These Experts Advocated for Lockdowns; Now They Say They Were Wrong

These Experts Advocated for Lockdowns; Now They Say They Were Wrong
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Very few experts who now say they were wrong on lockdowns and mandates have publicly apologized. We spoke to two who did. 

As the dust settles from the COVID-19 pandemic and the fallout over lockdown policies becomes more pronounced, some lockdown proponents, like New York University Professor Scott Galloway, have admitted they were wrong for supporting lockdowns.

“I was on the board of my kid’s school during COVID. I wanted a harsher lockdown policy. In retrospect, I was wrong,” Mr. Galloway told Bill Maher.

“The damage to kids of keeping them out of school longer was greater than the risk. But here’s the bottom line, myself, our great people at the CDC, I’d like to think the governor, we were all operating with imperfect information, and we were doing our best.” he said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Let’s learn from it. Let’s hold each other accountable, but let’s bring a little bit of grace and forgiveness,” he said.

Mr. Galloway isn’t the only one to admit he was wrong for supporting lockdowns, especially for children.

However, some others aren’t as quick to blame “imperfect information,” and plead for forgiveness.

Dr. Ari Joffe, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta, Canada, and an attending physician in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, initially supported lockdowns.

So did Kevin Bass, a seventh-year medical student and researcher at a Texas medical school.

Both now say they were wrong because of “groupthink” and “fear-mongering,” rather than imperfect information.

And both push back against Mr. Galloway’s notion that the powers that be were “doing [their] best.”

Fear and Lockdowns

On March 16, 2020, the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team published modeling that showed without lockdowns enforced for more than two-thirds of the time over two years, “there would be 510,000 deaths in Great Britain and 2.2 million deaths in the United States by mid-April, surpassing ICU demand by 30 times,” Dr. Joffe reported in his peer-reviewed paper, “COVID-19: Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink.”

The Imperial College estimated that there would be “7.0 billion infections and 40 million deaths” globally in the first year.

The result from that modeling was widespread fear, Dr. Joffe said, of which he was not immune.

Consequently, he fully supported government-imposed lockdown measures at the beginning of the pandemic because he believed “lockdowns would reduce viral transmission and deaths, as famously, inaccurately, and tautologically modeled at Imperial College,” Dr. Joffe told The Epoch Times.

Mr. Bass, who said at the beginning of the pandemic he was a hard-core Covidian (someone who elevated COVID prevention and mitigation to an almost religious persuasion), said the Imperial College’s modeling highly influenced his initial support for lockdowns, as did reports from the World Health Organization (WHO).

“They said it kills 3.4 percent of the people it infects—that was the World Health Organization’s figure until early April—3.4 percent, that’s way too many people! That’s like one out of every 30 people is going to die,” Mr. Bass told The Epoch Times.

“And then we had these Imperial College London models which modeled how many deaths there would be due to the pandemic in different scenarios, whether mitigated or unmitigated, with no lockdowns or measures taken.

“And there was essentially no other data. I think, because of the hysteria, the fear, the example of China perhaps, people had an excessive amount of confidence—scientists, social scientists—in the Imperial College of London models.”

But as the pandemic unfolded, Dr. Joffe and Mr. Bass began to rethink their early lockdown support.

Recognizing Groupthink

“In the first few months of lockdown, I realized that my (and similarly trained medical colleagues) expertise was poorly suited to give advice during a pandemic,” Dr. Joffe said.

He added that when he first saw the Imperial College’s modeling, he failed to note that “the high-risk groups were those aged 70 years and older (especially in long-term care), and those aged 60 to 69 with severe comorbidities.”

But that fact soon became apparent, and the infection fatality rate was more than 10 times lower than the reported case fatality rate.

“The modeling was flawed, and in general, modeling (forecasting) failed during the pandemic. This was because the models were based on flawed assumptions and non-transparent methods,” Dr. Joffe said.

“If you put in inaccurate assumptions (e.g., the infection fatality rate was way too high; the population was modeled as homogeneous when in reality it is highly heterogeneous in terms of risk and exposure; the outbreak was modeled as never-ending exponential increase, unlike any epidemic in history; the herd immunity threshold was assumed to be far too high; and more), the model will show what you want it to show.”

Dr. Joffe said that he also saw the effect of lockdowns on students at the university and came to recognize that his support of lockdowns was from a privileged position that “failed to recognize that loneliness, unemployment, and adverse childhood experiences are top risk factors for shortened lifespan, mental health problems, and chronic non-communicable diseases.”

Plus, he’d “failed to recognize that missing school will affect an entire generation with reduced social development, executive function (i.e., decision-making ability), earning potential, and future lifespan, and lead to marked increases in adverse mental health outcomes.”

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