Whether frightening the public was a deliberate – or honest – tactic has become the subject of intense debate, and dozens of psychologists have now accused ministers of using “covert psychological strategies” to manipulate the public’s behaviour.
They believe the Government, acting on the advice of behavioural experts, has emphasised the threat from Covid without putting the risks in sufficient context, leaving the country in “a state of heightened anxiety”.
They also claim that “inflated fear levels will be responsible for the ‘collateral’ deaths of many thousands of people with non-Covid illnesses” who are “too frightened to attend hospital”.
Lord Sumption is one of the most decorated legal minds in the United Kingdom, and has used his vast experience in the law to highlight adverse effects of lockdown policies which he believes have caused so much suffering.
Sketch Notes On…’ A brand new Podcast hosted by Lucy Johnston and Matt Gibson of the Sunday Express in topical conversation with special guests.
By the time the world found out that Covid was nasty but not as virulent as feared, it had embarked on a course of action that those responsible could never accept might have been wrong. Moreover, the death toll means that they will never be persuaded otherwise and the UK Government can say, with some justification, that it avoided the national health service being overwhelmed.
…The fact that five times as many people died from non-Covid related conditions (some exacerbated by the lockdown) is a reminder of our mortality. Moreover, the deaths of around 600,000 people every year does not constitute an annual disaster but the normal end-of-life phenomenon.
A major contributor to the mass obedience of the British people is likely to have been the activities of government-employed psychologists working as part of the “Behavioural Insights Team” (BIT). The BIT was conceived in 2010 as “the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural science to policy”. In collaboration with governments and other stakeholders, the team aspire to use behavioural insights to “improve people’s lives and communities”. Several members of BIT, together with other psychologists, currently sit on the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), a subgroup of SAGE, which offers advice to the government about how to maximise the impact of its Covid-19 communications.
A comprehensive account of the psychological approaches deployed by BIT is provided by an Institute of Government document titled MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy, where it is claimed that these strategies can achieve “low cost, low pain ways of ‘nudging’ citizens … into new ways of acting by going with the grain of how we think and act”. Several interventions of this type have been woven into the Covid-19 messaging campaign, including fear (inflating perceived threat levels), shame (conflating compliance with virtue) and peer pressure (portraying non-compliers as a deviant minority) – or “affect”, “ego” and “norms”, to use the language of behavioural science.
One year on from the start of the first lockdown, the brutal price of this drastic policy is all too obvious. Amid battered public finances, rising unemployment and widespread business failures, entire sectors of the economy have been devastated.
…Indeed, the average age of Covid fatalities is over 82, higher than the UK’s average age of death from all causes. And among those who contract the disease, just two in 1,000 (or fewer) actually die.
…But, while every death is a tragedy for bereaved families, 7 per cent above average does not strike me as a particularly shocking figure, especially since some of those deaths were caused by lockdowns themselves.
…In fact, there is no authoritative research that reveals a clear correlation between the severity of lockdowns and the avoidance of viral peaks.
This is not because Ted Mooney contracted coronavirus in the very good (and expensive, it must be said) care home three miles from our house, as statistics will now state.
Because he did not. Yet the principal cause of death is set down officially as Covid-19 — and that, in my view, is a bizarre and unacceptable untruth.
…They agreed that, yes, it must distort the national figures — ‘and yet the strangest thing is that every winter we record countless deaths from flu, and this winter there have been none. Not one!’
From SMITHSONIANMAG.COM, 6th March, 2017
The schools fell like dominoes across Portugal in May 2006, one after another calling upon government officials with reports of dozens, then hundreds of students struck with rashes, dizziness and difficulty breathing, just as year-end exams approached. Was it a mysterious allergic reaction, a chemical spill, a virus? After digging deeper, medical practitioners came up with a new culprit: “Strawberries With Sugar,” or in Portuguese, “Morangos com Acucar.” No, not the food—the vector for this disease was a popular teen soap opera with a saccharine title. Just before the outbreak in the real schools, a similar, life-threatening illness had plagued the teenaged characters in their fictional school.
The Portuguese students weren’t suffering from a virus or allergies: they’d come down with mass psychogenic illness.
In a psychogenic illness, a psychological trigger—rather than a biological or environmental one—causes actual physical symptoms. As sociologist Robert Bartholomew explains: “Mass hysteria is the placebo effect in reverse. People can literally make themselves ill from nothing more than an idea.” Bartholomew has studied mass hysteria extensively, and written about outbreaks around the world. “Parents and students fight the diagnosis as no one wants to accept that their kids were ‘hysterical,’” he said by email. “In reality, it’s a collective stress reaction and found in normal people.”
But then Ministers discarded a decade of planning in a few hours and embarked on a sinister and untried experiment with the lives of millions. They ordered a national lockdown which was both coercive and indiscriminate.
That decision, I believe, was nothing to do with the science. They were panicked to act by seeing recently ordered lockdowns in Italy, France and Spain, following the lead of totalitarian China. Ministers seemed convinced that the public would blame them if they failed to do what other nations were doing.
Trapped in lockdown between the two extremes of Coronavirus deniers and lockdown orthodoxy, Nye is intrigued by Sweden’s approach: no lockdown, no school closures, no masks. She manages to secure an exclusive interview with Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, whose steely resolve not to buckle under world mainstream media pressure means – among other things, tango dancing is allowed in Stockholm!
Claudia Nye is a BAFTA nominated filmmaker. Brought back to documentaries for the sake of the future of her children, Nye travels from UK to Sweden to learn about their unique Covid-19 strategy.
She is also a qualified Relationship Counsellor, which she’s been practicing over the past ten years. She travelled to Stockholm with photo-journalist Sean Spencer and together they made this documentary
According to the most recently peer-reviewed paper on Covid-19, how many people who get the virus do you think survive? Go on, take a wild guess. Eighty percent? Ninety percent? Ninety-five percent? Nope. Precisely 99.8 percent live to see another day. Under-70s have an even higher survival rate – 99.96. Put another way, they have a 0.04 chance of dying; less than half of half a per cent.
And many of those are already seriously or even terminally ill from other conditions.
The Office for National Statistics said this week that far from a “second wave”, figures show all UK deaths are currently just 1.5 percent above average, and on a normal trajectory for early autumn.
[Hospital admissions] stubbornly bump along near the bottom of the chart.The co-relationship between diagnosis and death has radically changed in the last six months as treatments dramatically improve.
A group of 47 psychologists has claimed this amounts to a strategic decision “to inflate the fear levels of the British public”, which it states is “ethically murky” and has left people too afraid to leave their homes for medical appointments. Led by former NHS consultant psychologist Dr Gary Sidley, the experts have written to the British Psychological Society (BPS) claiming the strategy is “morally questionable.”
A Government advert that says joggers and dog-walkers are “highly likely” to have Covid is to be discontinued after the regulator said there was no evidence to support the claim.
The Telegraph can reveal that the Cabinet Office has also agreed not to repeat the claim made in the 30-second radio ad – which also warns that “people will die” if individuals “bend the rules” – after being contacted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The taxpayer-funded advert was condemned by MPs and public health experts for spreading “false information” and risking “scaring” people into physical inactivity during the third national lockdown.
Ivor Cummins aka the Fat Emperor – gives James the lowdown on why you can’t trust anything our governments tell us about Covid-19. If you want the facts on Coronavirus – how deadly is it? do lockdowns and masks work? how does it compare with previous pandemics? – you’ve come to the right place
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- The mortality rate is below 0.2%.
- For most people the risk of dying if you get infected is less than one in 500 (and less than one in 3,000 if you’re below 70 years of age).
- The disease preferentially strikes people who are anyway very close to the end of life/
- The amount of lifetime lost when someone dies of the disease is usually small.
- 2020 will likely turn out to have been a very average year in terms of overall mortality.
- 98% of people who get covid are fully recovered within three months.
- There is no good evidence that covid results in long term health consequences.
- Chinese realized early on that covid-19 wasn’t very serious, no worse than a bad flu.
- China is still reporting less than 20 cases per day.
- China is claiming that less than 5,000 people have so far died of covid in China. That’s less than Sweden, a country with less than 1% of China’s population.
Lockdowns cannot eradicate the disease or protect the public. Indeed, Matt Hancock nearly said as much this week. They lead to only economic meltdown, social despair and direct harms to health from other causes.
In fact, lockdowns may be worse than just useless. There is some science to suggest – perhaps ironically – they actually drive the disease to spread more easily.
This danger lies in the evolutionary nature of the coronavirus. Like all viruses it mutates all the time. More than 20,000 variants of the Covid-19 virus have already been identified, which is why it is so wrong of the Government to whip up hysteria over two new strains, a reportedly more infectious strain in the South East of the UK and a ‘South African’ strain.
- The ‘new strain’ of coronavirus that put London into Tier 4 was down to more computer modelling from Neil Ferguson.
- The government deliberately resorted to fear.
- The damage done to our standing in the world is permanent.
- The government is doing something it should not do and has no justification.
- The whole notion of the mutant strain is completely constructed.
- NERVTAG is full of psychologists who are experts in frightening people.
- If you don’t get angry, this will never go away.
- There is no evidence that this new variant is any more infection that the old one.
- Historically medical beliefs are often wrong.
- Fighting this thing is probably the most important thing we’ve ever done in our lives.
A top German virologist heavily played down fears about Britain’s mutant virus strain today, saying he was ‘not so worried’ and questioning Boris Johnson’s claim that it is 70 per cent more infectious.
Christian Drosten said the 70 per cent figure was ‘simply called that’, suggesting that preliminary scientific estimates might have been overblown by politicians.
TIER 4 restrictions could remain in place until the coronavirus vaccine is rolled out across all the affected areas, Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested.
Around one-third of hospital deaths during the initial COVID-19 peak were due to inappropriate treatment.
“We were intubating sick patients very early. Not for the patients’ benefit, but in order to control the epidemic & to save other patients,” Dr. Iwashyna said “That felt awful.”
…As a safety precaution, doctors and hospitals limited the access of health-care workers to coronavirus patients on ventilators, giving them fewer opportunities to check on them. That meant patients required more powerful sedatives to keep them from pulling out throat tubes.
…Overall, survival for Covid-19 patients increased 28% from April to September at HCA hospitals.
…Before the pandemic, between about 30% to more than 40% of ventilator patients died, according to research. Numbers were sharply higher in Wuhan, China. As the pandemic grew, hospitals in the U.S. reported death rates in some cases of about 50% for ventilated Covid-19 patients.