta recently gave an interview to the American Institute for Economic Research which is well worth watching. The transcript is also reproduced on this link.

Interestingly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed on Tuesday that Britain’s success in driving down coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations came as a result of the draconian lockdowns imposed on the country and not the massive vaccination push, which is open to debate. Many would argue that it is the vaccination programme that has been the main reason for the massive reductions rather than the lockdown.

“People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing,” the PM said. “So, as we unlock, the result will inevitably be that we will see more infection, sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths, and people have just got to understand that,” Johnson continued. To date, some 40 million people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK, with the programme expanding to those aged between 45 and 49 on Tuesday.

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