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Amazing Debate on Lockdown Ideology versus Scientific Approach – Unmissable!!

Video Transcript

0:00
let me turn to you first professor lee
00:02
you really don’t believe
00:04
in lockdowns you think they’re pointless
00:06
why
00:08
well i think at the very beginning of
00:10
the epidemic in march there were genuine
00:13
reasons for concern um but i think
00:16
for several months now it’s being clear
00:17
that this virus is not the new plague
00:20
that it was feared that it would be and
00:22
yet we continue to act
00:23
as if it is that new plague um we’ve
00:26
also continued to act in this way
00:27
despite
00:28
major harms caused by lockdowns and
00:31
despite
00:32
very little evidence that lockdown
00:34
social distancing
00:35
masks and all the the other things that
00:37
have been introduced actually work on a
00:39
societal basis
00:40
so we’re actually causing more harm
00:42
clearly causing more harm
00:44
both in terms of death and in terms of
00:45
quality of life by the actions we’re
00:47
taking
00:48
for a virus for a disease that’s within
00:51
the envelope of many years within the
00:52
last 30 years
00:54
and yet professor lee in this country
00:56
right now cases are rising exponentially
00:59
so how do you stop the cases rising if
01:01
you don’t have a lockdown
01:03
because the knock-on effect is we get
01:04
more hospitalizations
01:06
more people icu more pressures on our
01:09
health service and eventually it won’t
01:10
be able to cope
01:13
well i mean my argument is if your
01:14
health service or any health service
01:16
isn’t up to providing the care that’s
01:17
needed you should increase capacity
01:19
what you shouldn’t do is imprison your
01:21
entire population
01:22
and do epidemiological and biological
01:24
experiments on people
01:26
which don’t have any way of being
01:27
verified which don’t have any evidence
01:29
to support them
01:30
um and cause as i said cause cause great
01:32
harms there’s also a problem that
01:35
in this phase of the uh pandemic
01:38
people have equated positive tests with
01:41
cases
01:42
now this isn’t correct this is simply
01:44
wrong in the normal winter
01:46
we never obsessively test the population
01:48
for any virus
01:49
to the extent to which this virus is
01:51
being tested for
01:52
and the fact is if you have a positive
01:54
test but you’re not unwell
01:55
you cannot be regarded as a case of this
01:57
disease you’re just somebody who’s got a
01:59
virus
02:00
the only people who in a normal winter
02:02
turn up as cases of this disease
02:04
um are people are admitted to hospital
02:05
people who become seriously ill and
02:07
they’re a
02:07
vanish a very tiny proportion of the
02:10
number of positive tests that you would
02:12
do
02:13
if you if you tested everybody so the
02:15
fact is that for people under 70
02:17
the infection fatality rate for this
02:18
disease is 0.05
02:20
which is about half of flu and it’s
02:22
likely to be even lower than that
02:24
because of course we don’t
02:25
truly know what the denominator is
02:27
because we haven’t been testing in the
02:28
wider population
02:29
and many of the tests that have been
02:31
done the antibody tests are the wrong
02:32
tests to be doing
02:33
because we should be testing people’s
02:35
t-cells which should show that a lot of
02:36
people already have pre-existing
02:38
resistance to this virus so on very many
02:40
levels
02:41
the approach to this virus both
02:44
scientifically and medically but also in
02:46
terms of societally what we’re doing
02:47
is simply wrong my view is that we
02:50
should have no more lockdown
02:51
uh we should go back to living life
02:54
normally we should travel normally we
02:55
should go to work we should go out
02:57
and people who are vulnerable people who
02:59
are
03:00
at risk of disease the elderly if they
03:02
want to
03:03
they could be advised to look after
03:04
themselves but frankly if i’m 70 or if
03:06
i’m 80
03:07
i don’t want to have many of the things
03:09
that make life worth living
03:10
taken away from me by government and
03:12
government responses that infantilize
03:14
the population
03:16
and tell us that we can’t make risk
03:17
assessments for ourselves about as we go
03:18
about our daily lives
03:20
okay just before i bring in my other
03:21
guests i have to come back to you and
03:22
that
03:23
professor leave and that would
03:24
inevitably lead
03:26
to people losing their lives people who
03:28
are vulnerable and people who are
03:29
elderly
03:30
surely that’s not acceptable well
03:34
you’re saying that nobody should die i
03:35
mean we need we need to be able to have
03:37
a grown-up conversation about death in
03:39
our societies the fact is when you get
03:41
to
03:42
your 80s you have a higher chance of
03:44
dying of all diseases
03:46
um yeah in the uk at least the average
03:48
age of death is about 82.
03:49
the average age of death of covid is a
03:51
bit older than the average age of death
03:53
so the fact is there’s no evidence that
03:54
cobit is really impacting on the overall
03:57
lifespan of the population
03:58
yes certain people are more susceptible
04:01
to this disease and it can
04:02
obviously cause a nasty disease but the
04:04
fact is this societal response
04:06
is something that has never been done
04:08
before there are many diseases that
04:10
kill millions of people a year yet
04:11
tuberculosis malaria
04:13
aids influenza itself all cause more
04:15
than a million deaths a year
04:17
this year we’ll have some covert deaths
04:18
which will be more than a million
04:20
worldwide
04:21
but the fact is there are 70 million
04:22
deaths every year and next year we will
04:24
have
04:24
many fewer covered deaths o’brien
04:27
lockdowns will be stuck with
04:29
because i mean as people say here we’re
04:31
largely doing it to protect our health
04:33
service
04:34
so that it’s not under pressure well i
04:36
think the government’s position has
04:37
changed i think
04:38
back in march it was to protect the
04:39
health system and it was warranted at
04:42
that time
04:43
because the speed at which cases and
04:45
debts were going up was horrific and we
04:46
didn’t know internationally
04:48
where it would top out you know there
04:50
was a a very famous
04:52
now famous medic in this country who
04:54
predicted 120
04:55
000 people dying um back in march now
04:58
nowhere in the world has had that kind
05:00
of death rate absolutely nowhere in the
05:01
world thankfully
05:03
so now we’re in a more difficult
05:04
situation where the government is saying
05:06
as the thesis articulated 48 hours ago
05:09
that
05:09
the strategy now is to wait until we
05:12
have a
05:13
safe vaccine now that could be many
05:16
years
05:16
and my fear is that we will get two or
05:19
three years out
05:20
we still won’t have a safe vaccine the
05:22
economy will be destroyed
05:24
we will have mass unemployment we will
05:26
have mass personal bankruptcies
05:28
we will have mass business bankruptcies
05:31
and the costs of all of that
05:32
we get to a point where we still haven’t
05:34
eradicated the virus
05:36
and the government goes bankrupt and
05:39
we’re in an absolute meltdown
05:40
catastrophic position where the virus
05:42
then runs through the population anyway
05:44
that’s the i’m not saying that’s going
05:45
to happen but i’m saying that is my fear
05:47
for what could happen
05:48
but we’ve already i suppose got over 300
05:51
people you know taking up beds with
05:52
covert that are displacing other people
05:54
simply because of this illness
05:57
we live in a tragic situation miriam
05:59
there is no good outcome from this
06:02
and when something like this arrives
06:05
we are going to have tragedies and that
06:07
it of course we need to minimize them
06:09
but just in terms of government’s focus
06:11
you know it emerged today that
06:13
government spending in ireland rose in
06:16
the early months of the pandemic faster
06:17
than
06:18
any other country in the eurozone the
06:20
government is planning to spend more
06:22
than
06:22
100 000 million euro this year
06:27
now how many contract tracers can you
06:29
get for 100
06:30
000 million euros how many extra beds
06:34
can you get for 100
06:36
000 million euro i think the government
06:38
needs to focus
06:39
on what it can do and spend less time
06:42
focusing on telling other people what
06:44
they can’t do
06:46
to muslim i think to be correct i hope
06:48
i’m right that
06:49
you think it’s not just hospital
06:50
capacity you want to eliminate this
06:52
virus
06:54
well i agree with much of what’s been
06:56
said but to try and bring some
06:57
perspective
06:58
to this i think today is one of the
07:01
single
07:01
most hopeful and optimistic days that
07:03
we’ve had in ireland
07:04
in many months because the first time
07:07
since july
07:08
we have taken control of our own
07:10
situation in this pandemic and we’ve had
07:12
our head in the sand until now
07:13
at the same time lockdowns are awful
07:16
and we shouldn’t have to be in a second
07:19
lockdown
07:20
and i cannot approve of the government
07:22
strategy
07:23
which is to open up and close down and
07:25
open up and close down we can have
07:27
several lockdowns more
07:28
before a vaccine comes along and it may
07:31
never come along at all
07:32
so are you saying we should just stay
07:33
locked down for longer than six weeks
07:35
i’m saying that what we’re doing is not
07:38
working
07:40
i think that the government are not
07:41
equipped to come up with an effective
07:44
strategy
07:44
or to implement it and when we think
07:46
about who’s suffering most now we often
07:48
pay respect rightly
07:50
to our health care workers but i think
07:51
at this point in time we need to be
07:53
paying a lot of honor and respect
07:54
to the business community who are going
07:56
to be suffering very much
07:58
in this lockdown but what we really need
07:59
from them is we need them to contribute
08:01
to our leadership in this pandemic both
08:04
in forming a strategy
08:05
and in implementing it and the way to
08:07
think about this is not to look at
08:09
the uk or the us where we’ve seen
08:11
evidently high death rates which we
08:13
still don’t want to experience
08:15
we need to reverse engineer the best
08:17
countries in the world australia taiwan
08:19
south korea and new zealand and we need
08:20
to apply those lessons
08:22
to ireland comparison sorry for cutting
08:25
quality are invidious i mean i think
08:27
what’s interesting is do you think we
08:28
should be longer than six weeks at the
08:30
moment and if so how long
08:32
it depends on what the goal is philip
08:33
nolan’s stated goal is fifty to a
08:35
hundred cases what would your goal be
08:37
my goal would be aggressive suppression
08:40
towards zero communities
08:41
how many weeks would that be starting
08:43
from here we think
08:44
roughly 10 to 12 weeks wow schools open
08:47
or closed
08:48
if you want to get there faster
08:52
it’s a fact that this will be faster if
08:54
schools are closed if we make the choice
08:57
to keep schools open which we do for
08:59
very very good reasons
09:01
it is going to be a little bit slower
09:03
close the borders
09:05
um i think that we shot ourselves in the
09:08
foot on borders in summer
09:10
if we had kept our borders closed we
09:12
would have maintained
09:13
low transmission for a good amount of
09:15
time the crucial way of thinking
09:17
one thing about that is someone wrote to
09:18
me about this i mean what about the
09:20
hundred thousand
09:21
you know journeys of trucks that come
09:23
through dublin port alone every year
09:25
bringing in vital supplies
09:26
making sure we have jobs and exports
09:28
what would you do about them
09:30
you manage it there are many different
09:31
ways of managing that if you look at
09:33
australia which is a better example for
09:34
us than new zealand
09:36
because it’s a common wealth of
09:37
semi-autonomous states with their own
09:39
health systems their own chief health
09:40
officers they have land borders with
09:43
each other
09:43
and they have different rates of covid
09:45
in different states and they’ve managed
09:47
this
09:48
and they’ve managed this practically by
09:49
limiting travel across the border
09:51
allowing travel across the border for
09:53
border communities
09:54
but the crucial feature is keeping
09:56
numbers
09:57
low and we’ve had a lot of discussion
09:59
about how the contact racing system has
10:01
evidently fallen apart this week
10:03
that was always going to happen because
10:04
we had exponentially growing case
10:06
numbers
10:06
but we did not have exponentially
10:08
growing testing and tracing capacity
10:10
the testing and tracing situation really
10:12
failed
10:13
in august that is when we lost control
10:15
if you can’t stop your numbers
10:17
going from 20 to 50 or going from 50 to
10:19
100 a day
10:20
how can you stop them going from 1 000
10:22
to 2 000 per day professor johnny come
10:24
back on that on what you’ve heard
10:25
from tomos ryan there well we’ve had too
10:29
much of this during this entire pandemic
10:31
we hear epidemiologists
10:32
uh giving some modelling based
10:36
suggestions for what we should be doing
10:37
with our lives and the fact is they’ve
10:39
been conclusively wrong
10:40
consistently forever basically about
10:43
this
10:43
the fact is these simplistic and
10:45
biologically naive models do not work on
10:47
a population basis
10:48
they do not capture many of the
10:51
important things
10:52
in viral spread these viruses remember
10:54
have been around since the dawn of time
10:55
they’ve actually spread amongst our
10:57
species since before we were on two legs
10:59
the fact is these things can spread
11:01
whether or not uh
11:03
they they spread at very low population
11:04
density so the fact is
11:06
if we’re implementing these lockdowns
11:08
and these other measures which are
11:09
hugely disruptive and hugely damaging
11:11
the only thing that they may do is slow
11:14
down the spread of the virus a little
11:15
bit
11:16
but the fact is in six months or a year
11:17
or two years or three years or however
11:19
long it takes
11:20
this virus will spread throughout the
11:21
population and we will be where we’re
11:23
going to end up being
11:24
the only difference will be how big of
11:26
an own goal would be cause in the
11:27
meantime
11:28
by the measures which would cause direct
11:30
harms which which are greater than the
11:32
virus i say the only way you can
11:33
actually maintain
11:35
a reasoning for doing this is in the
11:38
belief that this is such a lethal virus
11:40
and if we don’t do it as we’ve heard
11:42
several people say the number of beds
11:44
and intensive care thing will be
11:45
overwhelmed
11:46
the fact is in the uk for example we set
11:49
up the nightingale hospitals very
11:50
quickly
11:51
in march within four weeks there were
11:53
thousands of extra beds
11:55
it’s perfectly possible for governments
11:56
to do this there is simply no excuse
11:59
for imprisoning the population it’s
12:01
simply not fair to young people it’s not
12:03
fair to anybody under the age of 70
12:05
and it’s not fair to people over the age
12:06
of 70 as i said because it removes many
12:08
of the things that make life worth
12:09
living there’s simply no justification
12:11
for it
12:11
in the science all the medicine donna
12:14
brown
12:15
well you know it’s a question about
12:16
proportionality and you know just to put
12:18
a figure on it
12:19
how many young people have died in the
12:21
republic under 25 there has been a
12:24
solitary death from covid and we are
12:27
asking
12:27
we have taken kids out of school we have
12:30
ruined
12:31
the the lives of young people just as
12:33
they’re getting out to that point of
12:34
independence and
12:35
and living lives like you know these are
12:37
hundreds of millions of people
12:39
we’ve had a solitary death we really
12:41
need to ask how much punishment are we
12:44
going
12:44
to put younger people on in particular
12:47
force people into mass unemployment
12:49
when the risk to those people is so so
12:52
low
12:54
i agree with much of this but life looks
12:56
pretty good in australia right now and
12:58
in south korea they never even had any
12:59
lockdowns
13:00
we have health problems we have economic
13:02
problems the cause of them is a virus
13:04
we control this problem by getting the
13:07
virus numbers low
13:08
so that our public health doctors can
13:10
keep them low and for that i think we
13:12
need a private sector mentality
13:14
with how we execute testing and tracing
13:16
we haven’t had that we need to properly
13:18
resource our public health positions
13:20
and we need leadership from the front
13:21
from government and rolling lockdowns is
13:24
not acceptable to anyone
13:25
so we need to make a decision to have an
13:28
aggressive suppression campaign
13:30
that gets us to not always absolute zero
13:33
not eradication
13:34
but elimination of transmission in the
13:36
community most of the times can i say
13:38
that we pick the countries that are
13:39
closest to us and behaviorally most like
13:41
us all of europe
13:42
why don’t we talk about a country like
13:44
malta which is also an island close to
13:45
europe
13:46
i think you know to cherry-pick taiwan
13:48
countries around the world
13:49
who knows whether their positions will
13:51
be sustainable they may
13:52
find that locking themselves off from
13:55
the rest of the world will not be
13:56
sustainable in two or three years
13:57
they end up opening up and going through
13:59
it in a delayed way so you know let’s
14:01
look at the countries around
14:02
us professor john lee i mean it’s a
14:05
debate it’s a really interesting debate
14:06
that everyone’s having all over the
14:07
world this at the moment but
14:09
people are saying let’s hold out for the
14:10
vaccine but you’re not so sure that’s
14:13
the panacea at all sure you’re not
14:16
well i i think it’s quite unlikely that
14:18
we’ll have a vaccine that’s that’s
14:19
effective for this virus or that’s
14:21
effective for very long for this virus
14:22
the uk had a common cold institute for
14:24
43 years which was solely tasked with
14:27
producing vaccine to
14:28
similar viruses to this one and it was
14:30
shut down because they never had a
14:31
success
14:32
the fact is these viruses are very adept
14:34
at evading our
14:35
antibodies or invading vaccines that are
14:38
introduced for them so that
14:39
the idea that somehow we’re gonna have a
14:41
magic bullet which is going to
14:43
sort of come right over the horizon
14:44
anytime soon and give a get out of jail
14:47
free card i think it’s just wishful
14:48
thinking
14:49
i think governments i completely agree
14:51
uh with one of your speakers that
14:52
governments do need to show leadership
14:54
i just have a diametrically opposed due
14:55
to him and what that leadership should
14:57
be
14:57
we are never going to eradicate this
14:59
virus i think it’s very unlikely that
15:01
we’ll be able to reduce community
15:02
transmission
15:03
significantly enough to make a
15:05
difference without having such punitive
15:07
measures
15:07
that they cause far more harm than the
15:09
actual thing that they’re trying to
15:10
prevent
15:11
i come back to the point at the
15:13
beginning of this pandemic
15:15
people were worried that this was a very
15:17
severe very serious virus
15:18
a new plague it isn’t it’s quite clear
15:22
that the infection fatality rate
15:23
is comparable with flu you can argue
15:26
about whether it’s
15:27
a bit more a bit less but basically it’s
15:29
not a lot more even in the vulnerable
15:30
groups and in many groups of younger
15:32
people it’s a lot lower
15:33
so the fact is this is not the new
15:35
plague this is a virus as i say which is
15:37
within the envelope
15:39
of winter deaths that we’ve dealt with
15:40
for many years out of the last 30
15:42
and for many many years out of the last
15:44
hundred okay tomorrow never done this
15:46
before
15:46
this is a societal experiment if it’s
15:48
the wrong time this is a very dangerous
15:50
virus and it could change next year we
15:52
can’t wait for a vaccine new testing
15:54
technologies may make it easier to hunt
15:56
it out
15:57
but right now a lot of countries in
15:59
europe are getting it wrong but if you
16:00
look around the world about 1.4 billion
16:03
people
16:03
are living in effectively a zero-covered
16:05
situation big country small
16:07
countries democracies authoritarian
16:09
states islands
16:10
countries with highly connected land
16:12
borders they’re all doing it under
16:14
different circumstances we need to learn
16:16
from all of these cases and engineer our
16:18
own strategy that will work for ireland
16:20
and we need to get it right this time
16:21
okay well listen thank you all of you i
16:24
could listen to this forever but thank
16:25
you professor john lee
16:26
tomos ryan associate professor and dan
16:28