Mikael Nordfors MD, Sweden, co-founder of the World Freedom Alliance, Peoples Court and World Doctor Alliance
Lockdown and disease transmission
A publication in Nature by Flaxman et al (1) from the Imperial College in London claimed to show a clear effect on reducing the transmission of Covid 19 by the use of Non-Pharmacological Interventions (NPIs), including school closure, workplace closure, public events ban, ban on gatherings of more than ten people, requirements to stay at home, and internal movement limit.
This study was criticized by Christof Kuhbandner et al (2) because it did not take into account the natural flattering of the curve because of seasonal variations and increased immunity in the population. When this is done, the effects of NPI:s become non-significant, see fig 1.
A study from Germany published by Dehning et. al. (3) compared different NPI measures with the projected forecasted scenarios and found an effect size of around 40% reduction on the spread of Covid 19 disease by NPI:s. These findings have provided some of the ground for policy-maker decisions on the timing of introducing and lifting different NPIs.
This study was later also criticized by Kuhbander et al (4), who found fundamental methodological issues that cast serious doubt on the conclusions drawn by Dehning et al. Accounting for these issues suggests that the opposite of their principal inference is actually correct: neither of the governmental interventions could have had any effect on the spread of the virus because the number of new infections declined much earlier than estimated in their study. Furthermore, the authors ignore direct empirical evidence that such countermeasures had very low or even no effects. In simple words, this means that the spread of the infection was diminishing naturally anyway and that the flawed results came about comparing the actual data with projected infection spread, instead of data from other countries without a lockdown, whose data did not differ significantly from countries with a Lockdown. There were also many flaws in the collecting of data, like different time intervals between symptom debut and the reporting of data.
Another study by Campbell (5) et al published in The Lancet of Infectious Diseases on October 22 found that "Individual NPIs, including school closure, workplace closure, public events ban, ban on gatherings of more than ten people, requirements to stay at home, and internal movement limits, are associated with the reduced transmission of SARS-CoV-2, but the effect of introducing and lifting these NPIs is delayed by 1–3 weeks, with this delay being longer when lifting NPIs. These findings provide additional evidence that can inform policy-maker decisions on the timing of introducing and lifting different NPIs, although R should be interpreted in the context of its known limitations". This study is representative of dozens of similar studies. All of them with a common trait that they base their conclusions on Mathematical modeling rather than actual data, comparing different time periods in the same country instead of the same time period between different countries. As mentioned before this does not take into account normal fluctuations in the disease pattern.
Effect on Mortality
Many independent publications have shown no effect of NPI:s on mortality in Covid 19. A study published in the Lancet in August 2020 (6) analyzing the policies of 50 countries found that "increased mortality per million was significantly associated with higher obesity prevalence (RR=1.12; 95%CI: 1.061.19) and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) (RR=1.03; 95%CI: 1.001.06). Reduced income dispersion reduced mortality (RR=0.88; 95%CI: 0.830.93) and the number of critical cases (RR=0.92; 95% CI: 0.870.97). Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people".
A Danish study (7) explored the association between the severity of lockdown policies in the first half of 2020 and mortality rates. Using two indices from the Blavatnik Centre’s Covid 19 policy measures and comparing weekly mortality rates from 24 European countries in the first halves of 2017-2020, and addressing policy endogeneity in two different ways, There was no clear association between lockdown policies and mortality development.
A study from the UK (8) showed no certain differences between the UK who did lockdown and Sweden who did a lesser degree of Lockdown. They also estimated that the possibly spared living years from Lockdown would be outweighed many times by lost life years because of the Lockdown.
In another study from the UK, (9) the number of deaths due to the disruption of cancer services is likely to outweigh the number of deaths from the coronavirus itself.
A study from Mexico (10) showed no effect of Lockdown and face masks on Covid 19 mortality, but interestingly increased mortality of 40% if the patient previously had received an Influenza vaccination. This result should imply that we immediately stop all influenza vaccinations, as the effect on mortality of Influenza vaccinations is not statistically significant, according to a Cochrane Review from 2017(11). Therefore, the negative effects of influenza vaccination will most likely by far outperform the positive effects.