Our post, ‘The Time Has Come to Get Rid of the Whole Lot of Them‘, has generated some powerful emotions. The Hallett Inquiry Module 2a continues to unveil cancel cultures and other conduct unbecoming of public servants.
We normally don’t name individuals (we made an exception for Hancock) as it does little to foster debate. But the goings-on of one ‘expert’ giving evidence, identified as a canceller-contortionist, is worthy of our attention.
Canceller-contortionists are people with no background in respiratory virus epidemiology or evidence analysis who vomited forth idiotic theories like ‘zero-Covid’ and then tried to cancel or pretend they never uttered such nonsense.
Their spinal columns are so mobile when giving evidence that they tie themselves in knots with the KC and the court stenographer. They are different from double flip-floppers like Dame Jenny Harries.
Some media have cottoned on to a particular contortionist to the then-Scottish First Minister who pushed zero-Covid. The Mail reports, “Professor [Devi] Sridhar was an advocate of ‘zero-Covid’ but now admits she was wrong”. However, the media supporters of zero-Covid activists remain silent.
Some MPs, such as Richard Burgon, said: ”A ‘zero-Covid’ strategy would avoid the cycle of lockdowns by locking down cases and contacts instead of the whole country. If other countries can do it, there is no reason why we can’t, too.” In August 2020, a group of MPs and peers urged the Government to commit to a ‘zero-Covid’ strategy across England.
Scottish advice resonated as late as March 2021, one year after the lockdown began; the former First Minister argued that elimination was the “only sensible strategy”. “Ms. Sturgeon repeatedly claimed she was committed to achieving virus ‘elimination’ during the first year, driving case numbers as close to zero as possible,” reported the Telegraph.
Mrs Sturgeon’s claim came the same month the BMJ hosted a debate on ‘Zero-Covid—known unknowns’. The following quotation appears as the headline to their summary: “There should be a compelling case that eradication is better than simply ongoing control.”
The trouble is, like the former Chair of Public Health England, this particular adviser’s knowledge of the epidemiology of respiratory viruses could be written on the back of a postage stamp. A second-class stamp that is.
Our date-stamp for pointing out the futility of heavy-handed interventions or elimination of what was and is already circulating everywhere is April 8th 2020. So we do not need an eraser.
In our one-page summary to the Prime Minister in the now infamous cabinet office meeting in September 2020, we wrote:
The current strategy requires acknowledging the virus is endemic and the need to learn to live with Covid. Recent responses are out of proportion to the threat. They are underpinned by a lack of understanding of the data, of the role of community pathogens and an overreliance on predictive modelling. Thinking has been distorted by three decades of influenza preparedness as if there were no other pathogens with pandemic potential.
The Disinformation Chronicle reports some of the sweeping statements on lots of things, but zero-Covid is the biggest pile of nonsense conceived during the madness of King Covid. The activists were adamant that lockdowns were the only way out of the pandemic.
The activist tactics included shooting down anyone who considered the alternatives to elimination.
As our Riddles series shows, humanity knows little and understands even less about these bugs, even after 100 years of study, more or less since the Spanish Influenza and the end of World War One. But, hey, why sit down and study, research and piece evidence together when you can fire from the hip?
The problems with this kind of approach are shown in the consequences. Stalinist ‘flattening the curve’ and ‘short sharp shock’ lockdowns that wrecked society and the economy spring to mind.
Second, having a solution out of the box means you do not have to do any research or clarify facts, but you have to attack those who want to.
Or, in line with our Riddles series, they impede and undermine the rationale for elucidating the ecology and transmission of respiratory agents (think of the Antarctic outbreaks), which is complex and not understood.
The third problem is that, sooner or later, you get found out, and then you have to mobilise your spinal column to confuse the KC and the court stenographer and get your rubber out to try and cancel what you said and wrote. Here is the transcript if anyone is remotely interested in the ramblings and contortions. Good luck. Oh, and a tip: do not miss this on page 28: “So the Czech Republic came out and said, ‘Okay, we don’t have testing but, you know what, masks for everyone.’ Community efforts wear masks; it’s a sign that you can do something.”
The logic here is equivalent to: “Eat dung, as two trillion flies cannot be wrong.”
The biggest problem is whether these people will be held accountable for their conduct.
In September 2022, we reported the back-pedalling race had begun. It’s still ongoing.
Please be aware that this post will not auto-delete: hopefully, that is clear enough for Mr. John Swinney.
Prof. Carl Heneghan is the Oxford Professor of Evidence Based Medicine and Dr. Tom Jefferson is an epidemiologist based in Rome who works with Professor Heneghan on the Cochrane Collaboration. This article was first published on their Substack, Trust The Evidence, which you can subscribe to here.