Dr. Ari R Joffe, MD, teaches in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care Medicine, University of Alberta and Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is a member of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was also an advocate of lockdowns. Then he saw what they did in practice. Now he has documented the carnage in what might be the most comprehensive paper yet published.
It is called: COVID-19: Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink
Here are his summary points.
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide pandemic in 2020. In response, most countries in the world implemented lockdowns, restricting their population’s movements, work, education, gatherings, and general activities in an attempt to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 cases. The public health goal of lockdowns was to save the population from COVID-19 cases and deaths, and to prevent overwhelming health care systems with COVID-19 patients. In this narrative review I explain why I changed my mind about supporting lockdowns. First, I explain how the initial modeling predictions induced fear and crowd-effects [i.e., groupthink]. Second, I summarize important information that has emerged relevant to the modeling, including about infection fatality rate, high-risk groups, herd immunity thresholds, and exit strategies. Third, I describe how reality started sinking in, with information on significant collateral damage due to the response to the pandemic, and information placing the number of deaths in context and perspective. Fourth, I present a cost-benefit analysis of the response to COVID-19 that finds lockdowns are far more harmful to public health than COVID-19 can be. I close with some suggestions for moving forward.
The paper covers the failures of the models, the emergence of group think, the fear-based narrative, the emerging demographic data, the Swedish exception, the failure to balance costs and benefits, the role of the media, the psychological devastation, the carnage within the medical industry, the economic calamity, and much more, complete with some striking charts, among which:
And the conclusion: “We must open up society to save many more lives than we can by attempting to avoid every case (or even most cases) of COVID-19. It is past time to take an effortful pause, calibrate our response to the true risk, make rational cost-benefit analyses of the trade-offs, and end the lockdown groupthink.”