Search Result for 'James ferguson'

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A Defence of Lockdown Sceptics Into the valley of death rode the 600 What follows is a guest post by Toby. I was disappointed to read the Spectator article by Lockdown Sceptics contributor Alistair Haimes about his departure from our ranks. The brilliant data analyst has been a valuable ally and I hope he will return to the fold in due course.  His argument boils down to this: "When the facts change, I change my mind." But what facts have changed? He cites three. First, the health service is under severe stress and unless we can reduce virus transmission over the next few weeks it’s at serious risk of being overwhelmed. That wasn’t true when the second national lockdown was imposed in November, he says, but it is today. Second, we now have two approved Covid vaccines, with more to follow, so any new restrictions will be short-lived. Third, there is a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 which is around 50% more transmissible than the pre-existing variants. I’ll take each of these in turn – although I may digress a bit. First, I’m sceptical of the claim that we have X number of days to save the NHS – a familiar trope that I thought the Labour Party had flogged to death. Let’s not forget that a winter bed crisis in ...

The Glitch That Stole Christmas

Fear of Covid now 70% more transmissible by James Ferguson Blind faith in authority is the greatest enemy of truth. Albert Einstein On December 20th the UK Government put 44% of the English population into Tier 4 lockdown, cancelling Christmas get-togethers for 24m people, following a recommendation from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag). Nervtag had identified a new variant of the novel coronavirus in the South East of the country, which was 70% more transmissible than its predecessor, carried a viral load up to 10,000x higher and which the primer on the widely used Thermo Fisher TaqPath PCR machines failed to pick up. However, these conclusions are highly dependent on the interpretation of the data and logically (Occam’s Razor) none of the claims made at that time about the new variant’s increased transmissibility, higher viral load or ability to escape detection appear justified. The PCR test The primers used to detect short gene sequences in reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines under the COVID-19 protocol, search for three gene types: ORF1ab (or just ORF), N and the ‘spike gene’, S. Positive test results require at least two of the three genes to be found but since amplification is run to a very high cycle threshold (Ct) of 40-45, known as ‘the limit of detection’ (LoD), ...

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Boris Panicked and U-Turned Over Lockdown After Seeing Neil Ferguson's Projections "I see death in your future – a lot of death." The Mail on Sunday is serialising an explosive new biography of Boris by Tom Bower that claims Boris was panicked into imposing a full national lockdown after Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance were presented with Neil Ferguson's apocalyptic predictions at a meeting of SAGE. Bower tells how a critical meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on February 25th was presented with the 'reasonable worst-case scenario' from Professor Ferguson under which 80% of Britons would be infected and the death-toll would be 510,000 people.The author writes: "This was an improvement on Ferguson's earlier assessment that between 2% and 3% would die – up to 1.5 million deaths. Even with mitigation measures, he said, the death toll could be 250,000 and the existing intensive care units would be overwhelmed eight times over."Neither Vallance nor Whitty outrightly challenged Ferguson's model or predictions. By contrast, in a series of messages from Michael Levitt, a Stanford University professor who would correctly predict the pandemic's initial trajectory, Ferguson was warned that he had overestimated the potential death toll by 'ten to 12 times'....The book reveals how shortly before the national lockdown, on March 16th, Ferguson forecast that one third of ...

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Take Back Control Brendan O'Neill has written a blistering piece for Spiked in which he urges the British people to take back control – not from Brussels, but from Boris and Dom! We can’t go on like this. We cannot continue to allow the Government to control every aspect of our lives. We cannot idly accept that the state has the right to introduce rules and regulations that dictate everything from how long we can stay in the pub to who we can invite to our weddings. We cannot sit back and watch as government scientists use jumped-up, fact-lite graphs of fear to try to terrify and pacify the populace and prep us for yet another onslaught on our liberties. We cannot just watch and nod as officials shut down more areas of the economy, with a stroke of their pen, plunging Britain further into the worst recession on record. This is not sustainable. Something has to give, something has to break. The only important question right now is this: how can we make sure that happens? I know exactly how he feels. Worth reading in full. A Reply to Tom Chivers Tom Chivers and James Ferguson disagree about the significance of the false positive rate of the PCR test Tom Chivers took a pop at Lockdown Sceptics in UnHerd ...

COVID-19: Parliamentary Brief

By James Ferguson James Gilray imagines what would have happened to MPs if Napoleon had successfully invaded Britain: "We come to recover your lost liberties." They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safetyBenjamin Franklin Whilst my note on the false positive rate (FPR) made its way into the corridors of power, the Health Department’s response was at once dismissive but innumerate. Fortunately, not all parliamentarians are so easily fobbed off and one has asked me to prepare a brief, which is why the following is not in the usual format. It appears that the number of amplification cycles used in PCR tests, whether there is any quality control, the false positive rate (for both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2) and the incidence of the disease are all state secrets. However, what is clear is that none of those wielding the controls understand the maths. Both Secretary of State, Matt Hancock (who says the FPR is “under 1%”) and Baroness Harding’s chief medical advisor, Dr Susan Hopkins (definitely less than 1-in-100 and more likely 1-in-1000) believe the FPR is so low as to result in what Hancock calls a “very small proportion of false positives”. In fact, even a FPR as fancifully low as 0.1% (and there is a mass of ...

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10pm Curfew? Time For Bed, Prime Minister Stay at home... Go back to work... Stay at home... er... Our hopeless, busted flush of a Prime Minister is going to announce today that pubs and restaurants will have to close by 10pm from Thursday, with table-only service for the foreseeable future. Exceptions to the "rule of six" for weddings and funerals will be eliminated, too. Needless to say, this is to fend off a wholly imaginary "second wave". The Mail does its best to relay Downing Street's spin on this nonsense, although its heart isn't in it. In July, Mr Johnson urged staff to "go back to work if you can" in a bid to prevent city centres becoming ghost towns.But a source told the Mail that employees will be advised to "work from home if you can" during the coming weeks.The restrictions have divided the Cabinet, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Alok Sharma both warning about the potential impact on the economy. But a senior Government source insisted all ministers accepted the move was needed to bring the R-rate, which measures how fast the disease is spreading, back under control."The aim is to cause maximum damage to the R and minimal damage to the economy," the source said. "Unless we act now, there will be greater economic damage ...

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ONS: Flu and Pneumonia Have Killed More People Than Covid Since June Blower's latest cartoon in the Telegraph. He must be a lockdown sceptic. That's the headline finding in the ONS's latest release, as far as the Telegraph is concerned. But there's another pretty striking finding in the second paragraph too. Influenza and pneumonia has contributed to more weekly deaths than COVID-19 since the middle of June, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.Just 78 people died of coronavirus in the week ending September 4th – the latest for which death registrations are available – the first time the figure has fallen below 100 since lockdown began in March.Just one per cent of deaths now mention coronavirus on the death certificate compared to 12.8% which mention influenza and pneumonia, making those conditions nearly 13 times more deadly.The numbers of overall deaths has also plummeted well below the five-year average for England and Wales, with 1,443 fewer deaths in the most recent weekly figures. This is a bit awkward for the Government. The day after its new draconian "Rule of Six" regulations are introduced, the ONS reveals there were fewer deaths in the week ending September 4th. Worth reading in full. Noel Gallagher: Sceptic of the Week Noel Gallagher performs on stage during day 1 of Madcool Festival ...

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Second Wave of Hysteria Arrives Here we go – brace positions. The UK's "Rule of Six" ban on social gatherings over six people comes into force today, and the Government confirmed yesterday that it includes children in England (unlike in Wales and Scotland). Denmark – the country once lauded for its coronavirus response – has been placed on England's quarantine watch list due to rising cases (even though on most days since June it's had no Covid deaths at all). Countries around Europe tighten restrictions. Israel locks down again. SAGE scientist Professor Sir Mark Walport warns that the UK is "on the edge of losing control" while Professor Peter Openshaw (of, you've guessed it, Imperial College) intones that the public must "act fast" and fall into line or face a second lockdown. Panic is back. "You've only got to look across the Channel to see what is happening in France and what's happening in Spain," says Professor Walport. "The only way to stop the spread of this infection is to reduce the number of people we all come into contact with." And what is happening in France and Spain? Let's see. A huge rise in cases positive tests, and little else. Hospitals in some areas such as Madrid have seen a gentle rise in COVID-19 admissions, but nothing they can't ...

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July 2022
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