Did official figures overestimate Britain’s grim Covid death toll?
It’s a question that has been asked persistently by medics and members of the public alike almost since the start of the pandemic.
…Last week, in the first of a series of special reports probing the science that has underpinned our pandemic response, The Mail on Sunday set about tackling the ongoing concerns that tests used to diagnose Covid were picking up people who were not actually infected.
The conclusion of some scientists was, yes, they did. And there were those who maintained that despite shortcomings, PCR swabs – used by millions – were accurate enough.
It has been one of the most enduring Covid conspiracy theories: that the ‘gold standard’ PCR tests used to diagnose the virus were picking up people who weren’t actually infected.
Some even suggested the swabs, which have been carried out more than 200 million times in the UK alone, may mistake common colds and flu for corona.
If either, or both, were true, it would mean many of these cases should never have been counted in the daily tally – that the ominous and all-too-familiar figure, which was used to inform decisions on lockdowns and other pandemic measures, was an over-count.
And many of those who were ‘pinged’ and forced to isolate as a contact of someone who tested positive – causing a huge strain on the economy – did so unnecessarily.
Such statements, it must be said, have been roundly dismissed by top experts. And those scientists willing to give credence such concerns have been shouted down on social media, accused of being ‘Covid-deniers’, and even sidelined by colleagues.
But could they have been right all along?
So it is curious that since the Covid pandemic began, this hugely influential figure has been at the heart of the scientific establishment’s efforts to stifle debate on the origins of the virus that emerged in Wuhan.
The Oxford, Edinburgh and London-educated infectious diseases expert has claimed scientists ‘know’ Covid was not created in a lab, suggested such an idea was a ‘conspiracy theory’ and insisted that ‘evidence’ indicates it spilled over naturally from animals.
Now, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that emails from America’s top infectious disease chief, Anthony Fauci, show how Farrar played a key role behind the scenes in marshalling top scientists’ response to concerns over the virus’s origins, even demanding secrecy on their discussions.
Crucially, he was a central figure behind two landmark statements published by leading science journals that helped to silence dissident views, arguing against the plausibility of ‘any type of laboratory-based scenario’.
- Hospital cases rose from 2,396 to 3,660 between September 30 and October 7.
- Almost one in five in hospital tested positive seven days or more after admission.
- This implies that they caught coronavirus whilst a patient there.
- The findings suggest Covid-19 hospitalisations caused by community outbreaks may not be growing as fast as some fear.
Ben Humberstone, Head of Health Analysis and Life Events, Office for National Statistics:
‘Today’s analysis shows that jobs involving close proximity with others, and those where there is regular exposure to disease, have some of the highest rates of death from COVID-19. However, our findings do not prove conclusively that the observed rates of death involving COVID-19 are necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure.’
The sad but unavoidable fact, that the disease is little danger to most young and healthy people but is especially deadly to the old and ill, is also now beyond dispute…
The ceaseless assumption of the Government and the BBC that the shutdown ‘protected’ the NHS is simply not borne out by any facts. The NHS was never going to be overwhelmed. Covid deaths in this country peaked on April 8 – an event far too soon to have been caused by the shutdown announced on March 23 and begun the following day.
In fact, the country with the highest number of deaths per head is Belgium (843 per million). Yet Belgium introduced one of the tightest and most severe shutdowns on the planet. Sweden, without a shutdown at all, has suffered 472 deaths per million.
The UK figure of 620 per million may be inflated by our lax recording methods but hardly suggests that we did better than Sweden by throttling our economy and grossly interfering in personal liberty. Japan, which also did not shut down, suffered just over seven (yes, seven) deaths per million…
I believe that forces hostile to our country, its history and nature, have seen this as an opportunity. Probably incredulous to begin with, they realised the British people really had gone soft, accepting absurd and humiliating diktats, believing the most ridiculous claims.
I think I now understand why this period has come to be known by the repulsive word ‘lockdown’, an American term which describes the punishment of rioting convicts in a penitentiary, by confining them in their cells for long periods.
We are learning, during this induction period, to do what we are told and to become obedient, servile citizens of a new authoritarian State. We are unlearning the old rules of freedom.
..all the proper institutions of a civil society have grown so weak that the Strong State can now get its way.
The married family, the independent middle-class, able to make a decent living on the basis of hard-won qualifications, the political parties, Parliament itself, the Opposition, the Monarchy, the Armed Forces, the Church (pathetically anxious to close itself), the Civil Service, most of the media, the BBC, are just husks of what they were 50 years ago.
Normal life will be virtually impossible. Previously simple actions will be endlessly complicated and expensive. And while this farce continues, businesses will continue to close and jobs continue to vanish, visiting misery and sickness on millions.
I have seen this before in the old Communist world, a mad, fixed idea pursued by dense men relentlessly and without opposition or thought, until the whole thing collapses or explodes. Now I see it here.
Viruses don’t just go away. This one will never disappear unless and until there is enough exposure to it to produce collective immunity or an effective vaccine appears.
Talk of compulsorily ‘shielding’ (in plain English locking up) the old and vulnerable until one of those things happens is a cruel mockery of basic human values.
Nobody will be able to say, when the much-needed inquiry eventually sits in judgment on these times and on those responsible, that criticism is just hindsight and that nobody pointed out at the time that a grave mistake was being made.