This post shines a light on the impact that the UK Government’s handling of SARS CoV 2 has had on those aged 24 and below.
By way of introduction, I am a Systems Engineer by profession. If we take public health as our ‘System of Interest’ (as per the methodology in ISO 15288), we find it is comprised of a number of elements.
At the time of drafting this (04/01/2020) there have been 51,813 people who have died in hospitals in England and either tested positive for COVID-19 or, where no positive test result was received for COVID-19, COVID-19 was mentioned on their death certificate (2,517 of the 51,813) (https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/).
Whilst this post does not contest the WHO’s Infection Fatality Rates (IFR) for SARS CoV 2 – 0.00% to 1.63% (https://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.20.265892.pdf), it does contest the effectiveness of the draconian lockdown measures imposed by governments in response to it.
Note: Across 51 locations, the median COVID-19 infection fatality rate was 0.27% (corrected 0.23%). For people < 70 years old, the infection fatality rate of COVID-19 across 40 locations with available data ranged from 0.00% to 0.31% (median 0.05%); the corrected values were similar.
What appears to have driven the UK governments response to SARS CoV 2 are the Imperial College’s models (team led by Neil Ferguson) predicting what would happen in “unmitigated” circumstances (see below):
As can be seen, in the case of Sweden, which did not implement lockdown measures, the model is off by a factor a 25. Even if we include the latest figures (04/01/2021) we see a total of 8,727 COV-19 deaths in Sweden, indicating that the model is off by a factor of 10. Furthermore, and perhaps even more incredible, I have found it impossible to get an official estimate on how many lives lockdown has saved (UK), the best I could find was a non peer-reviewed paper which suggested, “However, from early May the decline in England and Wales has been much sharper. We estimate that to 7 August, lockdown saved 17,700 lives in England and Wales, or just under 20,000 extrapolating to a UK level.” (https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.24.20139196v2 ). Given that Macmillan estimate that “across the UK there are currently around 50,000 ‘missing diagnoses’ – meaning that compared to a similar timeframe last year, 50,000 fewer people have been diagnosed with cancer. ” to the point that they are calling for cancer to not be the forgotten C. (https://www.macmillan.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/we-make-change-happen/we-shape-policy/covid-19-impact-cancer-report.html ). A simple deduction of 20,000 additional SARS CoV 2 deaths from 50,000 potential cancer deaths shows how devastating the lockdowns have been from a public health perspective. And that is without mentioning cancelled surgeries, domestic violence and child abuse.
It is with respect to that last point which focused my mind on the topic of this post – what effect is our government’s response to SARS CoV 2 having on our youth (i.e. those aged 24 and below)? I have mapped out the elements which comprise Youth Well-being below:
Addressing some of those Elements individually:
The House of Commons Briefing Paper (15/12/2020) makes the following statements regarding the impact of coronavirus on youth employment:
- The number of young people in employment has fallen by 278,000, a 7% fall. The fall for men has been larger, with employment levels falling by 9% for men and by 6% for women.
- 181,000 more young people have become economically inactive.
Focusing on the career advancement sub-element of Employment Opportunity, we would expect to see our youth in work learning key skills that Employers seek. Instead we see a large proportion of our young workers furloughed:
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened to applications on the 20 April 2020. As at 30 September, 376,000 jobs held by those aged 24 or under were on furlough, which was 9% of eligible jobs.
Reviewing government statistics on child attendance figures in educational institutions over the past year paints an equally bleak picture. Prior to the pandemic (2001 – 2019) attendance in English schools was as follows:
Now contrast those attendance levels above with those during the pandemic (below):
Note: All figures are estimates because they have been adjusted by the DfE for non-responses
The only thing I can deduce from this data is that the majority of our children are not receiving a comprehensive education. Attempts have been made at remote learning but it has not be established how effective this method has been. Has anyone in favour of lockdown measures bothered to calculate how many lost educational hours this amounts to? If so, I’m yet to see it.
Whilst there is not enough evidence to suggest that our youth are resorting to self harm (and suicide) due to lockdown measures (https://www.ncmd.info/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/REF253-2020-NCMD-Summary-Report-on-Child-Suicide-July-2020.pdf ), there have been an increase in self harm and suicidal thoughts in the 10 – 17 age group leading up to the November lockdown (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report/7-children-and-young-people).
Safety and Security
Perhaps the most damning of all is the rise in child abuse due to lockdowns in response to SARS CoV 2. From the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-child-abuse-welfare-lockdown-nspcc-a9610631.html):
“More than 22,000 adults contacted the children’s charity between April to June, with the biggest concerns pertaining to parental behaviour, neglect and physical and emotional abuse.
It represents an increase of almost one-third (32 per cent) on the monthly average for the three months prior to lockdown. In May alone, there were 8,287 calls to the helpline, the highest number ever made in a single month on record.
About 40 per cent of the calls received were referred on to local authorities or the police for further action, which the charity said is also a slight increase on pre-lockdown levels.”
And this pattern is confirmed by Keoghs (https://keoghs.co.uk/keoghs-insight/client-alerts/child-abuse-during-lockdown):
“The National Crime Agency reported a 10% increase in cases of online grooming during the 13 weeks of lockdown. In addition, there has been a 50% increase in child abuse images online.”
In terms of the effect on our youth, the lockdown measures implemented by the UK government in response to SARS CoV 2 have:
- increased unemployment
- reduced career development
- decreased education
- increased self harm and suicidal thoughts
- facilitated child abuse
As a thought experiment, imagine if Isis devised and executed a plot that reduced youth employment by 7%, furloughed another 376,000 of them, closed down schools, decreased the mental health of our under 17s, and facilitated child abuse. How many bombs do you think would be falling on the Middle East right now? I think, given the evidence presented here, that a rational mind can only conclude that the youth of the UK are not living through a pandemic, they are living through a terrorist event. Welcome to the War on Youth…