Back in August, Revolver News published a groundbreaking exclusive study that concluded that COVID-19 lockdowns are ten times more deadly than the pandemic itself (more details below).
Now, a Canadian academic has published his own trailblazing study that confirms Revolver’s analysis.
Dr. Ari Joffe, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Canada, has authored a peer-reviewed paper that substantiates popular claims that lockdowns have consequences.
He is also a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at University of Alberta in Canada.
Joffe has authored a peer-review academic paper titled COVID-19: Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink that finds the repercussion harms caused by the COVID lockdowns are ten-times greater than any benefit that can be perceived.
“Initial data falsely suggested that the infection fatality rate was up to 2-3 percent, that over 80 percent of the population would be infected, and modelling suggested repeated lockdowns would be necessary,” Joffe said in an interview.
“But emerging data showed that the median infection fatality rate is 0.23%, that the median infection fatality rate in people under 70 years old is 0.05%, and that the high-risk group is older people especially those with severe co-morbidities,” Joffe continued. [National File]
You can read the underlying study here. The abstract states:
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide pandemic in 2020. In response, most countries in the world implemented lockdowns, restricting their population’s movements, work, education, gatherings, and general activities in attempt to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 cases. The public health goal of lockdowns was to save the population from COVID-19 cases and deaths, and to prevent overwhelming health care systems with COVID-19 patients. In this narrative review I explain why I changed my mind about supporting lockdowns. First, I explain how the initial modeling predictions induced fear and crowd-effects [i.e., groupthink]. Second, I summarize important information that has emerged relevant to the modeling, including about infection fatality rate, high-risk groups, herd immunity thresholds, and exit strategies. Third, I describe how reality started sinking in, with information on significant collateral damage due to the response to the pandemic, and information placing the number of deaths in context and perspective. Fourth, I present a cost-benefit analysis of the response to COVID-19 that finds lockdowns are far more harmful to public health than COVID-19 can be. Controversies and objections about the main points made are considered and addressed. I close with some suggestions for moving forward. [Preprints]
National File has an in-depth discussion of more of the findings that gives one a better idea of why these lockdowns are so harmful.
Joffe said that emerging data on the subject of lockdowns – and their consequences – show a shocking set of so-called “collateral damage” issues caused by the lockdowns. He estimates that millions of people, globally, could easily be adversely affect by a continuation of the unnecessary practice, generally, for the public.
Among the issues Joffe cites in his study are:
- Food insecurity (82-132 million people)
- Severe poverty (70 million people)
- Maternal and under age-5 mortality from interrupted healthcare (1.7 million people)
- Infectious diseases deaths from interrupted services (millions of people with Tuberculosis, Malaria, and HIV)
- School closures for children (affecting children’s future earning potential and lifespan)
- Interrupted vaccination campaigns for millions of children
- Intimate partner violence for millions of women
He continues to list adverse effects as they pertain to high-income countries in delayed and interrupted healthcare, unemployment, loneliness, deteriorating mental health, increased opioid crisis deaths, alcoholism, suicide, and more. [National File]
Dr. Joffe is not some kook doctor or scientist. He was an early proponent of lockdowns, but like any good scientist, he has had an open mind as to their deleterious effects, as evidenced in an interview he gave to the Toronto Sun.
You were a strong proponent of lockdowns initially but have since changed your mind. Why is that?
There are a few reasons why I supported lockdowns at first.
First, initial data falsely suggested that the infection fatality rate was up to 2-3%, that over 80% of the population would be infected, and modelling suggested repeated lockdowns would be necessary. But emerging data showed that the median infection fatality rate is 0.23%, that the median infection fatality rate in people under 70 years old is 0.05%, and that the high-risk group is older people especially those with severe co-morbidities. In addition, it is likely that in most situations only 20-40% of the population would be infected before ongoing transmission is limited (i.e., herd-immunity).
Second, I am an infectious diseases and critical care physician, and am not trained to make public policy decisions. I was only considering the direct effects of COVID-19 and my knowledge of how to prevent these direct effects. I was not considering the immense effects of the response to COVID-19 (that is, lockdowns) on public health and wellbeing.Emerging data has shown a staggering amount of so-called ‘collateral damage’ due to the lockdowns. This can be predicted to adversely affect many millions of people globally with food insecurity [82-132 million more people], severe poverty [70 million more people], maternal and under age-5 mortality from interrupted healthcare [1.7 million more people], infectious diseases deaths from interrupted services [millions of people with Tuberculosis, Malaria, and HIV], school closures for children [affecting children’s future earning potential and lifespan], interrupted vaccination campaigns for millions of children, and intimate partner violence for millions of women. In high-income countries adverse effects also occur from delayed and interrupted healthcare, unemployment, loneliness, deteriorating mental health, increased opioid crisis deaths, and more.Third, a formal cost-benefit analysis of different responses to the pandemic was not done by government or public health experts. Initially, I simply assumed that lockdowns to suppress the pandemic were the best approach. But policy decisions on public health should require a cost-benefit analysis. Since lockdowns are a public health intervention, aiming to improve the population wellbeing, we must consider both benefits of lockdowns, and costs of lockdowns on the population wellbeing. Once I became more informed, I realized that lockdowns cause far more harm than they prevent. [Toronto Sun]
The entire Toronto Sun interview is enlightening, and worth a read.
Revolver News is quite pleased that other academics are replicating the results of a study that we commissioned and published back in August of 2020. This is what we said at the time.
A groundbreaking new study commissioned by Revolver News concludes that COVID-19 lockdowns are ten times more deadly than the actual COVID-19 virus in terms of years of life lost by American citizens.
Up until this point there had been no simple, rigorous analysis that accurately and definitively conveys the true costs of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Accordingly, Revolver News set out to commission a study to do precisely that: to finally quantify the net damage of the lockdowns in terms of a metric known as “life-years.” Simply put, we have drawn upon existing economic studies on the health effects of unemployment to calculate an estimate of how many years of life will have been lost due to the lockdowns in the United States, and have weighed this against an estimate of how many years of life will have been saved by the lockdowns. The results are nothing short of staggering, and suggest that the lockdowns will end up costing Americans over 10 times as many years of life as they will save from the virus itself.
The COVID-19 lockdown measures that Americans have had to endure for the greater part of 2020 represent one of the most dramatic, consequential, and damaging policy measures undertaken in this nation’s history. For the first time in its history, America has experienced a situation so crippling and perilous that long term financial and social stability have been legitimately threatened. [Revolver News]
Revolver also published a quick summary that you may find enlightening.
CHEAT SHEET: Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations Show COVID-19 “Cure” Is Worse Than Disease
- Standard approaches to evaluating epidemic policy responses, involving the Value of a Statistical Life, have conceptual problems and are biased towards the elderly and rich.
- Using a life-years criterion as an alternative shows that the lockdowns cost an order of magnitude more life-years than they saved.
- Most of the publicized cost-benefit analyses of COVID-19 lockdowns have used coarse measures like lives as units rather than life-years, which misleads politicians and the general public. COVID-19 deaths disproportionately impact the oldest members of the population, whereas the economic impacts of lockdowns disproportionately harm the youngest of the working population, who have far greater life expectancies at the time of impact.
- Using prior research on workforce entrants and recent graduates entering into a market marred by an economic recession, empirical estimates of life-years lost can be determined. Extensive research on job displacement can be used to estimate the economic impact in life-years of starkly increased unemployment for mid-to-late career workers.
- Combining these analyses, we found that an estimated 18.7 million life-years will be lost in the United States due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. Comparative data analysis between nations shows that the lockdowns in the United States likely had a minimal effect in saving life-years. Using two different comparison groups, we estimate that the COVID-19 lockdowns in the U.S. saved between a quarter to three quarters of a million life-years.
- Every broad age category lost life-years from the lockdowns including those 55 and older.
- The media and state and local governments contributed to the panic by selectively presenting evidence on COVID-19 and shutdowns of dubious benefit.
- Public health researchers and health economists gave poor policy advice and made selective use of the prior research literature. They will likely be rewarded, not punished, by academia for their failure because of academia’s biases.
- Public health in general is so biased and vulnerable to motivated cognition that it is not “not yet ready for policy analysis.” [Revolver News]
Our article was published at the end of August, and we must humbly submit that it has “aged well” in its prescience. More from the study’s conclusion:
American politicians who enacted these lockdowns were driven by a combination of fear and political incentives. What drove tenured professionals to exaggerate the potential harms of the virus and minimize the costs of lockdowns? Citizens give huge amounts of both money and time to academics with the promise that knowledge can help lead to more rational policymaking. Indeed, a few economists were vocal in warning of the damage of potential lockdowns, but most were either silent or fomented panic. Some economists at the FED and MIT Sloan rushed research to print that actively misled policymakers making life or death decisions
Ridiculously, public health experts encouraged “Black Lives Matter” protests and riots and claimed that they actually reduced COVID-19 infections. Indeed, in the hyper-politicized atmosphere of academia, it is difficult to imagine any “academic” retaining their position who condemned the protests and riots on common-sense public health grounds. On the basis of this asymmetry (and similar asymmetries in the treatment of race and mortality, pollution, sexual minorities, and the role of economic analysis in public health), public health must be condemned as “not yet useful for policy analysis”.
COVID-19 shows that the promise of rational social research is a lie. Politicians and citizens would have been better off following common-sense approaches pursued in past plagues: shutting down borders within the United States and between the United States and other countries, isolating the elderly, and simply wearing a mask. [Revolver News]
Many of the ideologues currently masquerading as scientists worship at the altar of scientism, a much-criticized reductionist worldview that turns materialism into a sort of religion.
When I decided on a scientific career, one of the things that appealed to me about science was the modesty of its practitioners. The typical scientist seemed to be a person who knew one small corner of the natural world and knew it very well, better than most other human beings living and better even than most who had ever lived. But outside of their circumscribed areas of expertise, scientists would hesitate to express an authoritative opinion. This attitude was attractive precisely because it stood in sharp contrast to the arrogance of the philosophers of the positivist tradition, who claimed for science and its practitioners a broad authority with which many practicing scientists themselves were uncomfortable.
The temptation to overreach, however, seems increasingly indulged today in discussions about science. Both in the work of professional philosophers and in popular writings by natural scientists, it is frequently claimed that natural science does or soon will constitute the entire domain of truth. And this attitude is becoming more widespread among scientists themselves. All too many of my contemporaries in science have accepted without question the hype that suggests that an advanced degree in some area of natural science confers the ability to pontificate wisely on any and all subjects.
Of course, from the very beginning of the modern scientific enterprise, there have been scientists and philosophers who have been so impressed with the ability of the natural sciences to advance knowledge that they have asserted that these sciences are the only valid way of seeking knowledge in any field. A forthright expression of this viewpoint has been made by the chemist Peter Atkins, who in his 1995 essay “Science as Truth” asserts the “universal competence” of science. This position has been called scientism — a term that was originally intended to be pejorative but has been claimed as a badge of honor by some of its most vocal proponents. In their 2007 book Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, for example, philosophers James Ladyman, Don Ross, and David Spurrett go so far as to entitle a chapter “In Defense of Scientism.”
Modern science is often described as having emerged from philosophy; many of the early modern scientists were engaged in what they called “natural philosophy.” Later, philosophy came to be seen as an activity distinct from but integral to natural science, with each addressing separate but complementary questions — supporting, correcting, and supplying knowledge to one another. But the status of philosophy has fallen quite a bit in recent times. Central to scientism is the grabbing of nearly the entire territory of what were once considered questions that properly belong to philosophy. Scientism takes science to be not only better than philosophy at answering such questions, but the only means of answering them. For most of those who dabble in scientism, this shift is unacknowledged, and may not even be recognized. But for others, it is explicit. Atkins, for example, is scathing in his dismissal of the entire field: “I consider it to be a defensible proposition that no philosopher has helped to elucidate nature; philosophy is but the refinement of hindrance.” [The Folly of Scientism]
Sadly, with the ascension of the fossilized simulacrum of Joe Biden into the White House, we are not optimistic that public health officials like the geriatric Dr. Fauci are going to be listening to any real scientists anytime soon. We do not believe that the bureaucrats and Democrats in charge care about the immense harm lockdowns inflict on average Americans, because they are singularly focused on using Covid as a pretense to crush the middle class and creating a permanent class system of feudal lords and serfs.
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