Monday, October 4, 2021

Covid-19 FAQ vs GB Declaration (6): Conclusion

Covid-19 FAQ on the Great Barrington Declaration 
VI: Conclusion

by George J. Dance

from "A Defence of the Great Barrington Declaration from Its Powerful Critics", The Daily Sceptic, 22 March 2021.

 7) Natural herd immunity is bad for other reasons. Allowing a virus to go on jumping from person to person is a significant risk: it encourages the evolution of new variants, which might be more dangerous, undermining our response and our treatments. Even if a population develops herd immunity to a disease by infection, that doesn’t mean the disease will go away. Changes in the population (such as new births and migration) and waning immunity will mean that people will continue to be susceptible to the disease over time, and new outbreaks could still occur in the future. Every person who catches the disease gives it another opportunity to mutate; only with eradication can we be sure it will not develop into a more dangerous form. [9]

This is just more alarmism: more argument that we must lock down society, not because of what we know, but because of what we do not know. What it ignores is that, if natural immunity is 'bad' for those two reasons – virus mutation and immunity waning - then immunity from vaccination must be 'bad' for the same reasons. Viruses are always mutating (the SARS-CoV-2 has mutated constantly since last January), and there is always a possibility that a mutation will both be resistant to immunity (although none has to date) and more dangerous (though natural selection seems to imply that a less dangerous virus – one that keeps more of its hosts active in the community – would have an edge in spreading). And of course vaccine immunity, like acquired immunity, can also wane. The only way to end the chances of either occurring, as the FAQsters conclude, is through through global eradication of the virus, or Zero Covid.

Which brings us back to the FAQsters’ original point. Since “eradication” or Zero Covid (rather than herd immunity) is the end they have in sight, reaching that end could well be years or even decades in the future. (Eradicating smallpox took almost 200 years from the first vaccine.)[21] So how do we live until then? Do we have a free society, in which people manages their own lives (which includes managing their own health risks), or one in which a government manages their lives and risks for them?

Eliminating the disease in even a single country where it has taken root will involve further draconian intrusions (which will select for more contagious variants) for the foreseeable future. And even if that does lead to eradication in my or the FAQsters’ lifetime, it does not eliminate the risk of more pandemics in the future, and of the same cycle of interventions playing out again. If hypothetical risks like these, based on nothing but fears, are reasons for a lockdown now, then they are reasons for lockdown forever.  

To repeat what I said earlier, it will take some time before the end gets here, and until then either option – let people live their lives, or keep them locked down – is still very much a live one. The arguments for the lockdown option have always been weak, but for now the coming of vaccines has made them even weaker.

Sources (accessed March 9th-March 10th, 2020)

  1. Great Barrington Declaration.
  2. Gerritt Olivier, “Terrifying citizens with overwhelming statistics is no help during a pandemic”, Business Day, February 20th, 2021.
  3. Nisreen A. Alwan et al., “Scientific consensus on the COVID-19 pandemic: we need to act now” The Lancet, October 15th, 2020.
  4. What is Anti-Virus”, Anti-Virus: The Covid-19 FAQ.
  5. Claim: Covid is only a problem for the elderly and vulnerable,” Anti-Virus: The Covid-19 FAQ.
  6. Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson, “PM’s new policy guru takes Trump to task”, The Times, November 21st, 2020.
  7. Jessica Elgot, Heather Stewart and Peter Walker, “Tory rebels fire warning shot as 42 MPs vote against stricter Covid measures”, The Guardian, October 13th, 2020.
  8. Sam Bright, “CONSERVATIVES DIVIDED: Scourge of Lockdown Sceptics Neil O’Brien MP Receives Government Backing”, Byline Times, January 27th, 2021.
  9. All quotations in italics are from:Claim: The Great Barrington Declaration gives a good alternative to lockdown”, Anti-Virus: The Covid-19 FAQ.
  10. Gavin Yamey, “This thread is brilliant”, Twitter, March 8th, 2021.
  11. Dominic Lawson, “The second wave of Covid has drowned the sceptics’ delusions”, The Times, January 17th, 2021. 
  12. Dominic Lawson, “This vaccine needles the lockdown sceptics”, The Times, December 6th, 2020.
  13. Matthew Impelli, “Authors of Anti-Lockdown Great Barrington Declaration Suggest COVID Could Be Over in 2 Months With Vaccine”, Newsweek, December 7th, 2020.
  14. Bernadette Hogan and Aaron Feis, “Cuomo wonders if coronavirus quarantine may have backfired in some cases”, New York Post, March 26th, 2020.
  15. Smriti Mallapaty, “The coronavirus is most deadly if you are older and male — new data reveal the risks”, Nature, August 28th, 2020.
  16. Claim: 99.5% survive Covid – we’re overreacting”, Anti-Virus: The Covid-19 FAQ.
  17. COVID-19: 15.3% of England’s population estimated to have had coronavirus by mid-January”, Sky News, February 3rd, 2021.
  18. Ashley Kirk, Anna Leach and Pamela Duncan, “One in five in England have had Covid, modelling suggests”, The Guardian, January 10th, 2021.
  19. As It Happened: Vaccines for 20m in UK a magnificent achievement”, BBC, February 28th, 2021.
  20. Long COVID: let patients help define long-lasting COVID symptoms”, Nature, October 7th, 2020.
  21. Anna Medaris Miller, “It took 184 years to eradicate smallpox after a vaccine was developed — a reminder of what we may face with the coronavirus”, Business Insider, May 8th, 2020.

    Read full article here

No comments:

Post a Comment