A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.
Ivor Cummins aka the Fat Emperor – gives James the lowdown on why you can’t trust anything our governments tell us about Covid-19. If you want the facts on Coronavirus – how deadly is it? do lockdowns and masks work? how does it compare with previous pandemics? – you’ve come to the right place
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Background and Aims
The most restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for controlling the spread of COVID‐19 are mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures. Given the consequences of these policies, it is important to assess their effects. We evaluate the effects on epidemic case growth of more restrictive NPIs (mrNPIs), above and beyond those of less restrictive NPIs (lrNPIs).
We first estimate COVID‐19 case growth in relation to any NPI implementation in subnational regions of 10 countries: England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, and the US. Using first‐difference models with fixed effects, we isolate the effects of mrNPIs by subtracting the combined effects of lrNPIs and epidemic dynamics from all NPIs. We use case growth in Sweden and South Korea, two countries that did not implement mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures, as comparison countries for the other 8 countries (16 total comparisons).
Implementing any NPIs was associated with significant reductions in case growth in 9 out of 10 study countries, including South Korea and Sweden that implemented only lrNPIs (Spain had a non‐significant effect). After subtracting the epidemic and lrNPI effects, we find no clear, significant beneficial effect of mrNPIs on case growth in any country. In France, e.g., the effect of mrNPIs was +7% (95CI ‐5%‐19%) when compared with Sweden, and +13% (‐12%‐38%) when compared with South Korea (positive means pro‐contagion). The 95% confidence intervals excluded 30% declines in all 16 comparisons and 15% declines in 11/16 comparisons.
While small benefits cannot be excluded, we do not find significant benefits on case growth of more restrictive NPIs. Similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less restrictive interventions.
- Sweden never went in to full lockdown. Instead, the country imposed a partial lockdown that was almost entirely voluntary.
- The only forcible restriction imposed by the government from the start was a requirement that people not gather in groups of more than 50 at a time.
- People followed the voluntary restrictions pretty well at the beginning, but that they have become increasingly lax as time has gone on.
- After an initial peak that lasted for a month or so, from March to April, visits to the Emergency Room due to covid had been declining continuously, and deaths in Sweden had dropped from over 100 a day at the peak in April, to around five per day in August.
- Dr. Rushworth hasn’t seen a single covid patient in the Emergency Room in over two and a half months.
- COVID has killed under 6,000 people.
- On average, one to two people per day are dying of covid in Sweden at present, and that number continues to drop.
- In the whole of Stockholm, a county with 2,4 million inhabitants, there are currently only 28 people being treated for covid in all the hospitals combined.
- Sweden seemed to be developing herd immunity, in spite of the fact that only a minority had antibodies, was due to T-cells.
- Immunity may be long lasting, and probably explains why there have only been a handful of reported cases of re-infection with covid, even though the virus has spent the last nine months bouncing around the planet infecting many millions of people.
- Almost all cases of reinfection have been completely asymptomatic.
- People develop a functioning immunity after the first infection, which allows them to fight off the second infection without ever developing any symptoms.
- England and Italy have mortality curves that are very similar to Sweden’s.
- Lockdown only makes sense if you are willing to stay in lockdown until there is an effective vaccine.
- Sweden’s GDP fell 8.6 in Q2 2020, the country’s worst quarterly decline in modern history.
- The Scandanavian nation markedly outperformed the rest of Europe. Its GDP drop in the second quarter was lower than the 12.1 average experienced in the Eurozone, as well as the 11.9 average across the whole of the EU.
- Sweden outperformed several European countries, including Spain (18.5 percent fall), France (13.6 percent), Italy (12.4 percent) and Germany (10.1 percent).
While novel coronavirus cases have spiked across several parts of Europe, including Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, Sweden—where a countrywide lockdown was never issued—continues to report a downward trend in new cases and new deaths.
COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people in Sweden vs. Europe
Source: Johns Hopkins University (as of August 2)
- Sweden: 56.40
- Belgium: 86.19
- U.K.: 69.60
- Spain: 60.88
- Italy: 58.16
COVID-19 case-fatality ratio of Sweden vs. Europe
Source: Johns Hopkins University (as of August 2)
- Sweden: 7.1 percent
- U.K.: 15.1 percent
- Belgium: 14.2 percent
- Italy: 14.2 percent
- France: 13.4 percent
- The Netherlands: 11.2 percent
- Spain: 9.9 percent
New COVID-19 cases in Sweden vs. Europe in past 14 days
Source: World Health Organization (as of August 2)
- Sweden: Down 46 percent
- The Netherlands: Up 205 percent
- Belgium: Up 150 percent
- Spain: Up 113 percent
- France: Up 72 percent
- Germany: Up 59 percent
- Finland: Up 160 percent
- Denmark: Up 81 percent
- Norway: Up 61 percent
- U.K.: Up three percent
Professor Matteo Bassetti said he is convinced the virus is ‘changing in severity’ and patients are now surviving infections that would have killed them before.
And if the virus’s weakening is true, Covid-19 could even disappear without a for a vaccine by becoming so weak it dies out on its own, he claimed.
Professor Bassetti suggests this could be because of a genetic mutation in the virus making it less lethal, because of improved treatments, or because people are not getting infected with such large doses because of social distancing.
But other scientists have hit back at the claims in the past and said there is no scientific evidence that the virus has changed at all.
At the start of June, in response to Professor Bassetti’s claim, Dr Angela Rasmussen, from Columbia University, tweeted: ‘There is no evidence that the virus is losing potency anywhere.’
Italian scientists say sewage water from two cities contained coronavirus traces in December, long before the country’s first confirmed cases.
The National Institute of Health (ISS) said water from Milan and Turin showed genetic virus traces on 18 December.
It adds to evidence from other countries that the virus may have been circulating much earlier than thought.
COVID-19 is losing its potency and no longer clinically exists in Italy, a senior Italian doctor has claimed.
A study conducted at the San Raffaele hospital found that the number of viruses present in people who tested positive decreased significantly between March and May.
[M]any of these measures were not included in the government’s initial decree for phase two of the easing. Many of these changes are due to pressure applied by the public and civil society.
It was striking that one of the first changes was made after pressure from what is traditionally one of the most conservative sections of Italian society: the Catholic Church…Some brave priests were violating the lockdown.
Officially, the [lockdown] process has been led by experts. The government has created various committees of more than 450 experts to guide its coronavirus policies. These include a taskforce established on 10 April of economists, scientists, managers and psychologists to help the government navigate the path out of lockdown.
Economic hardship was undoubtedly a major factor compelling people to protest….Lots of Italians are angry because they can see there is no rationale or fairness in the way the government has chosen to ease the lockdown.
Only a truly democratic government, which draws its authority from the people, has a chance of dealing effectively with Covid-19 and the emerging social and economic crisis.
Shockingly, the UK government was not alone in pushing the crisis into care homes. In New York, the centre of the world’s worst outbreak, it is a similar story. Care homes were not only neglected for PPE and testing, but were also ordered to take in Covid patients. Homes could be fined $10,000 or lose their operating licence if they refused to comply with the rules. In Lombardy, the hardest-hit region of Italy, care homes were paid extra to take in Covid patients from hospitals.
The carnage in care homes ought to be the biggest scandal of the Covid crisis.
Interview notes below the embedded video.
Dr. Wodarg is reassuring for anyone concerned about ‘the virus’. That danger is no greater than in any other flu season (now also based on tens of international leading scientists analyzing actual figures from all over the world). Wodarg’s message is disturbing when you wonder how the whole world can be fooled by such a clearly fact-free ‘panic’ allowing itself to be led to the curtailment of the most fundamental freedoms. A world that thinks it has to prepare itself for a ‘new normal’. In which incredibly dangerous and extremely undesirable ’solutions’ such as ‘mass vaccination’, ‘contact tracing’, and other ‘surveillance’ are seen as attractive.
- Coronaviruses are very common so no-one was interested in them until recently as they’re well studies. COVID-19 ‘is not very special’.
- China ‘solved’ its epidemic by stopping tests.
- Why Italy had a high death rate.
- The effect of hydroxychloroquine on people with certain genetic deficiencies.
- Conflicts of interests and financial incentives for testing.
- We never get herd immunity from coronaviruses.
- We don’t need herd immunity for coronaviruses. They will ‘hitchhike’ for a period of time and then switch hosts species.
- It’s very difficult to quarantine people for respiratory viruses; the COVID-19 had already spread so the lockdown was nonsense.
- The historical data does not show COVID-19 being a severe disease.
- EuroMOMO data is not transparent. Dr. Wodarg has become very skeptical about the EuroMOMO statistics.
- If we are observing the virus, there should be no difference between the countries’ charts. (Mathematician Andrew Mather has made similar observations in his videos.)
- There are so many factors that affect mortality rates but there is no serious discussion.
- Perhaps people are being killed by experimental treatment. WHO show 1,200 trials worldwide for clinical trials. There may be irregularities.
- Possible attempt to use deaths Africa to spread more fear.
- Observational studies as a way to bribe doctors and market drugs.
- The side-effects of drugs used in Italy and Spain.
- Watch what will happen in Africa.
- The reaction to COVID-19 is politics and has nothing to do with medicine.
- Raising the possibility of immunity passports.
- German health minister is a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry.
- Data from contact tracing apps is ‘gold’ for the pharmaceutical industry.
- The influence of Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and the WHO in the negotiation in vaccine contracts. Only Polish Minister for Health resisted.
- Don’t accept the RNA vaccine, which is a new method and has been developed in a very short time. There is no experience with RNA vaccine for infectious diseases.
- ‘Bill Gates is crazy.’ How can someone promote the vaccination of the planet with a vaccine developed in 1 1/2 years. It has not even been controlled for cancer. You need at least 5 years to see if a cancer grows. If you change RNA, you don’t know.
- RNA vaccines require very thorough clinical studies over a long period of time. There are many complications to consider.
- Politicians always strive for power. We as a people have to show them how they get power and how they lose it.
The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus […] On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,
Commentary from Off-Guardian:
Italian death toll figures could have been artificially inflated by up to 88%. If true, this would mean the total number of Italians who have actually died of Covid19 could be as low as ~700. Which would bring Italy, currently a statistical outlier in terms of Covid19 fatalities, well in line with the rest of the world.
“I want you to remember these people died WITH the coronavirus and not FROM the coronavirus“
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- 00:50-Dr. Ioannidis summarizes his article titled “A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data” (linked below)
- 03:47-The truth about COVID-19’s death rate
- 06:21-What makes COVID-19 different than the Swine Flu 08:43-How do we get accurate data on COVID-19?
- 09:47-The Diamond Princess Cruise Quarantine
- 15:12-Should everyone be tested?
- 16:47-Italy & COVID-19
- 23:06-Is self-isolation the best cure?
- 27:06-Medical supplies shortage in New York
- 29:48-But wait, what is a coronavirus?
- 34:00-What is this pandemic’s outcome? 36:26-Identifying COVID-19 cases
- 38:59-Why is COVID-19 putting a stress on the medical system?
- 41:22-The “New Normal” in the face of COVID-19
- 43:36-Is the cure worse than the disease?
- 46:55-Are we over-preparing for the affects of COVID-19?
- 47:55-The role of politics in the United States’ COVID-19 response
- 49:23-Are the current isolation orders creating a bigger problem?
- 52:20-High risk populations
- 53:39-Biases in our COVID-19 response
- 56:11-The World Health Organization’s role
- 57:40-What can we learn from this pandemic?
- 1:01:33-How long will the COVID-19 lockdown last?