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.
COVID-19 is caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which jumped into the human population in late 2019 from a currently uncharacterised animal reservoir. Due to this recent association with humans, SARS-CoV-2 may not yet be fully adapted to its human host. This has led to speculations that SARS-CoV-2 may be evolving towards higher transmissibility. The most plausible mutations under putative natural selection are those which have emerged repeatedly and independently (homoplasies). Here, we formally test whether any homoplasies observed in SARS-CoV-2 to date are significantly associated with increased viral transmission. To do so, we develop a phylogenetic index to quantify the relative number of descendants in sister clades with and without a specific allele. We apply this index to a curated set of recurrent mutations identified within a dataset of 46,723 SARS-CoV-2 genomes isolated from patients worldwide. We do not identify a single recurrent mutation in this set convincingly associated with increased viral transmission. Instead, recurrent mutations currently in circulation appear to be evolutionary neutral and primarily induced by the human immune system via RNA editing, rather than being signatures of adaptation. At this stage we find no evidence for significantly more transmissible lineages of SARS-CoV-2 due to recurrent mutations.