There follows a guest post by Lockdown Sceptics regular and second-year maths student Glen Bishop.
I thought I would just write with a few points from the Imperial College paper for SAGE released today that might be useful. I haven’t been through the Warwick or LSHTM ones yet, but I am sure they are similar. It is the same bad modelling with dodgy and out-of-date assumptions.
They are using the same vaccine efficacy assumptions they used in their paper released on February 22nd for the original lockdown release plan. They were out of date and underestimates then and haven’t been updated. AstraZeneca efficacy against severe disease (and therefore death) is assumed to be 80% in the model. The EAVE study in Scotland put it at 94% and the latest AstraZeneca study in the U.S. put it at 100%. The difference on projections is obviously massive. Even if the real figure is only 90% and all vulnerable groups have had the vaccine, then projections will be over-predicting deaths in the vaccinated population two-fold and if it’s 95% then they will be over-predicting deaths four-fold. The difference between 80%, 90% and 95% seems small, but the implications for end results are enormous and this is just one of a dozen assumptions, with uncertainties that compound together to make the projections absolutely useless.
Even with their dodgy modelling and assumptions, the Imperial team predicts a worst-case scenario of 40,000 deaths between June 2021 and June 2022 with a central estimate of 15,700 deaths. Winter flu season in 2017-18 had 22,000 flu deaths, so this is well within normal tolerance for death from respiratory disease which everybody accepts with zero interventions except voluntary vaccination. Also, worth noting that a significant number of those Covid deaths would be people who chose not to have a vaccine.
More alarming is this part in their summary: “Whilst the impact of Test Trace Isolate (TTI), mask wearing, hand hygiene, and Covid security on R is difficult to quantify, it will be vital to emphasise the importance of normalising and ensuring adherence to all measures even after ‘full lifting’ is achieved.” In other words, they have no idea if masks, TTI and the Orwellian-named “COVID security” (which I assume is social distancing and all the niggly little rules that busybody managerial types love) actually have any effect, but they are going to insist they become part of everyday life anyway.
The models assume – and the Imperial group advocates – that masks, TTI and “COVID security” remain indefinitely after June. They mention no end date. They seem to want to make this a new normal that lasts forever. This is typical out-of-touch, irrational and neurotic behaviour from SAGE. As we know, if everything returns to real normal, SAGE members lose their celebrity status as advisers and all that comes with it. An advisor will always advise that you need more advice and keeping masks, TTI and “Covid security” allow them to do just that.
Boris and the ‘Conservatives’ are going to have to cut SAGE off at some point or they might as well go back to their country homes and hand SAGE the keys to No. 10.