REBEL TORY MPs are demanding evidence that further lockdown measures will save more lives than they cost.
I can help them. They won’t.
Lockdowns have so far failed to save the lives of over 50,000 Britons who’ve died of, or with, SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Even before SAGE got the second English lockdown it wanted, and started lobbying for yet more lockdowns ad infinitum, the bill for its main ‘life-saving weapon’ already exceeded £700 billion in direct measures and lost GDP out to 2024.
In fact, SAGE’s addiction to lockdowns actually results in every COVID-19 death costing society around SEVEN TIMES the cost of one of the most often-quoted yardsticks for the monetary equivalent of a lost life, that of a road fatality.
It would literally be cheaper to run people over than allow SAGE to get away with another lockdown.
The government’s own COVID-19 cost tracker starts the tally with £210 billion-worth of measures already committed-to. The money is partly directed to medical responses but will mostly be spent on supporting individuals and businesses hit, not by the virus, but by lockdowns.
Going forward, the Institute For Fiscal Studies’ median forecast for lower UK GDP due to repeatedly locking everything down predicts that GDP will be 5% behind its pre-pandemic trend levels until at least 2024. That comes to £330 billion in lost GDP over three years. When you add in the 8% hit to GDP slated for this year, which is (£176bn), you get £210bn+£330bn+£176bn=£716bn.
Looked at another way, SAGE, on its way to not saving 50,000 lives so far, has saddled society with a bill of around £14 million per victim, the great majority of which is set aside to cover the economic damage from lockdowns.
Road death costs
This is going to sound harsh but the UK could have racked up the same body count for a mere £100 billion by having 50,000 people die in road accidents.
How does one come to that figure? Well, the government’s own 2012 estimate of what a road fatality costs society was £1,703,823. That was the official monetary valuation put on all the pain, grief and suffering, direct economic costs of lost output, and medical costs associated with one road accident fatality.
Rounded up to £2 million per road death for inflation, 50,000 fatalities would cost £100 billion. Six or seven times less than the bill for lockdowns.
Or you could turn the numbers around ask how many road fatalities could be covered by the bill for the UK’s coronavirus response to-date. The answer is 350,000 (i.e. more than the combined total of all road deaths in Britain since 1950).
SAGE’s addiction to lockdown is insanely costly, woefully ineffective and above all immensely damaging. How any MP could vote for more of this failed prescription is beyond me. And we haven’t yet factored in the societal bill for the thousands of premature deaths caused BY lockdown in the form of preventable heart attacks, cancers, despair and so on.
SAGE would doubtless argue that what matters is the greater number of deaths that we might see if they DID NOT keep locking everything down. But those numbers are also against them. For example, UK – full lockdowns: 809 deaths per million; Sweden – light restrictions: 633 deaths per million. 22 per cent lower than here.
So even if all the deaths so far were purely caused by SARS-Cov-22 infections – which they weren’t* – different countries’ death rates don’t correlate with differing levels of measures. Sweden vs. the UK strongly suggests that broad measures only work up to a certain point, which is well short of lockdowns. Beyond that point it would be far less damaging and far more cost-effective to concentrate on specifically protecting vulnerable individuals, as urged by the Great Barrington Declaration.
How long are the technocrats at SAGE going to be allowed to keep getting it horribly wrong? When is the government going to stand up to them and the media and force change?
Both the government and the media it must be said are not putting things in context. They are not equating the loss in GDP to loss of life and longevity. They’re not adding up the numbers of cancer and heart attack victims, the number of suicides and depressions. And so no-one is there asking, as soon as you mention a lockdown, whether someone has actually worked out the real cost.
Everyone has been programmed by most of the traditional press to be looking at the number of confirmed cases, the number of deaths. And there’s no context there at all. They just see a death count and don’t realise that in most Novembers and Decembers 50,000 people die each month, so these [COVID-19] numbers are trivial compared to the expected death rates.
It’s time for a change. If Boris Johnson doesn’t want it to be a change of PM he needs to get a grip on his responsibilities at long last.
It’s not difficult. Firstly, the government needs to lead and the media needs to report, not the other way round. Secondly, SAGE needs to be reorganised and rebooted under new leadership. It has presided over a calamitous response that has not prevented tens of thousands of excess deaths but has saddled the whole of society with a hugely disproportionate bill.
My back of a fag packet estimate of the hugeness of the disproportion is seven times what we would have been cost if we had advisers who displayed more humility in the face of the inevitable and more compassion for the 99.9 per cent of Britons who won’t die from COVID-19.
No doubt there will be more-expert calculations that fall a long way either side of mine. But either way, there’s no excuse for keeping the current SAGE team on the pitch in extra time when they’ve been scoring own goals since the game started.
*The average age of death with COVID-19 as an (not THE) underlying cause in England and Wales is 82.5, which is higher than the average age at death of all persons in the UK. Also, we know PCR tests are not conclusive. And many of the c. 30,000 who died in care homes during the main outbreak in April-June were not tested. They were just assumed to have died due to COVID-19, not the condition(s) they were gradually dying from there in the first place. So we don’t know how much of the excess mortality in 2020 is due SOLELY to coronavirus, although the pandemic is clearly up there with Hong Kong flu (1968) and Asian Flu (1957) in the number of premature deaths precipitated among old, frail or severely health-compromised people.