Now, Norway's Health Chief Just Torpedoed the Case for COVID Lockdowns

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Posted: May 26, 2020 4:45 PM
Now, Norway's Health Chief Just Torpedoed the Case for COVID Lockdowns

Source: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Was the coronavirus real? Yes. Did some overreact to it? It appears so. I was one of them, but the past ten days have been a deluge of news pretty much undercutting the need for panic. First, most of the country was not hit that hard. New Jersey, New York, parts of New England, and some areas of the West Coast were heavy hit. The rest of the country was not nearly as badly ravaged. New York City is the mecca for the US-based outbreak, but most of the deaths appear to be concentrated in an area we all know would be a problem: nursing homes. And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo forced these facilities to admit COVID-positive patients. Of course, it spread like a brushfire in there. 

I supported the lockdowns to curb the spread and prevent the hospitals from being overrun. Fine—but the goalposts were moved by liberals. Also, we’ve flattened the curve, the hospitals are stable, and it’s time to re-open. Yet, in Norway, their health chief now says that maybe a lockdown wasn’t necessary at all—that the rate of infection was not accurately gauged. In all, she declared that Norway could have handled the infection without a quarantine. The Local Norway, the nation’s English-speaking news outlet, reported on this:

Camille Stoltenberg, the agency's Director General, told state broadcaster NRK that the agency's analysis now suggested less restrictive measures would have been sufficient. 

"Our assessment now....is that we could possibly have achieved the same effects and avoided some of the unfortunate impacts by not locking down, but by instead keeping open but with infection control measures," she said. 

The institute reported at the start of this month that the reproduction number had already fallen to as low as 1.1 even before the lockdown was announced on March 12.

This suggests that it would not have required heavy-handed measures such as school closures to bring it below 1 and so push the number of infected people in the country into a gradual decline. 

"The scientific backing was not good enough," Stoltenberg said of the decision to close down schools and kindergartens, a policy her agency had not recommend even at the time it was instituted in March.

Well, that’s a gut punch, huh? Also, the “R naught” number which tracks how contagiousness of a virus was whittled down to 1.1. It was reported as closer to three, making it far greater more infectious than the seasonal flu. 

North Carolina now has slashed its COVID death toll drastically. The CDC totally reevaluated the virus and how it spread on surfaces. Testing has increased dramatically, and positive results have never been lower. Also, in the UK, the vaccine tests have run into an issue: there aren’t enough infected people. The virus is dissipating at such a rate that the chances for a successful test hover around 50/50. That is a good problem, however. Also, the mortality rate has also been clarified to show that it's not as lethal as originally reported. 

The damage has been done. Millions were thrown into the unemployment line, small businesses have been smashed, and it looks increasingly clear, with every passing day, that some of us went overboard here. Yet, I do have immense confidence that Trump will be re-elected, and once re-openings occur—the economic boom will be rapid in the months leading up to and after the election.