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Professor David Livermore: 4,000 Deaths a Day Implausible

David Livermore, Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of East Anglia, has told Lockdown Sceptics he cannot see how Covid deaths could possibly reach 4,000 a day, the number Sir Patrick Vallance flagged up on Saturday.

In an email exchange with me and Jon Dobinson, the head of Recovery, he made a number of good points.

  • 4,000/day is three times higher than the peak rate for Brazil, which has a population three times greater than the UK’s and a pretty laissez faire attitude to the spread of COVID-19
  • 4,000/day is three times the peak for India, which relaxed a (failing) lockdown in the teeth of a rising infection rate back in May or June. Admittedly, India has a younger population and one with (likely) a lot more non-specific immunity, but it also has a population that’s 20 times larger than the UK’s.
  • SAGE, in the document leaked to the Spectator (estimating 85,000 deaths through the winter) is working on an infection fatality rate of 0.7%. So, 4,000/day translates to ~570,000 infections per day (4,000/0.007) some three to four weeks earlier, or around four million per week. If you use the Stanford IFR of 0.25, it’d equate to 1,600,000 infections per day or 11.2 million per week Given that the SAGE document also (rightly in my view) opines that early reinfection is v. unlikely, such death rates, in the unlikely event that they were to occur, are not sustainable.
  • In the NHS data presented at the press conference, the health service was on course to exceed the currently available number of beds on November 23rd. Lockdown 2 starts on November 5th, therefore new infections acquired on or before November should continue to result in hospital admissions for a further ~14-16 days (six days for symptom onset and eight days for the tiny percentage of those who are infected who require hospital care to be admitted to hospital). So even if lockdown 2.0 reduces transmission, it still won’t have an impact for between 14-16 days, i.e. November 18th–20th. By that date, it should be obvious whether the NHS is three-to-five days away from being overwhelmed. If it does look that way, lockdown sceptics will look very silly; if it doesn’t…
  • According to the above graph, the peak in deaths will occur in the earliest days of December – say the 4th. We know that that the time between infection and death with COVID-19 is typically about 22-26 days (the 14-16 days to hospital admission, then another 8-10 to death). Therefore, people dying on December 4th would have become infected on November 8th-12th. If you accept SAGE’s IFR of 0.7%, that would mean there would need to be 570,000 infections per day by November 8th-12th. That’s quite a leap, given that the highest current estimate (Imperial) is 96,000 per day, doubling every nine days. Even on Imperial’s estimate, you would only get 200,000 infections per day by November 9th, or about one third of what is needed for 4,000 deaths per day by December 4th. Needless to say, estimates of current infections by the ONS and Kings College London are about half those of Imperial, with longer doubling times, meaning that they are even more impossible to reconcile with the Cambridge/PHE death plot.
  • The figure of 4,000 deaths per day becomes even more implausible if you assume an IFR of 0.25 (Ioannidis) rather than 0.7%. If you plug that assumption in, you need 1.6 million infections per day by November 9th to give 4,000 deaths per day by December 4th.
  • It might be argued that you get 4,000 deaths per day because, by December 4th, the NHS has been overwhelmed, leading to deaths of critically ill patients who would otherwise survive. But this has not been stated to be an assumption.
  • As you can see from the above graph, the blue line – based on PHE/Cambridge’s model – shows ~1,000 deaths a day at the end of October/beginning of November, whereas the average for the past seven days has been 260, with no single day above 361.
  • As Prof Carl Heneghan says, the PHE/Cambridge model’s estimate of daily deaths is about four times too high.

Stop Press: A Lockdown Sceptics reader has created a petition calling on the Government to publish the modelling that says deaths will reach 4,000/day. Sign it here.

Professor Carl Heneghan: SAGE’s Scenarios Out By Significant Amount

Prof Carl Heneghan was scathing about Chris Whitty and Patric Vallance’s Covid “doomsday predictions” on Julia Hartley-Brewer’s talkRADIO programme yesterday. He pointed out that:

  • The data from the Cambridge statistical unit that the Chief Scientific Officer relied on was three weeks out of date. More recent data from the same unit is less apocalyptic. Why didn’t he use that?
  • The PHE/Cambridge model predicted 1,000 people a day would die by November 1st. They’re not. Therefore the model is invalid.
  • Prof Tim Spector’s KCL data is showing infections are “flatlining across the board”.
  • The Government has focused too much on worst case scenarios.
  • Government policy isn’t guided by the evidence; rather, it is massaging the evidence to justify the policy.
  • The Government is ignoring the costs of lockdowns, both economically and in terms of non-Covid deaths.
  • The PCR test identifies people as “positive” if they’ve had the virus three or four weeks ago and are no longer infectious.
  • If we go into a second lockdown, what’s the exit strategy? In Cornwall, for instance, there are only about 40 cases/day (out of a population of ~566,000), yet Cornwall is being forced to go into lockdown. So how low do case numbers have to be before we can come out of the lockdown?
  • Yes, the NHS is running at about 90-95% capacity, but that’s normal for this time of year. Why the panic?

Worth watching in full.

Stop Press: Carl Heneghan and Daniel Howdon go into more detail about what’s wrong with SAGE’s doom forecasts on the CEBM blog.

Ross Clark: Boffins Cherry-Picked Data to Frighten Us

Ross Clark has done a demolition job on Witless and Unbalanced’s slides in the Mail.

Take the heat map, for instance (see above). Ross points out that only 29 hospitals are shown on the slide, but the full dataset, published by NHS England, actually includes 482 NHS and private hospitals in England – at least 232 of which (and probably more as some entries were left blank) had not a single COVID-19 patient on October 27th. Hardly surprising since official figures showed there were 9,213 patients in hospital with the disease on October 31st, compared with 17,172 at the spring peak.

Here’s what the map would have looked like if it had included all 482 hospitals.

Ross continues in the same vein, showing how the data were manipulated in nearly all the charts.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: As Boris Johnson was trying to quell the rebellion in his own ranks in the House of Commons yesterday, the news broke that the UK had recorded the fewest daily infections in a fortnight. Department of Health figures showed 18,950 people tested positive for the disease on November 2nd – down 9.3% in a week and the lowest since Monday, October 19th (18,804). The UK also saw another 136 coronavirus deaths yesterday, down from 326 on Saturday.

Mathematician: 4,000 Deaths a Day Doesn’t Add Up

A reader has passed on an analysis of the “Winter Scenarios” graph (above) by a mathematician friend of his. The mathmo makes a good point.

Something was bothering me about Vallance’s graph that shows 4,000 deaths a day.

The 4k a day is the solid blue line projection.

I estimated the total deaths from Nov-Feb from that blue line at, roughly, 210,000 (triangular approximation most likely low).

Using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine’s estimate of the infection fatality rate as being 0.3-0.49%, that suggests between 43-70 million infections when the entire population is only 56 million (some of whom have already had it!!).

Am I missing something here??

Witless and Unbalanced to be Grilled in Parliament Today

Let’s hope Chris Whitty and Patric Vallance are asked about their dodgy data when they appear before the Science and Technology Select Committee in the House of Commons today. You can watch the proceedings live here. Kick off is at 2.30pm. The Telegraph has a preview.

Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty have been summoned before MPs to explain the evidence for a national lockdown, after their 4,000 deaths figure was questioned by scientists.

The pair will face the Science and Technology Select Committee on Tuesday afternoon, amid mounting concern that the graphs shown at a press conference on Saturday evening were out-of-date and alarmist.

Modelling presented by Sir Patrick, the government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, showed that under a worst case scenario 4,000 deaths-a-day could occur by December 20th – four times more than the worst day of the first peak.

However, the forecast was compiled on October 9th, five days before new tier restrictions came into effect, and researchers at Oxford University pointed out that if the modelling had been correct, deaths would now be around 1,000-a-day.

Instead, the current rolling seven day average is around 265 and Monday’s death figure was just 136.

It has since emerged that the modelling was based on an ‘R’ rate of 1.3 to 1.5 and shown despite the Government publishing a rate of between 1.1 and 1.3 the day before the press conference.

Yesterday the Government Office for Science refused to release the key to the graph explaining which groups had modelled the varying scenarios, or what parameters had been used, saying “relevant papers would be published shortly”.

Science Committee Chairman Greg Clark said: “This is an important moment in the handling of the pandemic. Parliament must have the chance to understand and question the evidence and rationale behind the new restrictions in advance of Wednesday’s debate and vote.

“I am grateful to Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty for having agreed immediately to my request to appear before the science and technology committee on Tuesday.”

Second Lockdown Will Wipe 12% Off GDP

Public borrowing this year is expected to surge above £400 billion as the second lockdown is likely to produce another contraction, according to a group of economists. The Telegraph has more.

Thousands of businesses are braced for a “truly devastating” blow from Boris Johnson’s second lockdown amid fears that the economy will collapse 12% this month.

Britain is teetering on the brink of a dreaded double-dip recession following the Prime Minister’s ban on household mixing and non-essential travel coupled with mass pub and restaurant closures, experts at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr) warned.

It is thought that the new measures to contain the spread of Covid will cost taxpayers billions of pounds, destroy swathes of companies and put millions of jobs at risk.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said the crackdown is ” truly devastating for business, for retailers, for manufacturers, for companies who have invested millions in making their factories and their workplaces Covid-safe”.

Around 90% of the recovery in hospitality firms since the summer could be wiped out, according to Niesr, while most other industries will lose roughly half of the hard-earned growth they have clawed back since the first lockdown.

Niesr expects a 12% drop in GDP in November – the second biggest monthly fall on record, behind only April when the last lockdown came in – with the economy shrinking more than more than 3% from already low levels in the final quarter of the year overall.

It accused ministers of a chaotic approach to Covid which has left firms unable to plan ahead and repeatedly undermined hopes of a bounceback.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Boris snubbed the CBI yesterday by cancelling an appearance at its annual conference and sending Alok Sharma in his place. As Ben Marlow in the Telegraph notes, “even a 10-minute Zoom call and a waffly speech knocked up overnight by a junior script-writer about how the Government was “standing side by side” with business, or some equally empty platitude, would have been better than nothing”. You can watch Carolyn Fairbairn, the outgoing head of the CBI, describe just how painful the second lockdown will be for business here.

Liverpool is First City to be Tested in “Moonshot” Programme – Yet Infections Are Falling

Soldiers were spotted on the streets of Liverpool yesterday, gearing up for mass testing on Friday. The Times has more.

From this week, everyone living and working in the city will be offered repeated tests with 2,000 armed forces personnel being deployed to set up and run new testing centres.

If successful the pilot will be extended across the country with the aim of distributing millions of 15-minute tests as Britain comes out of the latest lockdown in December. One senior figure involved in the programme said the aspiration was to offer all Britons a test in time for Christmas.

The Liverpool trial has been made possible by the approval of four new types of instant Covid tests that do not need to be processed in a laboratory and can be used in homes, schools or small testing centres. The Government has already bought millions of the tests and in the past week published air charter contracts worth more than £2 million to ship in supplies from China and South Korea.

With as many as seven in 10 infections asymptomatic, ministers believe that nationwide screening is the only way of living with the virus until a vaccine is found. They are also rehiring thousands of contact tracers to cope with the additional cases expected.

Part of the rationale for mass testing is that it will identify asymptomatic carriers and they will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days, thereby reducing the risk that they’ll infect anyone. But according to the WHO, there’s very little evidence that asymptomatic carriers can transmit the disease. At a WHO press conference on June 8th, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said:

We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing. They’re following asymptomatic cases, they’re following contacts and they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare and much of that is not published in the literature.

And why is Liverpool the first city to be used in this experiment, given that the number of daily cases in the city is falling? If the Government is trying to persuade us that the traffic light system isn’t working, putting Liverpool in the spotlight is unwise since it shows that placing the city in Tier 3, which happened on October 14th, has significantly reduced the R number.

An Island Prison Camp

I got a disturbing note from a reader today about how some people would dearly love to transform our island into a prison camp.

Today I had to drive my wife to Lincoln Hospital for an eye appointment (a miracle in itself). I took a turn round the city while waiting and popped into a shop.

I listened with fascination as the proprietor (in his 60s) regaled a chum with how his NHS nurse son nearly resigned last week in protest at his ward being made a Covid ward and because the families of three Covid patients had had the temerity to ask to see their relative in hospital.

He added that his NHS son thinks it’s entirely the public’s fault the virus has come back because they’re not obeying the rules. He went on: ‘The armed services are sitting around on their backsides doing nothing. They should be on the streets. That’d sort the virus out.” Yes, of course it would – how stupid of everyone else not to have thought of that magic solution!

Perhaps we should be grateful the Government is as incompetent as it is because otherwise it could make serious use of stooges like this chap to turn the country into a prison island overnight. It struck me as a short leap to shooting people and hanging them from lamp posts for not ‘obeying the rules’. And thank God the Nazis didn’t invade in 1940 because you can really see just how easy a ride some plucky Brits would have given them.

T-Cell Immunity Lasts At Least Six Months

Electron microscope image of Sars-CoV-2 (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. Photograph: National Institutes of Health/AFP/Getty Images

A new study has found that people who’ve been infected with Covid and recovered have immunity via T-cells, even if they don’t have antibodies. The Guardian has more.

Cellular (T-cell) immunity against the virus that causes COVID-19 is likely to be present within most adults six months after primary infection, with levels considerably higher in patients with symptoms, a study suggests.

The data offers another piece of the puzzle that could be key to understanding whether previous Sars-CoV-2 infections – the virus behind COVID-19 – can prevent reinfection, and if so, for how long.

The study, led by the UK coronavirus immunology consortium, evaluated 100 non-hospitalised healthcare workers in March and April after antibody responses were detected in them. It is yet to be peer-reviewed.

It is the first study to offer data on T-cell levels six months after infection in people with mild or asymptomatic disease that is likely to represent the majority of infections, the authors say.

The results of the study are likely to be viewed positively, after previous studies suggested antibody levels can decline within the first few months post-infection.

Worth reading in full.

Pro-Remain Group Smears Farage’s New Party

A reader has passed on an email he received from Stay European, an anti-Brexit group, smearing Reform UK, Nigel Farage and Richard Tice’s new political party.

Nigel Farage relaunching his Brexit Party as an anti-lockdown party is an incredibly dangerous moment.

The resources – media profile, support base, dark money – that were used to push through the Brexit disaster are now being used to deny the reality of coronavirus, and try to force a premature end to lockdown.

If he is successful, this could cost many thousands of lives. We need to take action now to stop him.

I want to take action to stop Farage.

I’ll make a donation.

Farage and ‘Reform UK’ are now actively spreading fake news about Covid-19, calling for a ‘herd immunity’ policy. This goes beyond political disagreement – it is a literal matter of life and death.

We do not believe that a party whose sole aim is to spread disinformation about a pandemic is a legitimate political party.

There are no elections any time soon – their plan is, instead, to fuel coronavirus denial on TV and online. So we plan to challenge every media outlet, including social media, that gives a platform to this danger to public health.

I’ll take action against Farage.

I’ll fund the fight.

If you press the ‘take action’ button, we’ll be in touch with action alerts on what you can do to help stop Farage.

Thank you for supporting Stay European.

Another reader, who is pro-Remain but anti-lockdown, received the same email and wasn’t impressed.

That they should try to get me to support a campaign against a possible anti-lockdown candidate is particularly ironic. My reason for being a Remainer was I liked the fact that the EU courts often, back in what seem such distant times now, blocked Whitehall’s attempts to increase the British Government’s dangerous authoritarian surveillance and policing powers. I was a Remainer because I considered the EU better for libertarianism than Whitehall. I was of course pretty surprised when the EU courts didn’t ban the lockdown the moment Boris started it, and that was the moment the EU stopped really mattering much to me. Much as I still consider Farage a very unpalatable individual, now that he’s standing for an anti-lockdown cause I could quite likely vote for him – “quite likely” becoming “certainly” if no other parties are anti-lockdown when I next get hold of a ballot paper.

In sending a mass email like that, Stay European has decided that it doesn’t believe people can be both pro-European and anti-lockdown. I think plenty of people who hold both viewpoints are now deciding which one they care more about hanging on to. What It is doing here is undermining the pro-European cause in favour of advertising their conformist views about this panicdemic. If anyone in Grimsby or Workington was inclined to vote for a pro-EU party at the next election, what Stay European has just done is conflate supporting close ties with the EU with the lockdown ideology which is decimating the economies of such towns.

If other pro-European campaigns follow this foolish example then this will be how Remainerism is utterly ended as a political movement. A shame, thinks the Remainer in me, but I’ve bigger things to worry about now. Today the thing which I most want to remain is “not in lockdown”

It Won’t Take Much to Change People’s Minds

A reader has written to us with a heart-warming story about how easy he found it to change people’s attitudes towards mask-wearing.

I too despair when I read polls suggesting that most of the population is pro-lockdown. However, my experience suggests that it wouldn’t take much to change people’s minds.

I’ve just finished the season at a popular heritage site where my role has been to regulate the flow of visitors into the keep in order that we all stay safe (sigh). The keep is a three storey stone tower with numerous large holes in the walls but because there is a roof visitors are obliged to wear a mask. At the start of the Summer I decided to strike a blow for the resistance, gathered up my rather sparse supply of courage and greeted visitors by saying that many people are exempt from wearing masks but that I wouldn’t dream of asking (hint hint). The result was that I was politely ignored. So I simplified the line and told visitors that they didn’t have to wear a mask if they chose not to; it was up to them. What a difference! I estimate that 80% of people would now take off their masks and thank me, usually commenting on how much they hated the damned things. (You won’t be surprised to learn that the the exceptions were usually those in their 20s.) Here’s the point: I had absolutely no authority to tell people not to wear masks and I’m sure the majority of visitors knew that but because I was an official figure they felt able to kick against what they clearly regard as ridiculous rules. All it will take, I believe, is for someone with rather more authority than I have, a city mayor, or respected MP say, to stand up and tell people that they don’t have to wear masks if they don’t want to, or that they can meet in groups of eight if they want to, and many people will do just that. Rather a pipe dream, granted, because it would take a lot of courage. But we can hope.

Round-Up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Just one today: “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush (video is awful).

Love in the Time of Covid

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, I’m going to reproduce in full a story that appeared on Guido Fawkes about an ‘open letter’ that’s been circulating following Kemi Badenoch’s barnstorming performance at the dispatch box a couple of weeks ago when she denounced Critical Race Theory.

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch sent Twitter’s wokesters and academia’s race baiters into meltdown a fortnight ago when her savaging of “Critical Race Theory” (CRT) went viral, with 2.4 million views. Guido’s since picked up on an open letter doing the rounds in nutty left-wing academic circles, who – unable to take on the substance of what Badenoch argues – have chosen instead to misrepresent her words. Aside from their attacks on the substance of Kemi’s words – incorrectly claiming she wants “the banning of certain ideas or schools of thought” and that she misunderstands history and CRT – the mostly former-polytechnic-based academics now claim CRT has “scientific principles” behind their ideology. Eugenicists, phrenologists and Marxists have argued the same for decades..

Looking into the list of mainly non-black academics telling Kemi Badenoch to ‘educate herself’, many have a track record of peddling conspiracy theories, hard-left drivel and even racist tropes against ethnic minorities they disagree with. Guido brings you some of the eye-catching highlights:

Dr Goldie Osuri – Associate Professor, University of Warwick

Claimed antisemitism in the Labour Party was an ‘Israeli Lobby kind of idea’
Said the Israeli Prime Minister was a butcher and that Israelis were ‘bloodthirsty’

Dr Sadhvi Dar – Senior Lecturer in CSR and Business Ethics, Queen Mary’s

Accuses the Royal family of upholding white supremacy
Believes white people subordinate all people of colour
Believes universities are an arm of the state designed to keep non-white people down.
Blamed racism for obesity

Dr Hannah Robbins – Director of Black Studies, University of Nottingham

Equates singing Rule Britannia with celebrating mass slaughter.
Claimed singing Rule Britannia at the Proms was a constant reminder of how her ancestors had been killed.

Dr Jou Yin Teoh – Lecturer and Racial and Cultural Equity, Brunel University London

Apologist for the Chinese regime: “Even the Chinese government is able to acknowledge that anti-black sentiments exist in China and is taking proactive steps to acknowledge it. So let’s not be apologists for bad behaviour, shall we?”

Lubaaba Al-Azami – PhD Candidate English Literature, University of Liverpool

Defended Jeremy Corbyn by calling Tony Blair the architect of a violent racist ideology
Called Boris Johnson ‘human scum’

Dr Hadiza Kere Abdulrahman – Lecturer in Inclusive Education, Bishop Grosseteste University

Asked non-white conservatives to consider whether they were truly conservatives because of their race.

Professor Bobby Banerjee – Associate Dean of Research & Enterprise, The Business School, University of London

Claims there are too many white people at business schools and that these schools continue to profit from killing people

Dr Tanzil Chowdhury – Lecturer in Public Law, Queen Mary, University of London

Accused the Labour party of destroying Iraq and Afghanistan ‘bastardising’ their children
Blamed Britain’s foreign policy for terror attacks on the UK by extremists.

Dr Triona Fitton – School of Social Policy Lecturer, University of Kent

Believes Starmer is using Jews as a cover for factional bloodletting

Dr Gurnam Singh – Honorary Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick

Teaches students that a belief in meritocracy is evidence of white supremacy

Annabel Crowley – University of the Arts London

Asserts “non-white people in the UK grow up enveloped by institutional white supremacy”
Sees white people as a ‘discomforting force’.
Waving the English flag shows ‘unfaltering loyalty to whiteness’.

Zey Suka-Bill – University College London

Believes what is taught at schools and universities uphold western dominance and whiteness.
Believes the curriculum at universities is ‘whitewashed’ and used to marginalise non-white people.

Dr David Wearing – International Relations, University of Southampton

Described Sir Keir Starmer as a “middling white guy plank of wood with a haircut” and said Labour was “fucked” if Rebecca Long-Bailey was not elected leader.
Believes black students only thrive when their teacher and authors look like them.
Admits Labour members do not care about racism

Looks like Kemi’s on pretty sound ideological ground…

“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.

Mask Censorship: 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.

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 month and the lockdown zealots have been doing their best to discredit it. If you Googled it a week after launch, 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.

Update: 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…

This letter from six year-old Teddy Robinson to Sir Graham Brady is genuine according to his proud, Lockdown Sceptics-reading parents, who sent it to us yesterday. Spelling and grammar looks suspiciously good, but the sentiments seem authentic – particularly the bit about not wanting to stop swimming lessons. Well done Teddy!

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