While naysayers may pick holes in specific studies, the quantity and consistency of evidence is overwhelming: lockdown is stressful, it harms cognitive function, and it makes you susceptible to disease. Ultimately, the toll is high. A meta-analytic review (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015) found that social isolation increases the likelihood of mortality by 29%. In short, lockdown is murder.
- Official data from NHS England points to a huge drop in the number of coronavirus patients being treated in hospitals today compared to mid-April, during the height of the pandemic.
- Dr Daniels: Britain is “almost reaching herd immunity”.
- Increase in hospital admissions nor a second wave to hit the UK.
- “I think that’s highly unlikely because the pubs have been open for over a month, people have been socially interacting heavily during that time, and the natural history of this disease is that if you contract the virus and you’re going to end up in hospital, you’re pretty much in hospital within 15 days of contracting it.”
Humans have never been particularly good at eradicating entire viruses, and COVID-19 might not be any different.
More than 19 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus globally, and at least 722,000 have died. In the U.S., nearly 5 million people have tested positive and more than 160,000 have died. While scientists are racing to find a cure for the virus, there’s a chance COVID-19 will never fully go away — with or without a vaccine.
Vineet Menachery, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch, told NPR’s Weekend Edition that one of the more likely scenarios is that the spread of COVID-19 will eventually be slowed as a result of herd immunity. He said that he’d be surprised “if we’re still wearing masks and 6-feet distancing in two or three years” and that in time, the virus could become no more serious than the common cold.
The first thing to remember is that we haven’t been successful at eradicating many viruses at all. Really the lone exception is smallpox, but many of these viruses exist not only in the human population but in animal populations. So coronaviruses may be removed from the human population, like SARS coronavirus in 2002, but we know that those viruses or viruses that are similar to it still exist in nature and at any time they may gain the tools to reemerge in humans again.
Sky News host Alan Jones says people are being swept up into a sense of hysteria and alarmism around COVID-19.
There are only 17 people in hospital with the coronavirus in NSW, eight of them in intensive care, while the World Health Organisation continue to maintain that 99 per cent of all cases will experience mild symptoms.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a vaccine, and we’re going to have to learn to live with this,” Mr Jones told Sky News host Chris Smith.
“But we learned to live with a whole lot of other communicable diseases.
“More people are dying from the flu with a vaccine than are dying from coronavirus without a vaccine.”
Swedish health experts say struggle against pandemic is ‘marathon not a sprint’
The country has one of the highest death rates from coronavirus in the world
Anders Tegnell’s refusal to impose lockdown is held up by critics as a warning
But is it possible the Scandinavian nation made the right call in the long-term?
- The government is purporting to engage with ‘The Science’, but it is also engaging in psychological operations.
- But a side-effect of compelling people to wear masks is that some may decide it is all too stupid, and they are not going to go to the shops until this idiocy is over.
- But a side-effect of compelling people to wear masks is that some may decide it is all too stupid, and they are not going to go to the shops until this idiocy is over.
- The science on masks is very weak. The claim is that you might spread Covid-19 without knowing, if you have it asymptomatically.
- Firstly, asymptomatic Covid-19 spreading around is good because it reduces the virulence of the virus.
- Secondly, the idea that masks stop the spread is not only totally unproven, but also facile. It is a failure of imagination.
- When a droplet hits a mask, it will dry out within seconds or, at most, minutes. If there is any substance to the droplet other than water, it will turn into a dust particle. Unless you superglue the mask to your face, there will be a constant rain of dust particles coming out from all directions around your mask as you breathe. They will be breathed in by others and the virus will do what it does.
- There seems to have been no assessment whatsoever of the effects of lockdown before we entered it. That violates a key principle of medicine: first, do no harm.
- There is a term in medicine for taking action without that knowledge: negligence. The government was negligent in putting us into lockdown with no assessment of what that would do.
- The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are not fever, cough, headache and respiratory symptoms – they are no symptoms at all, and around 99 per cent of those who catch this virus recover.
- The government painted itself into a corner very quickly. It doesn’t know how to get out of that corner apart from by acting out the scenario that it came up with in the first place, which is why, months after we could have abolished all these restrictions and got back to normal, we are going through more months of public virtue-signalling and ritualistic behaviour.
- The WHO is not fit for purpose and whose performance has been lamentable
- The WHO said there were no asymptomatic cases of Covid-19. Now, it is reckoned probably about 90 per cent of people who get Covid-19 are asymptomatic. That is a big change in viewpoint.
- Broadcasters have done a woeful job of presenting balance on this, and have not allowed views contrary to the mainstream narrative to reach the public.
- I also fear too many people are compliant, and complacent in thinking the government knows what it’s doing.
- This episode is showing us that personal freedom must not be taken for granted.
The consequences to be inflicted on the personal wellbeing of Australians, business viability, the national economy, and mental health are far beyond what could be described as responsible management of the situation says Sky News host Alan Jones.
“The nation is swimming in debt, kids are out of school, people are locked up while all along the mental anguish of what is taking place is beyond calculation,” Mr Jones said.
On Monday, Premier Daniel Andrews outlined the details of his stage four lockdowns which will affect Metropolitan Melbourne for at least six weeks in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Andrews ordered all non-essential workers not to leave their homes from Thursday but promised people they will not need to bulk buy food as supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies would stay open.
Mr Jones said if lockdowns were the answer, why do deaths continue to escalate around the country.
Mr Jones discussed the issue with Garrick Professor of Law at the University of Queensland.
- Australia-wide: 43 critical cases
- 1% of patients critical
- 99% of cases are mild
- 221 COVID-19 deaths so far out of a population of 26 million
- 440 Australians die every day
- 1,000-1,500 flu deaths each year
- COVID-19 not in top 50 death causes
- Professor James Allan: “In a decade this will be looked back on as one of the most colossal public policy fiascos of the century.”
- Around 161,000 Australians die every year (440 per day)
- 1,200 die in car accidents
- Article based on experience working as a doctor in the emergency room of one of the big hospitals in Stockholm, Sweden, and of living as a citizen in Sweden.
- Unlike other countries, Sweden never went in to complete lockdown. Non-essential businesses have remained open, people have continues to go to cafés and restaurants, children have remained in school, and very few people have bothered with face masks in public.
- COVID hit Stockholm like a storm in mid-March. One day I was seeing people with appendicitis and kidney stones, the usual things you see in the emergency room. The next day all those patients were gone and the only thing coming in to the hospital was COVID. Practically everyone who was tested had COVID, regardless of what the presenting symptom was. People came in with a nose bleed and they had COVID. They came in with stomach pain and they had COVID.
- Then, after a few months, all the COVID patients disappeared.
- At the peak three months back, a hundred people were dying a day of COVID in Sweden, a country with a population of ten million. We are now down to around five people dying per day in the whole country, and that number continues to drop. Since people generally die around three weeks after infection, that means virtually no-one is getting infected any more.
- The risk of dying is at the very most 1 in 200 if you actually do get infected.
- In total COVID has killed under 6,000 people in a country of ten million.
- Sweden has an annual death rate of around 100,000 people. Considering that 70% of those who have died of COVID are over 80 years old, quite a few of those 6,000 would have died this year anyway.
- COVID will never even come close to major pandemic numbers like 1918 flu.
- If herd immunity hasn’t developed, where are all the sick people? Why has the rate of infection dropped so precipitously?
- The reason we test for antibodies is because it is easy and cheap. Antibodies are in fact not the body’s main defence against virus infections. T-cells are. But T-cells are harder to measure than antibodies, so we don’t really do it clinically.
- Sweden ripped the metaphorical band-aid off quickly and got the epidemic over and done with in a short amount of time, while the rest of the world has chosen to try to peel the band-aid off slowly.
- I am willing to bet that the countries that have shut down completely will see rates spike when they open up. If that is the case, then there won’t have been any point in shutting down in the first place, because all those countries are going to end up with the same number of dead at the end of the day anyway. Shutting down completely in order to decrease the total number of deaths only makes sense if you are willing to stay shut down until a vaccine is available. That could take years.
- COVID has at present killed less than 6000 in Sweden. It is very unlikely that the number of dead will go above 7,000. An average influenza year in Sweden, 700 people die of influenza. Does that mean COVID is ten times worse than influenza? No, because influenza has been around for centuries while COVID is completely new.
- So it is quite possible, in fact likely, that the case fatality rate for COVID is the same as for influenza, or only slightly higher, and the entire difference we have seen is due to the complete lack of any immunity in the population at the start of this pandemic.
Here is the good news: No matter how old you are, you are extremely unlikely to die of Covid-19. Even if a lockdown had not been instituted and no social distancing implemented, and assuming Imperial College’s controversial worst-case scenario estimate of 500,000 deaths, there would have been a 99% likelihood of surviving the pandemic.
This is no bubonic plague. That killed very nearly 30 per cent of the world’s population in the 14th century. Here is some more good news: a lockdown was instituted and social distancing measures are now well entrenched in our behaviour. As a result, the chance of surviving the pandemic is more like 99.9%.
If you are fortunate to be under the age of 45, your chances of dying from the virus are negligible. You are more likely to die from a lightning strike. The Office of National Statistics estimates that only 0.07% of the population in England is currently infected by the virus. That equates to about 35,000 people.
Grounded in dubious science and cowardly politics, the grievous wounds we have inflicted upon ourselves with the Covid-19 lockdown are becoming more evident every day.
Britain’s economic outlook is dire and job losses are mounting daily. It is clear many of those currently bankrolled by the Government’s furlough scheme to lie on the beach, lawn or sofa will soon discover that they have no employment to return to in the autumn.
Meanwhile, disturbing figures reported in the Mail yesterday, reveal how alarm is spreading among doctors and patients at the continued mothballing of sectors of the NHS.
Imposing a widespread regional lockdown in the north west was a ‘rash’ decision which is not backed up by the data, an Oxford professor has claimed.
People in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire were banned from meeting different households indoors, in a move that Matt Hancock, the health secretary said was ‘absolutely necessary.’
But Professor Carl Henegehan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford said the figures were skewed by delayed test results and when plotted by the date the test was taken showed no overall alarming rise.
“The northern lockdown was a rash decision,” he said. “Where’s the rise? By date of test through July there’s no change if you factor in all the increased testing that’s going on.
As professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, I have authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and currently hold senior positions on the editorial boards of several leading journals. I am usually accustomed to advocating for positions within the mainstream of medicine, so have been flummoxed to find that, in the midst of a crisis, I am fighting for a treatment that the data fully support but which, for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines. As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily. Fortunately, the situation can be reversed easily and quickly.
I am referring, of course, to the medication hydroxychloroquine. When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.
- As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily.
- An inexpensive and be highly effective treatment, especially when given early: Hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and zinc.
- The article, “Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk COVID-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis” was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE). It analyzed five studies, demonstrating clear benefits and safety of this treatment.
- Other studies include:
- an additional 400 high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths;
- four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths;
- a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine;
- and another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization risk.
- “Natural experiments:” northern Brazil state of Pará used hydroxychloroquine to reduce deaths.
- Hydroxychloroquine has shown major success when used early in high-risk people but, as one would expect for an antiviral, much less success when used late in the disease course.
- Delays in waiting before starting the medications can reduce their efficacy.
- FDA concerns about the drug did not announce is that these adverse events were generated from tens of millions of patient uses of hydroxychloroquine for long periods of time, often for the chronic treatment of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
- The harms are minuscule compared to the mortality occurring right now in inadequately treated high-risk COVID-19 patients.
The lockdown was one of the most restrictive measures ever introduced since Britain became a democracy. It was originally justified on the basis of ‘flattening the curve’ to protect the NHS. But since this was achieved some time ago, new reasons are always produced to keep us at home or prevent people from carrying out normal activities. Many of our legal rights are being infringed as a result. A legal challenge to the lockdown was launched by businessman Simon Dolan, who sought a judicial review of the government’s policies. Francis Hoar is a barrister who worked on his team. spiked caught up with him to ask why he thinks the lockdown was unlawful, and what damage he feels it has done.
- The [lockdown] measures were not within the parameters of the 1984 Public Health Act. That act does not grant powers to lock down the country, impose restrictions on when people can leave their houses, go to church, meet others or protest.
- Matt Hancock, had ‘fettered his discretion’ in relation to how long the measures would last. This was unlawful because it prevented him from looking at all factors when making his decision.
- The measures breached rights protected in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), including Article Five, the right to liberty (impacted by regulations about when people could leave the house); Article Eight, the right to family and private lives; Article Nine, freedom of religious belief and expression; Article 11, the right to freedom of assembly and association; and Article Two, which relates to the right to education – impacted by the closure of schools.
- The measures were disproportionate because the harms caused were known to the government from an early stage.
- Lockdown legislation was introduced to parliament one working day before they came into force. None of them received any scrutiny by parliament or were debated in detail before they were enacted.
- The government opposition, whose duty it is to provide scrutiny for government measures, failed to oppose the government’s use of the emergency legislation.
- Extremely few lawyers have criticised the impact of these regulations on principle which is surprising because they are such obvious and incredibly serious depravations of very important and serious rights.
- The traditional understanding of Article Two of the ECHR is that it obliges the government to inform individuals of risks to their life, to protect against risks caused by government actions and to provide adequate investigation and redress against loss of life caused by the state.
- There isn’t any case law to suggest that the government has positive obligations to withdraw rights when there is a natural event such as a virus.
- Most of the rights protected by the ECHR have a venerable history in English law and have been removed by executive fiat under an act of parliament, without the need for parliamentary scrutiny.
Face masks make you suggestible; they make you more likely to follow someone else’s direction and do things you wouldn’t otherwise do
In Joost Meerloo’s analysis of false confessions and totalitarian regimes, The Rape of the Mind, he coins a phrase for the ‘dumbing down’ of critical resistance – menticide. “In the totalitarian regime,” he wrote, “the doubting, inquisitive, and imaginative mind has to be suppressed. The totalitarian slave is only allowed to memorise, to salivate when the bell rings.”
…The fact that masks likely don’t even work brings us to the final reason that wearing one inculcates stupidity and compliance: through a bombardment of lies, contradictions, and confusion, the state overwhelms your ability to reason clearly…
…As Theodore Dalrymple wrote, “In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”
But with no sign of a second summer wave nor an autumn eruption reminiscent of 1918, the commentariat has amended the definition. Suddenly, a “second wave” meant Covid’s seasonal return, in winter, a year on. Widespread adoption of a new phrase in the Covid lexicology – “winter wave” – has academically formalised the idea.
But instead of looking us square in the eye, the Tories have chosen Big Brother’s panopticon; No 10’s new Joint Biosecurity Centre, which will drive “whack-a-mole” local lockdowns, is slickness posing as strategy – and, as it happens, reporting into track-and-trace app failure Dido Harding. When the public twigs that the infection is unlikely to be controlled in this way, the sheer panic could send us back into national lockdown. Three scenarios might help avoid the latter: a vaccine comes along; the Government gets its act together with a plan to protect the vulnerable; or we put in place safety valves against mass hysteria.
Imperial College’s research needs to be particularly scrutinised, as its international influence grows. Dr Seth Flaxman – the first author in the paper that notoriously claimed lockdowns may have prevented over 3 million deaths in Europe – this week won fresh funding to model the pandemic across several countries.
Revelations that disrupt the narrative also need to find a stronger voice: within 24 hours, the scandal of PHE’s inflated daily death figures was running out of mileage. This week’s London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine modelling on the impact of the pandemic on cancer deaths never gathered steam. So too a paper by Oxford’s Prof Sunetra Gupta, which elegantly combined those uneasy epidemiological bedfellows – theory and evidence – to find some parts of the UK may already have reached herd immunity.
Discussion around vaccinations can be very contentious. There’s great nuance in this area and a short post will not do justice to the complex issues surrounding the usefulness and safety of vaccines. Nevertheless, while vaccines may have their role in protecting target populations from disease, not all have been proven safe to an acceptable level as shown in the resources below.
The UK government’s Vaccine Damage Payment scheme is probably the strongest proof that vaccines can be unsafe. Under the Vaccine Damage Payment scheme, people who have been severely disabled as a result of a vaccination against certain diseases can be eligible for a one-off tax-free payment of £120,000.
Conspiracy theorists are putting lives at risk?
Despite this objective fact that a compensation scheme exists for hose who have been damaged by vaccines, Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed that conspiracy theorists are putting lives at risk:
“Those who promulgate lies about dangers of vaccines that are safe and have been approved–they are threatening lives…”Source: The Independent, 20 July 2020
Clearly, concerns about the safely of vaccines cannot be lies if there is a vaccine damage compensation scheme in place.
Eligibility changed in 2015
Eligibility requirements for vaccines covering certain diseases are listed and change over time. Interestingly, sometime around 2015, damage from vaccines for influenza caused by pandemics are explicitly listed as not eligible.
We do not know how the government compiles is eligibility criteria or why this change was made. However, it would be worthwhile to keep an eye on this list to see if the status of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines.
AstraZeneca protected from vaccine liability
Update 1 August 2020: On 30 July 2020, Reuters reported that AstraZeneca, the UK government’s partner for developing its COVID-19 vaccine, will be exempt from coronavirus vaccine liability claims in most countries. The countries have not been named but Ruud Dobber, a member of Astra’s senior executive team, commented:
“This is a unique situation where we as a company simply cannot take the risk if in … four years the vaccine is showing side effects.
In the contracts we have in place, we are asking for indemnification. For most countries it is acceptable to take that risk on their shoulders because it is in their national interest.”
- UK Government Vaccine Damage Payment (gov.uk)
- Ministers lose fight to stop payouts over swine flu jab narcolepsy cases (The Guardian)
- Dengue vaccine fiasco leads to criminal charges for researcher in the Philippines (Science Magazine)
- Polio outbreaks in Africa caused by mutation of strain in vaccine
- The Vaccination Debate (The Guardian)
- AstraZeneca to be exempt from coronavirus vaccine liability claims in most countries (Reuters)
- Some experts argued that masks would help slow the infection rate.
- Others pointed out that improper use of face masks can amplify risks, for instance by acting as a reservoir for virus particles.
- It seems that today’s mantra of ‘listen to the science’ is not as straightforward as it seems.
- Claims to wear masks are untested and unchallenged, then elevated to the status of ‘the science’.
- The hasty assembling of research articles in support of a policy position is not science. This is as likely to be to be dangerously misleading as it is to yield even negligible benefits.
- Scientific controversy in the 21st century is settled by institutional weight and muscle, not by experiment.
- The president of the Royal Society wants to have his cake and eat it: he wants the government to defer to institutional science, but not for science to be accountable for this influence.
- The government, weakened by its capitulations to breakfast TV anchors, politically motivated scientists and scientific institutions, may find itself unable to roll back policies which turn out to do more harm than good.
- Sweden’s total deaths per million in population as of July 14 is 549. That’s considerably lower than the deaths per million rate in the UK, which is 662, and in Spain, which is 608. In Belgium, the death rate is 884.
- Sweden deaths per million is many times better than the rates found in New Jersey and New York: 1,763 and 1,669.
- Articles condemning Sweden’s “failure” rarely if ever mention these comparisons.
- Nonlockdown Sweden has a death rate similar to harsh-lockdown France can only be explained by claiming France didn’t lock down harshly enough or long enough.
- Two weeks after the WHO’s prediction that Sweden will have a resurgence in COVID-19, both cases and deaths in Sweden continue to trend downward.
- Thanks to Sweden we know what both lockdown and nonlockdown countries look like: they look remarkably similar in some cases.
- After all, after failing to implement a lockdown for months, Sweden is still nowhere near matching the death rates reported in New York.
In reality many of the people who died from Covid-19 were likely to die this year anyway, so in one respect this estimate is likely to be too high. In another respect it’s likely to be too low, as it will not include ‘lockdown deaths’, that is, the deaths from delayed cancer and heart treatments, and so on, but as I was interested in the effect of Covid-19 I didn’t want those in my graph anyway. (Another complication is that not everyone who is classed as a Covid-19 death actually died from it, but I decided to ignore this.)
The five year average for 2015-19 is 531,355 deaths per year. As of writing this there were 42,462 Covid-19 deaths in the UK. There are likely to be a few more deaths in the next few weeks, but not many more, as the disease is (barring an unlikely second wave in winter), on its way out. Besides, the number we are adding on here is for the whole of the UK, not just England and Wales, so if anything this number is inflated. That gives us 573,817 deaths for 2020. Then I got hold of the historical population figures for England and Wales, and calculated the death rates per 1000 from it, so that population increases are taken account of. Here is the result:
Ben Humberstone, Head of Health Analysis and Life Events, Office for National Statistics:
‘Today’s analysis shows that jobs involving close proximity with others, and those where there is regular exposure to disease, have some of the highest rates of death from COVID-19. However, our findings do not prove conclusively that the observed rates of death involving COVID-19 are necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure.’