The contrast is unmistakable. All the western countries that implemented some degree of lockdown experienced an exponentially worse result than the Asian countries that kept their economies moving to some degree. There are obviously many variables at play, but before we destroy our jobs, liberty, and way of life under the guise of fighting coronavirus, are we certain that a lockdown strategy really helps and does not, in fact, harm our ability to develop herd immunity and rid ourselves of this virus?
We might want to take note of the observations emanating from Taiwan’s CDC. After all, it’s reported that Taiwan had just six fatalities from COVID-19, even though the country lies just 100 miles from China. Taiwan reportedly has just a few hundred cases, and its curve appears to have flatted just after a few weeks without any lockdowns and with schools remaining open. They isolated the symptomatic, quarantined the sick, and had border control earlier than anyone else. That was their recipe for success.
Well, the same CDC that led the best COVID-19 strategy worldwide came out with a study last month tracing 1,043 contacts of 32 COVID-19 patients and found that not a single transmission occurred outside those in their households or families. The study came out on March 19 and was posted on Twitter by former NYT reporter and lockdown skeptic Alex Berenson.
According to the findings, seven out of the 36 household contacts and five of the 47 family contacts wound up contracting the virus from the initial study group, while zero of the 960 non-family exposed individuals contracted the disease.
Which demonstrates that, as many have suspected, this disease is most transferable among families holed up in close quarters. The study does recommend “generalized social distancing,” but that is very different from a lockdown.
The data from Taiwan harmonizes with Japanese data that, according to the CDC, shows transmission of the virus is 18.7 times greater indoors than outdoors. “In a study of 110 case-patients from 11 clusters in Japan, all clusters were associated with closed environments, including fitness centers, shared eating environments, and hospitals, the odds for transmission from a primary case-patient were 18.7 times higher than in open-air environments,” wrote two researchers in a report published by the CDC on March 18.
So. Is locking everyone down – young and old, sick and healthy – together in families for extended periods of the time the best strategy? How will we develop herd immunity? This is the question the lockdown fascists like Dr. Anthony Fauci cannot answer. Aside from all the terrible collateral damage of a shutdown, who is to say more people will not die and the virus’ shelf life won’t be extended by hindering herd immunity rather than embracing it?
This is a red flag being thrown by prominent German American epidemiologist Knut M. Wittkowski. “With all respiratory diseases, the only thing that stops the disease is herd immunity,” said the world-renowned epidemiologist who headed the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design at the Rockefeller University, New York for 20 years. “About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected, or they had very, very mild symptoms, especially if they are children.” His full interview can be heard here.
As such, Dr. Wittkowski advocates for the exact opposite strategy. “So, it’s very important to keep the schools open and kids mingling to spread the virus to get herd immunity as fast as possible, and then the elderly people, who should be separated, and the nursing homes should be closed during that time, can come back and meet their children and grandchildren after about 4 weeks when the virus has been exterminated.”
Wittkowski warns that under the current strategy, “If we are preventing herd immunity from developing, it is almost guaranteed that we have a second wave as soon as either we stop the social distancing or the climate changes with winter coming or something like that.”
Thus, even after causing countless deaths and permanent economic and mental health devastation from a lockdown for several months, we will be back to square zero within a few days of ending the shutdown.
What is further maddening about the lockdown strategy is that it was implemented months after the virus was likely rampant in the population. It’s one thing to start a lockdown when the virus is small and contained, but as it stands now, we are locking down countless millions of people indoors with those who already have it. According to the L.A. Times, Dr. Jeff Smith, a physician who is the chief executive of Santa Clara County government, told county officials that based on their data, the virus was in the Bay Area of California, which is a big hub for Asian travel, “a lot longer than we first believed” — most likely since “back in December.”
The media is trying to credit California’s low per-capita level of COVID-19 fatalities to the lockdown policies, but perhaps the success is due to the early percolation of the virus and its ensuing herd immunity, created before the counterproductive lockdown.
Yes, people will get sick and die no matter what we do, and undoubtedly, many of those deaths prior to March were chalked up to what was thought of as a bad flu season. “This wasn’t recognized because we were having a severe flu season,” Smith said in an interview with the L.A. Times. “Symptoms are very much like the flu. If you got a mild case of COVID, you didn’t really notice. You didn’t even go to the doctor. The doctor maybe didn’t even do it because they presumed it was the flu.”
Obviously, it’s hard to compare all of the variables from state to state and from country to country, but a recent analysis showed there was no statistical difference between states that shut things down early vs. those that waited until later. Moreover, obfuscated in any analysis is the difference between commonsense distancing and hygiene measures vs. a lockdown involving shutdowns of all schools and businesses. Whereas everyone agrees the former are extremely helpful, the jury is still out on the effectiveness (or perhaps, counterproductiveness) of the latter.
Remember, the very same people like Dr. Fauci who failed to warn the public to take the virus seriously in January after numerous Chinese doctors warned about it on social media now want us to trust them about going to the other extreme. As late as March 9, Dr. Fauci said, “If you are a healthy young person, there is no reason if you want to go on a cruise ship, go on a cruise ship.” Anyone with common sense (and without the fancy degrees) could have seen the dangers of a petri dish like a cruise at that point, yet Fauci missed it. Now he’s telling us churches and businesses that carefully follow CDC distancing guidelines and don’t have massive crowds can’t stay open?
It’s truly astounding that a month into this lockdown, we still have no answers from the federal government as to when this virus began and how many people had it. That question will make all the difference in determining our strategy going forward. At this late juncture, after we have already seen the devastation of the lockdown’s side effects, don’t we want to know whether the cure is actually curing the disease and not making it worse? After all, who wants a form of chemotherapy that, after all the suffering, makes the cancer worse?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.