Anti-lockdown scientists were viewed as having ‘fringe’ ideas because those calling for draconian restrictions had more followers on social media, a study has shown.
Professor John Ioannidis, of Stanford University, an expert in data science and the reliability of research, studied the expertise of authors who signed the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) compared with signatories of the John Snow Memorandum.
…In an article published in BMJ Open Research, he found that both letters were authored by very influential experts, but that the John Snow Memorandum authors had a far greater reach on social media, which made it appear that their view had more support.
…Prof Ioannidis concluded: “Both the Great Barrington Declaration and John Snow Memorandum include many stellar scientists, but JSM has far more powerful social media presence and this may have shaped the impression that it is the dominant narrative.
Results Among the 47 key GBD signatories, 20, 19 and 21, respectively, were top-cited authors for career impact, recent single-year (2019) impact or either. For comparison, among the 34 key JSM signatories, 11, 14 and 15, respectively, were top cited. Key signatories represented 30 different scientific fields (9 represented in both documents, 17 only in GBD and 4 only in JSM). In a random sample of n=30 scientists among the longer lists of signatories, five in GBD and three in JSM were top cited. By April 2021, only 19/47 key GBD signatories had personal Twitter accounts versus 34/34 of key JSM signatories; 3 key GBD signatories versus 10 key JSM signatories had >50 000 Twitter followers and extraordinary Kardashian K-indices (363–2569). By November 2021, four key GBD signatories versus 13 key JSM signatories had >50 000 Twitter followers.
Conclusions Both GBD and JSM include many stellar scientists, but JSM has far more powerful social media presence and this may have shaped the impression that it is the dominant narrative.
The Prime Minister has talked of giving Whitty a knighthood — but after that reckless and irresponsible performance, the Chief Medical Officer deserves the boot.
At a stroke, he inflicted spectacular damage on our economy, particularly the hospitality sector which makes over a quarter of its profits in this period, and which has already taken a termendous battering during the pandemic.
…The irony is that if the most lurid forecasts of the lockdown addicts are realised, with the pandemic reaching every household, then all those oppressive measures they cherish most — such as social distancing, bans on large gatherings, venue closures and vaccine passports — will be largely useless.
…And in fact it would be worse than meaningless: it would be counter-productive. Lockdown directly undermines the fight against the virus by preventing the spread of naturally acquired Covid immunity in the population.
New documents show that just 18 months before the first Covid-19 cases appeared, researchers had submitted plans to release skin-penetrating nanoparticles containing “novel chimeric spike proteins” of bat coronaviruses into cave bats in Yunnan, China.
They also planned to create chimeric viruses, genetically enhanced to infect humans more easily, and requested $14million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to fund the work.
All but one scientist who penned a letter in The Lancet dismissing the possibility that coronavirus could have come from a lab in Wuhan were linked to its Chinese researchers, their colleagues or funders, a Telegraph investigation can reveal.
The influential journal published a letter on March 7 last year from 27 scientists in which they stated that they “strongly condemned conspiracy theories” surrounding Covid-19.