The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to determine the effect of lockdowns, also referred to as ‘Covid restrictions’, ‘social distancing measures’ etc., on COVID-19 mortality based on available empirical evidence. We define lockdowns as the imposition of at least one compulsory, non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI). We employ a systematic search and screening procedure in which 19,646 studies are identified that could potentially address the purpose of our study. After three levels of screening, 32 studies qualified. Of those, estimates from 22 studies could be converted to standardised measures for inclusion in the metaanalysis.
To help society mount a collective defence against pathogens, researchers say that leaders should enlist human-behaviour specialists to play a much bigger part in health policy. This has been the Achilles heel of governments during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Armand Balboni, an infectious-disease researcher and chief executive of pharmaceutical firm Appili Therapeutics in Halifax, Canada. “Social scientists, anthropologists and psychologists were not used nearly enough,” Balboni says.
Key messages in this report
• Behaviour change is essential for achieving climate and environment goals, and for delivering wider benefits.
• The Government’s current approach to enabling behaviour change to meet climate and environment goals is inadequate to meet the scale of the challenge.
• The public want clear leadership on the areas of behaviour change they should prioritise, and they want the Government to lead a coordinated approach to help them adapt by making change easier and fairer.
• Priority behaviour change policies are needed in the areas of travel, heating, diet and consumption to enable the public to adopt and use green technologies and products and reduce carbon-intensive consumption.
• There is a need for greater leadership and coordination across Government departments and with wider society on behaviour change for climate and environmental goals.
• The Government needs to provide a positive vision and clear narrative on how the public can help achieve climate and environment goals, and to lead by example.
• Information is not enough to change behaviour; the Government needs to play a stronger role in shaping the environment in which the public acts, through appropriately sequenced measures including regulation, taxation and development of infrastructure.
• Fairness is key to effective behaviour change.
• Businesses have a critical role to play in enabling behaviour change through increasing the affordability and availability of greener products and services, and engaging customers and employees.
• Government should also support and celebrate civil society organisations, faith communities and local authorities delivering local behaviour change projects.
• Government should learn from examples of where it has effectively enabled behaviour change, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as from past failures.
While transport and buildings are the major drivers for emissions in cities, the share of individual emissions is significant.
Personal carbon allowance programs have had limited success due to a lack of awareness and fair mechanism for tracking emissions.
Yet there have been major developments in recent years that could help realise “My Carbon” initiatives.
Imperial College’s death estimates over the years have some things in common: flawed modeling, hair-raising predictions of disaster that missed the mark, and no lessons learned.
The defining event in the history of Western Covid lockdowns occurred on March 16, 2020, with the publication of the now infamous Imperial College London Covid report, which predicted that in the “absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behaviour,” there would be 510,000 Covid deaths in Great Britain and 2.2 million in the United States. This prediction sent shock waves around the world. The next day, the U.K. media announced that the country was going into lockdown.
Published September 2018
The behavioural and social sciences are the future of public health. Evidence from behavioural science suggests that simple and easy ways of helping people to change their behaviour are the most effective. Whether it’s encouraging smokers to quit, increasing uptake of the NHS Health Check, making healthier food choices easier, or reducing the number of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions, this evidence can help in understanding and therefore influencing behaviour change that promotes health, prevents disease, and reduces health inequalities. We must reach and be meaningful to people in the lives that they are leading.
It is time for the public health system to advance the use of behavioural and social sciences, and for this purpose, PHE’s Behavioural Insights experts, working with many partners, have led the collaborative development of this comprehensive strategy – the first of its kind in the field.
The World Health Organization amplified false Chinese statements about COVID-19 initially, while it dragging its feet on declaring an international emergency. Pandemic experts here clung to flu epidemic plans too, ignoring observable COVID-19 successes in East Asia and so ruling out any similar possibility of test-and-trace containment in the UK from the off.
Most public health experts then pivoted to being extremely pro-lockdown, but stuck rigidly to this even as the context, and so the costs and benefits of restrictions, changed with the vaccines and omicron.
Epidemiologists proved especially stubborn. Their modelling usually ignored the role of voluntary behavioural change entirely, so erred on the side of assuming catastrophic public health outcomes absent government mandates and restrictions. Hence, Freedom Day was dubbed “criminal” by scientists, while the government’s scientific advisers called for more restrictions last Christmas. Both proved wrong in retrospect.
It is more than a rebuke to Medley and the modellers though. This pandemic began, for many, with an announcement from Imperial College, whose study predicted 500,000 deaths if we did nothing. We locked down and never tested the prediction.
This time, in the face of what the public saw as dire predictions, we didn’t lock down and the apocalypse never came. The unspoken — and sometimes spoken — implication is clear: are we all fools?
The consequences of this unprecedented state-sanctioned campaign have been visible everywhere: from the old lady in the street, paralysed with fear of contamination from another human, darting into the road to avoid someone walking the other way, to the neighbour donning a face covering and plastic gloves to wheel the dustbin to the end of her drive. These kinds of incidents are the product of an intensive messaging campaign, designed by the government’s behavioural scientists, to ‘nudge’ us into compliance with the Covid-19 restrictions and the subsequent vaccine rollout.
The Government’s “grossly unethical” uses of its “nudge unit” inflated fear among the public during the Covid pandemic, psychologists have said – prompting MPs to launch an investigation into scare adverts.
A group of psychologists have written to Parliament’s Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, warning that a team of civil servants dedicated to “nudging” public behaviour during the pandemic were unaccountable and unethical.
The letter’s 40 professional signatories – led by Dr Gary Sidley, a retired clinical psychologist – said they opposed the use of dramatic adverts, which included slogans such as: “If you go out you can spread it, people will die.”
‘Masks were a softening up exercise for Plan B,’ according to a government whistleblower. He told me that while there is little appetite in the Cabinet for a full lockdown, Covid Passes are ‘oven-baked’ and ready to go.
In my opinion, the UK government’s Winter Plan was always about Plan B. It displayed a classic ‘foot-in-the-door’ strategy – the raison d’être of Plan A was to prepare you for Plan B. Now winter is upon us, and the nudges fall in a flurry of torpefying snowflakes. Worst case scenarios, big numbers, salutary stories in the media, threats and cajolements are directed at us daily. Plan B is in motion as calls for working from home are heard from the usual suspects and we hear the Cabinet is divided on Covid Passes.
This seasoned government insider plays a key role on a Covid task force and has decided to speak out now because he is disturbed by the unethical reasons for mandating masks. Firstly, ‘It’s a highly political move to reset the Johnson administration’s orientation after bad polling over sleaze and corruption. If Omicron turns out to be super-bad and the public ask what the government did about it, the answer is we implemented masks. The one-way systems, plexiglass screens and masks are to give you an illusion of the government doing something. It’s just theatre. There is no evidence base or proportionality in favour of masks.’
However, despite this apparent evidence to support vaccine effectiveness – at least for the older age groups – on closer inspection of this data, this conclusion is cast into doubt. That is because we have shown a range of fundamental inconsistencies and flaws in the data. Specifically:
• In each group the non-Covid mortality rates in the three different categories of vaccinated people fluctuate in a wild, but consistent way, far removed from the expected historical mortality rates.
• Whereas the non-Covid mortality rate for unvaccinated should be consistent with historical mortality rates (and if, anything slightly lower than the vaccinated non-Covid mortality rate) it is not only higher than the vaccinated mortality rate, but it is far higher than the historical mortality rate.
• In previous years each of the 60-69, 70-79 and 80+ groups have mortality peaks at the same time during the year (including 2020 when all suffered the April Covid peak at the same time). Yet in 2021 each age group has non-Covid mortality peaks for the unvaccinated at a different time, namely the time that vaccination rollout programmes for those cohorts reach a peak.
• The peaks in the Covid mortality data for the unvaccinated are inconsistent with the actual Covid wave.
Whatever the explanations for the observed data, it is clear that it is both unreliable and misleading. We considered the socio-demographic and behavioural differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated that have been proposed as possible explanations for the data anomalies, but found no evidence supports any of these explanations. By Occam’s razor we believe the most likely explanations are:
• Systematic miscategorisation of deaths between the different groups of unvaccinated and vaccinated.
• Delayed or non-reporting of vaccinations.
• Systematic underestimation of the proportion of unvaccinated.
• Incorrect population selection for Covid deaths.
Published November 2020
As global conflicts take on increasingly asymmetric and “grey” forms, the ability to manipulate the human mind employing neurocognitive science techniques and tools is constantly and quickly increasing. This complements the more traditional techniques of manipulation through information technology and information warfare, making the human increasingly targeted in the cognitive warfare.
Any user of modern information technologies is a potential target. It targets the whole of a nation’s human capital.Cognitive Warfare, June-November 2020, p. 6
A government research paper recommending people “shift dietary habits” towards plant-based foods has been hastily deleted.
The paper focuses on changing public behaviour to hit climate targets and also suggests promoting domestic tourism and portraying business travel as an “immoral indulgence”.
…In a chapter in the deleted document titled “Applications to Net Zero Policy”, under the subheading “Diet Changes”, researchers recommend following the example of the sugar levy with a tax on producers or retailers of “high-carbon foods” to incentivise “reformulation and diversification” towards more plant-based and local food types.
A blueprint to change public behaviour to cut carbon emissions, which includes levies on high-carbon food and a reduction in frequent flying, was published alongside the government’s net zero strategy on Tuesday, before being withdrawn within a few hours.
“For instance, even with public criticism being high, many still perceived government approval as the yardstick for safe behaviour during COVID-19 ‘we’re allowed to do this now [so must be safe]…’. This reveals, for many, a deep set reverence for legitimate government authority, regardless of one’s personal political views.”Net Zero: principles for successful behaviour change initiatives, p.24
This research looks at UK and OECD government-led behaviour change initiatives over the last 70 years. It identifies 9 principles that can be applied to encourage the behaviour change needed to achieve Net Zero.
The research was carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). It was commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
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Article from 24 Mar 2016
Researchers in the United States have developed a new method for controlling the brain circuits associated with complex animal behaviours, using genetic engineering to create a magnetised protein that activates specific groups of nerve cells from a distance.
In truth, it’s very difficult to ‘hold governments, companies and international bodies’ to account on climate change. The public have been given no vote on climate-change policies, and no political party has offered criticism of climate-change alarmism. Certainly don’t expect any real criticism to come from CCAG.
But then perhaps that is the point of Indie SAGE or CCAG – not to hold power to account, but to prevent the technocratic apparatus from being properly held to account. For there is nothing fear-mongering technocrats like King fear more than democracy – because it threatens to take away the power granted to them by endless emergencies, be they Covid or climate change.
Masks act as a crude reminder that danger is all around, that we are all potential biohazards. So, on a common-sense level, continued wearing of them will exacerbate anxieties rather than reduce them. But there is another, less obvious reason why the continued use of face coverings is counterproductive as a means of promoting confidence and encouraging people to return to normality: masks will act as a “safety behaviour” that will prevent disconfirmation of anxious beliefs.
Social distancing and wearing face masks should stay forever, a Communist-supporting SAGE scientist has claimed.
Professor Susan Michie, of University College London, said she thinks the draconian restrictions should become part of people’s every day routine.