Fri 24 April 2020:
Lockdowns are the wrong policy to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, are politically dangerous and will be difficult to exit, said Swedish Professor John Giesecke, one of the world’s most senior epidemiologists.
Many countries have reacted to the coronavirus pandemic by imposing harsh restrictions on movement and social gatherings, ranging from closing schools to implementing full curfews in which residents are not allowed to leave their homes and the economy has ground to a halt. Sweden is one of the few countries not to impose a lockdown, instead allowing most aspects of life to continue as usual, including gatherings of up to 50 people.
Rather than help countries “flatten the curve” of daily infections, Giesecke argued that there is no evidence that lockdowns actually work – and that instead, they have damaging political consequences and will be unable to prevent COVID-19 from inevitably becoming part of daily life like influenza. He advises Sweden’s government and the World Health Organization (WHO) on their COVID-19 strategy.
“When you start looking around now at the measures that are being taken by different countries you find that very few of them have a shred of evidence-based [support] … border closures, school closures, social distancing – there’s almost no science behind most of these,” said Giesecke in a wide-ranging interview with Unherd’s Lockdown TV.
According to Giesecke, lockdowns will make little real difference to the number of deaths in the long-term, are unfeasible in democracies, and have led to a rise in power grabs by some European leaders.
“What I’m saying is that people who will die a few months later are dying now, so that’s maybe not nice, but comparing that to the effects of the lockdown – I mean, what am I most afraid of? It’s the dictatorial trends in Eastern Europe … I mean the ramifications could be huge. We haven’t even started seeing them,” he said.
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