The present coronavirus crisis caused a major worldwide disruption which has not been experienced for decades. The lockdown-based crisis management was implemented by nearly all the countries, and studies confirming lockdown effectiveness can be found alongside the studies questioning it. In this work, we performed a narrative review of the works studying the above effectiveness, as well as the historic experience of previous pandemics and risk-benefit analysis based on the connection of health and wealth. Our aim was to learn lessons and analyze ways to improve the management of similar events in the future. The comparative analysis of different countries showed that the assumption of lockdowns’ effectiveness cannot be supported by evidence—neither regarding the present COVID-19 pandemic, nor regarding the 1918–1920 Spanish Flu and other less-severe pandemics in the past. The price tag of lockdowns in terms of public health is high: by using the known connection between health and wealth, we estimate that lockdowns may claim 20 times more life years than they save. It is suggested therefore that a thorough cost-benefit analysis should be performed before imposing any lockdown for either COVID-19 or any future pandemic.
While our understanding of viral transmission mechanisms leads to the assumption that lockdowns may be an effective pandemic management tool, this assumption cannot be supported by the evidence-based analysis of the present COVID-19 pandemic, as well as of the 1918–1920 H1N1 influenza type-A pandemic (the Spanish Flu) and numerous less-severe pandemics in the past. The price tag of lockdowns in terms of public health is high: we estimate that, even if somewhat effective in preventing death caused by infection, lockdowns may claim 20 times more life than they save. It is suggested therefore that a thorough cost-benefit analysis should be performed before imposing any lockdown in the future.
Common colds may prime the immune system against Covid, scientists believe, after finding that some people never develop an infection despite repeated exposure to the virus.
Researchers at University College London (UCL) have discovered that some people have natural protection against Covid and seem to fight off an infection using pre-existing memory T-cells.
Following the publication of the 2011 preparedness paper, however, the number of ICU beds continued to fall. Then, five years later, government held an unusual and secretive event called Exercise Cygnus.
It involved all government departments, all local authorities, and the NHS, right across the UK. Its report has not been published for “national security reasons” and so as not to “frighten the public”. However, according to those with first-hand knowledge of the operation, Cygnus’ script contained a scenario of a patent lack of capacity in ICU beds and personal protective equipment.
Most Flu Is Asymptomatic
On average, roughly 20% of the unvaccinated had serologic evidence of influenza infection, but up to three quarters of the infected were asymptomatic. The proportions did not vary significantly between seasonal and pandemic influenzas. The pandemic H1N1 strain was associated with less severe symptoms than the seasonal H3N2 strain.NEJM Journal Watch, 17 March 2014
THERE IS a growing body of evidence which, if it is ever proved true and it may well be when our present nightmare is over, would leave the Government’s policy over the past 20 months in discredited tatters.
Trying to predict the future is the oldest delusion known to Man. It has never worked, save exceptionally by a fluke. This time we were told “Follow the science”.
What’s truly surprising is just how recent the theory behind lockdown and forced distancing actually is. So far as anyone can tell, the intellectual machinery that made this mess was invented 14 years ago, and not by epidemiologists but by computer-simulation modelers. It was adopted not by experienced doctors – they warned ferociously against it – but by politicians.
In the years following the [Swine Flu] pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) faced fierce criticism over its handling of the situation.
Some medical experts doubted whether the H1N1 outbreak was really a pandemic at all.
Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, a German doctor and former member of parliament, had been watching the spread of swine flu in Mexico City – where the virus was first recorded – and was puzzled at the reaction of the WHO.
Dr Wodarg eventually launched an inquiry into the Swine Flu pandemic and the WHO’s dealings with the pharmaceutical industry in the lead up to the N1H1 pandemic.
Scientists who advised the World Health Organization on its influenza policies and recommendations—including the decision to proclaim the so-called swine flu a “pandemic” had close ties to companies that manufacture vaccines and antiviral medicines like Tamiflu, a fact that WHO did not publicly disclose.
At today’s hearing, several committee members pressed the WHO and vaccine company officials on two main issues. They expressed deep suspicions that vaccine industry experts on WHO advisory groups improperly influenced the WHO’s assessment of the pandemic in order to financially benefit pharmaceutical companies. Council members also questioned the WHO official, Dr Keiji Fukuda, special advisor on pandemic influenza to the WHO director-general, about confusion surrounding consideration of severity in its definition of a pandemic, which was revised at about the time the novel H1N1 virus was identified.
Some government public health officials and influenza experts have strongly rejected Wodarg’s claims, defending vaccine stockpiling as a prudent public health response and calling the charges “preposterous.”
In his opening statement, Wodarg said he was skeptical about the threat of the H5N1 virus and the contracts that countries had in place with vaccine makers in the event of a pandemic. “WHO had the trigger,” he said, alluding to the pandemic plans of some countries that activate the contracts when the WHO declares the highest alert level. He speculated that vaccine makers are making a financial windfall from what he claims are more expensive patented and adjuvanted vaccines. He also argued that the billions that governments have spent on pandemic vaccines could be better spent on other health issues.
He charged that the change in pandemic definition “made it possible to turn a run-of-the-mill flu into a pandemic and translate into millions for vaccine for no good reason.”
Wodarg also claimed that adjuvanted vaccines used in Europe were not adequately tested, especially in children, and expressed doubts about the safety of cell-based pandemic vaccines.