Two more interesting articles on covid mass hysteria

Guess which crackpot started his article on covid in that notorious right-wing publication ‘The Guardian’ with the sentence “The virus has been used as a pretext in many countries to crush dissent, criminalise freedoms and silence reporting”?

It’s that obvious conspiracy-nutter the UN Secretary General. He went on to write a message you have all been reading on troppo since March:

Frontline workers, people with disabilities, older people, women, girls and minorities have been especially hard hit. In a matter of months, progress on gender equality has been set back decades. Most essential frontline workers are women, and in many countries are often from racially and ethnically marginalised groups.

Most of the increased burden of care in the home is taken on by women. Violence against women and girls in all forms has rocketed, from online abuse to domestic violence, trafficking, sexual exploitation and child marriage.

Extreme poverty is rising for the first time in decades. Young people are struggling, out of school and often with limited access to technology.

The virus is also infecting political and civil rights, and further shrinking civic space. Using the pandemic as a pretext, authorities in some countries have deployed heavy-handed security responses and emergency measures to crush dissent, criminalise basic freedoms, silence independent reporting and restrict the activities of nongovernmental organisations.

Human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, political activists – even medical professionals – have been detained, prosecuted and subjected to intimidation and surveillance for criticising government responses to the pandemic. Pandemic-related restrictions have been used to subvert electoral processes and weaken opposition voices.

At times, access to life-saving Covid-19 information has been concealed while deadly misinformation has been amplified – even by those in power.

Nice to see that even the Guardian, which has more than any other newspaper I know been ignoring the collateral damage of the lockdowns it has been egging on, is bending with the new winds.

There was also an interesting letter by Kampf and Kulldorff (he of Great Barrington Declaration fame) published by the Lancet this week. Its significant is more where it was published than what it said. The Lancet was the medical journal that was at the very cradle of the hysteria in January 2020, with the editor of the Lancet going out of his way to accuse governments that did not lock their population down hard and fast enough for his liking of mass murder. It seems that the Lancet is now noticing the change of the winds too and is hedging its bets by publishing letters that effectively condemns those editors of pushing highly destructive policies. Read over the fold for what is a cost calculation of the kind you have been seeing since march.

We think government lockdowns cause substantial collateral health damage. For example, hospital admissions in the USA for emergency treatment of acute ischaemic strokes have been substantially lower in February–March, 2020, than in February–March, 2019, resulting in delayed treatment.

Compared with a historical baseline, UK nursing homes and hospices saw an increase in the number of deaths between February and June, 2020, associated with acute coronary syndrome (a 41% increase), stroke (a 39% increase), and heart failure (a 25% increase).

The situation is similar for patients with cancer. In German hospitals, cancer cases decreased during the first national lockdown between March 12 and April 19, 2020: by 13·9% for breast cancer, 16·5% for bladder cancer, 18·4% for gastric cancer, 19·8% for lung cancer, 22·3% for colon cancer, and 23·1% for prostate cancer, suggesting that cancers might have been undetected and untreated during this period. In England, hospital admissions for chemotherapy appointments have fallen by 60%, and urgent referrals for early diagnosis of suspected cancers have decreased by 76% compared with pre-COVID-19 levels, which could contribute to 6270 additional deaths within 1 year.

Delayed diagnosis and treatment are expected to increase the numbers of deaths up to year 5 after diagnosis by 7·9–9·6% for breast cancer, 15·3–16·6% for colorectal cancer, 4·8–5·3% for lung cancer, and 5·8–6·0% for oesophageal cancer.

Government restrictions are disrupting traditional means of support between friends and family members. Physical distancing and contact reduction are causing severe stress to many people and might increase the risk of suicide.

In a meta-analysis of the prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression among the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of depression in the months of the pandemic up to May, 2020, was 33·7% (95% CI 27·5–40·6). Between April 22 and May 11, 2020, 795 (78·9%) of 1008 people aged 18–35 years in the USA reported symptoms of depression.

Further and stronger restrictions on physical and social contact could lead to a further increase in the prevalence of depression.

We call on all scientists, public health officials, journalists, and politicians to weigh and consider the collateral damage from government COVID-19 control measures and their negative effect on many short-term and long-term health outcomes. While trying to control COVID-19, all aspects of physical and mental health need to be jointly considered. Other life-threatening diseases are being neglected, and patients with these diseases should receive the same timely and appropriate medical treatment as patients with COVID-19.

The winds are definitely changing, with some long-time skeptics claiming to see revenge coming against the politicians that locked up their populations. I am not sure about that since my reading of historical analogies is that culprits of this kind of damage usually get away with it. Things have to get very extreme before there is a true reckoning and in those scenarios there is lots of violence all round.

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23 Responses to Two more interesting articles on covid mass hysteria

  1. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    so the mass hysteric is writing again.
    Again with absolutely no self awareness.
    golly gosh if hospitals are overwhelmed by covid what might happen? They would crowd out other health problems. I was recently in hosopital and the nurses confirmed this and offered both the USA and the UK as evidence.
    lockdowns do not do this it is what caused the lockdown in the first place. That is the spreading of Covid and its impact on the population.
    Please note that yet again Troppo’s own Katesy provides problems which would only be much worse under his ill defined recommendations.

    until Fritjers actually defines his counter factual and confides to everyone why he got sweden so badly wrong he simply should not be allowed to write on this topic.
    He is an utter embarrassment

  2. conrad says:

    One might suggest that using data from UK and the USA, two of the countries that have bodged everything up more than just about everyone else, is more or less cherry picking. It’s like telling me about gun control and using the USA as the example. Why not pick intermediate countries like, say, Finland, and then see what the story looks like.

    A better and more interesting example is Germany, as you would claim they were heading down the right direction for quite some time (holding off on lockdown), but then they changed after they got too many cases. It would be interesting to see the extent to which people had already changed their behavior before lockdown. As I don’t know of any data on this issue (it may well exist), this becomes a good prediction. I assume you are predicting we have strong sigmoid like function, where people only stopped going after lockdown. Thus there is a counterfactual to be found here and it will be far less convoluted than economic analyses (although not perfect as obviously the closer to lockdown you get, the more cases there would be to scare people).

    • I have found Germany interesting too, though a bit difficult to read because the Lander had lots of local policies. There too, the big glut came after strong lockdowns, suggesting again that lockdowns for some reason seem to worsen the covid cases and fatalities (on which I wrote that piece on covid-congestion). The German experience also underscores the difference in seasons with this disease.

      Germany is also interesting for another reason, which is the tendency to follow other Lander and the tendency of the courts there to take their role seriously. So you see much more serious legal fireworks there, and the same phenomenon as in the US of competition between states. There is a lot more to observe and say about Germany, but did you have something specific in mind?

      • conrad says:

        Yes, I was wondering how you could pick apart the extent to which lock-downs cause the hospital effects and the extent to which this is just fear of coronavirus irrespective of lockdowns. None of the hospital data is especially convincing either way, because in places like Sweden that didn’t have a lock-down, people stopped going to hospitals, so there is an overall effect irrespective of lockdowns, but you also see quite strong blips in the data when lockdowns occur. This, however, is generally strongly correlated with number of cases. Germany was interesting because they waited longer before locking down, and so one might try and pick apart the figures — to see whether it is just number of cases or whether lockdowns in themselves cause more fear or other behavior.

        • Paul says:

          If you need good data about hospitalization in Germany check out the initiative for quality medicine.

          The data come from about a third of the german and some swiss hospitals. Interestingly, in nearly every aspect german hospitals saw the same number or even fewer numbers of general hospitalizations, SARIs, ICU cases, ventilation cases, … when 2020 is compared with 2019, whereas the latter was a year with only few flu cases. And that relationship holds true for the worst phase of the “pandemic”, end of december, too.

          One can also see from the data, that there were significantly less hospitalizations during the first wave compared to the previous year. That was because the hospitals delayed planned surgeries in order to keep their doors open for Covid patients, who never appeared in the prognosed number. That mistake was not repeated in the second wave.

  3. conrad says:

    I did find some useful stuff on this here. As can be seen in the US, there were still less people going to hospitals for non-covid reasons even in December, but things were pretty stable across the different parts of the US, despite quite different lock-down conditions. The NE, which I think had the tighest lockdown conditions early on, now has the smallest effect of this.

    So basically, a reasonable interpretation of that data is that lock-downs are basically unrelated to people avoiding hospitals.

    People are avoiding hospitals because they presumably fear getting covid at them, don’t want to annoy doctors who are already too busy, can’t get an appointment because the hospitals are overwhelmed etc.

    • Conrad I gather that for many in the USA if they have a job they have ok health insurance cover but if they lose their job they don’t .
      So the drop in attendances could be down to covid related increased unemployment.

  4. Conrad says:

    Could be for some of it, although the unemployment rate in the US in July was around 10% (ouch!) and the drop-off in hospital admissions is more or less the same as December when it was 6%.

    • I member reports that last year many US hospitals were( ironically) in financial crisis because of this . Could search if you need.

      • conrad says:

        I know. Craziest and most expensive health-care system you can find. Curiously, many Americans seem to think it is the best on Earth — I guess if you have limitless money, although even then there is over usage of some things compared to other places. As an example, some types of less-invasive breast cancer here is treated with radiotherapy and some hormone blocking drugs whereas in the US you get full chemotherapy if you have the money (which is of course far worse for you than just radiotherapy and cost lots more).

        Interestingly, if you look at the results, unemployment was around 10% in July (!) but dropped significantly by December, but the decline in hospital visits after the big blip right at the start is pretty much flat, so it can’t just be unemployment. It’s curious that it is similar across the different areas in the US, suggesting that people can’t judge their own risk especially well.

        • Could be that the new jobs created after July don’t come with the same benefits as the jobs that were lost no?

          • Conrad says:

            Could be.

            • Funny thing is we have not really moved on in a whole year. The costs of lockdowns are clear, the benefits are arguable,
              the costs of not doing lockdown are also who knows etc it all goes nowhere
              To my mind it’s evidence that it’s really a question of power( not truth) that is at stake .

              • Conrad says:

                I think a fair bit is known now. In my mind it is a bit of a U-shaped curve. If you get it right, the benefits are essentially unarguable. Compare much of Asia vs. much of Euroland. Of course, everything is easy in hindsight, especially when factors like culture cause different starting points.

  5. Pingback: Wissenschaftler: Aufruf, Regierungen wegen COVID-19-Hysterie zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen – ScienceFiles

  6. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    From September last year John Quiggin on the cost of not having a lockdown in Australia

    • ianl says:

      Quiggles avoids (ignores) the example of Taiwan and to a slightly lesser degree those of Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and others, as does non-Trampis and the denizens here. PF opined it was because these populations have an existing high degree of herd immunity due to earlier large-scale infection of SARS1. Well, with a hundred million “specimens”, the magic antibodies have not been found. Yet with low scale deaths and no lockdowns, these countries make mockery of people like Quiggles.

      This has been published recently in Quillette:

      Despite the ridicule piled on lockdown sceptics, the only real defence of lockdown “strategies” is that things would be worse without them. The countries listed above mock that hysteria, which is why they are not be talked about here.

      A secondary defence is the old consensus argument. Anyone disagreeing with some self-defined consensus (which in itself doesn’t exist, similar to the AGW “consensus”) must be a fringe nutter.

      We have: 1) the Precautionary Principle (things will be worse, I tells you); 2) the Consensus Argument (disagreeing with “consensus” is both ignorant and dangerous because the science is settled); 3) both 1) and 2) constantly bolstered by deliberately dishonest MSM reporting, which depends for effectiveness on stirring reliable mass fear.

      One of my earlier comments was labelled as gloomy, pessismistic. No, it wasn’t. It just understood human nature as again outlined in the preceding paragraphs.

      • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

        Mate he was talking about Australia.

        none of the countries listed by you adopted the crazy Fritjers policy.

        Have another go

  7. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    While i am at it Thomas Lumley asks a question Fritjers will never answer

  8. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    a paper on a literature review on economic response to covid.
    It is about the USA

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