No, lifting lockdowns isn't hiding the success of the vaccines.

Brief words on a stupid argument that just won't go away.

Every time you point out that post-vaccination Corona hospitalisations and deaths are the same as or worse than pre-vaccination Corona hospitalisations and deaths, you hear the same thing: It’s because we raised the lockdowns. People are circulating a lot more now. Imagine how bad it would be without the vaccines.

This is massively disingenuous.

Even at 20 weeks out from vaccination, the biggest studies (like this one from Public Health England) put vaccine efficacy against hospitalisation and death very high, between 78% and 90%. At the same time, the UK is reporting 2 Corona deaths per million people every day right now. On this day last year, that number was about 0.6. Despite near universal vaccination in those cohorts most likely to die of Corona, UK deaths are up more than threefold.

Ending lockdowns cannot be the reason, because lockdowns never really did much for mortality. You had to have highly subtle modelling studies to tease out all the invisible proofs that lockdowns were saving lives. More straightforward analyses found no effect. Just nothing. And this makes sense: Take any lockdown enthusiast, give him an unlabelled graph of the mortality curves of different countries, and ask him to determine, on the basis of these curves, who locked down and when. We all know he would fail. To that comes the natural experiments of Florida, which ended restrictions before anybody was vaccinated; and Texas, which ended them when hardly anybody was. Both jurisdictions had average cases and deaths with very few restrictions, until the vaccines came.

In summary: Lockdowns were basically worthless from the start, official statistics continue to claim massive victories for the vaccines, while overall hospitalisations and deaths are the same or worse as before. This is what a mild Marek Effect looks like.

Shorter piece today. Working on some things for later.