Flat White

Graphs that give lie to the narrative

17 January 2022

2:00 PM

17 January 2022

2:00 PM

Numbers may not lie, but graphs can give the lie to the lockdown and vaccination narratives that have held the world in their iron grip for two years.

We have been locked down, put under mass house arrest, tracked, traced, and jabbed serially for a pandemic so dangerous we need daily reminders of impending gloom and doom. Even those who ‘do the right thing’ find the goalposts of compliance moving with the regularity of a carrot dangling before an ass.

Look at Figure 1 and tell me how effective and successful the strategy of stringent measures and mass vaccination has been in eliminating cases for Australia, France, UK, and America when compared to light footprint Sweden? It’s a compelling illustration of the over-hyped benefits of non-pharmaceutical interventions (such as shelter in place, masks, and contact tracing) that have seriously downplayed their collateral and long-term costs.

The lower death rates probably reflect a combination of vaccine efficacy, reduced lethality of the extremely transmissible Omicron variant, and widening immunity among unvaccinated (but recovered) Covid-infected people. The broken link between cases and deaths also confirms the folly of using infections – which are based on an unreliable positive test – rather than mortality rates as the key metric for driving Covid policy.

Figure 1: Covid case and death rates in Australia, France, Sweden, UK and US.

Source: Our World in Data

Rebranding Covid as the ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ – as President Joe Biden did on 24 September and repeated on 6 January – then targeting the thus-stigmatised non-compliant with punishment, is a way to scapegoat others in order to cover up previous neglect of health infrastructure. The failure of vaccines to deliver on the inflated initial promises of effectiveness, safety, and usefulness as an exit ramp from lockdowns is not due to those who refuse them but to their inherent limitations.

What’s more, it’s based on an empirical falsehood. As Figure 2 shows, in the final four weeks of 2021, relative to one another, vaccinated people in the 18 to 69 age groups in the UK were infected at a rate that is double and higher than the unjabbed. But they were between two to six times less likely to require hospitalisation. However, in absolute numbers, 50 per cent of Covid hospital admissions and 68 percent of deaths were among the vaccinated, compared to 42 and 28 per cent, respectively, among the unvaccinated.

Figure 2: UK Covid infections and hospital admissions for weeks 49–52 of 2021.

Source: UK Government Health Security Agency.

The pointlessness of the massively disruptive society-wide restrictions that were put in place almost everywhere can be shown with a pair of contrasting policies that brought similar outcomes.

Austria and Sweden are perfect examples of one the world’s most and least restrictive countries in regard to Covid management policies. This includes measures like lockdowns for everyone/the unvaccinated, school closures, mask mandates, mass testing, and contact tracing. The two countries are broadly similar in population size and density, life expectancy, median age, and obesity.

Figure 3 shows that with comparable vaccination coverage, Sweden’s lighter touch approach on the severity of mandated restrictions yielded better ICU and mortality outcomes. The gap is even wider on all-cause excess mortality, suggesting greater collateral public health damage in Austria.

The larger point is not which country has fared better, but the general ineffectiveness and therefore lack of justification for tough government interventions which regulate human behaviour without successfully controlling the virus. That can also be seen by looking just at Austria’s chronology of mask and vaccine mandates and the rise and fall of its case numbers on an independent internal logic unrelated to policy interventions (Figure 4).

Figure 3: A comparison of Austria and Sweden.

Source: Our World in Data

Figure 4: Austria’s Covid mandates and daily new cases per million new people

Coming finally to harms, a look at multi-country adverse data reports indicate that around 100,000 deaths might have been caused or triggered by vaccines, including more than 20,000 in the US (Figure 5). Before Covid, that would have halted a vaccination rollout in its tracks, but during Covid it’s not been a permitted topic of conversation in polite society. Moreover, unlike Covid which kills mostly the elderly, the vaccines are more indiscriminate in their lethal effects.

Figure 5: Post-vaccination deaths reported to the US VAERS system, 1990–2021

Source: Swiss Policy Research, 28 December 2021

In early 2020, governments decided they must be seen to be ‘doing something’, even if that something is un-tethered to reality and inflicts pointless pain on the population. Instead, living with the virus means catching the virus and allowing people at low risk to get on with living. Like Churchill’s mischievous description of the Americans, having tried everything else, can we please get back to the pre-Covid normality as the right thing to do?

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments