When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, the benefit of hindsight is calling into question a lot of early projections and actions.
Now, a new study co-authored by Stanford University professor of medicine Jay Bhattacharya finds lockdowns were not effective.
The findings have dire implication for actions the U.S. took early on. The lockdowns destroyed the U.S. economy. Some states are still instituting version of lockdowns.
Bhattacharya’s study compared a dozen countries and found no difference in outcome between those that instituted strict lockdowns at the beginning and others, like Sweden and South Korea, that took less restrictive measures.
“We looked at places in particular, South Korea and Sweden, which in the early days of the epidemic did not put in place, mandatory business closures and shelter-in-place orders,” says Bhattacharya. “And what happened is there's no difference in the rate of spread in the early days of the epidemic. If you compare the group of countries that had less restrictive versus more restrictive orders. The lockdowns, the very, very restrictive lockdowns did no better than less restrictive policies.”
Thousands of scientists have now signed onto a declaration calling for an end to lockdowns claiming they do more harm than good.
As for studies that have claimed lockdowns saved millions of lives, Bhattacharya says those were typically based on unrealistic modeling rather than hard data.
Now, he says, there are about 30 studies that form the same conclusion as his study did.
Another category that proved questionable is the Covid-19 fatality rate.
At the beginning of the pandemic, public health officials were assuming that coronavirus was far more deadly than it turned out to to be. The World Health Organization and White House Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said the death rate was 3.4% (three or four out of every hundred) and “ten times deadlier than flu.”
But as I reported at that time, that fails to include the asymptomatic cases.
In fact, the death rate, says Bhattacharya, is actually estimated at .2% to .3%,
“And for old people the survival rate is something like 95% if you're over the age of 70. If you're under the age of 70, it's a strikingly it's 99.95%, five in 10,000 death rate. It's a very, very high survivability if you're under the age of 70,” says Bhattacharya.
As for the wildly incorrect projections by health officials, Bhattacharya says, “The policy implications were enormous and they created a panic I think, when Fauci and the World Health Organization sort of push those numbers out, which was a big mistake.”