Government’s Long, Slow Walk to Freedom is Costing Billions and Makes No Sense

This afternoon’s No 10 Press Conference

Today Boris Johnson held a press conference to mark what he described as an “emotional” moment in the lifting of lockdown as children return to school. Encouragingly, he said that the “greater risk now is keeping them out of school for a day longer”. 

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries told the press conference that she didn’t expect schools to be forced to close again.

Less welcome was that she said it would take some families time to get used to the wearing of masks and regular testing, as though this was to be part of an ongoing normality.

On the plus side, she said the vaccination programme meant the R number was no longer so important.

The whole issue about vaccination of course is we have now protected the most vulnerable individuals as we come down the age groups into those with underlying health conditions. And so the impact on our hospitals going forward is likely to be significantly less.

She noted that cases, hospital admissions and deaths continue to fall, and that infections are now below 100 per 100,000 of population in every part of the country and are back to where they were in September.

She then reverted to alarmist nonsense, saying: “This is a level at which a new wave could easily take off from again”, and there is still “substantial strain” on the NHS.

In other words, everything’s going down – but don’t think that means you can resume your liberties, as it could reverse at any moment. On that logic, we’ll never be free.

As for the NHS being under “substantial strain” – Covid patient levels are back to where they were in October, when hospitals were running at normal levels, and dropping quickly.

The Government continues to spout this fear and doom narrative to justify its ludicrous decision to squander its vaccine advantage and lift lockdown at snail’s pace behind many other countries and US states.

The Adam Smith Institute (which, bizarrely for a libertarian think tank, supports lockdowns) estimates that every week of lockdown costs the UK Government £6bn and suppresses the economy by £5bn.

Kate Andrews in the Spectator has published this week new analysis which demonstrates the predictable relationship between strict lockdowns and dampened economic activity. She writes:

Lockdown has always been a matter of trade-offs. The impact of suppressing the economy to also suppress a deadly virus has had consequences on every aspect of life, from non-Covid health treatment, to rising unemployment, to the impact on children’s education. But these costs can be calculated in something much closer to real time. New data from the OECD, analysed by The Spectator and unveiled in this week’s magazine, shows the weekly difference between a country’s economic activity now and how it compares with the year before. 

Here’s the key graph.

Spiralling costs and debt, children subject to absurd testing and masking regimes, ongoing alarmism about the return of the virus and hospital pressure, lockdown being lifted agonisingly slowly – yet plummeting cases and deaths, hospital admissions back to autumn levels and dropping, a world-beating vaccine programme, and the example of several US states ending restrictions with no adverse effect.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the Government’s approach is mind-bogglingly costly and makes no sense.

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