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COVID-19: ‘Lockdown Was Futile’ in UK, Says Swedish Epidemiologist


On Sunday, British PM Boris Johnson will be announcing the UK government’s nudging plans for ending the country’s COVD-19 lockdown, and warned that recent media reports of easing restrictions was “not a reliable guide”. Scotland said that its lockdown will be extended and Northern Ireland said there was “no headroom” yet to ease the lockdown.

Despite the fact that the crisis had already peaked on April 8th – one full month ago, Downing Street is still insisting that lockdown measures cannot not be lifted ‘until changes can be safely made’. On Sunday, Johnson will unveil his ‘roadmap’ to exit lockdown, which appears to be designed to buy more time while the government figures out how to undo some of the damage done by the panic policy was initiated since March.

Former Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, warned the government that there could be a “rebellion” if failing lockdown measures are not lifted soon.

The biggest problem now for the UK government is the fact that non-lockdown states like Sweden have already passed through the crisis without having to suspend rights and democracy and implode their economy and society. In other words, non-lockdown nations have achieved equal or better results than lockdown countries like the UK – without all of the unnecessary collateral damage.

Can the government exit this debacle without losing face?

Jack Hardy reports….

The architect of Sweden’s coronavirus strategy has claimed the UK’s lockdown has been largely “futile” in containing the virus. Johan Giesecke, a state epidemiologist who advises the World Health Organisation, said the UK’s death toll suggested instating harsh social restrictions was not the best method of tackling the pandemic. 

Sweden has so far refused to impose the type of lockdown seen in other European countries, keeping many schools, restaurants and businesses open.

The UK’s death toll is more than 10 times that of that in Sweden, where fewer than 3,000 people have been killed by Covid-19 to date.

Referring to the high coronavirus death toll across UK care homes, Prof Giesecke said: “A hard lockdown does not protect old and frail people living in care homes – a population the lockdown was designed to protect.

“Neither does it decrease mortality from Covid-19, which is evident when comparing the UK’s experience with that of other European countries.”

Britain’s lockdown strategy “only pushes the severe cases into the future” and has not prevented them, Prof Gieseck argued, adding: “There is very little we can do to prevent this spread. A lockdown might delay severe cases for a while but, once restrictions are eased, cases will reappear.”

He said most people infected with Covid-19 are healthy and young, and it is in this section of the population that the “real pandemic” is occurring.

Despite resisting strict lockdown measures, Sweden’s Public Health Institute estimated that the country’s ‘R’ number – the number of people each infected person passes the virus to – fell from 1.4 at the start of April to 0.85 at the end of the month.

Professor Giesecke has previously been critical of the pandemic modelling produced by the Imperial College London team led by Professor Neil Ferguson. 

He suggested Prof Ferguson’s projected death tolls were too pessimistic and rejected suggestions that Sweden will see a mounting mortality rate, saying in a Swedish newspaper interview: “On the contrary, I think it will go down.”

Read more at The Telegraph

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