What Kind of ‘Experts’ Didn’t Foresee This Lockdown Devastation?

by Anonymous On Wednesday, the Telegraph published this article: "How lockdowns left babies more vulnerable to respiratory disease." It’s all about an extra risk this winter from "respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an infection that can in rare cases make it difficult for children to breathe". That really hit home. One of my oldest and dearest friends, a grandparent like myself, has had the shocking experience of seeing two of her granddaughters, both born in late 2021, being seriously afflicted. One nearly died from RSV, caught in the maternity ward after birth where it was rife and where she had not been born long enough to build up resistance. It was very touch-and-go for several weeks. Her little cousin, born a a few weeks earlier, was hit by cytomegalovirus (CMV). Her mother seems to have caught it during pregnancy and since she is a nurse the most likely place was in hospital. The little girl has no hearing in one ear and is likely to lose it in the other, and has only one kidney. Neither of these viruses is new. RSV is very common. Most children will catch it by the age of two with few ill effects. The same applies to CMV. But some children do become seriously ill, so there is nothing to prove these two little girls...

The Ongoing Indoctrination of Teachers

Six years ago, John Cleese gave a brief talk about how political correctness could lead to an Orwellian nightmare, in which he tells the following joke: "How do you make God laugh? Answer: Tell him your plans." The joke was intended to be an example of an inclusive joke, but even that one may fall short of the modern ideological standards of 'inclusion', given the joke assumes that God is a male. Cleese also tells how he’d been advised not to visit most university campuses, and it is telling that the situation at universities has only deteriorated in this respect in these past six years. I had a plan to spend a few years at one of the big four professional services firms, perhaps spend a few years working as an in-house accountant somewhere, and then, at about 35 years-old, I would move into teaching Economics. I told God this plan, and God did indeed laugh, because at the age of 25 I left my job at one of the big four, and I am currently doing my PGCE 10 years ahead of schedule, and, now that I’m four months in, I have to say that some of what is being taught to trainee teachers deeply concerns me. I will, for the purposes of this article, leave alone the general...

Postcard From the Rhine

Originally my wife and I were due to go on a Rhine Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, but due to the ban on even doubly vaccinated travellers from the U.K. from entering the Netherlands without undergoing a 10 day quarantine on arrival this was cancelled with only two weeks notice. We were only due to spend less than two days there before our next port of call at Cologne to which we could fly very easily and enquired whether it would be possible to join the cruise there instead. Apparently not. No explanation has yet been given. So being keen continental rail travellers we arranged our own itinerary instead, along with all the testing rigmarole. We flew to Cologne from Stansted and then took a local train to the main station in the City. The weather was perfect and we had a pleasant meal outside in one of the many restaurants beside the Rhine. Being outside meant no mask wearing and no signing in anywhere. Even in the hotel there was no compulsion to wear masks. Next morning we did a spot of tourism and found the Chocolate Museum further down the Rhine. Indoor mask wearing compulsory, unfortunately. We took the train to Koblenz, our next destination along the Rhine. Our travels through Germany were complicated because of a train...

The SAGE Models are Already Wrong

In a recent article, we considered the implications of the U.K.’s spring rise in infections, given that before now the assumption has been that coronaviruses are seasonal at northern temperate latitudes. Do we have to dismiss that hypothesis in light of the ‘Third Wave’? Here we argue that, contrary to Government claims, the British summer is indeed finally impacting viral transmission, with sharp falls in positives reported across the U.K. In England, reported cases have more-or-less halved in a week, from 50,955 to 25,434. This sharp fall runs counter to all three of the most recent SAGE models driving Government policy, which predict rising infections leading to peaks in hospital admissions in high summer – and by implication falsifies the assumptions upon which these models are based. Parsimony predicts the summer troughs and winter peaks evident for SARS-CoV-2 In spring and summer 2020 and winter 2020-1, SARS-CoV-2 infections parsimoniously followed the pattern of seasonal respiratory viruses, falling away in the summer months and rising again in the autumn, with peaks in deaths occurring between mid-November 2020 and mid-April 2021 in different northern temperate countries. Although falling infection levels were sometimes prolonged into early summer or began to rise again in late summer, there were no peaks in fatalities in summer or early autumn 2020.  Most notably, while cases in Sweden...

Lancet Paper Over-Estimates Number of Complications Associated with COVID-19 Hospital Patients

Last week a paper was published in the Lancet, looking at complications of patients admitted with Covid between January 17th and August 4th 2020. The publication was followed by extensive press coverage, most of which attributed findings to the paper that weren’t supported by the data. It will come as no surprise to readers that the press reaction featured dire warnings of imminent catastrophe as hospitals are ‘once again’ overwhelmed by Covid patients and serious risks to the long-term health of young people from viral infection. Accordingly, I have examined the paper and summarised my initial findings for readers. For clarity and avoidance of doubt, any medical study contains flaws and biases. Some of these flaws relate to data collection or measurement, some relate to data analysis. The majority of bias is found in the way data is presented and interpreted. When assessing papers for publication, reviewers are supposed to pick up on such biases and (as far as possible) screen them out prior to the paper being accepted. I should also say that reviewers themselves are subject to their own biases and I’m no exception to that rule. Before I get into the weeds, I should explain what a ‘complication’ means in medical terms. Essentially, a ‘complication’ is an extra problem that occurs during the management of the primary...

The Sceptics’ Case for Boris

by John William O’Sullivan Boris is probably done. His enemies always hated him, and he has alienated his would-be allies with his vicious lockdown policies. The only question now is that of his historical legacy. With the lab leak hypothesis gaining credibility rapidly, it is becoming clear that the boffins and their public health frontmen will not be able to stem the tide of scandal when it breaks. If the pandemic and the response to it become the public health equivalent of the Iraq War or the financial crisis, it will almost certainly be Boris’ legacy. I want to make a case – at this stage probably only to future historians – that the Boris question is not so clear cut. Cards on the table first. I am as hardcore a lockdown sceptic as they come. I was early to the game, and I question quite literally everything about the Government response – from face masks to lockdowns to vaccines. Nor am I fan of Boris. I am pro-Brexit, but I suspected that Boris was probably more clown than effective leader – more Beppe Grillo than Winston Churchill. When he was nominated, I had concerns not just about his public persona, but about his private life. I know that this is unfashionable in Britain, but it should not be. In...

Has the Delta Variant Killed Seasonality – or Just Freedom?

The pre-Covid scientific literature indicates there are already four known coronaviruses in circulation, which are – like ’flu – predominantly seasonal in the northern temperate climatic zones, which include Northern Europe and the north part of North America. Although not entirely without exception, the typical pattern – as has been pointed out previously in Lockdown Sceptics – is for coronavirus infections to peak between late autumn and early spring and dwindle away in the summer. Scientific parsimony would – in the absence of evidence to the contrary – lead us to anticipate SARS-CoV-2 would behave in the same way. Indeed, infections in Spring 2020 did follow the typical pattern. Although peaking earlier or later in different places, infections fell to a baseline before picking up again from the autumn – including in countries of Eastern Europe that escaped the first wave altogether. Reported deaths followed a similar pattern. In the autumn and winter of 2020-21 positives and deaths again peaked, with shouldered or distributed peaks in some areas. This is not unusual for seasonal respiratory virus outbreaks as can be seen in the excess deaths reported to EUROMOMO during the 2017-8 ’flu season, for example (small summer peaks in excess deaths are attributed to heatwaves). What would be unexpected, other than in quite exceptional circumstances, would be substantial peaks in...

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October 2022
Free Speech Union

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