Do Lockdowns Work?
Open Letter to Premier Andrews
You say that the Level 4 Restrictions are working well. Fewer people are contracting the COVID-19 virus; fewer are dying. But, to what extent are the lockdown measures contributing to this success? Do you have data to support your contention?
How many lives have been saved because of the curfew?
How many lives have been saved because no-one is playing golf or tennis?
How many lives have been saved because our schools are closed?
How many lives have been saved by closing public gardens and children's parks
How many lives have been saved by banning attendance at the footy?
(I observe that large crowds have attended games interstate without a problem, and that there were no deaths associated with the Black Lives Matter protest in May.)
6. How many lives have been saved because only essential retail shops are open?
(Who determined which businesses were essential? Where did that advice come from?)
7. How many lives have been saved by closing cafes, restaurants and pubs ?
8. How many lives have been saved by making working from home mandatory?
9. How many lives have been saved by friends and relatives not being able
to share a meal together in their own homes?
10. How many lives have been saved by people not being able to worship together, or to attend weddings and funerals?
11. How many lives have been saved by making masks mandatory outdoors ?
(I note they were optional, even for security guards in quarantine facilities, until 23 July.)
There is now sufficient evidence from a variety of approaches to determine what works and what doesn't, including better medical treatments for patients who have contracted the virus. You can identify best practice and follow it. Most deaths have been elderly people with comorbidities. This has been the experience all over the world. None of the restrictions listed above has had any impact on deaths in Aged Care Homes.
Humans are social animals. For our psychological health, we need to interact with our families, our friends, and our workmates physically, ideally on a daily basis. There are serious consequences to our well-being if these things are denied for extended periods.
You should now focus your attention on what is really important. Address the issues where you can have a genuine effect:
Continue the testing and contact tracing so that you can isolate those who contract the virus;
Provide hygienic, well-secured, and well-provisioned quarantine facilities for overseas arrivals, and for locals who have contracted the virus but do not have adequate space at home to self-isolate from their relatives and housemates;
Provide Aged Care Homes with the protective equipment and procedures and back-up staff so that they can respond quickly to protect patients and staff from infection when an outbreak occurs.
You do not need to micro-manage the economy. It is too complex to be centrally controlled. Leave it to us. Treat us as adults and let us get on with our lives.
If you act quickly and decisively you just might be in time to keep the Grand Final at the "G".
1 November 2020
For more on this subject, click here.
Oxford epidemiologist, Professor Sunetra Gupta, discuses the reaction to the Great Barrington declaration which she co-authored.
She and her colleagues had questioned the efficacy of lockdowns in the battle to contain the coronavirus.