In further evidence that Government scientific advisers live in a fantasy world constructed from models that bear a tenuous relationship to real-world evidence, one of the U.K.’s most well-connected scientists, Sir Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust, has quit SAGE after criticising the Government for refusing to heed its alarmist, failed predictions. Sir Jeremy appears to be oblivious to the fact that, with reported infections dropping to under 34,000 on Tuesday, down 10% in a week, the modellers’ prognostications of doom have faltered once again. The Telegraph has more.
[I]t has emerged that Sir Jeremy resigned from SAGE at the end of last month.
In a statement, he said Government scientists had come under “huge pressure” during the pandemic.
Sir Jeremy has previously said that he “seriously considered resigning from SAGE” a year ago, after the Government went against its advice to introduce a lockdown as cases rose last autumn.
In his book, published earlier this year, he wrote: “That was the darkest moment of the pandemic. I began to question the point of giving advice to a body that chose not to use it. There comes a time when you have to ask yourself, and the people you trust, whether you are complicit with the decisions that are made as a result.”
Sir Jeremy gave a statement to Sky News on Tuesday:
The COVID-19 crisis is a long way from over, with the global situation deeply troubling. The high levels of transmission seen in the U.K. remain concerning, but I stepped down as a participant of SAGE knowing ministers had been provided with most of the key science advice needed over the winter months. Throughout this crisis SAGE has provided vital evidence, and independent, expert, transparent advice to support the U.K. response, often under huge pressure.
He said his focus would now be on his work at the Wellcome Trust, supporting research to end the pandemic.
Last month, he urged people to take matters into their own hands, voicing concern at the lack of Government measures to control the virus.
In a tweet sent two weeks ago he called for a “Vaccine Plus” strategy, in which the public wear masks on public transport, in shops and indoor spaces, and try to use flexible work times, where possible.
“Minor modifications now can prevent rises in cases, deaths, new variants or need for Plan B. It is avoidable,” he tweeted.
The claim that “minor modifications now can prevent rises in cases, deaths, new variants or need for Plan B” has no evidence at all to back it up. Studies of real-world patterns of the spread of COVID-19 have found no significant relationship between interventions and outcomes. The idea that little changes to behaviour create large changes in viral transmission dynamics is a fantasy of modelling that bears no relationship to observed trends. It’s a modeller’s conceit, bequeathed to politicians in whose hands it becomes a licence for pre-emptive public health tyranny.
Mercifully, the Government has so far resisted the latest calls for new restrictions, and the downturn in reported infections despite not imposing further measures (just as happened with ‘Freedom Day’ in July) confirms that they are right to do so.
Sir Jeremy is a key ally of Dr Anthony Fauci in the U.S. and was part of the exposed conspiracy in spring 2020 to suppress and smear the lab leak theory of Covid origins. Such a revelation would have discredited mere mortals, and his departure from SAGE is overdue and welcome. Let us hope that some of his former colleagues, who are at least as culpable for SAGE’s hopeless record of calling for extreme measures on the basis of ropey models, do the decent thing and join him.