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Comment: The following is quite possibly one of the most comprehensive articles published here on Covid-19, and sums a number of important points on the virus quite handily.

We are constantly told by our political leaders and the compliant media that a pandemic lockdown is absolutely necessary if we are ever to defeat the COVID virus. Mask mandates, quarantine camps, self-isolating, limited sociability, the stoking of public fear and panic, the shuttering of businesses and the attendant cratering of the economy have become, once again, the false solution to a politically ginned-up crisis -- déjà vu all over again. The trouble is: none of this works, none of this is necessary. Texas Tech professor Gilbert Berdine sums up:
"After taking the unprecedented economic depression into account, history will likely judge these lockdowns to be the greatest policy error of this generation."
Psychiatrist Mark McDonald writes:
"Not only have Americans become afraid, they have become infected by ... a pandemic of hysteria ... a delusional psychosis. A delusion is a fixed false belief contrary to reality. Americans today believe that we must keep our businesses closed, that we must keep our children at home, that we must wear masks over our faces and isolate ourselves from human beings in order to keep us alive. That is false. That is a lie. And it is killing us. It is killing us physically, mentally, socially, psychologically, it is killing our country, and it must stop."
There is no doubt that the lockdown is "killing" every country and destroying the urban hub of cultural life and economic activity wherever it has been imposed. Consider London, for example, a great and historic metropolis which has become a virtual ghost town, communally dead, everywhere shops and businesses closed that will never re-open again, a harbinger of massive financial collapse. London has fallen. And many cities and nations in the West will follow suit. Take a look at New York, Chicago and L.A.

Powerful confirmation of the absurdity and harmfulness of the lockdowns comes from the recently circulated Great Barrington Declaration, prepared and signed by eminent physicians and epidemiologists, which arrives at the following conclusion:
Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.
Adding to the growing dissent from official policy, 25 scientists from seven countries, who participated in the Truth Over Fear Summit in October 2020, "agreed that the lockdowns are causing far more harm than COVID-19 itself, and many believe the pandemic is tied to the plans of global elites to implement a worldwide socialist surveillance state through the "Great Reset."

Irish biomedicine scientist Dr. Dolores Cahill argues: "There was no known moral, ethical, legal, scientific or medical basis" for the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic on March 11, 2020, at which point the number of COVID-19 deaths was one percent of the annual influenza deaths. No matter. Editorial director of the Heartland Institute Justin Haskins writes,
"For those of us who support free markets, the Great Reset is nothing short of terrifying...Making matters worse, the left has already proven throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that it can radically transform political realities in the midst of a crisis, so it's not hard to see how ...[t]he present pandemic is a 'golden opportunity' for radical change...dramatically pushing humanity toward greater government control. [R]adical - and catastrophic - change is exactly what we're going to get."
Similarly, as John Zmirak presciently writes in The Stream, we are being schooled to acquire a condition of learned helplessness, "characterized by three main features: a passive response to trauma, not believing that trauma can be controlled, and stress. Our political masters on the left are using "the virus as the pretext for a Great Reset, stripping citizens throughout the West of their traditional liberties, especially private property rights. Why else impose on us useless lockdowns, despite the plummeting number of virus deaths?"

Haskins' and Zmirak's suspicions are corroborated by the founder of the World Economic Forum and chief proponent of the Great Reset himself, Klaus Schwab. In his new book COVID-19: The Great Reset, Schwab actually downplays the significance of the virus while regarding it as a providential pretext to remake the world and unleash a "fourth industrial revolution" that will eliminate private property, restrict travel and establish a surveillance state in which everyone is chipped and monitored. The lockdowns are a way of softening up the population to accept a technocratic revolution presided over by a club of billionaires, their political adjutants and chosen "experts." Schwab's books make this clear.

The lockdown people -- local politicians, governors and government-employed medical officials, many of whom, deeply unread and narrowly educated, may never have heard of Schwab -- have not looked at the statistics -- or rather, have apparently not wanted to, since the data would categorically refute their contentions. Retired Manitoba judge Brian Giesbrecht recently showed that "the death toll in New York as of September was approximately 1,700 per million population, in New Jersey 1,800 per million, and in Haiti fewer than 19 per million." The discrepancy is staggering. Why is this? Haiti was too poor a country to install lockdown measures and sailed through the pandemic with little damage. The same is true of Belarus.

Mortality rates in the two American states mentioned here are more than five times higher than in Sweden and 20 times higher than in Belarus. Affluent countries that did not lockdown, like Sweden and Japan, are doing immeasurably better than their industrialized counterparts who have fallen for the drastic provisions of dubious "experts" like Neil Ferguson, who is perpetually wrong, and Anthony Fauci, who says one thing and then another as the winds of political calculus blow. (Fauci, who now insists on the necessity for wearing masks, was spotted maskless in public.)

What about, we may ask, the ostensible spike in positive test cases, which has justified renewed draconian measures to combat the virus, fueled the mask mania -- masks may cause hypoxia, gingivitis and bacterial pneumonias -- and led to a second round of government-imposed lockdowns? This is a false statistic, easily debunked. The authentic statistic is the morbidity rate and the number of COVID patients in ICU, figures which do not track the cases. The real reason, then, for the discrepancy between cases and fatalities is not hard to ascertain. As The Conversation reports, "The number of cases has not been rising because the number of people carrying the disease has been increasing, but instead because more tests are being carried out." Additionally, "It is likely that among the steadily rising number of people who have tested positive for the disease since June, an increasing proportion are that having the disease is dramatically less lethal for each person with it."

The report concludes that the recent fall in the actual number of deaths "is so fast and so great that a log scale is required to encompass it in one graph." But you wouldn't know it by listening to the News, reading the papers or scanning the daily health bulletins. It is worth noting that The Conversation is a diehard academic and rabidly feminist site that regularly distorts the truth to promote a leftist agenda. It must have been asleep at the wheel to finally get something right.

The MDI Institute has similarly adopted a rational assessment of the situation. "[W]hen we look at yearly figures over the past decade, we see that...the daily repetition... of data about 'new cases,' 'cumulative active cases,' and 'cumulative deaths' have maintained a sense of fear and urgency completely out of proportion with the reality." Ophthalmologist Dr Richard Urso points to the fact that viruses act in a consistent way, entailing "a large peak early on", a smaller peak "about 110 days later," after which the curve plummets despite the high number of reported cases. What we now have, says Urso, is a "casedemic," which tells us nothing about the incidence of lethality. But there is a proviso. The morbidity rate will be artificially maintained or inflated in lockdown jurisdictions owing to the continued deferral or prevention of herd immunity. Lockdowns do not stop or reduce the impact of the pandemic, they work hand in hand with it.

Another reason for the spike in cases has to do with the testing method. RT-PCR testing (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) is too sensitive to generate reliable results. As CEBM has found, "This detection might correspond to a virus that is now incapable of infecting cells and reproduce...The meaning is that the PCR positive is a non-infectious positive." Or as the BBC puts it, "Tests could be picking up dead virus." Virology Down Under is enthusiastic about RT-PCR testing, but admits that "a positive result doesn't mean virus is present," only that it was. This accounts for the fact that "false positives" flowing from such tests are distressingly large and that the test is used only as a "surrogate indicator."

In the idiolect of the CDC, "Recovered persons can continue to shed detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA in upper respiratory specimens for up to 3 months after illness onset, albeit at concentrations considerably lower than during illness, in ranges where replication-competent virus has not been reliably recovered and infectiousness is unlikely." The CDC concludes that it is misleading to rely on test-based strategies and recommends that "persons who are by current evidence no longer infectious are not kept unnecessarily isolated and excluded from work or other responsibilities." In other words, tests picking up inert viral RNA are unreliable. East European doctors are equally convinced. The Bulgarian Pathology Association, for example, has no doubt that "these PCR tests are meaningless as a diagnostic tool to determine an alleged infection by a supposedly new virus called SARS-CoV-2."

Of course, there are a great number of sites and studies insisting on the efficacy of testing, but the clincher comes from the inventor of the PCR diagnostic test, the late Nobel Laureate Dr. Kary Mullis, who said, "It doesn't tell you that you are sick or the thing you ended up with is going to hurt you." (Cf. COVID-19 Unmasked, at 58:20). Naturally, the usual disinformation can be expected from leftist "fact checkers" like Reuters, FullFact, et al, who hold Mullis in contempt. The reality is that COVID morbidity is on the wane except in countries that have re-established a COVID-breeding lockdown, in effect a viral dictatorship.

An additional factor in inflating the mortality rate is the misleading practice of conflating the number of those who died from COVID with the number of those who died with COVID. As co-ordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx explains, "All deaths of patients with a linkage to COVID-19 are now classified as COVID-19 deaths regardless of cause or underlying health issues that could have contributed to loss of life." The issue is further complicated by clustering the "Case fatality rate" with the "crude mortality rate," which "measures the probability that any individual in the population will die from the disease; not just those who are infected, or are confirmed as being infected" -- aside from the glaringly obvious fact that not everyone in the population has been infected.

There is yet one more issue to consider. An American study conducted by the medical research journal JAMA for March-April 2020 points out that "The number of publicly reported deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may underestimate the pandemic's death toll," not by under-counting, as one might think, but insofar as "restrictions imposed by the pandemic (e.g., stay-at-home orders) could claim lives indirectly through delayed care for acute emergencies, exacerbations of chronic diseases, and psychological distress (e.g., drug overdoses)." This is known as "excess deaths," which may account for as many as 87,000 additional victims of supernumerary conditions. A later study extending to August gives the toll as even greater, culminating in 225,530 excess deaths. To put it succinctly, the COVID figures have not only been manipulated to inflate the morbidity number, they make no mention of the vast number of "excess deaths" caused by the lockdown measures.

Lockdowns are serial killers. On the one hand they defer the development of herd immunity, causing prolonged suffering and needless deaths. Thus, one lockdown will continually lead to another lockdown. On the other hand, as we have just noted, they are the cause of "excess deaths" owing to a number of immiserating factors: stress, depression, addiction, suicide and the indefinite postponement of treatment for acute medical conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer and heart disease, among others. Yet people are growing accustomed to being locked down and many are even insisting on it, replacing realism with delusion. This does not bode well for the only prudent response to the crisis in which we find ourselves. Coronavirus restrictions must be lifted if the dying is to stop.

The crowning irony, as director of the American Institute for Economic Research Jeffrey Tucker writes in his new book Liberty or Lockdown, is that there is no relation between the virus and the lockdowns, that is, the lockdowns do not ameliorate the incidence or ferocity of the disease: "The two operate as seemingly independent variables." The lockdowns have done absolutely nothing -- his word -- except to worsen the situation, as we see in those European countries that have sacrificed hope, health and prosperity to a medical figment. A half year of killing businesses has not killed the virus; nonetheless we are enjoined to do more of what has not been working. What will work (and has worked) is herd immunity, which dramatically reduces viral incidence.

As Orwell wrote in his Introduction to Animal Farm, "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." What many people do not want to hear is that the lockdown strategy is an epidemiological cul de sac and a universal failure. Dr. Roger Hodkinson, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons-certified pathologist, CEO of a large private medical laboratory in Edmonton, Alberta, and Chairman of a Medical Biotechnology company selling the COVID-19 test. In a radio interview, he had this to say about the official response to the "pandemic":
"This is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspected [sic] public... This is nothing more than a bad flu season. It's politics playing medicine...Masks are utterly useless. There is no evidence whatsoever they are even effective. It is utterly ridiculous seeing these unfortunate, uneducated people walking around like lemmings obeying without any evidence. Social distancing is also useless...Positive testing results do NOT indicate clinical infection. [U]sing the province's own statistics the risk of death under 65 is 1 in 300,000. The scale of the response is utterly ridiculous...all kinds of business closures, suicides .... you're being led down the garden path."
The mature mode of action is to take reasonable precautions, practice good hygiene, take a daily doses of Vitamin D3 and zinc capsules, recognize that casual outdoor social distancing is nonsense, and if you are not among the elderly susceptibles and have no critical pre-existing conditions, and are not especially overweight, you should go about your (unmasked) everyday life as usual and run your businesses without interference -- assuming, of course, the authorities do not arrest you. You are statistically assured of survival with, at worst, only minor and temporary discomfort.

The conclusion? Recognize the onset of learned helplessness and learn instead to confront and defy it, practicing what Medical News Today calls an "optimistic explanatory style," that is, the courage to resist coercion and the planned deselecting of productivity. It is not only one's health that is at risk but, potentially, one's freedom as well, if the political and plutocratic elites have their way. We should not succumb to the persuasive force of the lockdown propaganda but realize that the lockdown is a perfect metaphor for paralyzing thought.

We should support the growing number of marches for democratic rights and political freedom and lobby our governments to reverse and mitigate the "greatest policy error of this generation" -- if policy error it is -- before it is too late. We need to end the lockdown before the economy collapses, mortality rates climb exponentially, and all normal life becomes a thing of the past.

Correction: Dr. Hodkinson was not chairman of rhe Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ottawa, but is ceritfied by them
David Solway's most recent book is Notes from a Derelict Culture, BlackHouse Publishing, London, 2019.