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The UK’s “Second Wave” is a Costly Myth

Lockdown Sceptics contributor Will Jones has an excellent piece in the Conservative Woman about Matt Hancock’s mysterious obsession with a “second wave” and the ruinously expensive steps the Government is taking to prepare for this non-existent threat. Here’s his conclusion:

A lockdown that was brought in without precedent or planning for three weeks to ‘squash the sombrero’ and relieve peak pressure on the NHS is still going on five months later. We face a future of continued social distancing and unpredictable new restrictions that are socially debilitating and economically disastrous. Even the much-vaunted vaccine is very unlikely to do more than mitigate the impact of the illness, making it a likely false dawn for those waiting around for it.

Yet the World Health Organisation continues to call on governments to ‘do it all’ to ‘suppress, suppress, suppress’ the virus, holding up New Zealand as an ‘exemplar’. Britain, like Sweden, must reject this preposterous and nihilistic narrative. It is not possible to suppress this virus, as New Zealand is now discovering, but only to mitigate its impact while developing collective immunity and, ideally, returning to normal as quickly as possible. The measures introduced for this mitigation must be balanced against other risks and the high importance of normal, healthy living. Right now, the government does not even seem to be attempting a sensible cost-benefit analysis of its approach, working instead on the basis of a ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ derived from discredited models. This is no way to run a country, nor a world.

Worth reading in full.

Up to 90% of People Who Test Positive Not Infectious

And this may explain why a rise in cases in countries like France, Spain and Italy hasn’t produced any corresponding rise in hospitalisations or deaths. According to a new study, up to 90% of people testing positive aren’t infectious. The Mail has more.

Up to 90 percent of people tested for COVID-19 in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada in July carried barely any traces of the virus and it could be because today’s tests are ‘too sensitive’, experts say.

Health experts say PCR testing – the most widely used diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the US – are too sensitive and need to be adjusted to rule out people who have insignificant amounts of the virus in their systems because they’re likely not contagious.

Today the PCR test, which provides a yes or no answer if a patient is infected, doesn’t say how much of the virus a patient has in their body.

The Mail‘s report is based on this story in the New York Times that we linked to a couple of days ago.

Four Charts Showing Casedemic Hasn’t Led to More Deaths

In case anyone thinks the rise in the number of people testing positive in Europe is cause for alarm, here are four charts showing cases and deaths in Italy, Spain, the UK and France.

Why Has Piers Corbyn Been Fined £10,000 But Not the Organisers of Sunday’s BLM Protest?

I got a lot of emails making this point yesterday:

I see Piers Corbyn gets arrested and fined £10,000 for “organising ” the anti-lockdown demo while Sunday’s BLM organisers “Ken Hinds, an adviser to Scotland Yard, Sasha Johnson, a youth worker and activist, rapper 2 Badda, and author Anthony Spencer” get away with “a word of advice”!

The Guardian has more on Sunday’s BLM protest here.

I disagree with almost everything Piers Corbyn has to say, but I would defend to the death his right to say it. You can contribute to his CrowdJustice fundraiser here.

Meanwhile, reader has put together a short film of Saturday’s protest.

Dispatch From Berlin

I’m publishing a “Postcard from Berlin” today that’s an account of attending the anti-lockdown protest on Saturday. My correspondent estimates a crowd of 150,000, nearly all of them sensible folk. Here’s an extract, giving you a sense of the sheer scale of the protest:

At 3.30pm the speeches started. By this point thousands of people were filling the entire length of the Straße des 17. Juni between the Victory Column and the Brandenburg Gate (2km), as well as Der Große Stern, the giant central square in the Tiergarten where the stage was set up. There were also huge numbers of protesters behind the Victory column on the Straße des 17. Juni heading west away from the Victory Column. Protesters spilled into the Tiergarten at the request of the organisers who announced several times that we needed to spread out into the garden or police would shut down the protest. Aerial footage shows the overwhelming crowds, but even this cannot show how many people were in the Tiergarten under the trees and in side streets. It took us over 25 minutes to walk from the Victory Column to the Brandenburg gate, and the whole street was full of protesters.

Worth reading in full.

Kim-Jong Dan Sued For Billions

Not laughing now, are you Mr Would-Be Dictator?

Daniel Andrews, the tyrannical leader of the state of Victoria in Australia, is facing a multi-billion-dollar class action suit from enraged local businessmen. Yahoo Finance AU has more.

The Victorian Government is facing a potential class action expected to be to the tune of several billion dollars brought by the businesses that have been shut down during the state’s stage four restrictions.

The class action is open to all Victorian-based businesses that were shut down after July 1st, according to an AFR report, and thousands are expected to take part.

The lawsuit is being launched by Sydney-based law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, who are known for successfully winning a class action against the Queensland Government after the November 2011 floods.

The class action also names Victorian Ministers Jenny Mikakos, Martin Pakula as well as their department secretaries.

The lead plaintiff for the case is the owner of a New York-themed restaurant, Anthony Ferrara, who normally earns tens of thousand dollars a week but is now only open for takeaway and making below $10,000 a week.

“Victorian businesses don’t need charity or kind thoughts from politicians,” Ferrara said.

“We need certainty and we need it soon. Our situation is not our doing. We are calling to account those who put us in this dire position.”

The owner of Melbourne CBD’s The Carlton Club, Windsor Castle and Gertrude Hotel, Tracey Lester, is also expected to join the class action.

More power to their elbow.

The Tyranny of Coronaphobia

Professor Ramesh Thakur, former Assistant-General Secretary of the UN and arch-sceptic

Professor Ramesh Thakur had a full page interview in La Nacion, one of Argentina’s two main newspapers, on August 23rd. The interview has now been published in English in the weekly Open Magazine, under the title “The Tyranny of Coronaphobia”.

Prof Thakur has sent me a summary of the points he made:

  • “Coronaphobia” has taken over as the basis of government policy in so many countries, with a complete loss of perspective that life is a balance of risks pretty much on a daily basis.
  • The extent to which dominant majorities of peoples in countries with universal literacy can be successfully terrified into surrendering their civil liberties and individual freedoms has come as a frightening shock. On the one hand, the evidence base for the scale and gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic is surprisingly thin in comparison to the myriad other threats to our health that we face every year. We don’t ban cars on the reasoning that every life counts and even one traffic death is one too many lives lost. Instead, we trade a level of convenience for a level of risk to life and limb.
  • On the other hand, the restrictions imposed on everyday life as we know it have been far more draconian than anything previously done. Yet, the evidence for the effectiveness of draconian lockdowns is less than convincing. As one Lancet study concluded, “Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people.” The virus infection has not risen exponentially in any country; rather, it seems to climb steeply, stop, turn around and retreat almost everywhere in tune with some internal timeframe independently of government intervention strategies; and, differences in numbers of dead notwithstanding, the shape of the curve seems remarkably similar for many countries.
  • The coronavirus threatens to overwhelm the health and economies of many developing countries where a billion people subsist in a Hobbesian state of nature and life is “nasty, brutish and short”. The rich carry the virus, the poor bear the burden since staying at home means foregoing daily income.
  • I remain very puzzled at how so many people I considered to be liberals have been so utterly indifferent to the plight of the poor and the casual labourers who do not have the luxury of working from home, nor savings to fall back on to tide their family over until they can earn an income again.
  • This is not to say that high-income Western countries are immune from the deadly effects of lockdown.
  • I wonder, too, if we have set ourselves up to repeat the folly every year with annual outbreaks of flu, especially if it is a bad flu season. If not, why not? Perhaps someone will come up with the slogan “Flu Lives Matter”. Or governments could just pass laws making it illegal for anyone to fall sick and die.
  • I hope that after the crisis is over, the balance between individual liberties and state power will be re-set instead of an even more powerful surveillance state being consolidated.

Worth reading in full.

The COVID-19 Assembly

The man behind Lockdown Truth, a companion website, is starting something called the COVID-19 Assembly. We asked him to do a few paragraphs explaining what it is.

The purpose of the COVID-19 Assembly is to allow the people themselves to take control of the COVID-19 narrative rather than the government and the mainstream media. By bypassing the MSM we will undertake the job of getting the real facts out to the public. One of the biggest problems with the current situation is that there is very limited information that the average person will come across without specifically looking for it. Most people simply aren’t aware that they don’t know many of the key facts about COVID-19 and “lockdown”.

We will create eye-catching and easy to understand content. Our “Top Ten Facts” can then be downloaded as leaflets, posters, roller displays, public presentations and slideshows for tablets and phones. All information will be based on official data and will avoid “conspiracy theories” which may put people off listening or helping. Volunteers will operate autonomously and present the facts to friends, families, colleagues, neighbours, clubs and amenity groups via pop-up displays in town squares and village halls or small meetings and workshops.

We will aim to create a diverse collection of people from ordinary members of the public to Nobel laureates working together to take control of this matter once and for all. Everyone has a part to play whether you just share our facts on social media or set up and run a local group. We need to work at local level changing public perception one person at a time. If we all do a little then the effect could be enormous.

If you’d like to join the Assembly, click here.

A Good Samaritan Writes…

Touching comment beneath yesterday’s update.

I thought I’d describe something that’s just happened in our local high street. My wife and I had just finished our walk and were heading home. We saw this little old lady (must have been in her 80s) obviously struggling with her shopping and could barely breath with her mask on so I stopped and asked if she needed help. I double and triple checked with her that she was OK with me handling her shopping so I carried it to the bus stop for her. My wife offered to walk with her at the same time and bless her, she linked arms with my wife.

All she did the entire time was thank us for helping her and kept asking if it was OK if she took her mask off. My wife said, “You can do whatever you feel comfortable with my dear. You don’t have to wear it but you can if you want.”

When we sat her down at the bus stop she held both our hands and said thank you ever so much. Her bus wasn’t for ages so my wife has gone back down in the car to give her a lift home

As we were walking away I actually started welling up because throughout the entire interaction, all I kept thinking was: “Can I handle her shopping, am I getting too close, is she going to feel uncomfortable?” When she grabbed our hands to say thank you, that’s what finally set me off.

All I kept thinking was, what the hell have we done to our country? Is this social damage irreversible? I hope not

Father Banned From Watching Baby’s Scan

A reader has been in touch with yet another NHS horror story.

My elder son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first baby in January 2021 and are understandably very excited about it (as are we as prospective grandparents). The first 12 week scan was in early August and my son was not allowed to attend with his wife. He offered to wear a face mask and not touch anything (or anyone apart from his wife) but was told in emphatic terms that no-one could accompany the pregnant mother and he would have to wait in the car (he was not even allowed into the hospital). The 20 week scan is in 2 weeks time, and this is an important scan as the medics check that there are no discernible abnormalities in the foetus, and if the parents wish, they can find out the sex of the baby. Again, he has been told he cannot attend and must wait in the car. This is cruel and heartless treatment. Seeing your baby on screen for the first time is a very special experience for both parents and for one of them to be denied that is unbelievable. I also wonder what happens if they do find a problem with the baby. Do they tell the mother and then leave her on her own to deal with the bad news? Or, do they decide that it is suddenly ‘safe’ for the husband to come in to the hospital so he can support his wife? They live in Solihull and this is not currently an ‘at risk’ area.

How long is this madness going to continue? Here we are nearly six months into this non-pandemic and still the government and NHS are insisting on ridiculous measures to keep the nearly non-existent virus ‘under control’. The hospitals are practically deserted anyway with very few patients attending any clinics. Next my son will be told that he’s not allowed to be at the birth itself!

Newsletter From the Society For the Elimination of Risk

James Hankins, a Harvard History Professor and lockdown sceptic, has written a brilliant spoof in Spectator USA purporting to be a newsletter from Eustace Stockstill, President of the Society for the Elimination of Risk. Here’s an extract:

Furthermore, our survey shows that, thanks to responsible selection of data by the press, the number of people who can distinguish absolute from relative risk has actually declined! Our efforts to raise awareness have led the British to believe that seven percent of Britons have died from coronavirus. Americans are even more aware, estimating that the virus has killed nine percent of their compatriots. Even if these judgments are faulty in a merely arithmetical sense, they surely serve the higher truth to which our Society is dedicated, that no risk is really tolerable. Our Society can congratulate itself for its part in creating this new and better form of rational ignorance. From now on, we and our cooperating scientists will get to decide what it is rational not to know. Who says that innumeracy can’t benefit society?

Worth reading in full.

Round-Up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Just one today: “Communication Breakdown” by Led Zeppelin.

Love in the Time of Covid

Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell in The Americans. Credit: Jeffrey Neira/FX

We have created some Lockdown Sceptics Forums that are now open, including a dating forum called “Love in a Covid Climate” that has attracted a bit of attention. We’ve also just introduced a section where people can arrange to meet up for non-romantic purposes. We have a team of moderators in place to remove spam and deal with the trolls, but sometimes it takes a little while so please bear with us. You have to register to use the Forums, but that should just be a one-time thing. Any problems, email the Lockdown Sceptics webmaster Ian Rons here.

Small Businesses That Have Re-Opened

A few months ago, Lockdown Sceptics launched a searchable directory of open businesses across the UK. The idea is to celebrate those retail and hospitality businesses that have re-opened, as well as help people find out what has opened in their area. But we need your help to build it, so we’ve created a form you can fill out to tell us about those businesses that have opened near you.

Now that non-essential shops have re-opened – or most of them, anyway – we’re focusing on pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as other social venues. As of July 4th, many of them have re-opened too, but not all (and some of them are at risk of having to close again). Please visit the page and let us know about those brave folk who are doing their bit to get our country back on its feet – particularly if they’re not insisting on face masks! If they’ve made that clear to customers with a sign in the window or similar, so much the better. Don’t worry if your entries don’t show up immediately – we need to approve them once you’ve entered the data.

“Mask Exempt” Lanyards

We’ve created a permanent slot down here for people who want to buy (or make) a “Mask Exempt” lanyard/card. You can print out and laminate a fairly standard one for free here and it has the advantage of not explicitly claiming you have a disability. But if you have no qualms about that (or you are disabled), you can buy a lanyard from Amazon saying you do have a disability/medical exemption here (now showing it will arrive between Oct 2nd to Oct 12th). The Government has instructions on how to download an official “Mask Exempt” notice to put on your phone here. You can get a “Hidden Disability” tag from ebay here and an “exempt” card with lanyard for just £3.99 from Etsy here.

Don’t forget to sign the petition on the UK Government’s petitions website calling for an end to mandatory face nappies in shops here (now over 31,000).

A reader has started a website that contains some useful guidance about how you can claim legal exemption.

And here’s a round-up of the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of mask (threadbare at best).

Stop Press: A reader has got in touch to tell us that her son’s school – Bedgrove Junior School in Aylesbury, Bucks – is insisting that children as young as six will have to wear face masks. Shocking.

We have, today been sent an email which no doubt was on “delayed send” on Bank Holiday Monday in order to prevent immediate readings of furious replies or the inevitable march of angry parents to the school gates, stating children from 6yrs –11yrs are required to wear face masks on the school grounds to “practise” for when the Government makes it mandatory.

The school have stated that masks are to be worn on the way into and out of school, into and out of classrooms and corridors.

Meanwhile, some headteachers think it’s too dangerous to let all children back into schools.

Molly Kingsley speaks for all parents when she says we’ve had enough.

Shameless Begging Bit

Thanks as always to those of you who made a donation in the past 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of this site. Doing these daily updates is a lot of work (although I have help from lots of people, mainly in the form of readers sending me stories and links). If you feel like donating, please click here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links I should include in future updates, email me here. (If you want me to link to something, don’t forget to include the HTML code).

And Finally…

In this week’s episode of London Calling, James Delingpole and I discuss Piers Corbyn’s £10,000 fine (he should have worn a Black Lives Matter t-shirt), why we’re both such embarrassing dads and the appalling mobbing of the singer Adele for “cultural appropriation”.

Why does the woke Left direct its most vicious abuse towards people who are basically on the same side, but deviate from the orthodoxy in some minor, entirely innocent way? It’s as if they don’t want to change society for the better, just find excuses for cancelling people.

You can listen here. And if you like it, you can subscribe on iTunes here.