Sunday, January 17, 2021

Christopher Snowdon responds to the extreme COVID-19 sceptics

Christopher Snowdon, who is a libertarian and works for a free-market think-tank, is not an automatic supporter of lockdowns. He thought the first one could have ended sooner, opposed the second one, and disagrees with, quote, "the likes of Piers Morgan and “Independent” SAGE who would have had us in lockdown all year if they’d had a chance."

He has spent most of his working life critiquing the excesses of the nanny state and he adds,

"I do not secretly harbour thoughts of creating a police state or bankrupting the economy."

Actually, I think hardly anyone does, but the accusation would make even less sense when made against Christopher Snowdon than it would if aimed against, say Boris Johnson (and I think anyone who makes it against Boris is losing it big time.) 

This makes it all the more powerful when he goes on to write

"Nevertheless, I don’t think it is necessarily a bad idea to prevent tens of thousands of people dying this winter from a disease for which we now have multiple vaccines. I had hoped that we could muddle through with local restrictions, but the emergence in December of an extraordinarily infectious new strain put an end to that. 

The number of COVID cases doubled in the first half of December and doubled again in the second half. Much of London, Kent, and Essex seemed impervious to even the stringent tier 4 restrictions. We did not need a model from Imperial College to see which way this was going. In London and the south-east, there are now more people in hospital with COVID-19 than at the peak of the first wave. There are more on ventilators too, despite doctors using mechanical ventilation less than they did in the spring. It is going to get worse for some time to come. 

We had to get the numbers down.

And so I reluctantly support this lockdown for the same reason I initially supported the first one, as a last resort. It seems to me to be the only way to ensure that everybody is able to access healthcare, whether they have COVID or not. As soon as it has achieved its goal, I will press for it to be lifted. I am fully aware of the social and economic havoc lockdowns cause. We will spend much of the remaining decade picking up the pieces."

His dissection and demolition of the arguments of the kind of extreme COIVD-19 sceptics who have been demonstrating outside hospitals and pretending that the present wave of COVID infections isn't happening is all the more powerful because it comes from someone who would have been instinctively inclined to support much of their position were there a shred of justification for it.   

His piece, "Rise of the Coronavirus cranks" does not pull any punches (as you can probably gather from the title") and is well worth a read. You can find it here.

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