Letter: Covid lockdowns were prescribed to save lives but the side effects were never properly assessed or even considered
The risk of dying from covid-19 is less than 1%. Most of those who died were over 70. Every death is a tragedy for some family but many of the individuals were, in layman’s terms, “completely done”.
Lockdown was prescribed by doctors to save lives, but unlike the prescription of a drug the efficacy/side effect ratio of lockdown was never properly assessed or even considered.
Increasingly, the side effects of lockdown are now emerging. Cancer cases have gone undiagnosed, heart disease hasn’t been investigated, children have missed out on their education, mental ill-health has sharply increased, the country has been almost bankrupted by furloughing, waiting lists are at an all time high with a backlog now of more than seven million patients, millions of GP appointments and operations have been postponed or scrapped etc.
Further, the current rate of excess non-covid deaths, that is the number of deaths more than would be expected in normal times, is running at more than 800 per week. The cause of this is still not clear but Prof Chris Whitty advises that some of it is due to thousands of middle-aged people dying of heart conditions that went untreated during the pandemic. Even children may have been affected, there having been an unexplained peak in Strep A infections, with some deaths.
The “Law of Unintended Consequences” is that actions of people, and especially of government, always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended. Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries but for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have largely ignored it. This may have been the case with lockdown.
Mostly elderly lives have been saved in the short term but are we now experiencing the long term consequences of our response to Covid, particularly lockdown?
I would add that Sweden didn’t do lockdown and didn’t do worse than anybody else. Johns Hopkins University in the US has concluded it didn’t save lives. And in his opening address, the lead lawyer for the UK covid inquiry said that the potential consequences of lockdown were never considered.
The government was right to resist a second lockdown for the Omicron variant of covid, ignoring pressure from “experts” such as our local British Medical Association chairman. I doubt very much if the general public will once again obey well intentioned but ill-considered medical opinion when the next viral epidemic with a low mortality comes around.
Dr Geoffrey Todd, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Co Antrim