NHS Test and Trace Whistleblower: “It’s a Complete Shit Show.”
I’ve been contacted by a track-and-tracer who works for one of Serco’s sub-contractors. She’s a Tier 3 tracer (nothing to do with lockdown ‘Tiers’), which means her job is to call people who’ve been named as contacts by confirmed cases and advise them to self-isolate for 14 days.
Sounds straightforward, right? Wrong. I’ll let her take up the story.
One of the most significant problems is the level of calls people are getting. People regularly say they feel harassed and bullied by us. I often call someone who says that they have just put the phone down on another contract tracer and while I’m on the line more calls are coming in.
I’ll give some examples to explain why this happens.
Tier 2 call handlers are tasked with speaking to someone when they test positive to take the details of everyone they’ve been in contact with two days prior to the onset of their symptoms, up to the time they began their 10-day isolation.
Tier 3 operatives (me) then call all these contacts to tell them to isolate for 14 days.
BUT this is an example of how it typically goes down. A household of six students have all tested positive. All six then name their other five flatmates to the Tier 2 operative as contacts and each time an operative is given a name they have to log it as a separate contact. That means this particular household generates 30 contacts, all of which are logged in the system and passed on to 30 different Tier 3 tracers. Each student then gets five calls from five different tracers, all telling them the same thing. And they can’t say, “I want to stop you there. I’ve just been called by one of your colleagues.” No, you begin the call by telling them it’s being recorded and they can’t hang up until you’ve got to the end of your stupid little script. So they have no choice. The truly absurd part is, I have to tell them to self-isolate for 14 days even though they’ve just been told by a Tier 2 operative that they only have to isolate for 10 days because they’re a confirmed case. They then ask, “Which is it? 14 days or 10 days?” The answer is 10, but plenty of my colleagues don’t know that so confirmed cases who’ve been named as contacts end up having to isolate for four days longer than they have to. Typically, they’re told they only have to isolate for 10 days by me, but then one of my colleagues calls them up and tells them they have to isolate for 14 days. And then we end the call by telling them that if they don’t self-isolate for the required number of days they will be fined a hundred pounds.
Luckily, the students are an understanding bunch. Much trickier is when you have adults in this situation who live in intergenerational households and are looking after elderly parents and children and feeling a bit ill because they’ve got Covid.
One lady I spoke to tested positive and had spent nearly an hour on the phone to a Tier 2 call handler the day before providing the details of her partner and her four underage children – who all now need to isolate for 14 days. The next day her husband receives a call with the 14-day isolation advice and she also receives four more calls from Tier 3 operatives, one for each of her children. She is given the self-isolation advice four times – for each child individually – despite having gone into it at length with the Tier 2 caller the day before. And each time she’s called – remember, this poor woman has been called five times – she has to give her children’s ages, her email address, her postcode – all of that before the track-and-tracer starts droning on with the advice she has heard multiple times already.
If someone doesn’t pick up the phone, we’re allowed to call them 15 times over two days if a child is involved, and 10 times – maximum four calls a day – for an adult contact. So this woman could get, say, eight missed calls about her husband and 16 missed calls about her children – a total of 24 missed calls in a day. People are being hounded. And you’re obliged to leave a voicemail. Not surprisingly, people’s voicemail boxes are nearly always full because me and my colleagues have been relentlessly spamming them with messages.
Why can’t the advice for a single household be done in one call? Where there are children involved and where the parent who’s tested positive is the one who’s already given all her children’s details to a Tier 2 track-and-tracer, why do they have to hear the advice over and over again for each child from a Tier 3 caller? It’s insane.
But it gets worse. Let’s say, using this mother of four as an example, that 10 days into her husband’s 14 day isolation he also tests positive. He now has to go through the same ridiculous rigmarole, listing all the people he’s been in contact with. His wife – who’s recovered by now and is no longer infectious – gets a call from a Tier 2 operative telling her she has to self-isolate for 14 days as a contact of a confirmed case and she’ll be fined £100 if she ignores this advice. And then the calls for the kids start again. Except now the goal posts have shifted and the children are being advised to isolate from the date their father tested positive. So the poor buggers have to miss another two weeks of school!
This, by the way, is wrong advice. If you’re a contact and not a confirmed case, you’re only supposed to isolate for 14 days from when the first person in your household tested positive, so in the case of these four children their isolation start dates should tally with that of their mother’s illness. Luckily, I know this and I can tell them to ignore the new date they’ve been given by the Tier 2 tracer, but most of my colleagues don’t and give them the wrong advice. Basically, the Tier 2 callers have got a date on their screen that’s been generated by ‘the system’ – 14 days from the date the most recent member of the household tested positive – and they just trot it out like automatons. The calls are being recorded and you don’t want to get into trouble with your manager for going off script so you’ve got to be pretty confident to ignore the date ‘the system’ is flashing up, even if you know it’s wrong. Nothing about ‘the system’ is joined up. It’s not a ‘system’. It’s a shit show.
I sometimes wonder whether it’s been designed this way so Matt Hancock can stand up in the House of Commons and say, ‘X number of contacts of confirmed cases were successfully reached in the last seven days’, glossing over the fact that most are duplicates or are people who’ve tested positive themselves and are being given the wrong advice.
This woman was a gold mine of stories about the staggering incompetence that characterises NHS Test and Trace, from Dido Harding on down. Most of the the stories fall into the category we journalists call, ‘You couldn’t make it up.’
For instance, she said that if a contact of a confirmed case lives alone, they’re not allowed to receive visitors, presumably because of the risk that the visitor could catch Covid from them if they’ve been unlucky enough to catch it. But if they live in a household of, say, six, the other five members of the household are allowed to come and go as they please. She recounted having to tell one elderly woman who lived alone that daily visits from her grandchild on his way home from school would have to cease, even though if they lived in the same household they could spend as much time together as they liked. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” she said. “It might as well have been designed by Lewis Carroll.”
Mainly I am struck by how patently fine everyone with the virus is. I call it the ‘Covid-cold’ because it really isn’t much worse than that for the majority of people. Some old people are still hit fairly hard but even they aren’t ending up in hospital. Is it worth f**king the economy and forcing people to stay indoors for two weeks to effectively try and stop the spread of a relatively mild flu-like illness? Let’s all crack on and get some herd immunity going!
I may be bringing you some more stories from this lady.
The Top 10 Covid Failures
There was a terrific piece on Spectator‘s Coffee House blog yesterday by Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson entitled “The ten worst Covid data failures“. Here are the first three:
1) Overstating of the number of people who are going to die
This starts with the now-infamous Imperial College London (ICL) ‘Report 9’ that modelled 500,000 deaths if no action was taken at all, and 250,000 deaths if restrictions were not tightened. This set the train of lockdown restrictions in motion. Some argue that Imperial’s modelling may have come true had it not been for lockdown. But this does not explain Sweden. Academics there said its assumptions would mean 85,000 deaths if Sweden did not lock down. It did not – and deaths are just under 6,000.
2) Leaked SAGE papers
Next came a print paper written by SAGE members to support a two-week ‘circuit breaker’, leaked to the press. The reports were striking.
“With no social distancing measures in place from now until January, the virus could potentially spiral out of control and kill 217,000 people, hospitalise 316,000 and infect 20.7 million. But with a strict two-week lockdown the number of deaths could be reduced by 100,000, admissions by 139,000 and infections by six million.”
Understandably, this made headlines. But when the lead author was interviewed by the BBC, he said that he wished he “hadn’t put these numbers in the study” because it was an extreme scenario only included “for illustration”.
3) Miscategorisation of ‘Covid death’
Under the original system, someone run over by a bus would be counted as a ‘Covid death’ if he or she had tested positive for Covid but later recovered. When this anomaly was pointed out by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, it turned out even the Health Secretary was unaware what the Covid death data referred to. He ordered an immediate inquiry. This illustrates how poor-quality data from Public Health England was misleading the Government itself. A new system was eventually set up: counting deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test. This removed 4,149 deaths from the July 15th death count.
Click here for the other seven.
Should We be Preparing For Tier 4?
According to the i, the Government has drawn up plans for additional restrictions if its three-tier traffic light system hasn’t made a difference by November.
Discussions are underway in Whitehall and local authorities for a Plan B to tackle the second wave of COVID-19 if the three-tier system in England has not made a difference by mid-November, it has emerged
Options being discussed include dialling up the already tough tier three restrictions to “tier three-plus” or tier four, as well as the possibility of short-term local circuit breaker lockdowns to bring the R value of transmission below 1.
Boris Johnson made clear in his latest Downing Street press conference on Thursday that he was wedded to the local and regional approach and that a full lockdown “from John O’Groats to Land’s End” was not an option, due to the impact on the economy, society and mental health – particularly in areas with low levels of infection.
But there is concern that the top tier three of restrictions, now in place in several regions of England, will not be enough to bring R below 1 before Christmas.
Good luck selling that to the British people, Boris. As Dan Hodges tweeted yesterday, “If Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 lockdowns don’t do the trick a Tier 4 lockdown is bound to work isn’t it. Makes perfect sense…”
Matt Hancock’s Cut-and-Paste Reply to Dr Ellie Cannon
Dr Ellie Cannon wrote a scathing piece for yesterday’s Mail on Sunday about the reply she got from the Health Secretary when she wrote to him to express her concern about the collateral damage of the ongoing restrictions the Government is imposing, particularly to public health. The letter wasn’t just from her, but from 65 of her medical colleagues as well, so they were expecting a considered reply. Instead, they got a boilerplate response.
On Monday, I got my reply, signed not by Mr Hancock himself but one of his advisers on his behalf. Or perhaps it was someone on work experience – I’m not sure. Disheartening doesn’t even begin to cover it. In fact, I’m still seething.
For starters, sections of the response had been cut and pasted.
“The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation,” began one paragraph. “It calls for dramatic action, at home and abroad, of the kind not normally seen in peacetime.”
I recognised the grandiose turn of phrase immediately – it had been lifted from an article written by Mr Hancock back in March.
Needless to say, the overall gist of the reply was dismissive.
It blathered on: “Ministers understand these are difficult times and the measures people are being asked to take are very disruptive to normal life.
“However, it is vital those who are most vulnerable be protected, and people are therefore being asked to act in the interests of everyone in society.”
This, I discovered, was actually a statement previously attributed to Junior Health Minister Nadine Dorries, which was printed in a local newspaper article on October 6th. Word for word.
How belittling. What contempt, and lack of regard or respect that Mr Hancock clearly has for his own GPs, to allow such a response.
But, beside this, it also says something chilling. Confronted with proof that his Covid plan is actually hurting, even killing, he clearly feels he is unanswerable and can simply carry on with impunity.
How devoid of human empathy must the man responsible for all of our healthcare be?
More cut and paste lines, this time from a parliamentary speech he made on May 22nd. I was told funding has been increased to mental health charities, presumably in response to our concerns about suicides.
Day in, day out, I speak to patients anxious and depressed due to job loss, bereavement and fear – because they’ve been scared witless of leaving the house by daily death bulletins, doom-laden predictions and horrific Government adverts depicting the virus as terrifying green slime covering our faces.
Mr Hancock’s letter claimed that “understandable worries about the virus, combined with not wanting to be a burden on NHS staff, has meant that some people have not come forward for care”. So it’s all the patients’ fault?
Absolutely not. For instance, ECGs, which are vital for diagnosing heart disease, chest X-rays that can pick up lung cancer and even children’s blood tests should all be easy to offer at hospital clinics, but they have been suspended in my area of London.
In one hospital nearby, the paediatric emergency department has closed down due to Covid “until further notice”. If these services are not available, how can people come forward for help?
Predictably, they wheeled out a slogan – one that they were circulating back in April: “The NHS is open for business.” This simply shows the Government has completely broken with reality.
I daresay it was unrealistic to expect a more personal reply from the Health Secretary, given that Dr Cannon had already made her letter public. But you’d think Hancock and his team would have taken a bit more trouble, given the profile of the letter’s signatories. What a shower.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Sir Rocco Forte, a lifelong Conservative and a donor to the party, has called for Matt Hancock to be sacked.
James Delingpole Refuses to Wear a Mask
James Delingpole has written a terrific piece for Lockdown Sceptics on why he refuses to wear a mask, even though it means he ends up getting into endless fights with Covid Marshal types who think it’s their moral duty to enforce the rules. Here’s the opening section:
“It’s rude to stare!”, most of us were told as kids. Just how rude you only realise when you’re sitting in a near empty train carriage, minding your own business, when a man in a face mask gets on, takes his seat, swivels in your direction and fixes you with a long, long, cold, hard, death look.
Culturally we’re all so unused to this kind of behaviour that it comes as quite a shock to be on the receiving end. It’s also a bit confusing – like being subjected to physical assault but only in the form of mime. That’s why my immediate response was to mime back disbelievingly, mouthing and gesticulating the message: “Are you staring at me?”
“Yes I am staring at you. You’re not wearing a mask. Everyone else is wearing a mask. But not you. Why aren’t you wearing a mask? I don’t want to wear a mask either but I’m wearing a mask because we’ve all been told to,” he shouted – or rather mumble-yelled from being his mouth-muffler.
My biggest regret about this whole incident was my failure to put him in his place more crushingly and goadingly. But it’s very hard to keep a cool, rational, calculating head when you’re under attack. Even if the person attacking you is at least as slightly built as you, probably a bit older, and quivering with so much adrenalin you’d likely beat him hands down if push came to girlie shove.
I forget exactly how the row went or when it ended. Definitely the strangest part was when he called me a “bloody lefty”, which interested me for two reasons. First, no one has ever, ever called me that before, so it had the charm of novelty. Second, it confirmed my long held suspicion that a lot of the people supporting the draconian (and, in my view, entirely unnecessary) Coronavirus measures being pushed by the Government are people that till recently I would have considered my natural allies: Conservatives, as this man clearly was; Brexiteers, as he likely was too.
Very much worth reading in full.
Liberal Democrats in Breach of Trade Descriptions Act
A member of the South East Liberal Democrats and a reader of Lockdown Sceptics was outraged yesterday when he received an invitation to the SE Region Conference and AGM on November 21st. This was his reply:
I am surprised that these MPs listed below have the bare-faced effrontery to show their faces in front of members after they have unilaterally committed our supposedly LIBERAL party to demanding that the government impose full-scale martial law on the British people. I joined the party all those years ago (from its inception, in point of fact) because it was a liberal party that believed in fundamental human rights. It is difficult to think of human rights more fundamental than freedom of movement, freedom of association and the right to protest, but now, as a consequences of the Parliamentary Party’s unilateral action, it seems that we have been transformed into a party that opposes those most fundamental of fundamental human rights and is committed to the imposition of tyranny and the enslavement of the human race by the global elite. I, as a member, was never at any point consulted about this, so I think that the word “democratic” can be removed from the party’s title as well as the word “liberal”. What has been done is an act of infamy and betrayal that makes the propping up of Cameron’s Tory government from 2010-2015 seem trivial by comparison. How does it make you feel, as a liberal, to see fascist police stop people crossing the border into Wales, break up private parties, beat up peaceful demonstrators and impose illegal fines on innocent members of the public in the manner of the Tontons Macoutes of Papa Doc Duvalier? How can you defend the culling of care home residents and the denial of vital treatment to cancer and heart patients? How can you defend the destruction of peoples’ livelihoods, the further impoverishment of the world’s poor, and the unsustainable accumulation of public debt? Martial law is evil. Its purpose is the imposition of serfdom. The Parliamentary Party must know this. The Parliamentary Party must also know that COVID-19 has an infection fatality ratio of 0.26%, which is almost identical to the more severe variants of seasonal flu. More than 97% of the population has nothing to fear from it. I cannot believe that any of our MPs is gullible enough to believe the lies pumped out by the Government, the mainstream media and the prostitute scientists bankrolled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and big pharma. Their actions must be motivated by one of three things: wickedness, extreme stupidity or cowardice, or perhaps by a combination of all three. Utter and everlasting shame on them.
Something tells me he won’t be renewing his membership.
The Politicisation of Nature
One of the things that’s become clear in the last six months is that science has become politicised, with catastrophic consequences for public trust in science. One illustration of this has been the politicisation of Nature, the well-known scientific journal, which has just endorsed Biden for President. In days gone by, publication in Nature was a guarantee of quality, but that’s no longer the case. Political alignment with woke orthodoxy is now more important. A reader has drawn our attention to this disturbing development.
I am a subscriber to Nature magazine and a regular reader of your blog – make of that what you will. I want to draw your attention to a substantial change in the remit of scientific publishing that has happened over the last month. Nature magazine has published an editorial explaining to us that they are going to become more overtly political. Other journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Science seem to have unprecedentedly done the same, and are endorsing a presidential candidate (yamn). The issue is that ‘published in Nature’ is often a shorthand used by the public to stand in for ‘this is quality work’. In my opinion these declarations mean they have traded away their reputation for some inexplicable reason and their output now has to be seen through a potential bias filter. I think their editorial teams have made a pretty bad decision just as public trust in science is reaching new lows.
I had been noticing quite a large decline in the quality of Nature since a recent layout revamp and was planning on giving up my subscription silently anyway. Lower quality articles at the front on various subjects, less in depth coverage from across other journals and an obsession across the magazine in activism. After the political declaration with my bias filter now on, this week we have an news article called “The false promise of herd immunity” and in the last edition “Face masks: what the data say” that contains the line: “To be clear, the science supports using masks, with recent studies suggesting that they could save lives in different ways.” These assertions may or not be true and in the past I would have given Nature the benefit of the doubt to look at these issues from a scientific perspective, but not anymore as by their own admission they are a political magazine now. I would suggest others view them in the same way.
Who Put These Numpties in Charge of Traffic?
I get about one email a day on average from readers complaining about the complete horlicks their local council has made of managing traffic during the pandemic, what with the metastasising cycle lanes, the new one-way systems, the socially-distanced bus stops, and God knows what else. Here’s one from a reader in Guildford (who took the above photo).
I thought you’d be interested in the latest Covid council insanity. Like all councils, Guildford is run by the worst people in the least efficient way possible. The latest flagrant misuse of public funds is ‘socially distanced pavements’. Bus stops have had their lay-bys reduced considerably so that when they stop the traffic backs up. All of the bus stops I know have been converted and there seem to be roadworks springing up all over town. The three-lane rotary in town is now two lanes, with one now reserved for pedestrians. If there was one benefit of the insane rules it was less gridlock. No longer – the town centre is like a car park.
- “Tory MPs want a pandemic equivalent of the European Research Group” – Steve Baker is being urged by almost 100 backbench Tory MPs to set up a Parliamentary lobby group to promote a Plan B, e.g. “Focused Protection”
- “The 12-minute Covid test you can take at Boots” – Today’s Daily Mail brings news of a super-quick test
- “Rule of six and curfews likely to have ‘zero effect’ on reducing contacts” – Saran Knapton, Science Editor of the Telegraph, reports on a new study by the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which says the rule of six and the curfews have had zero impact
- “Sweden Refuses to Impose New Lockdown Measures, Saying People Have Suffered Enough” – The Swedish Government has decided not to inflict needless misery on its people
- “Rishi Sunak orders officials to publish economic cost of lockdown alongside daily Covid bulletins to ‘contextualise’ death and infection figures” – Encouraging story in the Mail. This is something ConservativeHome has been campaigning for
- “Was the NHS overrun by Covid during lockdown?” – Fraser Nelson responds to the Sunday Times‘s NHS story – and says the NHS was never in any danger of being overrun
- “Some of our values have been superseded by the idea that people have a right not to be offended” – Laurence Fox answers questions from Telegraph readers
- “How New York’s Coronavirus Response Made the Pandemic Worse” – An investigation by the Wall St Journal has uncovered a catalogue of errors in the response to the pandemic by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio
- “Sorry to say, but I’ve never been more worried for Britain’s future” – Jeremy Warner is feeling bearish, what with Brexit looming and the massive escalation in Government debt
- “Mark Drakeford’s barmy Wales power grab exposes deep flaws in devolution” – Good piece by Tom Harwood in the Telegraph about Wales’s power-mad leader
- “Wales faces ANOTHER ‘fire break’ after Christmas: Welsh ministers warn multiple lockdowns will be needed until vaccine is found” – And as if to prove Tom’s point…
- “Half term chaos as ‘too many’ Britons pile onto Greek and Spanish islands” – I was thinking about taking the family to Lanzarote for half term. Now relieved I didn’t
- “In 40 years of reporting I’ve never known such a wretched absence of leadership” – Veteran BBC Radio reporter John Pienaar says he’s never known a time when rational, mature leadership has been more needed and yet been in such short supply
- “Shut bars and you kill whole ecosystems” – Matthew Syed in the Times is becoming a must-read lockdown sceptic
- “Respect yes, fear no – COVID-19 in Germany and what you need to know” – Good tour de horizon of how Germany has handled the pandemic by Lukas Kuemmerle
- “The New Feudalism” – Jeffrey A. Tucker, Editorial Director of the American Institute for Economic Research, on the new class divide
- “Spain imposes national night-time curfew to curb infections” – Spain introduces the rule of six and curfews between 11pm and 6am. Doesn’t apply to the Canaries
- “How deadly is COVID-19?” – Swedish-based doctor Sebastian Rushworth says September was the least deadly month in Sweden’s history
- “Democracy has been our bedrock for centuries – but I now fear it is at risk from divisions over Covid” – Former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett is a lockdown sceptic
- “LOCKDOWN LUNACY 4.0: the illusion of control” – J.B. Handley continues his superb series
Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers
Just one today, but it’s a doozy: “FCK 2020” by Scooter.
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 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.
Sharing stories: Some of you have asked how to link to particular stories on Lockdown Sceptics. The answer used to be to first click on “Latest News”, then click on the links that came up beside the headline of each story. But we’ve changed that so the link now comes up beside the headline whether you’ve clicked on “Latest News” or you’re just on the Lockdown Sceptics home page. Please do share the stories with your friends and on social media.
We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today, I bring you a story from yesterday’s Sunday Times about how once-great publishing houses have succumbed to the woke cult.
While finishing her latest book, the novelist Lionel Shriver says she was advised to remove some passages about identity politics, “supposedly out of a desire to protect me from my critics”. Another successful author, who writes for the young adult market, is currently transposing the setting of her novel across continents after a “sensitivity reader” rejected the idea that she, a white woman, could portray the Asian adolescent experience.
Even the bonkbuster queen Jilly Cooper was told by her publisher not to call a character “fat” any more; they now must be deemed “large”.
Every author, agent and publisher in the literary establishment seems to have their own anecdote about censorship, cultural appropriation or “cancel culture”. An industry that was once a bastion of free speech appears to be under siege. Fears are growing that many within it are forsaking a fundamental principle: you should not print the work only of those with whom you agree.
Publishing has been hit by a series of rows in recent months, from the toxic fight over J.K. Rowling’s comments about trans rights to debates about whether authors should be “allowed” to create characters who aren’t like themselves.
Within publishing houses, the split is largely along generational lines, with many younger staff placing a desire not to offend above a devotion to free speech.
Worth reading in full.
“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 masks in shops here.
A reader has started a website that contains some useful guidance about how you can claim legal exemption.
And here’s an excellent piece about the ineffectiveness of masks by a Roger W. Koops, who has a doctorate in organic chemistry.
The Great Barrington Declaration
The Great Barrington Declaration, a petition started by Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya calling for a strategy of “Focused Protection” (protect the elderly and the vulnerable and let everyone else get on with life), was launched last week and the lockdown zealots have been doing their best to discredit it. If you Googled it on Tuesday, the top hits were three smear pieces from the Guardian, including: “Herd immunity letter signed by fake experts including ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’.” (Freddie Sayers at UnHerd warned us about this hit job the day before it appeared.) On the bright side, Google UK has stopped shadow banning it, so the actual Declaration now tops the search results – and my Spectator piece about the attempt to suppress it is among the top hits – although discussion of it has been censored by Reddit. The reason the zealots hate it, of course, is that it gives the lie to their claim that “the science” only supports their strategy. These three scientists are every bit as eminent – more eminent – than the pro-lockdown fanatics so expect no let up in the attacks. (Wikipedia has also done a smear job.)
You can find it here. Please sign it. Now over 600,000 signatures.
Stop Press: The authors of the GDB have expanded the FAQs to deal with some of the arguments and smears that have been made against their proposal. Worth reading in full.
Judicial Reviews Against the Government
There are now so many JRs being brought against the Government and its ministers, we thought we’d include them all in one place down here.
First, there’s the Simon Dolan case. You can see all the latest updates and contribute to that cause here.
Then there’s the Robin Tilbrook case. You can read about that and contribute here.
Then there’s John’s Campaign which is focused specifically on care homes. Find out more about that here.
There’s the GoodLawProject’s Judicial Review of the Government’s award of lucrative PPE contracts to various private companies. You can find out more about that here and contribute to the crowdfunder here.
The Night Time Industries Association has instructed lawyers to JR any further restrictions on restaurants, pubs and bars.
If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com 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. (Don’t assume we’ll pick them up in the comments.)
Special thanks to graphic designer and Lockdown Sceptics reader Claire Whitten for designing our new logo. We think it’s ace. Find her work here.