Brother, got to say I don’t think the ‘facts’ section in this article is good. Wish I had more time to comment over the past few months, but a few points. Aside from needlessly stating the opposition in a way that frames them as idiots:
Objection 1: “But they count everybody who dies as a Covid death!”
…they only counted 65% of the unexpected deaths as Covid deaths.
By leaving it at this it might give the impression that covid deaths have been undercounted. But, as I’m sure you know, the reason for the non-covid unexpected deaths is that around one third (or more) of excess deaths are caused in various indirect ways by the lockdown itself rather than Covid (e.g. people with chest pains not going to hospital etc.). In the UK we have similar proportions of excess ‘non-covid deaths’ and until very recently, our criteria counted everyone who was ever diagnosed with Covid, who subsequently died (even if they had recovered from Covid) as a Covid death. Thus making it impossible, statistically, to ever recover from Covid. This national embarrassment was only recently corrected, revising our Covid death toll down by around 10%.
Then, even more importantly, there is still good reason to believe that co-morbidity is not adequately factored in. By looking at annual ‘excess deaths’ rather than ‘covid deaths’ it becomes apparent that many who died of Covid would soon have died anyway from other illnesses they already had. That’s why annual excess deaths are not particularly exceptional. This is crucial context that is missing from your analysis.
Objection 2: “But that other study said our ER’s would be overwhelmed and 1.2 million Americans would be dead even if we took extreme action immediately!”
No they didn’t. That’s a lie debunked back in March. Neil Ferguson’s Imperial study accurately predicted that, if we shut down, the peak would occur a few weeks later without overwhelming the country’s critical care capacity. It also accurately predicted the second spike of cases being much larger after we decreased our mitigation efforts.
In the UK, and as far as I can tell also in the US, there has not been a second spike of deaths even larger. ‘Cases’ are largely irrelevant unless you divide by number of tests (testing levels increased after lockdowns) and unless they issue in deaths. I’m afraid I must retract my implied support for Ferguson’s modelling that we previously discussed here. Aside from the fact that the range of deaths he gave was so wide as to be almost impossible to be wrong (20,000 to 500,000 for the UK) I think his model has proved to be wrong it 2 key respects. I will have to go read it again to confirm, but if I remember correctly:
- The paper argued that the only way to avoid run-away high death tolls was ‘supression’ (i.e. hard lockdown) and that ‘mitigation’ (soft lockdown) would still result in unacceptable deathtoll and overwhelming of hospitals. Well, Sweden have disproved this as they did not follow either. Listen to Ferguson being questioned on this point.
- His paper implies that the only solution avoiding these mega deathtolls is a vaccine, and thus that if you re-open without one, deaths will jtake-off again. Here we don’t need even need to turn to Sweden, as most countries re-opening has not caused this, despite no vaccine.
Objection 3: “But they were totally wrong about what would have happened if we took another course of action. There’s no way 2 million people would have died if we had just gone on with life as normal.”
That’s simply an opinion, and it is unverifiable.
Obviously that can be turned right round to say the same of those who claim ‘See, the lockdown worked!’. However, in addition to what I said above, we do have significant ‘live experiments’ to look to, namely what has been going on in countries that did not do Imperial-type lockdowns, like Sweden, yet clearly did not experience the magnitude of deaths expected. The original Imperial predictions were only for UK and US, so you need to scale the numbers on the Swedish population, as was done a couple of months ago by someone here:
Still, ask yourself this: Who do you trust more—the men paid to be experts in infectious diseases who accurately predicted what would happen in the course of action we took, or the men who can’t even admit that’s what happened, instead crowing about the models being wildly wrong?
But which experts? There are credible experts on both sides. And science is fraught with bias in politicised areas. One thing that has irked me somewhat in various Warhorn avenues is the pouring of scorn on men who try to assess the evidence themselves, rather than leaving our fate in the hands of the scientists, as Lord Sumption very well remarked. It is true we must be conscious of our abilities and training, but in this piece, are you guys not arrogating to yourself what is condemned in others? Despite being armchair experts yourselves, you have taken it upon yourselves to make an authoritative interpretation and pronouncement on the ‘FACTS’. I don’t begrudge you that, but please at least allow others the same liberty. And are you too not also in principle already going against the ‘experts’ by having (pre-emptively) chosen civil disobedience in your churches on the question of masks (for leaders) and singing (for all)?
Objection 4: “But it really is just like a severe flu season.”
No. It’s not… If we have any integrity, it is impossible to downplay this as a severe flu season.
Are we talking flu or flu/pneumonia here? In many European countries the numbers have actually corresponded to a mild flu season or less. Even in the UK, who I think have one of the (if not the) worst mortality stats in Europe, worse than the US, you only have to go back to 1999 to find the winter flu season giving more deaths:
When you ask the more relevant question, which is excess deaths rather than covid deaths, you get a truer picture of the scale of the situation. From the limited data I’ve seen from the US, a similar picture emerges as the UK. To respond that it was only because of the lockdown begs the question.
Objection 5: “But it wasn’t worth the economic cost, and people die from economic trouble, and they changed their tune on masks, and they are oppressing me.”
Only when you are able to acknowledge the basic facts that the models were right can we begin to reason about what we might well have done differently.
This stacks the debate in a way that must be rejected as it obscures the larger more important picture. The question of the response being wildly disproportionate to the malady should be front and centre. The burden of proof must be on those who wish to set fire to a valuable building (people’s livelihoods) to show that such measures are indeed needful. Don’t touch the match until you first show it to be so.
I offer these counter’s in the spirit of good debate. I wish I had more time to proof-read and sharpen the arguments, and know that some of my points could be made to be more directly applicable to yours. I know I focus a bit on the UK whereas you’re talking the US, but I think a lot of this is transferable, as our death toll is one of the worst.
For many months I’ve found this place one of the best to go to for a critical view on the covid situation: