Here, by way of a critical summary of the coronavirus story, is a list of questions for people who supported lockdowns and who believe we faced, in 2020, a unique threat that justified them (along with social distancing, masks, vaccines, tracking apps and the rest of it). Most, if not all, of these questions need (and needed) to be convincingly answered, not just swatted away with a few simple objections and labels (chief amongst them, of course, ‘conspiracy theorist’). So if you supported lockdowns, I suggest taking a close, serious look at what follows and addressing the whole thing (rather than, say, immediately dialing outrage up to max after two paragraphs and refusing to read the rest; standard practice). If you were against lockdowns I suggest you have a read, hopefully strengthen your position, and then pass this article on to as many people as possible who did not. Ask them, politely, for a list of answers.
(Social media has its uses, but places like Twitter, Facebook and so on are now actively censoring links to lockdown-critical articles, no matter how reasonable or scholarly, even those that simply quote official data. I have therefore prepared this PDF which you can use to share through other channels, including real, physical, hand-to-hand ones.)
Should we have locked down?
All other questions are secondary to this. It was the lockdown which drove so many people out of their minds (John Ioannidis; ‘multiple studies around the world suggest we have a doubling and tripling of mental health problems’ as a result of lockdown), which crushed what was left of our already miserable cultural lives, which killed — and will continue to kill — millions of people who were unable to receive the medical care they need, which has vastly inflated the power of the corporate state and which caused the greatest wealth transfer in history, driving millions into extreme poverty (see below). All other questions which follow from this primal question are, in effect, loaded — ‘should you wear a mask?’ for example, or ‘should you get vaccinated?’ are not much different to ‘should you beat your wife with a cane or a slipper?’ — and therefore moot.
Do lockdowns work?
There is no evidence they do and there have been dozens of studies which demonstrate that they do not (see appendix 1, below), although common sense shows that this unprecedented global experiment in managing a ‘pandemic’ was at the very least questionable and, given that countries which locked down hardest (such as the UK and the US) apparently had the highest death rates, and given that those which hardly locked down or didn’t lock down at all did no worse and often much better, were almost certainly totally unnecessary. ‘But what about Australia and New Zealand with their brutally extreme lockdowns and very few deaths?’ The point is not that if you turn a remote island nation into a maximum security prison with nobody coming in or out you can prevent a few deaths from a novel coronavirus, but that the overall pattern of severity of lockdown versus number of deaths demonstrates that lockdowns had no appreciable effect. None. Most of Africa, which locked down sloppily1 or (in the case of Tanzania) not at all, hardly noticed this uniquely deadly disease — neither did lightly lockdowned countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Belarus, Sweden and others.
Lockdowns on such a scale had never been tried before to manage flu-like epidemics, many experts (in prestigious positions in the medical profession; see below) questioned whether they should have been tried, there was no risk analysis — although there were dire predictions of second-order effects (see below) — and, most damning of all, even when deaths dwindled to, effectively zero, it was, and is, still continued! This — e.g. the UK and Germany being locked down while Texas enjoyed three months of complete ‘normality’ — more or less proved that the purpose of lockdowns had nothing to do with keeping people safe from a ‘pandemic’. Why the UK was still locked down in the middle of June 2021 (while the Swedes carried on their lives as ‘normal’) can only be explained by assuming that there were other reasons than the shock-horror-terrifying ‘Indian / Delta variant’, which by June had still not claimed as many deaths in India as suicides (or, very likely, as many deaths as the lockdown2), which, remarkably, was a deadlier version of the previous variant (it is rare for viruses to mutate into more lethal strains), which magically vanished from the news as soon as Indians started treating it with Ivermectin (see below) and which, crucially, was hardly killing anyone in the UK. Cases went through the roof, while deaths from the Deadly Delta were on a par with those from falls. Not what the media would have you believe though.
How come Sweden did okay?
Ah Sweden. The great mystery. To explain away this glaring and persistent reproach to the new fabricated unreality, it had to be, and was, compared to Finland and Norway — and the small difference in favour of the latter declared a reason to ignore the fact that the predicted apocalypse did not visit Sweden. Look:
Or try this one. A country mile from the cataclysm the experts assured us would wipe Sweden away from the earth, and more or less the same as other European nations (see below).
Was there a ‘pandemic’?
And even if lockdowns did work, even if we knew they worked, why lockdown for a virus with a similar IFR to a bad flu (or perhaps a very bad flu — either as bad, or perhaps twice as bad as those of ‘57 and ’68; see appendix 2, below) and which almost exclusively killed people about to die of old age; i.e. who would have died of influenza or pneumonia anyway? The average age of death in most countries was 80, and those who were dying had two or more ‘comorbidities’ — very serious illnesses. It was practically impossible for young, healthy people to die in the ‘pandemic’. This is why hardly anyone knew hardly anyone under the age of 70 who had died of it. There were no bodies in the streets, nobody suddenly falling down dead (as the famous Wuhan videos told us there would be), there was no dramatic upswing of all-cause mortality (in many cases there were fewer deaths than average), people working in the supermarkets — on the front line — didn’t drop like flies, and no big name celebrities died of it.
Here is a graph of the age-standardised mortality rate in the UK, a country which, we were told, was ravaged by this terrible scourge. (Age-standardized mortality rates measure the number of deaths per 100,000 individuals, corrected for age differences by normalising to a constant, reference population distribution; this corrects for both changes and differences in population sizes, and the distorting influence of a young or aging population, providing a much more accurate picture.)
As you can see, 2020 was much the same as 2004 (which is why graphs on the TV showing how OMG appalling 2020 was don’t go back beyond 2010). Here’s the US, another country ‘devastated’. Pretty much the same as the UK.
And here, just for good measure, are excess mortality figures in Italy, one of the ‘hardest hit’ European states, courtesy of @RealJoelSmalley on Twitter, who points out that ‘no age group under 70 experienced any significant excess mortality. Even the 70-79 year old age groups is barely perceptible. Only the 80+ year old age group has been affected throughout the entire corona situation (I struggle to call it a lasting pandemic).’ (further information, including a break down of regions, here)
These low deaths are ascribed by lockdown zealots, in the teeth of all the evidence to the contrary, to lockdowns. That they would have been low anyway, as so many other countries demonstrated, that, as mentioned, there was almost indisputable technical evidence that they did not work and that the cost of lockdowns was disproportionately high are all impossible for fundamentalist lockdowners to accept, for much the same reason that all fundamentalist believers reject factual evidence.
The small increase in overall, age-standardised, deaths was ascribed to ‘the pandemic’, and not to ‘the lockdown’. Headlines across the spectrum announced an ‘increase in suicides due to pandemic’ and an ‘increase in cancer deaths due to pandemic’ and so on. These were lies. People were dying of a virulent flu-like illness, but they were also dying (and are still dying) from poverty, from despair, from not being able to access medical resources that would otherwise have been available and from other illnesses which were being labelled as ‘Covid deaths’.
In addition, here in the UK, some old people were literally being murdered. A Care Quality Commission report released in November 2020 found many examples of inappropriate and unlawful use of ‘do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ (DNACPR) forms – including blanket DNACPR. They also found staff incorrectly interpreting DNACPR prevented people getting access to hospital care and treatment. Reports were also received of care providers seeking to apply DNACPR forms to patients without sufficient discussion or explanation with the individuals and with their families. Here is one example of a report received by the CQC
The doctor on call had advised care home staff that if the older people in their care contracted COVID-19, they would have a DNACPR put in place. Another said doctors were refusing to visit a care home because they had had two residents die from COVID-19. Care staff were asked to take observations that they were not trained for, and all residents had a DNACPR in place.
Meanwhile, as the very old were battling a flu-like virus, as they often have to do during late winter, and battling murderous ‘care’ practices — something of a novelty — the young had nothing to worry about. Stockholm University worked out, in 2020, that the chances of survival of someone under 40 catching Covid is something in the region of 99.9991%; microscopic. This is why if it had not been for the television and mass media onslaught, few would have noticed a ‘pandemic’ had even happened — just as few noticed or remembered the ‘57 and ‘68 epidemics. What kind of ‘pandemic’ requires a constant barrage of media hype to remind you it exists?
Imagine, instead, the threat had been from a secret terrorist invasion. You might, at the announcement of this terrible attack, take precautions, board up your windows, lock up your daughters, sniff out strangers… You’d have to be a bit soft in the head to believe the government, but even so, at some point, if you have the slightest independent intelligence, you’re going to have to ask yourself, ‘but where actually are they these terrible evil-doers? I’ve not seen one, nobody I know has seen one, there have been no attacks, no bombs, no famous kidnappings and none of the expensive military bases we paid for have been used. Could this terrible invasion be, really… an invention?’
It turned out, to some people’s surprise, that very few people were ‘independently intelligent enough’ to notice the same thing happening with the alleged ‘pandemic’. It turned out that an intelligent mind is of very little use to a cowardly heart; more of a disability, which is why intelligent cowards (particularly on the left; see below) simply refused to enter the debate, while continuing to wring their hands about a ‘pandemic’ which even the UK government confessed did not exist. As from March 2020 it was ‘no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK’, with ‘low mortality rates.’
So there was no pandemic, not really. There was a pseudopandemic. A real pandemic results in (as the WHO used to say, before their definition changed) ‘an enormous numbers of deaths and illness’, and, as we’ve seen, the number wasn’t enormous. It was (even taken the inflated official numbers as read) around 0.03% of the world’s population (currently 0.05%).
Given these facts, we might ask why deaths from this disease (from, not with; a crucial distinction, ignored in the media) were considered more important than other deaths? Why couldn’t the half a trillion pounds that the UK government spent on ‘handling the pandemic’ have been spent on reducing road traffic accidents, heart disease and so on? Or perhaps on reducing obesity that, according to this Lancet study, led to a ‘linear increase in risk of severe COVID19 leading to admission to hospital and death.’ And as people people in their 70s, 80s and 90s did have a greater chance of dying one or two years earlier than they would have anyway, why wasn’t that money spent on making the horrifying lockups they are forced to rot away their declining years in — ‘care’ homes as they are called — healthier and happier places to be?
Where were all the dead people?
45 million people died of the Spanish flu — a pandemic (with an enormous IFR between 10-20%; suspiciously ‘downgraded’ by Wikipedia in early 2020) — in which everyone knew someone young who had died, which claimed a good many famous folk and which nobody needed to be reminded still existed. Dead bodies were everywhere, hospitals were overrun, funeral parlours were working flat out. Not so in 2020. FOI requests from councils around the UK demonstrated that burials and cremations were more or less as normal. One FOI request to Birmingham, a city of 2 million people confirmed that between 1st February 2020 to 3rd April 2021, 79 people died with Covid and 2 people died from ‘Covid alone’. Two.
In addition, not a single major figure in sport and entertainment, finance, business, or politics died, at least in the West.3 The coronavirus, as many people noted, was extraordinarily discerning. It demanded the world lock down, although Very Important People were allowed to carry on their lives much as normal. Perhaps they just didn’t care for their lives? They certainly displayed a shockingly casual attitude towards lockdowns, social distancing and masks, aggregating in large chummy parties — such as, most conspicuously, the G7 meeting and Royal Ascot.
Why were scientists ignored?
Science is unable to answer any meaningful, qualitative (moral, aesthetic, existential) questions, as I explain here, but it is, quite obviously, the best tool for answering technical, quantitative questions, such as ‘are glaciers melting?’ or ‘do we need a lockdown?’ The way science is supposed to work under such circumstances is that when there is doubt or confusion, you ask people who understand the subject and, through debate, you seek some kind of consensus, or perhaps a compromise if one can’t be reached. And yet. When it came to the 2020 lockdown, scientists who didn’t agree with the instant decision to shut society down, slap masks on us all, keep us 2 metres apart and, latterly, pump experimental chemicals into our veins; all these scientists were ignored.
Why? Why did they not appear in any newspapers or on the television? Why were we told to ‘follow the science’ — when it was impossible to even hear about lockdown-critical scientists who understand epidemiology and bio-medical statistics, let alone follow them? Some of the top medical scientists in the world — John Ioannidis (epidemiology expert at Stanford), Jayanta Battacharya, the twenty-odd doctors and scientists behind the ‘balanced response’ open letter to the Canadian government (including two former Chief Public Health Officers for Canada), Martin Kulldorf, Sunetra Gupta (Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at Oxford) and the thousands of experts behind the Great Barrington Declaration, the British Health Advisory and Recovery Team, Mike Yeadon (former chief scientific officer at Pfizer and an expert in biochemistry and toxicology), Sucharit Bhakdi (former head of the institute of medical microbiology and hygiene at the University of Mainz), the 400 Belgian doctors behind the open letter to the Belgium government and many, many others (and that’s without counting the doctors and medical scientists who were too scared to speak up) — why did we not hear from them? Why was there no debate? What kind of decision — one with such gigantic possible consequences — is taken like this? Why did social media platforms ban many of these people? Why could their objections not be met with honest debate?
We might also ask why, in addition to the suppression of scientific doubt, an instant taboo emerged on critically discussing the official narrative anywhere; at least anywhere in public, professional and civic life. Apparently this was not a cause for alarm amongst supporters of lockdowns, masks, vaccines and whatnot. Apparently, a widespread sense that ‘we’d better not talk about this’ — about the most invasive and potentially destructive government policy of all time — wasn’t particularly troubling. Why?
Were hospitals overrun?
No. Those who point to the stressful conditions in hospitals during the 2020 and 2021 flu seasons are unaware that every bad flu season is stressful, particularly when there are not enough beds for patients — as is the case in, say, the UK, where available hospital beds in the NHS have gone from 480,000 in 1948 to 140,000 now. Even as recently as 1987 there were 300,000 beds — for a significantly smaller population. So why did the government decide to spend half a trillion pounds on the lockdown rather than increasing the size and staffing of hospitals (and, while we’re at it, the pay of nurses)?
The story was the same in other countries reporting overflowing Intensive Care Units. The year before the pandemic Spanish hospitals were up to 200% capacity, and are regularly overburdened. American hospitals have had similar problems, such as in 2009. Milanese hospitals have been close to collapse from bad flu years also and ICUs in Lombardy regularly run at packed capacity. And so on. As soon as the flu season passed, hospital capacity dropped to normal; in fact quieter than normal as people were scared to be admitted, or were actively turned away, which is how tik-tok became overburdened with hospital staff performing embarrassing choreographed dance routines.
Why was Ivermectin not used?
Ivermectin has both antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. There are now about 20 randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of ivermectin for Covid. They overwhelmingly show reductions in mortality, when used in adequate doses and in patients who are in early enough stages of the disease. This review for example (published in early May in a peer-reviewed journal, the American Journal of Therapeutics) concludes;
Meta-analyses based on 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 have found large, statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance.
There are many others. So why was Ivermectin — cheap, abundant, and under no patent — not made widely available? Why is it still hard to come by?
And what about vitamin D, also well known to have a positive effect on similar diseases? Certainly not a miracle cure, but simple, cheap, natural and at least moderately effective. Why was it not promoted?
In fact, while we’re on the subject of official responses to ill-health, why was the government suddenly so concerned about our health? That so many people believed that the satanic cabal in charge of public life in, say, the UK were now actually concerned about the NHS that they’d been selling off for the past two decades, or about the welfare of the sick and disabled whose benefits that, only a few years before, they’d cut to zero, is one of the more astonishing features of the public response to the lockdown.
Why were faulty PCR tests used?
This is one of the key questions of the entire ‘pandemic’ as positive results from the PCR test were, and remain, the foundation of the entire drive for lockdowns, masks, vaccines and everything else which followed and which is likely to follow.
PCR tests work by making millions of copies of genetic material found within a test sample. These copies are called ‘cycles’; the more ‘cycles’ the greater chance there will be of creating false positives — identifying all kinds of irrelevant matter, including dead viruses. This is why there is a limit to how many cycles should be performed. The Frankfurt Public Health Agency disregards anything beyond 24 cycles as unscientific, according to Mike Yeadon anything above 37 cycles of amplification results in 97% false positives and even the Prince of Darkness himself, Tony Fauci, said that PCR tests are useless and misleading when the test is run at ‘35 cycles or higher.’ Clearly a positive result from a PCR test running at too high a cycle cannot be accepted.
So how many cycles were PCR tests running at last year from the start of the ‘pandemic’? 40 — 45. And who’s idea was it to run them so high? Enter German virologist, Christian Drosten. He developed the PCR Corona test in January 2020 — seemingly at lightning speed — which since then has served as the standard test. (He’s also been behind mask-mandates, school-closures and so on). Here he is commenting on the efficacy of PCR tests back in 2014:
The method is so sensitive that it can detect a single hereditary molecule of this virus. If such a pathogen, for example, flits across a nurse’s nasal mucosa for a day without her getting sick or noticing anything else, she is suddenly a MERS case. Where previously, people at death’s door were reported, now mild cases and even people without symptoms are suddenly included in the reporting statistics. This could also explain the explosion in the number of cases in Saudi Arabia. On top of this, the local media have made an incredible fuss about it.
In 2020 a group of 22 experts published a peer-reviewed article which concluded that there were 10 serious flaws in Drosten’s PCR test (or rather the non-peer reviewed study he co-authored, known as the Corman-Drosten paper) including that it is non-specific, due to erroneous primer design, that it is enormously variable, that it cannot discriminate between the whole virus and viral fragments, that it has no positive or negative controls and that it has no standard operating procedure. In addition, of the authors of the Corman-Drosten paper at least four have severe conflicts of interest, two being members of the editorial board of Eurosurveillance and at least three of them on the payroll of the first companies to perform PCR testing. Added to all this Drosten himself, putting aside from his hastily developed lockdown-enabling ‘SARS-CoV-2 PCR test’ with fundamental scientific flaws, has a history of ‘fatal mispredictions, numerous unexplained inconsistencies regarding his doctoral thesis… and an unsuspected quagmire of financial entanglements’ (none of which investigated in the mass media) rather understocking his credibility shelves.
In any case, the PCR test is a lemon. Even the WHO cast serious doubts on its effectiveness by presenting it as an aid for diagnosis and not an actual test, advising that when an asymptomatic person tests positive, they should be retested. Even the New York Times had grave doubts.
This is why the number of positive cases was vastly exaggerated, and how this number could then be used to inflate deaths. On this sceptered isle, for example, a positive test followed by a death from ANY cause was counted as a Covid death. That’s right. Wake up feeling asymptomatic, pop down to the local deserted test centre, have a swab rammed up your nostril, be told you are carrying a uniquely dangerous virus that is laying waste modern civilisation, rush home to self-isolate for 14 days so that nobody else catches a disease that they need to be tested for to know they have, get hit by a bus in your frantic rush back to safety, die of internal bleeding and be counted as a coronavirus death. That’s how it worked.
You’d think that more health professionals would have spoken out about this shockingly immoral practice. In fact some did. When the CDC instructed doctors to mark Covid19 as cause of death on medical certificates, regardless of whether they had tested positive or had other comorbidities that might have led to death, some doctors spoke out — these guys, and this guy, and this one, but for some reason their testimonies were ignored.
Why were asymptomatic people tested?
Imagine going to a doctor, pre-2019, and complaining of being ill, but of having no symptoms, or of phoning up your boss and telling him you can’t come in because you have an asymptomatic disease, ‘yeah, I feel fine — going fishing in fact — but I better not come in, in case I infect other people.’ It is an established fact that asymptomatic people are not vectors for contagious diseases, for the simple and transparently obvious reason that asymptomatic people are healthy. That’s what (amongst other things) ‘healthy’ means, or used to mean; not having symptoms of ill health. For the first time in history this fundamental fact was turned inside out, presented to human beings as the truth and then widely accepted.
Meanwhile, a study of ten million, found zero evidence of asymptomatic spread (here’s the BMJ’s report) while the WHO’s technical data manager, Maria Van Kerkkhove told us last year that:
Based on our data, it seems unlikely that an asymptomatic carrier will transmit the infection to someone else. We have a number of reports from other countries. They monitor asymptomatic carriers, their contacts, and do not detect further transmission.
The idea that completely healthy people had to lockdown, self-isolate and accept all the imposed strictures of a ‘pandemic’ because suddenly, for the first time ever, something called ‘asymptomatic spread’ had appeared, will appear to people of the future as one of the most astonishing aspects of the lockdown era.
Why did we have to wear masks?
A large number of studies have shown that masks are of little or no actual benefit, with a recent study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association concluding that they lead to up to ten times the amount of CO2 being inhaled by children and that they ‘should not be forced to wear face masks’. (see Appendix 3 below). But again, common sense is as sure a guide; how can a cloth mask stop a virus? It can’t. Cloth masks have as much chance of keeping viruses out of your mouth as chicken wire has of keeping a mosquito out of your garden; which is why masks have never been recommended for use during the seasonal flu outbreak, epidemics, or previous pandemics, and why people who actually handle deadly viruses wear this kind of gear;
Surgeons wear masks to prevent their respiratory droplets from contaminating the surgical field and the exposed internal tissues of surgical patients. If the surgeon were sick, he wouldn’t perform surgery. Also, he only uses his mask once and he places it carefully in a bio-waste bin. We plebeians, on the other hand, had no bio-waste bins, nobody cared what our masks were made of, or how often we changed them, or how we handled them. Clearly their putative powers of protection were of no actual concern to anyone. It’s hard not to conclude that most governments and most of the people who obediently did what their governments told them to do somehow unconsciously agreed with the many experts who said that using masks outside of a clinical setting to protect you from a virus only serves a symbolic purpose; that, unless we were surrounded by people wearing masks we might forget there was a virus. We might even, perish the thought, be reminded that we live among human beings and not contaminated and contaminating vectors.
Where was the criticism from the left?
David Cayley, in his excellent summary of the pandemic, ‘pandemic revelations’, summarises the consequences of lockdown;
There has been widespread and potentially fatal loss of livelihood throughout the world, especially amongst economically marginal groups. Businesses that have taken years to build have been destroyed. Suicide, depression, addiction and domestic violence have all increased. Public debt has swelled to potentially crippling proportions. The performing arts have been devastated. Precious “third places” that sustain conviviality have closed. Fear has been sown between people. Homelessness has grown to the point where some downtown Toronto parks have begun to resemble the hobo camps of the 1930’s. There have been surges in other diseases that have gone untreated due to COVID preoccupation. Many formerly face-to-face interactions have been virtualized, and this change threatens, in many cases, to become permanent – it seems, for example, that “leading universities” like Harvard and U.C. Berkeley have enthusiastically adopted on-line teaching in the hopes of franchising their expertise in future. The list goes on. Is this a worthwhile price to pay to avert illness amongst healthy people who could for the most part have sustained the illness? The question, by and large, has not even been asked.
The question, by and large, has not even been asked. Why? That ‘the right’ remained compliant with state edicts is, for many people, easy to understand, but that the nominal ‘left’, the fearlessly moral crusader-class, immediately fell into line appeared to many to be a little more surprising. With a handful of honorable exceptions all the ‘dissidents and radicals’ on the left, every man jack of them, completely and immediately accepted the necessity and justifications for lockdown. Chris Hedges, Glen Greenwald, Noam Chomsky, David Graeber, Media Lens, John Pilger, John Zerzan, Cailtin Johnstone, Jonathan Cook, Dark Mountain, the writers at Novara and The Canary, most so-called ‘anarchists’ (such as those who write for libcom), on and on it went and still goes. With a few peripheral complaints aside (Pilger, Cook, Zerzan and Greenwald all raised one or two secondary or tertiary doubts) they all accepted and still accept lockdown, without the slightest doubt. This last point is critical. As I argued at the time, even if all of this nonsense had been as the media had presented it, even if there really had been an actual pandemic which had necessitated unheard of restrictions of liberty, annihilation of small-businesses, catastrophic disruption to our cultural, social and productive lives, masks, social-distancing and the rest of it — even if all that had been true, it still wouldn’t have justified total, uncritical acceptance of the official story, particularly from those whose job it is to critically scrutinise official pronouncements.4
According to the UN, lockdowns may put the livelihood of 1.6 billion people at acute risk and may push an additional 150 million children into poverty. At the very start of the pandemic they were predicting ‘a Biblical famine’ (while the BMJ was reporting a ‘staggering number’ of extra deaths in the community). None of this appeared to trouble the caring, pacificistic, moral leftwing. When asked to defend their support of the lockdown they resorted to unbelievably feeble arguments or, more often than not, they just wave the entire topic away. Few expressed themselves as callously as Caitlin Johnstone…
…but the general feeling appeared to be much the same. A few leftists happily fuelled the flames of PANDEMIC TERROR with a few pro-mask tweets and criticisms that we did not lockdown hard enough (I’m talking about here in the UK, the third strictest lockdown in the world), but were mostly silent. The issue was ‘too divisive’, emotions were running ‘too high’, best focus on the Labour Party or Israel or the environment, something, anything else.
A year before this I wrote an article condemning the left from an anarchist perspective. I wrote about how the people listed above are all, fundamentally, system-friendly socialists; in their support for democracy (which can never work), for the state and for technology or technocratic solutions to our collective ills, in their uncritical attitude towards professionalism, in their relativism, in their feeble reformism and in their mediocre output. A few responded to my critique with juvenile put-downs and shallow arguments, but most of them ignored it, and me. Predictably, the support I had had from Media Lens, Cook, Zerzan and Graeber vanished. I asked OffGuardian to publish the piece who, although supportive, refused on the grounds that it would invidiously schism the left. Then the ‘pandemic’ hit and it became clear, to anyone who actually opposes the system, that the so-called left are part of the system. Not in the sense of ‘controlled opposition’ — a ridiculous idea — but in their acceptance of (even need for) its fundamental nature. All of these people are members of the professional class. Even those who grew up in (and therefore betrayed) their ‘working class origins’ have spent their lives working for and working through professional institutions. They are institutionalised.
Why did everyone accept the lockdown?
Institutionalisation runs very deep. It’s not just a question of accepting the ‘values’ of the state, or the medical profession, or Christianity, or whatever ideology is flavour of the institutional month. Being forced to live as an integral component of large, complex social systems profoundly changes man and woman. It makes them dependent on the system — on its various institutions — and therefore submissive. It suppresses and numbs their individuality and sensitivity and forces them to become sceptical of — even afraid of — their senses and of their own lived experience. The institutional system, in a word, domesticates man and women.
I explain this process fully here. Suffice it to say, the fundamental reason that so many people, particularly middle-class people (and so many of us in the West are middle-class in this sense now) a) were so afraid of a flu-like virus which was of no danger to them and b) accepted both official propaganda and the ‘need’ for lockdowns, is that they have so little experience, in their actual lives, of uncertainty, death and genuine psychological independence. They may have seen these things on their wondrous travels, but they’ve never had to live them. The supporting structure of an institutionalising civilisation has been a constant, life-long, screen, or filter, pulled over their conscious experience. They might have marvellously radical opinions about politics, the environment even civilisation, but when push comes to shove, these are just opinions.
(The reason, incidentally, why it appeared that the anti-lockdown movement was ‘right-wing’ was because most people who have had to deal with uncertainty, sickness, discomfort, death and pain — the poor and working classes — and who therefore don’t tend to be terrified of flu-like viruses, human contact and uptight supermarket staff, also tend, due to their own stupid conditioning, to vote for capital-power rather than professional-power. They can certainly be submissive cowards, but on the whole are more courageous and sensible than the moral and physical weaklings who are employed to teach them, preach to them and patch them up.)
Independence from the institutionalising system — psychological and spiritual independence that is, physical independence is pretty much impossible — leads to truth and to confidence, to the truth of one’s own, unique, experience and critical faculties and to confidence in that experience — not to mention in one’s immune system, or in the capacity of humans to find health for themselves, rather than have it dispensed from above. Because so few people are, in any meaningful sense, independent, they are, essentially helpless before the lies, threats and bribes of the system, as the world lockdown clearly demonstrated.
Stay at home and stay safe, stay at home and save lives, stay at home and get free money, stay at home and [maybe] see your family, stay at home and avoid contact with them, stay at home and fight ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘anti-vaxxers’, stay at home and live your entire life through your screen, stay at home or be told off by supermarket security guards, stay at home or risk an almost hilariously large fine… And so on. It didn’t require much to persuade the super wealthy to stick a mask on for the cameras while they enjoyed a world now cleared of peasants. It didn’t require much either to persuade academics, intellectuals, doctors, lawyers, ‘radicals’ and managers to accept a ‘need’ to stay at home, keep or augment their powerful status, while, as J.J. Charlesworth noted, working class people delivered things to them. And it certainly didn’t require much to persuade the confused, feeble, paranoid, self-conscious and self-rightous generation of Eloi that the machine has produced to uncritically obey official pronouncements and shrink further into their anitseptic spacesuits.
Naturally, this doesn’t mean that everyone who has rejected the terror is a virile, self-confident, independent-minded genius. Far from. Some of the worst elements of the right wing, batshit conspiracy nuts, Very Angry People with No Sense of Humour, micro-fascist small-business owners and God knows who else, were all on the anti-lockdown train, and of course the ‘weak-man fallacy’ (picking on the worst exemplar of a group in order to dismiss an entire philosophy or viewpoint) was enthusiastically employed to derail it, by laughing at David Icke and Alex Jones, or at the fact that Right Said Fred don’t have a PhD in tropical diseases.
Why was there a lockdown?
This question, interesting and useful as it is to speculate on the answers — some of which are certainly more likely than others — is, it is very important to understand, secondary. That we were locked down, for no reason, is faaaaaar more important than any reason why, which, as I write, is still, ultimately, a mystery. The fact that a massive financial crash was imminent and that a ‘controlled demolition’ (breaking the economy and throttling production in a not too elite-disrupting manner in order to rebuild it) is the only feasible way to handle an innately inflationary debt-economy certain to implode at any minute might be worth taking into consideration; the constant work, done by elite organisations, to keep their populations in a state of tractable terror (commies, drug-barons, terrorists, etc, etc, etc.) might also be taken into account; as might the goals of transnational organisations such as the World Economic Forum which, at the very least, influenced the global reaction to the ‘pandemic’ and pushed it towards their openly stated transhumnist agenda. One might also note that the economy has been booming since April last year, that the super wealthy now more or less have the world to themselves while we proles scuttle to and from Tesco; that billionaires got over 50% richer during the pseudopandemic; and that states everywhere have massively augmented their powers under ‘emergency’ conditions, with absolutely no chance they will give them back. Another fact worth considering is that civilisation is resting on an ecological foundation that has now almost entirely been eaten away, which will certainly lead to unprecedented — horrific — civil unrest; it would certainly be useful, to those who control Earth PLC, if and when this happens, for us all to be living in a techno-fascist lock-up.
But the details are elusive, as they usually are when massive crimes are committed. What we do know, and have long known, is that the technocratic system has, as Lewis Mumford, Jacques Ellul and Ivan Illich taught us, its own priorities, its own goals, its own ‘intelligence’ and its own inexorable momentum, and this momentum goes — and can only go — in one direction; more control. More control of nature, of human nature, of culture, of everything. Nothing else ‘makes sense’ to the system; the system which politicians, CEOS, professionals and even rebels of the left and right all serve; which is why, with every passing year, in every country on earth — capitalist, communist, monarchist, whatever — there is less and less wildness, less and less personal or collective freedom, less and less common space to move around in, less and less surprise and less and less opportunity for critics of this zombie-manufacturing machine-world to be heard.
All this happens automatically. The global elite, in other words, do not have significant power over the machine they own and manage and they did not suddenly decide to take over the world. It’s a process that has been long in the making (I argue 10,000 years — but the current, terminal phase dates back to the neoliberal revolution in the 1970s). There clearly were, in this case, concerted and conspiratorial efforts to manufacture a crises — as evidenced by previous attempts to whip up panic over SARS, MERS and what have you — but the technocratic elite (the politicians, managers, professionals, wealthy landowners and powerful CEOS of the world) does not, fundamentally, work consciously. It simply works in the direction of technocratic necessity, which is why focusing on the specific people in charge, the specific policies of specific politicians, the specific corporations behind whatever crime you care to be outraged about and the specific activities of specific institutions… why all of this is besides the point and, ultimately, sure to perpetuate the world’s ills.
Take, by way of an example, vaccine passports. As most people are discovering, they certainly aren’t necessary for the ‘reopening of society’ because it ain’t happening. As Ian Brown pointed out…
as the ‘vaccines’ stop neither transmission or infection (say the makers) how then can a ‘vaccine passport’ stop the transmission of a virus?
So why are these necessary? When mass-murderer Tony Blair comes on television to tell you that we need digital IDs in order to access society, and that those without these IDs should be segregated from those with them, you know, pretty much, who stands to gain, along with where, morally, ideologically and even practically, we stand. They are not necessary, not for ordinary people. But although one of the most evil people on the planet has, for some time, been pushing for a world in which only those who are obedient can access society, and although the most evil governments on earth support vaccine passports, digital IDs, social credit systems and the like, it is a grave error to suppose that, ultimately, the need for them comes from individual human beings. It is the machine which needs more and more control — indeed which can only possibly conceive of ‘control’ as an aim or value — and vaccine passports, along with all the techniques of discipline, surveillance and punishment they entail, are simply a ‘logical’ step in that direction, just as the widely hated factories of the industrial revolution were.
Unfortunately this is all very difficult for most people to grasp, even those who are anti-lockdown. Far easier to focus on baddies — socialists and capitalists, politicians and CEOs, aliens and elites — than on the system itself, because each one of us has given up our lives to the system; are addicted to it, even as it crushes us. Turning against the system means turning against that part of our own souls which the system has colonised.
Why vaccinate everyone?
According to experts such as molecular biologist and immunologist, Professor Dolores Cahil (confirmed by Fauci) the mRNA jab delivers a synthetic, inorganic molecule that programs cells to synthesize pathogens in the form of a ‘spike protein’ that your immune system will constantly have to fight off for the rest of your life. How dangerous is this, really? What might the long-term effects be? How might it affect pregnant mothers and young children? Answer; unknown.
According to The Lancet, even taking drug companies at their word on their data, ‘the absolute risk reduction [from vaccines], i.e. the difference between attack rates with & without a vaccine’ was: AZ – 1·3% Moderna – 1·2% Pfizer – 0·84%. In sum; minuscule. So, even given the fact that Covid is a flu-like disease that herd-immunity (a natural fact) not only could have easily dealt with but did so, why vaccinate the world against it? It is, on the face of it, a strange thing to do, particularly to people under 30 who had, at the height of the pandemic, something like a one in a million chance of dying from it (according to the Oxford University risk calculator), or to children, with near-zero risk of death and with natural immunity (with, as this group of doctors point out, high risk versus no benefit to children and young people). Given the unique nature of the vaccine — not a normal vaccine, but an experimental, synthetic, gene-hacking chemical with a high rate of adverse reactions and fatalities (UK fatalities were, at 17th June, officially at 1,356, European fatalities, as of May 22nd were at 12,184, with over a million adverse reactions, while US fatalities were, by 25th June, at 6985 and in Scotland, a recent FOI request revealed that in the first 6 months of 2021, 5,522 people in Scotland died within 28 days of injection with a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’, while over the same period, 3,118 people died in Scotland within 28 days of a positive PCR-test; more people were dying of the cure than of the disease), the long-term consequences of which are completely unknown (a particular concern of course for young people, with many years left to live) — given all this the push for universal vaccination was positively baffling.5
The mysteries didn’t end there though. How not just one safe and effective vaccine managed to get developed in the space of nine months, but eighteen, when no pharmaceutical company had ever successfully created one, is quite extraordinary. As was the decision to ramp up the campaign to include children, whose chance of dying from (or even catching, and certainly from passing on) the coronavirus was so impossibly minute as to be effectively zero. Again, without a murmur of official (or unofficial; see below) doubt and with experts voicing doubts being silenced or fired from their prestigious jobs.
All very odd, and this is without going in to the fact that these vaccines have not finished their clinical trial periods, that the US FDA did not approve them for use (only authorised their use), that in 2012 animal tests for mRNA vaccines had to be stopped because (according to the president of the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons) the animals kept dying, that 24 countries have banned the use of the AstraZeneca vaccines and that, according to the prestigious National Institute of Health ‘COVID-19 vaccines designed to elicit neutralizing antibodies may sensitize vaccine recipients to more severe disease than if they were not vaccinated’.
A programme to vaccinate the entire world with these experimental chemicals looks to be the acme of insanity — unless of course you assume that the reason is not to protect us all from an illness which, for the vast majority, is safer than furniture, but for some other reason, such as to inject them with microchips, to depopulate the earth or to effectively install an immunological ‘operating system’ in everyone that has to be updated twice a year.
Such ‘conspiracy theories’ are, taken at face value, almost impossible to take seriously, but, like many fairy tales about how the world works, in their attempt to intuitively grasp at the actual cause of our ills they hint at, albeit in a distorted manner, the truth, or in this case the most likely reason for the unprecedented push to vaccinate everyone on earth in order to, illogically, protect everyone on earth (‘none of us are safe until all of us are safe’), and that is that vaccines are necessary for vaccine passports and for, however it is carried out in practice, more control of the unruly masses, a fact which one or two of those unruly masses, foolishly assuming that they’d be as free as they were in 2019 once they’d had the jab, are groping towards an understanding of.
What is health?
Let’s go a little deeper into all this. Ivan Illich, in his pioneering critique of the medical profession made what was more or less a cast-iron case for its ‘iatrogenic’ — which is to say its inherently illness-creating — nature. First of all, the medical profession, illich argues, removes, from the hands of ordinary people and their communities, the power to self-diagnose and self-medicate. This doesn’t of course mean that people as they are today could accurately do the former or responsibly do the latter, but that they are forced to depend on external, remote and largely unaccountable institutional power-structures for their so-called health. Secondly, medicine (like psychiatry) has an inherent bias towards illness. Doctors are employed to diagnose illnesses and then treat those illnesses. In theory doctors do not presume sickness, but in practice they march into every encounter searching for something to cure.
Thirdly, and by far the most crippling effect of living in a world in which health can only come through the medical profession, is that we have been forced to introject social sickness into the body. All of our ills are located, by doctors (and, again, psyche-professionals) within the body of the individual, a body which is — and can only be — conceived of as a machine, a system, which the doctor-mechanic is paid to tinker with until it is again running smoothly and the patient can return to his alienated life of ‘ordinary misery’. All of us now view our own bodies in this way, as, in effect, a medical diagram into which an alien shock or virus has entered, which now needs to be repaired or excised. The whole of our lives, the whole of our character and, most importantly, the whole of our worlds do not and cannot come into it, for the fundamental reason that these are not, ultimately, a collection of objective (or even subjective) things, but living experience which we can only understand, and deal with, qualitatively; as moral problems, as personal challenges and through creative or even mythic symbols.
David Cayley summarises Illich’s position:
What concerned [Illich] was a world in which scientific phantoms have taken on the appearance of tangible, everyday realities: where people speak familiarly of their genes, as if they were referring to an ordinary object and not a somewhat blurry theoretical construct; where unthinkably complicated simulations of the earth’s climate drive political decisions; where the womb becomes a public place and families put ultrasound images of the unborn on their mantelpieces and “bond” with them; where the person standing beside you in the street may be conversing with someone on the other side of the world. Illich considered that techno-science had eclipsed sense, or what Maurice Merleau Ponty once beautifully called “the soil of the sensible and opened world such as it is in our life and for our body.” This is the context in which Illich wrote, a context that he considered to be a dire emergency because of the speed with which the growing prevalence of scientific and technological abstractions were hollowing out people’s senses.
This ‘hollowing out’ is the cause of a sickness which no science can ever diagnose. It cannot even think about such a devastating violation — let alone do something about it — which is how radical critiques such as Illich’s can be smugly swept aside as incomprehensible mystic silliness. That we are the victims of medical profession, and that this medical profession, in its debasement of human dignity and awareness, turns us into rational diodes and valves in a machine which crushes our health and sanity, can only appear perverse nonsense to those conditioned to willingly participate in the system’s annihilation of consciousness, quality, conviviality and cooperation. This is also why doctors are essentially submissive, why they always support the system, why, for example, so many of them joined the Nazi party, why, as every year passes they become more like the mediocre technicians they are, staring at screens and handing out stimulants and depressants, and why so many of them are so cold, arrogant, insensitive and almost outrageously uncultured. They do not know what health is, and they can do nothing about a sick world.
Fortunately, Illich’s ‘incomprehensible mystic silliness’ is starting to look a lot more sensible. At the very least it is becoming clearer and clearer to more and more people that everything done for our ‘safety’ and for our ‘health’ during the pseudopandemic has made us sicker. Our power to understand and live with what ails us — without biomedical interventions — our power to be healthy — despite what the medical profession tell us — and our power to freely shape our environments for our own good; all of these powers, feeble as they already were, have now been almost entirely taken out of our hands, leaving nothing but a sick shell.
Why save lives?
What a strange question! Surely only a madman would ask it? Someone mad enough to question the world-system. For, in truth, it is the world’s attitude to what it calls ‘life’ that is profoundly, actually unspeakably, evil. The modern attitude to ‘life’ has taken over the pre-modern attitude to the Abrahamic God. ‘Life’, as Illich realised, is now an idol that is universally worshipped, the value of which is taken to be so self-evidently sacrosanct that to question it is to run the risk of sounding like a creature from an evil parallel dimension or — far more likely — of simply being ignored, as if one had claimed that one is made out of wax and eats pencils. This was Illich’s fate, when he began to speak on the subject of life.
The denial and existential terror of death mentioned above has its counterpart in a pathological worship of what is called ‘life’, but is actually a grotesque objective caricature of it. Like all virtues stripped of their complementary-but-opposites — such as courage which, without circumspection, becomes recklessness; or confidence, which, without modesty, becomes arrogance; or originality, which, without tradition, becomes perversity — love of life, without acceptance of death, becomes living death. This isn’t to say that we are all suffering from an excess of joie de vivre, rather that, as the result of a long process of alienation from our own embodied experience, we have come to see life not as an indefinable, elusive quality, but as a thing which can be owned, administered and controlled, and in becoming thing-like it has taken on an almost nightmarish independent ‘shadow-reality’ which has subordinated actual life to its definitions and needs. ‘Life’ now, for us, is, as David Cayley puts it ‘an instance of something unimaginably general. [It] can be evaluated and improved, possessed and conserved.’ It can and has become a kind of deified quantity, against which our actual, individual existences are mere instances, and therefore expendable.
This explains why we are obsessed with the death-toll of the ‘pandemic’ and — if that seems reasonable to you — with utterly irrelevant cases. It’s also why the promise of ‘saving lives’ can be — and is — used to justify every imaginable deformity of our experience — in the case of the ‘pandemic’ with being forced to live melded to a screen, constantly tracked with high-tech surveillance systems and severed from our fellows. Old people have been surrounded with thick plastic, not allowed to touch their loved ones, and the minds of children have been torn apart in order to be reassembled as digital knowledge-consumption-and-production units. All to ‘reduce cases’ and ‘save lives’. Not because of any interest in the actual lives of actual people, which the system and its functionaries can only perceive as a threat to ‘order’ and to ‘stability’, but because ‘life’, as an objective fact, has supplanted reality. Our ideas of ourselves have become us, and we have become our ideas of ourselves. No state more hellish can be imagined.
When will it all be over?
If this question means ‘when will it be safe enough for the terrified?’ the answer is; never. If it means ‘when will it be safe enough for the corporate-state to release their hold over our lives?’ the answer is; never. If it means ‘when will we get back to the “normal” world we had in 2019?’ the answer is; never, although in this case, that’s no bad thing because, actually, ‘normal’ was just a more lightly locked-down nightmare than the one we now live in.
Lockdown ‘life’ will go on and on, until enough people realise that it is never meant to end (that temporary tyranny only ever leads to permanent tyranny), until enough people refuse to wear masks, be tested and vaccinated, be disciplined and do as they’re told — which, in practice, means until enough people are willing to risk their pleasures, their comforts and their friendships, later on perhaps their jobs, and even one day, their lives; for freedom, truth, love and all those other foolish, romantic ‘ideals’.
Until then, it will never stop. There will be a slight slackening of control, a little release, and then a new ‘variant’ will magically appear (or be made? who knows?) and we will once again have to scuttle back into the storage units most of us call ‘homes’. We might have a brand new virus, or perhaps the virus story will lose its power and a new threat will need to be created — terrorists perhaps, or ecological collapse, or aliens from a distant galaxy; it really doesn’t matter. How free we are will, and can only, go in one direction; towards a dystopian existence not even Orwell, Huxley, Kafka or Dick could have predicted. Once again, those who live in large, commodious storage units, with lovely gardens, will wring their hands about the erosion of their civil liberties and reports that people far away from them are dying from hunger and poverty, but they’ll muddle through, for a while.
For a while. As the trillions being pumped into the financial system leads to hyper-inflation, as the divide between rich and poor becomes so great that the entire planet becomes, effectively, a slum, as techniques of control — now being openly planned (UBI, biotechnical surveillance, social credit systems, etc, etc.) — become so complete, so invasive, that human beings will be reduced to the status of the robots displacing them, as the natural world falls apart completely, causing crop-failures, floods, fires and the like and as, much worse than all this, man finally locks himself within himself — within the prison of the mental-emotional simulacra he calls reality — then there’ll be no escape for anyone, not even the synthetic being formerly known as Mark Zuckerburg in his New Zealand bunker.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are now in a war, a perpetual war, against the system. We have been for thousands of years, but as we enter endgame the nature of the enemy will become increasingly obvious to more and more people. When enough people understand what the technocratic system is and how it functions — see 33 Myths of the System for a complete guide — we will start to see meaningful attempts to overcome or live independently from it. Until then we can march in our millions through system-controlled cities, set up petitions on system-controlled websites, write acerbic posts on system-controlled social media and vote for figureheads in system-embedded ‘democracies’ and change, effectively, nothing. Not that I’m suggesting you don’t do any of these things, but no solution can be found there, any more than freedom can be found in a more fairly run prison. We can only be free on the other side of the walls — a place which is a lot closer than you think.
What can be done?
Refuse, no matter what. Refuse to be locked down, no matter what. Refuse vaccines, no matter what. Refuse to wear masks, no matter what. Refuse to be tracked, no matter what. Only refusal, ideally large-scale refusal, can work.
Refusal means, and has to mean, sacrifice. The system will push and push and push and push. It will force you to sacrifice more and more; your friends, your job, your entertainments, perhaps your house, and perhaps even, one day, your life. The less you are willing to risk, for freedom and for truth, the more power the system has to coerce you. The more you are willing to risk, the more power you have over those who wish to imprison and control you.
And ‘large-scale’ means, and has to mean, spontaneous and unplanned. Despite what middle-class folk like to believe a mass ‘movement’ managed by revolutionary busy-bodies, is not necessary, which isn’t to say that we shouldn’t organise, unite and work together, but, rather, that mass refusal does not need to be planned; it will happen by itself provided that most people know the truth, or enough of the truth, to doubt the false. Of course the herd will never really be independently intelligent — that is impossible by definition — but it only takes a small percentage of people expressing the truth for the power of lies to be disrupted in the mind of the herd and to throw a spanner in the machine. The reason why the internet is being so heavily policed, why dissenting voices are being smeared, removed from social media platforms and associated with conspiracy theorists, right-wingers and other such nutcases, is that the system understands this perfectly well, which is why it is doing everything in its power to throttle truthful information.
It is vital that you do everything in your power to combat this, which means sharing the simple truth in the real world (i.e. through leafletting, word-of-mouth and similar difficult to monitor means6) Simple, mind you. There may be some value in wild theories about the world and in ideologically-motivated manifestos, but the simple, unadorned truth — the simple facts of the matter, backed up with reputable evidence — has far greater reach and power. When enough people understand the simple truth, it will speak through them and the lies will fall apart.
It is worth bearing in mind that although we are heading into dark waters there are still a few reasons to be cheerful, chief amongst them is that this attack on our freedom is bringing two groups together. On the one hand there are people who hate and fear freedom, who are basically authoritarian or basically servile, who love to order people around and be ordered around. This group includes members of the left and the right, large numbers of professionals (who have always been the worst people to consult on matters of moral importance), elites, states, corporations and vast numbers of submissive cowards. The other group is comprised of ordinary people who value their freedom. For sure it also includes shysters, opportunists, nutjobs and psychos (all groups do), but the greater part of it is comprised of the only group of human beings worth being a part of, those who, in order to live, prefer to rely on each other.
Appendix 1: Evidence that lockdowns do not work
This list of studies (collated by a twitter user, one @the_brumby), many from prestigious medical journals (such as The Lancet and the BMJ) are proof — or as close to proof as we’re ever going to get — that lockdowns do not and did not work. All this evidence has been available almost from the start, and yet lockdowns have persisted around the world; for the obvious reason that containing a deadly disease is not, and was never, the purpose of shutting the us up in the human garages we call ‘homes’ while poor people bring us things.
“there is no evidence that more restrictive nonpharmaceutical interventions (“lockdowns”) contributed substantially to bending the curve of new cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, or the United States in early 2020”
“Inferences on effects of NPIs are non-robust and highly sensitive to model specification. Claimed benefits of lockdown appear grossly exaggerated.”
“government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality”
“Official data from Germany’s RKI agency suggest strongly that the spread of the coronavirus in Germany receded autonomously, before any interventions become effective”
“the decline in infections in England…began before full lockdown…[S]uch a scenario would be consistent with…Sweden, which began its decline in fatal infections shortly after the UK, but did so on the basis of measures well short of full lockdown”
“the UK lockdown was both superfluous (it did not prevent an otherwise explosive behavior of the spread of the coronavirus) and ineffective (it did not slow down the death growth rate visibly).”
“Given that the evidence reveals that the Corona disease declines even without a complete lockdown, it is recommendable to reverse the current policy and remove the lockdown”
“stay at home orders, closure of all non-essential businesses and requiring the wearing of facemasks or coverings in public was not associated with any independent additional impact”
“these strategies might not have saved any life in western Europe. We also show that neighboring countries applying less restrictive social distancing measures … experience a very similar time evolution of the epidemic.”
“the model does not support [the] estimate that lockdown reduced the case reproduction number R by 81% or that more than three million deaths were averted by non-pharmaceutical interventions.”
“The case of Sweden, where the authors find the reduction in transmission to have been only moderately weaker than in other countries despite no lockdown having occurred, is prima facie evidence”
“results presented in the report suggested that the addition of interventions restricting younger people might actually increase the total number of deaths from covid-19”
“We show that [lockdown] is modestly superior in saving lives compared to [focused protection], but with tremendous costs to prevent one case of death. This might result in overwhelming economic effects that are expected to increase future death toll”
“For pathogens that inflict greater morbidity at older ages, interventions that reduce but do not eliminate exposure can paradoxically increase the number of cases of severe disease by shifting the burden of infection toward older individuals”
“Current policy can be misdirected and can therefore have long and even short-term negative effects on human welfare and thus result in not actually minimizing death rates (incorporating externalities), especially in the long run.”
“…the data…shows a decrease in infection rates after countries eased…lockdowns with >99% statistical significance. Indeed…infection rates have declined after reopening even after allowing for an appropriate measurement lag. This means that the pandemic and COVID-19 likely have its own dynamics unrelated to often inconsistent lockdown measures that were being implemented.”
“restrictions imposed by the pandemic (eg, stay-at-home orders) could claim lives indirectly through delayed care for acute emergencies, exacerbations of chronic diseases, and psychological distress (eg, drug overdoses).”
“Comparing weekly mortality in 24 European countries, the findings in this paper suggest that more severe lockdown policies have not been associated with lower mortality. In other words, the lockdowns have not worked as intended”
“Our findings … further raise doubt about the importance in NPI’s (lockdown policies in particular) in accounting for the evolution of COVID-19 transmission rates over time and across locations”
“[the] President [of Belarus]…has flatly denied the seriousness of the pandemic, refusing to impose a lockdown, close schools, or cancel mass events…Yet the country’s death rate is among the lowest in Europe-just over 700 in a population of 9.5 million”
“Consistent with observations that .. lockdown has not been observed to effect the rate…of the country reproduction rates significantly, our analysis suggests there is no basis for expecting lockdown stringency to be an explanatory
“This study shows that the virus is already here, and we must find ways of living with it such that it caused no or minimal human and socioeconomic losses in … Nigeria as a whole…. going back to the lockdown should never again be entertained”
“The national criteria most associated with death rate are life expectancy and its slowdown, public health context (metabolic and non-communicable diseases (NCD) burden vs. infectious diseases prevalence), economy (growth national product, financial support), and environment (temperature, ultra-violet index). Stringency of the measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death rate”
“Whether a county had a lockdown has no effect on Covid-19 deaths; a non-effect that persists over time. Cross-country studies also find lockdowns are superfluous and ineffective (Homberg 2020). This ineffectiveness may have several causes. “
“There are no historical observations…that support.. confinement by quarantine of groups of possibly infected people for extended periods…The negative consequences…are so extreme…this mitigation..should be eliminated from serious consideration”
“Our analysis shows that while infection levels decreased, they did so before lockdown was effective, and infection numbers also decreased in neighbour municipalities without mandates”
Appendix 2: Evidence that Covid-19 was not much worse than a virulent strain of flu
The overall infection fatality rate (IFR) of covid-19 in the general population is about 0.1% to 0.5% in most countries. The infection fataility rate (IFR) of seasonal influenza, against which prior immunity and vaccines exist, is about 0.05% to 0.1%. The IFR of epidemic influenza, such as in 1936, 1951, 1957 and 1968, is about 0.3% and the IFR of the 1918 pandemic influenza was about 20% (see above).
There have been two global meta studies, one putting Covid at around half as bad as an ‘epidemic and medium pandemic influenza’, the other at around twice or three times as bad.
(Global: low estimate) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eci.13423
Infection fatality rate in different locations can be inferred from seroprevalence studies. While these studies have caveats, they show IFR ranging from 0.00% to 1.54% across 82 study estimates. Median IFR across 51 locations is 0.23% for the overall population and 0.05% for people <70 years old. IFR is larger in locations with higher overall fatalities. Given that these 82 studies are predominantly from hard-hit epicentres, IFR on a global level may be modestly lower. Average values of 0.15%-0.20% for the whole global population and 0.03%-0.04% for people <70 years old as of October 2020 are plausible. These values agree also with the WHO estimate of 10% global infection rate (hence, IFR ~ 0.15%) as of early October 2020.
(Global: high estimate) https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(20)32180-9/fulltext
After exclusions, there were 24 estimates of IFR included in the final meta-analysis, from a wide range of countries, published between February and June 2020. The meta-analysis demonstrated a point estimate of IFR of 0.68% (0.53%–0.82%) with high heterogeneity (p < 0.001).
We estimate that 3.36 million (3.21, 3.51) people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in England to end June 2020, with an overall infection fatality ratio of 0.90% (0.86, 0.94).
With the seven SARS-CoV-2-associated reported deaths the estimated IFR was 0.36% [0.29%; 0.45%]
Our point estimate of the IFR is 0.6%, with a 95% confidence interval of 0.4–1.1%. For the age group 0–69 years, the IFR is 0.1% (c.i. 0.1–0.2%), and for those of age 70 years or older we get an estimate of 4.3% (c.i. 2.7–7.7%)
While those from Africa and Asia were low;
We estimate that 1 in 20 adults in Kenya had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies during the study period. By the median date of our survey, only 2093 COVID-19 cases and 71 deaths had been reported through the national screening system. This contrasts, by several orders of magnitude, with the numbers of cases and deaths reported in parts of Europe and America when seroprevalence was similar.
Both Delhi and New York recorded about 23% seroprevalence, amounting to about 1.9 million infections in NYC and about 4.4 million in Delhi. The stark difference is that NYC data indicates about 15,000 fatalities shortly after its survey, while Delhi had recorded only about 3,200 fatalities shortly after its survey. At face value, COVID-19 appears to have been ten-times deadlier in NYC than in Delhi.
The infection fatality rate was one of the lowest reported so far, and the proportion of asymptomatic cases was low.
Appendix 3: Evidence that masks do not work
The first of these, a Danish study, was the first randomized controlled trial on the real-world efficacy of face masks against coronavirus infection. It was widely ignored, while the seriously flawed WHO study, published in June 2020 was published in The Lancet and ‘instrumental in shifting global facemask policies’.
Our results suggest that the recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in mask wearers in a setting where social distancing and other public health measures were in effect.
In this review, we did not find evidence to support a protective effect of personal protective measures or environmental measures in reducing influenza transmission.
The evidence regarding the effectiveness of medical face masks for the prevention of COVID-19 in the community is compatible with a small to moderate protective effect, but there are still significant uncertainties about the size of this effect. Evidence for the effectiveness of non-medical face masks, face shields/visors and respirators in the community is scarce and of very low certainty.
Compared with wearing no mask, wearing a mask may make little to no difference in how many people caught a flu-like illness (9 studies; 3507 people); and probably makes no difference in how many people have flu confirmed by a laboratory test (6 studies; 3005 people)
we… conclude that cloth masks and face coverings are likely to have limited impact on lowering COVID-19 transmission, because they have minimal ability to prevent the emission of small particles, offer limited personal protection with respect to small particle inhalation
We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.
This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection.
Many governments have made nose and mouth covering or face masks compulsory for schoolchildren. The evidence base for this is weak. The question whether nose and mouth covering increases carbon dioxide in inhaled air is crucial. A large-scale survey in Germany of adverse effects in parents and children using data of 25,930 children has shown that 68% of the participating children had problems when wearing nose and mouth coverings… We suggest that decision-makers weigh the hard evidence produced by these experimental measurements accordingly, which suggest that children should not be forced to wear face masks.
Wearing a mask causes physiological changes to multiple organ systems, including the brain, the lungs, the heart, the kidneys and the immune system.
The evidence for discontinuing the use of surgical face masks would appear to be stronger than the evidence available to support their continued use.
…masks for personnel not scrubbed for surgery is a departure from common practice. But the evidence to support this practice does not exist…
Appendix 4: Evidence that there is no such thing as ‘asymptomatic transmission’
Some studies (and a link to a quote from the WHO) which demonstrate the obvious.
“A total of 1174 close contacts of the asymptomatic positive cases were traced (from ten million screened), and they all tested negative for the covid-19.”
“Of the 97 persons with confirmed COVID-19, only 4 (1.9%) remained asymptomatic within 14 days of quarantine, and none of their household contacts acquired secondary infections.”
“None of the 24 cases developed severe covid-19 pneumonia or died.”
“…we conclude that the infectivity of some asymptomatic sars-cov-2 carriers might be weak.’
“Our results showed that patients with COVID-19 who had more severe symptoms had a higher transmission capacity, whereas transmission capacity from asymptomatic cases was limited.”
“sars cases are infectious only during their symptomatic period and are non-infectious during the incubation period.”
“We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing… They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare.
Appendix 5: Recommended books and websites
A brief list of a few places to get critical information about the coronavirus, lockdowns, vaccines, masks and so forth. Obviously they are biased — everyone is — and obviously they make mistakes — everyone does — and I certainly don’t agree with everything in them — but they are not the work of nutcases, nor are they ‘hard-right’ propaganda. They are, on the whole, well-reasoned and well-researched, and, at the very least, a good antidote to the ‘mainstream’.
- A State of Fear, by Laura Dodsworth
- Corona, False Alarm; Facts and Figures by Karina Reiss & Sucharit Bhakdi
- Pseudopandemic, by Iain Davis
- 33 Myths of the System, by Darren Allen (yes, that’s me)
- Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis, by Ivan Illich
- Industrial Society and its Future, by Theodore Kaczynski
- Where Are We Now: The Epidemic as Politics, Giorgio Agamben
- Moominsummer Madness, by Tove Jansson
‘A group of multi-disciplinary professionals, who perceived the global reaction to Covid, and lockdown in particular, as overwrought and damaging to the point of causing a great tear in the fabric of society.’
Good, balanced, account of the entire situation.
Brief but comprehensive overview.
Hundreds of doctors and scientists ‘urgently warning of short and long term dangers from covid-19 vaccines.’
Useful critique of the magical vaccines.
Good resource for lockdown-critical information. To their credit they were suspicious right from the very start, which is why Twitter almost instantly started putting warnings on their output.
Excellent analysis of official statistical shenanigans, served up with a nice side salad of laconic wit.
David Cayley is probably the foremost expositor of the philosophy of Ivan Illich — and a penetrating and original thinker in his own right. His ‘Illichian’ insights into the nature of health are required reading.
Good, genuinely anarchist, site with many lockdown- and ‘pandemic’-narrative-critical articles.
Over on the right wing there’s this site by Toby Young and pals.
Excellent dissident site with long analyses of various aspects of the coronavirus narrative. Particularly recommended;
- Brave New World: Expanding the UK Biosecurity State through the Winter of 2020-2021
- Cui Bono? The COVID-19 ‘Conspiracy’
- Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: Manufacturing the Crisis
- Strange that the third world, with poor sanitation, lighter lockdowns and much more crowding of people together managed to get through this ‘global’ pandemic with so few deaths.
- A staggering five million excess deaths have been recorded in India during and largely as a consequence of lockdowns.
- Okay, okay, Tim Brooke Taylor and the keyboardist from the Stranglers; both in their 70s, and a weirdly large number of African heads of state.
- A few on the left suggested that the media could not possibly work as one to conceal a truth of such enormity — the same people who oppose Israel reducing Palestine to rubble and who opposed the Iraq war, both also invisible across the media ‘spectrum’.
- A recent paper on the effectiveness of vaccinations concluded ‘For three deaths prevented by vaccination we have to accept two inflicted by vaccination. Conclusions: This lack of clear benefit should cause governments to rethink their vaccination policy.’ The paper was retracted from the journal it was published in, which took issue with an implied ‘causal relation’ between adverse events in the Netherlands and the reporting of a death. The authors responded to the retraction; ‘currently, we only have association, we agree, and we never said anything else. But the same is true with fatalities as consequences of SARS-CoV2-infections. The cases that are counted here as deaths are rarely vetted by autopsy or second opinion, but still counted as deaths due to COVID-19. And it is exactly this allegedly high number of COVID-19 related deaths that gave rise to an unprecedented sloppy regulation process that allowed new types of vaccines using a mechanism never before tested in humans to be widely distributed in the population.’
- Not a bad idea getting rid of your smartphone either.