The FT today runs the argument that there are serious adverse effects of the lockdown which should be considered when deciding when to lift it. These include the exacerbation of poor mental health and the way that people who are victims of domestic abuse have no escape.
Not a bad argument as far as it goes, but it is open to the objection that lives and cash are incommensurable. I wouldn’t make that argument, but many would. This objection points the way to a stronger argument in the vicinity.
Lockdown will kill more people than it saves. The choice is not “accept some economic damage in order to save lives or not.” It is “kill group X or group Y.”
We kind of get there already with the estimate by the oncologist Sikora that excess cancer mortality caused by lack of screening will be 50,000. But beyond that, the economic damage caused by the lockdown will be so immense that it is likely that the second round effects on future NHS spending will also be immense. That will again cause many more deaths. Moreover, those deaths are more damaging. We are currently killing Group Y in order to give Group X a few extra months. Most of Group X are over 80 and with existing health conditions. Indeed, 50% of COVID mortality takes place in a care home setting, where the median length of stay is in any case 12 months. Group Y is younger people who would be economically active for a lifetime were they not killed by the lockdown. Note that a 1% increase in unemployment causes a 0.79% increase in suicide.
My second reason for scepticism about the lockdown is that we are not really doing it (in the UK). There is massive non-compliance. Many people cannot be bothered to maintain a 2m separation even when it is easy to do so. There are signs on Battersea Bridge stating that one should cross on the leftward pavement; this is too difficult for about 20% of people. 25% of people admit that they are non-compliant, which makes me believe that in fact, maybe 25% of people are actually compliant. Taking these facts in conjunction with the fact that subject 31 caused 81% of cases in S Korea — implying you need a 100.0% compliance rate to do anything useful — makes me question the point of lockdown.
The primary argument for lockdown derived from the Imperial model. This is doubtless a very good piece of work — I am an Imperial graduate myself and I know the calibre of the institution — but it is pure mathematical modelling, not a result of data analysis. It is not experimental observational science. It is also “5000 lines of unaudited C from 13 years ago.”
I am myself compliant. But I think the record will show that this lockdown is unjustified. If not, we will eventually need to see events like 10m deaths in Sweden. So the truth will become known.