With hundreds of thousands of UK lockdown deaths expected, the cure is far worse than the disease

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

With hundreds of thousands of lives expected to be lost because of indiscriminate lockdown restrictions, the biggest economic contraction since records began [19], a quarter of total jobs lost [29], food Bank usage soaring 61% percent and a doubling of ‘extreme poverty’ [20], blanket lockdown in the UK has clearly been a disaster. Yet once again England has been thrown into full lockdown and now Scotland will soon be following suit, by entering into tier 4 lockdown in most regions. Every week of blanket lockdown that passes, thousands more lives are put at risk and we slide into billions of pounds more debt [2]. Every lockdown is claimed to be the last lockdown, will this one be the last or will it just be yet another bump in the long road to ruin? When the fog of hysteria and fear clears, we must hold those in power who continue to advocate for blanket lockdown over targeted protective measures to account. You'd think with the world health organisation, who originally advised us to lockdown in the first place, before we better understood the virus, practically begging us to stop locking down, we would heed their advice [32]? But of course, there are other political motivations and conflicts of interest at play now (see "Why do politicians advocate for blanket lockdowns despite the collateral deaths and economic damage?").

In the remainder of this post, I intend to, hopefully, outline enough of the horrific costs of blanket lockdown within the UK to validate the preceding sentiments; for a more global perspective, check out my earlier article “Millions will die if we don’t replace blanket lockdown with targeted protective measures”.

The government’s own report estimates that some 200,000 people will die as a direct result of lockdown – not the virus. Hospitals being closed, suicide and poverty will result in more deaths than the virus [1] (3-4 times as many lives as Covid has claimed thus far).

One of the areas most heavily impacted by the extreme and irrational measures we have taken to combat Covid has been our health service. As the BBC reported:

“Early on, many nations were keen to reassure the public about the ways Covid-19 was being prioritised – beds and ventilators were ringfenced, unproven treatments were stockpiled and doctors were re-assigned to respiratory wards in their thousands. In the UK, the government pledged to provide everything the health service needed to cope with the pandemic, “whatever it costs”.

Similar steps were taken in countries around the world as they fought to tackle the rising infection rates. Anything considered non-urgent was delayed or cut back, from certain surgeries to sexual health services, stop smoking programmes, mental health support [1 in 10 mental health patients has been waiting a shocking six months for help in the UK [2]], dentistry, vaccinations, cancer screenings, and routine check-ups.

It turns out all these things are important – there’s no such thing as a “spare” doctor or superfluous medical discipline after all. As a result, this intense focus on a single foe has already had some harrowing side-effects.” [3].

A study, conducted by DATA-CAN, the Health Care Research Hub (HDR UK) for Cancer, modelled different outcomes depending on how long services take to get back to normal levels and warned that if delays to services, currently being caused by blanket lockdown measures, continue there will most likely be a horrendous 35,000 extra Cancer deaths (a number comparable to the Covid death toll so far, without factoring in any of the myriad other collateral lockdown death causes such as poverty, austerity, suicide, and many other adverse health consequences) [4]. Other predictions are even worse, including one made by Professor Karol Sikora, Chief Medical Officer of Rutherford Cancer Centres, whom predicts as many as 60,000 preventable cancer deaths due to lockdown restrictions may occur. In his own words Professor Sikora explains that “Our collective effort to battle this virus has been remarkable, but in doing so we have thrown down our weapons in the much deadlier war against cancer.” [5].

These numbers should come as no surprise considering around 2.3 million fewer tests that

help diagnose cancer took place from the beginning of lockdown to July, compared with the same time last year, with 51 per cent more people waiting for colonoscopies. To date the numbers have only worsened, by October 3 million people in the UK had missed cancer screenings [2].

Additionally, Cancer Research UK claim that, since March, more than 350,000 people who would normally have been urgently referred to hospital with suspected cancer have not been [7], attributing this largely to more than 25 million GP appointments being lost so far during the pandemic [2].

In addition to these projected cancer deaths from Covid, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that in the 2 months leading up to June 10th the number of deaths caused by high blood pressure, in those under 65, is up by one third (1129 excess deaths), with a similar rise in deaths caused by cardiac arrhythmias also occurring (323 excess deaths). Deaths from diabetes in this age group have also risen by one quarter (247 excess deaths) [8].

In older groups, the figures from May 8 to July 10 show that deaths linked to high blood pressure rose by 15 per cent (1446 excess deaths), while diabetes deaths were up by 14 per cent (1191 excess deaths)[8].

Sadly, the figures for excess deaths at home have worsened considerably since the above figures were recorded; between July 19th and August 21st 6,714 excess deaths occurred at home, just 203 of which involved Covid-19. This is particularly shocking when you consider

the fact that only 2638 deaths (supposedly) linked to Covid occurred during this period [8]. These figures are more shocking still when one remembers that many more lives were lost outside of the category of “at home” fatalities during this time, due to blanket lockdown measures, including the extra cancer deaths outlined above and suicides (a study by UoG found as many as one in ten people in the UK experienced suicidal thoughts during lockdown [9] and The London Ambulance Service has seen suicide attempts almost double from this time last year [10]).

In October, previously hidden data revealed that 25,000 excess deaths (a third more than normal) occurred at home between March and September. These deaths were attributed primarily to people being left isolated by blanket lockdown measures and consequently not seeking medical care they urgently required. The impact of social isolation on health is most poignantly demonstrated by the number of people dying at home from dementia and Alzheimer's (which have both been shown to be exacerbated by loneliness and/ or lack of mental stimulation [11]), which rocketed 79 percent in England, with 2,095 excess fatalities re

corded [12].

These excess at home deaths, which affect those of all age groups, can be attributed to changes in behaviour, inactivity, loneliness, deteriorating mental health (49.6 per cent of Britons have reported high levels of anxiety [13]) and lack of access to usual modes of recreation/ exercise, due to extreme blanket lockdown restrictions.

On top of these adverse health conditions of blanket lockdown, which have proven fatal to so many, recent government figures have shown that 10,000 also tragically died in care homes following early hospital discharges designed to free up capacity and 6000 lives were lost due to people avoiding A&E because they feared catching coronavirus in May alone [33, 14]. The estimates – which were presented to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in July also suggest that another 26,000 people could die by next March because of ongoing restrictions on healthcare. The report also suggests another 81,500 lives could be lost over the next half century because of a combination of the recession caused by the lockdown and increased waiting times for hospital care [34]. I believe this figure, although shocking and far larger than the Covid death toll, grossly underestimates the lives that will be lost as a result of the recession as historically far milder recessions have claimed far more lives, as I discuss below.

To fully compile a list of all deaths resulting from the impact of blanket lockdown measures on people’s health would be extremely difficult as much of the statistics/ data are currently still unavailable, however, I believe the specific health examples I have provided above are sufficient to show that indiscriminate lockdown has been far more deadly than the virus itself, which has been my main endeavour. That being said, the biggest loss of life will result from poverty and austerity in the years following blanket lockdown, both of which are closely linked to the strength of the economy.

The negative impact on the UK economy has been immense, the national debt has hit £2tn (surpassing the size of the economy for the first time) [15], the nation has entered the worst recession in more than a century [16], a recession so severe that the economy has already lost 17 years of growth [17], and the economy has contracted more in the last quarter (plunging 20.4%) than any time since records began [18].

A study by former Bank of England policymaker David Miles, with co-authors Mike Stedman and Adrian Heald, urges the Government to ditch blanket lockdown policies designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. They claim that the losses caused by continuing with strict restrictions on economic activity – such as social distancing restrictions which limit capacity in restaurants and pubs – outweigh the lives saved. Lockdown measures should now be focused only on those people who are most at risk, the report adds. Even by the most conservative estimates, the study's authors argue, lockdown has cost at least £200billion (several weeks of lockdown have passed since this number was compiled, so the costs will have increased exponentially). The authors also note that the figure ignores further losses caused by lower economic output in successive years, the disruption to education and vital

non-Covid medical procedures being delayed [19].

The Trussell Trust predicts that at least 670,000 extra people will become destitute in the last three months of the year – a level of poverty that leaves them unable to meet basic food, shelter or clothing needs. In other words, they predict “Extreme poverty ‘will double by Christmas’ in the UK because of Covid-19 [blanket lockdown restrictions causing vast unemployment]” and predict food bank use will increase 61% [20]. Most of us alive today will never have experienced such devastation to our society and tragically the damage has been self-inflicted by insane indiscriminate lockdown measures.

It is understandably extremely difficult and complex to calculate the number of excess deaths attributable to austerity (austerity being decreases in government spending on public services). However, there have been a couple of recent peer reviewed studies. A 2017 study tracked associations between government spending and mortality to establish “mortality gaps”/ calculate excess deaths attributable to austerity. The study’s authors estimated that there were nearly 45,000 more deaths in the years 2012 to 2014 than would have been predicted by earlier mortality trends due to decreases in government spending by the conservatives. They then extrapolated those figures to cover the period 2010 to 2017, estimating a total of 120,000 “excess deaths” [21]. In 2019 another study, this time from left-leaning think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research, estimated there were 130,000 deaths in England between 2012 and 2017 that could have been prevented [22].

Well, I have some frightening news for blanket lockdown advocates, the austerity we experienced during those years will pale in comparison to that to come. As I indicated earlier, we are entering the worst recession in over a century and have more debt (over £2 trillion) than ever before and we will have austerity to match it. We will have no choice. As a result we can expect far more excess austerity deaths than those cited in the coming years due to debt attributable to economy shattering blanket lockdown restrictions. An estimate from the Institute of Economic Affairs estimates that every 2 weeks of tiered lockdown (at the lower level of hospitality/ bars/ restaurant closures we had in place in October) was costing the country an additional £8bn every two weeks [23] and we still have no end date in sight for lockdown restrictions such as these - the reality is that debt will be paid for with innocent lives.

The Office for National Statistics conducted a (COVID-19) Survey (BICS) for the period 21 September to 4 October 2020 which showed that of businesses that had not permanently ceased trading, 41% said they had less than six months’ cash reserves and 4% said they had none. 35% said they had more than six months’ cash reserves and 20% were not sure [24]. Under the current system of arbitrary and extreme blanket lockdown restrictions being announced continually with no end date in sight, clearly staggering numbers of businesses are at risk of bankruptcy, the result of which will be devastating, unless we end blanket lockdown restrictions immediately.

Travel restrictions have severely impacted Britain’s exports decreasing them by a dramatic £11.9bn. Decreases in both imports and exports of trade in services in the UK reflect large decreases in transport and travel services, from governments around the world introducing extreme and irrational travel restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus [25].

Most of us through personal struggles or those of friends and family can relate to the feeling

of anxiety and insecurity that comes with unemployment or looming redundancies at ones place of work. This insecurity often leads to people losing their homes, depression, alcoholism/ drug abuse, and tragically in some cases suicide, as well as myriad other negative outcomes. For this reason I’m now going to shift my focus from the wider economic impact of indiscriminate lockdown restrictions to the impact of blanket lockdown restrictions on unemployment and job losses in particular.

Earlier in September, lockdown was extended in most areas of Scotland, banning people from going to their parents for dinner and forcing premises serving alcohol to close at 10pm, even licensed cafes. Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said the prospect of tighter restrictions following the 22:00 closure time for pubs and restaurants was already affecting the industry "very badly". He told BBC Breakfast that Scotland could lose about a third of its pubs and about 25% of staff - or 12,500 people [26]. However, after the possibility of further restrictions were announced at the end of September prospects for pubs and the hospitality industry as a whole have become unbelievably worse and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association now predict a massive 2/3rds of premises and 50% of all jobs will be lost. I have not been able to find a more recent forecast from the SLTA, however, considering lockdown restrictions have become more severe recently, with most establishments in Scotland being forced to shut entirely, and England being put into full lockdown, one has to believe that even more jobs will be lost than originally predicted.

Even more dramatic is the overall picture for jobs in all sectors as a whole. The most recent unemployment rate - for June to August - was 4.5%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This equates to 1.5 million people being unemployed, however, this number is always based on surveys taken in previous months and is not up to date. Additionally, many people who don't have a job, but aren't looking for one because they don't think they will find one, don't count as unemployed by this measure. Another more current measure of unemployment suggests that the real picture might be much worse. The 'claimant count' measures how many people are claiming benefits for being out of work or on very low incomes and is often considered more informative; between March and September, the number of people claiming benefits rose 120% to 2.7 million [27].

Worse still is the lack of jobs available to the aforementioned millions of newly unemployed or soon to be unemployed workers. Currently vacancies are an incredible 40.5% lower than a year ago [28].

Let us take a look to the future now…

You are probably feeling pretty shocked by the above statistics. I’m afraid, however, that in reality the situation is far worse than even those historical statistics convey. Research by the

the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex warns that more than 6.5 million jobs could be lost due to the economic fallout from the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. This would equate to about a quarter of the UK’s total jobs, with more than half of the positions in certain sectors being lost [29].

The Office for Budget Responsibility, the government’s spending watchdog, give an official view on unemployment prospects and their forecasts are even bleaker. In the optimistic scenario they provide, the unemployment rate peaks at 9.7% this year, and doesn’t return to pre-crisis levels until 2022. In the least optimistic scenario, unemployment peaks at 13.2%, in 2021 - with four million people out of work and remains at 6.3% until 2024 - well above pre-crisis levels [30].

This doesn’t include the 9 million people who have been furlowed; whether or not their employers will be able to afford to keep all their workers on, or run their businesses profitably, without government sponsored labour is uncertain but I expect the reality for most will not be good [31].

The economic costs of lockdown have been devastating to almost all of us and the worst is yet to come. Millions have lost jobs, millions more will soon if blanket lockdown restrictions continue, thousands have been forced to close businesses they devoted their lives to only to join the unemployment line for the first time in their lives, many unskilled and in their middle age, with little hope of retraining or starting a new career. Entire generations of young people have had their career prospects smashed. Far more tragically, hundreds of thousands of people will lose their lives to austerity and poverty from the economic fallout in the years to come, in far greater numbers than we have sadly lost to Covid. Everything will soon become more expensive as the nation collectively becomes poorer and taxes increase or, as the scaremongering, sycophantic, blanket lockdown supporting BBC themselves confess in an understatement that made me laugh, “people will soon realise they have less money to spend” [27].

“Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit.”

— Eli Khamarov