Thursday, 5 May 2022

The damage from our Hong Kong lockdowns


Over the last twenty or so years, our average yearly GDP increase was 2.5%. So minus 4% is a 6.5% drop from the long-term average. That’s all due to lockdown policies, mainly consisting of what they call “Non pharmaceutical interventions” (NPIs). That is, social distancing, masks to be worn everywhere, pubs, clubs, gyms, hair salons, all closed, beaches and pools closed as well, maximum two to a table, and so on and so on and so, stupidly, on....

The downsides are never discussed. But here they are in stark. That damage, just to the GDP alone -- not counting mental health issues, increases in suicide rates, livelihoods lost due to bankruptcies, non-Covid deaths due to NPI policies and jamming hospitals full of asymptomatic Covid patients -- comes, annualised to 6.5% of our annual GDP of $US 350 billion, ie, $US 22.8 billion. To repeat: that’s a minimum. ADDED: In China it’s a loss of 3%, or $US 420 Billion annualised. Loss. Minimum. From lockdown. And $280Bn per year in testing. ADDED: While criticism of Zero Covid is censored.

There has to be a reckoning of this. Of the horrid, huge, costs of these NPIs. Which I’ve argued all along -- with the data to prove it -- have been ineffective. Or at best, somewhat effective; but surely not worth the cost. Not even -- and I dare to say it -- if there had been a few more deaths. We can’t go on living with the “if it saves on life, it’s worth it” philosophy. That’s not how we ever lived life before, and god help us if that’s where we end up.

I’m just back from a bike ride and even though there’s been some relaxation, as of today, of masking rules for outdoors, most people are out in the park, in a fresh easterly breeze, in the sun, alone or in couples, and all, all masked (save your’s truly, of course). I’ve yet to write my opus on masking, but will shortly. Short point is they are of limited use, always were of limited use, and outside they are of no use. Maybe even negative, for you don’t get as much sun. There we are, though. That’s how people have become habituated. I’ll bet there are plenty of them that don’t feel comfortable to not wear a mask. And what about little kids who’ve been wearing masks for maybe half their lives? How do they feel if told they don’t need to? Allora, e basta cosi.

I forgot to mention: pools were supposed to open today. Then our genius Chief Executive Carrie Lam announce that there’d be a delay of nine days, so pools could sanitise and tidy up. Huh? That’s just so incompetent that even the editorial in today’s SCMP called it a “pool fiasco”.