I have attempted to apply the empirical method to several of the contentious issues that have been raised by Covid-19 and the Government's response to it. I have learnt that this approach tends to please few on either side of the increasing divide. My objective has been, and remains, to attempt honestly to locate where the truth lies. It is a lonely endeavour which will lose you all your friends. Hey ho. Note the stated dates. There will be further studies and data since those dates but I have not updated the analyses since those dates.
1) Literature review of the evidence for Ivermectin efficacy as a prophylactic or treatment (August'21) here. Outcome: Ivermectin has a very good level of efficacy as a prophylactic or in early treatment (63%-85% effective) and some, but poorer, efficacy in late treatment (23%-47%)
2) Literature review of the efficacy of cloth or medical/surgical masks when used by the general public (September'21) here. Of the 17 studies I found, 10 indicated no benefit against viruses whilst only 4 indicated a statistically significant benefit.
3) Literature review of the efficacy of lockdowns in preventing the spread of Covid-19 (September'21) here. I read 52 papers then ran out of enthusiasm (there are many more). Based on those 52 there were 18 which indicated lockdowns had been of some efficacy and 26 that indicated lockdowns were not efficacious (8 inconclusive). Not exactly an overwhelmingly vote of confidence in lockdowns when set aside their enormous financial cost and impact on peoples' wellbeing.
4) Review of the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines (November'21) here. Can't summarise, you'll have to read the Conclusions. It includes a Risk-Benefit analysis.
5) There have been many claims on sceptic sites that national death statistics show indications of enhanced deaths which can be related to vaccination. In the above review on vaccines, item 4, I refute two such claims. Here I refute another. The latter appeared alarming at first, as the death rate for single vaccinated people is indeed higher than for the unvaccinated. But it is not what it seems at first sight and is an object lesson in how careful one needs to be in analysing such data. Sample bias is an ever-present trap to fall into.
6) A paper in Nature Medicine in December 2021 reports an association between Covid-19 vaccines and Myocarditis, albeit very small effect size. Here I critique the paper and conclude there is an association and, if anything, it is rather larger than the paper claims, though still small.
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