Down with Lockdown!

What do you do when the cure does you more harm than the disease? You stop taking it.

Controversially, James Tweedie puts forward an argument for lock-down to be lifted.

Will lock-down lead to deaths ?Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com


By James Tweedie, Plymouth, England, Friday May 15 th 2020

The prescribed treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic, a disease without a cure or vaccine, has been the lockdown, a government-enforced shutdown of economic and social life. It has become a sacred cow for opposition parties, academics, the media and some (but not all) trade unions. Anyone who speaks against it is denounced as an apologist for mass murder.
But with the UK and other countries past the peak of infections and deaths, the ill effects of the lockdown are becoming more serious than the virus itself.
The most common justification for these extraordinary emergency measures in the West is to ‘flatten the curve’ of the infection rate to make sure hospitals are not overwhelmed and patients left to die at home.
In most countries this has been achieved. Despite dire predictions by opposition leaders, ex-civil servants, academics and journalists, the British NHS never ran out of intensive care beds or ventilators, and now we’re way past the peak.
True, some countries have so far managed to contain the virus and keep the number of deaths very low. But most of these nations – China, Vietnam, Singapore, North Korea, Cuba – have very different socio-political systems. They are equipped for this in ways the Western liberal democracies are not.

Cuba and the DPRK are isolated from the rest of the world by Western sanctions. New Zealand, often praised in the UK media, is 2,000 miles from the nearest land and has a population of less than 5 million.

The New Crisis

The start of the lockdown saw the NHS switch to crisis mode. Hospitals cleared the decks, discharging as many patients as possible and cancelling all ‘non-urgent’ procedures – everything but emergency life-saving surgery and treatment.
But this is in danger of creating a worse health crisis than the pandemic. Family doctors have stopped seeing patients unless they were literally dying, for fear of catching the virus themselves. Accident and emergency admissions have fallen by more than half as patients are afraid to go to hospital.
Last weekend British Medical Association Chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned the NHS would have a waiting list of 7.2 million cases by the autumn as a result of the lockdown. In April Cancer Research UK said referrals to consultants were down by 75 per cent, meaning 2,700 new cancer cases were going undiagnosed every week. Specialist Professor Karol Sikora said that could mean 50,000 extra deaths.
The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has already recorded over 50,000 more deaths this year than the same period in 2019, but as of May 14 only 33,614 have been ‘linked’ to coronavirus. In many of those cases the virus was not the sole or even the primary cause of death.

On Wednesday the British Medical Journal reported that of 30,000 deaths in care homes, the new hot-spots of infection, only 10,000 were identified with the virus – and that the rest may be down to the policy of discharging elderly patients from hospital to community care to make way for a wave of COVID-19 admissions that never came.


Suffer the Little Children

The latest cause for middle-class hysteria in the UK has been the government’s announcement that some children will go back to school at the start of June, and that it wants all schoolkids to have at least one month of classes before the summer holidays. It’s kind of amusing to see so many of those who advocate free and compulsory state education now vowing to keep their kids at home when their schools reopen – with some teachers encouraging them. The social-democrats have transformed into libertarians and anarchists. Only 12 per cent of deaths from the virus so far have been among people under the age of 65. Five per cent
were in their fifties, one per cent in their 40s, while the under-40s accounted for less than one per cent of deaths. An overwhelming 95 per cent of fatalities have underlying health conditions – co-morbidities – like heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. If you’re under 50 and healthy, your chances of dying of COVID-19 are almost nil. In fact the harm of keeping children off school for months outweighs any risks of them returning.
UNICEF warned on Tuesday that the lockdown could kill 1.2 million children worldwide in the next six months due to reductions in routine medical visits and the poverty and malnutrition caused by the economic freeze.

The Bottom Line

The brutal truth is that if people don’t go back to work soon, they won’t have jobs to go back to. Government-guaranteed loans are still just liabilities on employers’ balance sheets and aren’t going to bring back lost custom. The numbers of insolvencies and redundancies are soaring and the middle of the year the UK will officially be in a recession.
An ONS survey of businesses found that three-fifths of those still trading had suffered a loss in revenue, with a quarter saying they had lost half or more of their income. Three-fifths of exporters said overseas orders were down.
Businesspeople aren’t the only ones voicing concern. This week the airline pilots’ union BALPA attacked the government’s plan for two weeks’ quarantine for those arriving in the UK, saying it was an effective ban on tourism that would kill their industry. The National Union of Journalists pointed out that advertising revenue in the business had fallen by 80 per cent since the start of the lockdown, with thousands of workers already laid off. Two-thirds of freelancers told the union they’d lost income.
When side-effects of the cure are worse than the disease, you have to stop taking it. It’s time for the young and healthy to go back to work, school and university and get Britain and the world back on its feet.Down with Lockdown!

What do you do when the cure does you more harm than the disease? You stop taking it.


James Tweedie

James Tweedie was born in Hammersmith, West London, in 1975. He grew up in the shadow of the mushroom cloud in the time of colonial liberation, being taken to Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament  and Anti-Apartheid Movement events by his mother and father respectfully.

James has lived and worked in South Africa and Spain. He has worked as a reporter and the international editor of the Morning Star newspaper, a foreign reporter for the Mail Online and an online journalist for RT.com. He has appeared as a commentator on BBC Radio 4, RT’s Crosstalk, Turkey’s TRT World and Iran’s Press TV.

He maintains an occasional blog (http://ositorojo.blogspot.com/), describing himself as “one of the most deplorable purveyors of fake news about populist strongmen (and women) around the post-truth world.”



Categories: Brexit, Capitalism, Communism, Covid-19, Economics, James Tweedie, NHS, Socialism

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