Lockdowns and social distancing originated from a 15 year old’s science project – models run your life

Who thought up the idea to tell society to distance themselves by 6ft? Where did the science come from to support the idea of locking down healthy individuals in society? It came from a 15-year-old’s school science project – no I’m not kidding.

Looking at the study itself you can see that Albuquerque Public High School is cited as an author affiliation. That’s because Laura Glass, who put forward the study with the help of her Dad Robert J. Glass was in high school at the time of the model’s creation. Laura Glass was participating in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2006. At the time, the Albuquerque Journal reported on her project. Believe it or not, the story has even been reported in the New York Times.

What did the model propose?

5 strategies were implemented – The study says that school closures with increased home interactions among children and teenagers (doubled) was considered as well as “children and teenagers social distancing”, adults social distancing with increased household contacts, all children and teenagers and 90% of adults withdrawing to the home when symptomatic, and social distancing while at work where contact frequency within workgroups was reduced by 50%.

The basic premise of the measures is to limit the amount of interactions within the community – thereby
limiting the spread.

All of these scenarios were run in the model 100 times. It’s important to note that these strategies were also implemented the day after 10 symptomatic cases were introduced into the model’s simulation.

Critical assumptions of the model that render it meaningless

One of the first critical assumptions (false) that the model makes is that teenagers and children will be spreaders of the virus. This is because the model is based on the infectivity rates of the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19.

The second false assumption the model makes is that asymptomatic individuals spread the virus at half the rate of symptomatic individuals – a known falsehood at this point in the pandemic. The study refers to them as infectious asymptomatic persons.

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/12/11/06-0255_article

The study assumes that half of the infected individuals in the model are asymptomatic. We know that Covid doesn’t spread asymptomatically except perhaps in exceptional circumstances – so why still follow along with lockdowns of healthy individuals and social distancing?

Asymptomatic transmission as far as I’m concerned is not something we should concern ourselves with in regards to Covid-19. This is because a recent study out of Wuhan China showed that out of the roughly 10 million residents that were tested with the PCR test for Covid – 300 were PCR “positives”. Upon further review, however, there was no viable virus (infectious) in any of the 300 asymptomatic PCR positive individuals or those that tested positive for Covid after re-infection.

The study tells us that “for an infectivity similar to that of the 1957–58 Asian influenza pandemic, targeting children and teenagers, by not only closing schools but also by keeping these age classes at home, was effective. 

It continues by saying “however, given uncertainty in the infectivity of the influenza strain, underlying social contact network, or relative infectivity/susceptibility of the young versus adults, planning to implement strategies that also target adults and the work environment is prudent.”

It likely this line of thinking that led to the introduction of the studies ideas into public policy today – the fear of the unknown and the desire to be prudent. However, what is the government of Canada’s excuse for the implementation of such draconian measures today?

The study continues by saying “implementation of social distancing strategies is challenging. They likely must be imposed for the duration of the local epidemic and possibly until a strain-specific vaccine is developed and distributed. If compliance with the strategy is high over this period, an epidemic within a community can be averted. However, if neighboring communities do not also use these interventions, infected neighbors will continue to introduce influenza and prolong the local epidemic, albeit at a depressed level more easily accommodated by healthcare systems.”

So essentially, even the very flawed model assumed that compliance must be 90% or higher for the measures to work effectively – fantastic. The other issue is that the model is based on infectivity rates that are nowhere comparable to Covid (Spanish Flu). It also assumes that asymptomatic individuals spread the virus at half the rate of symptomatic individuals – who approved this study?

At the end of the day, if this is the only science holding up social distancing and lockdowns – it’s time to hug again. Let the economy truly return to normal – that is if you care about the science. That means the removal of all governmental barriers – don’t hold your breath.

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Photo by Parastoo Maleki on Unsplash

Published by Greg Staley

Greg Staley is a husband, and a father to 3 beautiful girls. He is a concerned citizen who is closely watching his government's actions through critical thinking, and assessment of all qualified and relevant data. He believes in going to the Primary sources of data at all times if possible.