Saturday, August 7, 2021

Snowjobbers try to rewrite history (1)

The Lockdowners Have Their Own Conspiracy Theories | American Institute of Economic Research - Phillip W. Magness:

April 2, 2021 - "A bizarre Covid-19 conspiracy theory appears to have taken root among the epidemiologists and public health officials who still support lockdowns.... [that] the UK government’s pandemic response was secretly captured at some point in the fall of 2020 by lockdown critics including Great Barrington Declaration [GBD] co-author Sunetra Gupta, her Oxford colleague Carl Heneghan, and Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell.... [They] allege that Gupta and her colleagues convinced UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to abandon a so-called 'circuit breaker' lockdown during an audience in late September. Had the UK gone back into lockdown around the beginning of October instead of a month later – proponents of this theory maintain – it would have avoided its disastrous second wave over the fall and winter months.

"Even the basic narrative flies in the face of empirical reality. In November 2020 and again in January 2021, the UK went through two successive rounds of draconian lockdowns of the exact type that Gupta and her colleagues advised against. Championed by Johnson as a way to avert the second wave, these policies utterly failed at their stated purpose.... Equally telling, the timing of the UK’s fall/winter wave almost perfectly matched that of Sweden, which remained open throughout the same period – except the UK’s results under lockdowns were visibly worse.... Still, proponents of the newest UK conspiracy theory hold that something very different would have happened if only Johnson had enacted an earlier lockdown....  

"Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist at Queen Mary University in London and a principal organizer of the pro-lockdown John Snow Memorandum, has aggressively promoted the alleged wresting of pandemic policy away from the lockdowners as an explanation for why the UK’s second and third lockdowns failed. As early as December, Gurdasani blasted Downing Street for supposedly listening to the 'dangerous ideology' of Gupta, Heneghan, and Tegnell, which 'has cost thousands of lives' and sought to replicate the 'dangerous' Swedish strategy. Never mind that Sweden, without lockdowns, has a much lower deaths-per-million residents total.... 

"The same narrative has become a favorite of Devi Sridhar, an anthropologist and Snow Memorandum co-signer who frequently appears in the UK media to advocate the fringe 'Zero Covid' strategy (the same one that claims we need more lockdowns to prevent future lockdowns, apparently unaware of the contradiction that entails). Attempting to explain why her own lockdown approach did not work, Sridhar wrote on January 5th that “Chancellor Sunak invited Heneghan, Gupta & Tegnell to advise on strategy. That says it all'.... 

"Guardian columnist Owen Jones repeated it in a December column targeting Sunak and the scientists for allegedly delaying the lockdowns until it was 'too late to bring coronavirus rates down to anywhere near the level needed to suppress the virus'. A little over a month later, Sam Bowman, a right-leaning self-described 'neoliberal,' penned an almost identical argument to Jones in the same newspaper, writing 'Sunak was reported as having been the decisive voice in government against an autumn lockdown that might have brought cases low enough to make things like test-and-trace viable,' all because of “Sunetra Gupta, Carl Heneghan and Anders Tegnell being invited to speak via Zoom at Downing Street'....

"Gupta, Heneghan, and Tegnell did meet with Downing Street via Zoom on September 20th to voice their opposition to lockdowns in general – a position they have consistently held throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, as Gupta has explained and as the next four months repeatedly demonstrated, the Prime Minister largely ignored their advice.

"The conspiracists’ alleged 'smoking gun' is a series of minutes from the UK government’s SAGE advisory committee on September 21st, which included a 'circuit-breaker lockdown' among a 'short-list' of policies 'that should be considered' in response to rising Covid-19 cases. Apparently in their minds, being 'considered' equates to adoption, and the fact that Johnson did not lock down the very next day is proof that the dissenting scientists had wrested the reins of the UK’s pandemic policy from those who advocated lockdowns, delaying the necessary response until November 5th after which it was too late....

"Wales tried a 'circuit breaker' lockdown that almost exactly followed the proposal being considered by the SAGE committee, announcing it on October 19.... Wales’s per capita case numbers followed the same trajectory as the rest of the country, including the sharp spike in late December and early January.... Wales’s 'circuit breaker' lockdown only slightly shifted the timing.... Its maximum daily peak of 87 cases per 100,000 residents nearly matched England’s peak of 96, and its curve for Covid-19 fatalities followed the same pattern as the rest of Britain."

Read more: https://www.aier.org/article/the-lockdowners-have-their-own-conspiracy-theories/

Also read: Snowjobbers try to rewrite history (2)

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