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Twelve Times the Lockdowners Were Wrong
by Phillip W. Magness
Posted February 10, 2021
This has been a year of astonishing policy failure. We are surrounded by devastation conceived and cheered by intellectuals and their political handmaidens. The errors number in the thousands, so please consider the following little more than a first draft, a mere guide to what will surely be unearthed in the coming months and years. We trusted these people with our lives and liberties and here is what they did with that trust.
After Neil Ferguson’s shocking death toll predictions for the US and UK captivated policymaker attention and drove both governments into lockdown, researchers in other countries began adapting the Imperial College model to their own circumstances. Usually, these models sought to reaffirm the decisions of each country to lock down. The government of Sweden, however, had decided to buck the trend, setting the stage for a natural experiment to test the Imperial model’s performance.
In early April a team of researchers at Uppsala University adapted the Imperial model to Sweden’s population and demographics and ran its projections. Their result? If Sweden stayed the course and did not lock down, it could expect a catastrophic 96,000 deaths by early summer. The authors of the study recommended going into immediate lockdown, but since Sweden lagged behind Europe in adopting such measures they also predicted that this “best case” option would reduce deaths to “only” 30,000.
By early June when the 96,000 prediction was supposed to come true, Sweden had recorded 4,600 deaths. Six months later, Sweden has about 8,000 deaths – a severe pandemic to be sure, but an order of magnitude smaller than what the modelers predicted. More…