Thanks for all your emails in response to my article about whether “despite vaccination” is the new “despite Brexit”.

The diversity of responses and opinions is especially encouraging. Nigel and I hate echo chambers of opinion, after all.

Of course, vaccines and the pandemic are rather touchy subjects. But neither of us are shy about those either…

Not many of you gave us permission to publish your responses though. But here’s a few who did…

“Catching” covid suggests you have the symptoms but you can pick up the virus and them pass it on without knowing you have had it. The vaccinations just make it less likely you will die or have severe symptoms, they do not prevent you from picking up the virus and passing it on. It’s a cold virus for heaven’s sake and we all know how cold do the rounds and again and again. So having vaccinated all who wish to have the vaccinations we should just be allowed to get on with life.

Whether we should and whether we will are two very different questions…

One of the striking things about Nigel is his understanding of what’s going on at ground level in Britain. He does this by keeping in touch with the silent majority of the UK in person. I suspect that has been his competitive advantage for a long time. And I’ve seen this firsthand when it comes to the Channel crossings crisis.

Inspired by this, I’ve been keen to publish your accounts of what’s really going on. Of course, anecdotal evidence is only anecdotal evidence. And this reader’s comments are not exactly borne out by the national data, shall we say. But it’s still interesting…

I read what you say. A Grandchild of mine and his wife both caught covid , and got better in a day or two. They had been vaccinated. His sister has worked in an ICU unit  all through the pandemic with covid patients, many of whom died.. Now she tells me that ONLY unvaccinated people are turning up with covid in Hospital now. So it must be of some benefit to have it. Hopefully enough benefit for us to be able to relax and get on with life.

That’s what the vaccines were supposed to do, however they did it: let us get on with life. But, whether you focus on cases, hospitalisations, deaths or any other measure, they have failed to let us get on with our lives. Lockdowns are back in places with high vaccination rates. The economic and financial impact of Covid will continue, even if the health impact is reduced by the vaccines.

But it’s not all bad news:

Hi Nick,

Thanks as always for your insights.

In response to this article, which is rather pessimistic, I hope I can inject a little optimism.

There have been coronavirus infections around for ages. There are, I believe, four that cause “heavy” colds. At least one of these was responsible for a “pandemic” (in this case labelled “Russian flu”).

Of course the “pan” in this case was not as widespread as the current outbreak, but it caused significant loss of life.

In any case, after a few years, it attenuated to the “cold” virus we have today. This without any help from vaccines but by a process of gradual natural immunity.

My belief is that the COVID19 coronavirus will follow the same course but that the vaccine roll-out will accelerate the transition from “killer virus” to “nuisance virus”.

We are seeing this already because vaccinated people are protected to a great degree from the deadly effects of COVID19, but some are still being infected enhancing the immunity conferred by the vaccine.

In my opinion a lockdown would only serve to protect, from severe disease, those that refuse to be vaccinated, or those unable to have the vaccine for some reason. It would slow transmission among the vaccinated and thereby slow the transition to relative harmlessness.

Best wishes,

Most of your emails have focused on the health side of the pandemic. But don’t forget that we focus on the financial and economic impact. Hence the constant references to lockdowns as the key metric for this.

I, for one, wouldn’t presume to tell you how to manage your health, unlike some… But when it comes to locking me down, I’ll take a stand.

Which brings me to another reader question for you…

We’re all familiar with the idea that a cure can be worse than a disease. When it comes to lockdowns, this balance strikes me as a question of time horizons.

How many weeks months years of lockdowns does it take for the cure to be worse than the disease?

People do of course die of lockdowns, in many different ways. That’s not to mention all the other forms of damage that lockdowns do. And the longer they go on, coming and going of course, the more the damage and deaths.

My question to you is, after how much time is the lockdown cure worse than the disease? When does the lockdown cure become worse than giving people the freedom to go about their life?

We’ve covered the Swedish response to Covid, like everyone else. But the question I’m asking you seems to have been a key metric in Sweden’s response to the pandemic. They foresaw that the virus would be around for a very long time, making lockdowns a cure that’s worse than the disease.

Whatever point at which a lockdown’s damage outweighs its benefits was considered by Swedish policy makers, and from the start. They knew that the lockdowns would have to continue for too long to make them viable.

Of course, Swedes who could remain home and who wanted to wear masks could do so. I’m not arguing against taking Covid measures. I’m arguing against imposing them on those who do not want to follow them, because they have a reason not to.

The idea that people are too stupid to decide for themselves, or protect themselves, is of course behind all government policy. The big question is always how much people will put up with. And, when it comes to lockdowns, that question is also one of time.

The clock is ticking, then, isn’t it?

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom