Looking back on the blog post from yesterday, it feels like all three of those ideas are connected, so in this one I’ll go into more detail (as much as possible) on one of the major questions: do lockdowns work? Or, more specifically, do lockdowns work in America?
Let’s say you have two sealed-off rooms, each with their own ventilation systems. They’re next to each other, but the patients in each room have no contact. Their food is deposited through a slot in the door. The whole nine yards. We’re talking something that looks like the “welded shut” strategy used in Wuhan. Would Patient A, who is infected, infect Patient B, who isn’t? Common sense tells us “no.”
Our common sense (and the extent of our scientific knowledge) indicates that viruses are spread when an infected person begins to show signs of infection. The immune system begins attacking the virus in the lungs and the throat, causing a swelling to occur. You cough and your sinuses drain, all in an effort to get the bad thing out. The virus surfs a wave out of your body, along the air, and into a new person.
(I can’t help but point out that this all may actually be wrong, but that’s some deep radical blackpilling on viruses, and not in the scope of this post.)
Therefore, if two people are completely separated, then lockdowns work. I think this is where the thought process begins and ends for some people. If lockdowns aren’t working, they are simply not being implemented hard enough.
We can point to countries where it appears that lockdowns have worked. Australia and New Zealand, for example. They imposed what can only be described as draconian lockdowns on their citizens, and for the most part, they seem to have done the job. Ioannides believes this is due to them closing their borders, but at this point, I fail to see how that’s not just an extension of the lockdown principle. You’re isolating an entire country from the outside world, then isolating its people from their surroundings, a holistic ethos of “locking down” that keeps the virus out. So it worked!
Fair enough! But why didn’t this work in America? Why did Peru, which had the strongest lockdown in the world, have one of the worst virus impacts in the world? Why did Sweden (trigger word!) have a low impact relative to Germany or Spain or Italy, which comparatively locked down much harder? Why did Finland, which in many ways had a less-strict lockdown than even Sweden, do better than nearly every other European country? Why, when you put the graphs for North and South Dakota together (one of which locked down, the other didn’t) do the curves look nearly identical? Why did NYC and California do worse than Florida, which never locked down at all?
And what exactly is going on in Africa? How did Russia do in all of this?
Is it an issue of compliance? Climate? General health of the population? Some combination of all three?
These are all troublesome facts, what Charles Fort would call “damned facts.” The idea here is that all you need to do is find instances where a set of facts troubles the dominant narrative to disprove the narrative altogether. If lockdowns didn’t work in places where lockdowns were strict, and conversely, if not locking down did not result in catastrophic loss of life, then that indicates that there is a problem with the overall model.
To be honest with you, I don’t know how to reconcile all of this different data. I don’t know what Australia’s deal is. They’re going into winter over there very soon, and we shall see if the virus rears its head yet again. It may not, because now the vaccine exists, and so fewer people will die. We may never know!
What we’re dealing with here is a battle between simple common sense (keep people away from each other and the thing won’t spread) and troubling, damned facts that indicate you can keep people away from each other and, sometimes, the thing still spreads.
Now let’s narrow the focus down to America. It’s the place I’m most familiar with, obviously. The reason why lockdowns would never have worked in America is because of the way this country is structured. We do not have a strong central government that can provide for its people during a shutdown. If you look at other countries (like Japan, for instance), they were able to pay their laid-off workers their entire salaries for the duration of the lockdown. Many such cases all throughout the world, especially in smaller countries with high GDPs who, you know, actually seem to give a shit about their people.
Not the case here. Never has been, and it never will. It’s just reality.
So what you end up with is an impossible task: corralling 330 million people into their homes for an extended period of time, with no relief from the impending poverty. Things don’t stop in this country. They can’t. Again, this isn’t something that I agree with, but it’s what we have. It’s our reality. And if we choose to live in that reality, we have to understand the consequences of our decisions.
Combine that with the damned fact that the fucker still seems to spread despite every effort to keep it from spreading, and you have a “worst of both worlds” situation: a country shut down just enough to cripple the working poor, but not shut down enough to actually realistically change the outcome of the viral spread.
So what is the alternative?
You’ve got to let it go. You’ve got to tell the people, “Look: you’re going to get sick at some point. What you need to do is get your health under control. You need to supplement with Vitamin D, you need to take these lindy drugs that (might) help (hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, even OTC stuff like quercetin and Vitamin C), and in the meantime we are going to focus 100% of our energy on making the elderly and the immunocompromised a protected class in this country.”
The virus spreads. Lots of people get it. The vast majority of them do not die. Meanwhile, those in danger hide out in their largely sealed-off rooms (if they so choose). It is a comparatively lower number of people, and therefore potentially affordable to protect (although the same problem rears its head…this is America, and this might be too much for this country to pull off).
We all get it, the virus becomes endemic (which it is now, by the way), but it has mutated into a less virulent strain. The Gompertz curve ends up lower than it was when we half-assed it for the entire population. After a year or so, the sick are able to be reintroduced to society, because we hit herd immunity. This is also common sense. If you allow a brand new virus for which many people have no immunity to roll through the entire population, it is going to kill the people whose immune systems are too weakened to fight it. If you allow it to infect a healthy population, it acts as a pressure release valve, diffusing through the populace, becoming less-impactful as it goes along, not more.
At this point, we’ll never know, obviously. There are several ways in which I could be wrong, the most glaring of which is that the overall poor metabolic health of the average American could have lead to catastrophic deaths if we simply let the thing run wild. The issue is that no one can tell the future. I completely understand where pro-lockdown people are coming from.
But the facts are troubling, and strongly point to the conclusion that they don’t work all that well. As the much-loathed and frankly annoying Alex Berenson is fond of saying, “Virus gonna virus.”
In the end, the pro-lockdowners got their way, even though in America, their way was always destined to be a shitty half-measure that directly put the elderly and working poor in harm’s way. My contention (and the contention of many Nobel-prize-winning scientists and conspiracy dipshits alike) is that by suppressing the virus and keeping it from infecting people with immune systems capable of fighting it off, we put the burden on the sickest and therefore most likely to die.
Feels good to get my thoughts out like this. There are so many moving parts to this thing. Writing it all out helps.