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‘Second Wave’ Has Claimed Lives of Just 17 People Under 40

Good story in the Mail. Official figures reveal fewer than 20 deaths in people under 40 in the supposedly even-more-deadly ‘second wave’.

The latest NHS update published yesterday showed that just one person under the age of 20, and another 13 under 40, have died with coronavirus in English hospitals since the start of September.

By contrast, 1,425 patients over 80 have died over the same period, along with another 1,093 aged between 60 and 79.

It means the elderly account for a staggering 94 per cent of hospital deaths this time round.

Wider figures from the Office for National Statistics covering all deaths across the UK tell the same story, with just 247 deaths among working-age people since the end of summer compared with 2,026 among pensioners.

They cover a slightly shorter period than the NHS figures.

It will put fresh pressure on ministers to avoid a new nationwide lockdown that could lead to other deadly diseases such as cancer and heart disease going untreated, and further damage young people’s mental health and job prospects.

Last night cancer consultant Prof Karol Sikora said: “On the whole, it is not a young person’s illness, healthy young people especially.

“But they are playing the societal price in terms of education, university and social activities, and they will be paying the bill one day because the old people won’t be there.

It’s a matter of balance and we’ve not got it right. It’s really important we don’t throw all the resources at Covid.”

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: There’s an excellent comment piece by Professor Angus Dalgleish below this story that’s also worth reading. It begins:

We are at a pivotal moment in this pandemic and for our Prime Minister – and indeed the country – the stakes could not be higher.

With rumours rampant about a new national lockdown and talk about the so-called ‘second wave’ of Covid-19 infections being deadlier than the first, there has never been a more important time for Boris Johnson to go with his instincts and stand firm against the doom-mongers at Sage.

That organisation’s full name – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – suggests a reassuringly well-informed and authoritative body whose guidance can be followed unquestioningly.

Yet their recommendations are often based on flawed evidence which is far from scientific, and that makes it all the more alarming to learn that they are attempting to bully the Prime Minister into imposing a second national lockdown.

This pressure is apparently based on projections showing that, while the number of Covid deaths will peak at a lower level than in the spring, they will remain at that level for weeks or even months, resulting in more deaths overall.

But I would urge the PM and his most senior advisers to take a closer look at the evidence on which their arguments are based – and the potentially disastrous consequences.

And Prof Carl Heneghan has very little time for the case for a second national lockdown. “What happened to learning to live with the virus?” he tells MailOnline. “People calling for lockdown need to realise that it is a blunt tool that will just kick the can down road, we need to get the message out now that this is not going away, it’s about managing COVID-19’s impact.”

Ross Clark is also on the money, as per, pointing out that if we’re heading for a ‘second wave’ that’s even deadlier than the first, that’s surely definitive proof that lockdowns are completely ineffective?

Flu-Like Illnesses Falling in the North-West and London

Some good news. A reader has been in touch to point out that the latest data from the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Research and Surveillance Centre shows that influenza-like illnesses, e.g. Covid, are falling in the North-West and London.

The latest, weekly updated RCGP RSC data has been released (unbeknown to almost all health journalists – well, when has even one ever questioned Whitty or Vallance about them? Never to my knowledge). The sample size is a massive seven million+. Are there any larger? I doubt it. The primary purpose of this data-collection exercise is to track the prevalence of respiratory illnesses (ILIs – influenza-like illnesses) in case they become so widespread that further measures need to be considered to counter them.

As you can read from the charts below, the last complete week’s figures (October 19th – 25th) show large falls in confirmed cases for both the locked-down North West (including Merseyside, Lancashire and Greater Manchester) AND relatively unlocked London. The percentage differences are minimal:

North West: 19.66/10,000 down to 9.89/10,000 (-49.7%)
London: 5.69/10,000 down to 3.30/10,000 (-47.3%)

So it would seem people are behaving more cautiously whether forced to do so or not – the lesson being that we don’t need to be compelled to.

Stop Press: A new study from Exeter University and published in Critical Care Magazine shows that death rates from COVID-19 are less than half what they were at the peak of the pandemic. The researchers found that death rates were highest in late March, at 26% among people admitted to high dependency units, and 41% among people admitted to intensive care. For June admissions, death rates had dropped to 7% among high dependency unit admissions, and to 21% among intensive care admissions.

Launch of Recovery

Recovery, a new anti-lockdown group, is launching today. (Website here.) It brings together a broad-based coalition of people from all walks of life, many different backgrounds and the spectrum of mainstream political views who are concerned about the effect the response to COVID-19 is having on all our lives. I’m a member of the Advisory Council. Here is the press release.

Recovery calls for balance and moderation in our response to COVID-19, backed by a proper public debate, and a comprehensive public inquiry which looks at the impact Government policies have had on: Covid-19 mortality; other killer diseases like cancer; mental health; the economy; and the future for children and young people.

The campaign is backed by a wide range of high profile people, including senior Doctors and NHS staff, leading authorities in epidemiology and infectious diseases, mental health experts, entrepreneurs and leaders of business, sporting stars and world champions, TV celebrities and chefs, stars of the performing arts, bands and musicians.

  • It has specialist groups led by leading experts and household names looking at specific areas of concern, including:
  • Health – members include concerned NHS and other health workers;
  • Mental health – psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, youth and charity workers, and leaders in education
  • Arts and hospitality – performers, business owners, chefs, and others whose lives are directly affected by current policies.
  • Sports and fitness – sports stars, players, athletes, coaches, club staff, and fitness businesses.
  • Small and medium size enterprises – entrepreneurs, business leaders, founders, and managers.

Speakers at the launch include:

  • Lord Sumption
  • Professor Karol Sikora
  • Harvey Goldsmith CBE
  • Emma Kenny MBPsS, MBACP

The launch will also hear messages from prominent supporters and its Advisory Council, which draws on perspectives from leaders from many different backgrounds and walks of life – people as diverse as Professor Sunetra Gupta, Sir Rocco Forte, Luke Johnson, Saira Khan, David Gower, Sue Cook, Trupti Patel (President of the Hindu Forum of Britain), Lady MC (Kerry O’Brien, CEO of the Youth Urban Arts Foundation), MC Creed, and DJ Danny Rampling.

The organisation is led by a group of co-founders from health, academia, business, youth work, sports, and the arts, who created it in response to the huge damage that the current policies are doing to our lives, jobs, culture, and the future of our young people.

Amongst the Recovery team, there are people who see the issues on a daily basis in their working lives. We hear the tragic stories of suicides from young people who couldn’t cope with lockdown. We wonder whether our own loved ones are amongst the thousands who should have been screened for cancer this year and now won’t find out they have it until it’s too late. Countless people are living a hell of fear and isolation that is destroying their mental health. Problem drinking has leapt from 4.3m people before lockdown to 8.4m million after it – and it’s still rising. Millions may now face an uncertain future of debt, struggle, unemployment and poverty.

It is becoming clear that the consequences of hysteria and rushed legislation can be worse than the virus itself. Recovery has set out Five Reasonable Demands to ensure good Government during Covid-19 and protect the lives and livelihoods of the people of the UK. These are the basis for the Recovery campaign.

Recovery is launching to argue for hope, for balance, in the fight against COVID-19. It will make the case for a more realistic assessment of the risk, an end to fearmongering, and a rational response to the threat.

Jon Dobinson, Co-Founder of Recovery, commented:

What raised the alarm bells for me was hearing world-leading experts on epidemiology like Professor Sunetra Gupta smeared as extremists when they questioned the idea of lockdowns. I had faced this kind of attack years ago when I was Secretary-General of the International Society of Human Rights in the UK and was receiving daily reports of terrible atrocities in the former Yugoslav Republics. No one else was talking about them, so I wrote a series of reports that made world headlines and were a catalyst for the deployment of UN Peacekeepers in Kosovo – subsequently described as saving countless lives. It’s forgotten now, but the Serbs had strong supporters in the UK and along with ISHR itself, I was vilified by them in a national newspaper. Today, it’s obvious to everyone that the smears weren’t true, but it was a deeply traumatic experience. I now see it as the most important campaign I’ve run in my life.

My mum survived COVID-19, so did my colleagues at work. It’s not fun. But when someone close to me died, it was because of the mental stress of lockdown rather than COVID-19: I saw in the most tragic way that harsh restrictions carry their own threat to life.”

Once again, lives are threatened by a mistaken belief and people want to silence those who speak up for a better approach by marginalising and smearing them. I know how that feels and how important it is to make sure they’re heard. This time, millions of lives in my own country are at stake. The future for all of us depends on a balanced response to COVID-19 and a proper public debate that ensures we pursue the best policies. That’s why I started Recovery.

Alan D. Miller, Honorary Trustee of the Night Time Industries Association, and Co-Founder of Recovery, commented:

It is an honour to be a Co-Founder of Recovery where we aim to engage with the public as well as transform both the narrative and the direction of current government policy to one of reasonable sensible measures. Joining forces for a broad alliance means we can draw upon a strong array of business leaders from many vital industry sectors beyond hospitality as well as prominent scientists, artists and citizens who want to see a full Recovery for all in Britain. This is an important moment for us all and I encourage everyone who has concerns with the current response to join us.

Recovery’s website is here, you can follow Recovery on Twitter here and donate to the GoFundMe page here.

Stop Press: UsForThem, the lobby group for children and parents, has launched an open letter from health professionals and scientists to the Prime Minister, reminding him that ‘First do no harm’ is a basic tenet of medical ethics and that a cure must never be worse than the disease. If you’re a scientist, a doctor or a nurse, please sign it.

Reasons Why Civil Servants Are All Covidarians

“Lockdown, Minister. The answer to every question is, ‘Lockdown.'”

A dissident civil servant has been in touch to explain why civil servants and public sector employees more generally are all full-on lockdown fanatics. Rings true.

  1. They have to follow the direction of the government. It is their duty as civil serpents. The civil service code requires loyalty to the elected government. However, that also provides an in built system to either support a dictatorship or a good democratic government.
  2. Senior Civil Serpents cannot speak out otherwise they break rule 1. Junior civil serpents are under the line management of the seniors, and will be punished for speaking out of turn, unless they are union reps, but then, trades unions are full-on Covidarians.
  3. 90% of civil serpents are socialists or collectivist thinkers. They grew up being trained by an education system that has been in the grip of Marxists since the 1970s and so only have that world view. The public sector also attracts weaker types; those who have limited entrepreneurial leanings and who are not risk takers. So the civil serpent scientists are unlikely to consider and advise any risky decisions at all regarding covidnonsense policy.
  4. Most civil serpents have never worked outside of the public sector. Money and funding appears by magic every year. Most joined the public sector directly from university so may have only worked in bars and restaurants part time, at best. There exposure to real world economics is limited.
  5. They are on full pay regardless of consequences. The public sector leeches off the productive sector and many public serpents don’t realise the consequences of that. If the productive sector goes under, or suffers a massive contraction, many of the leeches will die when the money machine runs low on readies. This has not sunk in yet. Their Keynesian economic brains think that government can keep printing money and all will be well.
  6. That said, there are public sector contrarians, me being one. And there are those who roll their eyes at the latest madness, but they work in what is, essentially, a Soviet system, so cannot speak out openly against the great leaders decisions. The public sector is also unable to accept alternative views and never engages in Red Team exercises on any policy. There are no teams set up to dismantle any idea being proposed.

The solution is for the tories to keep winkling out the obvious socialists and high levels and start compulsory economics and private sector awareness training on the lines of the bullshine Marxist-led equality and diversity training that we are forced to do.

They should also send civil serpents on exchanges with private companies, but those in the medium enterprise sector, not the big financial and computer companies because they are just Big Corporate Socialism.

Macron Bottles It

France is due to go into a second lockdown on Friday – bad news for the French, and bad news for us, too, given that one of the reasons Boris panicked and placed the UK under a full lockdown back in March is because he saw other European leaders putting their countries under lockdown and thought, “Cripes! If Mackers is doing it, maybe I should too.” Monkey see, monkey do. Indeed, the OECD published a paper on this, pointing out that 80% of developed countries imposed lockdowns in a two-week period in March despite having outbreaks at different stages. They didn’t have time to carry out cost benefit analyses – they just copied each other. It wasn’t “the science” that prompted Boris to do a U-turn on March 23rd. It was peer pressure.

The Telegraph has the story on its front page today.

The French president ordered the closure of non-essential shops, along with bars and restaurants, and people must stay at home unless they have documentation showing why they need to go to work or make other journeys.

Britons will be banned from entering the country unless they have a signed certificate saying why they need to travel.

“The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated,” Mr Macron said. “Like all our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus. We are all in the same position.”

Germany also announced a new national lockdown despite both it and France recording fewer daily Covid deaths than Britain.

The FTSE 100 Index plunged 2.6% on Wednesday amid news of the new lockdowns, wiping £37.3 billion off the value of Britain’s biggest companies, as European stock markets slumped to their lowest levels since May.

Stop Press: Macron claims that 400,000 people will die in the ‘do nothing’ scenario. Has Neil Ferguson been moonlighting for the French Government?

Simon Dolan’s Appeal Hearing Starts Today

Simon Dolan, who is trying to get permission to hold a Judicial Review of the Government’s lockdown measures, is appealing the decision by the High Court to deny permission in the Court of Appeal today. The appeal is expected to last two days. If he’s successful, the Judicial Review will go ahead.

The key challenge from Dolan’s lawyers is that the original lockdown measures were ‘ultra vires’ – that is, outside the scope of the 1984 Public Health act which was used to implement them.

Dolan’s legal team are arguing that the Government misused legislation to bring in the new regulations and, in that way, avoided proper Parliamentary scrutiny of those regulations. The Government introduced the new measures through the Public Health (Control of Infectious Disease) Act 1984 by certifying the legislation as ‘urgent’. That loophole allows Ministers to make the laws effective immediately without having to secure prior approval in Parliament.

Simon Dolan says:

We are continuing our legal fight in the High Court against these absurd lockdown restrictions ruining the British public’s daily lives. We are asking the Court of Appeal to rule on whether the initial lockdown measures were brought in ‘ultra vires’ – outside the scope of the law they relied on in the Public Health Act.

Hopefully a High Court judge will hear all our arguments in court and determine that we do have a strong case

When we started there was criticism of our initiative but as the government has taken more and more control over our lives and personal freedoms, the public support has been overwhelming.

Since we started the legal fight against the Government’s lockdown in May people have listened to our arguments and determined they have merit. It is now widely accepted that the harm from lockdown is greater than the risk to public health from COVID-19.

The answer to coronavirus is not a circuit breaker or a three-tier system. It is to let people get on with their lives and their livelihoods.

To date, Dolan’s fundraiser has raised more than £381,725, with over 12,000 pledges made, many of them from Lockdown Sceptics readers. If anyone would like to watch the proceedings via a live link, there are instructions on how to do that here.

An Unconscious Conspiracy

Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory (1997)

I often get emails from readers telling me I’ve been too quick to dismiss various conspiracy theories about the apparent mishandling of the coronavirus crisis by governments around the world. But I got a particularly good one yesterday from Dr Sinéad Murphy, a Lecturer in Philosophy at Newcastle University. She and a Newcastle colleague of hers, Michael Lewis, have written for Lockdown Sceptics once before – a piece about why it wasn’t a good idea to insist on university students wearing masks in face-to-face meetings with their teachers. Here is the kernel of her argument.

Until the events of this year, I have allied myself, for the most part, with the political Left; I have been a member of the Labour Party, and a Guardian watcher, if not quite reader. I have no compunction now in expressing my total abhorrence at the near-orgasmic enthusiasm for authoritarian control that has come to dominate the Left, and my gratitude for the reason and humanity that have, by contrast, characterised many on the political Right.

But there is a blind spot on the Right, which threatens the reason if not the humanity of its analyses of the Covid-response. It is the insistence that there is no ‘conspiracy’ afoot and that this whole unfortunate affair is attributable to the blunders of those in power.

It seems to me that there is something in this repeated denial of ‘conspiracy theory’ that is akin to our Government’s repeated refusal to ‘let the virus rip.’ It mischaracterises as silly that which it rejects, and then rejects it because it is silly. Those who argue for the acknowledgement of herd immunity are not, for that reason, arguing for ‘letting the virus rip’ – they suggest many and nuanced possibilities for the management of the virus as it tracks through the population. Similarly, those who suggest that there is more to the Covid restrictions than mountains of blunders by politicians and their advisers are not, for that reason, ‘conspiracy theorists’ – they do not, if they are at all rational, imagine that some bunker somewhere is filled with evil geniuses conducting the whole sorry affair.

I am moved to write this now because I have been listening to the excellent podcast featuring James Delingpole and Mike Yeadon, who, in their discussion, actually admit and articulate well the very thing that almost all so-called ‘conspiracy theorists’ are trying to point out. Yeadon contributes the phrase ‘convergent opportunism,’ and argues that, while there are no bunkered geniuses inventing all of this, there are plenty who have availed themselves of the opportunities it has presented and whose doing so has contributed to the escalation and continuation of the mess. Delingpole responds by contributing his own phrase – ‘the concatenation of interests’ – to describe what he too sees as a contingent but coherent coming together of opportunities for interested parties, whose actions then, we presume, exacerbate and extend the conditions which have emerged as so beneficial to them.

‘Convergent opportunism’ and ‘the concatenation of interests’ are sufficiently abstract descriptors that I am emboldened to contribute another – it is not of my inventing, being one of the most important insights of a philosopher who seems unfortunately and erroneously to be regarded as entirely the property of the Left: Michel Foucault.

In the first volume of his The History of Sexuality, Foucault sets out the way in which events can, and mostly do, unfold as ‘intentional but not subjective.’ That is, we are able, if we look carefully, to discern a design or a pattern in events, even if, as is almost always the case, there is no one person or group at the helm. There is no ‘headquarters,’ as Foucault says – no bunker of geniuses. In fact, as with many of those who reject ‘conspiracy theories,’ Foucault is of the view that those who insist on finding the subject of intentional developments will inevitably misunderstand the meaning of events.

This is an excellent article and one that’s forced me to reconsider my position.

Cui Bono?

In keeping with my conversion (see above), I’m going to ask the question that’s beloved of all conspiracy theorists, “Who benefits?” The answer is simple: the manufacturers and distributors of testing kits. See graph👆.

And the Chinese, obviously.

Stop Press: The Guardian has a front page story today saying plans are afoot to test 10% of the population of England every week. Apparently, Government officials have asked local health chiefs to deploy 30-minute saliva kits in an acceleration of Boris Johnson’s controversial “Operation Moonshot” mass screening plan. Operation Moonshot? More like Operation Line-The-Pockets-of-Testing-Manufacturers-and-Distributors. Somebody’s getting rich…

Dear Mr Kwarteng…

A reader has sent me an email he sent to his MP, Kwasi Kwarteng, at 4.33am yesterday, being unable to sleep because he was so angry about the lockdown and the ongoing restrictions and all the damage they have wrought – particularly to his own family.

Dear Mr Kwarteng,

You politicians think that you can distil power from fear.

You will find that all you will gain is a bitter harvest of contempt and deep, enduring hatred.

Read the Great Barrington Declaration. And then do all in your power to make the implementation of the Great Barrington Declaration the central aim of Government. End the cruel pantomime of lockdowns. They don’t work to ‘control the virus’. They destroy people’s lives.

On Monday 9 March 2020, my eldest sister was admitted (finally) to the Royal United Hospital, Bath, after being failed repeatedly since late January 2020 by the NHS (her GP and paramedics) who did nothing to investigate the cause of her excruciating back pain. On admission to the RUH, X-rays showed that she had 2 fractured vertebrae. Subsequent MRI scans led to the diagnosis of the cause – cancer – on Friday March 13th. On Saturday March 28th she, along with many other patients, was swept out of the Royal United Hospital to make way for the expected tsunami of Covid patients. Which never arrived. My eldest sister was discharged before she was ready, when she had clear medical needs, to make way for an anticipated problem that didn’t occur. The ‘support’ that she received from the NHS after discharge was appalling. It has fallen to another sister, who is a retired nurse, to administer her chemotherapy injections.

On Thursday March 12th, the care home in which my 99 year-old mother, who is very deaf and virtually blind, was ‘locked down’ by PHE. Since then she has been kept in what is effectively solitary confinement. The family has been allowed a total of THREE visits. If we kept prisoners in such conditions the Government would be taken to court for breach of human rights. Yes, of course, I get it. We have to protect those most at risk. And initially it made sense to ‘lock down’ the care homes to protect the most vulnerable. Sadly, it seems that this was not fully understood by the medical-political establishment, which proceeded to discharge elderly patients from NHS hospitals (‘Protect the NHS, Save Lives’) directly to care homes, without testing them for Covid.

Last night, I took a phone call from my youngest sister, who is now in the Green Lane Hospital in Devizes. She sounded like a frightened, lost child, although she is a 53 year-old woman. She has suffered for many years from mental health issues. Her life revolved around my mother. They lived together until my mother became too frail to live at home, and was admitted to her current care home in 2016. Since then, my sister’s life has revolved around visiting my mother. All of which stopped abruptly on Thursday March 12th. My sister’s life has become increasingly hard as Government policy has done its deadly work. First, all contact with her work colleagues ceased – she was told to work at home. So no social contact with work colleagues.

We rallied around as a family, and did all that we could to help her. Then the rules about household mixing kicked in.

My brother broke the rules by going to visit my vulnerable, isolated, mentally ill sister, often staying overnight to support her. Read that sentence again.

We thought that my sister was going to make it. The dark clouds lifted (a bit) and she was able to visit my mother twice. But the visits took place under conditions that would shame a high security prison. Then – because of the increase in ‘cases’ during the dreaded (and much hyped) ‘second wave’ – all visits halted. It was the final straw for my sister. The day after I sent you the email below, she went into Green Lane Hospital, on Thursday October 22nd.

Do you and your fellow politicians still not get it?

The Covid virus is not greatly more dangerous than the seasonal flu. The average age of death from Covid is 82.3. Lockdowns don’t work. At least, they don’t work to control the virus. Lockdowns work very well at destroying lives and liberties.

I can’t believe that you are stupid. And I know that you are not ill-informed, because I have sent you quite a lot of scientifically sound information that makes the case for ending these stupid, cruel lockdowns.

So what is going on here?

Why is the entire establishment – you politicians, the medical establishment, the judicial system, the media – so dead set against listening to knowledgeable critics? Why was the very existence of the Great Barrington Declaration censored and suppressed by the tech companies? Why are the usual remedies being so ruthlessly blocked? Why are so many legal challenges being delayed and then refused? Simon Dolan’s challenge was delayed because one of the NINE Government barristers was on holiday. Last week the Speaker of the House of Commons intervened to halt the challenge – citing Article 9 of the Bill of Rights, of all things. Toby Young’s case, challenging Ofcom’s very sinister ruling that prevents broadcasters from criticising Government advice, was stopped dead without any examination of the fundamental right of free speech.

The establishment has so far been doing well to distil power from fear.

But history has shown that when you oppress people with manifest cruelty and injustice, when you take away their liberties and then turn a deaf eye and a blind eye to their legitimate and well-founded grievances, and frustrate all attempts at relief – the people will eventually speak in ways that you will find difficult to control.

Yours in despair,

XXXXX XXXXXXX

Transcript of Professor Gupta’s Interview on talkRADIO

Yesterday, Will asked if a reader would transcribe Professor Sunetra Gupta’s interview with Ian Collins on talkRADIO on Tuesday – and, lo and behold, a very kind person has done that for us. Thank you.

Ian Collins: [Excerpt played from interview with Dr Gurdsani from Queen Mary University three weeks ago stating that there is no evidence that herd immunity exists.] Professor Gupta, could you just respond to one of your peers there on that point?

Sunetra Gupta: Well, the main thing to address is this issue of immunity declining over time. We’ve known for a while now that antibodies decline quite rapidly with time but it’s misleading to say that it implies that immune protection is lost with time. It is also nonsensical to say that there is no herd immunity, or that it is not possible to build up herd immunity, to this virus. All other coronaviruses build up herd immunity by which we mean a level of immunity in the population that ensures that the risks to the vulnerable are low. So that’s endemic equilibrium, herd immunity, that’s how we’re using it. I think Miss Gurdasani (Queen Mary University) may well have been using it in a different context but that’s not really what it means. Herd immunity is just a level of community immunity that protects the vulnerable and keeps the risk of infection low. There’s no reason to believe that won’t happen.

Ian Collins: I understand that but the point that, I think, this group of scientists were making from this study was that, yes, it might be true, but you have to have 60-70% of people in that place for it to work and that would be unachievable.

Sunetra Gupta: Well first, that is not true. There are several studies now showing that the level of infection that is necessary in the population may well be below that. It’s impossible to say what the level, threshold, equilibrium threshold of herd immunity is because we simply don’t know how many people are already protected by virtue of exposure to other corona viruses or due to their immune systems being able to deal with the virus without developing antibodies. So, this idea that the herd immunity threshold as it were has to be 60/70% is not something that is set in stone. Furthermore the seroprevalence, the level of anti-bodies you measure in a community doesn’t give you a very good idea of what the true exposure is for the very reasons, as I said which are already all known (although it’s nice to have it confirmed by this bigger study) that anti-bodies decay very rapidly upon establishment. It’s also known that a lot of people don’t make antibodies at all upon exposure because there are other arms of the immune system that deal with this virus, such as T-Cell immunity. So the picture is more complex: we have anti-bodies, we have immunity that is derived from antibodies, the loss of anti-body in the blood does not mean that we have lost this anti-body mediated protection because that is really stored as memory – that’s how it operates.

Ian Collins: [Interrupting]: And it re-manifests when under attack again?

Sunetra Gupta: That doesn’t imply that protection is being lost. But furthermore there are all these other arms of the immune system which we know now, through careful studies, to be very important in conferring immunity, I would say, as a baseline, we could assume that this virus behaves like any other coronavirus where you do get herd immunity, that is to say, a level of protection in the population that allows us to resume a normal life. It is true, I think that the baseline assumption for the duration of immunity to this coronavirus will the same as to other coronaviruses, which is not lifelong like measles, but it does not impact upon the building up and maintenance of a level of immunity that allows us to function normally.

Ian Collins: Give us an example if you would, to explain further when you say we have herd immunity to other corona viruses, explain where that has happened and how we know that we have?

Sunetra Gupta: So we know that that these other four seasonal coronaviruses co-circulate. We have data on that. And we know from certain studies that 1-2% of the population will typically be carrying one of these corona viruses. We also know that people are not dying of these corona viruses to the, I mean they are dying but we don’t see the kind of levels of death that we’ve just seen with this novel corona virus. So taken together what we expect; we know that by the time a child is aged 5 they have had exposure to all of these corona viruses, so if you look at the epidemiology of these other corona viruses, what best fits this data is the idea that each of these corona viruses gives you immunity for about, you know, five years shall we say. You get reinfected but you are now immune to severe disease and this process continues through life until you hit a point of immune senescence at which point you again become vulnerable to severe disease and death from these corona viruses. Because overall through this process of becoming immune, losing protection, becoming re-infected you maintain, in the population, a level of immunity that keeps the risk low. The risk of infection depends, not surprisingly, on how many people in the population are immune to the virus and that can be kept at the requisite level even if you lose immunity because, I keep saying, it’s a bit like a cistern… you have a level that is maintained, and even if the cistern leaks you have an in-pouring of water which maintains the level that you need so you can maintain a level of population immunity even though there is a leakage which, as I said you’d expect, the baseline expectation would be that it would be like any other coronavirus.

Ian Collins: So you stand by, despite this study…

Sunetra Gupta: The study has got no new, I mean we’ve known this for a very long time

Ian Collins: So you know about this study, you don’t think it tells the full story perhaps, but you stand by everything you’ve previously said in the Great Barrington Declaration that herd immunity, shielding the elderly, is the way. This hasn’t changed your mind at all?

Sunetra Gupta: No.

Ian Collins: So what do you say to your peers then and, the world of science, like any other profession does divide. When we’ve spoken to some of those others, we played a clip of one, I’m sure you wouldn’t want it to get personal, but she was absolutely incandescent when we spoke to her before that anyone would have the kind of view that you have. She questioned people’s politics, she questioned whether people were being funded, and fundamentally she wanted to know where the peer-reviewed evidence was on the kind of contention that you are putting forward here?

Sunetra Gupta: So it is very unfortunate indeed that people have been resorting to ad hominem attacks on us for having the view that herd immunity can develop to this virus. It’s an unusual state of affairs and I do think that universities should actually come up with a set of regulations and recommendations for how people should behave on platforms such as twitter or indeed in shows like this. So I think that ad hominem attacks are very unfortunate. I do think that there is sufficient scientific evidence that herd immunity builds up against coronaviruses. There have been statements saying that herd immunity never builds up at all which can be easily contradicted, for example, by the Zika virus experience. So, Zika virus: immunity was very low in Brazil when it came in, it caused an epidemic, saw a spate of encephalies and then the epidemic settled down to an endemic state as epidemics typically do, through the build up of natural immunity and now we don’t see the same problem because there is herd immunity in the population. There is this idea that herd immunity is a level of immunity that actually causes the virus or any other pathogen to be eradicated but that’s not what we’re talking about here, that’s something that only one vaccine has ever been able to do.

Ian Collins: Sure. It seems to be, Professor, that this business of the peer-reviewed element, it’s that missing component from the argument that you and other colleagues are putting forward that seems to have upset many people in the world of science. I’m sure you’ve had a torrid time on social media, how do you specifically respond to the lack of peer-reviewed evidence?

Sunetra Gupta: Well, first of all, Miss Gurdasani is incorrect in saying that we have no peer-reviewed papers. We have two peer-reviewed papers on actually the methodology because our lab, Craig Thompson from my lab, was the first to get the neutralising antibody assay up and running and he has had a very busy year really, hardly slept I think, and has had many demands to test samples, so we’ve got two peer-reviewed papers which have been, are out there. We have another paper which is in the process of peer review. As to some of out other very basic papers, like the one in March, we haven’t even tried to publish that because it’s out there. It’s a very simple model, it’s already been replicated. It’s really straight-forward. It’s just a set of simple epidemiological principles which show that a variety of scenarios can fit these data including one where a substantial number of people would have been infected in February or even in January, which ties in also quite nicely with the findings of this ‘React’ study, for example, you’d see anti-body levels of 20% in London in May could well be the result of a decay from 60% in February to 20% in May. So essentially we have some papers that are already peer-reviewed, some that are in the process of peer review, some which have been rejected by journals but on the basis that they are not of sufficient general interest…

Ian Collins: You’re confident that you could stand up for your findings and that of your colleagues in this respect?

Sunetra Gupta: They are in the public domain, they are on MedArchive, they are available for scrutiny. They are very simple models that anybody who has any kind of training in that area can replicate and we would welcome criticism of those results.

Ian Collins: Professor Gupta, it’s great to have you on again

And here’s a graph which suggests Professor Gupta knows what she’s talking about. One of these countries is not like the other…

Stop Press: The marvellous Ms Hartley-Brewer had a bit of a dust up with Professor Paul Elliott, he of the REACT survey report showing antibodies fading, on her talkRADIO show yesterday. This was then followed by an interview with occasional Lockdown Sceptics contributor Professor Anthony Brooks. A reader describes the fun and games.

Julia got into a heated debate with Prof. Elliott in which he kept on refusing to answer her question with regards to falling antibody levels and if he were right why the Swedes aren’t dying on a large scale at the moment. What it is all about can be listened to here.

But the best moment comes when Prof. Brooks reads a passage from Prof. Elliott’s own research report, two lines of which are actually the answer to Julia’s question to Prof. Elliott (the one he refused to answer)! This is the start of that particular segment.

And then it gets even better! She then wonders aloud the one question we all have: “Why would he [Prof. Elliott] not make that point to me? Why are people so intent on telling us this is, uh, that we’re all going to die, basically?” Prof. Brooks gives a start of an answer to it, using terms such as “groupthink” and “hysteria” and researchers being too deep into the subject to be able to step out of it and look at it from a distance.

Really worth your time this stuff, if only for the faces she pulled while she got all this information from Prof. Brooks!

A Massage Postponed…

A reader has emailed us to let us know about a massage she hoped to get, but has had to postpone due to the masseur being a bit of a chin-wobbler.

A while ago, I decided a Close Contact Service (a massage in old money) would not go amiss – all that tension induced by our Dear Leaders required some sorting out. But the person recommended to me was closed due to Covid. Imagine my delight when yesterday I received an email telling me she was opening up again next week. I really should know by now not to get so excited about the prospect of doing Something New.

Her Covid T&Cs have made it impossible for me to go and see her. Perhaps I was an idiot to expect a relaxing, pampering session. These T&Cs are dictated by the rules for Close Contact Services. The conditions are:

* I must wait outside and can only be allowed into the building when she collects me (there is no shelter outside this building)
* I must wear a mask throughout my time with her and can only take it off again when I leave the building
* She will be in full PPE and will do the massage wearing plastic gloves (not my idea of fun)
* I must not touch any surfaces and will be given a plastic container to put my possessions into but it would be best if I brought nothing with me
* I must wash my hands (why is this necessary as I’m not allowed to touch anything?)
* A window will be kept open throughout the treatment (to make sure I freeze to death if Covid doesn’t get me first)
* I must scan the NHS Test and Trace QR code when I enter the room (fat chance, as the app is not on my phone, nor will it ever be)
* All stair bannisters, door handles and bathroom surfaces will be disinfected before I arrive (no light switches? Oh dear)
* A 30-minute gap is left between appointments to clean and ventilate the room (marvellous – more people Following The Science)

So, there you go. Another treat which will have to wait. And this might be a while, as I see that the Sodom And Gomorrah Enterprises (SAGE) are threatening again that the Second Wave will kill me. One good thing about this is that it will make a massage superfluous to requirements.

Round-Up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Two today: “Madness” by Madness and “History Repeating” by Shirley Bassey.

Love in the Time of Covid

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie and Clyde

We have created some Lockdown Sceptics Forums, including a dating forum called “Love in a Covid Climate” that has attracted a bit of attention. 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.

Sharing stories: Some of you have asked how to link to particular stories on Lockdown Sceptics. The answer used to be to first click on “Latest News”, then click on the links that came up beside the headline of each story. But we’ve changed that so the link now comes up beside the headline whether you’ve clicked on “Latest News” or you’re just on the Lockdown Sceptics home page. Please do share the stories with your friends and on social media.

Woke Gobbledegook

We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today it’s the turn of the Labour Party, which has just published it’s “review” of why Covid deaths include a disproportionately large number of BAME people. Apparently, it’s because children aren’t taught enough black history in schools. Odd, because I thought October was Black History Month. Here is Recommendation 19 in the report:

The Government, working with the Devolved Administrations, should launch a review into the diversity of the school curriculum to ensure it includes Black British history, colonialism and Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. The school curriculum should include and inspire all young people.

Needless to say, children are taught about little else in schools these days. Not sure being taught even more about “Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade” will “inspire all young people”.

Rabik Ehsan has written a scathing review of Labour’s “Review” in Spiked.

Stop Press: A bunch of privileged woke students at Clare College, Cambridge, have turned their ire on a college porter for being insufficiently enthusiastic about the proposition that “transwomen are women”. Sounds like a job for the Free Speech Union

“Mask Exempt” Lanyards

We’ve created a one-stop shop 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 (takes a while to arrive). 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 £1.99 from Etsy here. And, finally, if you feel obliged to wear a mask but want to signal your disapproval of having to do so, you can get a “sexy world” mask with the Swedish flag on it here.

Don’t forget to sign the petition on the UK Government’s petitions website calling for an end to mandatory face masks in shops here.

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

And here’s an excellent piece about the ineffectiveness of masks by a Roger W. Koops, who has a doctorate in organic chemistry.

Stop Press: The Swiss Doctor has translated the article in a Danish newspaper about the suppressed Danish mask study. Largest RCT on the effectiveness of masks ever carried out. Rejected by three top scientific journals so far. And how about this – “New CDC Study Finds Majority of Those Infected with COVID-19 ‘Always’ Wore Masks“.

The Great Barrington Declaration

Professor Sunetra Gupta, Professor Martin Kulldorff and Professor Jay Bhattacharya

The Great Barrington Declaration, a petition started by Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya calling for a strategy of “Focused Protection” (protect the elderly and the vulnerable and let everyone else get on with life), was launched last week and the lockdown zealots have been doing their best to discredit it. If you Googled it last week, the top hits were three smear pieces from the Guardian, including: “Herd immunity letter signed by fake experts including ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’.” (Freddie Sayers at UnHerd warned us about this hit job the day before it appeared.) On the bright side, Google UK has stopped shadow banning it, so the actual Declaration now tops the search results – and my Spectator piece about the attempt to suppress it is among the top hits – although discussion of it has been censored by Reddit. The reason the zealots hate it, of course, is that it gives the lie to their claim that “the science” only supports their strategy. These three scientists are every bit as eminent – more eminent – than the pro-lockdown fanatics so expect no let up in the attacks. (Wikipedia has also done a smear job.)

You can find it here. Please sign it. Now well over 600,000 signatures.

Stop Press: The authors of the GDB have expanded the FAQs to deal with some of the arguments and smears that have been made against their proposal. Worth reading in full.

Judicial Reviews Against the Government

There are now so many JRs being brought against the Government and its ministers, we thought we’d include them all in one place down here.

First, there’s the Simon Dolan case. You can see all the latest updates and contribute to that cause here.

Then there’s the Robin Tilbrook case. You can read about that and contribute here.

Then there’s John’s Campaign which is focused specifically on care homes. Find out more about that here.

There’s the GoodLawProject’s Judicial Review of the Government’s award of lucrative PPE contracts to various private companies. You can find out more about that here and contribute to the crowdfunder here.

The Night Time Industries Association has instructed lawyers to JR any further restrictions on restaurants, pubs and bars.

Christian Concern is JR-ing the Welsh Government over its insistence on closing churches during the “circuit breaker”. See its letter-before-action here and an article about it here.

And last but not least there’s the Free Speech Union‘s challenge to Ofcom over its ‘coronavirus guidance’. You can read about that and make a donation here.

Samaritans

If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.

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 hard work (although we have help from lots of people, mainly in the form of readers sending us stories and links). If you feel like donating, please click here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links we should include in future updates, email us here. (Don’t assume we’ll pick them up in the comments.)

And Finally…

JP’s latest video is another must-watch. One of the few rays of light in the gloom.

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