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covid-19 Archives - Health Hacker Australia

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The Costly Failure of Lockdowns: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of COVID-19 Mortality

The Costly Failure of Lockdowns: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of COVID-19 Mortality

Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted governments worldwide to implement various measures, including lockdowns, to mitigate the spread of the virus. This paper presents a systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs, London, to assess the impact of lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions on mortality rates. The analysis is based on empirical evidence from 22 studies encompassing actual measured mortality data, rather than relying on epidemiological modeling. The results demonstrate that lockdowns had a negligible effect on COVID-19 mortality, while imposing significant economic, social, and political costs. The findings emphasize the importance of voluntary behavior changes, such as social distancing, in mitigating the pandemic. This paper calls for a reconsideration of the effectiveness of lockdowns as a primary strategy in controlling future pandemics.

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the implementation of strict measures, including lockdowns, to curb the spread of the virus. However, the efficacy and impact of these measures remain subjects of debate. This paper aims to critically analyze the mortality outcomes associated with lockdowns, social distancing measures, and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of empirical studies.

Methodology

A systematic search and screening procedure were employed to identify relevant studies. Out of 19,646 studies initially identified, 32 studies qualified for further analysis. Of these, 22 studies provided measured mortality data and were suitable for meta-analysis. The analysis focused on comparing the mortality rates during periods of lockdown and stringent NPIs with less strict policies, such as those observed in Sweden.

Results

The meta-analysis revealed that the average lockdowns in Europe and the United States in the spring of 2020 only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 3.2%. This translated into approximately 6,000 avoided deaths in Europe and 4,000 in the United States. Shelter-in-place orders were relatively ineffective, reducing COVID-19 mortality by 2.0%, resulting in approximately 4,000 avoided deaths in Europe and 3,000 in the United States. Specific NPIs implemented in the spring of 2020 reduced COVID-19 mortality by 10.7%, significantly less than estimates derived from epidemiological modeling. This amounted to approximately 23,000 avoided deaths in Europe and 16,000 in the United States.

Discussion

The findings challenge the initial predictions made by modeling exercises, such as those from the Imperial College of London, which estimated millions of lives saved through lockdowns. In comparison to annual flu deaths, the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns appears disproportionately low. The analysis suggests that voluntary changes in behavior, such as social distancing, played a crucial role in mitigating the pandemic. Moreover, the study highlights the substantial economic, social, and political costs associated with lockdowns, including stunted economic growth, increased public debt, rising inequality, damage to children’s education and health, reduced health-related quality of life, increased crime rates, threats to democracy, loss of freedom, and damage to mental health.

Conclusion

Based on the comprehensive evaluation of empirical research, this study concludes that lockdowns were a failed promise. While having negligible health effects on COVID-19 mortality, they imposed disastrous economic, social, and political costs on society. The findings underscore the need to reconsider the effectiveness of lockdowns as a primary strategy for controlling future pandemics. Future pandemic response strategies should focus on voluntary behavior changes, tailored NPIs, and a balanced approach that considers the collateral effects on society.

References:

  • Campbell, J. (2023, June 5). Lockdowns were a costly failure. Retrieved from https://iea.org.uk/publications/did-l…
  • Institute of Economic Affairs. (2022, January). Did lockdowns, Covid restrictions, social distancing measures etc. effect COVID-19 mortality, based on empirical evidence. Retrieved from https://sites.krieger.jhu.edu/iae/fil…
  • NHS Digital. (n.d.). Mental health. Retrieved from https://digital.nhs.uk/services/organ…

Keywords: COVID-19, lockdowns, mortality, non-pharmaceutical interventions, systematic

The Lancet Commission on lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic – The Lancet

The Lancet Commission on lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic – The Lancet

Section 1 of this Commission report provides a conceptual framework for understanding pandemics. Section 2 provides an annotated chronology of the COVID-19 pandemic and thematic findings regarding several issues. Section 3 presents our policy recommendations, particularly around multilateral cooperation centred at WHO to address global health crises, and around investments in preparedness for future health crises through strong national health systems and international financing and technology cooperation with the world’s lower-income regions.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2822%2901585-9/fulltext

Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Trial Sequential Analysis to Inform Clinical Guidelines

Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Trial Sequential Analysis to Inform Clinical Guidelines

Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8248252/

Covid lockdown ‘prevented only 0.2pc of deaths in first wave’

Covid lockdown ‘prevented only 0.2pc of deaths in first wave’

Lockdowns prevented just 0.2 per cent of deaths in comparison with simply trusting people to do the right thing, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, in the US, Lund University, in Sweden and the Centre for Political Studies, in Denmark, said the costs to society far outweighed the benefits and called for lockdown to be “rejected out of hand” as a future pandemic policy.

The team even found that some lockdown measures may have increased deaths by stopping access to outdoor space, “pushing people to meet at less safe places” while isolating infected people indoors, where they could pass the virus on to family members and housemates.

“We do find some evidence that limiting gatherings was counterproductive and increased Covid-19 mortality,” the authors concluded. “Often, lockdowns have limited people’s access to safe outdoor places such as beaches, parks, and zoos, or included outdoor mask mandates or strict outdoor gathering restrictions, pushing people to meet at less safe indoor places.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/02/02/trusting-people-do-right-thing-saved-lives-covid-lockdowns/

Dr John Campbell covers excess deaths also

Consumer trends during Covid-19

Some interesting and somewhat encouraging news from the Woolworths CEO today via his email updates during Covid-19 show some interesting trends in consumer spending on food and vitamins during this time.

To quote from his email:

We are becoming healthier and more adventurous in our cooking
While the slow cooking movement continues, we’re also becoming increasingly adventurous. Ingredients such as cardamom, saffron and dried sesame seeds have doubled in sales. Roasted peppers are up 65%, Asian and hot chilli sauces are both up 40% and capers are up 35%.

We’re also well into soup season. What’s interesting this year is the explosive growth of dried soup mix packets (up 200%) as people make more warming soup at home.

It’s also interesting to see customers think about their health, with a big rise in vitamin sales, plus ground ginger and turmeric sales up 120% and sauerkraut up 76%. On a related topic, sales of cough and cold products are much lower this year compared to last year.”

This is encouraging and hopefully a sign that the general population is starting to become more interested in preparing fresh meals rather than fast food, and hopefully the rise in vitamins and other beneficial products is a sign that people are starting to see value in improving their health and eating better.

It’s pretty clear that the more fit and healthy you are and the better you eat, the less likely you are to contract Covid-19 and, less likely to have severe complication if you do. We have been keeping an eye on developments and have been hoping that the silver lining from all of this may be a new focus on health and well-being.

So please ensure you take some time out of your busy life to focus on whats really important, your life! We at Health Hacker wish all of you good health and encourage you to keep exploring and trying to improve your diet and lifestyle as much as possoble. Remember, something is better than nothing so start on somethign today!

Part 1: My COVID-19 update – April 1st – Dr David A Sinclair

“It’s April 1st, 2020. If only the headlines were a joke. Our nation’s leaders will soon be faced with a difficult choice. Hunker down for another four months and wreck the economy or let people out in two months and kill an additional hundred thousand people.

Professor Samir Bhatt, Senior Lecturer at the Imperial College of London, and his colleagues calculate that, globally, up to 43 million people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. They predict that if we’d gone about our normal lives, COVID-19 would have caused 7 billion infections and 40 million deaths this year. Shielding only the elderly may have halved the number of deaths, a strategy the UK initially entertained, but health systems would have been overwhelmed, so that tactic was largely abandoned.

Based on the advice of professional epidemiologists, most nations have adopted a stretch-it-out and hope it doesn’t return strategy. It seems to be working so far. Rates of new cases are declining in Europe and the US. If the current suppression strategies are sustained, then 38.7 million lives globally will be saved this year, the epidemiologists at the Imperial College calculate. 

But epidemiologists aren’t economists. We can not stay home for the rest of the year – the economic impact would be too high. We are three weeks into the shutdown and already factories are ceasing production, brick-and-mortar retail stores and restaurants are closed, unemployment spikes are unprecedented, commodity prices have plunged, and a wave of loan defaults is expected.

A colleague on a global pandemic response panel tells me the panel’s best estimate is that the US economy will rebound rapidly, but only if the nation returns to work in 60 days. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. No one, not even the experts, are willing to estimate the full economic impact of COVID-19. It will depend on how long it takes to get back to work and how many times we will be sent back home.”

https://mailchi.mp/lifespanbook.com/my-covid-19-update-2572786