Having covered damage to education and mental health in Part 1 of this series, I now examine whether or not the Covid policies were necessary and examine the effectiveness of the main policies that affected children, namely PCR testing, mask wearing, lockdowns, school closures and vaccinations.
Follow the science?
In the light of the known harms to children, as identified in Part 1, it was surely incumbent upon the Government to demonstrate that the restrictions were necessary; that is, that the threat was deadly to those on whom it was placing the restrictions and that its policy strategies unequivocally worked.
Were the children at risk?
Based on the work of epidemiologist Professor Ioannidis, we know that children have a 99.9987% chance of survival even if they catch Covid–19.
The number of children who have died from Covid–19 is minuscule. According to Professor Norman Fenton, a world-leading expert on risk assessment and statistics at Queen Mary University of London, “No healthy children died [from Covid] in the UK in 2020.” Of the eight British children who died from Covid, seven had life-threatening conditions and one had a very serious condition.
Whilst every death is tragic, the Office for National Statistics reports that only two children under 18 died from Covid–19 during 2021.
In Scotland, Northern Ireland, Canada, the USA, Ireland and Iceland, no healthy child has died of Covid–19. And an analysis of the FDA’s data shows that the risk of any child dying of Covid–19 is 0.000015 (less than a sixth of one in a million).
The Canadian Health Alliance notes that “Without a serious pre-existing medical condition, the risk of death is statistically zero”. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that the common flu is far more dangerous for children than the coronavirus disease. So it can be concluded on reasonable grounds that children were not at risk from Covid.
The first strand of the strategy—the test
The PCR test used to identify cases—the apparently rising tide of which was the justification for lockdowns, masks, quarantine and closures—does not appear to be fit for purpose. As Professor Jack Lambert, Ireland’s leading infectious disease expert, has said:
PCR cannot distinguish infectious live virus from residual dead virus or viral fragments from previous infection. Therefore, many ‘cases’ have no real meaning in terms of medical status or transmission potential; it will probably identify harmless viral fragments and the test will be deemed ‘positive’. In Ireland, Ct [cycle threshold] value cut-offs of 35–45 are the norm. High Ct values (over 35 or even 30) suggest a non-infectious patient.
Yet we have been applying a cycle frequency in the range 40–45. And the CDC has now admitted that PCR tests do not work: “[T]ests are not actually authorised for the purpose of evaluating contagiousness”. The Director of the CDC, Dr Rochelle Walensky, says, “97% of positive tests do not detect live contagious virus.” So the mechanism for identifying infectious people was flawed.
But what about the strategies introduced as a result of testing? 24 peer-reviewed research papers show that ‘lockdowns’ have a negligible effect on fatalities. A meta-analysis undertaken by Danes for Johns Hopkins University (reported sceptically by the American Journal of Managed Care) found (p. 48) that:
Closing schools reduced COVID-19 mortality rates by 5.9% (precision-weighted average) with an arithmetic average of 0.2% and a median of 0.0%.
The researchers issue a damning indictment of the policy failures:
[G]enerally there is no evidence of a noticeable relationship between the most-used NPIs [non-pharmaceutical interventions] and Covid–19.
They also conclude:
Overall, lockdowns and limiting gatherings seem to increase Covid–19 mortality[.]
Why weren’t any cost-benefit analyses carried out? Or were they? The Dutch Government did carry out a cost-benefit analysis, and showed conclusively the damage, yet it was buried. Their analysis, recovered by a Freedom of Information request, found the “negative public health impact of lockdowns would be far greater than any plausible impact of the virus”.
In August 2020, a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report concluded that children were much less likely to contract the virus. It reported that “re-opening schools had not been associated with significant increases in community transmission.” The British Medical Journal in 2021 stated that “The emerging consensus is that schools do not seem to be amplifiers of transmission, and that cases in schools simply reflect prevalence within the local community.” And research from Germany also shows that school closures did not contain the spread of Covid.
What about masks? The very recent government Evidence Summary found no statistically significant effect of face coverings on transmission. Dozens of studies have revealed that masks do not control the transmission of respiratory viruses. Viruses such as SARS–CoV–2 are transmitted via aerosols, which can travel easily around and through surgical masks, N95 masks, cloth masks, and even respirators. Mask mandates in schools and other institutions have failed to reduce the spread of Covid–19.
At a time when the low pathogenic variant Omicron should lead our societies to relax and take a deep breath, we are witnessing, on the contrary, a renewed panic with our authorities. Which emerge from their drawers useless and absurd measures, and above all heavily damaging, such as the imposition of the long-day mask on children in schools.
These brutal measures arouse the indignation of many parents as well as doctors and scientists with integrity and aware of the real data of science. The dogma of wearing a mask (a measure that had not been imagined in any pandemic plan) has, however, colonized people's minds so much that many politicians, teachers, journalists and even doctors continue to believe in this measure. The mass of evidence relating to the question of wearing a mask against Covid [is] extremely solid.
Ian Miller, author of Unmasked: The Global Failure of Covid Mask Mandates, reports that we have seen the evidence accumulate over time that masks and mandates have been completely useless. From real world data to randomised controlled trials such as the DANMASK–19 study, there has been a concerted effort to maintain the fiction that masks are necessary interventions.
The fourth strand of the strategy—Do vaccines benefit children?
The evidence is that the harm caused by gene modification therapy (vaccines) clearly outweighs the benefits for children. According to the UK Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations on 3 September 2021:
The margin of benefit, based primarily on a health perspective, is considered too small to support advice on a universal programme of vaccination of otherwise healthy 12 to 15-year-old children at this time.
Swiss Policy Research also writes that vaccine protection against symptomatic infection decreased from the 90%–95% range shortly after vaccination to close to 0% within about half a year. The fact that current Covid vaccines provide only short-term, rapidly waning protection against infection and transmission means that Covid vaccines do not contribute to infection control, either at the individual level or at the population level. Thus, while the risk-benefit ratio may still be positive in senior citizens and other risk groups (based on current evidence), this does not appear to be the case in healthy young adults and children.
So,it appears that the restrictions were wholly unnecessary, did not work, were based on a failure to follow the science, and caused immense multifaceted harms. Dr Clare Craig neatly dispatches the policy:
The concept of asymptomatic transmission formed the foundation for the belief that lockdown was necessary and might work and for mask wearing and amplified the atmosphere of fear with the idea that anyone could be a threat. Our ability to test and detect minute, irrelevant quantities of virus has created an utterly distorted view of reality. The myth that apparently healthy people are a potential threat to others needs to be quashed for good so that people can stop treating each other primarily as potential vectors of disease.
Nick Hudson, chair of Pandata, is equally scathing: he concludes that “doing nothing at all would have been a far better thing” and would have produced a far better outcome than was delivered, “certainly better than spending billions of dollars prioritising pandemic responses over other pressing healthcare concerns where the application of money would have immediate and long lasting benefits.”
These lost benefits are such ones as the benefits to children of investing in school infrastructure, much-needed special educational needs expenditure, and counselling services. Did no-one in government consider the opportunity costs?
A generation is going to ask why their lives were damaged by policies designed to combat a virus when all the scientific evidence shows that the virus does not affect them and the measures introduced restricting children clearly did not work. Surely someone is responsible, otherwise how does accountable democracy work?
Part 3 will examine the overarching impact of government policies and will address the question of who, if anyone, is accountable. Some material from Parts 1 and 2 will be revisited in an attempt to draw the entire débâcle together and present a holistic picture of harms and policy failures.