How can they sleep at night? Or face themselves in the mirror in the morning?
I ask the question ‘triggered’ by a report in the Indian Express (12 October). There’s been a sharp surge in child trafficking in India following lockdowns. Westerners have forgotten what ‘hand to mouth’ existence means, when the sole breadwinner must earn daily wages to buy food for the family, including elderly parents. With lockdown for months without end, children are inevitably at risk of being trafficked into labour bondage, street begging or sexual slavery. An analogous development has been the growth in sex predators in Australia as restrictions on movements mean more kids are online for longer periods (Australian, 12 October).
We now know the fear-mongers were disastrously wrong, but persist with their heartless cruelty nonetheless. In April, the UN Economic Commission for Africa said ‘between 300,000 and 3.3 million African people could lose their lives as a direct result of Covid-19’. In February, Bill Gates warned of 10 million corona virus deaths in Africa. On 15 October, the real number was 38,977. Gates is a genius as a tech entrepreneur but his grasp of epidemiology is near the other end of the scale. Mind you, the tech sector is one of the very few to have done well financially from the lockdown.
The unbearable cruelty imposed by health bureaucrats without a distinguished medical research record has sucked the very humanity out of society: delaying interstate visits until too late to see a dying father or save one of the twins in the womb in need of urgent attention. As British MP Charles Walker said in a BBC radio interview on 12 October, for many elderly people, ‘being told that you’ve got to spend the next six or 12 months without human contact, without seeing the people that you love, without embracing your grandchildren, is a price too high’.
The Great Barrington Declaration, authored by world-leading scientists Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, summarised lockdown’s collateral harm: ‘lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden’. The Declaration has over 500,000 signatories, including 36,543 public health scientists and medical practitioners.
The US Centres for Disease Control estimates 93,814 non-Covid excess American deaths. In the UK, ‘up to 150,000’ could suffer non-Covid-19 premature deaths, the Financial Times reported. In Australia, there were 134 fewer deaths from all respiratory illnesses in the first half of the year compared to the five-yearly average annual deaths for 2015–19, but an additional 617 cancer deaths.
Of course, the biggest tragedy will be across the developing world over the next decade, with over 100 million more people pushed into extreme poverty, tens of millions of additional dead from increased infant and maternal mortality, hunger and starvation with more poverty and disrupted crop production and food distribution networks, sharp cutbacks in immunisation and schooling, and destruction of the informal sectors of the economy in which daily wage earners earn a pitiful living. Most countries will also need to prepare for potential spikes in mental health problems and suicides from the fear generated by exaggerated alarmism as well as the loneliness, isolation, financial ruin and despair caused by the lockdowns.
‘Hundreds of thousands of cancer screenings were deferred after worries about Covid-19 shut down much of the US health-care system this spring’, the Wall Street Journal reported on 15 October. ‘There’s really almost no way that doesn’t turn into increased mortality’. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on 6 October that cancer treatment would have to wait until coronavirus was ‘under control’. Almost daily he has provided fresh evidence of being a thick politician without the intellectual nous to comprehend the sheer idiocy of his own statements. As London University oncologist Professor Angus Dalgliesh noted (Daily Mail, 15 October), Hancock ‘has had nine long months to educate himself out of his ignorance of the scientific implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. But this week he was still responding to reasoned argument with petulant contempt’.
The top medical scientists cannot claim the defence of intellectual shallowness. Doctors who know better but have remained silent are complicit in the crimes against humanity resulting from the brutal perverse consequences of the stringent measures. They might have pleaded ignorance of the extent of the consequences back in March, although some of us did warn of the possibility early on. The excuse of ignorance is no longer available. Nor is it good enough to go along with the mass cruelty in order to get along with professional colleagues. Kulldorff writes by email (15 October): ‘Among infectious disease epidemiologists that I know and interact with, the majority is in favor of an age/risk-targeted strategy of focused protection. For various reasons, some have been uncomfortable speaking out publicly’.
I point them to Professor David Livermore, a microbiologist at the University of East Anglia. In an article for the UK Telegraph (10 October), he explains: ‘in conscience and surveying the wreckage, I can only quote Martin Luther: “Here I stand; I can do no other”.’ Pontius Pilate washed his hands of any responsibility for the death of Jesus. I didn’t realise this is what the Australian and Victorian medical associations had in mind when they recommend frequent hand washing.
As Dr Matt Strauss of Queen’s University in Canada (my alma mater) argued in The Spectator (14 October): ‘If lockdowns were a prescription drug for Covid-19 treatment, the FDA would never have approved it’. Hence his conclusion as a medic with clinical practice: ‘mandatory government lockdowns amount to a medical recommendation of no proven benefit, of extraordinary potential harm, that do not take personal values and individual consent into account’.
‘First do no harm’ – good counsel, that.
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