- 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.
Most people have accepted a temporary period of ’social distancing’ to contain the spread of COVID-19, but it seems that some in authority, like UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, would like to see us keep our distance from each other indefinitely. We must never let this happen because if we do, humanity is dead.
At a time when some advertisers are hitting pause on spending and others are avoiding appearing next to coronavirus articles — or even just “bad news” — the U.K. government is rapidly ascending the rankings of U.K. news publishers’ most important clients — and cheerleaders — during the crisis.
The idea that government advisers can separate science and politics is bogus, says Melanie Smallman
…having spent seven years in frontline science advice, I find the persistence of the idea that scientific advice can be separated from politics surprising.
…because it was impossible to describe the science without revealing the policy advice. The questions being asked and the particular science being used were all shaped by the direction that policy was taking—and vice versa.
At a time of a global pandemic, bringing more—and more diverse—expertise to bear on the issue has to be welcome. But the danger is that, in pursuing some ideal of scientific independence, political issues get disguised as technical matters. This risks handing decisions to scientific experts rather than elected politicians, hiding both decisions and politicians from public scrutiny.
In this clip from the Downing Street Corona Briefing on May 11th, Chris Whitty – the UK’s Chief Medical Officer – says that, to most people, the coronavirus is entirely harmless.
- Most people will never get it.
- Most of the people who get it won’t ever experience symptoms.
- Most of the people who experience symptoms won’t need medical care.
- Most of the people who need medical care won’t be need emergency or critical care.
- And even the tiny percentage of people who need who DO need critical care will survive, regardless of risk factors or medical history.
Trouble is, there will be many people who are better off sitting at home on 80 percent of their salary than going out to work to earn 100 percent of it – once travel costs, childcare, tax and so on are taken into account. For millions, there is little incentive ever to return to work. Moreover, because the government has been so generous this time around it has created an expectation that it will always bail out businesses in trouble in this way. In future recessions we will have demands for furlough schemes. Individual industries, too, will start demanding to be able to furlough employees when the going is tough. We are heading towards an idea which even Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell rejected: a universal basic income.
Government scientific advisers are furious at what they see as an attempt to censor their advice on government proposals during the Covid-19 lockdown by heavily redacting an official report before it was released to the public, the Guardian can reveal.
A confirmation that The UK Government is using psychological techniques to attack the minds of the British people.
For commentary, see:
The government’s daily briefings on #Covid_19 are “not trustworthy communication of statistics” says Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter from the University of Cambridge
The prime minister’s former business adviser Andrew Griffith – elected as an MP in December – has warned that every day the UK economy is in lockdown, and its competitors aren’t, means lost business.
“It’s easy to like lockdown if you are being paid close to the same to stay at home as you would to go to work,” says one MP. Another adds: “People like lockdown? Wait until the furlough scheme ends.”
Lionel Shriver and Brendan O’Neill discuss the irrational response to Covid-19 and the cruel regime of social distancing.
Social distancing orders to keep two metres apart to stop the spread of coronavirus is based on a made up figure, a government adviser has warned.
Robert Dingwall from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said the rule was ‘conjured up out of nowhere’.
Science is not a good guide for society. Of course science is essential to our understanding of the world and to the creation of the new insights, technologies and treatments our societies need. But it cannot tell us what is best for our societies in political, moral or economic terms…
If it is true that Boris put the country into lockdown partly in response to media pressure, then the media themselves may have a lot of questions to answer about the damage currently being done by this unprecedented freeze on working life and the economy.
Criminalising otherwise normal social activity should have the greatest possible mandate by parliament before it has effect, not be slipped out with no parliamentary approval at all.David Allen Green is a commentator about law and policy and a contributing editor at the Financial Times.
Some interesting links between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer and advisor to the UK government), Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer and advisor to the UK government, received £31million pounds of funding from The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation in 2008 and now takes Bill Gates public health policy’s directly to government.
The lockdown measures imposed by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations are some of the most extreme restrictions on fundamental freedoms imposed in the modern era. They are a disproportionate interference with the rights and freedoms protected by the European Convention on Human Rights and therefore unlawful.
This is an executive summary of a more in-depth article which is available from the link below. Inevitably, the summary simplifies the detailed arguments and considerations.
Read the article in full: A disproportionate interference with rights and freedoms: Coronavirus Regulations and the ECHR
[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.
The open letter raises questions about the behavioural science evidence that may have been used to justify this decision—though a lack of transparency from the government has made it hard to discern what the official policy is.
Corruption is embedded in health systems. Throughout my life—as a researcher, public health worker, and a Minister of Health—I have been able to see entrenched dishonesty and fraud. But despite being one of the most important barriers to implementing universal health coverage around the world, corruption is rarely openly discussed. In this Lecture, I outline the magnitude of the problem of corruption, how it started, and what is happening now. I also outline people’s fears around the topic, what is needed to address corruption, and the responsibilities of the academic and research communities in all countries, irrespective of their level of economic development. Policy makers, researchers, and funders need to think about corruption as an important area of research in the same way we think about diseases. If we are really aiming to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure healthy lives for all, corruption in global health must no longer be an open secret.