Do the facts matter anymore, or is it just about spinning a narrative that justifies politicians’ latest radical intervention? The Prime Minister has claimed the fall in infections across England is all thanks to his latest school-closing, enforcement-heavy, virus-busting quarantine, despite the data showing the decline was already underway before the third lockdown was imposed. The Mail tries to bring some facts to bear on the matter.
Despite the latest huge death toll, Mr Johnson sounded a notably optimistic tone about the emerging impact of the restrictions. He said the country was “now starting to see the beginnings of some signs” that the crackdown was having an effect in parts of the country, while stressing it was “early days” and urged people to “keep their discipline”.
MailOnline analysis suggests the outbreak in England may have started slowing before the blanket lockdown on January 4th, with infection numbers peaking in the worst-hit regions at the start of the year. The tide appears to have turned in parts of the country experiencing the worst outbreaks – London, the South East and the East of England – in the first week of 2021, with cases coming down since then.
Coronavirus hospital admissions have also started to fall in London and the South East, although the numbers of patients are still rising on wards after surging above the peaks recorded in the first wave.
The figures bolster claims that Tier 4 – which kept schools open – thwarted the spread of the super-infectious mutant strain of the virus. But it appears the measure did not drive down infections fast enough for ministers, who instead opted for further curbs to daily life.
Here’s the latest graph from the ZOE Covid Symptom Study App showing infections peaking at the start of the year.
Stop Press: Nic Sturge-On has brought in even more restrictions in Scotland. Heed well, England – Boris will soon be copying her. From the BBC:
Only shops selling essential items – such as clothing, footwear, baby equipment, homeware and books – will be allowed to offer click and collect.
Collections must also be outdoors, with appointments staggered to avoid queuing.
And takeaways can no longer allow customers indoors, and must instead operate from a hatch or doorway.
Yet according to the ZOE App Scotland infections appear to have peaked in the middle of last week.
Someone should tell Nicola.
Stop Press 2: Recovery carried out a Twitter poll on the BBC’s coverage of the crisis and got an impressive 20,336 responses. The results make for grim reading for the Beeb.
When Lockdown Sceptics reader Tracy van den Broek’s GP surgery sent her their patient survey, it’s probably safe to say they weren’t prepared for the robust response they got back. Here’s what she sent them instead of the completed questionnaire.
Thank you for sending the questionnaire. I see the questions are framed in such a way that you will be able to give information to the Government and media which will be used to assure “the public” that all is well at the GP surgery level for most people.
I am appalled by the fact that the NHS has become our “master” in the past year – and has become essentially a Covid-only service for much of the year. The distortions of the situation shown on the BBC have implied that insufficient capacity for annual seasonal demand is a new thing. Because of my connection with the hospital as a volunteer on the chaplaincy team for the past 10 years I happen to know that treating patients in the corridors and bed shortage are annual events.
That the measures designed to “protect the NHS” are actually causing incalculable misery amongst carers, disabled people, dementia sufferers, and even otherwise healthy widows and others who live alone, is entirely overlooked.
That in order to “protect the NHS” normal development of children of all ages is distorted is reprehensible. We are raising a generation who will see themselves and others as a bio-hazard. The thwarting of normal social development of teenagers (raising suicidal ideation amongst countless individuals) is nothing short of a disaster – the consequences of these measure will be evident in the lives of this generation long after most SAGE scientists are dead.
I am a carer for my 15 year-old with Down’s Syndrome. All our normal social events have been denied us, putting us under immense psychological pressure – and we are by no means unique. Amongst my wide circle of friends up and down the country – and random people I have engaged in conversation – I only know of one person under 80 who has died of Covid (and he had chronic heart-disease and was morbidly obese). I know fewer than 10 people who have had Covid – but they all recovered.
The NHS, in its inception, was designed to serve people. As a master it is tyrannical (controlling and coercive) and has devastated our nation in too many ways to calculate. We are all the subjects of a huge psychological experiment and we didn’t give our informed consent. This has to be illegal and I hope that someone will show it to be so in due course.
I’m similarly unimpressed with my GP surgery – though as I stood in the airlock outside the empty waiting room in November, sobbing, the receptionist took pity on me and helped by getting a prescription for anti-depressants (which I’d requested a month earlier) signed by the GP who was sitting in his office somewhere in the building.
It all makes me more determined to do my best to take care of my own health through diet/exercise and alternative measures than follow the diktats of the pharmaceutical industry and its minions.
I most certainly do not have sufficient faith in this system to roll up my sleeve and become a guinea pig for a product which hasn’t passed through the normal, lengthy safety tests, and where the suppliers are indemnified.
Tracy isn’t having a good week. She adds:
Having been marched out of Costco last week (wearing my lanyard and in the company of my distressed 15 year-old daughter) because I wasn’t wearing a mask, I’m going to write to them too. I was told by the employee that it doesn’t matter that there is “exemption” allowed out there in the rest of the country, this was a privately owned company and this was their policy. I wondered whether I was on American territory when I was in there – and whether if they chose to require shoppers to stand on their heads, that would also be similarly enforceable.
A Lockdown Sceptics reader has written to us deeply concerned about the adulation and copying of China’s handling of the coronavirus by Western Governments. He should know. He has lived in China on and off since 2002 and owns a home and company there. While he has been shut out of the country since the start of the crisis, he is frequently in touch with people there and has a good idea what it is like right now.
Some politicians and journalists like to hold China up as a success story of the handling of the coronavirus crisis. They point to its low reported deaths, its almost non-existent cases and the impression that life is seemingly back to normal.
That is an incomplete picture. Life in China is not normal and the fight against Covid is not over by a long way.
The reality is that life in China has changed dramatically since the start of the coronavirus crisis, in three very significant ways.
1. Surveillance. Prior to the crisis, the population could move around freely without restriction. Now, you cannot enter most major public places like a station, an airport, a mall or any government building, without scanning a tracking app on your phone that clears you for entry with a green smiley face. Most residential compounds also require scanning to enter. So after you leave your home, you need to pass a scan to come back in.
This surveillance has been added to the financial surveillance that has been in place for the last few years. Every money transaction takes place with one of the two giant payment platforms, WePay or Alipay, and is linked to your ID number which the government tracks.
So the surveillance of the population is now total and absolute. The government knows everything that everyone is doing.
2. Face masks. Contrary to beliefs in the west, prior to the coronavirus crisis face masks were virtually non-existent. The few people that did wear them might have done so on bad pollution days and even then it would have been a rare sight. Masks are now ubiquitous. There is supposedly no coronavirus in China but you need to wear a mask in airports, stations, malls, large public gatherings, taxis and all government buildings.
3. Closed borders. China has for all intents and purposes shut its borders and closed itself from the world indefinitely. Permits to enter China are hard to obtain. For those who obtain one, on arrival they must pass a quarantine of three weeks in isolation in a government assigned hotel room.
Like every nation that has opted for a Zero Covid approach, China’s fight against Covid isn’t over by reaching zero cases. With coronavirus continuing to spread to hundreds of millions around the world, China’s fight to keep the virus away is ongoing, relentless and, in the absence of a vaccine that provides 100% immunity, permanent.
Even with closed borders, strict entry protocols and the most far-reaching surveillance on the planet, outbreaks occur from time to time at which point entire cities are severely locked down, and their entire populations forced to pass a test.
So when politicians fantasise about Zero Covid and try to promote it pointing to China’s success they should be clear, honest and open about what it would really mean.
It would mean closing borders indefinitely, putting in place a system of surveillance of the population and executing severe targeted lockdowns and compulsory testing at the first sign of an infection in the community. It would also probably mean on-going wearing of masks in numerous settings like public transport or any large gatherings of crowds.
Zero Covid is not a strategy for eliminating Covid, it is a plan to reorganise society permanently in the image created by the Chinese Communist Party.
The failure of epidemiological models such as Neil Ferguson’s to incorporate pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2 was one of the two basic errors Dr Mike Yeadon identified in SAGE’s advice throughout the pandemic. A new rapid response has now appeared in the BMJ by a researcher at Umea University in Sweden, Rachel F. Nicoll, to highlight further recent findings on this important topic.
Since Peter Doshi’s excellent feature in the BMJ in September, entitled “COVID-19: Do many people have pre-existing immunity?“, further studies on unexposed subjects have now been undertaken. Although all studies so far are small, they indicate that a significant proportion of individuals globally entered the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic with some pre-existing immunity. This is true of studies of IgG antibodies, memory B cells and T cells.
The pre-existing immunity makes a difference to clinical outcomes.
Patients with a previously detected human coronavirus had less severe COVID-19; despite a similar rate of infection, hospitalisation and viral burden, the milder disease seemed to be due to more subdued inflammatory responses, leading to lower ICU admission and death.
As Peter Doshi points out, the WHO and CDC acknowledged the existence of pre-existing immunity to the 2009 swine flu epidemic but then ignored the evidence 11 years later. Furthermore, cross-reactive immunity to influenza strains has been modelled to be a critical influencer of susceptibility to newly emerging, potentially pandemic, influenza strains.
Epidemiologists have been calling SARS-CoV-2 a ‘novel virus’, implying no pre-existing immunity. Nevertheless, it is clear that some considerable pre-existing immunity is present but has not been incorporated into the modelling. Furthermore, Government policy decisions are being made based on the number of positive PCR tests (indicating the presence of a viral RNA fragment rather than current infection) instead of investigating the proportion of the population that has developed antibody, B cell or T cell immunity.
Worth reading in full.
While bookies are famed for giving you odds on any outcome you can imagine, it seems when it comes to Covid some things are out of play, as one Lockdown Sceptics reader discovered.
I am not a betting man by nature but prior to the third lockdown the bookies were one of the few places of entertainment still open to the public. So on Christmas Eve I decided to amuse myself by placing a bet.
Paddy Power have a reputation of being able to give odds on anything you care to bet on so I wandered into one of their Glasgow branches, approached the counter and said that I wanted to place the following bet:
“I bet that 10 years from today Boris Johnson, Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon will have been sent to jail for the restrictions and other actions they took to impose lockdown.”
Apparently this was something of a deviation from the usual bets placed in the establishment and the guy and girl behind the counter were intrigued to know more (“what the f**k’s that all about?” as the girl put it).
I explained that two or three years from now very few people in the country will personally know someone that died of COVID-19 in the pandemic but that absolutely everyone will know someone who was financially ruined, committed suicide, developed mental health problems or died of cancer or other survivable illnesses that were not diagnosed or treated due to the lockdown restrictions.
By that time there will have been a full-scale enquiry. Rather than the outcome politicians are expecting at the moment (that the lockdown should have been earlier, harder, longer) the enquiry will show that the lockdown failed in its delusional objective of preventing the spread of an airborne respiratory virus and inflicted devastating economic and physical and mental health damage on the population that ultimately killed more people than COVID-19.
On the subject of Covid deaths the enquiry will also find that the tens of thousands of people claimed to have died “with Covid” is an outrageous distortion of the actual number of people whose deaths were genuinely due to the virus which will be a fraction of the Project Fear number being bandied about at present.
The enquiry will conclude that the real disaster in terms of lives and human misery was not COVID-19 but lockdown.
Then the blame begins.
Who is to blame for the coronavirus? Was it an act of God? A wet market culinary adventure too far? A bad day at the office for a Wuhan lab technician? We may never know.
Who is to blame for lockdown? Easy. Politicians. (And those “expert” SAGE members and broadcast media hacks but they are likely to wriggle off the hook. Not so the politicians – for a start people hate them already.)
The media will switch effortlessly from tear jerking “Covidiots Killed my Granny” stories to “Lockdown Let My Angel Boy Die of Cancer” front pages. People will be angry. People will want revenge. The clamour will grow. The process will be put in place.
The Paddy Power staff were very receptive to this reasoning but said they would have to phone “head office down south” to get the odds and that I should come back in an hour or so. So off I went for a wander round the shops that were open (normally I would have gone for a pint but hey, cretins).
When I returned the guy behind the counter looked up but seeing me his face fell. He said he thought it was a fun bet and he really wanted to know what odds it would get but that he had been told on the phone by his superiors that they “were not allowed to take any coronavirus related bets”.
So there you have it. Covid restrictions extend to Covid bets. I may not be able to put my money where my mouth is but in predicting that the lockdown criminals will end up behind bars I think I have picked a winner. Time will tell.
Lockdown Sceptics reader Philip Patrick has written to us from Japan to say that Covidmania has begun to grip the country and push it towards the lockdown precipice despite the low death toll to date.
Japan is often cited as a Covid success story. Officially we are at 4,100 deaths now, which given a population of 126 million and densely packed cities, is, on the face of it, remarkable. There has been endless speculation as to why we’ve got off so lightly, with my favourite being the wacky idea that the lack of sibilant sounds in the language means less saliva is transferred during conversation. But it’s the more robust overall health, especially of seniors, and possible greater immunity from prior exposure to other Corona viruses that are the most plausible explanations.
If visitors were allowed into the country, they would probably be surprised by how normally life seems to be continuing. There is no heavy-handed police enforcement of a bewildering array of ever-changing micro-regulations, and no signs of panic. Schools are operating as normal, and universities, most of them, going back to face-to-face tuition from next term. Masks, fetishised by the Japanese at the best of times, are ubiquitous and de rigueur, but only a few of the bigger department stores such as Isetan (the Japanese Harrods) insist on them, and the one time I forgot I was reminded with such exquisite gentleness it was almost charming.
However, all of the above good news could be caveated with that very useful Japanese phrase ‘toriaezu’ (for the time being).
For, just as in the UK, there is a steady drumbeat of despair from the media, with a daily fusillade of uncontextualised statistics, and reports of hospitals on the brink, always on the brink, of being overwhelmed. The media are shrieking about the ‘case’ numbers with a sort of demented zeal (NHK is exactly the same as the BBC in its coverage) and there is no reporting of lockdown scepticism – which does exist. A few on-the-make politicians are trying their best to scare everyone – most prominently Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, whose daily gloom laden briefings are very similar to those of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Worth reading in full.
A Lockdown Sceptics reader – a PhD student in Australia – has sent us a list of the ways public debate over COVID-19 and lockdowns often generate more heat than light.
- The statement used frequently to silence questions – that there is “no evidence to support xyz” – is disingenuous, nor is this actually a rebuttal of a question. As researchers know, the absence of evidence does not prove the evidence of absence.
- ‘Cherry picking’ data (only using data that supports pre-determined conclusions) is another frequent issue and one of the more insidious methods of skewing findings or debates while appearing reasonable at first glance.
- Another tactic, playing the person not the issue – through labels of ‘Covid-denier’, ‘conspiracy-theorist’ or ‘anti-vaxxer’ if a person diverges from the ‘official’ line or asks questions – serves no one except authoritarian bullies and their side-kicks. It belongs with cancel culture and does not allow for questions to be raised (however well- or ill-informed), soundly debated, and concerns either validated or laid to rest rationally.
- That a ‘fact’ or ‘view’ has come from an authority should never place it above debate and discussion, as all researchers know. Indeed, authorities can (and have historically) sometimes been wrong, ‘got at’ or otherwise become unreliable. ‘Official’ does not automatically equal ‘reliable’, valid or true.
- By extension, so-called ‘fact-check’ (e.g. provided by major media sources including AP and Reuters) undertaken through appeal to official sources, or to experts who fail to substantiate their opinions, or through appeal to consensus, or other media reports, is inappropriate and substandard. Irrespective of whether it is an attempt at socially-responsible reporting, such methods of fact-checking fail miserably to meet the well-established academic standards of inquiry and discussion, crucial to informed discussion and arriving at valid findings.
- It is only through considering conflicting, knowledgeable and substantiated viewpoints from an objective, informed, unimpassioned perspective that we can hope to arrive at a worthwhile level of understanding. Without such discussion, statements like ‘following the science’ are not merely a nonsense, they’re misleading and dangerous.
- None of this would matter if, and this is the point, much of the mainstream media had not effectively positioned itself as an authority competent to judge the content, rather than engaging in investigating and reporting on the debates raging (and I do mean raging) among scientists over COVID-19.
- Furthermore, it is not necessarily that data or facts should be questioned (though often they should) but rather the interpretation should always be questioned.
Paul (not his real name), the retired detective jailed and fined for painting a pub in July, has been back in touch with an update on his fine.
You previously published an item about my Covid arrest for painting the walls of a pub.
The incident occurred on July 3rd and the police issued a fixed penalty notice on October 3rd.
I refused to pay the fine.
The next step should have been for the police to lay information before a court so a summons could be issued and the matter proceed to a court hearing.
Well, what happened next?
You may be aware that there is a “limitation on proceedings” of six months for “summary” offences heard in the magistrates court.
The police let the time limit expire to prevent the case reaching court. The “fine” is therefore void.
How many more of these “fines” have been “disappeared” in this fashion?
With 45,000 lockdown fines reported now to have been issued by the police, how many others have gone (or will go) the same way?
- “Year of extraordinary popular delusion” – Excellent piece by Edward Chancellor for Bloomberg Breaking Views in which he says the groupthink among Western political leaders about how to respond to the Covid crisis is an example of the mania Charles Mackay identified in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
- “Lockdown: A police constable’s perspective” – An anonymous police officer writes a letter saying he has “watched in disbelief and dismay at the way in which some of my colleagues across the UK have resorted to extreme force and heavy-handed tactics against people who are simply exercising their basic human rights”. We can’t vouch for the author actually being a copper but it’s remarkable if so
- “Parents are being gaslighted about home-schooling” – Andrew Hankinson in the Spectator isn’t prepared to carry on pretending it’s possible to do your job and teach your children at the same time
- “What They Said about Lockdowns before 2020” – Amelia Janaskie and Micha Gartz in AIER recall what was once a truth universally accepted – that lockdowns do more harm than good
- “Herd Immunity to CCP Virus Not Attainable in 2021: WHO” – WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan says: “We are not going to achieve any levels of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021”, and thus “physical distancing, hand washing, and mask-wearing” will still be required for the foreseeable, reports the Epoch Times
- “Deaths of despair’ during COVID-19 have risen significantly in 2020, new research says” – The pandemic and recession were associated with a 10-60% increase in deaths of despair above already high pre-pandemic levels, according to University of Chicago Economics Professor Casey Mulligan, reports MarketWatch
- “A lockdown of the mind” – Emma Webb in Spiked links the latest Big Tech clampdown on Trump supporters to the Covid censorship spearheaded by the WHO
- “The West should envy Japan’s COVID-19 response” – Ramesh Thakur in Japan Times says the Japanese shouldn’t listen to the West’s lockdown zealots
- “More on the inconsistency between the official NHS ‘Covid Pathways’ data and the official ‘Covid cases’ data” – Norman Fenton on the Probability and Risk blog highlights the discrepancy between PCR and non-PCR based Covid data
- “These senseless lockdown fines will only foster contempt among the public” – Ross Clark in the Mail taps into outrage at the ludicrous policing Brits now face
- “Edinburgh Covid expert Devi Sridhar says masks should be worn outside to cut virus infections” – Who is this “Covid expert”? Is she related to the social anthropologist of the same name?
- “US report into Covid origins expected to say Chinese army grew ‘dangerous coronaviruses’ in Wuhan” – Tsk, tsk. Isn’t the claim that SARS-CoV-2 is manmade supposed to be one of those “conspiracy theories” that now get you kicked off YouTube, Facebook and Twitter? Whatever can the Telegraph be thinking?
- “Covid hospital admissions fall in London and the south east for first time since Xmas” – The Health Service Journal catches up with Lockdown Sceptics
- “After a decade of deprivation, we need policies that prioritise recovery for families in poverty” – Press release from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that puts a pro-lockdown spin on it but is clear that for families in poverty “a third lockdown will push many to the brink when they have few resources left”
- “COVID-19, the vaccine and the betrayal of sub-Saharan Africa” – Dr David Bell and Muhammad Usman Khan on PANDA say there has been a strange and deadly shift in health priorities
- “Bank customers could have accounts CLOSED if they refuse to wear face masks in branches” – The Sun reports on the latest in maskophilia from HSBC
- “In 2021, governments will claim victory, maintain the illusion of control without admitting mistakes” – Andrew Mahon in the Westphalian Times has a premonition of how the year is going to pan out
- “Our freedom must return not a day later than necessary” – Allison Pearson lays it on the line in the Telegraph
- “GCSEs and A-levels likely to be partly assessed by cut-down versions of exams” – More confusion, more U-turns, more disruption for our beleaguered young people. From the Guardian
- “Incidence and Secondary Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Schools” – A new paper in Pediatrics that looked at schools in North Carolina found that “within-school secondary transmission” is “extremely limited”
Seven today: “Policy of Truth” by Depeche Mode, “Everything But The Truth” by Lucinda Williams, “When Will We All Be Free?” By Karan Casey, “You can’t do that” by The Beatles, “Tricked and trapped” by The Chairman of the Board, “There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner” by Noel Coward and “The New Normals” by Hot Beer (a Lockdown Sceptics reader – check it out).
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 as well as post comments below the line, but that should just be a one-time thing. Any problems, email the Lockdown Sceptics webmaster Ian Rons here.
Some of you have asked how to link to particular stories on Lockdown Sceptics so you can share it. To do that, click on the headline of a particular story and a link symbol will appear on the right-hand side of the headline. Click on the link and the URL of your page will switch to the URL of that particular story. You can then copy that URL and either email it to your friends or post it on social media. Please do share the stories.
You can follow Lockdown Sceptics on our social media accounts which are updated throughout the day. To follow us on Facebook, click here; to follow us on Twitter, click here; to follow us on Instagram, click here; to follow us on Parler, click here; and to follow us on MeWe, click here.
We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today, it’s the news that Powell’s bookshop in Portland, Oregon has succumbed to Antifa demonstrators outside and pulled Andy Ngo’s anti-Antifa book from its shelves. Ella Whelan in the Telegraph is not impressed.
In his work, Ngo claims that Antifa protests, riots and public performances are responsible for the rising political violence in America. On the other hand, Ngo stands accused of “doxxing” Antifa activists (revealing their real names online) and stirring up Right-wing hatred of them on Twitter.
Last year, footage of Ngo, recorded by an undercover Left-wing activist, showed him present at a discussion among the Proud Boys, the far-Right group, about an upcoming fight with Antifa. Ngo strongly denied any links to such groups, calling himself an independent journalist, but while reporting on one such protest battle, he was attacked by Antifa activists who threw a milkshake on him, egged him and beat him up.
Critics claim that the issue is a journalistic one, too, and that Ngo plays fast and loose with the facts. For an 2018 article in the Wall Street Journal, for instance, he went to Whitechapel and portrayed a council sign banning alcohol consumption as evidence of “Islamic England”. (The Tower Hamlets authorities said that they were targeting anti-social behaviour.)
But even if Antifa were right, when they allege that Ngo is protected by the Proud Boys when reporting on demonstrations (which his lawyer has described as “absolutely false”), or that his work is mean or misleading, it’s irrelevant. Trying to get his book banned is wrong.
If we start banning books on the basis that their authors have disagreeable views or a penchant for exaggeration, half the shelves in the politics aisles would be empty.
It’s the latest in a long string of demands for censorship, and yet again the noisy activists have won.
Powell’s could do with the defiant attitude of the many radical Left-wing bookshops that went before it. It has succumbed to the pressure of a handful of young Antifa activists, brandishing their angry Tweets, and has announced that it will not stock Ngo’s book on its shelves and “will not promote it”. Whether you’re Ngo’s biggest fan or think he’s an opportunist with dodgy politics, you should be worried about these attacks.
Bookshops are independent businesses, and can stock whatever they like – but when angry mobs call the shots about what we are and aren’t allowed to read, we have a problem.
Stop Press: A row has broken out in Southall over the decision to rename Havelock Road “Guru Nanak Road” after the founder of Sikhism. Apparently, Sir Major General Henry Havelock, whom the road was named after, is steeped in the sins of British colonialism.
Stop Press 2: Gay roles should be given to gay actors, says Russell T. Davies. Does that mean straight roles have to be given to straight actors too?
We’ve created a one-stop shop down here for people who want to obtain a “Mask Exempt” lanyard/card – because wearing a mask causes them “severe distress”, for instance. You can print out and laminate a fairly standard one for free here and the Government has instructions on how to download an official “Mask Exempt” notice to put on your phone here. And 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. Another reader has created an Android app which displays “I am exempt from wearing a face mask” on your phone. Only 99p.
If you’re a shop owner and you want to let your customers know you will not be insisting on face masks or asking them what their reasons for exemption are, you can download a friendly sign to stick in your window here.
And here’s an excellent piece about the ineffectiveness of masks by a Roger W. Koops, who has a doctorate in organic chemistry. See also the Swiss Doctor’s thorough review of the scientific evidence here and Prof Carl Heneghan and Dr Tom Jefferson’s Spectator article about the Danish mask study here.
Stop Press: A reader who is a health sciences researcher has done a handy summary of the conclusion of the study we linked to on Tuesday: “Effects of mask-wearing on the inhalability and deposition of airborne SARS-CoV-2 aerosols in human upper airway”.
Whilst the size of the majority of respiratory particles are ≈5 to 10 micrometers, the study by Xi et al found a typical 3-layer surgical mask or a zero filtration mask (e.g cloth mask) does not prevent inhalation of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles ≤3 micrometers in size, which is equivalent to ≤3000 nanometers in size. As the size of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles are approximately only 100 nanometers, use of surgical face masks cannot protect an individual from inhaling SARS-CoV-2 virus and therefore, it is unlikely that masks protect the wearer against aerosol infection from SARS-CoV-2. Worryingly, zero filtration (cloth) masks were found to increase deposits of SARS-CoV-2 virus on the face and upper airway. Given that the Xi et al study was conducted as a tightly controlled experiment and the mask “etiquette” of the general population is sub-optimal at best, it is almost impossible to conclude that surgical masks, particularly ‘trendy’, patterned zero filtration cloth masks, have any benefit as part of the suite of Covid policy measures currently being inflicted on the public by the UK government. If Boris Johnson was actually following the science he would withdraw the mask mandate immediately. It’s particularly galling with the news that all major supermarkets are now enforcing a mask mandate for shoppers and social media appears to have gone wild with delight, with the few who object to this new ‘happy shoppers policy’, being told by the gleeful masses that they should stay at home if they are unable to wear a mask. I can only conclude on that point that we have reached new, unparalleled levels of discrimination of people with illness or disability who are unable/struggle to wear a mask.
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 in October and the lockdown zealots have been doing their best to discredit it ever since. 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 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 Toby’s 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 over three quarters of a million signatures.
Update: The authors of the GBD have expanded the FAQs to deal with some of the arguments and smears that have been made against their proposal. Worth reading in full.
Update 2: Many of the signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration are involved with new UK anti-lockdown campaign Recovery. Find out more and join here.
Update 4: The three GBD authors plus Prof Carl Heneghan of CEBM have launched a new website collateralglobal.org, “a global repository for research into the collateral effects of the COVID-19 lockdown measures”. Follow Collateral Global on Twitter here. Sign up to the newsletter here.
Stop Press: Dr Ramsey, PHE’s Head of Immunisation, was asked by the Science and Technology Committee what Britain should do if the vaccines proved ineffective. Her answer? Focused protection.
There are now so many legal cases being brought against the Government and its ministers we thought we’d include them all in one place down here.
The Simon Dolan case has now reached the end of the road. The current lead case is the Robin Tilbrook case which challenges whether the Lockdown Regulations are constitutional. 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 and Runnymede Trust’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.
And last but not least there was the Free Speech Union‘s challenge to Ofcom over its ‘coronavirus guidance’. A High Court judge refused permission for the FSU’s judicial review on December 9th and the FSU has decided not to appeal the decision because Ofcom has conceded most of the points it was making. Check here for details.
If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.)