Following on from yesterday’s post about Covid-19 ‘The Illogical Nonsense of Fear‘ I was so impressed by this recent Facebook post (below) allegedly from a doctor at Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool that I have reposted most of it below. As it neatly answers the question “Why is the lockdown continuing as we were told it was to ‘flatten the curve’ meanwhile the NHS is currently running on empty.
“What was the aim of lock down? What did every single health “expert” say was the reason to justify a lockdown? And why do we have a Flu season at all? And why have we continued to have a steady incidence rate despite being in lockdown? And why are thousands of elderly people dying in nursing homes?
The reason we had lockdown was to “flatten the curve” or buy time to increase ITU/critical care beds. Well with 4 nightingale hospitals mothballed and 50% of hospital beds lying empty, I think we have achieved that.
Not one “expert” worth his salt will tell you that we can stop a respiratory virus, and if they did they would be lying or I am deluded and we have no common cold or Flu cases every winter. So with a fifth of the country likely to have already had the virus and a health service with a massive amount of level 2 and level 3 beds, we are more than ready for a second spike, as it stands. Remember we cannot lock down forever and we need to come out, which brings me on to the Flu season.
Why do we have a flu season? The main reason we have a Flu season is because as it gets cooler people coop up and spend more time in close proximity, the population becomes denser and therefor it’s easier for a virus to travel, also people tend to eat less fruit and veg and see less sunlight and our natural defences are slightly depleted, sound familiar?
The longer we stay locked down, the closer we will be to the next Flu season, so essentially you will be hitting a second spike as people begin to mix, late summer early Autumn which will be just as the next Flu seasons hits, so a second spike will lead nicely into a third and if you want to overwhelm the NHS then this is the exact way to do it.
Lastly why are so many elderly people dying of COVID, well it’s largely down to the paranoia that people are displaying on platforms like facebook. GP’s are not assessing elderly patients face to face, they are not being taken to hospital or they are terrified to go to hospital incase they get COVID, so they stay at home until it’s too late.
Strokes are down up to 70%, where have these patient gone? MI’s down 50%, Hospital attendances down 90%, where are all the falls?? But why do they all have COVID signs?
Well anyone who has worked with elderly patients, and I suspect lots of you have, will know there are multiple reasons an elderly person can develop a pneumonia (COVID symptoms). They might fall and be in pain therefore not fully expand their lungs and develop atelectasis and then pneumonia.
They may have reduced mobility, due to quarantine, and become constipated and this may push up on the diaphragm and cause atelectasis or cause them to vomit and aspirate leading to pneumonia.They may develop urinary retention and UTI, secondary to constipation, and become bed bound, causing more time in a prone position and develop a basal collapse of the lungs and again atelectasis and pneumonia. The fact that they have reduced mobility may even mean they spend more time in bed or just sitting, which again is enough to cause chest infection/pneumonia.
Strokes may not present (they aren’t) and develop swallow issues and aspirate leading to pneumonia, MIs may present late and develop pulmonary oedema with a secondary infection again leading to pneumonia, and many may have a cold or a Flu (which is down 95%) and go on to develop a pneumonia.
All of the above reasons would cause a patient to have COVID symptoms and will kill elderly patients if not treated, and all of them are enough to be classed as a COVID death currently. And this is why so many nursing homes are being decimated, it’s as much through fear as it is through COVID.
Before you campaign and sign petitions to lock yourselves and your family away, remember also that lock down has consequences.
The first 2 reasons are clear above, the elderly will become frail, not be treated and die in their thousands, and thousands of people will not attend A&E at all, or until it’s too late and again will die. This is before you factor in the 60 thousand cancer patients that will lose their lives because of missed screening or delayed operations. And then there is the burden on mental health services and the deaths caused by domestic abuse or suicide. And that’s before the biggest killer by far which will be austerity.
We are heading for the biggest recession in 300 years, the last one has cost an estimated 500000 lives, why will this one be any different? And even with the lock down measures prolonged, will we have saved any lives any way, as our frail residents face a second and third spike in quick succession.
I understand that you my be scared and its overwhelming being constantly bombarded with negativity and fear, but before you completely isolate yourselves and fall out with loved ones and friends, ask yourself is lockdown still working, and what are the potential benefits of staying locked down versus, carrying on with some semblance of a normal life?”
So here we are mid way through May still under house arrest because of a pathogen that is now proven to be about as deadly as severe flu. This fact has been clear for a long time and I wrote about that at the end of March. Thousands are dying now because of the collateral damage not the disease. It is simply complete and utter madness.
I just cannot believe how society has fallen for it. I’m particularly depressed at how the ‘Left’ in the UK have fallen for it ‘hook, line and sinker’. I had associated those on the left as being capable of more critical thought but in the main it has been left to the likes of Peter Hitchins in the Daily Mail to be pointing out how flawed the whole thing is. Never in my life did I think I’d be linking to a Daily Mail article.
The ONS also released data yesterday about registered deaths in England and Wales in Week 18 (April 25th – May 1st). All deaths are down, including those involving COVID-19. You can see the year-to-date trend lines in the ONS graph below:
The total number of deaths in Week 18 – 17,953 – is lower that the previous week but still 8,012 more than the five-year average. 6,035 of the deaths mentioned “novel coronavirus”, meaning 1,977 excess deaths in that week weren’t from COVID-19, at least not according to the doctors who signed the death certificates – and, remember, they don’t even need a positive test result to write down “novel coronavirus” as the cause of death.
So why did these people die? When he appeared on Marr on May 3rd, Sir Bob Diamond, the head of the ONS, said the ONS had looked into the cause of non-Covid excess deaths since the beginning of the year and would publish its findings “in the next few days”. Evidently, he was nobbled because that piece of work has yet to see the light of day. Here’s a transcript of what he said on Marr:
The last week we had records for the excess was approaching 12,000 deaths of which, I would suggest, between eight and 9,000 were Covid and the rest were what we call indirect deaths. Those could be for example people who would normally have gone into hospital for some reason but the beds were not available. Just give you an example: in my late mother’s last couple of years of her life she went into hospital and back out again a few times. Had she not been able to go in one of those times she may well have died a little earlier than she did. So I think it’s important to recognise there are indirect deaths as well as the Covid-related deaths. We have a piece from the Office of National Statistics that we’ve done jointly with the Government Actuaries Department, the Home Office and Department of Health coming out in the next few days which will show also a third group which will come out over the next few years where changes in the prioritisation of the Health Service, for example, reductions in cancer screening, will lead to deaths over the next few years.
So ask yourself why has this data has been delayed ? – may be because the Government doesn’t want to face the enquiry that might be needed?
All this hysteria and panic is made even more alarming by Joe Public’s inability to assess risk. Even if you accept that at the time of writing there have been around 33,000 deaths associated with Covid 19 (there have probably been less as anecdotal evidence is that Covid 19 is being put on death certificates without supporting evidence) this is not serious. At this stage the frightened rabbits will poke their heads out of their burrows and tell you how ‘every life is precious’. Well if it is so fecking precious love why the feck have you been driving your car everywhere and contributing to the culling of at least 40,000 (more recent studies say 64,000) people every year from air pollution? The Royal College of Physicians’ report ‘Every Breath We Take‘ points out that ‘Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution which plays a role in many of the major health challenges of our day’.
If your life is really so precious (and we know that Covid19 particularly affects those with conditions like obesity and diabetes etc.) why the feck have you been stuffing yourself with junk food and clearing the supermarket shelves of booze for your incarceration rather than taking the opportunity to lose weight and get super fit to fight this ‘scary killer’? In reality no one will bother to take the opportunity to reduce their risk factors; the ‘fat feckers’ will still be stuffing their faces with high fat foods whilst ‘snitching’ on their neighbours (who take more than the permitted exercise) whilst waiting for the government to protect them.
If anyone can explain the logic of an ‘off licence’ in Wales being essential and a walk in the Brecon Beacons being illegal please do so.
As for this whole phenomenon of ‘snitching on your neighbours’ I have been thinking how this behaviour is very familiar elsewhere.
It’s a basic and dirty part of human nature, that when we are scared and hurting, we look for someone to blame. And it is far, far easier to turn our attention towards people who are as weak as us for answers. Then the problem is right there in front of us, it’s tangible, it’s far easier to solve. You see it time and time again throughout history, in all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations. It’s posting about Belinda three doors down who had a barbecue with too many people. It’s narrowing your eyes at a disabled person getting out of their wheelchair and walking at a pace you deem too fast. It’s keeping your community safe from ‘People Who Don’t Belong’.
It’s much nicer to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when you put a stop to those people, those people who you think are causing all your problems.
It’s much more enjoyable to have a real tangible person to take out all that pent up rage on, someone you think deserves it, someone you think is making your world unsafe. You’ve been oppressed for too long, and you’re scared and lost and angry, and it’s so, so nice to take all that frustration and put it to good use, to take all that righteous fury and focus it on ‘The Enemy’, the solid and tangible creature who is the source of your problems. That’s a fight you can win.
But it’s not a fight, not really. All it really is is a power trip at the expense of vulnerable people. Vulnerable people just like you. And you’re doing exactly what those in power want you to do. You’re not a hero. You’re a victim of brainwashing and the sense of power you feel is just an illusion.
The reality is that Covid 19, almost exclusively, is a disease that affects the elderly – especially those with other health conditions. In many cases these are the elderly in nursing homes who are cycled in and out of hospital for stabilisation before being returned to their nursing homes. Back in early April, to free up as much hospital space as possible, the care home beds were being filled up with elderly COVID positive patients. Because of the crisis they were not sent back to hospital when they then deteriorated. We have just been harvesting the elderly who are normally kept alive by this merry go round. Don’t believe me? Well here is a doctor in the UK telling it like it is and saying just this. Two members of my family work in the NHS and tell me that the general wards are very quite indeed.
“Our policy was to let the virus rip and then ‘cocoon the elderly’,” he wrote. “You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you contrast that with what we actually did. We discharged known, suspected, and unknown cases into care homes which were unprepared, with no formal warning that the patients were infected, no testing available, and no PPE to prevent transmission. We actively seeded this into the very population that was most vulnerable.
“We let these people die without palliation. The official policy was not to visit care homes – and they didn’t (and still don’t). So, after infecting them with a disease that causes an unpleasant ending, we denied our elders access to a doctor – denied GP visits – and denied admission to hospital. Simple things like fluids, withheld. Effective palliation like syringe drivers, withheld.”
I am fairly confident that the excess death curve you see above will fall eventually to below the five year average and that the overall deaths for 2020 will not be very far away from the previous five year average.
When you ask people why they are running around hysterically panicking, or why they are posting on Facebook about how they don’t want their children to go back to school yet (despite the fact that as of yesterday only 10 people under 19 had ‘possibly’ died of Covid-19) they look at you as if you are mad. It’s mass hysteria, like when Princess Diana died and mountains of flowers and teddy bears were being piled up because some vacuous, rich clothes horse had died.
The economy has been trashed, driven over a cliff. You and your children and their children will be paying for the biggest economic disaster ever. Remember that without an economy there is no health care, education or infrastructure.
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: