READER Manny Doria, a retired electrical engineer, sent me a most informative and helpful note in reaction to my column last Saturday (“The hard truth about lockdowns and why they failed,” The Manila Times, June 13, 2020). Manny wrote:
“Just read your opinion piece today and am glad there are a few out there like me who clearly see the lunacy of this global lockdown.
Everything you quoted resonated with me as I have been educating myself during the lockdown with the basic facts presented by the most reliable scientists I could find.
“‘The virus marches on, threatening more deaths and infections.’ That is what you said.
Upon reading that, those who don’t know any better may feel desperate. However, epidemiologist Knut Wittkowski gave us a ray of hope when he said in an interview, ‘The virus is gone. What do we need a vaccine for?’
“In a recent ReasonTV debate between him and physician Marty Makary, Dr. Wittkowski demolished the lockdown narrative with solid scientific data proving that Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) was not fundamentally different from other flu viruses that visit us every year.
“For anyone who wishes to keep his sanity, I highly recommend ‘Lockdown lunacy: The thinking person’s guide’ by Children’s Health Defense.
“Let me end with a quote from legendary epidemiologist and smallpox eradicator Donald Henderson:
“‘Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.’”
Dr. Knut Wittkowski
Manny sent along with the note links to an interview of Wittkowski, a video of the ReasonTV debate between Makary and Wittkowski, and the article “Lockdown lunacy: The thinking person’s guide.”
Dr. Wittkowski is a revelation. You have to listen to him talk to realize what sense he makes and how persuasive he is.
His interview on the pandemic shattered most of what I first thought about the virus.
The debate with a pro-lockdown physician from Johns Hopkins University was a no contest. Wittkowski walks all over the arguments in defense of a lockdown.
He concludes with the startling claim that he believes the coronavirus is burned out.
The end being near, there’s no more need for a vaccine, he said.
But Dr. Wittkowski is willing to be vaccinated if there’s a vaccine.
Lockdown lunacy: 15 facts
J.B. Handley, in an article in Children’s Health Defense, listed 15 facts about the lockdown that signify its lunacy as a policy:
1. The infection fatality rate (IFR) for Covid-19 is somewhere between 0.07 to 0.20 percent, in line with seasonal flu.
2. The risk of dying from Covid-19 is much higher than the average IFR for older people and those with co-morbidities, and much lower than the average IFR for younger healthy people, and nearing zero for children.
3. People infected with Covid-19 who are asymptomatic (which is most people) do not spread Covid-19.
4. Emerging science shows no spread of Covid-19 in the community (shopping, restaurants, barbers, etc.).
“There is no significant risk of catching the disease when you go shopping. Severe outbreaks of the infection were always a result of people being closer together over a longer period of time…” (Professor Hendrick Streek, University of Bonn)
5. Published science shows Covid-19 is not spread outdoors.
6. Science shows masks are ineffective to halt the spread of Covid-19, and the World Health Organization recommends they should only be worn by healthy people if treating or living with someone with a Covid-19 infection.
7. There’s no science to support the magic of a six-foot barrier.
8. The idea of locking down an entire society had never been done and has no supportable science, only theoretical modeling.
9. The epidemic models of Covid-19 have been disastrously wrong, and both the people and the practice of modeling has a terrible history.
While many disease models have been used during the Covid-19 pandemic, two have been particularly influential in the public policy of lockdowns: Imperial College (United Kingdom) and the IHME (Washington, United States). They’ve both proven to be unmitigated disasters.
10. The data shows that lockdowns have not had an impact on the course of the disease.
This is certainly the fact that people will have the hardest time with: Who wants to believe that all this suffering and isolation was for no reason? But, there are more than enough states and countries that didn’t lock down, or locked down for a much shorter time, or in a much different manner, to provide plenty of data. Perhaps the simplest explanation for why lockdowns have been ineffective is the easiest: Covid-19 was in wide circulation much earlier than experts thought.
11. Florida locked down late, opened early, and is doing fine, despite predictions of doom.
12. New York’s above average death rate appears to be driven by a fatal policy error combined with aggressive intubations.
13. Public health officials and disease epidemiologists do not consider the other negative societal consequences of lockdowns.
14. There is a predictive model for the viral arc of Covid-19; it’s called Farr’s Law, and it was discovered over 100 years ago.
15. The lockdowns will cause more death and destruction than Covid-19 ever did.
My final fact is the most depressing. Of course, it’s impossible today to find all the data to show how destructive unnecessary lockdowns have been, but many people are already trying. Economically, the costs to the United States will be measured in the multitrillions. It didn’t have to be this way. Sweden just reported that gross domestic product grew in their first quarter!
Last week, writing in The Hill, a group of professors from Stanford, Duke, University of Chicago and Hebrew University penned a sobering piece titled, ”The Covid-19 shutdown will cost Americans millions of years of life.”