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Michael Levitt is an American-British-Israeli-South African biophysicist who makes the argument that the Covid-19 epidemic was never exponential, and that lockdown is a huge mistake.

A Professor of Structural Biology at the Stanford School of Medicine, and a winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Levitt is a numbers guy, but not an epidemiologist. He studied data from Hubei, and predicted with remarkable accuracy that China would end up with 80000 cases and about 3250 deaths.

While studying other countries with significant daily increases in cases, he observed a similar pattern of a break in growth after about two weeks of exponential growth. This happened across South Korea, Iran, and Italy. “It was very hard for me to believe that those three countries could practise social distancing as well as China.”

He believes that indiscriminate lockdown is a huge mistake, and recommends a smart lockdown policy, aimed at protecting the elderly, but simultaneously building herd immunity. He suggest that the winners are Germany and Sweden, while the losers are Austria, Israel, and Australia, as they have damaged their economies and caused massive social damage, without building herd immunity.

“There is no doubt in my mind, that when we come to look back on this, the damage done by lockdown will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor”

– Professor Michael Levitt

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Read the transcript, or other Covid-19 related material here

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Title of Covid-19 lecture