It is official. No 10 is too entangled in lockdown spin to do what it takes to save Britain. For the sake of our ailing economy, political clarity, and basic scientific honesty, this was Boris Johnson’s moment to declare to the nation that the overwhelming evidence suggests lockdown was a mistake – and we must never lock down again.
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.
School children under the age of 15 are more likely to be hit by lightning than die from coronavirus, new figures suggest, amid mounting pressure for the government to get more to get pupils back into classrooms as quickly as possible.
Scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford have called for “rational debate” based on the “tiny” risk to children and have suggested that if no vaccine is found in the future then it may be better for younger people to continue with their lives, while shielding the more vulnerable.
It comes as the government was accused of “losing the plot” after Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, scrapped the Government’s target of getting all primary school pupils back in the classroom before the summer holidays
On March 25, just a day after Britain shut down, economist Professor Philip Thomas, of Bristol University, made a grim prediction.
If the country remained in lockdown for longer than two months, he warned, any lives saved would be wiped out by those lost from the impact of the inevitable recession.
Britain hit that timeline more than a fortnight ago, but restrictions largely remain in place and there is growing alarm among economists that the cure has become far deadlier than the disease.
Prof Thomas now estimates that 150,000 people could die from Covid-19 over five years under the intermittent lockdown conditions necessary to keep infection rates, or the reproduction ‘R’ number, below one if a vaccine is not found.
The scientific establishment in this country has had a bad war. Its mistakes have probably made the Covid-19 epidemic, as well as the economic downturn, worse. Britain entered the pandemic late, with lots of warning, so we should have done better than other countries. Instead we are one of the worst affected in Europe and one of the last to begin to recover.
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?
Are we going to stand for the pathological coercion of our nation – or finally start organising against it?
Many people who lived through the last war – or whose parents have vivid recollections of it – will tell you that they are infuriated by any suggestion that our present emergency is anywhere near comparable to that experience. We are not descending into bomb shelters at night, emerging in the morning possibly to find our homes and family possessions destroyed. The deprivations that we are enduring today are relatively trivial: locked in, as most of us are, with our myriad electronic devices and forms of entertainment which would have seemed magical to that stoical population gathered around the wireless every evening to listen to whatever the government permitted the BBC to offer.
The Open Rights Group has reported the Test and Trace system to the Information Commissioner’s Office watchdog (ICO), sparking a fresh headache for ministers as they seek to prevent a second peak of Covid-19.
The group claims that the programme does not have strong enough safeguards for the sensitive health data that will be collected on potentially millions of people. It is also concerned about who will have access to the data, which is to be held for 20 years, and how it will be used in the decades ahead
Neil Ferguson, who became known as “professor lockdown” after convincing Boris Johnson to radically curtail everyday freedoms, acknowledged that, despite relying on “quite similar science”, the Swedish authorities had “got a long way to the same effect” without a full lockdown.
Misleading models based on the Spanish flu cannot be allowed to dictate our policy on lifting lockdown
When you think about it, there is something very odd about the farrago of the last week. Endless numbers of MPs, many of them Conservative, and a similarly vast array of media outlets received outraged demands for the sacking of the prime minister’s adviser because he allegedly transgressed the rules which have damaged the quality of life of ordinary people. Those who complained said that the deprivations and sacrifices which they have endured at such cost to their personal happiness and welfare were mocked by Dominic Cummings’ actions.
Rather than trusting in our innate common sense, ministers are getting caught up in pointless lectures about how we can host a barbecue
We have detonated the global economy to pursue a lockdown experiment that may not have worked, according to the latest evidence. This diabolical revelation should be a world scandal. It should also be a sobering moment of enlightenment for Britain, as we seek to salvage our economy while learning lessons on how to better protect the vulnerable. Instead the Covid narrative becomes ever more surreal.
The broadcast media is more interested in scalping lockdown flouters than questioning whether shutdowns have served any useful purpose. World-class studies that suggest lockdown did not alter the pandemic’s course are mysteriously vanishing into internet obscurity on first contact with the official narrative. Our greatest minds have resorted to unpicking the issue on offbeat YouTube webinars.
Lockdown caused more deaths than it saved, a Nobel laureate scientist said on Saturday, as he predicted the UK would emerge from Covid-19 within weeks.
Michael Levitt, a Stanford University professor who correctly predicted the initial trajectory of the pandemic, sent messages to Professor Neil Ferguson in March telling the influential government advisor he had over-estimated the potential death toll by “10 or 12 times”.
The Imperial College professor’s modelling, a major factor in the Government’s apparent abandoning of a so-called herd-immunity policy, was part of an unnecessary “panic virus” which spread among global political leaders, Prof Levitt now tells the Telegraph.
[P]harmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced a $1.2 billion deal with the US government to produce 400 million doses of the unproven coronavirus vaccine first produced in Prof Hill’s Oxford lab.
Meanwhile, the British Government has agreed to pay for up to 100 million doses, adding that 30 million may be ready for UK citizens by September.
Project leader Prof Hill warns against ‘over-promising’, as vaccine success is far from guaranteed
Social distancing is a fantasy…like it or not, every individual citizen is going to have make their own risk assessments, use their common sense and make their own decisions about how to live their lives. “Stay away from everyone” is a clear message but not credible.
During the surreal early weeks of the lockdown, the notion of long-term social distancing seemed logical and sensible, but as the weeks rolled by, the utter ludicrousness of it became apparent. Matt Hancock helped to emphasise the absurdity of it all when he said that it will not be possible to hug anyone outside of our household until the virus was “totally sorted”.
Two samples taken from the same patient are being recorded as two separate tests in the Government’s official figures
Experts said the major study, which included all patients hospitalised with Covid-19 over 10 weeks, showed that diabetes – which is often fuelled by obesity – is driving Britain’s death toll.
“Lockdown is having a significant impact on our economy and we are likely to face a severe recession, the likes of which we haven’t seen”
The Oxford University vaccine tipped as a “front runner” in the race to develop a coronavirus jab does not stop the virus in monkeys and may only be partially effective, experts have warned.
- All of the vaccinated monkeys treated with the Oxford vaccine became infected.
- Vaccine data suggests that the jab may not be able to prevent the spread of the virus between infected individuals.