Helpful for a point of view from the dovish end of the Covid spectrum.
Haven’t read this yet, but I signed it and still agree with it.
I think my position on the lockdown has probably evolved since it was first implemented. My new job has really exposed me to the destructive fallout across the nation. However at the outset, it was hard to know just how back it could get. It did get pretty bad, and too many were being dismissive for the first six months at least, but I do think the losses suffered by the lock down are almost incalculable.
I signed it too. I have not listened to his full interview, but only read the snippets. He does admit he got some things wrong. He shows more humility than the Defy Tyrants crowd.
I’ve kind of gone in the opposite direction. I dont regret signing the Great Barrington Declaration, but I think the initial lockdowns were probably the right call, and worth it. Yes, there are many bad effects, especially on the young, but there are too many unknowns about what would have happened had we gone the Swedish route. We are a different country than Sweden. We’ve suffered more deaths because we have a vulnerable population, not just the elderly but the overweight and obese, people with diabetes, people with preexisting medical conditions.
Without lockdowns, many more people would have died.
Once we got past May, the lockdowns couldn’t be sustained. So our leaders pivoted to masks. Sure, they’re not terribly effective, people wear them wrong, etc, but the alternative was more lockdowns, more depression, more job loss, and more riots. So they rolled the dice and compromised.
Just my opinion. It will be interesting to read future histories of what was being done behind the scenes.
Dr. Jay has been consistently excellent throughout this whole mess. I wish the CP folks would talk to him about vaccine efficacy (maybe I missed it).
I agree that Sweden is a very different country, and comparing their outcomes with ours isn’t helpful. But I disagree that across much of the country a lockdown from late March through early May was all that helpful. My community “locked down” when there was no basically no covid present. And we reopened to about Sweden’s level in early May and have stayed that way ever sense. I think it cost local politicians some credibility and likely didn’t save many lives. The calculus was very different in coastal metropolises which is (one of many reasons) why I’m pro-subsidiarity on this stuff.
Also, Sweden has been used as a sort of strawman throughout these debates. Sweden closed secondary schools, recommended businesses close or send their workforce remote (many did), they banned public events and they restricted large gatherings. They also have the highest rate of single person households in the world (47% of Swedish households are single-occupancy, what a sad stat), and they had a high rate of working from home before 2020.
Scott Alexander over at ACX has a typically thorough run down: Lockdown Effectiveness: Much More Than You Wanted To Know - by Scott Alexander - Astral Codex Ten (substack.com)
This is worth a read for the pro-Sweden folks. I was surprised to learn from it that Sweden had worse outcomes (eventually) than some/all of her Norse neighbors. Alexander may be a bit too rosy on the positive outcomes of lockdowns (or I’m just unable to see past my bias) but it’s a thorough treatment and worth a read if you’re a lockdown skeptic.
As Joseph Bayly said months and months ago, given that we’re still arguing about the causes of the Great Depression and the effectiveness of the New Deal, it’s likely that non-pharmaceutical interventions will remain controversial for as long as people are interested in the topic and are allowed to have dissenting opinions.
Perhaps. But in SA’s utilitarian way he basically concludes that lockdowns weren’t worth it from a QALY (month in this case) perspective.
Dr. Bhattacharya makes some excellent points about the ineffectiveness and harmfulness of lockdowns. As much as I like his idea of focused protection, I wonder if it is practicable. If you provided free hotel rooms, would elderly and vulnerable people self-quarantine? Some would be reluctant to leave their homes even if a family member were infectious.
Dr. Bhattacharya co-authored a study back in April of 2020 which was questioned for its weighting of results and sampling bias. The study produced a higher prevalence rate and thus a lower mortality projection than most other studies at the time. I point this out because it raises the possibility that even experts can engage in motivated reasoning. How much more could the judgements of non-experts be swayed when examining complex situations.
This has been a constant question of mine as well.