Forleden var der en helt igennem fremragende kommentar i WSJ (jeg havde fri adgang her) under rubrikken “The Fickle ‘Science’ of Lockdowns”. Nedenfor er det centrale afsnit om evidens, men du bør læse det hele – der er en sønderlemmende kritik af Imperial Colleges modeller, der bl.a. var stærkt bidragende til nedlukningen i UK (efter kontakttallet var kommet under 1, vel at mærke)
A September 2019 report from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security reached a similar conclusion: “In the context of a high-impact respiratory pathogen, quarantine may be the least likely NPI to be effective in controlling the spread due to high transmissibility.” This was especially true of a fast-spreading airborne virus, such as the then-undiscovered SARS-CoV-2.
These studies drew on historical experience. A separate 2006 WHO study concluded that “forced isolation and quarantine are ineffective and impractical,” based on findings from the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. It pointed to the example of Edmonton, Alberta, where “public meetings were banned; schools, churches, colleges, theaters, and other public gathering places were closed; and business hours were restricted without obvious impact on the epidemic.”
Using data from a 1927 analysis of the Spanish flu in the U.S., the study concluded that lockdowns were “not demonstrably effective in urban areas.” Only in isolated rural areas, “where group contacts are less numerous,” did this strategy become theoretically viable, but the hypothesis wasn’t tested. While the study found some benefits from smaller-scale quarantines of patients and their families during the 2003 SARS outbreak, it concluded that a fast-spreading disease, combined with “the presence of mild cases and possibility of transmission without symptoms,” would make these measures “considerably less successful.”
Medical historian John Barry, who wrote the standard account of the 1918 Spanish flu, concurred about the ineffectiveness of lockdowns. “Historical data clearly demonstrate that quarantine does not work unless it is absolutely rigid and complete,” he wrote in 2009, summarizing the results of a study of influenza outbreaks on U.S. Army bases during World War I. Of 120 training camps that experienced outbreaks, 99 imposed on-base quarantines and 21 didn’t. Case rates between the two categories of camps showed “no statistical difference.” “If a military camp cannot be successfully quarantined in wartime,” Mr. Barry concluded, “it is highly unlikely a civilian community can be quarantined during peacetime.”
A Johns Hopkins team reached similar conclusions in 2006: “No historical observations or scientific studies” could be found to support the effectiveness of large-scale quarantine. The scientists concluded that “the negative consequences of large-scale quarantine are so extreme . . . that this mitigation measure should be eliminated from serious consideration.” They rejected the modeling approach for relying too heavily on its own assumptions—circular reasoning that confuses a model’s predictions with observed reality.
Og så er der et politisk guldkorn til sidst.
So why did public-health authorities abandon their opposition to lockdowns? Why did they rush to embrace the untested claims of flawed epidemiological modeling? One answer appears in the Johns Hopkins study from 2019: “Some NPIs, such as travel restrictions and quarantine, might be pursued for social or political purposes by political leaders, rather than pursued because of public health evidence.”