Oxford University Scientists Demolish Government Case for Second Lockdown
Professor Carl Heneghan and crew at the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine have been working overtime at the weekend pushing back against the Government narrative.
The Mail yesterday published their demolition of the Government’s paper-thin case for imposing yet more emergency restrictions to try to suppress and eliminate this virus. Entitled “The only ‘circuit break’ in the pandemic we need now is from the Government’s doom-mongering scientific advisers who specialise in causing panic and little else“, they don’t hold back.
Today, our bewildered Prime Minister and his platoon of inept advisers might as well be using the planets to guide us through this pandemic, so catastrophic and wildly over-the-top are their decisions.
Now we look set to repeat the pattern of what happened six months ago when they first panicked the country into shutting down, except that this time it has been given a fancy title – operation ‘circuit break’.
Whatever the name, it may be a grave error with terrible consequences for the health of the British people and for the health of the country. How can we possibly be making the same mistake – again?
Why is it that the Government is once again in the grip of doom-mongering scientific modellers who specialise in causing panic and little else?
They address head-on the comparison with Spain, pointing out that the second ripple in Spain appears already to have peaked:
Take the latest reliable data from Spain (up to September 3) which does not indicate any sort of upward curve in infections, let alone one coming to get us here in Britain.
In fact, the data shows that the number of Spanish cases did grow last month – but then reached a plateau.
Some of Spain’s 17 provinces are already past the peak infection (when considered by the date that symptoms began), while the proportion of completely asymptomatic cases in Spain is on the rise. [See the graphs here, pp9-10.]
Anyone who has clinical experience of dealing with respiratory viruses knows that the only certainty is uncertainty itself.
Yet our PM, and his Dad’s Army of highly paid individuals with little experience of the job at hand, continue to behave as if they are acting on the basis of certainty.
Instead, they move from one poorly designed, rash decision to another, driven by the misguided belief that we are experiencing a ‘second wave’, following Spain’s ‘trajectory’ and just ‘behind the curve’ there.
Most people now have colds, not Covid, they say – though that in itself creates problems for our overstretched testing system:
The good news, then, is that anyone going down with a new respiratory illness is likely to be suffering from a cold – not Covid.
But the rhinovirus presents us with a problem, too. Because the symptoms of a cold mean many of us will need a Covid test.
And increased Covid testing is picking up dead – entirely harmless – fragments of virus as well as genuine infections. So many of the positive results we think we are getting might not be positives at all.
Our inability to accurately report the most simple measures – the proportion of positive tests that were asymptomatic or the date at which the symptoms began, for example – is a major problem for our intelligence gathering.
And the result is a confused, rudderless Government lost in a swamp of poor statistics and ill-informed recommendations.
Worth reading in full.
The CEBM’s full consideration of the situation in Spain is here. There are also other new pieces from Carl Heneghan and co in the Speccie on the impossibility of the Government’s apparent aim of eliminating the virus, and in the Telegraph on the problems with testing. Plus a video on Sky here on the non-existent second wave.
Stop Press: Even the BBC is letting some sceptical comment through. Here’s their health correspondent Nick Triggle yesterday:
The idea of curbing the spread of the virus to stop the NHS being overwhelmed brought people together in the spring.
But what is the aim now the NHS was not overwhelmed? Suppression of a virus that clearly can’t be suppressed without a huge cost to society?
As Prof Robert Dingwall, a government adviser, put it last week, this virus is here “forever and a day” and the public may just be growing comfortable with the idea that people will die – just as they accept that people die of flu ever year.
If only someone had pointed this out before.
The Only Thing Unprecedented About This Pandemic is the Hysteria
Tim Black has written an intriguing piece on spiked comparing the world’s reaction to COVID-19 with 20th century pandemics such as the Asian Flu. Fascinating, and a clear indictment on our present hysteria.
When, in July 1957, British prime minister Harold Macmillan told a Tory Party rally that the British people “had never had it so good”, supplying the postwar period with its famously optimistic gloss, one historical fact tends to be overlooked: the world was in the grip of a pandemic.
Influenza A virus subtype H2N2 – known as the Asian Flu – had emerged in China in the winter of 1956-7. By April, Hong Kong had reported 250,000 cases. By June, India had recorded over a million. Later that summer, as Macmillan was basking in the postwar boom, the Asian Flu hit Britain and the US. By the time the pandemic had been contained in 1958, it is estimated to have killed about 1.1million people worldwide, including over 30,000 in the UK and over 100,000 in the US.
Yet there Macmillan was, painting a rosy picture not just of the present but of the future, too. The Labour Party was similarly unconcerned by the pandemic raging outside its door, preferring instead to address other matters it deemed more pressing, from the make-up of the Shadow Cabinet to arguments against unilateral nuclear disarmament, for which shadow foreign secretary Nye Bevan was heckled at that October’s party conference – held, as it happens, when UK deaths from Asian flu were at their peak.
Likewise, media coverage of the pandemic was restrained. As the historian Mark Honigsbaum wrote in the Lancet: “There were few hysterical tabloid newspaper headlines… Instead, the news cycle was dominated by the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik and the aftermath of the fire at the Windscale nuclear reactor in the UK.”
In fact, the 1957-58 influenza pandemic barely seemed to register as anything other than a public-health problem. The approach, led by local and regional medical authorities rather than central government, was pragmatic, and perhaps a little fatalistic. “We will have our epidemic of influenza, of a type not very different from what we know already, with complications in the usual age groups,” remarked Ian Watson, Director of the College of General Practitioners’ Epidemic Observation Unit in June 1957.
The End of the Union?
We’ve received an email from an academic at a Scottish University. He thinks the most destructive legacy of the Boris’s epic mishandling of the coronavirus crisis might be the break-up of the United Kingdom.
Thank you so much for this website. You have helped to preserve my sanity during this time of global madness. I am a politics lecturer at a Scottish university, so the hardest thing about this is seeing that very few people value liberal democracy, having no problem when democratic governments took away their freedom with so little (if any) hard evidence to support lockdowns and mask requirements. Even though some recent literature showed that support for liberal democracy was in decline, especially among young people, I was still surprised at what happened and am increasingly alarmed at where things are going. Critical thinking went out the window in March and is still hard to come by, but your website seems to be bringing some rational thought back into this benighted world. I remain hopeful that a new Prime Minister could change things. Otherwise, I cannot see any way out of what was the biggest overreaction in history. The basic problem is that governments cannot admit that they overreacted to the hysteria instigated by the media and wrecked the economy and healthcare services, along with causing serious damage to our freedom. I do not believe the conspiracy theories and fear that their advocates are harming the efforts of those of us who stick to the evidence. I have interviewed enough politicians to know that many are prone to groupthink and following the herd. Here in Scotland, independence now seems closer than ever. Unionist politicians, both here and in London, are handling the situation very badly. Nicola Sturgeon seems to have a Svengali effect on most of the Scottish population, while Boris Johnson appears to be all over the place. While the economic, democratic and health costs of the coronavirus hysteria will last for years, the biggest cost of all might be the territorial integrity of the UK.
A Dentist Writes…
More on mask mouth. A dentist tells us:
Mask mouth: no surprise, as if the nose is partially or fully blocked mouth breathing is required.
Simplified: Mouth breathing dries saliva, which is the body’s mouth cleaning and tooth protection mechanism. Mask wearers should be advised to chew sugar-free gum to encourage saliva ‘injections’ in the mouth.
“I Had Been in Active Labour for Eight Hours on My Own.”
A reader who recently gave birth has written to tell us of the appalling experience she had having a baby in a London hospital in the locked down NHS.
I found out I was pregnant in January. I was able to go to my 12-week scan with my mum and husband, which was wonderful. However, that was the last time I was able to have anyone accompany me to any antenatal appointments.
I attended a routine blood pressure clinic when I was 38 weeks pregnant, where I was told my baby had stopped growing properly, and that I needed an urgent induction that day. All of this news was given to me to process on my own without my husband being present.
My contractions started the next day, but my husband had to leave at 7pm, as visiting hours were only between 2pm and 7pm.
My waters broke at half past midnight. I remember feeling incredibly alone. I called my husband and asked him to come in as we live a 20-minute drive from the hospital, but the midwife told me he wouldn’t be allowed with me until I was dilated more than 4cm and was transferred to the labour ward. This stressed me out considerably but I was already too exhausted to argue so I told my husband to go back to bed.
I then sat on my birthing ball in my cubicle, put my headphones in and bounced my way through increasingly painful contractions. My waters continued to break and I didn’t know what to do and couldn’t reach my call bell because of the pain. One of the other patients must have rung their bell for me because the midwife came and checked on me and I asked for gas and air. My contractions continued to ramp up. I was texting my mum and sister at this point and they were like a virtual support team but no substitute for the real thing sadly.
The midwife came back at around 2:30am and I asked to be transferred to the labour ward for an epidural, as I knew that if the pain continued escalating at the current rate I wouldn’t be able to cope for much longer. She agreed that I could go, so I called my husband again and told him to come.
The head midwife then came and said that I needed to stay on the antenatal ward because there was no space for me on the labour ward, and that I needed to have the pethidine injection in the meantime. I asked if my husband would be allowed in because I had told him to come and she said we could “negotiate”. I had the injection before being transferred to a side room with my husband who had just arrived. I had been in active labour for eight hours on my own.
I don’t remember much of the next four hours – my next memory was of being rushed down to the labour ward to have a spinal and an epidural. I gave birth to our daughter at 1:18pm.
We were then transferred to the postnatal ward at 5:30pm. I managed to have a very quick shower in my room on the labour ward, thank God, because all the showers on the postnatal ward had signs saying they were out of order, presumably because of Covid.
My husband then had to leave me at 7pm with my new baby, after almost three days of no sleep, on a ward of new mothers, which was also understaffed. Of course I did not sleep at all. I still had a catheter and a cannula in, neither of which I required any further, and I had to chase the midwives throughout the night to ask when they were be removed, until they eventually did so at 5am the next morning. This meant that I had a painful right hand and I also had to carry around both my catheter and my new baby with me whenever I went anywhere.
There was nowhere easy to change her nappy, so I ended up doing it in her cot and praying she wouldn’t make a mess. This again, while having a catheter that I had to hold because it hadn’t been secured to me, and not being able to put any underwear on. I was bleeding down my legs as I walked around because the sanitary pad I had wasn’t secured. I felt like I was in a nightmare and if I had had my husband there he would have been at least able to help while I rested.
I had also sustained a second degree tear, which had been stitched whilst I was on the epidural. I had forgotten about the tear until later on when I started to ache and realised that I didn’t know how to care for the wound. I asked the midwife, and she just told me not to sit on it. I had to ask for extra painkillers because I was in agony.
The midwife brought me formula when my baby cried and she told me off because I was not feeding her. I just needed someone to help me latch her – my husband had tried just before he left but without much success.
They also had to check my baby’s blood sugar before every feed. I had said I wanted to feed her at around 8pm, and then had to wait three hours for the test to be done, by which point her blood sugar was dangerously low. I was then told off for this.
My husband was allowed back on the ward at 2pm the next day and I just prayed for his arrival. Fortunately, we were discharged that afternoon.
A week after the birth I had to go back to the postnatal ward for two nights due to my high blood pressure not being controlled by my medication. I took my baby with me. I had to look after her on my own while I was extremely ill, and had to constantly chase for medication and regular monitoring to be done.
As you can see, there were multiple instances before and after the birth when I needed an advocate and someone to support me; not to mention when I was experiencing intense pain for hours alone. Fathers are not an added extra, they are a necessity.
This is a snapshot of my birth story under current guidelines. I am sure there are many more stories which are more horrific than mine. I hope more women don’t have to go through this kind of experience. It tainted my first day with my baby and has certainly had a traumatising effect on me. The Government need to lift all restrictions on maternity wards immediately to avoid any further unnecessary traumas.
A campaign #butnotmaternity has been started on social media and there is a petition to sign here.
Stop Press: Another reader has been in touch with an insight into how the NHS is preparing for the second wave by yet again depriving ordinary healthcare of resources:
My son in law is an experienced senior nurse and does occasional shifts at the local, large and prestigious hospital in the A&E department.
He tells us of the following: day the hospital – buildings and staff – have been divided into red and green facilities and teams, in preparation for the coming second wave: red being Covid-only staff, green being all other staff.
My son-in-law was allocated to the red team. They have all been idle, without a single Covid patient anywhere in the hospital as of September 18th.
The green team, however, have been rushed off their feet, without even enough ‘green’ porters to move patients about the hospital.
As a consequence, my son-in-law was asked to find a private place to change from his red team uniform to a green one in order to help out. He has not been re-allocated to the green team and will resume his red team allocation on his next shift.
It’s quite likely that he is not alone in being asked to do this. He says he feels the whole scenario in the hospital is something from a French farce.
French Hospitals At “Tipping Point” – But What Does That Mean?
The leader of an A&E union in France is quoted in the Telegraph claiming that France is in the midst of a “second wave” and hospitals are “at tipping point”. But what does that mean? It is yet another vague metaphor, the sole purpose of which appears to be to spread alarm, like “second wave”, “surge” and “spike”. Britain, too, is at “tipping point”, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday.
So are hospitals in France about to run out of beds – is that what it means? Nothing of the sort. The truth comes out further down the page, when the report quotes the head of healthcare in Paris, rather than an excitable union boss.
Less alarmist, Aurélien Rousseau, head of the Paris region health agency, said that while “tension levels have reached maximum levels”, “we will not see a remake of the first wave, rather a second season of the epidemic”.
On the plus side, patients were better treated, less often hospitalised or placed on ventilators in intensive care and for shorter times, he said. Hospitals will be sorely tested, however, because “there is no question of deprogramming non-Covid treatment”.
The infection rate in the French capital now stands at 160 per 100,000 inhabitants, but the R level remains stable, he added.
Some 20% of intensive care beds are now occupied by patients with Covid, he said.
Ladies and gentlemen, the second wave.
And how’s our own second wave getting on?
How long do you think until they accept it’s over?
Back To (Nearly) Normal in Bergamo
A reader has returned from a trip to Bergamo, one of the worst hit cities in the world in the spring, with some encouraging news.
I’ve just returned from a three week trip to Bergamo. You would think the “Chernobyl” of the virus would be a scary place. Exactly the opposite: groups of adults and students mixing in any numbers enjoying the autumn sun, a large market set up in the central square. All the restaurants are as normal, no arrows, plastic screens, one way systems, etc. Just good food as you’d expect and normal waiter service second to none. Whilst mask wearing is compulsory in shops, in the street as you’d again expect in Italy half the population seem to wear the mask as a fashion item around their wrist. We had a lovely time and not once did we see the fear that seems to stalk every street in the UK. And no quarantine to boot upon return. At least the Italians haven’t forgotten la dolce vita!
The Real Science of Covid
One of our most diligent correspondents, from the moment Lockdown Sceptics was set up, is a financial researcher and fund manager who wishes to remain anonymous. Many of the best papers and articles we’ve linked to in the past five months were sent to us by him. He’s now accumulated a mountain of data on the disease and we asked him to assemble it in one place, organised under different headings, which he’s very kindly done. We’ve published it here and given it pride of place at the top of the right-hand menu and called it “The Real Science of Covid”. For those familiar with the Swiss Doctor, it’s a bit like that except, if anything, even more thorough. For sceptics everywhere, it’s an indispensable resource.
To give you a sense of just how useful it is, here’s the section entitled “The Collateral Damage From Lockdowns is Vast and Will Kill Millions”:
Lockdowns are the moral equivalent of carpet bombing, ineffective with vast collateral damage.
Disruptions to food due to lockdowns may kill more from hunger than Covid.
Covid is not the only illness in the world and millions will die from interrupted care, for example from tuberculosis and HIV, as the New York Times reports.
“COVID-19 risks derailing all our efforts and taking us back to where we were 20 years ago,” said Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, the director of the World Health Organization’s global malaria program.
It’s not just that the coronavirus has diverted scientific attention from TB, H.I.V. and malaria. The lockdowns, particularly across parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, have raised insurmountable barriers to patients who must travel to obtain diagnoses or drugs, according to interviews with more than two dozen public health officials, doctors and patients worldwide.
Unicef warns on the consequences of poverty and malnutrition for kids could harm millions.
According to a stark report published in Lancet Global Health journal on Wednesday, almost 1.2 million children could die in the next six months due to the disruption to health services and food supplies caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The first famines of the coronavirus era are at the world’s doorstep U.N. warns.
COVID-19 could reverse decades of progress toward eliminating preventable child deaths, WHO warns.
The Gates Foundation estimates that the response to Covid has set back vaccination 25 years.
Furthermore, there is good reason to believe that lockdowns increased deaths of the vulnerable and elderly.
This is true in much of the world. Here is a study looking at how lockdowns drove excess deaths for non-Covid illnesses.
Interrupting medical care kills people. More people died in Denver of unattended heart attacks during lockdown than from Covid.
And same was true for heart attacks and strokes in the NHS in the UK.
Analysis of NHS data reveals the deadly consequences of the government’s messaging to “stay at home, save lives, protect the NHS”. During the lockdown, there was a near 50 per cent decline in admissions for heart attacks. The risks of COVID-19 outweighed the risk of seeking NHS care despite worsening symptoms for many people: 40 per cent more people died from lower-risk treatable heart attacks than usual. For strokes, the situation is further exacerbated by living alone and not having visitors as 98% of emergency calls for strokes are made by someone else.
The economic damage is also horrific.
The World Bank estimates over 71 million will be plunged into extreme poverty due to lockdowns/quarantines
The United Nations has warned that response to Covid is reversing decades of gains in poverty, healthcare and disease
Worth reading in full.
- “The power-mad clowns of the Johnson Junta want to TOTALLY suppress a coronavirus – which has never been achieved in history” – Peter Hitchens’s latest – and it’s a corker
- “You can’t cover up why face masks are wearing a bit thin” – Neil Oliver in the Times detects lockdown fatigue
- “Preserving society must be our priority” – Strong editorial in the Telegraph arguing we “cannot remain stuck in this cycle of despair, where every uptick in infections brings increasingly authoritarian and repressive measures”
- “Could Boris quit?” – Patrick O’Flynn in the Spectator wonders whether Boris still feels he’s the right man for the job
- “Why I refuse to take part in ‘re-education’ that tells ordinary people they are racists” – Ben Bradley MP takes a brave stand in the Mail against the divisive and dubious unconscious bias training being inflicted on employees everywhere, and now on MPs
- “Council banned staff from smoking at their desks at home” – How working from home becomes being bossed around in your own home
- “We no longer want to be governed by fear” – France may be beginning to move away from Covid hysteria and this letter from medics may be one reason why (may need Google translate, depending on your French)
- “Surge in demand for supermarket delivery slots amid new lockdown warnings” – Panic is back. Quick, grab the loo roll…
- “A Proposed Origin for SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 Pandemic” – Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson wonder why the laboratory leak hypothesis has been so quickly dismissed when the evidence in favour is far from weak
- “Time for the PM to take back control from unaccountable advisers – and bring in the Armed Forces” – Disturbing call from Sir Bernard Jenkin MP to bring in the army, also echoed by Tobias Ellwood MP. Laurel and Hardy?
- “England-wide Covid lockdown needed ‘sooner rather than later’, says former adviser” – Neil Ferguson pops up again to try to wreak yet more havoc on the world. What did we do to him for him to wreak such a terrible revenge?
- “‘Last chance saloon’: Britain given final warning to avoid new lockdown” – More threats and blame from Matt Hancock. Also Chris Whitty here
Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers
Love in the Time of Covid
We have created some Lockdown Sceptics Forums, including a dating forum called “Love in a Covid Climate” that has attracted a bit of attention. We’ve also introduced a section where people can arrange to meet up for non-romantic purposes. We have a team of moderators in place to remove spam and deal with the trolls, but sometimes it takes a little while so please bear with us. You have to register to use the Forums, but that should just be a one-time thing. Any problems, email the Lockdown Sceptics webmaster Ian Rons here.
“Mask Exempt” Lanyards
We’ve created a one-stop shop down here for people who want to buy (or make) a “Mask Exempt” lanyard/card. You can print out and laminate a fairly standard one for free here and it has the advantage of not explicitly claiming you have a disability. But if you have no qualms about that (or you are disabled), you can buy a lanyard from Amazon saying you do have a disability/medical exemption here (takes a while to arrive). The Government has instructions on how to download an official “Mask Exempt” notice to put on your phone here. You can get a “Hidden Disability” tag from ebay here and an “exempt” card with lanyard for just £1.99 from Etsy here. And, finally, if you feel obliged to wear a mask but want to signal your disapproval of having to do so, you can get a “sexy world” mask with the Swedish flag on it here.
Don’t forget to sign the petition on the UK Government’s petitions website calling for an end to mandatory face nappies in shops here.
A reader has started a website that contains some useful guidance about how you can claim legal exemption.
And here’s a round-up of the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of mask (threadbare at best).
The Care Home Scandal – A Call For Evidence
Lockdown Sceptics has asked an award-winning investigative journalist, David Rose, to investigate the high death toll in Britain’s care homes. Did 20,000+ elderly people really die of COVID-19 between March and July or were many of them just collateral lockdown damage? With lots of care homes short-staffed because employees were self-isolating at home, and with relatives and partners unable to visit to check up on their loved ones because of restrictions, how many elderly residents died of neglect, not Covid? How many succumbed to other conditions, untreated because they weren’t able to access hospitals or their local GP? After doctors were told by care home managers that the cause of death of a deceased resident was “novel coronavirus”, how many bothered to check before signing the death certificate? The risk of doctors misdiagnosing the cause of death is particularly high, given that various safeguards to minimise the risk of that happening were suspended in March.
David Rose would like Lockdown Sceptics readers to share any information they have that could help in this investigation. Here is his request:
We are receiving reports that some residents of care homes who died from causes other than Covid may have had their deaths ascribed to it – even though they never had the disease at all, and never tested positive. Readers will already be familiar with the pioneering work by Carl Heneghan and his colleagues at the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, which forced the Government to change its death toll counting method. Previously, it will be recalled, people who died of, say, a road accident, were being counted as Covid deaths if they had tested positive at any time, perhaps months earlier. But here we are talking of something different – Covid “deaths” among people who never had the virus at all.
In one case, where a family is deciding whether to grant permission for Lockdown Sceptics to publicise it, an elderly lady in reasonable health was locked in her room for many hours each day in a care home on the south coast, refused all visitors, deprived of contact with other residents, and eventually went on hunger strike, refusing even to drink water. She died in the most wretched circumstances which were only indirectly a product of the virus – and yet, her death certificate reportedly claims she had Covid.
I’m looking for further examples of 1) elderly people who died as a result of the lockdown and associated measures, but whose deaths were wrongly attributed to “novel coronavirus”, and 2) those elderly people who clearly died from other causes but whose deaths were still formally ascribed to Covid because they once tested positive for it, even after the counting method change.
If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.
Shameless Begging Bit
Thanks as always to those of you who made a donation in the past 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of this site. Doing these daily updates is hard work (although we have help from lots of people, mainly in the form of readers sending us stories and links). If you feel like donating, please click here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links we should include in future updates, email us here.