Categories
Opinion

An epidemic of failure: Test and Trace that doesn’t work, local lockdowns that don’t make sense, flu deaths counted as Covid-19… and an economy on the brink. We somehow made a crisis worse – Dr. John Lee, Daily Mail

  • The UK Government’s Test and Trace policy isn’t working and is worse than useless.
  • 40 per cent of those asked to name their recent contacts were unable to remember anyone.
  • The tests on which Test and Trace is based are highly unreliable.
  • Covid is a coronavirus and its symptoms are vague: a cough, a raised temperature, the loss of taste and smell — all of which overlap with the symptoms for flu and the common cold.
  • When the procedure goes wrong, it generates a ‘false positive’ result: it indicates an infection where none exists.
  • Even with long-established tests, we’d expect to see false positives in perhaps one per cent of cases. With this one, it could quite conceivably be 5 per cent or higher.
  • This means that if 300,000 tests are processed in a day, perhaps 15,000 or more will generate inaccurate reports of Covid-19 infection.
  • One positive is not necessarily the same as another, but the Government numbers don’t differentiate.
  • Last week, it was reported that just 1,800 out of 110,000 occupied beds in hospitals were taken up by Covid-19 patients.
  • It is likely that those who died were elderly and suffering from co-morbidities such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • But it is also possible that they died from something else entirely — such as flu.
  • The UK Government’s Test and Trace policy isn’t working and is worse than useless.
  • 40 per cent of those asked to name their recent contacts were unable to remember anyone.
  • The tests on which Test and Trace is based are highly unreliable.
  • Covid is a coronavirus and its symptoms are vague: a cough, a raised temperature, the loss of taste and smell — all of which overlap with the symptoms for flu and the common cold.
  • When the procedure goes wrong, it generates a ‘false positive’ result: it indicates an infection where none exists.
  • Even with long-established tests, we’d expect to see false positives in perhaps one per cent of cases. With this one, it could quite conceivably be 5 per cent or higher.
  • This means that if 300,000 tests are processed in a day, perhaps 15,000 or more will generate inaccurate reports of Covid-19 infection.
  • One positive is not necessarily the same as another, but the Government numbers don’t differentiate.
  • Last week, it was reported that just 1,800 out of 110,000 occupied beds in hospitals were taken up by Covid-19 patients.
  • It is likely that those who died were elderly and suffering from co-morbidities such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • But it is also possible that they died from something else entirely — such as flu.
  • Coronaviruses are as old as humanity and have resisted every attempt at a vaccine or a cure. One project to wipe out the common cold was funded for more than 40 years — and got nowhere.
  • Today’s flu vaccines are less than 50 per cent effective, and there is no chance whatever that a hurriedly developed Covid-19 vaccine could be anything like as good as that.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8808609/DR-JOHN-LEE-Test-Trace-doesnt-work-local-lockdowns-dont-make-sense.html

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Opinion

The making of Britain’s Covid catastrophe – Dr. John Lee, Spiked

My 30 years of working in academic environments, as both a scientist and a clinical academic, tell me this: a scientist’s career objective is to big up his subject, which increases his personal likelihood of gaining grants, influence and promotion. Scientists focus on narrow topics, often almost to the exclusion of everything else. Perspective is rarely a strong point. The more their subject is in the public eye, preferably centre stage, the better it is from a career point of view. Any crisis is, I’m afraid, a career opportunity for some. Unbiased, agenda-free, selfless public service is not, I believe, a key feature of academic life, nor is there any real reason to expect it to be.

The management of the Covid ‘crisis’ – a crisis substantially caused by the very management itself – has all the hallmarks of government being advised by a group of experts in the limelight, in thrall to groupthink, and with far too cosy a consensus to do effective science.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/09/25/the-making-of-britains-covid-catastrophe/

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News Opinion

The cure is worse than the disease: Dr JOHN LEE argues that the coronavirus lockdown could cause more long-term harm than the illness itself – Daily Mail

  • The NHS has not resumed anything like normal service. But the predicted Covid deluge never materialised.
  • Current Covid death toll of 41,628 is barely half the total fatalities of the 1968 flu epidemic in the UK. 
  • Hospital admissions for cancer were down by 36 per cent in April and another 37 per cent in May.
  • The State has wildly over-reacted, partly as a result of being in thrall to scientists such as Professor Neil Ferguson with unproven theories and dubious modelling.
  • More than 1,600 people die in Britain every day, yet, despite the Government’s scaremongering, the coronavirus daily death toll has been in single or low double figures for weeks.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8728845/Dr-JOHN-LEE-argues-coronavirus-lockdown-cause-long-term-harm-illness-itself.html

Categories
Opinion

Our government should not be copying totalitarian states – Dr. John Lee, Spiked

  • 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.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/08/07/our-government-should-not-be-copying-totalitarian-states/

Categories
Opinion

Britain’s gone from lockdown to la-la-land! – Dr. John Lee, Daily Mail

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.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8597815/Britains-gone-lockdown-la-la-land-says-DR-JOHN-LEE.html

Categories
Videos

Live NHS Special – Unlocked

We get to grips with the unintended consequences of lockdown on the NHS & the health of the nation.

Martin Daubney interviews Ex-director of the WHO Cancer Programme Professor Karol Sikora.
Consultant Neurologist and MS specialist Dr Waqar Rashid
Dr Ellie Cannon NHS GP and Mail on Sunday Columnist
Dr Tom Jefferson Clinical Epidomilogist- University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine
Dr John Lee Former Clinical Professor of Pathology at Hull York Medical School and Consultant Histopathologist at Rotherham General Hospital & Director of Cancer Services at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

Categories
Opinion

The fatal mistakes which led to lockdown – Dr. John Lee, The Spectator

Such is the quality of decision-making in the process generating our lockdown narrative. An early maintained but exaggerated belief in the lethality of the virus reinforced by modelling that was almost data-free, then amplified by further modelling with no proven predictive value. All summed up by recommendations from a committee based on qualitative data that hasn’t even been peer-reviewed.

  • According to Office for National Statistics, this year comes only eighth in terms of deaths in past 27 years.
  • The spread of viruses like Covid-19 is not new. What’s new is our response.
  • The whole Covid drama has really been a crisis of awareness of what viruses normally do, rather than a crisis caused by an abnormally lethal new bug.
  • Modelling is not science, for the simple reason that a prediction made by a scientist (using a model or not) is just opinion.
  • To be classified as science, a prediction or theory needs to be able to be tested, and potentially falsified.
  • A problem with the current approach: a wilful determination to ignore the quality of the information being used to set Covid policy.
  • Most Covid research was not peer- reviewed.
  • In medical science there is a well-known classification of data quality known as ‘the hierarchy of evidence’: a seven-level system gives an idea of how much weight can be placed on any given study or recommendation.
  • Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) form the highest, most reliable form of medical evidence: Level 1 and 2.
  • Virtually all evidence pertaining to Covid-19 policy is found in the lowest levels (much less compelling Levels 5 and 6): descriptive-only studies looking for a pattern, without using controls. 
  • Level 7 is at the bottom of the hierarchy (the opinion of authorities or reports of expert committees) because ‘authorities’ often fail to change their minds in the face of new evidence.
  • Committees often issue compromise recommendations that are scientifically non-valid.
  • The advice of Sage (or any committee of scientists) is the least reliable form of evidence there is.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-strong-was-the-scientific-advice-behind-lockdown

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Opinion

Science, doubt and the ‘second wave’ of Covid – Dr. John Lee, The Spectator

One of the key things about science – obvious to its practitioners, but often obscure to outsiders – is that it is fuelled by doubt, not certainty. When the ‘facts’ change (as they often do), and when original assumptions are qualified or overturned, then any scientist worth their salt re-examines and, if necessary, alters their conclusions. The presence of cross-reactive helper cells in maybe half the population means that ideas about a possible second wave must be rewritten. This finding must make a second wave less likely, probably much less likely. And the fact that there has been no ‘second wave’ (as opposed to isolated outbreaks) anywhere where lockdown has been released also fits this hypothesis. It may well also explain why the first wave didn’t infect much higher proportions of the population.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/science-doubt-and-the-second-wave-of-covid

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Videos

Dr John Lee on The James Delingpole Channel

  • There was genuine fear at the beginning but the COVID-19 response is now political.
  • Nothing at the beginning of the epidemic justified the subsequent reaction.
  • The community suffered from ascertainment bias: hospitals saw the worst form of the virus so they thought we were dealing with a big problem.
  • Lockdown means people will be getting nastier versions of the virus.
  • We implemented a policy of enormous magnitude without considering the implications. This goes against the most fundamental principle of medicine.
  • A significant number of the excess deaths are not victims of COVID-19 but of the lockdown. More than half of the deaths may be found due to other causes.
  • The response of the authorities and media has made it impossible to understand what was going on.
  • Our huge and emotional overreaction has caused more harm.
  • Years of life lost is a more important metric than the number of deaths.
  • Most people working in the NHS wouldn’t speak out about these things.
  • There were two types of journalism during the epidemic: investigative journalism and illustrative journalism (propaganda). Most of the mainstream media were engaged in propaganda and ended up frightening the people and the government. They need to take their share of the responsibility of the damage caused.
  • COVID-19 is nowhere near as bad as previous epidemics.
  • The medical establishment should have been speaking out since the beginning of the lockdown. The evidence was pretty clear, pretty quickly.
  • Vaccine is a red herring because it’s unlikely we’re going to have one. The Common Cold Research Institute spent 43 years trying to make a vaccine for the common cold and didn’t manage it.
  • Track and Trace is extremely worrying and not thought-through with its implications for a Big Brother society. None of it makes sense.
  • Social distancing is nonsense. Vulnerable people should be given information and allowed to make their own decisions.
  • The NHS is there to protect us. That’s what we pay our taxes for.
  • Young people are being thrown in the scrapheap for a disease that isn’t going to affect them.
  • As you get older, your immune system starts to ‘forget’ diseases you’ve already had. That’s why older people are more susceptible to getting sick.
  • We can say with absolute certainty that there is no overwhelming risk. It’s wrong to say the opposite.
  • Many doctors are smart but don’t have a huge amount of time to question things. Most doctors get their information in the same way most people do and unfortunately that information has been very biased. The science has moved on but the narrative has not.
  • The media was responsible for amplifying the fear about something they didn’t know about.
  • Models are useful scientifically when you have an understanding of something but they’re very bad at predicting outcomes. The government should have known this because we’ve have many examples of models and resulting policies being spectacularly wrong.
  • Politicians have forgotten that leadership is not about telling people what they want to hear. Where is the criticism of the narrative?
  • There is no evidence that lockdown has had any effect except in modelling. The evidence show that the lockdown plays out in similar way.

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News Opinion

‘R’ rate is less reliable than a weather forecast – Dr. John Lee, Daily Mail

  • Keeping R below one is not the only way to map a route out of lockdown.
  • R is an artificial construct and not even a number we know with any certainty.
  • R is calculated using mathematical models which have repeatedly been found to reach wrong-headed conclusions.
  • R is not a strong enough number to bear the burden of any Government policy.
  • Epidemiology models share the same serious problem as meteorology because of weak data.
  • Lack of testing means we don’t know how many people have been infected, or have recovered.
  • Changes to death certification during this epidemic mean that we genuinely don’t even know how many people have died as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • It is becoming increasingly clear that assumptions central to the models that generate R are flawed.
  • Worries that R was apparently heading back towards one were missing the point. For some segments of society, including most people of working age, that would be a good thing.
  • Another implication of seeing R this way, which is quite a relief, is that social distancing can be consigned to the dustbin of bizarre historical episodes.
  • R is calculated in ways that the Government can produce at will to justify a policy that is no longer tenable.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8326857/DR-JOHN-LEE-says-R-rate-reliable-weather-forecast.html

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Opinion

Ten reasons to end the lockdown now – Dr. John Lee, The Spectator

Even if one could understand why lockdown was imposed, it very rapidly became apparent that it had not been thought through. Not in terms of the wider effects on society (which have yet to be counted) and not even in terms of the ways that the virus itself might behave. But at the start, there was hardly any evidence. Everyone was guessing. Now we have a world of evidence, from around the globe, and the case for starting to reverse lockdown is compelling.

  1. You cannot understand the significance of this virus simply by looking at the raw death figures
  2. The policy response to the virus has been driven by modelling of Covid – not other factors
  3. We don’t know if lockdown is working
  4. We should ease the lockdown to save lives
  5. Lockdown is not sustainable
  6. Lockdown directly harms those most likely to be affected by coronavirus
  7. Lockdown directly harms those who will be largely unaffected by coronavirus
  8. The health service has not been overwhelmed nor likely to be 
  9. The virus is almost certainly not a constant threat
  10. People can be trusted to behave sensibly

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/ten-reasons-to-end-the-lockdown-now

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News Opinion

The Grand Delusion: Bail-out billions shield us from the reality – our economy is in tatters – Dr. John Lee, Daily Mail

  • Just 11 people under the age of 20 have succumbed to Covid-19.
  • Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College has a dismal record as a forecaster.
  • There’s the possibility that the lockdown has actually made the virus more deadly.
  • Bank of England warned that if the lockdown is extended until June the economy could shrink by 14 per cent this year.
  • More than one-in-five adults now furloughed on 80per cent of their wages.
  • A fifth of the working-age population could be jobless and the quality of people’s mental and physical health would plummet.
  • Every day, about 1,700 people die in Britain. Only five years ago, in the winter of 2014/15, more than 28,000 people died from seasonal flu, not far off the current coronavirus death toll of just over 30,000.
  • Direct evidence to support the two-metre rule is weak, and based almost entirely on modelling rather than real life.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8302055/Bail-billions-anaesthetise-reality-economy-tatters.html

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News Opinion

Could the lockdown have side-effects no one has considered? – Dr. John Lee

Lockdown might actually be slowing the tendency of this new disease to get milder with time. Which raises an important question: might the lockdown be causing more harm than good.

Two and a half thousand years ago Hippocrates told us that medicine should ‘First, do no harm’, and this is still a key tenet. Making absolutely sure that the treatment is better than the cure takes a long time and requires that we carefully examine as many angles as possible. Unfortunately, in the rush to apply the lockdown treatment for Covid, this principle was the first casualty.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/could-the-lockdown-have-side-effects-no-one-has-considered

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News Opinion

Do face masks work? A note on the evidence – Dr. John Lee, The Spectator

[D]oes any of what is out there add up to a watertight case for compelling people to wear masks in public or at work (outside a healthcare setting)? The threshold for compulsion must surely be higher than ‘maybe’ and ‘perhaps’. But if it really is the case that the threshold for regulatory compulsion is being approached, it should be a simple matter for our scientific advisors to present it to us and allow time for it to be critically discussed in relation to a real-world setting, before government imposes measures upon us all.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/face-masks-should-there-be-a-cover-up-

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News Opinion

There’s no direct evidence that the lockdowns are working – Dr John Lee, Spiked

The UK government has extended its lockdown for another three weeks. But could the shutdown of society be doing more harm than good? In fact, is there any evidence it is doing any good at all? Dr John A Lee, a recently retired professor of pathology and NHS consultant pathologist, has repeatedly called for a critical and dispassionate examination of the evidence in relation to Covid-19, raising questions about the government and its advisers’ interpretation of the data.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/04/17/theres-no-direct-evidence-that-the-lockdowns-are-working/

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News

Where is the vigorous debate about our response to Covid? – Dr John Lee, The Spectator

“Barely a day goes by without a politician saying that they will be ‘led by the science’. But what we are seeing with Covid-19 is not ‘science’ in action.”

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/to-understand-covid-we-need-evidence-scepticism-and-vigorous-debate

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News

How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear – The Spectator

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/The-evidence-on-Covid-19-is-not-as-clear-as-we-think