Over the last few months, I’ve sought to demonstrate that covid is nowhere near as bad as it is portrayed by the mainstream media. I’ve written about how the mortality rate is below 0,2%, meaning that for most people the risk of dying if you get infected is less than one in 500 (and less than one in 3,000 if you’re below 70 years of age). I’ve also written about how the disease preferentially strikes people who are anyway very close to the end of life, so the amount of lifetime lost when someone dies of the disease is usually small. And I’ve noted that 2020 will likely turn out to have been a very average year in terms of overall mortality, in spite of the supposedly deadly pandemic that is currently raging.
You would think that governments always do a cost-benefit analysis before embarking on a certain course of action, especially if it is likely to have significant effects on many different aspects of society. The global lockdowns in response to the covid pandemic probably constitute the largest, most extreme measures taken by western governments since the second world war. So, you would think a careful cost-benefit analysis would have been done before the decision was made to lock down.
One of the arguments that has been used in support of strict lockdown is that Sweden has had significantly more covid deaths than its nordic neighbours. On the 19th of November, Sweden had registered 637 covid deaths per million people. For comparison, Denmark had registered 140, Norway had registered 57, and Finland had registered 69.
A few weeks back I wrote an article about how high the risk of dying from covid is. I mentioned that a senior representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) had recently said that the WHO’s best estimate was that roughly one in 750 people who get infected die of the disease. I also mentioned a study published by the WHO, authored by professor John Ioannidis at Stanford University, which was based on antibody data. That study estimated that the mortality rate for covid was around 0,23% overall, which would mean that roughly one in 430 people who are infected overall die of the disease, and 0,05% for people under 70, which would mean that if you’re under 70, the risk of dying of covid is about one in 2,000.
A few weeks back I wrote an article about an observational study published in Lancet that, among other things, looked at whether there was any correlation between stringency of lockdown and the number of people who died of covid. It didn’t find any correlation, which suggests that lockdowns don’t work. That study did have some major limitations however.
A few months back I wrote an article about the state of the evidence on face masks. At that point, there were no good studies looking at the effectiveness of face masks in preventing the spread of covid-19 specifically, but there was a systematic review that looked at all randomized trials that had been done on face masks for the prevention of respiratory infections more generally. That review found that surgical face masks reduced the probability of getting a respiratory infection by around 4% in absolute terms (17% in relative terms).