The economic, health, educational and development damage wrought on the world by Covid policies, in particular on children and the poor, is now clear. World economies are bankrupt, inflation is rampant, educational and development damage is highlighted by UNESCO and Ofsted, and already-record waiting lists in hospitals and deaths from untreated illnesses are still increasing sharply. Who is accountable?
The purpose of this article, which will partly reuse evidence first adduced in Parts 1 and 2, is to examine the wider impact of policies which have caused such devastation and ask the questions, were they fit for purpose? And if not, is anyone accountable?
According to the World Bank, poverty is a major cause of ill health. The poor cannot afford to purchase those things that are needed for good health, including sufficient quantities of quality food and healthcare. Ill health, in turn, is a major cause of poverty. This is partly due to the costs of seeking healthcare, which include out-of-pocket spending on care. It is also due to the considerable loss of income associated with illness in developing countries: both of the breadwinner and also of family members who may be obliged to stop working or attending school in order to take care of a sick relative. The report goes on to say that strong health systems improve the health status of the whole population, but especially of the poor.
Health is key for resilient economies worldwide. As the UK and many countries across the world enter a period of recession caused by Covid policies, there will be more poor people and children whose health will deteriorate due to poverty. Are we equipped to cater for increasing numbers of sick people?
The UK Government estimates that it spent two and a half times (£386 billion) its annual health budget (£140 billion) on Covid policies. David Bell and Carla Peters write:
Since Covid–19 was recognized in Western countries in early 2020, expenditures on public health in many of them have more than doubled, imposing over $500 billion in monthly costs on the global economy. Some trillions more have been spent on compensation and stimulus packages for those left without income due to the public health response, whilst economies, and therefore future employment opportunities, have been heavily damaged. This is nearly all funded by taxpayers, or borrowed to be funded with interest by the taxpayers of the future.
We have certainly created a generation concerned about their future. Dr Goldin states that teenagers exhibit the greatest worry about the future—they are worried about whether they’ll be able to get a job after they finish education.
The UK’s Consumer Prices Index (CPI) has risen by 9.0% in the 12 months to April 2022. Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose by 14.6% in the 12 months to September 2022, up from 13.1% in August. Furthermore, the BBC reports that inflation is running at 10.1%, with the cost of living rising at the fastest rate for forty years. The former Bank of England Governor lays the blame for the state of the UK economy squarely at the feet of the lockdowns and the associated loose monetary policy.
And what of the National Health Service? Is it able to deal with increasing numbers of sick people caused by poverty? Currently, British hospitals are cancelling more than 22,000 appointments every day, despite the Government’s pledge to clear the NHS backlog. The British Medical Association reports (emphasis added):
More patients than ever are waiting for treatment and it will take years to clear the backlog. The ongoing need for stringent infection prevention control measures and workforce shortages mean it will take even longer to work through as demand continues to rise.
Prior to the pandemic, in February 2020, there were already 4.43 million people on a waiting list for care. The latest figures for July 2022 show a record number of over 6.84 million people waiting for treatment, with 2.67 million patients waiting over 18 weeks for treatment and 377,689 patients waiting over one year for treatment—over 365 times the merely 1,032 people who had been waiting for over a year before the pandemic, in July 2019.
Continued Covid disruption means more Britons are living with missed and untreated serious cancers, which will cause cancer deaths to shoot up within years, doctors have warned. Rather than the prevalence of cancer declining in the population, more cancers were missed in 2020 as the country was plunged into an endless cycle of on/off lockdowns. Cancer care effectively ground to a halt for some patients when the pandemic first reached the UK’s shores, with appointments cancelled and diagnostic scans delayed because of the Government’s devotion to protecting the NHS. Almost 40,000 cancers went undiagnosed during the first year of Covid, according to official statistics, which lay bare the catastrophic impact of the lockdowns, as experts fear this is just “the tip of the iceberg”, as reported in the Mail Online.
Indeed, the former Chief of the WHO cancer programmes, Professor Karol Sikora, referred to Covid policies as having left:
[...] an awful inheritance: 6.8 million people waiting for something from the NHS and they can’t get it.
And the situation in care homes is no better. The BBC reports regulators as saying that “the health and care system in England is gridlocked with patients at risk because they cannot access the support they need”. The annual report by the Care Quality Commission warned that “the problem was creating long waits for ambulances and at Accident and Emergency”.
And the children are being hit hardest. The waiting list for children is now growing at a faster rate than that for adults for the first time. Dr Kingdon, the President of the Royal College of Child and Paediatric Health, described the escalating waiting list as “very disturbing”. There have been record hospital backlogs of child patients as ‘winter’ viruses spread into summer, and recent lockdowns resulted in children picking up illnesses that would have traditionally only appeared in winter months. The total number of children on NHS waiting lists has risen by almost 50 per cent in a year to a record high of 361,000.
Professor Heneghan and DrJefferson reported that care home deaths were, on average, 30% of the total Covid–19 deaths. They go onto say that:
Some of the deaths were a consequence of isolation, hunger and thirst. In a word, abandonment.
Over $3 trillion in wealth was transferred from the world’s poorest to a tiny number of billionaires and their supporters, predominantly in China and in the tech and pharmaceutical industries.
The situation across the world is alarming. A UNICEF report found that 150 million additional children will grow up in poverty—and, as I indicated earlier, poverty and health are inextricably linked. Over 80 million children are missing routine childhood vaccination for diseases that actually kill them. The World Health Organisation reports that over 60,000 additional children died from malaria in 2020 alone. In the USA, the CDC reported that Emergency Department visits were 50.6% higher among girls aged 12–17 years due to suicide attempts.
The Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine reported that “suicide among children is the second leading cause of death among younger people aged 10-24 years and rising.” All this points to a huge deterioration in health and a decreasing capacity to cope caused by the health policies adopted by governments to address Covid–19.
Education is in a similar situation, both in terms of its financing and the attainment of the children, with the Guardian reporting on 24 October 2022 that nine out of ten schools in England will have run out of money by the next school year as the enormous burden of increased energy and salary bills takes its toll. In November 2020, Ofsted, the body that inspects and reports on schools in England, reported that the majority of our children were going backwards educationally. Ofsted noted a regression in communication skills, physical development and independence, with the disadvantaged being disproportionately affected.
The most recent Ofsted report, in Spring 2022, highlighted the damaging effects of the restrictions on the development and learning of young children. For example:
- a generation of babies struggling to crawl and communicate;
- babies suffering delays in learning to walk;
- toddlers struggling to make friends;
- regression in children’s independence, e.g. unable to use the toilet independently;
- delays in speech and language.
And across the world the situation is equally alarming. A report issued in 2021 by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank, revealingly titled The State of the Global Education Crisis, is particularly damning. It says:
School closures carry high social and economic costs for people across communities. The impact, however, is particularly severe for the most vulnerable and marginalised boys and girls and their families […] Schooling provides essential learning and when schools close many children and young people miss out on the social contact that is essential to learning and development.
Robert Jenkins, UNICEF’s Head of Education, summed it up:
Quite simply, we are looking at a nearly insurmountable scale of loss to children’s schooling.
Therefore, it is evident that poverty is increasing and health and education are deteriorating due to the Covid restrictions followed by governments. I now turn to an examination of those policies.
The foundational tenets of governmental Covid policies appear to be:
- Children are at risk from Covid
- Children are a danger to others through transmission
- Asymptomatic transmission is serious
- The PCR test is an appropriate tool to identify children who were infected and infectious
- Closing schools reduces spread
- Lockdowns reduce spread
- Vaccines reduce child mortality
- Masks reduce spread
- Vaccine passports reduce spread
- Ventilators saved lives
Did the policies work? And if not, who is responsible for the huge damage they caused?
1. Are children are at risk?
Was the virus deadly to those on whom the restrictions were being placed? Children have a 99.9987% chance of surviving Covid, based on a study published by Professor John Ioannidis. According to Professor Norman Fenton, a world-leading expert on risk assessment and statistics with the University of London. “No healthy children died in the UK in 2020”: of the eight children who died, seven had life-threatening conditions and the remaining one had a very serious condition. Whilst every death is tragic, an ONS report shows that only two children under 18 died from Covid during 2021. Furthermore, in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Canada, Ireland and Iceland no healthy child has died of Covid.
The Canada Health Alliance reports that “Without a serious pre-existing medical condition, the risk of death is statistically zero”. In the US, analysis of the FDA’s data shows the risk of any child dying of Covid–19 is 0.000015. In fact, Dr Paul Alexander reports that “there had been no deaths of healthy children in the US.”
Steve Kirsch states:
I have never found a healthy child who has died from Covid, not in any country.
Finally, according to research published by the US Government’s National Institute of Health, for children aged 5–11 years without co-morbidities, the case fatality rate could not be calculated due to an absence of cases. That about sums up the risk to children.
2. Are children a danger to others through transmission?
There are thousands and thousands of transmission events that have been inferred [from contact tracing]—out of all those thousands, still we can’t find a single one involving a child transmitting to a teacher in a classroom.
It has been stated that children “aren’t taking it home and transferring it to the community.” According to Shamez Ladhani of Public Health England, “Kids have very little capacity to infect household members.” The Canada Health Alliance also reported that children do not pass the disease to teachers, parents, grandparents, or other adults.
3. Is asymptomatic transmission a major cause for concern?
In a detailed presentation on transmission of infectious diseases at the Question Everything conference in July 2021, Dr Clare Craig confirmed there had been “no cases of anyone needing medical care having caught Covid from a person with no symptoms”.
Pandata is equally clear:
There is no evidence that asymptomatic people are significant drivers of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, nor is there evidence that isolating asymptomatic people who have a positive PCR test for Covid–19 provides any benefit.
4. Is the PCR test a sufficiently robust tool to assess infection?
The World Health Organization issued global PCR testing guidance—using tests later confirmed by the New York Times to have a false positive rate over 85%—pursuant to which millions of cases were soon discovered in every country leading to lockdowns, school closures and the general closure of businesses. Dr Kary Mullis, the Nobel prizewinning inventor of the PCR test, asserts that “it doesn’t tell you you are sick, and it doesn’t tell you you are infectious”.
In addition, 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.
Professor Lambert goes on to say:
It will probably identify harmless viral fragments and the test will be deemed ‘positive’. In Ireland, cycle threshold (Ct) 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.
Professor Richard Ennos of Edinburgh University expressed the following in the Belfast Newsletter:
In short, the PCR test is completely useless for the purpose for which it is being employed—namely the detection of Covid–19 infected individuals who can infect others. Furthermore, since children are hardly affected, and show vanishingly small frequencies of transmission to adults, there is no reason to be worried about SARS–CoV–2 passing through children at school. Therefore, the PCR test results are completely inappropriate for providing evidence of whether there is an outbreak in a school.
As Doctor Ros Jones, a retired NHS Consultant Paediatrician, speaking on the Pandemic podcast on 26 January 2022, succinctly said:
The closure of schools [was] for no good reason.
5 & 6. Did lockdowns and school closures reduce spread?
Research carried out by the University of Edinburgh which asked the question, What is the evidence for transmission of Covid–19 by children [or in schools]?, concluded that:
a) no high quality studies directly addressing the study question were identified, and
b) no confirmed evidence or reports of paediatric cases as the main source of infection.
Re-opening schools had not been associated with significant increases in community transmission.
An article published in 2021 in the British Medical Journal states 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.
Research from Germany indicates that school closures did not contain the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition, 24 peer-reviewed research papers show that Lockdowns have a negligible effect on fatalities. A meta-analysis carried out by Professors Herby, Jonung and Hanke amounts to a damning indictment of the policy failure. They found that:
There is no evidence of a noticeable relationship between the most-used NPIs [non-pharmaceutical interventions] and Covid–19. Overall, lockdowns and limiting gatherings seem to increase Covid–19 mortality.
And the evidence continues:
Full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with Covid–19 mortality per million people.
We find that shelter-in-place orders had no detectable health benefits, only modest effects on behavior, and small but adverse effects on the economy.
As research by Argrawal et al. (2022) reported:
We do not find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP [shelter-in-place] policies earlier had lower excess deaths. We do not observe differences in excess deaths before and after the implementation of SIP policies, even when accounting for pre-SIP COVID–19 death rates.
Research carried out by Thomas Meunier assessed “the impacts of the full lockdown strategies applied in Italy, France, Spain and United Kingdom, on the slowdown of the 2020 Covid–19 outbreak.” Meunier writes:
Comparing the trajectory of the epidemic before and after the lockdown, we find no evidence of any discontinuity in the growth rate, doubling time, and reproduction number trends.
Furthermore, lockdowns do not save lives, according to Pandata. Indeed, lockdowns are estimated to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children—228,000 in South Asia alone, according to another UNICEF report. The World Health Organization has reported that over 60,000 additional children died from malaria in 2020 alone.
As David Bell and Carla Peters highlight in their excellent article, “Lockdowns may prove to be one of the gravest governmental failures of modern times”. A cost-benefit analysis of the response to COVID–19 found lockdowns to be far more harmful to public health (at least 5–10 times) in terms of well-being than COVID–19.”
And as the authors of the cost-benefit analysis state in their comprehensive review Covid–19: Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink:
School provides essential educational, social, and developmental benefits to children. Children have very low morbidity and mortality from Covid–19, and, especially those under 10 years old, are less likely to be infected by SARS-CoV-2, and have a low likelihood to be the source of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Children account for 1.9% of confirmed cases worldwide. School closures don't seem to have an impact on community outbreaks. Modeling predicted that school and university closures and isolation of younger people would increase the total number of deaths. Modeling also predicted that school closures alone would prevent only 2–4% of deaths. The infection mortality risk from influenza is higher than from Covid–19 for people aged under 50-years, and about 2.9 times lower for those 50–64 years (still, 99.86% survived SARS–CoV–2 infection.)
Michael Senger says:
Ultimately, these lockdowns failed to meaningfully slow the spread of the coronavirus and killed tens of thousands of children in every country in which they were tried.
7. Did vaccines reduce child mortality?
David Bell reports on “poor vaccine efficacy and the superiority of natural immunity” and cites Dr Anthony Fauci, the former director of NIAID, in 2023, who is seen by many as the lead voice in promoting vaccines for all:
Attempting to control mucosal respiratory viruses with systemically administered non-replicating vaccines has thus far been largely unsuccessful.
Steve Kirsch takes this a stage further. Reporting on research across the USA, he said, “The more you vaccinate, the more people die from Covid.” Dr Aseem Malhotra, a leading cardiologist says vaccines show “no reduction in infection”, “no reduction in mortality” and “a risk of harm of one in 1,000”.
However, the US Government reporting system, VAERS, indicates that there have been 54,697 Covid vaccination adverse event reports received for children as of 26 August 2022, for conditions such as encephalitis, Bell’s palsy, aneurysms, cerebral haemorrhage, myocarditis, thrombocytopenia, Guillain-Barré syndrome, appendicitis, heart disease, and death. It further reports that in American children between the ages of six months and 17 years, there have been 181 deaths, 588 permanently disabled and 1,446 cases of myocarditis arising from Covid vaccination (statistics as of 15 March 2023). In any case, as indicated elsewhere in this article, children have a very small risk of dying from Covid.
8. Do masks prevent infection and transmission?
It was deeply concerning to see schools “strongly encouraging” children to wear face coverings before the summer break. Despite early hopes, we now know from the real world data that mask mandates had no significant effect on interrupting the spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, the damaging unintended harms of covering our faces are profound and still being felt. The use of masks is not, and has never been, a benign or recommended public health intervention.
The UK Government’s own Evidence Summary on the use of face coverings in education settings found they had “no statistically significant effect on transmission”—the evidence showing that they serve “no purpose in controlling the spread of Covid.” A recent study in Spain by Coma et al., published by the BMJ, concludes: “We found no significant differences in SARS–CoV–2 transmission due to face covering mandates in schools.” Furthermore, in Wales, according to Marchant et al.:
There was no evidence that face coverings, 2-metre social distancing or stopping children mixing was associated with lower odds of Covid–19 or cold infection rates in the school.
Studies carried out by Xiao et al. and Jefferson et al. look into randomized control trials of community masking and report that no significant benefit was shown. Trials by Bundgaard during Covid–19 show similar results.
Finally, one of the lead authors, Tom Jefferson MD, has spoken about the recent Cochrane Review. This comprehensive analysis of scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, including Covid–19, was published in January 2023. Its conclusions, according to Oxford epidemiologist Jefferson, were unambiguous. As Jefferson states:
There is just no evidence that they [masks] make any difference, full stop.
9. Were vaccine passports effective in reducing spread?
The following extracts have been taken from the Covid-Status Certification summary published on the UK Parliament website:
The Government is currently undertaking a Review looking into the potential introduction of a Covid certification system at the introduction of a Covid-status certification system.
According to the Government, the purpose of the certificate system would be to “play a role in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety”.
The ‘Covid-Status Certification’ summary by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee goes on to say (emphasis added):
Given the significance and seriousness of introducing such a Covid-status certification system, the Committee was surprised at the lack of consideration by the Government of a number of issues and concerns with their suggested approach, in particular the scientific case for that system.
If a Covid-status certification system is to be introduced, there must be a clear scientific case for its introduction. […] Further, while the Government could not set out to us the exact locations, events and venues which would be included in a Covid-status certification system, there appears to be no scientific rationale for the places they indicated were under consideration and most likely to be included in that system (nightclubs, large events like football matches, and for international air travel) and those that appear to have already been excluded from inclusion in that system (buses, the Underground or pubs and restaurants).
We are concerned that it appears that the Government is making decisions on a largely arbitrary basis as to what locations would be included or exempted, regardless of the scientific evidence.
We considered the impact that Covid regulations have had on the hospitality, arts, and sports industries to date. While it is clear that social distancing has been a particular problem for these sectors, we found no convincing scientific case that a certificate system would materially impact any future policy decision regarding social distancing.
The Committee also noted that Covid-status certification system would, by its very nature, be discriminatory, and would likely disproportionately discriminate against some people on the basis of race, religion and socio-economic background, as well as on the basis of age due to the sequencing of the vaccine rollout. We found no justification for introducing a Covid-status certification system that would be sufficient to counter what is likely to be a significant infringement of individual rights. There are also legitimate concerns over the serious data protection risks that would be involved in setting up a Covid-status certification system to the extent that the Committee cannot see how establishing the infrastructure necessary for such a system could be an effective use of resources.
Overall, we found that the Government has not established a clear scientific case, nor a good overriding public interest case for the introduction of a Covid-status certification system.
There remain a large number of uncertainties about the rationale for an operation of such a system, as well as serious ethical concerns in regards to discrimination and infringement of individual rights and significant data protection concerns. It is our clear recommendation that the Government abandon the idea of using a Covid-status certification system domestically.
Furthermore, on the topic of vaccine passports the World Health Organisation said:
At the present time, it is WHO’s position that national authorities and conveyance operators should not introduce requirements of proof of Covid–19 vaccination for international travel as a condition for departure or entry, given that there are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission.
Vaccine passports largely failed, according to an article published in the (Belfast) News Letter. The Democratic Unionist Party’s Deborah Erskine said that:
[…] the full cost to businesses may never be quantified, but there was also a cost to the public purse. £10 million was set aside to develop a policy [vaccine passports] which never had any evidential base.
Moreover, in a reply to Paul Frew MLA of the DUP, who asked the Department of Health about the cost of the vaccine certification scheme to Northern Irish tax payers, the Permanent Secretary stated that it is still costing taxpayers on average £440,000 a month. The total cost since May 2021 is £20.5 million (as reported on 15 March 2023).
The Northern Ireland Executive was informed, before the introduction of the scheme, that vaccination passports had failed elsewhere. It would be instructive to find out where the additional £10.5 million is coming from and whether anyone is accountable for this failed and expensive policy.
Recently, in a Covid hearing in the European Parliament, a Pfizer director stated that the vaccines had never been tested on stopping the transmission of the virus. Responding to the admission, Dutch politician Rob Roos said, “This removes the entire legal basis for Covid passports.” He added:
Millions of people felt forced to get vaccinated because of the myth that ‘you do it for others’. Now, this turned out to be a cheap lie.
Vaccine passports are abhorrent. Any discussion of vaccine passports must start by acknowledging that even accepting the premise of vaccine passports is unacceptable. They’re a horrific, devastating infringement on human rights, liberty and freedom that is antithetical to life in a modern democracy.
10. Did ventilators save lives?
Studies revealed a 97.2% mortality rate among those over age 65 who were put on mechanical ventilators in accordance with the initial guidance from the WHO—as opposed to a 26.6% mortality rate among those over age 65 who weren’t put on mechanical ventilators—before a grassroots campaign put a stop to the practice by the beginning of May 2020. Over 30,000 Americans appear to have been killed by mechanical ventilators or other forms of medical iatrogenesis throughout April 2020, primarily in the area around New York.
Dr Mike Yeadon, a former director of Pfizer expressed that “ventilation, if carried out on frail elderly people, will kill them” and went on to say that “almost all ventilated people died”.
Michael Senger added that:
Over the age of 65, if you had Covid, those not placed on ventilators had a 24–26 times higher chance of survival, it was a death sentence.
Thus far in this series, the ways in which harm has been inflicted on many aspects society has been highlighted, and a full range of policies have been examined and assessed in terms of their effectiveness. Part 4 will conclude this series.