Dr. John Campbell is an internet sensation, giving facts & data to help us navigate healthcare in the present day. The interview covers John’s development, work, rise to fame & what he would do to help get healthcare back in shape.
Published 20 December 2010
If peer review was a drug it would never be allowed onto the market,’ says Drummond Rennie, deputy editor of the Journal Of the American Medical Association and intellectual father of the international congresses of peer review that have been held every four years since 1989. Peer review would not get onto the market because we have no convincing evidence of its benefits but a lot of evidence of its flaws.
Yet, to my continuing surprise, almost no scientists know anything about the evidence on peer review. It is a process that is central to science – deciding which grant proposals will be funded, which papers will be published, who will be promoted, and who will receive a Nobel prize. We might thus expect that scientists, people who are trained to believe nothing until presented with evidence, would want to know all the evidence available on this important process. Yet not only do scientists know little about the evidence on peer review but most continue to believe in peer review, thinking it essential for the progress of science. Ironically, a faith based rather than an evidence based process lies at the heart of science.
Two infectious-disease experts I spoke with believe that the number of deaths attributed to covid is far greater than the actual number of people dying from covid. Robin Dretler, an attending physician at Emory Decatur Hospital and the former president of Georgia’s chapter of Infectious Diseases Society of America, estimates that at his hospital, 90 percent of patients diagnosed with covid are actually in the hospital for some other illness.
“Since every hospitalized patient gets tested for covid, many are incidentally positive,” he said. A gunshot victim or someone who had a heart attack, for example, could test positive for the virus, but the infection has no bearing on why they sought medical care.
Dretler also sees patients with multiple concurrent infections. “People who have very low white blood cell counts from chemotherapy might be admitted because of bacterial pneumonia or foot gangrene. They may also have covid, but covid is not the main reason why they’re so sick.”
If these patients die, covid might get added to their death certificate along with the other diagnoses. But the coronavirus was not the primary contributor to their death and often played no role at all.
Nearly half of Americans believe Covid vaccines have probably caused a significant number of unexplained deaths, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey last week. In December, Rasmussen reported that a near equal proportion worry that Covid vaccines may have major side effects (57%) as believe they are effective (56%).
People can hold both views at the same time. But the self-professed expert class and many who call themselves journalists dismiss anyone who questions their Covid vaccine orthodoxy as an “anti-vaxxer”—a label as sneering as “climate denier.”
But surveys show that most Americans, including those who didn’t get Covid shots, don’t distrust vaccines in general. Public views on Covid vaccines are more complicated because they are new and haven’t been thoroughly studied. The experts are responsible for vaccine skepticism because they aren’t honest about the potential risks.
All too often, study results were used by experts who dipped into the pandemic – who have now dipped out – to back up positions of certainty. Such dogma led to the breakdown of constructive discussion. Consequently, destructive policies went largely unchallenged.
So we have one more casualty of the Covid 19 pandemic: science. This is based on free, civilised discussion and recognition of the presence and role of uncertainty – the vital ingredients for its progress. Following “the science” was not a potent force for effective policymaking when so much of the “science” was flawed.
New study finds choral society outbreak that sparked panic was misunderstood, with most choristers having been infected outside of rehearsal
The Covid choir ban was based on flawed evidence, scientists have concluded, after showing that a church outbreak early in the pandemic was not caused by a singing super-spreader.
Studies have been linking red meat consumption to health problems like heart disease, stroke, and cancer for years, but these invariably suffer from methodological limitations.
In an unprecedented effort, health scientists at the University of Washington scrutinized decades of research on red meat consumption and its links to various health outcomes, introducing a new way to assess health risks in the process.
They only found weak evidence that unprocessed red meat consumption is linked to colorectal cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and ischemic heart disease, and no link at all between eating red meat and stroke.
Imperial College’s death estimates over the years have some things in common: flawed modeling, hair-raising predictions of disaster that missed the mark, and no lessons learned.
The defining event in the history of Western Covid lockdowns occurred on March 16, 2020, with the publication of the now infamous Imperial College London Covid report, which predicted that in the “absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behaviour,” there would be 510,000 Covid deaths in Great Britain and 2.2 million in the United States. This prediction sent shock waves around the world. The next day, the U.K. media announced that the country was going into lockdown.
Speaking this week on The Mail on Sunday’s Medical Minefield podcast, Prof Woolhouse said: ‘I think that lockdown will be viewed by history as a monumental mistake on a global scale, for a number of reasons.
‘The obvious one is the immense harm the lockdown, more than any other measure, did in terms of the economy, mental health and on the wellbeing of society.
…[A study published in Science in February 2021] also found something intriguing: lockdowns could, in a worst-case scenario, actually increase transmission of the virus by up to five per cent.
…As Dr Ali puts it: ‘Some people say lockdowns were beneficial, others that they were really terrible.
‘The reality actually is much closer to the idea that it didn’t make much difference either way.’
For those who made painful sacrifices, that won’t be an easy truth to swallow.
It has been one of the most enduring Covid conspiracy theories: that the ‘gold standard’ PCR tests used to diagnose the virus were picking up people who weren’t actually infected.
Some even suggested the swabs, which have been carried out more than 200 million times in the UK alone, may mistake common colds and flu for corona.
If either, or both, were true, it would mean many of these cases should never have been counted in the daily tally – that the ominous and all-too-familiar figure, which was used to inform decisions on lockdowns and other pandemic measures, was an over-count.
And many of those who were ‘pinged’ and forced to isolate as a contact of someone who tested positive – causing a huge strain on the economy – did so unnecessarily.
Such statements, it must be said, have been roundly dismissed by top experts. And those scientists willing to give credence such concerns have been shouted down on social media, accused of being ‘Covid-deniers’, and even sidelined by colleagues.
But could they have been right all along?
A senior epidemiologist who advised the government during the coronavirus pandemic claims he was told to “correct” his views after he criticised what he thought was an “implausible” graph shown at an official briefing.
Professor Mark Woolhouse has also apologised to his daughter, whose generation “has been so badly served by mine”, and believes that closing schools was “morally wrong”.
The Edinburgh University academic is deeply critical of the use of lockdown measures and says “plain common sense” was a “casualty of the crisis”.
Speaking to Sky News, Prof Woolhouse seemed concerned about a possible “big-brother” approach to the control of information about COVID.
He says he was told to watch what he was saying following a briefing given by Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) Sir Patrick Vallance on 21 September 2020.
Scientists abandoned their objectivity, misled with alarming models and failed to appreciate the damage lockdown would cause, a government adviser has claimed in a damning indictment of Britain’s pandemic response.
In his memoir, The Year The World Went Mad, Prof Woolhouse claimed that lockdowns “had surprisingly little effect” and just “deferred the problem to another day, at great cost”.
He argued that Spi-M was set up to tackle the wrong disease, influenza, and that early models were based on flu dynamics, and so mistakenly thought schools were a major driver while underrepresenting the impact of shielding.
Google once believed it could use algorithms to track pandemics. People with flu would search for flu-related information, it reasoned, giving the tech giant instant knowledge of the disease’s prevalence. Google Flu Trends (GFT) would merge this information with flu tracking data to create algorithms that could predict the disease’s trajectory weeks before governments’ own estimates.
But after running the project for seven years, Google quietly abandoned it in 2015. It had failed spectacularly. In 2013, for instance, it miscalculated the peak of the flu season by 140 per cent.
According to the German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer, this is a good example of the limitations of using algorithms to surveil and study society. The 74-year-old has just written a book on the subject, How to Stay Smart in a Smart World. He thinks humans need to remain in charge in a world increasingly filled with artificial intelligence that tries to replicate human thinking.
The wearing of face masks by doctors contributed to the death of a patient in an NHS hospital because they exacerbated communication problems, a coroner has said.
The personal protective equipment “aggravated” a “failure in verbal communication” between two physicians treating an epileptic patient.
John Skinner was admitted to Watford General hospital suffering from seizures in May 2020, during the first Covid wave.
He was given phenytoin, an anti-epileptic drug, by a junior doctor who did not know the correct dose to be administered and asked for help from a more senior colleague who told him to use a 15 mg/kg dose measurement. This was misheard as 50 kg/mg.
It seems obvious that wherever vaccine mandates, mask mandates, and lockdowns have been imposed in response to covid-19, progressive political and media elites have been the driving forces behind them. This is clear to those of us alive today, but it is worth considering whether future history books will attempt to erase progressives’ culpability for the disasters their covid policies have caused. The argument that follows is speculative, but bad ideologies should be held to the fires of their own making, and it seems to be in the nature of progressivism to attempt to escape the historical reckoning it is due.
It is more than a rebuke to Medley and the modellers though. This pandemic began, for many, with an announcement from Imperial College, whose study predicted 500,000 deaths if we did nothing. We locked down and never tested the prediction.
This time, in the face of what the public saw as dire predictions, we didn’t lock down and the apocalypse never came. The unspoken — and sometimes spoken — implication is clear: are we all fools?
Everything the government has got right on Covid-19 in the past 12 months has happened when it ignored ‘the science’. If the modellers hadn’t made such fools of themselves in the summer and autumn of 2021 they might have been taken more seriously by the government in the winter. As it was, their incompetence had seeded enough doubt in Johnson’s mind for him to resist going beyond ‘Plan B’ despite almost every ‘scenario’ modelled telling him that hospitalisations and deaths from the virus would exceed anything England had ever seen before.
These prognosticators of doom have been wrong time after time after time. And not just a little bit wrong – epically wrong, all while morally condemning their more accurate opponents. As cases rose in early July, in the run-up to England’s full reopening on July 19, restrictions advocates said that it was inevitable we would reach 100,000 cases per day. Keir Starmer released a video statement in which he declared that “Boris Johnson’s recklessness means we’re going to have an NHS summer crisis. The Johnson Variant is already out of control.” A set of academics wrote a letter to The Lancet condemning the reopening as a “dangerous and unethical experiment”.
Dr. McCullough speaks about vaccine safety, efficacy, and the continued need for early treatment.
First major inquiry into the Covid crisis says the tragic losses in care homes were among the highest in Europe
The report finds that deaths could have been prevented but instead elderly were treated as ‘an afterthought’
Finding is just one among catalogue of failings detailed in the inquiry by the health and science committees
The report found test and trace system which cost Government £37billion was also branded ‘chaotic’ fiasco