ADDED (22 May): ‘Japan shows faith in lockdowns misplaced’
Below is an email I sent Melanie Phillips in response to a recent post of hers. Melanie is a rather famous journalist and commenter in Britain. She started her career at the Guardian
until her spats over some left-wing shibboleths led her away and into the anti-regressive left world. She writes for the Times,
awa being a prolific author.
Her blog, like mine, has no comment section hence my email
I haven’t asked Melanie for her permission to post her email replies to me so I’ll just summarise it as “your email rather proves my point”. She was referring to my passing comment that in some places, like Japan, cultural factors like bowing rather than hand shaking would have kept her virus spread lower than otherwise.
But I don’t see how that proves her point. Here’s why:
Her contention is A → B. That is “Lockdown → control of virus”.
My contention: the statistics show no correlation
between A and B.
We all know that “correlation does not (necessarily) imply causation”, BUT, causation does imply correlation. If A → B there must
be a correlation, as measured by a correlation coefficient ≥ 0.6. There is not
. Hence lockdowns are ineffective by themselves and the declines in infections must be due to other factors, perhaps simply the passage of time and the rhythm of the virus.
I mentioned as an aside, some places like Japan where the cultural practice is not to shake hands, to be socially distanced, probably played a part in control. (I could have added that they tend not to love in multigenerational households, a factor that impacted Italy adversely). Also Hong Kong where we were.wary of viruses because of 2002 SARS, and so mask, disinfect, distance.
I simply cannot see how the mention of cultural factors “makes her point”. I would have thought it rather made my
point! That lockdowns are ineffective, at least in and of themselves, as shown by lack of correlation.
Oh well, I leave it there.
Save for a final “I don’t get it”. In Britain
a majority of people don’t want the lockdown to ease. I don’t get it. The science certainly doesn’t support it. Least of all the schools. All the science and the experience there is that children are just fine.
To repeat the Sceptics’ recommended path
: protect the elderly and otherwise vulnerable. We know who they are: 70+ folks with other conditions (like me!). Let the rest of the world get back to work, school and play. With appropriate distancing, masking and disinfecting. That’s what we do in HK.
, much admired for its handling of the virus, has no school closures, no stopping of sports events, no stay-at-home orders. Its secret appears to be having stopped inbound travel from the mainland, early
. Something, let’s recall, the WHO
was against. (Taiwan has lowest lockdown “stringency” index in the world, according to Oxford U
My email below the fold