Dear Prime Minister, Chancellor, CMOs and Chief Scientific Adviser
We are writing with the intention of providing constructive input into the choices with respect to the Covid-19 policy response. We also have several concerns regarding aspects of the existing policy choices that we wish to draw attention to.
In summary, our view is that the existing policy path is inconsistent with the known risk-profile of Covid-19 and should be reconsidered. The unstated objective currently appears to be one of suppression of the virus, until such a time that a vaccine can be deployed. This objective is increasingly unfeasible (notwithstanding our more specific concerns regarding existing policies) and is leading to significant harm across all age groups, which likely offsets any benefits.
Instead, more targeted measures that protect the most vulnerable from Covid, whilst not adversely impacting those not at risk, are more supportable. Given the high proportion of Covid deaths in care homes, these should be a priority. Such targeted measures should be explored as a matter of urgency, as the logical cornerstone of our future strategy.
In addition to this overarching point, we append a set of concerns regarding the existing policy choices, which we hope will be received in the spirit in which they are intended. We are mindful that the current circumstances are challenging, and that all policy decisions are difficult ones. Moreover, many people have sadly lost loved ones to Covid-19 throughout the UK. Nonetheless, the current debate appears unhelpfully polarised around views that Covid is extremely deadly to all (and that large-scale policy interventions are effective); and on the other hand, those who believe Covid poses no risk at all. In light of this, and in order to make choices that increase our prospects of achieving better outcomes in future, we think now is the right time to ‘step back’ and fundamentally reconsider the path forward.
Professor Sunetra Gupta; Professor of theoretical epidemiology, the University of Oxford
Professor Carl Heneghan; Director, Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, the University of Oxford
Professor Karol Sikora; Consultant oncologist and Professor of medicine, University of Buckingham
Sam Williams; Director and co-founder of Economic Insight
Britain is now in grave danger of sleepwalking into a second national lockdown. The consequences of doing so would be disastrous.
We find ourselves in this wretched position partly because the Government’s main achievement since the pandemic first emerged in China has not been suppressing the virus or saving lives or the economy, but in spreading irrational fear.
- A blanket lockdown is the last thing we should be contemplating if we are serious about the nation’s mental and physical well-being.
- This second wave will not trigger the explosion in deaths we saw in the spring.
- Not a single young child has died in the UK from Covid without some other serious pre-existing condition.
- According to Cambridge statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter, anyone under 50 is more likely to die in a car crash than from the virus.
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.
The Covid-19 death toll may be less than half what has been recorded because many victims of the pandemic would have died soon anyway, one of Britain’s leading medics has said.
Finally, we can say with confidence what many of us have suspected for weeks: not only is the end of the pandemic now in sight but also the people best-placed to recharge our economy have little to fear from it.
Thanks to definitive figures released yesterday by Public Health England, we know that Covid-19 is not a random killer, but one that targets specific groups – namely the old and those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or dementia.
- Professor Karol Sikora says that COVID-19 behaves like pandemics in the past.
- Society is scarred all over the world.
- The virus will go but the fear will do the damage.
Note: YouTube has taken down the video. Please go directly to UnHerd’s site:
Professor Karol Sikora has become something of a celebrity in the UK over the past months for his expert commentary on the pandemic, and his unusual tendency for optimism rather than pessimism.
Virus ‘getting tired’
– In the past two weeks, the virus is showing signs of petering out
– It’s as though the virus is ‘getting tired’, almost ‘getting bored’
– It’s happening across the world at the same time
Existing herd immunity
– The serology results around the world (and forthcoming in Britain) don’t necessarily reveal the percentage of people who have had the disease
– He estimates 25-30% of the UK population has had Covid-19, and higher in the group that is most susceptible
– Pockets of herd immunity help *already* explain the downturn
– Sweden’s end result will not be different to ours – lockdown versus no lockdown
Fear more deadly than the virus
– When the history books are written, the fear will have killed many more people than the virus, including large numbers of cancer and cardiological patients not being treated
– We should have got the machinery of the NHS for non-corona patients back open earlier
Masks and schools
– Evidence on masks is just not there either way so it should be an ‘individual decision’
– We should move to 1m social distancing which means restaurants and bars could reopen
– More schools should reopen in June as ‘children are not the transmitters of this virus’
– We should be getting back to the ‘old normal’ not a ‘new normal’
Covid-19 could be “petering out by itself” before the world comes up with any vaccine, a leading academic, formerly the World Health Organization’s (WHO) top oncologist has said.