So it is the beginning of 2021 the UK Government (and others) are rushing to vaccinate everyone with one of the Covid-19 vaccines. Having instilled fear into the population people are clamouring for the vaccination.
First up I shall declare that I am not an anti-vaxer and that I have had many vaccines and I believe that in many circumstances they have been a massive benefit to public health.
But let’s step back and remind ourselves of a few things. Firstly around 99.75% of people survive catching Covid-19. This is now an accepted fact and I’ll refer you to the paper by John P A Ioannidis which is published on the WHO website. Thus it doesn’t matter if the vaccine stops people dying or not because it will almost be impossible to measure that fact. However, should it cause many deaths the drug companies have absolved themselves of all liability. They cannot lose – Kerching! The wide awake reader will be asking themselves ‘so what exactly is the point of the vaccine other than making money?” Congratulations you have just got straight to the crux of the matter.
However, the vaccine trials were never designed to show if they prevented deaths, stop transmission or reduce hospitalisations. I would love to do a survey of the public but I guarantee that 85% of people queuing for the vaccine, in the hope that their life can return to normal, firstly believe that the vaccine will prevent them catching Covid-19 and secondly have not been told by their medical professional that the drug they are having injected has never been tested to see if it does that.
‘Rubbish’ I hear you cry ‘that is the whole point of a vaccine’ (indeed it is – so can we even call these products vaccines? Are they nothing more than prophylactic medicines?). Well Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The British Medical Journal and is also an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. His research focuses on policies related to drug safety and effectiveness evaluation in the context of regulation. Here’s what he has to say in the British Medical Journal.
“None of the trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus.“
The next thing we need to remind ourselves is that these vaccines have been rushed into production in record time, in some cases using ‘novel technology’ that has not been used before and which have not been tested for a number of things. The Information for UK Healthcare Professionals on the Covid-19 mRNA vaccine can be found here. Here are a few things that have not been tested.
So we have a novel type vaccine that has never been deployed before, developed in record time, for which the manufacturers have no legal liability, which has not been tested for several things being injected into the arms of millions of people as I type. What could possibly go wrong? Probably nothing other than a few inevitable bad adverse reactions and deaths as has already occurred in at least one case.
There are of course known theoretical issues such as the potential for causing a cytokine storm for example. But what if this novel technology has an unknown adverse effect that will not become apparent for say five years? What if, in several years time, people start developing cancers (for example) as a result of the technology? There will be no way to put the genie back in the bottle. Can you imagine the crisis that would then unfold as billions learn that they may die as a result of the vaccine? I am the first to say that this is highly unlikely but no one can say it is impossible. I am just pointing this out now, for the record.
“The specific and significant COVID‐19 risk of ADE should have been and should be prominently and independently disclosed to research subjects currently in vaccine trials, as well as those being recruited for the trials and future patients after vaccine approval, in order to meet the medical ethics standard of patient comprehension for informed consent“
We are embarking into the dark into the biggest ever experiment on human beings, without knowing all the facts and potential pitfalls. At best we will achieve very little but at worst we could threaten the survival of the whole human race. But then I’m just a stupid ‘conspiracy theorist’ living down a remote valley in rural Wales. And by the way I won’t be having the vaccine.
The Welsh Government is desperate, today, to let me know that 3,115 people have died of Covid-19 so far this year. Unfortunately we have no idea if that figure is true or not as the PCR test is riddled with false positives and there is a complete lack of standardisation.
Anyway I digress, this is almost broadly the same figure as I estimate have died from air pollution in Wales this year using the figures for the UK as a whole from the European Heart Journal and adjusting for population (64,000 deaths per year in the UK thus Wales with a population of 3.15 million (64,000 x 3,150,000/66,000,000) will have around 3054 deaths per annum.
These air pollution deaths have been happening year on year, affecting a younger demographic than Covid-19 (childrens’ immature lungs are often affected worse). Filling hospital beds just the same as CV19, people gasping for breath just the same, relatives mourning the loss of family members just the same but no panic, no hysteria, no trashed economy just a price we have all accepted we are happy to pay. But people are dying just the same and you dear reader are still no doubt driving your car and ordering you parcels online (that come all the way from China).
Seems some deaths are more ‘worthy’ than others. Presumably as the hysterical rush around shouting for someone to save them from Covid 19, whilst handing away their hard won civil liberties they did not bat an eyelid whilst the parents of Ella Kissi-Debrah wept for their child?
She was first taken to hospital in 2010 after a coughing fit that followed a spike in air pollution levels. She was subsequently admitted to hospital 27 times over three years. Many of these coincided with recorded peaks in air pollution. Her mother, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, said she had resuscitated Ella between 20 and 30 times while waiting for an ambulance. She said that Ella had been treated in five separate hospitals. Thick mucus clogged Ella’s lungs and eventually killed her.
In modern English, a cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or by its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal.
It has become apparent that people who believe that Covid-19 is an exceptional disease and that lockdowns, masks and all the rest exhibit what can only be seen as cult like behaviour. This can be seen in the mass delusional behaviour such as weekly clapping for the NHS, the iconograpy of ‘NHS rainbows’ and the zeal with which those who have not fallen under the spell are hated. If you don’t comply with the mask wearing symbolism (for there is little evidence masks serve any useful purpose) you are looked upon, at best, with scorn and at worst with hatred.
It is also clear that it doesn’t matter how much evidence you present the cult believers with they will not believe it (if it contradicts their beliefs) and alter their view. Now dear reader perhaps you have joined the cult. Perhaps you believe that Covid-19 is the biggest threat to humanity ever, perhaps you believe all the government propaganda and statistics, the stark horror messages, the deliberately confusing rules?
Now let me show you one statistic that cannot easily be fudged – deaths. This chart (below), from the Oxford Centre for Evidence based Medicine, shows deaths in England and Wales for the last 5 years. It is clear to see that there were significant increased deaths in April and May when Covid-19 appeared. These deaths were in the main the very elderly with co-morbidities. These deaths themselves were probably exacerbated by a previous ‘soft’ flu season and some collateral deaths caused by people not getting their usual medical tests and treatments due to the scare.
Since then, other than a slight upturn in the last few weeks (probably due to increased mobility due to schools and universities returning) things have been broadly normal. Even those recent increased figures are below the flu deaths that can be seen in January 2018. Nothing unusual has been going on since the end of May 2020 but the cult still believes that Covid-19 is a massive threat to their lives. They will now happily do anything the cult leaders require.
The key thing to remember is that criticising the cult or group, however irrational their beliefs are, is the same as criticising your friend or family member themselves. They believe totally in the cult and it is very difficult to de-programme them.
A quick trawl of the internet seems to confirm my theory:
Cults are attractive because they promote an illusion of comfort. Humans desire comfort, and in a fearful and uncertain world many turn to cults because they tend to promote exactly that. Jon-Patrik Pedersen, a psychologist at CalTech, has pointed out that cult leaders often make promises that are totally unattainable, but also offered by no other group in society. Such things might include financial security, total health, constant peace of mind, and eternal life — the things every human desires at the deepest level.
Cults satisfy the human desire for absolute answers. Today’s world is a tough one, with more abstract issues than there are issues that are black and white. As Dr. Adrian Furnham describes in Psychology Today, humans crave clarity. Many people join cults because they believe they’re being offered solid, absolute answers for questions such as good vs. evil, religion, the meaning of life, politics, etc. Many cult leaders promote messages that are simple and seem to make sense, the exact opposite of what we’re often provided with in typical, everyday life.
Cults maintain their power by promoting an “us vs. them” mentality. Cults prove powerful because they are able to successfully isolate members from their former, non-cult lives. One of the ways cult leaders achieve this is to convince their followers that they are superior to those not in the cult. This “us vs. them” mentality ultimately leads to cult members isolating themselves socially from friends and family. They replace those relationships with new ones inside the cult.
Cult leaders are masters at mind control. Brainwashing:: Cult leaders are known to repeat various lies and distortions until members find it difficult to distinguish between reality and cult life. Paranoia: To maintain a false sense of comfort, cults often rely on paranoia tactics. Cult leaders convince their victims that a group, their families, and/or the government is out to get them, but that the cult can provide safety. Once a cult member comes to the conclusion that their families and country cannot keep them safe, they begin to worship and put all of their faith in their cult leader. Jim Jones was especially skilled at this mind-control trick. He would encourage members to spy on each other, and consistently spoke through loudspeakers at all hours of the day so that cult members would hear his voice whether awake or asleep.
Cult members often have no idea they’re in a cult. Although it can be obvious to those around them, people in cults often don’t realize what they have become a part of. Psychologist Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer spent most of her career studying the psychology of cults and brainwashing. She found that most people enter a cult willingly, without realizing the power it is bound to have over them. Singer theorizes that this is partly because some people are more willing to see the perceived benefits than they are the potential dangers. She also mentions that many people assume cults are only religious, though in truth, cults can also be political groups, lifestyle groups, or business groups.
The initiation into the Covid Cult began in January, when the government and media turned on ‘The Fear’ with projections of hundreds of millions of deaths and fake photos of people dropping dead in the streets. The psychological conditioning has continued for months. The public have been subjected to a constant stream of propaganda, manufactured hysteria, wild speculation, conflicting directives, exaggerations, lies, and tawdry theatrical effects. Lockdowns, emergency ‘Nightingale Hospitals and morgues. The singing-dancing NHS staff, ritualised ‘clapping for the NHS, manipulated statistics, masks and all the rest of it.
It has then been perpetuated via lockdowns, mask wearing (showing compliance), regular and nonsensical changes of rules that are deliberately confusing as confusion helps perpetuate the scare along with scary graphics like the one below.
The question that now arises is how do we get out of the situation? And, truth be told, I’m not sure that we can. Vaccines are of course seen as the saviour but why do we need a vaccine for a disease that 99.75% 0f people survive?
Why do we need a vaccine where, at the time of writing, none of the vaccine trials are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths? Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus.
So if this vaccine cannot stop transmission, well you’ll obviously need another one and so on and so an. At this stage I’d suggest that you start to follow the money and ask yourself who is benefiting from this?
It seems that we have opened Pandora’s box and that there is probably no going back. We have a public who are too dumb to see the truth and an elite (parasites) together with the corporations who seek to impose their ‘moneyed agenda’.
Whilst You Were Asleep a Right Wing Coup Took Place
Not mine, but I wish it were. Apparently from Miriam Margolyes. This is spot on.
“The United Kingdom has fallen. There has been a right wing coup in this country… . And nobody noticed. We did not notice because it was years in the making. We did not notice because when it came, it came in a blonde wig and a mask of buffoonery. We did not notice because it lied to us and hid its true intent. We did not notice because the foreign manipulation was hidden from us and continues to be hidden from us. We did not notice, because the lies when they were discovered were hidden by more lies, until lack of truth became normal and acceptable. We didn’t notice because it appealed to our basest nature. It cried racist, it cried xenophobe, it falsified a threat to our way of life and blamed others. We did not notice because we accepted all the promises and lies and now we cannot admit to our gullibility.
Make no mistake it has been moving steadily and stealthily. Have you not noticed how Parliament has been emasculated and how decisions are now taken by a few in a closed room? Have you noticed how the judiciary is being sidelined? Have you noticed how the media are controlled and access to news is restricted? The BBC merely mouths faceless government sources and the papers howl racist xenophobic and government-fed lies? Have you noticed how the police, under cover of COVID, are being encouraged gradually to interfere more and more in our lives? Have you noticed how we are being encouraged to report ‘unsocial behaviour’ in our neighbour’s? Have you noticed how the impartial Civil Service is being packed with yes men and government cronies? Committee after committee is rigged with government-friendly sympathisers. Even now a review of the Armed Services is underway. Have you noticed how every means of objection or complaint is being stealthily closed? Have you noticed the intention to lower food standards, animal and environmental standards and abandon the guarantees of our basic human rights? Have you noticed how measures trumpeted as keeping foreigners out, actually make it harder for US to leave?
Finally have you noticed how the government is engineering circumstances under which everyone’s lives will be so much harder and under which we will have so much more to worry about than complain about our government? Meanwhile the rape and asset-stripping of the country has already begun, with million-pound contracts awarded to cronies with no apparent expertise, siphoning money from the public purse to the private pocket and delivering nothing. It may already be too late but surely the time has come to cry enough! To stand up against the lies, the manipulation, the takeover of our Society. This government does not govern for the people; this government is governing for itself. It has become an enemy of the people, its actions are treasonous. Surely it is time to demand better, time to TAKE BACK CONTROL.”
Meanwhile here’s the Musical Covid 19 that spells it out for you.
Doctors and the medical profession should be ashamed of their non science based response to Covid-19 and their failure to look after their ‘non Covid19’ patients during the 2020 event.
Doctors should be hanging their heads in shame. Once an bold profession that stood up for their patients, followed science and who were true to their calling have become cowardly, complicit fear mongers abandoning those in need. Clap for the NHS, nurses and doctors was just sick and slick PR.
The medical profession along with dentists have abandoned rational thought, their medical principles, their hippocratic oath and their patients. If you feel that’s strong I suggest that you speak to one of the families of those patients who are now dying because they can’t get the necessary routine medical tests or treatments. Speak to the cancer patients who are now not getting treatment or indeed the cardiac patients, like myself, whose aneurysm could rupture at any moment because it is no longer being routinely monitored.
Far more will die, because doctors did not stand up for science and their patients, than will be killed by the fairly normal virus (with around a 99.86% chance of surviving for the average person).
The new breed of doctor following their algorithms and pathways devised by others have had their critical thinking and their ability, gleaned over years of experience to spot the unusual and know when something ‘isn’t right’, removed. The profession is lost; they are now just trained monkeys dancing to the circus owner’s tune. As a profession they should be ashamed. Evidence based medicine? It’s now no different to voodoo and superstition.
My local doctors’ surgery now have one way systems, face masks, social distancing and all sorts of other non science based nonsense. They will not, however, see you, in most circumstances, face to face. Try seeing a dentist, that is virtually impossible. This becomes even more bizarre when I hear that some ‘plastic gun wielding official’ at some surgeries are taking patients’ temperatures at the door with an infrared thermometer. A device which according to the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine is “not reliable enough to detect or exclude fever” and that “temperature, therefore, cannot be regarded as a reliable proxy for infectivity risk.”.
“All this adds up to an unreliable device, being used to measure an unreliable proxy, where there is no previous evidence to support its use. The current vogue for use of these machines lends more to marketing than medical evidence”
But some doctor or dentist somewhere is stupid enough to disengage his brain and to engage with this rubbish and without doubt increase the fear, on an already fearful patient whose mental health is already being manipulated into a downward spiral, by pointing a useless plastic gun at their head.
Likewise the face mask nonsense. There is just no strong evidence that face masks are effective.
The overwhelming mass of medical and scientific opinion is not only that masks do nothing to stop the spread of SARs-COV-2, but that non-medical masks of the type we are being advised to wear on public transport by the Government — a supposedly life-saving device it recommends fashioning from an old T-shirt — can endanger the wearer by increasing the chance of infection: either through a build-up of the exhaled virus on the inside of the damp cloth covering; or by increasing the incidence of hand-to-face contact while fitting, adjusting and removing the covering.
Don’t believe me? Well here is a letter to the Telegraph (1st August 2020) from a former President and a former Council member of the Royal College of Surgeons. They should have an idea what they are talking about.
As an example of the political pressures on the medical profession to give scientific credence to politically-motivated decisions, on 1 June, The Lancet published ‘Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis’. A review of 172 studies, this concluded that medical masks ‘might result in’, and N95 respirators ‘might be associated with’, a reduction in virus; yet concludes that this is evidence for advocating Government regulations for home-made masks, about which its review says nothing. Then on 5 June the World Health Organisation promptly revised its ‘Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19’. However, this revision relates primarily to all health workers now being advised to wear medical masks, which put an even greater burden on production of PPE in the UK. With regard to the rest of us wearing hand-made masks, their advice has changed little. The WHO clearly states that there is still no evidence for the effectiveness of non-medical masks. The list of reasons they give for wearing one are social rather than medical, including ‘making people feel they can play a role in contributing to stopping spread of the virus’ and, more significantly, ‘reminding people to be compliant with other measures’ and ‘encouraging public acceptance of protection measures in general’. Against which, the WHO has a long list of potential harms and dangers from such masks, which you can read about in the appendix, and which are primarily concerns about the increased risk of infection from hand-made masks. But their conclusion is very clear: ‘A non-medical mask is neither a medical device nor personal protective equipment.’
The most interesting point to note is that the WHO were almost certainly ‘nobbled ‘ and the BBC Medical Correspondent Deborah Cohen’s tweet (12th July 2020) should tell you all you need to know. “We had been told by various sources WHO committee reviewing the evidence had not backed masks but they recommended them due to political lobbying. This point was put to WHO who did not deny”
There is of course another awkward question that no one is asking. If all these masks are doing such a good job of trapping a lethal virus why are they not being treated as hazardous waste to prevent the transmission by handling and disposal? After all surface contact is considered one of the primary transmission routes of Covid-19 but used masks litter our bins, streets, transport, rivers and beaches. It is just nonsense and the medical profession (including dentists) are complicit in this theatre: for that is all it is.
How many times to I have to repeat that masks, social distancing and all the other ‘non science’ can do nothing to stop the spread of a pathogen amongst the host species? All it does is alter the rate of spread. Zero covid is impossible unless you live in complete isolation (such as on an island). The best you can get is herd immunity or when/if an effective vaccine comes along (artificial herd immunity). Not sure when ‘herd immunity’ became a bad thing but it remains a scientific fact. Nor indeed when a vaccine became necessary for a disease that about 99.97% of the population survive.
Now if you think it’s just a crackpot down a valley in Wales saying this it seems a few others of some standing have now come late to the party such as professor Woolhouse from Edinburgh University.
Not to mention 90 Doctors and scientists in Israel including a Nobel Prize winner who have written:
“Given the large amount of information piling up about the low danger of mortality among the healthy population, and given the lack of certainty about the the efficacy and safety of a vaccine being developed soon, and in light of the research done until now, it’s clear that the best way to get out of the crisis quickly with a minimum of death (and also damage to health and the economy) needs to center on developing deep immunity by preventing the elderly population at risk from being infected,” the letter reads.
A closure is thus a strategic mistake, based on a lack of basic understanding of the mechanisms of a pandemic.”
To all the other doctors why are you not screaming from the rooftops? The facts are there for you to see such as in this excellent video:
Meanwhile thousands of patients are dying because of the collateral damage, with restricted access to doctors and hospitals and the lack of testing and treatments for routine conditions. You abandoned your promise of ‘First do no harm’, you failed to stand up and open the hospital doors to the sick, you ran away and hid on the flimsiest of evidence. You are, with few exceptions, a disgrace to your profession.
Well here we are at the end of May 2020 and still under ‘house arrest’ here in our home in Wales because of a virus that has an infection fatality rate similar to flu.
Admittedly it’s not a bad place to be ‘holed up’ as you can see from the photo I took yesterday when we got up at 4.30 to walk up the otherside of the valley to watch the sunrise at 5.08 a.m. I’m sure many reading this will look at the photo and say ‘what is he complaining about?‘.
I can’t really imagine what it must be like to be trapped in a small flat or an H.M.O. with an abusive partner or to be struggling with mental health issues or a million and one other things whilst being unable to leave home.
The freedom to leave your house when you wish to and go where you will is not a civil liberty or a political liberty. It is part of being a free man or woman. Those who do not have it, who fear being scolded like a child, fined and disgraced for being out on the street without government approval, are like serfs tied to the land they work. So sorry, officer. I won’t do it again. Only it is worse. Those who willingly accepted this subjection were previously free, thanks not to themselves but to forebears who first won and then repeatedly preserved their liberty from threats within and without.
Then this generation of morons came, and undid the work of a thousand years in a few weeks. Worse, in a way—they gave away something they had a duty to pass on undamaged to their children. They did not even raise a word of protest. And they did not trade in their birthrights because soldiers cut them down in the fields, or foreign soldiers lounged in the streets with machine pistols, or secret police threatened them with death or labour camps. They did it because they could not be bothered to think or argue or object. They did it because ignorance is the new normal.
Here in Wales the Welsh government are particularly barking mad wanting to be seen as ‘stronger and better than England’ in the crisis. I’ve tried writing to engage my Welsh Assembly Member or as they now call themselves – Member of the Senedd. So far my democratic representative Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has ignored one letter and two emails from me since March. Quite how I’m meant to engage with our ‘democracy’ is a mystery to me when the bloke whose wages I’m partly paying won’t talk to me I don’t know.
Again I did try writing to my MP, again Plaid Cymru, Mr Jonathan Edwards. I sent him a detailed email with a number of links to scientific papers. He wrote back to tell me that he didn’t believe in ‘herd immunity’ and that Consultants had told him that 600,000 people in Wales were at risk of becoming seriously ill. As I write this several weeks later a grand total of 13,913 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Wales (not seriously ill by the way) and 1,331 have died (mostly elderly with comorbidities) – seems your consultants were way off the mark there Jonathan (just as I told you)
Anyway it’s great to know that he knows way more than the Nobel prize winning scientist Professor Michael Levitt
I really should start taking my MP Jonathan Edwards more seriously since he managed to get arrested last week as well. What a busy boy.
England has started to ease restrictions but here in Wales that has changed very slightly. The latest measures here in Wales which tells us that we’re allowed to leave our homes to meet friends outside, but have to stay local and within five miles. Yes you are seriously at risk of transmitting a magical (and fairly normal) virus whilst driving around in your car.
However the scary part when this was announced was that Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales and Leader of the Welsh Labour Party, said “we are offering people permission…” Sorry? I thought this was a free country? I understand we have emergency powers in place, but shouldn’t the politicians be talking about “we are returning some of the civil liberties we have withdrawn” instead?
I should of course write to my democratic representatives to point this out. But the one won’t reply to me at all and the other might be too busy involved in discussions with his solicitor.
Meanwhile to cheer myself up here is a great video that is both funny and very scary when you observe how compliant people are.
At the time of writing the ‘rich’ world is in a state of panic because a Coronavirus threatens the way of life of billions. Many countries are in ‘lockdown’ and here in the UK extreme emergency legislation has been enacted to confine people to their homes to restrict the virus transmission. At the time of writing this 39,014 deaths world wide are reported, since it was first discovered towards the end of 2019, by the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.
The above sounds fairly serious and indeed it is for those that have died and their relatives. However, the figures do not distinguish between those whose deaths were caused by the virus and those who happened to have the virus when they died of something else. In the vast majority of cases those that died are likely to have been elderly or suffering from some other conditions. They are also more likely to be smokers or have other risk factors.
In any event around 25,000 people will die of hunger or poverty today and I’ve not seen any wall to wall 24/7 hysterical news coverage about that anywhere. Why? Because it affects ‘non people’ in poor countries- people who are viewed as being of low value to those of us in the west. Incidentally around 100,000+ people die in the UK every year from (mostly preventable) coronary heart disease. No one has closed down McDonald’s or brought in emergency legislation requiring people to take mandatory exercise.
6.—(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.
What is really scary how people have happily given up their freedoms. This has been exacerbated by various Police forces in the UK operating outside of the law.
And whilst isolating and reducing transmission rates, where this can be done, are clearly a good thing the legislation is draconian. There are various exemptions such as being able to leave the house to exercise (mysteriously once a day in the case of Wales) but many Police forces such as Dyfed Powys Police here in Wales and Derbyshire Police in England are operating Ultra Vires and we are now in a ‘police state’ it would seem .
But it’s an emergency I hear the hysterical, fearful masses shouting – which is of course exactly the time authoritarian regimes and dictators throughout history have implemented such measures.
Facebook groups are awash with people hysterically shaming anyone who dares to object to what is happening and who might be speaking contrary to the herd narrative whilst the state is making it’s people fearful and removing freedoms at a stroke. Hysteria and fear is running amok.
Hence it was with some surprise that I heard that former Supreme Court Judge, Lord Sumption, has now just said exactly the same as me (only more eloquently).
Here is the transcript of an interview Lord Sumption gave to the BBC on the 30th March 2020. Lord Sumption, is a former member of the Supreme Court and last year’s Reith Lecturer. The transcript is from BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
The real problem is that when human societies lose their freedom, it’s not usually because tyrants have taken it away. It’s usually because people willingly surrender their freedom in return for protection against some external threat. And the threat is usually a real threat but usually exaggerated. That’s what I fear we are seeing now. The pressure on politicians has come from the public. They want action. They don’t pause to ask whether the action will work. They don’t ask themselves whether the cost will be worth paying. They want action anyway. And anyone who has studied history will recognise here the classic symptoms of collective hysteria.
Hysteria is infectious. We are working ourselves up into a lather in which we exaggerate the threat and stop asking ourselves whether the cure may be worse than the disease.
Q At a time like this as you acknowledge , citizens do look to the state for protection, for assistance, we shouldn’t be surprised then if the state takes on new powers, that is what it has been asked to do, almost demanded of it.
A Yes that is absolutely true. We should not be surprised. But we have to recognise that this is how societies become despotisms. And we also have to recognise this is a process which leads naturally to exaggeration. The symptoms of coronavirus are clearly serious for those with other significant medical conditions especially if they’re old. There are exceptional cases in which young people have been struck down, which have had a lot of publicity, but the numbers are pretty small. The Italian evidence for instance suggests that only 12% of deaths is it possible to say coronavirus was the main cause of death. So yes this is serious and yes it’s understandable that people cry out to the government. But the real question is : Is this serious enough to warrant putting most of our population into house imprisonment, wrecking our economy for an indefinite period, destroying businesses that honest and hardworking people have taken years to build up , saddling future generations with debt, depression, stress, heart attacks, suicides and unbelievable distress inflicted on millions of people who are not especially vulnerable and will suffer only mild symptoms or none at all, like the Health Secretary and the Prime Minister.
Q The executive, the government, is all of a sudden really rather powerful and really rather unscrutinised. Parliament is in recess, it’s due to come back in late April, we’re not quite sure whether it will or not, the Prime Minister is closeted away, communicating via his phone, there is not a lot in the way of scrutiny is there?
A No. Certainly there’s not a lot in the way of institutional scrutiny. The Press has engaged in a fair amount of scrutiny, there has been some good and challenging journalism, but mostly the Press has, I think, echoed and indeed amplified the general panic.
Q The restrictions in movement have also changed the relationship between the police and those whose, in name, they serve. The police are naming and shaming citizens for travelling at what they see as the wrong time or driving to the wrong place. Does that set alarm bells ringing for you, as a former senior member of the judiciary?
A Well, I have to say, it does. I mean, the tradition of policing in this country is that policemen are citizens in uniform. They are not members of a disciplined hierarchy operating just at the government’s command. Yet in some parts of the country the police have been trying to stop people from doing things like travelling to take exercise in the open country which are not contrary to the regulations, simply because ministers have said that they would prefer us not to. The police have no power to enforce ministers’ preferences, but only legal regulations which don’t go anything like as far as the government’s guidance. I have to say that the behaviour of the Derbyshire police in trying to shame people into using their undoubted right to take exercise in the country and wrecking beauty spots in the Fells so that people don’t want to go there, is frankly disgraceful.
This is what a police state is like. It’s a state in which the government can issue orders or express preferences with no legal authority and the police will enforce ministers’ wishes. I have to say that most police forces have behaved in a thoroughly sensible and moderate fashion. Derbyshire Police have shamed our policing traditions. There is a natural tendency of course, and a strong temptation for the police to lose sight of their real functions and turn themselves from citizens in uniform into glorified school prefects. I think it’s really sad that the Derbyshire Police have failed to resist that.
Q There will be people listening who admire your legal wisdom but will also say, well, he’s not an epidemiologist, he doesn’t know how disease spreads, he doesn’t understand the risks to the health service if this thing gets out of control. What do you say to them?
A What I say to them is I am not a scientist but it is the right and duty of every citizen to look and see what the scientists have said and to analyse it for themselves and to draw common sense conclusions. We are all perfectly capable of doing that and there’s no particular reason why the scientific nature of the problem should mean we have to resign our liberty into the hands of scientists. We all have critical faculties and it’s rather important, in a moment of national panic, that we should maintain them.
Q Lord Sumption, former Justice of the Supreme Court, speaking to me earlier.
Now if that isn’t bad enough governments around the world, including the UK, have just driven the modern economy off a cliff and we are in ‘freefall’, heading to the bottom of the cliff, for probably no rational reason at all.
“But there’s another, potentially even more serious problem: the way that deaths are recorded. If someone dies of a respiratory infection in the UK, the specific cause of the infection is not usually recorded, unless the illness is a rare ‘notifiable disease’. So the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK are recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation. We don’t really test for flu, or other seasonal infections. If the patient has, say, cancer, motor neurone disease or another serious disease, this will be recorded as the cause of death, even if the final illness was a respiratory infection. This means UK certifications normally under-record deaths due to respiratory infections.
Now look at what has happened since the emergence of Covid-19. The list of notifiable diseases has been updated. This list — as well as containing smallpox (which has been extinct for many years) and conditions such as anthrax, brucellosis, plague and rabies (which most UK doctors will never see in their entire careers) — has now been amended to include Covid-19. But not flu. That means every positive test for Covid-19 must be notified, in a way that it just would not be for flu or most other infections.
In the current climate, anyone with a positive test for Covid-19 will certainly be known to clinical staff looking after them: if any of these patients dies, staff will have to record the Covid-19 designation on the death certificate — contrary to usual practice for most infections of this kind. There is a big difference between Covid-19 causing death, and Covid-19 being found in someone who died of other causes. Making Covid-19 notifiable might give the appearance of it causing increasing numbers of deaths, whether this is true or not. It might appear far more of a killer than flu, simply because of the way deaths are recorded.
If we take drastic measures to reduce the incidence of Covid-19, it follows that the deaths will also go down. We risk being convinced that we have averted something that was never really going to be as severe as we feared. This unusual way of reporting Covid-19 deaths explains the clear finding that most of its victims have underlying conditions — and would normally be susceptible to other seasonal viruses, which are virtually never recorded as a specific cause of death.“
But it gets worse. On the 19th March 2020 the UK’s Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens downgraded the status of Covid 19 saying that COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK and that the mortality rate is low overall.
Read that again – the UK’s expert advisory body on pathogens has said that ‘the mortality rate is low’. We have more than likely just crashed the world economy, and make no mistake a massive recession and years of hardship will follow, whilst hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in the poorest countries will die as a direct result of this potential massive mistake.
The above change from the UK advisory body probably came about with the publication of this important French paper (on the 19th March) Sars-CoV2:Fear versus Data which states: “Under these conditions, there does not seem to be a significant difference between the mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2 in OECD countries and that of common coronaviruses (χ2 test, P=0.11). Of course, the major flaw in this study is that the percentage of deaths attributable to the virus is not determined, but this is the case for all studies reporting respiratory virus infections, including SARS-CoV-2. Indeed, viral infections are ecosystem infections where the outcome depends on the inoculums and the surrounding microbiota . Thus, certain bacteria seem to be associated with symptomatic manifestations, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Staphylococcus aureus, which are known to cause an excess of mortality due to secondary infection. Finally, seasonality, geographic location, heat and humidity are co-factors, as are age, gender and underlying pathologies. Under these conditions, and all other things being equal, SARS-CoV-2 infection cannot be described as being statistically more severe than infection with other coronaviruses in common circulation.
Finally, in OECD countries, SARS-CoV-2 does not seem to be deadlier than other circulating viruses. In addition to coronaviruses, there are 16 endemic viruses in common circulation in developed countries (adenovirus, bocavirus, cytomegalovirus, enterovirus, influenza A H1N1 virus, influenza A H3N2 virus, influenza B virus, metapneumovirus, parainfluenzae virus 1, parainfluenzae virus 2, parainfluenzae virus 3, parainfluenzae virus 4, parechovirus, picornavirus, rhinovirus, syncytial respiratory virus), and 2.6 million deaths from respiratory infections (excluding tuberculosis) per year have been noted in recent years worldwide . There is little chance that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 could change this statistic significantly. Fear could have a larger impact than the virus itself; a case of suicide motivated by the fear of SARS-COV-2 has been reported in India”
I’ll leave you with two highly qualified people who think similarly.
Secondly Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University who has thoughts in a similar vein.
So folks there you have my prediction. A dreadful mistake has been made, a massive recession or even depression is on the way because we’ve just driven the economy over a cliff. All we needed to have done was isolate the vulnerable and to have invested properly in the NHS in the preceding years (rather than try and dismantle it for political reasons) so that it was equipped to deal with the crisis when it arose. It would have been way cheaper. The financial costs of this fiasco will be felt for a generation in the UK and many in the developing world who ‘live on the edge’ will die as a result.
If we decide to jump off the cliff, we need some data to inform us about the rationale of such an action and the chances of landing somewhere safe.
More lives have probably been turned upside down through all of this and futures stunted than any lives that might have been saved otherwise.
Edit : More thoughts from some academics on the same points:
Aortic heart valve replacement and aorta repair on the horizon and I (John) am guessing that open heart surgery is not a bundle of laughs.
It’s a strange thing to realise that things may end sooner than you thought . Thinking about your mortality is of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; until the unexpected happens.
Anyone who has read this blog will know that Liz is a retired doctor. Just before she retired, about 8 years ago, we were watching television one evening when she put her head on my chest. ‘I think you’ve got a heart murmur’ she said.
Thus started a chain of events which led to me having a CT scan and echocardiograms every 9 to 12 months to keep an ‘eye on things’. Apparently I have bicuspid aortic valve and an aortic aneurysm.
After 8 years of monitoring things have got to the point that complex open heart surgery is going to be required. I was only told this earlier this week so it’s kind of weird to be faced with the knowledge that you need serious and risky surgery to carry on living.
To be honest I’m not looking forward to this and it’s obviously a tad scary. On the other hand I’m fortunate enough to live in a country where this surgery is routinely carried out about 7,500 times a year and is free within our wonderful National Healt Service that slime ball politicians on the right are trying to dismantle.
I have no choice; but I can write some words about the process that may help someone else in the future. So despite being the world’s worst blogger I will try and keep this updated to the end (not the best choice of words, John).
The next step is being called for another scan and some further tests so that the surgeons have a clear idea of what they are facing.
So as I get called for tests and then surgery I’ll give you a patient’s eye view of things.
Now hopefully, with the skills of those who work in the NHS and the support of Liz, I’ll come through this ok.
It’s a cliche but ‘live every day as if it is your last, for one day it will be’.