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Boris Panics and U-Turns – Again! Lockdown 2.0 “To Be Announced Monday”

“I’ve created a Monster!”: Bob’s Halloween cartoon for the Telegraph

It was reported late last night that The Prime Minister has met with ministers and aides and will announce a new national lockdown on Monday. The Telegraph has more.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce a new national lockdown next week after scientists warned COVID-19 was spreading faster than their worst predictions.

The Prime Minister spent Friday in crisis meetings with ministers and aides after being told deaths were tracking above the “worst case scenario” that suggested 85,000 in the second wave.

Mr Johnson is understood to have been persuaded that a national lockdown is the only way to save Christmas, and will spend the weekend contemplating exactly how severe it should be.

Senior government sources stressed that no final decision had been made and the measure would need to be put to the Cabinet before any announcement to the nation.

Mr Johnson is likely to summon ministers from his Cabinet coronavirus subcommittee over the next 48 hours and could hold a full meeting on Sunday if he decides he needs to act as soon as Monday. The alternative to a national lockdown would be a fourth tier of restrictions on top of the existing three tier system, but Government scientists now believe even Tier 3 is not enough to stop the spread of infections.

During the parliamentary rebellion last month the Government promised Parliament would vote on any new national lockdown measures “where possible”. Will the PM honour that? If he doesn’t, his party management problems, already considerable, will only get worse.

And what’s all this nonsense about Boris being persuaded that a second national lockdown is needed as it’s the only way to “save Christmas”? What good will it be to people who’ve been thrown on to the dole queue – or seen the businesses they’ve built up over decades go under – to sit around with their extended families on Christmas Day and pull a few crackers? Is Boris really so feeble-minded that SAGE scientists were able to persuade him to shut down the country, with catastrophic consequences for the economy, mental health and people suffering from any illness other than COVID-19, because doing so would “save Christmas”? Is he really such a sentimental buffoon?

The doom-mongering warnings come from a SAGE document dated October 14th but which appeared yesterday. It shows October is exceeding the modellers’ “reasonable worst case scenario”. Which is odd, given that daily cases haven’t exceeded the “projection” set out in the Graph of Doom. Was the Graph of Doom an unreasonable worst case scenario?

And let’s not forget that SAGE’s “reasonable worst-case scenario”, as set out by SPI-M-O in July, gets its 85,000 death total by assuming an IFR of 0.7%, more than double the latest WHO estimates. Nor should we forget that the WHO says lockdowns should only be considered as a “last resort“.

James Gallagher at the BBC has more on SAGE’s flawed reasoning.

A “reasonable worst-case scenario” is used by officials and the NHS to plan for the months ahead. It had estimated 85,000 deaths from Covid over the course of winter. But an official Sage document, dated October 14th  and published today, reveals we are in a worse position than expected.

Scientists crunching the numbers estimated that, by mid-October, there were between 43,000 and 74,000 people being infected with coronavirus every day in England. Their report said: “This is significantly above the profile of the reasonable worst-case scenario, where the number of daily infections in England remained between 12,000-13,000 throughout October.”

Gallagher, who appears to take SAGE’s line on this, acknowledges that “cases” are levelling off in the North East, but fails to mention this was happening before new restrictions were introduced. He notes that R has been falling nationally for the last two weeks, but is quick to point out it is still above one, so a big problem.

The current estimate of the R number in the UK – the number of people each infected person passes the virus on to on average – is between 1.1 and 1.3. This is lower than last week’s estimate of 1.2 to 1.4, and lower than the estimate of 1.3-1.5 two weeks ago. It suggests that restrictions and changes in people’s behaviour is having an impact. But anything above an R of 1.0 means cases are still growing.

He assumes, without evidence, that it is Government restrictions which reduce R: “The national R is not below one and there will be a constant argument for tighter restrictions, in whatever form, until it is.”

Then comes the most discreditable part: an absurd attempt to vindicate Sir Patrick Vallance’s Graph of Doom.

It comes as figures from the Office for National Statistics suggested an earlier warning on Covid case numbers, issued by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, has turned out to be accurate.

Speaking alongside chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, at Downing Street in September, Sir Patrick said the UK could see 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October.

The ONS estimated that there were about 52,000 new infections each day in homes in England alone in the week ending October 23rd.

Gallagher surely knows (and if he doesn’t then he should) that Vallance was referring to reported “cases” – the daily tally of positive tests from Government testing programmes, which reached only around 16,000 by October 13th, less than one third of the projected amount. He was not referring to the weekly ONS estimates of infections. Gallagher sneakily switching to the higher figure to supposedly vindicate the prediction reeks of fudging the numbers to save the reputation of the failed prophet.

The BBC also pull one of their notoriously biased “fact checks” on hotel owner and leading Recovery campaigner Sir Rocco Forte. It’s feeble, obviously. It attempts to “disprove” Forte’s correct claim that flu and pneumonia deaths are currently running above Covid deaths by quoting the ONS death statistics for the whole year rather than just the last few months. And to counter his correct claim that modellers wrongly predicted 500,000 UK Covid deaths without lockdown, it quotes a Dr Deepti Gurdasani, epidemiologist at Queen Mary University of London, saying the Imperial model is “widely accepted as an estimate of the likely death toll from unmitigated spread due to coronavirus, if no action was taken to control it. The Government didn’t overreact, but rather underreacted. Evidence suggests that waiting on lockdown in March cost tens of thousands of lives.” I must have missed the part where Dr Gurdasani was endowed with supreme knowledge, so whenever other experts such as Professor Sunetra Gupta disagree with her it is always them who are wrong.

However, in the process of spewing forth this guff, the BBC accidentally let through a diamond of a graph that reveals how the 2020 Covid death toll is below the flu and pneumonia death tolls of the eight years between 1993 and 2000. The introduction of the flu vaccine in 2000 is credited with sharply reducing winter deaths – arguably why there are now many more elderly people vulnerable to coronavirus – though that wouldn’t explain why the figures for 1990-1992 were also much lower.

Chart showing flu/pneumonia deaths and Covid-19 deaths compared

So is the Government really saying that an annual death toll that’s lower than the annual death toll between 1993 and 2000 is too high to let life continue even with the present restrictions in place? The Government is convinced the only reason the death toll wasn’t much worse was because of the lockdown – a view amply refuted by Sweden, South Dakota, Tanzania, Belarus, and so on, and by the fact that infections were falling in England in March before lockdown. But the belief will not budge and is impervious to evidence.

Stop Press: Scientists at King’s College have revealed that figures from their survey show a much less alarming picture, one in line with what we’ve been saying at Lockdown Sceptics. The Telegraph has the details.

COVID-19 rates are not surging, researchers at King’s College have said after results from its symptom tracker app showed a far less deadly virus trajectory than Imperial College findings.

Earlier in the week, Imperial released interim data from its React-1 study which showed there are now nearly 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day in England, with nearly one million people infected. The Imperial team said rates were doubling every nine days and it was a critical time for lowering the ‘R’ rate

However, King’s College – which has been monitoring the symptoms and test results of millions of people through its app – said it was not seeing such alarming numbers. The app found 43,569 daily new symptomatic cases on average, and calculated that doubling was happening every 28 days.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College, said: “While cases are still rising across the UK, we want to reassure people that cases have not spiralled out of control, as has been recently reported from other surveys. We are still seeing a steady rise nationally, doubling every four weeks – with the possible exception of Scotland, which may be showing signs of a slowdown.

“With a million people reporting weekly, we have the largest national survey and our estimates are in line with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey. We can’t rely simply on confirmed cases or daily deaths without putting them into context. Hospital admissions are rising as expected, but deaths are still average for the season.”

This survey is the largest of the Government’s surveys and chimes with the ONS data and daily testing data. The Government should be heeding Professor Spector (watch him here) and his team. But instead they appear yet again only to have ears for the doom-mongers at Imperial and on SAGE.

Three Facts SAGE Has Got Wrong

Graph putting the death toll of COVID-19 in context

Lockdown Sceptics contributor Dr Mike Yeadon has written a terrific piece in the Daily Mail today in which he reiterates the points he made on this site a couple of weeks ago. Readers will recall that the three things SAGE has got wrong are: that only 7% of the population have been infected by the virus, that 93% of the population is susceptible and that the IFR is 1%.

After running through these arguments, Mike then pleads with the Government to put the death toll from COVID-19 into context and to listen to some scientists outside the SAGE cabal.

It is also worth contextualising the UK death toll.

Ministers and some parts of the media present the pandemic as the biggest public health emergency in decades, when in fact mortality in 2020 so far ranks eighth out of the last 27 years.

The death rate at present is also normal for the time of year – the number of respiratory deaths is actually low for late October.

In other words, not only is the virus less dangerous than we are being led to believe, with almost three quarters of the population at no risk of infection, we’re actually very close to achieving herd immunity.

Which is why I am convinced this so-called second wave of rising infections and, sadly, deaths will fizzle out without overwhelming the NHS.

On that basis, the nation should immediately be allowed to resume normal life – at the very least we should be avoiding a second national lockdown at all costs.

I believe that Sage has been appallingly negligent and its incompetence has cost the lives of thousands of people from avoidable, non-coronavirus causes while simultaneously decimating our economy and today I implore ministers to start listening to a broader scientific view.

Worth reading in full.

Lord Sumption, Condensed

Roger Wright-Morris from Briefings for Freedom has neatly condensed Lord Sumption’s fiery lecture on Tuesday into a few hundred words. Perfect for those who prefer their constitutional theory bitesize.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, especially when fear is created as people crave security so the state creates more fear and obtains greater control. Yet Parliament is not ready and willing to act and to stand for its high callings, rather it seems to have abrogated its responsibilities.

Fear is a potent instrument of the state. It promotes intolerant conformism and abuse. Fear was deliberately stoked up by the state and by selective use of statistics and modellers: these were not accidental matters but part of a strategy whose errors and failures assisted in success. Boris is sustained in power by appealing to the irrational and emotional in collective wisdom.

Boris is in power only with the consent of Parliament on behalf of the People, which he side-lines and avoids, thus diverging from our constitutional past, and acts unlawfully whilst instructing the police to do likewise and with political discrimination in their actions.

Appropriate powers were available in the Civil Contingency Act 2004 and the Coronavirus Act 2020 but were ignored as Parliament had powers of oversight.

Boris unlawfully used Part 2a of the Public Health and Disease Act 1984, as amended 2008. Such actions required Parliamentary scrutiny and approval which Boris wanted to avoid. Boris’s actions are totalitarian as they did not get Parliament’s approval. (See Lord Hoffman in House of Lords Ex Parte Simms 2000.)

Government by decree is not just constitutionally objectionable but bad government creating a delusion that authoritarian government gets things done. There is no detailed knowledge, no strategy, no wider thought, no research, no understanding of the all-round implications for the economy or health of the nation. The ministers act on the hoof, promote loyalty against wisdom, flattery against objective advice. These absences promote unfounded self-confidence, banish moderation and restraint. All these are vices seen in this Government.

The British Public must wake from its failures to understand how these matters are an assault on social interaction eroding the glue of social wellbeing of a once united country and engage actively in politics, join political parties, and connect with MPs.

Insurance Company: Being a Covid Contact Isn’t a Medical Condition

We know the compliance levels with test and trace and self-isolation are abysmal, as people have better things to do than sit around their house for 14 days because they recently had a chat with Linda down the road. But it turns out insurance companies are not helping matters. A reader received a letter from Nationwide about her travel insurance and it included this in the new T&Cs:

You’ll be covered unless you’re cancelling your trip because either you, a travelling companion or the person you’re planning to stay with during your trip has been advised to quarantine/self-isolate (either abroad or in the UK), and it’s not for medical reasons. For example, if you’re contacted by NHS Test and Trace but don’t have symptoms of or haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19.

If even insurance companies have twigged that without symptoms or diagnosis it’s not a case and isn’t a medical matter, why is the Health Secretary still struggling to figure it out?

Is This Proof That Masks Are Useless?

Yinon Weiss in the Federalist has put together 12 graphs that show beyond any reasonable doubt that masks do not do anything to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The UK one is above. The rest are here. Here’s what he says.

Masks have become a political tool and a talisman. When COVID-19 hit, governments panicked and created enormous fear. The Centers for Disease Control currently estimates a COVID-19 survival rate of 99.99 percent for people younger than 50, but the damage created by the panic was too great to undo.

It is likely that some politicians eventually realized their mistake and needed a way to back-pedal without admitting their lockdowns were a policy disaster. Their solution was for people to put any old piece of cloth across their face and magically believe that it’s okay to go out shopping again.

Masks are not merely a small inconvenience. They have inadvertently become a key impediment to returning to a more normal life, a desirable goal for those seeking to twist the pandemic for political and electoral purposes.

Masks dehumanize us, and ironically serve as a constant reminder that we should be afraid. People can now be spotted wearing masks while camping by themselves in the woods or on a solo sailing trip. They have become a cruel device on young children everywhere, kindergarten students covered by masks and isolated by Plexiglas, struggling to understand the social expressions of their peers. Face coverings are causing real harm to the American psyche, provide little to no medical benefit, and distract us from more important health policy issues.

Worth reading in full.

A Top NHS Doctor Writes…

Witless and Unbalanced wearing their reusable cloth face coverings – about as useless as their advice during this crisis

Toby’s friend, the top NHS Doctor, has sent us an email setting out the 10 things he doesn’t understand about the Government’s response to the pandemic. Only 10?

The excellent Dr John Lee writing in the Daily Telegraph has outlined his 10 reasons why Britain’s response to the Covid crisis is utterly mad – and they are all bang on the money. For some time I have felt that the response to the known facts made no rational sense, and that I must be missing a vital piece of information or insight which could explain everything… I have failed to find it – so here are 10 things I don’t understand and need some help with.

  1. At the heart of this problem is a fundamental inversion of the relationship between the NHS and the people it serves. The message that the public must ‘protect the NHS’ is completely the wrong way round. The NHS and Public Health England have a duty to inform the public of the relevant facts in an accurate and dispassionate way and look after the sick – not contribute to general hysteria, over reaction and advocate lockdowns. The Pharisees who control the system are confident in their ability to hide behind the carefully curated NHS brand and get away with anything they want. Has no-one else noticed this?
  2. Governmental decision making seems to have been taken over by monomaniacal and effectively unaccountable technocrats. What rational elected government permits this degree of ‘deformation professionelle’ without challenge? Is it just because the PM read classics and the Health Secretary PPE that they can’t see the obvious bias in the information they are being fed?
  3. There has clearly been state utilisation of psychological messaging to deliberately generate fear in the population. The rational approach would have been to reassure people that they were perfectly safe if they behaved in a sensible manner. The terror messaging about the ‘killer virus’ is straight out of a military psy-ops manual and requires a detailed explanation as to who authorised this deliberate misinformation campaign and why. The fact is that the COVID 19 virus is not very dangerous to more than 95% of the population… we are not all going to die from it… the vast majority of us aren’t even all going to be ill with it.
  4. The use of the police to enforce excessively harsh Fixed Penalty Notices out of proportion to the threat are completely at odds with British traditions of policing by consent. Threats by chief constables in the press to invade people’s homes at Christmas to prevent family gatherings – what the hell is going on? Who has allowed the police to act in such a manner and why are they doing it? We are used to incompetence in British public bodies – we are not accustomed to living in an authoritarian police state.
  5. The lack of preparedness of the NHS to meet a known risk. Since the spring, the NHS has had five months to get ready for the inevitable winter surge – and yet we are still bombarded with dramatic testimony and warnings of hospitals being ‘imminently overwhelmed’ and ‘close to collapse’. How can an organisation which consumes an annual £145 billion of taxpayers’ money have failed to prepare adequately for a known and entirely predictable event?
  6. The lack of balance in providing advice to ministers about known downside risks of lockdowns – missed cancers, heart disease and mental health, so that a balanced risk benefit analysis could be undertaken and communicated to the public. Not to mention the economic effects. The refusal to acknowledge there could be a range of opinion on these matters outside the SAGE bubble.
  7. Secrecy around data release to the public – open and honest communication to foster trust and confidence is essential in a public health crisis. The concealing of the rate of hospital acquired COVID cases – exposed by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine yesterday – is a total scandal. Continual cover up, spinning of messages and attempts to ‘style it out’ damage public trust and confidence still further. Why is this happening and who will be held to account for it?
  8. Overt use of exaggeration and over extrapolation by SAGE – a litany of egregious errors: excess predictions on ICU bed requirements in the first wave, gross inflation of death rates, conflation of positive tests as ‘cases’, failure to engage with the false positive rate of PCR testing, dramatic over-prediction of case incidence (the Graph of Doom), miscounting of deaths as Covid-related, miscounting of patients having incidental in hospital positive Covid tests as suffering from Covid and on and on… Surely not all of these errors can have been innocent mistakes?
  9. Unelected officials being given a platform in the media to call for the restriction of civil liberties on the population at large, whilst being personally insulated from the consequences of such restrictions by being on the government payroll. Who authorises pompous non-entities employed by the public purse to go on national media with alarmist and inaccurate warnings of imminent collapse in health services or make threats to the nation’s Christmas celebrations – if a practising clinician did that, they would soon be suspended.
  10. And finally… where is the effective Parliamentary accountability? The Labour Party is incapable of holding the Government to account, so the de facto opposition is the Parliamentary Conservative Party. I would be banging daily on my MP’s door, but there is little point as she represents the Labour Party. It seems to me the only effective way of leveraging political opposition is for people in conservative seats to make their MPs’ ears bleed.

I’d be grateful for illumination on any of these points. When they are cleared up, I have 10 more to consider, starting with the lack of any significant coverage of the alternative view point by our national broadcaster…

We can help him with that last question. It’s because Ofcom issued ‘coronavirus guidance’ warning broadcasters to treat with extreme caution anyone questioning the health advice of the Government and the public health authorities. This is the guidance the Free Speech Union is trying to judicially review. But don’t take it from us. Annabel Fenwick Elliott in the Telegraph lays it out in a piece in today’s paper:

We really are in dangerous territory now, and there are two concerns that I just can’t shake off.

The first is our Government’s continued refusal to paint a balanced picture of the ongoing situation. Statistics which put into perspective the small number of deaths now compared to at the peak of the pandemic, and indeed to the normal number of deaths we can expect to see at this time of year, are available; but they are not presented at Professor Chris Whitty’s weekly addresses to the nation. They are buried in lengthy Public Health England reports which most ordinary people won’t seek out.

SAGE, meanwhile, has free licence to broadcast grandiose predictions across every TV and radio in Britain, based on models that have been proven wrong time and time again. This team has now had the best part of a year to prove itself worthy of such an influential platform. Enough.

Second, and arguably worse, is the near-censorship of dissenting scientific views as a result of regulatory body Ofcom’s ‘coronavirus guidelines’, which effectively blocks the media from publishing professional, accredited, expert analysis – debate even – that doesn’t toe SAGE’s party line.

Worth reading in full.

Postcard From Rhodes (Reprise)

Historian and Lockdown Sceptics regular Guy de la Bédoyère, who sent us a postcard from Rhodes last week, has a brilliant piece in the Telegraph where he writes from that sun-drenched Rhodes beach (not jealous at all).

I’m sitting on a Rhodes beach basking in the late October sun. Were I back home in Lincolnshire, I would be lurking in my living room, watching the rain teem down while the radio blithers away with a barrage of Covid-related gloom. Indeed, it is almost impossible to overstate the psychological benefits of being here, strolling the quiet streets of a Greek island under the pure autumn light, at an otherwise chaotic time like this. 

As far as I’m concerned Britain’s response to this virus is entirely overblown, given its low mortality rate compared to past epidemics. In September 1665, London alone was losing the proportionate equivalent today of 130,000 people per week.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that just 40 years ago Britain experienced, annually, around 50,000 more deaths than the current average annual rate, and had done since 1950. Before that it was even higher – the tragic paradox of COVID-19 is that it is, to a large extent, the result of modern medicine, diet and living conditions that have kept vulnerable people alive for far longer than ever before.  

Furthermore, as a historian, it goes to illustrate just how little we have progressed from the superstitious-driven medieval mentality of our past. Today’s ‘experts’ and their sketchy ‘science’ have replaced Rome’s soothsayers. Driven half-demented by the discovery they are not gods after all and thus unable to abolish death and sickness, the powers-that-be are resorting to ever more futile measures, only to blame the public when they don’t work. 

This piece is a delight, well worth reading in full.


Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Just one today: “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai.

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.

Woke Gobbledegook

We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today, we bring you the United Nations and their bizarre warning about humanity getting too close to nature.

Warning that there are up to 850,000 viruses which, like the novel coronavirus, exist in animals and may be able to infect people, the panel known as IPBES said pandemics represented an “existential threat” to humanity.

Authors of the special report on biodiversity and pandemics said that habitat destruction and insatiable consumption made animal-borne diseases far more likely to make the jump to people in the future. 

“There is no great mystery about the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic – or any modern pandemic,” said Peter Daszak, president of the Ecohealth Alliance and chair of the IPBES workshop that drafted the report.

“The same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk though their impacts on our agriculture.”

The panel said that COVID-19 was the sixth pandemic since the influenza outbreak of 1918 – all of which had been “entirely driven by human activities”. 

These include unsustainable exploitation of the environment through deforestation, agricultural expansion, wildlife trade and consumption – all of which put humans in increasingly close contact with wild and farmed animals and the diseases they harbour.

Humans are increasingly in contact with wild and farmed animals? In the 21st century? Nonsense, clearly. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go and milk the cow ahead of my daily bear hunt.

“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.

Mask Censorship: The Swiss Doctor has translated the article in a Danish newspaper about the suppressed Danish mask study. Largest RCT on the effectiveness of masks ever carried out. Rejected by three top scientific journals so far.

Stop Press: The residents of Waynesville in North Carolina have shown some gumption when threatened with a local mask mandate. From Health Impact News.

Waynesville leaders backed down from a proposed local mask mandate Tuesday night after nearly 100 people packed town hall to voice their opposition.

Tensions rose before the meeting ever began when the assembled crowd — who were being held in the lobby until the doors opened — learned there wasn’t going to be enough room for them all in the town board room.

Those wishing to speak were told to fill out forms and wait until their name was called. This didn’t sit well with many in the crowd, who demanded the meeting be moved to the sidewalk outside so that everyone could see and hear it — touching off a loud chant of “Take it outside.”

Town staff and police officers eventually quelled the crowd and convinced them that waiting for their turn to speak was the only option. Another uprising ensued after the waiting crowd was told they couldn’t come in without a mask when their turn rolled around.

The vast majority weren’t wearing a mask, given the whole reason they were there in the first place was to speak against the proposed mask mandate.

Some claimed exemptions for religious and health reasons, but others simply said they weren’t going to wear one and it would violate their rights to be denied entry to a public hearing on that grounds.

In the end, masks were offered but not compulsory.

Gives you hope.

The Great Barrington Declaration

Professor Sunetra Gupta, Professor Martin Kulldorff and Professor Jay Bhattacharya

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 last week, 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 this 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 well over 600,000 signatures.

Update: 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.

Stop Press: Sunetra Gupta was on talkRADIO yesterday rebutting the nonsense that keeps coming out of official channels. And Jay Bhattacharya is on this week’s Spectator TV.

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.

Christian Concern is JR-ing the Welsh Government over its insistence on closing churches during the “circuit breaker”. See its letter-before-action here and an article about it here.

And last but not least there’s the Free Speech Union‘s challenge to Ofcom over its ‘coronavirus guidance’. You can read about that and make a donation here.

Stop Press: Simon Dolan finally makes it to court, and writes about it in the Telegraph.


If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email 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.)

And Finally…