The consequences to be inflicted on the personal wellbeing of Australians, business viability, the national economy, and mental health are far beyond what could be described as responsible management of the situation says Sky News host Alan Jones.
“The nation is swimming in debt, kids are out of school, people are locked up while all along the mental anguish of what is taking place is beyond calculation,” Mr Jones said.
On Monday, Premier Daniel Andrews outlined the details of his stage four lockdowns which will affect Metropolitan Melbourne for at least six weeks in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Andrews ordered all non-essential workers not to leave their homes from Thursday but promised people they will not need to bulk buy food as supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies would stay open.
Mr Jones said if lockdowns were the answer, why do deaths continue to escalate around the country.
Mr Jones discussed the issue with Garrick Professor of Law at the University of Queensland.
Australia-wide: 43 critical cases
1% of patients critical
99% of cases are mild
221 COVID-19 deaths so far out of a population of 26 million
440 Australians die every day
1,000-1,500 flu deaths each year
COVID-19 not in top 50 death causes
Professor James Allan: “In a decade this will be looked back on as one of the most colossal public policy fiascos of the century.”
Around 161,000 Australians die every year (440 per day)
The final Prime Minister’s Questions of the parliamentary session was played out before a smattering of MPs in the Commons, a depressingly familiar sight throughout the pandemic emergency. The legislature has been endeavouring to work within the constraints imposed by social distancing but its focus has been on piecemeal issues, not the bigger picture.
The most severe curtailment of civil liberties in peacetime went through parliament without a vote weeks after the laws had already taken effect. There will be no vote either on the extension of public health laws to require the wearing of face coverings in shops from tomorrow. The regulations will only be published today when the House will not be sitting. It is hard to believe that a Government diktat enforcing the wearing of masks is to take effect with nary a peep from parliament.
But with no sign of a second summer wave nor an autumn eruption reminiscent of 1918, the commentariat has amended the definition. Suddenly, a “second wave” meant Covid’s seasonal return, in winter, a year on. Widespread adoption of a new phrase in the Covid lexicology – “winter wave” – has academically formalised the idea.
But instead of looking us square in the eye, the Tories have chosen Big Brother’s panopticon; No 10’s new Joint Biosecurity Centre, which will drive “whack-a-mole” local lockdowns, is slickness posing as strategy – and, as it happens, reporting into track-and-trace app failure Dido Harding. When the public twigs that the infection is unlikely to be controlled in this way, the sheer panic could send us back into national lockdown. Three scenarios might help avoid the latter: a vaccine comes along; the Government gets its act together with a plan to protect the vulnerable; or we put in place safety valves against mass hysteria.
Imperial College’s research needs to be particularly scrutinised, as its international influence grows. Dr Seth Flaxman – the first author in the paper that notoriously claimed lockdowns may have prevented over 3 million deaths in Europe – this week won fresh funding to model the pandemic across several countries.
Revelations that disrupt the narrative also need to find a stronger voice: within 24 hours, the scandal of PHE’s inflated daily death figures was running out of mileage. This week’s London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine modelling on the impact of the pandemic on cancer deaths never gathered steam. So too a paper by Oxford’s Prof Sunetra Gupta, which elegantly combined those uneasy epidemiological bedfellows – theory and evidence – to find some parts of the UK may already have reached herd immunity.
This recent crop of trials added 9,112 participants to the total randomised denominator of 13,259 and showed that masks alone have no significant effect in interrupting the spread of ILI or influenza in the general population, nor in healthcare workers.
The small number of trials and lateness in the pandemic cycle is unlikely to give us reasonably clear answers and guide decision-makers. This abandonment of the scientific modus operandi and lack of foresight has left the field wide open for the play of opinions, radical views and political influence.
2:55 – Masks • Tom Jefferson: “Aside from people who are exposed on the frontlines, there is no evidence that masks make any difference, but what’s even more extraordinary is the uncertainty: we don’t know if these things make any difference…. We should have done randomised control trials in February, March and April but not anymore because viral circulation is low and we will need huge number of enrolees to show whether there was any difference”. • Carl Heneghan: “By all means people can wear masks but they can’t say it’s an evidence-based decision… there is a real separation between an evidence-based decision and the opaque term that ‘we are being led by the science’, which isn’t the evidence”.
9:26 – Pandemic life cycle • CH: “One of the keys of the infection is to look at who’s been infected, which shows a crucial difference when comparing the pandemic theory to seasonal theory. In a pandemic you’d expect to see young people disproportionately affected, but in the UK we’ve only had six child deaths, which is far less than we’d normally see in a pandemic. The high number of deaths with over-75s fits with the seasonal theory”.
14:00 – Covid seasonality • CH: “The stability of the virus is far less when the temperature goes up but humidity seems to be particularly important. The lower the humidity, the more stable the virus is in the atmosphere and on surfaces… It’s now winter in the southern hemisphere, which is why places like Australia are suddenly having outbreaks.”
20:37 – Lockdown • CH: “Many people said that we should have locked down earlier, but 50% of care homes developed outbreaks during the lockdown period so there are issues within the transmission of this virus that are not clear… Lockdown is a blunt tool and there needs to be intelligent conversations about what mitigation strategies can keep society functioning while we keep the most vulnerable shielded”.
25:20 – Nightingale hospitals • CH: “They are the wrong structure. What you need is fever hospitals which were here until around the 1980s or 90s. They were on single floors and had isolation within isolation. Theere were no lift shafts and staff were trained, which meant that everyone was protected from each other… It looks like at leats 20% of people got the infection while they were in hospital”
27:30 – Suppression strategy • CH: “The benefits of the current strategy are outweighed by the harms…When it comes to suppression, only the virus will have a determination in that. If you follow the New Zealand policy of suppressing it to zero and locking down the country forever, then you’re going to have a problem… This virus is so out there now, I cannot see a strategy that makes suppression the viable option. The strategy right now should be how we learn to live with this virus”
32:45 – Response to the virus • TJ: “I am a survivor of four pandemics and for the other three, I didn’t even realise they were going on. People died but nothing changed and none of the fabric of society was eroded like this response… Do I see steps being taken at a European level about learning from our mistakes and changing policies? The answer is no…
39:30 – Politics of the virus • CH: “We as individuals are part of the problem because sensationalism drives people to click and read the information. So it’s a big circle because we’ve created the problem — if we put the worst case scenario out there, we will go and have a look. If you want a solution, you’ve got to get people to stop clicking on this sensationalist stuff”.
43:30 – IFR • CH: “We will be down about where we were with the swine flu: around 0.1-0.3% which is much lower than what we think because at the moment we are seeing the case fatality”. • TJ: “If you look at the whole narrative, it was distorted from the very beginning by the obsession with influenza which was just one or two agents and nothing else existed. We’re no different now”.
Four scientific evidences of the null effect of massive confinement during covid 19 in Spain
It is obvious that the official hypothesis of the non lockdown deaths in Spain is dismantled by the real result in Sweden. The huge difference between 10,000 and 450 in Sweden could not be explained, either very remotely, by geographical, demographic or sociological factors that differentiate Sweden from Spain. If That is the case, Sweden would naturally be an anti-covid society. A scientifically unsustainable fantasy.
No medical treatment would be approved without using control groups in the experiments, however mass confinement is accepted without this condition, knowing that Sweden serves perfectly as an experimental control group.
Britain’s lockdown nightmare may be far from over, but an attempt to rewrite the history of the country’s greatest political blunder has already begun. With the UK now past the peak, the lack of evidence that lockdown served any useful purpose is glaring. And crucially, thanks to a growing abundance of raw data – from deaths and hospital admissions, to Covid-related 111 calls and mobile tracking intelligence –we now have the power to piece together what Britain’s lockdown achieved (or didn’t) in hideous technicolour.
Getting at the truth will be an uphill struggle, however: Downing Street has shown no appetite whatsoever for sifting through the evidence, even though it could inform (or, let’s face it, rip apart) its uniquely odd approach to easing lockdown. We must also beware the shape-shifting, scientific architects of the stay-at-home order; as criticism grows, are they attempting to dress their reconstructed reality in the language of scientific pedantry?
Covid conformism must be confronted. In their echo chambers, where they’re all trying to outdo each other in their levels of commitment to smashing Covid, the political and media elites have become increasingly blinkered, dogmatic and intolerant on everything related to Covid-19. The lack of relaxed, freely stated opposition to their lockdown mania means they become madder and madder in their commitment to it. The corrosion of freedom of thought in relation to Covid-19 has deadly consequences, because it means the lockdown endures – nine weeks now – when many people know in their heart of hearts that it is wrong and deeply damaging to the future of this country.
COVID-19 is about as deadly as flu, averaging between 0.1 and 0.8 per cent death rate.
The general population under 65 with no pre-existing conditions are more likely to die in a road accident.
Infections peaked and began to decline in many places including the UK before lockdown began
Social distancing shows no consistent relationship to the slowdown of infections in cities around the world?
Studies show that people confined to their homes may be as at much risk as those out and about.
‘R number’ rise happened in the middle of lockdown and probably linked to ongoing spreading in hospitals and care homes.
Shutting down the world economy may result in of the order of 1,157,000 additional child deaths and 56,700 additional maternal deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
Former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption: “The lockdown is now all about protecting politicians’ backs. They are not wicked men, just timid ones, terrified of being blamed for deaths on their watch. But it is a wicked thing that they are doing.”
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.
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.
The biggest political ruse of our time has now spiralled so far out of control that it has become almost impossible to distinguish fact from deception. Every day we are besieged with such a selective and biased artillery of “scientific” assertions that it makes a mockery of expert insight.
Every day we are subjected to yet more bitesized epidemiology that gives an utterly false impression of risk. And every day we are bombarded with terrifying death figures so out of context that they are effectively meaningless.
Ever since the UK entered “lockdown”, those pushing for it to end have been labelled “callous” or “selfish” or accused of putting profits before people. Meanwhile millions are unemployed and a global famine is on the horizon. The lockdown will kill more people than the virus, and needs to be ended.
In what is perhaps the greatest example of gaslighting in human history, we have “champions of the working class” arguing for mass unemployment, the shutting down of small businesses and the self-employed, and draconian police powers.
It is now the left that wants working people to be decommissioned, put out to pasture, languishing on state-paid wages or Universal Credit and uncertain of whether their job will even exist once the lockdown is finally lifted. And it’s the Tories saying: ‘Erm, don’t you think it would be better if working people worked?’
Of course, the left’s justification for its new policy of preventing the working classes from working is that they might catch Covid-19 and die. They’re ramping up the culture of fear in a desperate effort to present their bizarre, historically unprecedented anti-work outlook as a good, noble thing. Actual facts – like the fact that under-40s have made up just 0.75 per cent of deaths from Covid – don’t get so much as a look-in. No, keep all workers at home, even the fit, healthy young ones.
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.
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.
When our American cousins cry “Live Free or Die” and take to the streets to protest overweening state authority during lockdown, whether they know it or not, they are honouring the tradition of English liberty.
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