• Dear Guest, and welcome to RailUK Forums. Our non-railway discussion forums are currently restricted until members have five or more posts, and you will not be able to make a new thread or reply to an existing one in this section until you have made five or more posts elsewhere on the forum.

Delaying the first lockdown may not have saved lives, as some claim

Status
Not open for further replies.

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
55,677
Location
Yorkshire
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/20...ource=LI&li_medium=liftigniter-onward-journey
Delaying the first lockdown may have inadvertently saved more lives than it cost, according to a new analysis.

A number of scientists and opposition politicians have claimed that delaying the decision caused tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

However, a University of Cambridge expert now argues that countries who locked down early effectively delayed part of their first wave to the winter, resulting in higher overall mortality.

Dr Raghib Ali, a senior clinical research associate at the university’s MRC Epidemiology Unit, said Britain’s relatively late lockdown meant more people were infected in the spring, when underlying pressure on the NHS was relatively light, meaning they were protected by antibodies come winter, when the service traditionally struggles to cope.

Writing for The Telegraph</a>, he said in the absence of a vaccine, lockdowns postpone infections, rather than prevent them, and suggests that March and April was a better period in which to catch the virus.

Many of the claims that Britain’s late lockdown exacerbated the death toll have been made using the statistical models that urged the measure in the first place.

By contrast, Dr Ali compared the UK to European countries with similar populations, age structures, seasons and healthcare systems.

While Norway and Finland, which locked down a week before the UK have both had small first and second wave death tolls, these are exceptions, according to Dr Ali, also a professor public health at New York University.

“What happened in many other countries in Europe who also locked down (and closed their borders) at the same time is that they did have very small first waves in spring 2020 but this was followed by much larger second waves in autumn/winter 2021 (and now into spring 2021, too)”, he writes.

“And this has happened despite second and third lockdowns in many of these countries as people understandably struggled to maintain compliance with restrictions for months on end.”

He adds: “But based on current trends it seems likely that many of these countries that we thought were doing well due to their early lockdowns and small first waves will end up having higher excess mortality than the UK, including Czechia, Poland, Portugal, and many others....
I think that Dr Raghib Ali is absolutely spot on with this; it isn't right to use simplistic and/or flawed models for this analysis and I commend him for taking into account all the factors that we now know about.
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Gloster

Established Member
Joined
4 Sep 2020
Messages
2,614
Location
Up the creek
But do bear in mind that the Telegraph does have a habit as acting as a cheerleader for Boris Johnson. Anything that that makes him look good is likely to go down well with the paper and be given prominence.

It is noticeable that in the piece above no other person is quoted as supporting Dr Ali. He may be right, but it is a bit early to start shouting, “Boris Johnson was right”, on the basis of one researcher’s opinion.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
55,677
Location
Yorkshire
I'm not in the slightest interested in defending Boris Johnson at all; I think he has got most things wrong, and it is not my aim to claim otherwise!

I do not think Dr Raghib Ali has released this research with the intention of saying "Boris was right", either.

But what I do take issue is, is not whether or not he was right, but whether the claim is true: the claim that many people seem to make is that if the UK had locked down earlier we would have avoided many deaths.

Sweden took a long term approach, that was also designed to work if a vaccine was not yet available. Their approach was to avoid a large peak but also to take a gamble that infections would naturally reduce in the Summer. They were quite right about that. They then hoped that the next winter season would not be as bad. Again, they were right; when you compare the growth in cases over the winter period they have been much less steep, despite fewer restrictions, compared to countries that had lower levels of population immunity due to long/harsh lockdowns.

Either way, I don't think we could have avoided a substantial number of cases in this country, given we are (were!) a global travel hub ; Sars-CoV-2 was brought into the UK on at least 1,300 separate occasions at the start of the pandemic, based on genomic sequencing (ignoring any infections that were not sequenced).

The issue here is not to determine who was right or wrong but the merits of the differing approaches, and it's not as clear cut as the "we should have locked down earlier" brigade like to claim it is...
 

SuperNova

Member
Joined
12 Dec 2019
Messages
611
Location
The North
The issue here is not to determine who was right or wrong but the merits of the differing approaches, and it's not as clear cut as the "we should have locked down earlier" brigade like to claim it is...

Ahem... confirmation bias.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
30,218
Location
Yorks
It is certainly encouraging that academics are beginning to evaluate more deeply the effects of different approaches. My gut instinct is that the Swedish approach will come to be vindicated, however it will be good to see the peer reviewed evidence emerge of this.
 

Carlisle

Established Member
Joined
26 Aug 2012
Messages
3,518
Its hard to imagine government’s who’ve previously endorsed lockdowns, u turning & rejecting the concept imminently, but if it turns out we’ve barely moved forward in another 12 months, opinions on all sides will surely be hugely different.
 
Last edited:

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
3,121
Location
UK
Its hard to imagine government’s who’ve previously endorsed lockdowns, u turning & rejecting the concept imminently, but if it turns out we’ve barely moved forward in another 12 months, opinions on all sides will surely be hugely different.
I'm not so confident. We are basically in the same position as we were a year ago, at least in terms of restrictions.

The natural impatience of the population is largely being kept in check by the 'carrot' of vaccines supposedly releasing us from lockdown, just the same as '3 weeks to flatten the curve' this time last year.

I'm sure the government will find something else to keep people preoccupied with if it comes to it.
 

Ediswan

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2012
Messages
1,045
Location
Stevenage
I'm confused. The title of the thread seems to say the opposite of the opening quote.

Telegraph: Delaying first Covid lockdown may have inadvertently saved more lives than it cost
Thread: Delaying the first lockdown may not have saved lives, as some claim
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top