- 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.
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.
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.
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.
“Intensive care units are getting empty, the wards are getting empty, we are really seeing a decrease — and that despite that people are really loosening up. The beaches are crowded, social distancing is not kept very well … but still the numbers are really decreasing. That means that something else is happening – we are actually getting closer to herd immunity. I can’t really see another reason.”
“I can’t say if the Swedish approach was right or wrong – I think we can say that in one or two years when we are looking back. You have to look at the mortality over the whole period.”
“I don’t think that we have more new cases, I think we are just detecting more cases”
“We found that if you have a mild case you can be negative for antibodies afterwards … in those almost all of them had strong T-cell activity. This study says that there are cases that you can have a strong T-cell response even though you have not had antibodies, meaning that you have encountered the virus and built up immunity.”
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.
- We have already developed herd immunity to COVID-19 and will continue to manage it through herd immunity.
- Flu is much more dangerous than COVID-19.
- COVID-19 will settle into an endemic state just like flu.
- Hopefully vaccines will be important in protecting the vulnerable.
- Another way to protect the vulnerable sector is to allow the population to develop natural immunity.
- There’s no reason to think the virus will mutate into a lower level of virulence.
- During the 1918 flu because of a large number of ‘immunologically naive’ individuals but this is not the case with COVID-19.
- Most of us have some degree of coronavirus immunity and therefore some protection to COVID-19.
- The current H1 influenza strain is antigenically identical to the 1918 flu. H1 flu doesn’t kill as many people as the 1918 flu because most people already have cross immunity.
The really concerning thing is that if all the deaths taking place during lockdown are put down as Covid-19 deaths, we are going to miss the fact that the lockdown policies have caused an increase in deaths from many other things. There has been a 50 per cent reduction in people turning up to A&E. It is clear that people just do not want to bother the doctors. And a number of these people will be dying. If we muddle the Covid-19 statistics in with the other statistics, we might think the lockdown has prevented a certain number of deaths, when it has actually caused a large number of deaths.
You hear this idea that all NHS staff have been working 20 times as hard as they have ever done. This is complete nonsense. An awful lot of people have been standing around wondering what the hell to do with themselves. A&E has never been so quiet.
The chances of children dying from COVID-19:
How many people aged 15 or under have died of Covid-19? Four. The chance of dying from a lightning strike is one in 700,000. The chance of dying of Covid-19 in that age group is one in 3.5million. And we locked them all down. Even among the 15- to 44-year-olds, the death rate is very low and the vast majority of deaths have been people who had significant underlying health conditions. We locked them down as well. We locked down the population that had virtually zero risk of getting any serious problems from the disease, and then spread it wildly among the highly vulnerable age group.
It is not clear that getting the virus actually makes you immune to it in the future, and it is not clear a vaccine would either.
A coronavirus vaccine professor at Oxford University says there is now ‘little chance’ of proving if it works due to low transmission rates in the UK.
Professor Sarah Gilbert, leading the University of Oxford vaccine trial, said that when Covid-19 transmission was high, lockdown was imposed to bring the rate down.
But since then rates have dropped, and the trial relies on a sufficient number of volunteers to have been exposed to the virus to see whether a vaccine protects them or not.
Professor Matteo Bassetti said he is convinced the virus is ‘changing in severity’ and patients are now surviving infections that would have killed them before.
And if the virus’s weakening is true, Covid-19 could even disappear without a for a vaccine by becoming so weak it dies out on its own, he claimed.
Professor Bassetti suggests this could be because of a genetic mutation in the virus making it less lethal, because of improved treatments, or because people are not getting infected with such large doses because of social distancing.
But other scientists have hit back at the claims in the past and said there is no scientific evidence that the virus has changed at all.
At the start of June, in response to Professor Bassetti’s claim, Dr Angela Rasmussen, from Columbia University, tweeted: ‘There is no evidence that the virus is losing potency anywhere.’
It is what is known in science as positive feedback or a snowball effect. The government is afraid of its constituents. Therefore, it implements draconian measures. The constituents look at the draconian measures and become even more hysterical. They feed each other and the snowball becomes larger and larger until you reach irrational territory. This is nothing more than a flu epidemic if you care to look at the numbers and the data, but people who are in a state of anxiety are blind. If I were making the decisions, I would try to give people the real numbers. And I would never destroy my country.
Compared to that rise, the draconian measures are of biblical proportions. Hundreds of millions of people are suffering. In developing countries many will die from starvation. In developed countries many will die from unemployment. Unemployment is mortality. More people will die from the measures than from the virus. And the people who die from the measures are the breadwinners. They are younger. Among the people who die from coronavirus, the median age is often higher than the life expectancy of the population. What has been done is not proportionate. But people are afraid. People are brainwashed. They do not listen to the data. And that includes governments.
Any reasonable expert – that is, anyone but Professor Ferguson from Imperial College who would have locked down everybody when we had swine flu – will tell you that lockdown cannot change the final number of infected people. It can only change the rate of infection. And people argue that by changing the rate of infection and ‘flattening the curve’, we prevented the collapse of hospitals. I have shown you the costs of lockdown, but this was the argument in favour of it. But look at Sweden. No lockdown and no collapse of hospitals. The argument for the lockdown collapses.
We spoke to Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford and head of the team that released a study in March which speculated that as much as 50% of the population may already have been infected and the true Infection Fatality Rate could be as low as 0.1%.
In her first major interview since the Oxford study was published, she goes further by arguing that Covid-19 has already passed through the population and is now on its way out. She said:
• Many of the antibody tests are “extremely unreliable”
• They do not indicate the true level of exposure or level of immunity • “Different countries have had different lockdown policies, and yet what we’ve observed is almost a uniform pattern of behaviour”
• “Much of the driving force was due to the build-up of immunity”
• “Infection Fatality Rate is less than 1 in 1000 and probably closer to 1 in 10,000.”
• That would be somewhere between 0.1% and 0.01%
On lockdown policy:
• Referring to the Imperial model: “Should we act on a possible worst case scenario, given the costs of lockdown? It seems to me that given that the costs of lockdown are mounting that case is becoming more and more fragile”
• Recommends “a more rapid exit from lockdown based more on certain heuristics, like who is dying and what is happening to the death rates”
On the UK Government response:
• “We might have done better by doing nothing at all, or at least by doing something different, which would have been to pay attention to protecting the vulnerable”
On the R rate:
• It is “principally dependent on how many people are immune” and we don’t have that information.
• Deaths are the only reliable measure.
On New York:
• “When you have pockets of vulnerable people it might rip through those pockets in a way that it wouldn’t if the vulnerable people were more scattered within the general population.”
On social distancing:
• “Remaining in a state of lockdown is extremely dangerous”
• “We used to live in a state approximating lockdown 100 years ago, and that was what created the conditions for the Spanish Flu to come in and kill 50m people.”
On next steps:
• “It is very dangerous to talk about lockdown without recognising the enormous costs that it has on other vulnerable sectors in the population”
• It is a “strong possibility” that if we return to full normal tomorrow — pubs, nightclubs, festivals — we would be fine.
On the politics of Covid:
• “There is a sort of libertarian argument for the release of lockdown, and I think it is unfortunate that those of us who feel we should think differently about lockdown”
• “The truth is that lockdown is a luxury, and it’s a luxury that the middle classes are enjoying and higher income countries are enjoying at the expense of the poor, the vulnerable and less developed countries.”
Part 1: Exponential Growth is Terrifying
Part 2: Curve Fitting for Understanding
Part 3: COVID19 Never Grows Exponentially
Interview notes below the embedded video.
Dr. Wodarg is reassuring for anyone concerned about ‘the virus’. That danger is no greater than in any other flu season (now also based on tens of international leading scientists analyzing actual figures from all over the world). Wodarg’s message is disturbing when you wonder how the whole world can be fooled by such a clearly fact-free ‘panic’ allowing itself to be led to the curtailment of the most fundamental freedoms. A world that thinks it has to prepare itself for a ‘new normal’. In which incredibly dangerous and extremely undesirable ’solutions’ such as ‘mass vaccination’, ‘contact tracing’, and other ‘surveillance’ are seen as attractive.
- Coronaviruses are very common so no-one was interested in them until recently as they’re well studies. COVID-19 ‘is not very special’.
- China ‘solved’ its epidemic by stopping tests.
- Why Italy had a high death rate.
- The effect of hydroxychloroquine on people with certain genetic deficiencies.
- Conflicts of interests and financial incentives for testing.
- We never get herd immunity from coronaviruses.
- We don’t need herd immunity for coronaviruses. They will ‘hitchhike’ for a period of time and then switch hosts species.
- It’s very difficult to quarantine people for respiratory viruses; the COVID-19 had already spread so the lockdown was nonsense.
- The historical data does not show COVID-19 being a severe disease.
- EuroMOMO data is not transparent. Dr. Wodarg has become very skeptical about the EuroMOMO statistics.
- If we are observing the virus, there should be no difference between the countries’ charts. (Mathematician Andrew Mather has made similar observations in his videos.)
- There are so many factors that affect mortality rates but there is no serious discussion.
- Perhaps people are being killed by experimental treatment. WHO show 1,200 trials worldwide for clinical trials. There may be irregularities.
- Possible attempt to use deaths Africa to spread more fear.
- Observational studies as a way to bribe doctors and market drugs.
- The side-effects of drugs used in Italy and Spain.
- Watch what will happen in Africa.
- The reaction to COVID-19 is politics and has nothing to do with medicine.
- Raising the possibility of immunity passports.
- German health minister is a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry.
- Data from contact tracing apps is ‘gold’ for the pharmaceutical industry.
- The influence of Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and the WHO in the negotiation in vaccine contracts. Only Polish Minister for Health resisted.
- Don’t accept the RNA vaccine, which is a new method and has been developed in a very short time. There is no experience with RNA vaccine for infectious diseases.
- ‘Bill Gates is crazy.’ How can someone promote the vaccination of the planet with a vaccine developed in 1 1/2 years. It has not even been controlled for cancer. You need at least 5 years to see if a cancer grows. If you change RNA, you don’t know.
- RNA vaccines require very thorough clinical studies over a long period of time. There are many complications to consider.
- Politicians always strive for power. We as a people have to show them how they get power and how they lose it.
As for the scientific support for the use of face mask, a recent careful examination of the literature, in which 17 of the best studies were analyzed, concluded that, “ None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.”1
When a person is infected with a respiratory virus, they will expel some of the virus with each breath. If they are wearing a mask, especially an N95 mask or other tightly fitting mask, they will be constantly rebreathing the viruses, raising the concentration of the virus in the lungs and the nasal passages. We know that people who have the worst reactions to the coronavirus have the highest concentrations of the virus early on. And this leads to the deadly cytokine storm in a selected number.
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.
- You cannot understand the significance of this virus simply by looking at the raw death figures
- The policy response to the virus has been driven by modelling of Covid – not other factors
- We don’t know if lockdown is working
- We should ease the lockdown to save lives
- Lockdown is not sustainable
- Lockdown directly harms those most likely to be affected by coronavirus
- Lockdown directly harms those who will be largely unaffected by coronavirus
- The health service has not been overwhelmed nor likely to be
- The virus is almost certainly not a constant threat
- People can be trusted to behave sensibly
New study analysing dozens of actual Covid-19 clusters from around the world shows enclosed spaces are hotbeds of the virus
- The overall infection rate was six per cent, but it was much higher among friends (22 per cent) and family members (18 per cent).
- In terms of location, the main risk factors were homes (13 per cent) transport (12 per cent) and dinner and entertainment (seven per cent).
- Risk of infection is much higher within households or other enclosed environments in which contact is close and sustained.
- In the outdoors, it falls to something in the 0-5 per cent range.
- Children, it seems, are not only better able to resist the infection within the home but also less likely to bring it back with them.
- Close and prolonged contact is required for transmission of the virus.
- Risk is highest in enclosed environments such as houses, care facilities, public transport, bars and other indoor spaces where people congregate.
- Casual, short interactions are not the main driver of the epidemic.
- Susceptibility to infection increases with age.
Freddie Sayers talks to Professor Hendrik Streeck about why he thinks lockdown measures were initiated too quickly, and how his findings show a Covid-19 fatality rate of 0.24-0.36%. The deadliness of Covid-19, measured by the “Infected Fatality Rate” or what percentage of infected people end up dying, has become an issue of global significance.
- COVID-19 is less deadly than initially thought
- Fatality rate between 0.24-0.36%
- Transmission between families seems low
- Enclosed spaces with large gatherings seems to spread the virus
- Waiting for a vaccine seems unrealistic
- We will not be able to eradicate COVID-19 without a vaccine but there has not been any successful vaccine against any coronovirus
- COVID-19 will be like any coronavirus
- We may be able to manage the virus with basic hygiene
Perspectives on the Pandemic – Episode 6: When Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Antin Massihi held a press conference on April 22nd about the results of testing they conducted at their urgent care facilities around Bakersfield, California, the video, uploaded by a local ABC news affiliate, went viral. After reaching five million views, YouTube took it down on the grounds that it “violated community standards.” We followed up with the doctors to determine what was so dangerous about their message. What we discovered were reasonable and well-meaning professionals whose voices should be heard.