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Matt Hancock is wrong about herd immunity Confusion about the Covid-19 science is hampering debate — and costing lives

Does Matt Hancock know what he's talking about? Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Does Matt Hancock know what he's talking about? Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)


October 14, 2020   7 mins

Yesterday in parliament, Matt Hancock explained to the house why, “on the substance”, the central claim of the Great Barrington Declaration was “emphatically not true”.

“Many diseases never reach herd immunity – including measles, malaria, AIDS and flu…” he said. “Herd immunity is a flawed goal – even if we could get to it, which we can’t.”

Let’s have a look at the diseases he mentions. Measles, if it arrives on ‘virgin soil’, can devastate a population. In Tahiti and Moorea and the South-east and North-west Marquesas, between 20% and 70% of the population was lost to the first epidemic. Natural infection with measles provides lifelong immunity, and we now have a vaccine which provides similar solid, durable protection. We have not been able to eliminate the disease, but those who rather selfishly choose not to vaccinate their children are only able make that choice because the risks of infection are kept low by those who are immune — currently, a combination of those, like me, who caught it and recovered and many others for whom it is vaccine induced. The vaccine does not work in babies, which is why you have to wait till they are a year old before they get it. We can do this because herd immunity keeps the risk of infection down, so they are are unlikely to be infected in their first year of life. Without this herd protection, many under ones would die (as they regularly do in sub-Saharan Africa) despite a vaccine being available.

Malaria (a primary focus of my research) is caused by a parasite which carries at least 60 different outfits with which to disguise itself from immune attack. We, nonetheless, typically acquire sufficient immunity upon first infection so as not to suffer severe disease and death upon further attacks. This is a feature it probably has in common with Covid-19. But that is where the similarity ends. It has been difficult to make a malaria vaccine that covers all of its diversity, but fortunately that should not be a problem for Covid-19.

AIDS is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus which also has an extraordinary capacity to change outfits during the course of infection. This, and other mechanisms of subverting the immune response, allow it to persist indefinitely in an infected person. Even so, rates of infection will slow down as the virus runs out of people to infect.

Fortunately, Covid-19 does not possess such an array of immune evasion mechanisms that could seriously compromise any possibility of vaccine development in the next few years. Like HIV, influenza also has the ability to change its outfit, and periodically a new strain emerges requiring a new vaccine. It is because sufficient immunity accumulates in the population that a radical change of outfit becomes worthwhile. What Mr Hancock means when he says we do not reach herd immunity to flu is that it finds ways around it; it is unlikely, given the nature of coronaviruses that the SARS Cov-2 virus would be capable of doing the same thing.

In a nutshell, the development of immunity through natural infection is a common feature of many pathogens, and it is reasonable to assume that Covid-19 does not have any tricks up its sleeve to prevent this from happening — it would pose a very serious problem for the development of a vaccine if it did. Having said this, the Covid-19 virus belongs to a family of viruses which do not typically give you lifelong immunity against infection. Most of us will never have heard of these other four ‘seasonal’ coronaviruses that are currently circulating in our communities. And yet surveys indicate that at least 3% of the population is infected by any single one of these corona cousins during the winter months. These viruses can cause deaths in high risk groups or require them to receive ICU care or ventilator support, so it is not necessarily true that they are intrinsically milder than the novel Covid-19 virus. And like the Covid-19 virus, they are much less virulent in the healthy elderly and younger people than influenza.

One important reason why these corona cousins do not kill large numbers of people is because even though we lose immunity and can be reinfected, there is still always a decent enough proportion of immune people in the population to keep the risk of infection low to those who might die upon contracting it. Also, all the coronaviruses in circulation — including the Covid-19 virus— have some features in common which means that getting one coronavirus will probably offer some protection against other coronaviruses. This is becoming increasingly clear from work in many labs, including my lab in Oxford. It is against this background of immunity from itself and its close relations that Covid-19 virus has to operate.

So what does Mr Hancock mean by “reaching” herd immunity? Herd immunity is a continuous variable which increases as people become immune and decreases as they lose immunity or die. He is perhaps referring to the threshold of herd immunity at which the rate of new infections starts to decrease. We do not yet have a very clear idea of what this threshold is for Covid-19 as the landscape in which it spreads includes people who are susceptible to it, people who have built up immunity to it, and people who have immunity to other coronaviruses.

Unfortunately, we do not have a good way of telling how many people have actually been exposed to the new virus, or how many people were resistant to start with. We are able to test for antibodies – and my lab in Oxford has been doing so since early April – but, as with other coronaviruses, Covid-19 antibody levels decline after recovery, and some people do not make them at all, and so antibody levels will not give us the answer. More and more evidence is accumulating that other arms of immunity, like T cells, play an important role.

Indications of the herd immunity threshold having been reached are available from the time signatures of epidemics in various parts of the world where death and infection curves tend to “bend” in the absence of intervention or to stay down when interventions were relaxed (in comparison with other locations where the opposite happened). But we do not know how far we are from it in most parts of the UK. It is important to bear in mind that the attainment of the herd immunity threshold does not lead to disease eradication. Instead it corresponds to an equilibrium state in which the infections lingers at low levels in the community. This is the situation we tolerate for most infectious diseases (like flu which kills 650K people every year globally). The situation can be vastly improved through vaccination, but it is very difficult to eliminate the disease even with a good vaccine.

We are of course also able to test for presence of the virus, and there is much attention on this with ‘test and trace’ strategies. However this test, known as the PCR test, is of limited value as it cannot tell us whether someone is infectious and can pass on the disease, whether they have the virus but cannot pass it on, or indeed whether the virus has been destroyed by the immune system and only fragments remain. This means that we need to make public health decisions based on only partial information, and in a changing environment, and is why assumptions of how many people have been infected and are immune are so important.

The Great Barrington Declaration proposes a solution for how we may proceed in the face of such uncertainty. It suggests that we exploit the feature of this virus that it does not cause much harm to the large majority of the population to allow them to resume their normal lives, while shielding those who are vulnerable to severe disease and death.

Under these circumstances, immunity will build up in the general population to a level that poses a low enough risk of infection to the vulnerable population that they may resume their normal lives. All of this can happen over a period of six months, and so this Focused Protection plan does not involve the permanent segregation of the vulnerable from the rest of the population.

It is important that any new proposal should receive close scrutiny and constructive criticism. I’ve addressed the short duration of immunity; but another worry is the ‘occult damage‘, or secondary effects sustained by those who are not obviously vulnerable. It is not at all unexpected that some people would suffer post-viral symptoms for extended periods of time (I believe I did!) and that it may be quite debilitating for some. Among the lessons we could learn from this crisis could be a wider recognition of the frequency and intensity of post-viral syndromes and an investment in support (leave of absence from jobs, help with daily activities) of those unfortunate enough to suffer in this way. But it is not a new phenomenon and cannot be a good enough reason to stop the world and potentially let tens of millions of people starve to death.

How such a plan may be put into place is obviously the next step to detail, and it is natural that some people might view with scepticism that it can be achieved other than in theory. Many components of protecting the vulnerable have already been enacted in the process of locking down so we should be discussing how these can be improved rather than dismissing them. Directing efforts at hospitals and care homes is one obvious priority. Other parts of the problem – such as the protection of vulnerable people within family settings – require careful discussion and thought, but it must always be borne in mind that these are temporary measures and in the long run could save more lives than cycling in and out of destructive lockdowns.

One colleague likened the GBD plan to “putting all your antiques in a room while your house is burning and fanning the flames”. A better analogy for the build up of herd immunity would rather be to douse the rest of the house with water (which could damage the Chippendale commode) — but it is hard to see how these could be the terms of a serious discussion.

Since the declaration last week, the Great Barrington Declaration has come under attack across the media, online (including Wikipedia and Google) from fellow academics as being part of a Libertarian conspiracy (my politics are not remotely libertarian) or being based in “pseudoscience”; others attempting to be less defamatory say that our views are “fringe”. The large number of serious scientists from top institutions taking part suggest otherwise. There are genuine good faith disagreements that must be aired and discussed — the impact on the world is too significant for us to fail to have this discussion in a serious way.


Dr Sunetra Gupta is a professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases


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Andy Ward
Andy Ward
3 years ago

No sensationalism, no wild theories, no mention of 5G…

If I am not mistaken, could this actually be a sensible, rational proposal as to how we as a whole, can emerge from these dark days?
Doing away with hysteria, political maneuvering, profiteering and self-imposed socio-economic damage at a scale never before witnessed…

The attacks this week have been savage and unrelenting. Painful to read them, especially when no-one else offers any kind of solution or even respite from the current situation.

This side of the debate however, gains traction by the day and I am seeing more and more people´s faith in slogans and soundbites beginning to waiver – keep up the good work and keep fighting the good fight!

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Ward

The problem Andy and I see it here in France, is how long can this minority of reasonable scientists bear the brunt of diffamation, insults and even, at least here in France, physical threats.
This has just led Pr Toubiana to announce on Cnews he will no longer take part in live debates. In fact, in lieu of debates, it is more an execution.
The so called majority who agrees would be well inspired to rebel and speak up instead of silently waiting until …..and if…..the tide turns.

What drives these people to, in spite of rising evidences, to still carry on with these brutal and useless measures.
Being wrong and admitting to it would seem to me to be the basic of leadership if you want to retain credibility.
So far the only one who’s walked down this alley, is Anders Tegnell in Sweden when he, earlier in the spring, he admitted mistakes had been made with nursing homes.
He got trashed by the international media……..and became a rock star in Sweden.
Hat off to Pr Gupta for her guts and knowledge

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

“What drives these people to, in spite of rising evidences, to still carry on with these brutal and useless measures.” THAT IS THE QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK! Although Facebook, Google, Youtube, Twitter and so on have forbidden giving an explanation. Mu guess is Bill Gates could tell us, if he was not saying what he is saying, which is that everything is being done for the best, in this best of all possible worlds. (although he would add, ‘except where Trump is concerned’.)

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Ward

@No sensationalism, no wild theories, no mention of 5G…@And that is good? Because when the world has gone mad it would seem just looking for a reasonable explanation is not good enough. Personally, I feel it is way to crazy to break the Western economy, wreck the young’s ability for education and future jobs, and to mortgage their future and wreck the chance for a pension to just say someone over reacted! In all the West but Sweden and Belarus? No, I think it demands good conspiracy theories, Not demands they be discounted! I say it is China and the Global Elites! No Western government can be this stupid to do this response without meaning for the consequences!

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Ward

Prof Gupta averred (on this very site,”Oxford doubles down: Sunetra Gupta interview”) that the IFR was about 0.05%. This would mean everyone in the UK had already had the virus by the end of May 2020. Has she recanted anywhere? If not, why believe anything she says?

[Source: “Excess mortality in England, week ending 02 October 2020” from PHE. Counting excess deaths with COVID19 on the death certificate during April and May, there are about 38 000. If the fatality rate is 0.05%, 76 million people had been infected by that point (76 million x 0.05% = 38000). There are about 56 million people in England, so if she’s right, somehow more people had it than live here. Or she’s wrong about the IFR.]

david.hockley1961
david.hockley1961
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

LOL…..very funny.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

A peer reviewed paper published by the WHO has the IFR for under 70’s at an average figure of 0.05%. Who would’ve thought it?

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

You’ve moved the goal posts. I didn’t say “under 70s”, and neither did the Prof in the video she did with Freddy. Also, what’s your reference for that figure?

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Sorry it’s actually 0.03-0.04%. I wasn’t moving the goalposts just adding info. Here’s the link https://onlinelibrary.wiley

Mike Orman
Mike Orman
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

I admire your persistence in arguing with the nit-picker trying to undermine the GBD on the basis of one small piece of evidence which could not easily be proved or refuted.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Where’s my reply gone? Here’s the link again…..https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi…

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

I replied before….Unherd is having problems with comments?

Here’s the link https://onlinelibrary.wiley

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Reference is a peer reviewed study by Prof J Ioannidis which unherd won’t let me post the link
The title is “Global perspective of COVID”19 epidemiology for a full”cycle pandemic” and can be found on The European Journal of Clinical Investigation. I’ve actually misquoted, he has it at 0.03-0.04%

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

Lets try it here as unherd won’t let me directly reply
The reply to Paul Wright
https://onlinelibrary.wiley

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

I think it’s more indicative of the death certificate. Only 1400 deaths in the UK with only covid19. I have personal experience of a dodgy death cert.
Death certs only need one signature instead of two now.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

> Only 1400 deaths in the UK with only covid19.

What does “only covid19” mean? What is the source? Is this the Facebook meme that’s debunked at Fullfact.org under the heading “Covid-19 is the underlying cause of death for most people who die with it”?

Most people with comorbidities who get COVID and die still wouldn’t have died as soon if they hadn’t got it. There are a bunch of papers on this, “covid19 years of life lost” finds them, typically they quote a figure of about 10 years of life lost on average.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Ward

Well said. There is a lot of money behind the ‘pro-hysteria’ lobby which is why they can control the political and MSM media narrative.
Having been a bit disappointed by how gullible the majority were during lockdown, I now see the miracle that is ‘Covid-scepticism’ in the face of an overwhelming, well funded international PR strategy by the globalist billionaires.
We don’t hear on MSM about the African nations who have kicked Gates & Co out, refused to buy the pointless Chinese PCR test kits, who have suffered low to no ‘Covid’ mortality rates, who have actually treated their seasonal respiratory tract infections with well-known and cheap therapies such as steroid nebulisers, and have suffered nothing other than the normal seasonal average mortality.
In fact, it’s becoming harder and harder to find this alternative narrative online since Google, YouTube, FB and Twitter are controlling what we see and what we don’t see. The fact that they are censoring search results at all is proof, if we needed it, that globalist money is driving the so-called Covid pandemic narrative.
When the globalist agenda is defeated, and I’m convinced it will be, I sincerely hope that heads roll.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

Thankyou for your sane and helpful championing of the Great Barrington declaration.
I sit in ophthalmic clinics and am allowed to see only a third of patients since mid August. Before that it was emergencies only.
My telephone consultations have been full of very patient people being abused by SAGE advice. People are going blind because they couldn’t see an optician for months and have glaucoma. This cannot be fixed. Cataract waiting lists have shot up because almost no surgery was done for 6 months. This is correctable but will take years. In the meantime, some will trip, fall and break bones and their immobility can lead to pneumonia and death. As a last example children with amblyopia are left unscreened and untreated. As a result some could endure almost a century of poor sight in one eye which could have been prevented. This week I spoke to a lady with painful eyes with swollen lids who has been unable to see a specialist in 3 months and current treatment is making her symptoms in worse. She was in tears of fear, anger and frustration.
Those who have caused this will be dead for many years while the current young are still affected by the health and economic consequences. It is shameful, cowardly and stupid.
This is my small area, but it must be much worse for oncologists like Karol Sikora and cardiologists who are watching patients die now because of lack of care.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jory

The unrecognised consequences of governments that use the precautionary principle to set policy. Still after months Boris and Hancock refuse to see how they have failed. But they will have a place in history as a result, just not the one they might hope for.

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

The precautionary principle is really a gambling principle if you don’t have a reasonable idea of the possible adverse consequences from acting on it.

Mike Orman
Mike Orman
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Smith

I think my youthful life experiences including a few years almost obsessive gambling on the horses did actually teach me a few things, although I never heard the term ‘precautionary principle’ until I concentrated more on environmentalism.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

“But they will have a place in history” Maybe not so much a Churchill as a Quisling.

andymurphy
andymurphy
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

I said on March 23 that Johnson is a Chamberlain. He took the easy way and it’s going to be his downfall.

Mike Orman
Mike Orman
3 years ago
Reply to  andymurphy

Not worried about his downfall. Just worried he takes the rest of us with him.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Pretty sure they don’t care. I expect they will leave office to take up weirdly lucrative NED posts on the boards of WHO/WEF/AstraZenecka. Until we extend our corruption laws and start holding our politicians to account for their acts of treason and corruption, we do not have democracy. Their 30 pieces of silver are being laundered via Charitable Foundations and the other globalist fronts when they leave office and this needs to stop. We need retrospectively prosecute for corruption and confiscate the proceeds. Blair £60 million. Cameron £40 million. Neither of these men entered politics with any real wealth at all, and their wealth mysteriously arrived after office. Where is MSM? Ah yes! They are funded by the same globalist organisations who are paying off our politicians! That’s why we keep seeing the international war criminal, Tony Blair, on the BBC still. He’s the globalist mouthpiece.

Mike Haseler cv19.uk
Mike Haseler cv19.uk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

The precautionary principle is never used to protect the economy against the insane anti-capitalist lunatics, like some of those on SAGE. Their abiding principle is that “no risk is too small to justify destroying the economy”

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago

Keep up the good work, the criticism you and you colleagues have received has been unworthy of scientific discourse.

I hope we all soon realise we can’t respond to uncertainty with strategies that have the maximum of collateral damage, more nuance is needed.

steve.g.fuller
steve.g.fuller
3 years ago

Thank you Doctor for proposing another way! I imagine it’s not easy putting your head above the parapet. So thank you again!

kate.n.buchanan
kate.n.buchanan
3 years ago

I am not a scientist but am such a fan of Sunetra Gupta. What a brilliant article..so clear. Why won’t the government listen to her, and other eminent scientists and at least debate, rather than dismiss, this approach out of hand? Ivor Cummins on Unherd said it was he thought it was because the govt have painted themselves into a corner..perhaps that is right?

John Mann
John Mann
3 years ago

That’s my best guess. The first rule of politics seems to be “Never admit that you were wrong.”

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mann

Indeed. And cling to that refusal at all costs.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mann

But if one did admit mistakes and ate the humble pie , one could regain that respect . This lack of acceptance of ones errors smacks of irreverence and is insulting to the public

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago

Where did he say that? I must have missed an interview or something.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Well it is has been perfectly obvious from the start that the govt has painted itself into a corner. We don’t need the excellent Ivor Cummins to tell us that.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I was curious, in case something from lockdown TV slipped under my radar.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

You can follow ivor on YouTube.

Hugh Jarse
Hugh Jarse
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Do, but I would add a proviso. Be careful! Ivor inhabits a v large rabbithole within which, if you poke around may end up changing your health -and life. And much for the better.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The corner-painting is by no means limited to the government as yesterday’s statement by the leader of the opposition made clear. The “circuit breaker” he advocated amounts to nothing less than the re-imposition of a national lockdown. As someone else has said, not so much a circuit breaker as a business breaker. Or, more generally an economy breaker. With honourable exceptions the political class as a whole – and not only in the UK – has lost both its mind and any semblance of courage.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago

Don’t you think it isn’t OUR Government that has painted itself into a corner, but rather that WHO has done so, and has taken Governments with it? Ours included.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

WHO,UN,EU are all inept Power anti-libertarian Mad useless entities…My fear is Real Scientists ,like those who Know ”Climate change” is nonsense (Think Dr.Bellamy blanked by media for over a decade!) will also be ignored in the future, Models are just that ‘models’ Not fact

Andrew Nugee
Andrew Nugee
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

No, I believe not true of David Nabarro. See my response to Kathryn Richards

Andrew Nugee
Andrew Nugee
3 years ago

Not quite. Or, possibly, the tide is turning. Look at Spectator TV episode #6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8o... at around 15:30. Deputy Director of WHO David Nabarro appears to give his support to the GBD with what he calls the Middle Path: holding the virus at bay while avoiding mindless lockdowns. At around 25:15 he says

“Really I want to say it again that we in the WHO do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of controlling this virus. The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources”.

In short, he entreats governments *not* to resort to lockdowns, but equally, entreats us all to live ‘Hands, Face, Space’ safety rules, and then to isolate responsibly when we have symptoms.

I worried away for a while at how the UK could have had such a negative economic impact and such a poor death rate. Ivor Cummins offered the dry tinder hypothesis for the latter. But increasingly it seems to me that our diagnosis is:
– we don’t trust the politicians (true of all populist-leaning countries like the US, Brazil, exacerbated by years of Brexit, extremism, etc, etc)
– we are therefore no longer responding responsibly to the advice we are given. Students are partying like it is going out of fashion in Liverpool. We are not downloading the NHS app, or if we do, we toggle ‘off’ the contact tracing option
– Government feels in the absence of Swedish levels of compliance, they only have one tool, the lockdown, to address the growing ‘casedemic’. They cannot take the ‘irresponsible’ risk that the growing numbers may be casedemic rather than second phase pandemic
– we lose trust in the Matt Hancocks as sensible scientists like Professor Gupta show his strategy up as poorly evidenced by the data
– Government wavers, fails to get to grip with the test-trace-isolate strategy but stops short of full lockdown (who on earth believes the ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown will achieve anything positive at all?
– the result is that lockdown kills the economy, and cynicism allows the virus to proceed with impunity. Result: a lose-lose situation in the first phase.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Nugee

The WHO is hedging its bets in case the globalists are defeated. When I’m Prime Minister, the first thing I’ll do is defund that rotten organisation 😉 They can all go and find proper jobs.

Angela N
Angela N
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

And the WHO conveniently waited seven months before stating lockdowns don’t work. After the damage on the world economy had already occurred.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

Me too and I have just posted a comment explaing why. She restores faith in science.

diana_holder
diana_holder
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Proper science is science without political bias and faces the truth fair and square. We can hold fast to faith in science itself.

What has been eroded lately is faith in scientists, because the scientific community has become infested with activist, dishonest, biased, funding-seekers.

Many who call themselves scientists are not scientists in the true sense of the word.

Simon Burch
Simon Burch
3 years ago
Reply to  diana_holder

Agreed….I would add ‘Proper science is science without political, cultural or religious bias…..’

B B
B B
3 years ago

It is human tendency to look at the possible negative outcome of any decision. Successive governments over the past two to three decades have slowly taken away individual risk assessments by members of the public and replaced by ‘guidance’. This has gradually eroded personal responsibility. People are not allowed to think for themselves and judge and assess risks.

Also the government seems to be in thrall of clowns such as Prof Ferguson of Imperial College who seems to have a rather nihilistic view of things.

Laura Robertson
Laura Robertson
3 years ago
Reply to  B B

Well said. I work in Accounting in Australia and we are hounded by guidance. Culture of safetyism has brought us to this place in history.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago
Reply to  B B

Here in America, “guidance” has taken over as well, to which my question has been for years, if you don’t trust people to make their own decisions, basically because you deem them too stupid to do so, what does that say about your educational system? I have seen the decline in teaching critical thinking in exchange for a set body of knowledge to be poured in to each child’s head.

Everything needs some certification or degree or forced compliance to put a stamp of government approval on a person. People used to have to vet people’s experience, service, work, products etc for themselves and it worked pretty well. It keeps your brain functioning at a higher capacity-mental exercise. Now people want “safety,” someone else to take responsibility for any bad choices which is how we fell down the slippery slope of “guidance.”

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago

There is also this week a brilliant article in the Spectator (by a doctor) comparing using lockdown measures to using a medicine, and making the point that with all the side-effects of this medicine, no thoughtful person would take it. I hope we are seeing sanity starting to intrude on the panic-mongering that has until now ‘informed’ policy decisions on this issue. Thank you to Dr. Gupta and her colleagues for fighting the good fight.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago

Johnson came back from Gavi spouting ‘lockdown’ and ‘Anti-Vaxxers’. He was bought and paid for by the globalists at that conference. He is a treasonous, corrupt piece of s**t and I hope that when the globalists are defeated, he is put behind bars where he belongs.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Within a few months Hancock has evolved from being forgivably hapless and hopeless to actively wicked. Anyway, what would a lightweight, ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ politician like Hancock know about herd immunity or any aspect of viruses or medicine etc. The arrogance of these people is matched only by their incompetence.

Incidentally, when did Wikipedia become so evil? It now seems to be no different from the BBC,Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I would hope that somebody as useless as Hancock would have the sense to ask questions. Prof Gupta has been spreading this message for months, if not years since herd immunity is part of her research. Perhaps the even bigger question is why we so willing go along with the most incompetent government in years.

diana_holder
diana_holder
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

From Wikipedia: “Hancock studied for a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Exeter College, Oxford, and an MPhil in Economics at Christ’s College, Cambridge, as a postgraduate student. He was an economist at the Bank of England before serving as a senior economic adviser and then later Chief of Staff to George Osborne.

Hancock served in a number of middle-ranking ministerial positions from September 2013 under both David Cameron and Theresa May. He was promoted to the Cabinet in the January 2018 cabinet reshuffle when he was appointed Culture Secretary.[1]”

So, actually, Wikipedia could not obscure this, hard as they try: you are correct, Matt Hancock doesn’t know his Reverse Transcriptase from his T-cells.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago
Reply to  diana_holder

He didn’t do much for culture either. A little pipsqueak who deserves a jobsworth reward for incompetence and cruelty. He needs to be dragged through the courts for his crimes to humanity

Paul Carline
Paul Carline
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Wikipedia has long been an unreliable source of information on any controversial subject. It will always protect the establishment and defame critics.

Christopher Collier
Christopher Collier
3 years ago

I think you’re being far too kind to Matt Hancock. He is an ignorant, arrogant bumptious, incompetent fool who parrots what he has been told to say.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

His comparrison with HIV was the most bizarre, just seems thrown in there. HIV is l believe largely caught through unprotected sex with an infected person, or through blood transfusions.

In their whole lives most people have less than 10 sexual partners. They could catch covid or another air bourne disease from the 100 strangers they pass in the supermarket in one shopping trip.
He also seems unaware that we do live we HIV in our country, we can’t erradicate it, we accept that unfortunately it will kill some people.

Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson
3 years ago

I am of the opinion that Matt Hancock is effectively being used to deflect criticism from others in his party, when the time comes he will be hung out to dry, eitherby being shuffled along or forced to resign, I do wonder whether he suspects as much as he doesn’t appear to be particularly enthusiastic in his speeches (aka Hancocks half hour). I suspect he will become collateral damage for the government in power.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Hancock is A perfect example of ”Career politician” Inflated ego, has he escaped media trashing ,like Professor (Pantsdown)Ferguson,because he is a ”Remainer”?..

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago

The true virologists are fighting back hard for the truth. Yesterday Matt Hancock gave the performance of his life. The faux anger and the propaganda was shameful to see in a politician who is supposed to put the country before the profits of Big Pharma and Bill Gates.

We are in need of a change at the heart of government. Dr Guptra has said that Boris was not prepared to listen to those who had spent their lives working on vaccines and viruses. He wanted to take the advice of a computer modeller and a microsoft billionaire. Until we find some way of disbanding this terrible technocratic system that has bought into a government whose own expertise is woefully inept, I feel the West will be in great danger. Boris is not the cleverest or most inquisitive of people. What a pity his advisers are also not particularly focused on the health of the British people.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

Your comment reminds me of Eisenhower’s farewell address when he warned of a scientific-techinal elite becoming responsible for government decision making. Did anybody listen?

B B
B B
3 years ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

Patrick Vallance holds £600k worth of shares with GSK, who has a contract with the government for the vaccine. It is therefore in the scientific advisors interest to stretch this crisis to make a killing. Why does no one challenge this conflict of interest. This is corruption and Patrick Vallance should be called out.

John Ottaway
John Ottaway
3 years ago
Reply to  B B

Thank you for that information. It explains a lot.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago
Reply to  B B

I think Carl Henegan brought this up in an Interview with TalkRadio. As did Spiked on Line. However the mainstream press would see no relevance to this clash of interests. As most people still listen or watch. BBC etc they are unaware. We have a problem in the West whereby the far left socialists hold the microphone and as always will lie their way to control.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  B B

When I first heard that I was appalled, but then I thought about it a little more.
Vallance worked at GSK (a very high up position) and these shares are those that were awarded to him as part of his remuneration package. It is because he is an “expert” that he held that position in GSK and why he now holds his current position. It’s difficult to find an expert who hasn’t at one time or another been involved with vaccines etc and so pharmaceuticals.
The GSK share price has hardly budged during all this (well except for when the stock market had the meltdown in March) as they are not directly involved with any vaccines. I own some shares and so have kept a bit of an eye on them. GSK is doing some work in related fields but don’t stand to benefit hugely by the pandemic from what I have read.
Finally, he hasn’t exactly hidden this fact or his work at GSK from anyone which might all explain why the MSM are not all over him.

Mike Orman
Mike Orman
3 years ago
Reply to  Go Away Please

Well corrected. Discussion has become too ad hominem.

Paul Carline
Paul Carline
3 years ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

Not a pity … far too mild a judgement! They have become a criminal cabal, part of the wider criminal agenda to bring about the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution – in which the majority of humans will become redundant. Fake pandemics and the toxic vaccines rolled out to allegedly fight them are just two of the means of achieving the large population reduction they seek. Their (unethical) code appears to require them to tell us ‘ordinary humans’ what they are planning – on the basis that if we do not wake up to what is planned for us it is our fault. Hence the Georgia Guide Stones.

David Shaw
David Shaw
3 years ago

Dear Dr.Gupta, This a very well written response to a very inept speech from Mr.Hancock; keep up the good work You must have known that once you officially challenged the consensus with your declaration that those with a vested interest, either the politicians who don’t want to look like fools or those that are so Risk Averse(like the BBC) or those that are simply making money out of this, would come after you. Whilst I know that you have been consistent with your beliefs on how to tackle this from the start, the timing of your declaration is perfect. Now you have a silent majority behind you and that majority is beginning to be heard. However do expect the loudest of protests just before a U turn occurs as those in Power who have advocated this disastrous approach try to hang on for dear life.
Your declaration is being discussed, it will go along a bumpy path but will win the day in the end! And let us not forget the courageous Sweden in all of this; what a shining example they have shown to a cowardly World. I have promoted your declaration wherever I can and like to think that perhaps I have helped add a few signatories to it. I am at your disposal if you needed any help in promoting your ideas. All the very best David Shaw

Tony Barry
Tony Barry
3 years ago

Google’s decision to remove GBD website from search results is outrageous and outright censorship. These are expert scientists willing to come forward again the establishment narrative. Whether they are right or wrong (right in my view!) in a free society they must be at least heard.

Ray Hall
Ray Hall
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Barry

I used Google chrome . I entered Great Barrington Declaration / text and found it at the bottom of the page .

Neil Papadeli
Neil Papadeli
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Barry

??
Google it Tony

Mark S
Mark S
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Papadeli

Why does anyone still use Google search? We know what it does. Duckduckgo is a far superior product.

Paul Carline
Paul Carline
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark S

I use DuckDuck – but you still have to scroll through many pages to find controversial info that is now being hidden. Such as the data on manufacture, export and import of “Covid-19” equipment (including test kits) for 2017 and 2018. After the exposure of this embarrassing information, the designation “Covid-19” was changed to “Medical Test Kits”. Simply more evidence that this is a ‘plandemic’.

James Sutton
James Sutton
3 years ago

Dr Gupta’s scientific and clear approach needs proper discussion and debate in the main stream media. Surely rather than furloughing the economy to the tune of £300bn and mortgaging our children’s future we should instead be “furloughing” and protecting the vulnerable.

Not being an econometrist but surely spending £25bn annually to protect the vulnerable, pay a proper salary to care givers and improve the care infrastructure is a more productive and sensible way to protect both the population and the economy.

Think a hybrid Swedish – Great Barrington Declaration approach.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
3 years ago
Reply to  James Sutton

Yes – as someone pointed out (flippantly) for that kind of money each person in a care home could be assigned a personal butler! But joking aside the money could be invested in a far better model of elder care than housing frail vulnerable elderly all together in close quarters, a situation where any infection (colds, flu, noroviruses etc) take hold so easily with devastating results. With caregivers certainly not paid the type of wages which reflect the importance of the work they do.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago

Amen!
As stated in the article, the real problem is the lack of debate. You are either “with them” or you are a wacko. Reasoning like this you get nowhere.

Eric Baskeyfield
Eric Baskeyfield
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Agree with that. Such is the level of hysteria & fear that has been generated that I have actually lost friends for opposing the current suicidal path that the government has embarked us upon. I’m “heartless” apparently, and guilty of spreading “dangerous disinformation”. For them the only way is lockdown, lockdown and more lockdown, as they scurry fearfully off to the shops once a week in their mandatory muzzle-masks (needless to say, pubs etc. are a complete no-no for these folks “until we have a vaccine”). Impossible to have a rational conversation about it with them. Especially since they literally won’t talk to me any more!

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago

Just as well, most likely 😀

Riccardo Tomlinson
Riccardo Tomlinson
3 years ago

On a positive note, I have plenty of friends now who were lockdown fanatics a few months ago, but now have completely changed their tune. The government thinks a majority is in favour of more lockdowns. The tide is turning however.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago

I am very likely one of them 😀

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

It is worse than that. Free speech is being shut down buy the media.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

“Reasoning like this you get nowhere” Maybe a one way ticket to the re-education school. I am bothered greatly by the whole Mask thing! I do not believe in them outside medical settings, and maybe on Tube trains, otherwise it is using Hog Wire to keep the mosquitoes out. One thing it does is give a way to compel assenting with the madness as it means we wear the badge of correct adherence. It also keeps ‘Project Fear’ alive and kicking, and allows the mob to police the dissenters. I will not mask so have to always be looked at with suspicion and dismay, it is an amazing burden to go unmasked in public where all are masked, it is hard and would be so much easier to put the thing on – but I refused on principal, and became hardened to the negative vibes around me (No one says anything as I have a kind of wild look about me I guess, but you feel the mood projected, the masks allow all to spot the wrong thinkers and project their anger at them). Must be really rough to be someone writing against the dogma. If you do not just get canceled!

chris
chris
3 years ago

An excellent article. In my business life i noticed people left data driven rational argument and moved to a ‘political debate’ when they had limited or no expertise in the matter being discussed. The covid debacle has shown that we have leaders with clearly no technical competence in the matters being discussed but a wish to show involvement, and thus we are left with a debate which is politically driven rather than rational argument

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

Thank you for the excellent article, it is sad that views such as yours are dismissed by politicians who feel unable to change course – that is admit they might have been wrong.

It is also shocking that the government has been unable to deliver rapid focused testing for the health and care sector.

The arguments against GBD seem to be strawman arguments “Let it Rip”, or suggestions of “shadowy money”. The pro lockdown argument is unwilling to accept any responsibility for the damage caused.

If we are very lucky our government will adopt the GBD and make it work, spend a fraction of cost of lockdown helping isolate the vulnverable: use country hotels/holiday parks for those that fear loneliness, and get well paid carers with either immunity or good testing to stay for 7 days at a time. Yes this will deny them time with their family, but so will lockdown – and this would protect them much better. Yes this would cost a fortune, but it would save lives and be 100 times cheaper than lockdown.

Some/most older people might decide to take their chances, as long as this is well informed then fine, we do not stop people smoking at ~78,000 deaths a year.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I prefer politcians who can assess the course to take before they start the journey.

Eric Baskeyfield
Eric Baskeyfield
3 years ago

Hancock isn’t fit to run a jumble sale, never mind the response to a pandemic. A total lightweight completely out of his depth.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago

Thank you for not taking the criticism lying down, rather again attempting to open the conversation to get something rational in place to stop the serious consequences of lockdowns.

I also greatly appreciate that the Great Barrington Declaration is the only plan I have heard of that addresses the aspect of people telling on people and blaming people for “killing” others or being selfish by not wearing a mask etc.

This discussion must be had, the sooner the better so we can move forward. People need to look further than their own fear and see all the worldwide pain and suffering being caused by lockdowns.

Mark Cole
Mark Cole
3 years ago

Very well argued , and courageous to stand up, thank you

There is clearly no single “right answer” but adaptive policies are required to keep the economy alive and reduce the untintended consequences of unemployment, domestic violence, cancelled operations, mental health etc that lockdown brings. The problem with Hancock and Sage is they have a one eyed and deaf approach that hasn’t listened or looked at the wider consequences. Clearly Mr Hancocks first real job but the corruption of power demonstrated in his behaviour and mannerisms is embarrassing

Jeremy Rolls
Jeremy Rolls
3 years ago

Thank you Sunetra. You continue to be a voice of reason and common sense in a debate which has become increasing polarized (and politicized). I wish the government and SAGE would listen to a plurality of views. I fear their strategy, having been driven by the Imperial College model (“reasonable worst case” but actually totally unreasonable in my view), is now immutable and they don’t have the political courage to pursue another course. Neither it seems does the Labour opposition.

worldsbestbrewer
worldsbestbrewer
3 years ago

As an engineer I can read and assimilate data. Often it is advantageous to look in from the outside without unconcious bias from being trained within a discipline. It helps objectivity. And the data are telling me that Hancock, Witty, Valence are way off the mark.
Gupta is a dyed in the wool pharma based scientist and has her measles rhetoric somewhat skewed and for some odd reason includes the word ‘selfish’ which has my bullshit antenna on high alert as it’s not at all objective. Maybe she could visit Kennedy’s Childrens Health Defence web site for papers on the effects and shortcomings of the measles vaccine and it’s lack of long term immunity in developed countries, and learn to separate out ‘developed’ form ‘undeveloped’ countries.
However, Gupta has stuck her head above the parapet and in principle I fully support her stance with regards to Covid in as much as govt needs to look further afield than its closed group of scientists and its mathematical models which are choking the nation (world) for little gain.
As for Hancock and his rebuttal with his two ‘falsehoods’ – herd immunity unless a vaccine is involved and protection of the elderly. Words don’t do justice to his ignorance and absolute reluctance to engage with anyone outside of his inner circle. Crikey, even I’m wondering how much of a bung he’ll be getting from whichever vaccine company he chooses to ‘end’ this epidemic.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
3 years ago

I had the same concerns about, and was surprised by, what she had to say about measles vaccination and herd immunity. She doesn’t in my view have that quite right. But perhaps as Tony Barry pointed out she has enough on her plate without leaving herself open to any “anti vaccine” criticism. I decided to let that wash (well not totally or I wouldn’t have commented I guess!)

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

“As an engineer I can read and assimilate data” As a tradesman I can see what works, what does not, and what risks are reasonable as everything I do carries some risk and to be overly risk adverse is not a viable thing. I think you engineers over estimate your ability to crunch info and come up with truth, Technocrats do not have a monopoly on truth, as we see by SAGE. There must be some other thing at play, for the government to be so utterly crazy. But what is it they are up to? Take Germany in the 1930s – every thing they did was so obvious in getting ready for WWII – BUT EVERYONE MISSED IT! Vast numbers of ‘Glider Clubs’ to train up pilots as military training of that scale was forbidden by the treaty! Gun clubs for the same. Submarines built in big numbers in Holland by Germans, totally illegal and gave them U-Boats from the start! And on and on, Battleships, Bombers by thousands as civilian airliners!and France and UK ignored this HUGE ARMING!!!! So what are we missing?

Kevin Ford
Kevin Ford
3 years ago

An excellent, calm and informative summary of what herd immunity is. Sadly it is being debated in an environment in which politicians and much of the media see herd immunity as some modern death cult which seeks to consign millions to an early grave. Strange fate for a term to describe a biological phenomenon without which the human race would have died out long ago.

Keep up the fight for a reasoned debate Sunetra.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
3 years ago

I watched the Freddie Sayers LockdownTV interview with Dr. Gupta and her two colleagues. They made a number of important observations not discussed in this article. One of these points is that it is Public Health 101 to focus on all threats to public health, not only one of them. If COVID-19 is treated as the sole health concern we ignore and delay or avoid responses to cancer, strokes, heart disease and a number of other killers. Cumulatively, as the lockdown continues and these other threats are untreated, they become more harmful to the public health than COVID-19.

At some point there is a cross-over, a point of diminishing returns in saving COVID-19 lives, beyond which death and disease from these other causes exceeds that protected or prevented from COVID-19. The GBD says we are at, or have already passed that cross-over point.

Whether herd immunity has been reached then becomes a less important point than developing a post-crossover plan to keep the non-COVID-19 death rate from escalating. Focusing COVID-19 protection on the most vulnerable while allowing normalcy to return to those unlikely to become seriously ill is the right public health policy because it will result in the fewest total premature, excess deaths from all causes.

Politicians don’t now need to say “We were wrong” to change course. All they need to say is that we have new information showing that what worked in the past won’t work in the future. Therefore, our public health policies need to be changed to reflect this new information. If premature or excess deaths from all causes continues to escalate largely because of the lockdown then continuing with the present policy is wrong, as the politicians will eventually have to admit.

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
3 years ago

It is a mater of serious concern that rational and informed debate is being shut down.

Roger Hird
Roger Hird
3 years ago

I agree completely.

Phil Broom
Phil Broom
3 years ago

I second David Slades comments, and would like to thank you and your colleagues for your hard work and your bravery in daring to contradict the myopic fear mongering Covid agenda . The press, politicians and certain sectors of the Science fraternity are treating Covid like it’s a new religion. Anyone who dares question their words must be an unbeliever! …Anyone fancy putting some cash into a ‘start-up’ making ducking stools?

Deepak Natarajan
Deepak Natarajan
3 years ago

Probably the only sane approach left to tackle this virus without shattering the economies of the world and worse pushing millions of people into abject poverty accompanied by starvation.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

In “Russia and the Russians” Geoffrey Hoskins notes that the Mongol Empire dominated much of Eurasia at its height and its sudden rise led to the Black Death. “It derived from a bacillus long familiar in Yunnan and Burma: in the face of it Europeans were like New World natives on the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, overwhelmed by a hitherto unknown disease.” Herd immunity or the lack of it as an explanation for such hugely important historical phenomena is accepted fact, so why does it suddenly become “fringe” when Dr. Gupta speaks of herd immunity with regard to COVID-19?

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago

Having listened to a number of interviews given by Prof. Gupta I have to say what a composed and generous lady she is. There is none of the hyperbole and attack mode we have come to see on this subject, just considered and polite discussion. It is a sorry place we have arrived in where we have eminent scientists pilloried by the media for their considered views based on their expertise. The media are complicit in driving a narrative that many can see from their own curiosity is based on little science and data and is in fact becoming even more discredited with every passing day. We had the rather comical actions of Keir Starmer yesterday taking the most outrageous political opportunism in rowing behind SAGE on a so called circuit breaker lockdown. Time will show that that was an unwise thing to do. It is beginning to look like the cost benefit analysis behind lockdowns is almost horrifically against. Where NICE place a value of £26,000 on a QALY it seems that the cost of a QALY saved via lockdown could be orders of magnitude beyond that with some suggesting it to be in the millions when everything is taken in the round.
It is good to see that the PM is finally beginning to move away from the almost religious following of Whitty and Vallance and when the current interventions prove to be a waste of time (current evidence suggests they can be no other) then he will move ever closer to a type of Sweden based restrictions for the nation.

worldsbestbrewer
worldsbestbrewer
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

Yes – whilst I agree with her in principle, I think we would be on opposite sides in a vaccine debate. That’s the point – debate. Where we learn from each other to affect change. We then take it down th pub, respecting each others opinion and carry on over a pint or three. Some would say that’s where the true debate takes place.

A while ago Robert Kennedy debated mandatory vaccines with Dershowitz, the latter having made statements that he’d support the state forcing a covid vaccine on everyone. Dershowitz was speaking from his legal viewpoint. Kennedy from vaccine safety viewpoint. They both learned from each other from real debate. They listened to each other. No attempting to shut the other side down.
The actual debate was a little polite, but it was a joy to listen to in these days of censorship, blanking, disappearing, wokism etc.
https://www.youtube.com/wat

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

It is good to see that the PM is finally beginning to move away from the almost religious following of Whitty and Vallance

Is he?
(Mind you, I am in Scotland, where winter has really and truly come – actually it never left…)

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I was in the Western Highlands in July, warm jumper, hat and warm coat, rained most of the time. Looked and felt like March!

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

I have great respect for Prof Gupta but I believe she is over-optimistic about measles vaccination. People over 55 or so will have full herd immunity having caught the disease but the effects from the vaccine wears off, destroys maternal antibodies (which puts infants more at risk) and there is a substantial literature on this from keen proponents of the programme. You can argue that the benefits outweigh the risks, which may or may not be the case – there may be a great risk if great swathes of young and middle-aged adults do not have immunity – but I do not think the matter is straightforward.

Tony Barry
Tony Barry
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

I suspect the last thing she needs is to be portrayed as “anti vax”, so steers away from any contention there. The main thing is to stop this ridiculous lockdown.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Barry

It is a scientific point, it is not a question of being ideological.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

I posted a couple of hours ago the details of 25 studies indicating that after 50 years of measles vaccination the project was failing and could not possibly bring about herd immunity. This has unfortunately been removed. Looking down they may have been removed as under the heading of spam. They were not, for people who cannot stand the truth, spam.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

It’s like the Balloon Debate – if your balloon containing 4 people is crashing to the ground below with the consequence that all would die, and you know that if you chuck one person out the balloon starts to gain height and the 3 remaining people survive, what do you do?

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

That is an interesting comment. I have always trusted vaccines but I am starting to become sceptical. I certainly will not rush to have a Covid vaccine.

Andrew Nugee
Andrew Nugee
3 years ago

Here is a suggestion for the Government and news outlets. When they intone Deaths By Covid on a particular day or over a time interval, I suggest they are obliged to mention:
– the change in the case fatality rate (which has been improving, of course, since the peak)
– deaths by say Flu or car accidents, or cancers, over the same time period
– the average age of each category (or years of productive life lost, if you prefer)

Which is to say nothing of the sacrifice we have made per year of life saved in addressing covid-19 compared to other ailments and diseases. And nothing of the discussion of Lives vs Lives, ie that as we now appreciate it is a false premise that you can choose to save lives or livelihoods. As David Nabarro, Deputy Director of the WHO no less has said in arguing against lockdowns:

Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never belittle ““ and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.

I find it quite shameful that the UK of all countries, with our outstanding science and research base, is trapped in this non-scientific and increasingly damaging logic. Shame on the Government. Shame on us.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Nugee

That would require some intelligence and perspective on the part of the media, and indeed government. Not going to happen. It would also require them to understand basic statistics and the like. Again, not going to happen.

SonoView
SonoView
3 years ago

It isn’t just Boris, Hancock and the two chuckle brothers. Wee Mrs. Crankie north of the border, and the other two first ministers are taking the same line. What they don’t answer is what happens after lockdown ends? Will it all just flare up again? I am a full supporter of Prof.Gupta and have signed the declaration (I am a medical doctor).

Eric Baskeyfield
Eric Baskeyfield
3 years ago
Reply to  SonoView

You’ve forgotten Drakeford in Wales and Foster in N. Ireland. The four of them are all engaged in a mad game of Lockdown Fever, trying to see which of them can implement the strictest “package of measures” to “control the virus”. Foster upped the ante again yesterday after Drakeford said he was going to ban people from English “hot spots” from entering Wales. Kind of “I’ll see your travel ban, and raise you all schools, pubs and hairdressers closed”. It’s as if the virus has got hold of them all and turned their brains to mush.

Eric Baskeyfield
Eric Baskeyfield
3 years ago
Reply to  SonoView

Re. your question will it all just flare up again afterwards – of course it will. All they are doing is kicking the can down the road and trapping us all in this endless cycle of madness.

Mark S
Mark S
3 years ago

The media and online responses to the Great Barrington Declaration have been a disgrace. Gupta, Bhattacharya and Kulldorff are first rate scientists who have busted their guts since January to help us through Covid19. The GBD has been met with a shameless hatchet job on Wikipedia which summoned up the ghosts of shadowy money and rightwing politics. Read their bios. Watch their talks. They have more in common with Amartya Sen than almost everyone venting tired conformist dogma that shields the rich and consigns the poor and the vulnerable to front row seats.

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

The fact that they won’t even listen to other expert opinion when surely this at this point would be far more popular (and politicians are supposed to care about popular) tells everybody else that its really all about money and/or World Evil Forum agenda.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Every course of action has a reaction. This includes the misguided efforts at preventing a single death from occurring, a feat that humans have never and will never master. In the US, the CDC found that 94% of victims were old and had an average of 2.5 other conditions. In other words, the threat to a relatively healthy person is very small.

Yet, the response was to shut down large parts of society, and that is still the case in many states. Meanwhile, businesses close for good, bankruptcies will follow along with divorces, depression, abuse, and suicide. And this does not account for the bad health outcomes that will come from the people who were denied early testing and diagnosis, not to mention actual treatment, of conditions not related to Covid when hospitals basically closed their doors to anything but the virus. Thousands of hospital employees laid off for a rush that never came.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

If we had to use our own money or a loan to prevent our own death, I wonder what value we would put on it.

juliandodds
juliandodds
3 years ago

What an excellent article. Thank You. I myself wrote to Boris proposing almost exactly the Great Barrington proposal in late April. I entitled it “The National Segregation and Release Strategy”. In a nutshell the idea was to give everybody in the country a risk number from 1-9 and then gradually release the very low risk back into full life while we watched what happened to NHS. In effect it was discounting ‘cases’ and elevating ‘patients’ as the key measure for further releases of groups. The proposal included some ideas about how multi vulnerability households could cope but essentially it necessitated such households to split up for 3-4 months or seek governmental help to do so via all the empty hotels and tourist accommodation around the country. I figured we would have been home and hosed by right about now.

Simon Adams
Simon Adams
3 years ago

I agree broadly with the article. However many of the comments here seem to ignore the toxic political environment we have. As soon as Hancock says anything about any herd immunity factors, he will be lynched as a “heartless murderer” in the commons, on Twitter, and by just about every media organisation in interviews.

He needs to retain some element of public support, and the lack of reasoned, balanced thought and commentary in the public space makes it impossible for politicians. This is why its good that the likes of Gupta have the courage to speak in this environment.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Adams

I agree that the media – whose hysteria is matched only by its ignorance – is a huge part of the problem. But politicians like Thatcher and Trump have shown that you can stand up to them, and even beat them. And via social media politicians can now reach people directly. Well, they can if they are trusted and have an ability to communicate, which rules out pretty much all our politicians, I suppose.

Moreover, nobody likes or trust the MSM. Indeed, it is largely hated. A new poll shows that 95% of people want the BBC model to be abandoned, and more British people now trust Al Jazeera than the BBC. So a gifted politician with a credible message has nothing to fear from th media.

Dave Lucas
Dave Lucas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Moreover, nobody likes or trust the MSM. Indeed, it is largely hated. A new poll shows that 95% of people want the BBC model to be abandoned, and more British people now trust Al Jazeera than the BBC. So a gifted politician with a credible message has nothing to fear from th media

Love to see that poll !

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Lucas

Well the poll showing that more people trusted Al Jazeera was quite widely reported a couple of months ago. I heard about the 95% figure on Alex Belfield’s Voice of Reason podcast yesterday. Apparently it’s from the Daily Express, so perhaps not entirely to be trusted, but I think it’s safe to say that a majority now distrusts the BBC. So many people are phoning in to cancel their license fee that the BBC is refusing to answer the phones. Personally I threw out the TV 20 years ago.

alison rain
alison rain
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

lol at the bbc not answering the phone to people cancelling their tv license, did you read that on fb by any chance *smh*. if anyone doesnt want to pay the license fee they just cancel their direct debit or dont renew, thats how i did it.

Lindsay Gatward
Lindsay Gatward
3 years ago

Surely the consequences of the determination to maintain at all costs a blind panic reaction to Covid will go down in history as the greatest self inflicted wound of all time?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Surely the greatest self inflicted wound of all time was Sam Longson – the Chairman of Derby County – provoking the departure of Brian Clough from Derby County in 1973. But I take your point.

Rose Cairns
Rose Cairns
3 years ago

Thank you for this article: some refreshing sanity in an increasingly crazy debate. I’ve been particularly struck and disappointed by the unfair treatment that these ideas (and the Great Barrington Declaration in particular) have had in the media, particularly in the Guardian, which has been at pains to stress that this is a ‘fringe’ position (as if that alone discredits it entirely) and not engaging with the substance at all.

Hugh Price
Hugh Price
3 years ago

Great article, Sunetra.
Even better than MD in Private Eye.

Now that Labour has nailed its total lockdown colours to the mast, it has put the government on the back foot, but targeted protection of the vulnerable while keeping the economy vibrant makes more sense and with a lot less collateral damage.

Well done.

William Barter
William Barter
3 years ago

Thank you so much for making your thoughtful views public despite the abuse. For what it’s worth ( and despite the polls ) the vast majority of people i speak to ( from all walks of life ) are taking the common sense view that this Government’s policies have been a disaster and that we need to follow a plan along the lines of what you have laid out. People despair at the damage being purposefully inflicted for no obvious benefit and are astonished that a variant of a policy which failed the first time round is being implemented again. Finally – this isn’t a question of hindsight. I note that you and other’s were making the same points from the very outset but the media had rapidly decided what was good science ( to be reported ) and what was the loony fringe ( to be censored )……..

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
3 years ago

Thank you Prof. Gupta!

It really take a lot of courage to present a well-thought scientifically-sound strategy these days.

It’s amazing to me how irrational and personal the discussion has become.

Thank you for being so brave.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

And that is the great tragedy of our time. Reason and, in my opinion, truth, are radical, indeed, heretic, positions.

Rachel Chandler
Rachel Chandler
3 years ago

Thanks to Dr Gupta for her persistence. Isn’t the most important thing that we all come together and agree to live with this virus, doing our best to protect the vulnerable, while getting on with life? Why do we never learn the lessons of the past, for example, the gross overreaction to Swine Flu in 2009? A good report on that debacle can be found by Googling “Spiegel Swine Flu”.

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
3 years ago

Matt Hancock and Alexander Johnson are disgraces to Oxbridge. It seems that PPE and Economics are a never-ending pool of stupidity, unlike the STEM disciplines.

connieperkins9999
connieperkins9999
3 years ago

Thank you Dr. Gupta. I know this must be a hard time for you, but I am grateful for your bravery.

I heard a scientist savage the GBD on TalkRadio last week, Deepti Gurdasani, and was struck by her outrage at your challenge to the status quo, and how blithely she dismissed the horrific poverty that various first world lockdowns have wrought on LDCs.

I thought of how ungracious she was to your standing, to the barriers you chipped away at for younger women, your expertise and your good faith. This is a woman who will come to regret her thoughtlessness and discourtesy and bluster as she grows to understand the world a bit better.

I’m sure you’re more than capable of dealing with these kinds of criticisms – you certainly can handle Hancock, but I do hope that you see the good words here and know that a huge number of us are behind you.

All the best.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

Thank you for having the courage to stand your ground (and the years of hard work you’ve put into your field).

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

I keep saying this but the most dangerous words in the English language are “the science is settled”. Unfortunately the government, opposition, the media, social media, etc have all decided that there is only one approach and that is the one set out by Sage, hence why the headlines about the government being under pressure for not implementing a “circuit break” lockdown.

Until we allow debate, without the dreaded “fact checker” (which is really means the editorial staff think this is wrong), then only one policy will be given a fair hearing.

rab57wil
rab57wil
3 years ago

Dr Gupta’s response to the Secretary of State’s veiled charge of bearing false witness is nothing short of gracious. There is truth in the midst of this chaos and the truth will win in the end.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  rab57wil

Perhaps. But not before more or killed by the disastrous response to Covid than by Covid itself.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

The “science” in UK has become biased by politics and to some extent cancel culture. When any scientist can justify why UK is in the position it is in and needs more stringent measures and using the same rationale explain Sweden then maybe I will listen. Until then I have zero faith in the politician who quote scientific evidence or scientist who are wheeled out to back up politicians.

I would also like a scientist who believes lock downs are the solution to explain what happened in South America over their winter. As far as I am aware Peru which has by far the highest death rate per capita in the world (excluding tiny San Marino) at over 1 in 1000. Peru has a much younger population than US and Western Europe and had a very stringent lock down which was instigated very early in terms of when cases really started to appear (UK locked down around about the peak of infections).

The problem is no politician is prepared to admit that most of the restrictions being imposed now are a waste of time as that might beg the question of whether we needed to lockdown in the first place. The people who should be asking the government these searching questions (laughably called the opposition) feel they can make more political capital by challenging the government to screw our economy and the futures of our children further by imposing even more pointless restrictions.

Nobody has a monopoly on the right answer in this case (as is often the case with complex matters), what is worrying is we do not seem to even be having the debate in the mainstream. It is so reminiscent of the global warming madness, it is no wonder people have lost faith in science and our political system.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
3 years ago

One of the great difficulties of politicians is to pull off “The Least Worst Option.” If we could move ourselves away from the hubristic notion that we can solve everything (Lockdown then Vaccine) which entirely ignores the ruinous consequences of Lockdown or related mini Lockdowns then we could say there is some good news.

Sars Cov 2 has no affect on large numbers, it affects large numbers mildly and kills those whom tend to die from other respiratory illness more quickly than would otherwise happen, then we would see THE GBD as the obvious course of action.

Long Haulers is a distraction with Sars Cov they in the main got better and many have the tell tale sign of PTSD its about cognitive mental health support in many cases. But again numbers a small number of a small number. Not unsympathetic but we are talking least worse options.

All the way back to Wuhan we have known who is at risk. Invest every last effort in protecting them and allow the rest of us to carry on muddling through to the other end but muddling in away which does not cause poverty, human disconnection and a myriad of other issues.

Governments internally will argue over debt creation they need to look outside and see what this is doing to people.

Most importantly we need change the perception that GBD is radical and dangerous. If we look at history it is Lockdown which is the great experiment with unknown consequences.

Personally that you are out there is good for my mental health, watching the world self flagellate is profoundly depressing and invokes a good deal of anger. Without people like you I would despair.

Chris N Ray
Chris N Ray
3 years ago

Thank you Professor Gupta and your colleagues for attempting to give an alternative to the madness that we are subjected to at the moment. You are very brave because it seems that we all have to subscribe to the party view or suffer the consequences. I thought I lived in a democracy that valued free speech but that is no longer true. I do not know what has happened in the last seven months. It is as if I went to sleep and woke up in an alternative universe.

I am 68 and my husband is 71. We are just on the edge of the danger zone as far as susceptibility to the virus. We don’t want to die but we do want to live, not exist as we are at the moment. We cannot endure another year like this. So I would go along with the scenario proposed by the GBD but would want to make our own decisions about how much we do or shield. We have been doing this since March!

I have read your comments. The only criticism I have read is in regard to your comments about measles whilst ignoring the rest of what you have had to say. It makes perfect sense to me. I feel that we have been brainwashed for some time. I am constantly anxious, not about the virus but about the effect it has had on society and the world that I thought I inhabited.

Nick Golding
Nick Golding
3 years ago

I would like to take this opportunity to applaud and commend Dr Sunetra Gupta, her colleagues who initially created the GBD, all those eminent scientists and public health leaders who have publicly been bold & brave enough, to illicit a public conversation on other non-lockdown options for dealing with the Pandemic. Surely a robust, fact based, holistic risk driven discussion is what we want and need from out scientific and health experts.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

We used to get measles as children – I was born in 1960 – but It was never considered life-threatening, nor mumps. Just part of growing-up. There used to be German measles parties to deliberately infect your child to confer immunity while the infection was relatively harmless, because it could be serious later in life.

This is a good article in the current context but even so it exaggerates dangers of Covid as much as measles. If the average lifespan is 81, and of Covid fatalities 82, it makes no sense to speak of Covid as a danger. Human mortality remains at a stubborn 100%.

Indeed on a purely statistical basis Covid can be shown to *prolong* life. But that only proves how misleading reasoning purely from statistics can be. On the other hand if Professor Gupta were to speak the unvarrnisned truth she’d likely be denounced by the media, fired from her job and excluded from public life altogether. In that light she’s doing a good job.

Kenneth MacKillop
Kenneth MacKillop
3 years ago

That Prof. Gupta had to “fill in the blanks” to even turn Hancock’s statement from nonsense in an unknowable but meaningful one illustrates my point (below).

She suggested that Hancock must have meant that achievement of what she termed “endemic equilibrium”, which has a quantitative meaning in the sense of the dynamics of a population relative to an epidemic, when he instead simply said “herd immunity” which is a continuously variable (from 0% to 100% in theory) dynamic epidemiological parameter, illustrates the ignorance of Hancock.

It is interesting that Gupta believes ~3 mo would be required to achieve endemic equilibrium if societies were to eliminate lockdown constraints for the majority younger portion of the age range, etc. — i.e. limit isolation measures to the most vulnerable and let the epidemic take its natural course for most of the population.

I am a bit surprised that she believes it would be even this long, and would be fascinated to hear her underlying analysis from the data. It is a purely academic issue anyway, because nothing close to a natural course of the epidemic could be achieved anywhere at this point — even Sweden deviated a lot from behavior wrt seasonal flu, if mostly only due to individually voluntary changes.
I guess that the proper modeling would indicate a continuously slowing rate of buildup of population immunity as equilibrium is approached. That is probably why as much as 3 or even 6 mo is Gupta’s estimate. The mere effect of the increased immunity already achieved, relative to that of the initial surge, guarantees this. But on top of that there is all of the change in behavior that further slows natural immunization. And there is an ever increasing selection factor for those not yet infected to be those who have best isolated (themselves from others), and are likely to continue to do so.

I think that these are the predominant driving factors in this first-of-a-kind societal response to a real but historically mild pandemic. This virus appears considerably less virulent than the Asian flu of 1957/8, and it has only been as virulent likely because it has been significantly more novel than the Asian flu immunologically. I cannot imagine that it will muster a 2nd season which qualifies as of pandemic magnitude properly defined, which has only occured once in history with the Spanish flu which combined a truly novel virus (at the time) with a virulent one. The virulence of flu is hugely underestimated and ignored because we mostly just take it for granted and in stride and have helpful levels of annual vaccination and a lot of population immunity.
Just as for cross-reactivity between beta and alpha CoVs was a likely baseline factor making SARS-CoV-2 only pseudo-novel, one should consider that seasonal flus (generally more than one variant) are also pseudo-novel and come every year. In the US the surge for CoV was very comparable in magnitude and duration to those of the B and A flu’s in this past season/winter alone based purely upon estimates from CDC data reflecting infections (independent of fatalities). If anything both flu’s were a little bigger than CoV.

But such analyses and thinking are, I fear, far beyond the majority of most publics at large in Western countries.

Michael Yeadon
Michael Yeadon
3 years ago

Excellent

Martin Z
Martin Z
3 years ago

This is a good piece. But the problem with the Great Barrington Declaration is that is isn’t a plan, it’s an idea. And an idea (shield the vulnerable) that has been considered from the beginning of the epidemic.

It assumes that it is possible and would be both effective and less damaging to society and the economy to somehow shield the vulnerable. But there is not a word about how you actually do this. So it needs to be shown that it can work, and that needs an actual plan.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

Indeed, but the current plan has been shown it doesn’t work, and yet we persist.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

The UK has now spent hundreds of billions on various Covid measures and furlough payments etc. We know for a fact that a large portion of this has been fraudulently claimed. For a small portion of that money it would, as Allison Pearson has pointed out, have been possible to send every ‘vulnerable’ person to isolate in the Bahamas for a year or so.

Martin Z
Martin Z
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Please show your working.

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

I can’t see how a plan to shield the vulnerable is not achievable but in any event-if the alternative is permanent lock down in some form???????????????

Martin Z
Martin Z
3 years ago
Reply to  croftyass

That isn’t the alternative. Literally no-one is suggesting that.

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

Self shielding of the vulnerable is possible, my father in law has been doing just that since March! All groceries delivered, visits via zoom and lately he has allowed us to visit at a distance in his garden! His choice, and he intends to keep this up until a vaccine is available. He takes walks early in the morning and late evening and has been stoic throughout.

Where there is a will there is a way.

Martin Z
Martin Z
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

So has my mother. The biggest problem is households where there are a mix of vulnerable and less vulnerable people – of which there are probably hundreds of thousands or millions. To pick one of very many examples: what do you do with children living with their grandparents?

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

Pre covid we were lucky in the west and felt very secure that our health services could cure most of our ills. Covid has turned that on its head. We now have to live with uncertainty and accept individual risks, weight, smoking, diabetes, heart disease etc, now come with real and present risk and danger.

I also accept our individual circumstances and living conditions differ. One size does not fit all, but to only ever counter with a what if, or how would you do that is to admit certain defeat.

Grandparents could move into shelters for a period of six months? Children live with other family members? We managed to do this during the war with children from cities moving to the country side. It’s a very small percentage of the population and for a short period of time. It seems the UK has all but given up on looking for an answer that might prove more imaginative than just another lockdown.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

Perhaps, but ultimately the role of the scientist is to present the evidence from their area of expertise, as faithfully as possible, with the hope that the executive and legislature can come up with and implement a plan based on the totality of the situation. In this scenario however MSM panicked (largely because they’re a bunch of activists always looking for something to be paranoid and hysterical about and ultimately because this sells papers), Boris lost his mettle and caved in, and here we are in the mess we are in. I think this GBD is a good start -fielding a fresh idea (it’s not that fresh actually, as sane people have been advocating this response from the outset) but it needs to be packaged as a gentle idea so that people who have lost their minds can be encouraged to think again.

Martin Z
Martin Z
3 years ago

Lots of people have been advocating the idea from the start as you say. None of them have come up with a plan for doing it. There is a reason for that.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

The reason usually cited is that it would be too complicated and costly to implement -now, I think, that ratio is looking rather precarious. I think, however, if it were undertaken it could have a remarkably positive sociological impact. It’s an idealistic fantasy perhaps, but I like the idea of elders withdrawing slightly from the front line of day to day duties -perhaps they can impart their reflected wisdom from their places of sanctuary -and it’s healthy for younger people to step up and take on real and serious responsibilities, as well as bring fresh ideas; additionally one of their responsibilities would be to take good care of the vulnerable. All seems healthy enough to me.

David Shaw
David Shaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

Martin, The answer is simple. Firstly, people must be free to choose. My Mother who is 83 years old has got fed up with this and wants to go to the Bridge Club and hairdressers and shops. Others who are Risk Averse may want to stay in their houses and have their groceries etc brought to them. Again, I re-iterate, you must be free to choose. What is happening right now is the reverse; the vast majority are asked to isolate in some way for the very few; that can’t be right!

Tony Barry
Tony Barry
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

Just ask Sweden, we have a real life example to follow!

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Barry

Sweden – excess mortality rates per 100,000 during first wave of pandemic 7th highest out of 21 nations with comparable data. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41… Interesting article by Imperial College Staff published in Nature. Sweden performed better than England, Wales or Scotland but worse than France, Finland, Denmark Norway, Switzerland, Portugal etc.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

I think if you read the other Unherd article on Germany you will see it is possible, and indeed almost definitely contributed to their significantly lower death rates.

Martin Z
Martin Z
3 years ago

Are you under the impression that the UK has not had the strategy of attempting to shield the vulnerable from the beginning? We *have* been. My mother for example, is on the extremely vulnerable list and has been shielding since April. The problem is simply that it doesn’t work well enough unless community infections are also low.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

It’s not just the practicalities of shielding these people that prevents this strategy from being adopted. It’s also that most of the population don’t want this. On these forums most of us think others want what we want and that like us they all really think Dr Gupta is right but that our leaders have got this all wrong.
I would hazard a guess that around 15% think this way. If the government attempted this policy, having miraculously overcome all practical obstacles, instead of 15% of us being against them it would, at a guess, be nearer 60-70%. The MSM would have a field day.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago

The whole issue has become politicised, Boris fearing to do an about turn and be cruxified and no political voice willing to back the obvious.
It is shocking how deep the hatred has become between conservatives and the WOKE liberals who see this epidemic as a chance to further their cause.
The effects of a stop go policy will be as the writer says, extended deaths and infections and finally as the economy crumbles mass starvation.

Patrick Joseph Kelly
Patrick Joseph Kelly
3 years ago

A definition of madness is to continue doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Lockdowns have manifestly failed to deal with the problem, so by this definition it is madness to continue them.

Kenneth MacKillop
Kenneth MacKillop
3 years ago

The quality of analysis and opinion of Sunetra Gupta et al vs., it seems, almost any high official of government (either elected or bureaucratic) anywhere, which Hancock is simply typical of, is such a lopsided comparison as to be laughable. A Hancock is simply not talking from any relevant technical knowledge or experience whatsoever.

But the problem, it appears, is the quality of skepticism and learning on the part of the public at large. What portion would even be aware of who Gupta is? Or of the Great Barrington Declaration or its basic line of thinking? Who has the larger megaphone (i.e. audience) — Gupta et al or Hancock et al?
Certain kinds of leaders will bubble up based upon the characteristics of the societies, rather than vice versa. At least politicians have to face the voters, which is a test. Bureaucrats, on the other hand, I reserve the highest comtempt for, along with the press. In the main these all live out entire careers as parasites on the backs of wealth-producing parts of society. Their means of parsitic feeding is via the public coffers and governmental abuse of power and corruption.

xx dd
xx dd
3 years ago

Dear Sunetra,

Why does the Great Barrington Declaration contain no references, citations, sources? I think it may lead to dismissal of the declaration and its reception as baseless and unscientific.

I’m really happy to see prominent scientists back an alternative to lockdown and I’d love to see it implemented, but every such proposal should be backed by data, not just by opinions. Without proper citations, it’s still opinion-based.

Noel Thomas
Noel Thomas
3 years ago

John Stone’s earlier comment re the immunity from measles vaccination being inconsistent and often measured in years rather than decades is very important, and also applies to many other vaccines – something insufficiently appreciated. Especially so as natural infection often gives life long immunity. The concept of herd immunity dates from a time when vaccination was almost unknown, the term is now misunderstood and often misused. Evidence is online !

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

Good article and strong recommendations. Persistence with the recommendations must at least bring support for those wanting a better approach, we can hope that the Swedish approach is adopted soon.

Marie Hélène Besse
Marie Hélène Besse
3 years ago

How can this nobody have an opinion ( a totally Erroneous one at that) about herd immunity??!! That is exactly what Sweden has achieved but has been vilified for it as it has now got the status of control group and our lot of incompetent government and so-called scientists: witless and unbalanced, don’t like it! These idiots are ruining the country and people’s livelihood but they don’t care as ” I’m ok Jack” attitude has prevailed through the whole thing!

Pauline Sandwith
Pauline Sandwith
3 years ago

Professor Gupta has been like a beacon of light for me across the past six months.

These detailed, clear explanations make sense to me even though I have no previous knowledge of the topics.

Compassion shines through, and when choosing to voice personal opinion, she ensures this is clearly demarcated from the science.

I look just as closely at arguments for lockdown, and the later varieties with their different titles – they simply do not make sense.

My twin sister, 55, is in sheltered housing due to a long term mental health condition. In March all outings stopped, and I can only talk to her through the window, which has a faded sign taped on the glass, saying ‘Stay at home’. She made it herself, on the instruction of staff, instead of going to an art group.

There is nothing wrong with her lungs or heart, but her confidence and leg muscles are melting away before my eyes. She is an example of someone who is vulnerable to the effects of lockdown.

Lady Marchmain
Lady Marchmain
3 years ago

Whilst I have a great deal of respect for Dr Sunetra Gupta, I must take exception to her statement “but those who rather selfishly choose not to vaccinate their children are only able make that choice because the risks of infection are kept low by those who are immune.” I refused any further vaccinations after my firstborn had a severe reaction to her first MMR vaccination at 12 months and then an even more severe reaction after the booster 3 months later. I was a young mum and naive, trusting the medical professionals without question. However, I was to learn I had been misled about the safety of vaccinations because, in fact, some children do indeed have adverse reactions and to varying degrees. This is precisely why the UK Government has a vaccination compensation programme in place (just look up Gov.UK “Vaccine Damage Payment”) Needless to say, after my two harrowing experiences following my daughter’s MMR jabs, I declined to follow the rest of the immunisation schedule for her and never did vaccinate any of my four subsequent children. If this is “selfish,” so be it; after all, I will readily admit that, if push were to come to shove, I would rescue my own children first from a burning building before going back to rescue the children of others. I doubt I’m alone in this. Regardless, in all, perhaps doctors should try a little more honesty and simply admit that while there is a risk if you don’t immunise, there is also a risk if you do. That would earn my respect and perhaps regain some of the trust I have lost.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
3 years ago

Since February my mantra has been ‘Lock up the frail and frightened (and let the rest of us live our lives). I based this on having gained immunity to most everything by playing in mud and creeks as a kid and having successfully taken taken control of my health issues. Guided by common sense.

Mr Bob
Mr Bob
3 years ago

I am not a politician, nor a medical expert, but the numbers do prevail for me. The mortality rates are so low, that the extreme measures being taken by most governments seem to be excessive. If the elderly and those with immunodeficiencies were protected, the rest of us could get on with life. Masks don’t work to suppress viruses, especially old bits of cloth (as we are being advised to “make our own”). Both WHO and CDC have published reports that this is the case. If there was no social media, I think things would be so different and half the population wouldn’t be living in fear. Final point: why is none of this sensible information hitting mainstream media – are there no journalists left who are able to look at the facts and report?

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago

To my mind this article misses the first and most important step in evaluating our response to any disease; risk assessment. This years version of the Coronavirus is less deadly than the seasonal flu. That’s just a fact and no amount of mortality figure ‘massaging’ (and boy have they tried) changes that fact.
That some people die from the infection is not an indication of how deadly the virus is, it is an indication of how weak their immune system is. Same as all cold and flu viruses.
Secondly, ‘Long-Covid’ is simply a way of perpetuating the fear; all viral infections have the potential, in a small number of people, to cause longer term effects such as muscle aches, tiredness and persistent cough. Why do we need to suddenly give people extra time off / create another ‘badge’ for this very normal syndrome and very normal virus? I too had ‘Long-Covid’. I went to work. It’s not Ebola. Get a grip.
There was never any need for a lockdown, or ‘tiers’ or ‘travel bans’. There is no need for a vaccine. Obviously this writers business is vaccines and so she will see things through that lens…. that’s the hammer seeing a nail. It’s a really good illustration as to why we need a diverse opinion base, not just medical and certainly not just theoretical, when dealing with potential disease threats.
Thirdly, parents who don’t vaccinate their children against measles are not selfish. They are responding to the very real risks associated with MMR; these concerns have never been adequately assuaged by Big Pharma. Hundreds of thousands (yes, thats how large the lobby is) of parents are wrong? Imagining the damage to their children? These parents would vaccinate their children in the blink of an eye if offered something other than the combined vaccine, were offered it at an age that has been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of brain damage, and were reassured that thorough safety testing had been conducted.
That Gupta is stopping just short of using the the Big Pharma propaganda term ‘Anti Vaxxers’ – a term that these companies have paid fortunes to their PR agencies to use to vilify any poor parents who dare to challenge their revenue stream – is an absolute scandal.
These poor parents have been gaslighted by these super rich companies for decades and I sincerely hope that heads roll once the Globalists are defeated.
Finally, the strength of our immune systems is dependant on coming into contact with, and developing immunity to each mutation of cold a flu virus. By all means, shield the sick and the vulnerable, but understand this: you are creating an immunity debt in that person. It may extend their life, but it also means that if they come across future mutations of the viruses that they have successfully avoided, they are likely to be hit harder. It’s exactly why the Spanish flu was so devastating and also why Spanish flu will never happen again. International travel. WWII was the first time in human history when huge numbers of people moved very rapidly around the globe; the movement and the subsequent repatriation of troops meant that a flu virus mutation that most of our population had no, or little, previous exposure to, was spread rapidly to the whole population. In fact, when international travel started to pick up in the 1950s and 60s you can see that Excess Winter Deaths due to colds and flu were far higher than today. That’s because the worlds population is now exposed to mutating viruses much more regularly due to air travel. We simply have closed the ‘immunity debt’ that geography used to impose.
I am huge fan of Gupta …. am a little disappointed with this article though to be honest.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

Hear hear!
You are saying a lot that needs to be said (over and over again it seems).
I would only add that during WW11 there was unbelievable fear and stress which combined with the shortage of healthy food was a recipe for mass illness.

Jon Diup
Jon Diup
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

Dunning-krugger effect ?

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago

Sunetra Gupta says: “The vaccine does not work in babies, which is why you have to wait till they are a year old before they get it. We can do this because herd immunity keeps the risk of infection down, so they are are unlikely to be infected in their first year of life. Without this herd protection, many under ones would die (as they regularly do in sub-Saharan Africa) despite a vaccine being available.”

This is an extremely surprising statement from Professor Gupta. It’s my understanding that babies have maternally derived antibodies from their mothers for the first year of life, that’s why they’re protected until around 12 months, around which time the maternally derived antibodies wane – Professor Gupta doesn’t appear to be aware of this?

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Re my previous comment re measles vaccination – a couple of years ago I raised in BMJ rapid responses concerns about shorter term maternally derived antibodies via vaccinated mothers.

It seems that mothers naturally infected with measles will pass on maternally derived antibodies of longer duration than mothers who have been vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. It seems children of vaccinated mothers may become vulnerable to disease sooner. I find this very alarming. It seems nature provides protection for babies of naturally infected mothers until an age when they may be more likely able to fight the disease themselves. But artificial interference with vaccination could have repercussions over coming generations as the children of vaccinated mothers may become vulnerable to disease at a younger age, when they may be ill-equipped to deal with the disease, with possibly disastrous consequences.

Again, it is alarming that Professor Gupta is apparently unaware of maternally derived antibodies in regards to measles.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Snap! I wrote a long reply raising exactly these points but in the end didn’t post it. I was concerned about her apparent lack of understanding on this matter but let it wash because the rest of what she had to say was so important. 😕

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

One could argue that the current strategy is a gradual herd immunity strategy and a gradual economic recovery strategy mediated with variable covid restrictions depending on transmission rates and hospitalisation rates. This of course being fine tuned as patterns of transmission are slowly but surely identified.

However, your strategy of maximum herd immunity will not result in maximum economic recovery but minimal economic recovery as the preponderance of self isolation exponentially increases with the strong possibility of at least a quarter of a million cases per week. Not only will the vulnerable be permanently dislocated from society but key workers in particular will need to be especially protected and readily replaced if necessary.

I’m certainly trying to remain open minded to your anti lockdown arguments but your approach seems to ignore the economic and fiscal effects of

1. Increasing levels of self isolation which will need to be financially supported, including support for close contacts.

2. Increased NHS costs of treating covid patients.

3. Increased non-covid health burdens due to prioritising covid patients as hospitalisations potentially soar.

4. You make no mention of the numbers of vulnerable people you are talking about and what underlying conditions will be designated vulnerable or at risk. If obesity and asthma are included, we are looking at up to a quarter of the entire population.

5. No costings for the extensive community support provisions that will be required to support the vulnerable which were previously done for free via community action groups. This will need to incorporate the private sector expanding delivery systems as well as state support for medical assistance at home.

6. No mention of how the preponderance of self isolation will affect key workers and therefore key sectors of the economy and who will temporarily replace these key workers as the virus rips through society.

7. You do however acknowledge the increasing preponderance of long Covid which will require long term State support and finances.

It isn’t unreasonable to think that your biological let rip strategy will essentially collapse economic activity as the preponderance of self isolation soars and increasing numbers of key workers are removed from economic activity along with rapidly increasing levels of fear and apprehension as the pandemic spirals out of control.

Consequently, not only will the economy be routed, but confidence in participating in economic activity will collapse resulting in deep divisions within society between the haves and the have nots. This will be compounded by an acute sense of segregation between those needing to self isolate and those not.

Until these reasonable assumptions are properly addressed, then a gradual herd immunity strategy alongside a gradual economic recovery strategy is probably best.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

You have an awful lot of unevidenced assumptions in there.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

Yeah, I’m not impressed by the preponderance of cheerleading in the comments here — it’s weirdly uniform.

Martin Z
Martin Z
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

That’s because they all read the same stuff (Spectator / Telegraph / Lockdown skeptics / Unherd) and not actual research or modelling.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

Unlike… who exactly?

Simon
Simon
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Z

So what actual research or modelling do you think you have access to that Prof. Gupta doesn’t? Do you really believe that her opinion is based on the media? Not a wise choice of criticism of a top scientist in her field.

Simon
Simon
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

Do you believe the world is round? I’m sure most people you ask do too. Weirdly uniform, eh?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

People come to this site to read and air opinions that are suppressed by the mainstream media, particularly the BBC in the case of the UK. Naturally, people who have the independence of mind to search for dissenting opinions will generally support dissenting opinions. If you go to the Guardian you will, I’m sure, find unanimous opposition to the Great Barrington Declaration.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

This will be compounded by an acute sense of segregation between those needing to self isolate and those not.

Instead we segregate everyone?

She claims that in about 6 months we should be able to let those who need shielding relax. With the current strategy, where do you think we will be in 6 months’ time?
In addition, as they say in the declaration, now those who pay the highest price are those in the lowest strata of society. How is that fair?

bob thrasher
bob thrasher
3 years ago

It is odd that anyone would compare Covid-19 with measles – hardly a fearsome disease. Just before the vaccine was introduced in the US, we saw an average of 400 deaths/year from measles complications (and it is impossible to determine if the vaccine is now preventing these). Also, we should point out that prior to mass vaccination, nursing mothers provided immunity to their infants though “passive immunity”. This is resulted in the disease being deferred until after “weaning” when the child’s immune system was sufficiently robust.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
3 years ago
Reply to  bob thrasher

The main protection is actually trans placental and lasts for about 18 months if the mother has immunity from having had measles. A vaccinated mother provides immunity for a much shorter time. Nursing provides only a small amount of protection as far as measles is concerned.

Edward Caldwell
Edward Caldwell
3 years ago

Professor Gupta please keep it up, you carry more people with you than Hancock will ever realise.

Guy Johnson
Guy Johnson
3 years ago

The last three words of the headline are superfluous.

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
3 years ago

A lot of the work on herd immunity thresholds has been done by Gabriela Gomes.

richard.falardeau1
richard.falardeau1
3 years ago

Sorry Matt, as many politicians you offer too little counterweight to independent scientists!!

nick.rendell
nick.rendell
3 years ago

Nabarro at WHO states they don’t support lockdowns except to give restbite to exhausted health workers. It’s been stated by the head of the vaccine task force that any vaccine would be no more effective than a flu vaccine, so about 50% effective. Forbes magazine published the vaccine success criteria which set the bar so low that even very ineffective vaccines are likely to get the green light. There is no prospect of ‘defeating’ the virus, we have to live with it. Thank heavens it’s not much more lethal than flu & discriminates towards people at the end of their life & not towards children.

Bruce Wallace
Bruce Wallace
3 years ago

Professor Gupta. Profound thanks!

Steve Craddock
Steve Craddock
3 years ago

Great analysis, and many thanks for taking a stand and offering an alternate approach to that which is presently being followed. Sign me up I for one would be happy to give it a shot…
I think also that it is not most governments that are actually setting the present covid response agenda. It is megaphone holding media and the political assemblies in the various parliaments and senates that surround them. Many of the career politicians or headline creators have no skin in the game as their sole purpose is to either in general oppose the operating government or generate and maintain the news cycles.

Kirk Adams
Kirk Adams
3 years ago

It is clear to any intelligent open minded person that what Sunetra Gupta and her colleagues are recommending is a far saner approach than the current nonsensical proposals… here is what I imagine happens in the play going on in number 10/11…

“Never mind eh – if we lock people down hard now, we can look like heros when we let them out in the run up to a “normal” Christmas.” I imagine Cummins whispering into ‘Coco’ Hancocks drunken ear as he staggers in after curfew smelling strongly of booze.
“Let’s wait until Wednesday” said the Bogger, “that way everyone can have a few last pissups and get infected causing the last big spike… “
“Good’n” said Coco, contemplating another boozy sesh with his buddies, “and we can slip the local poli’s some extra dosh eh Sunni.. cash for crackheads… I mean crackdowns”.
The politburo cackled mirthlessly.
(To say that I am cynical about this overt political move, one that will likely create mayhem and havoc as people start to rebel, is an understatement. Given my view that we will be close to herd immunity at the end of wave 2 – this feels like the last act in the COVID play – designed to make it look like the government did the right things all along and saved the day…)
“But wouldn’t things have been so much better in private hands,” said Coco forlornly… the spotlight brightens and focuses on the puppet master who winks back sagely… lights fade as the curtain (guillotine) comes down on the NHS…

Louise Lowry
Louise Lowry
3 years ago

Measles has been in UK population for hundreds of years and herd immunity was never achieved in this time.
In Vietnam it would never be accepted that grandchildren do not see their grandparents as family matters there and old people’s deaths is not something to be accepted. There & in S. Korea & China they have to a great extent controlled the spread of C19 using science, and common sense. In Vietnam they tested about 3m very quickly in groups, & if then if a case is found in that group it is followed up. Very strict lockdown until zero cases are detected takes about 4 weeks & then everyone is free to go out, to work, to school, to University with minimal bad outcomes for their economies. These countries remain vigilant so any new outbreak is crushed before it spreads.
Oxford University has a lot to answer for – any other government would have consulted Cambridge, which is so very much better at science.

Kenneth MacKillop
Kenneth MacKillop
3 years ago

For those who want to think a bit more deeply, I wrote the following to some friends. For context, my B cells have no function at all wrt viral/protein antigens, due to polygenic mutations (CVID):

******************************

Triggered to think a bit more about germinal centers by
the CoVID-19 autopsy observations, a hypothesis for my own case arises. I
have tended not to think about things like germinal centers wrt to
myself, since their immunological activity amd function is obviously a
dead end in my case.

But
I have observed a correlation over the years of likelihood of flu
infection (with many weeks of symptoms) and innoculation. I have never
failed to get ill with flu during a season for which I got a flu
shot.All of the seasons for which I avoided getting even one illness
came with absence of innoculation.

This
seems to be also not uncommon amongst nominally immunocompetent
individuals, although certainly the flu shot is beneficial for a
majority including those with CVID.

For
myself and likely some others without diagnosed PIDs or SIDs, the mere
waste of T-cell resources in a failed or compromised germinal-center
process or sequence launched by an innoculation may be the factor that
makes a challenge by the real virus more potent — i.e. our immune
response less potent.

The
last innoculation I got was by a technician from India. She said to me
that it is very common for people to get real flu illnesses that appear
about 6 weeks after getting a shot. This sounds familiar to me — I
think I have heard it before, but maybe decades ago. Literature on this
observed phenomenon has probably been largely purged.

The
minority of individuals who may be harmed, rather than helped, by flu
shots wrt to natural flu nfection may be responsible for the ~ 6-week
observation. This may have to do with a compromised germinal-center
process, which would deplete or eliminate (as for me) benefit, while
significamtly burdening the cell-mediated response lymphocytes and
therefore diminishing or depleting the critical and central T cells
available to respond to the active viral infection.

In
fact, in my case for instance, I wonder if there might not be an
unusually large burden on T cells from the germinal centers. Maybe this
burden peaks ~ 6 wk after innoculation. Since the cascade will never
complete successfully with high-affinity B-cell receptors generated,
does it continue and grow for many weeks nevertheless? I wonder if this
has been studied immunologically in either animal models or even (though
much less likely) humans.

I
guess I should dive into a search of the immunology research literature
to try to find out. But again, I strongly suspect that this type of
research would be shunned and banned by the paymasters in bureaucracy.
***************************

jhodgson007
jhodgson007
3 years ago

“Asked what her updated estimate for the Infection Fatality Rate is, Professor Gupta says, “I think that the epidemic has largely come and is on its way out in this country so I think it would be definitely less than 1 in 1000 and probably closer to 1 in 10,000.” That would be somewhere between 0.1% and 0.01%.”

Sunetra Gupta – May 2020

that prediction has stood the test of time – albeit 4 odd months

why do people still listen to these debunked loonies

stephensjpriest
stephensjpriest
3 years ago

Hello Unherd
Mark Dolan: “We are killing Britain”

You Tube watch?v=F3oLyFQcGok

Mark Dolan: “We are killing Britain. We can’t do this forever. This virus isn’t going anywhere. Don’t be fooled by talk of a quick fix vaccine. That’s nothing more than snake oil.
‘It’s a massive claim; I think the pandemic is fundamentally over’

Former chief scientific advisor with Pfizer Mike Yeadon has said he believes the coronavirus pandemic is drawing to a close, despite rising cases in parts of the UK.

You Tube Watch watch?v=QMlfxnCJppE

Truth about the claims scaring us all to death: Soaring infections, teeming hospital wards, and terrifying death rates… but do the numbers justifying crippling new lockdowns REALLY stand up to scrutiny?

DAILY MAIL news/article-8845533/Coronavirus-Soaring-infections-death-rates-claims-justify-lockdowns.html

stephensjpriest
stephensjpriest
3 years ago

Letter from today’s Telegraph

SIR ““ Although I am able go to shops and restaurants, I miss being able to talk to shop attendants and waiters, and having a laugh. I am hard of hearing, so cannot make out what people are saying while they are wearing a mask.

I feel isolated and lonely, as I cannot speak to anyone.

David Hunter
Godalming, Surrey

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago

But of course he is wrong, how is it possible that a politician is arguing directly with a scientist and not just a scientist but a well known professor from the University of Oxford?

Frank Nixson
Frank Nixson
3 years ago

A well written response to the arguments of the lockdown advocates.

Jon Diup
Jon Diup
3 years ago

Welcome to the apprentice sorcerers…
There is the theory and there is the reality so let’s look at what happened and what happens now in the city of Manaus in Bresil which is supposed to have reached herd immunity => 3000 deaths for 2 millions.
If we extrapolate for the usa it will represent around 500000 deaths.
But there is some little problems : 1/-Manaus population is pretty young (6% > 60 y vs 20% for the usa) 2/- immunity doesn’t seems to last : subsequent growth of case in Manaus since 2 weeks and they’re now closing beaches and bars in the area.

J H
J H
3 years ago

If effective immunity against Cornonvirus is a slam dunk then why has the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium been set up.
https://www.immunology.org/

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago

“Herd immunity is a flawed goal ““ even if we could get to it, which we can’t.”
Thank you Dr Hancock-what on earth qualifies you to make such a statement-why isn’t this buffoon held to account and grilled on this.-sorry – forgot-he’s got an Oxbridge PPE degree and therefore eminently qualified-………………….to talk bollocks in an authoritarian tone!!!!
However as the good Dr Gupta states...In a nutshell, the development of immunity through natural infection is a common feature of many pathogens, and it is reasonable to assume that Covid-19 does not have any tricks up its sleeve to prevent this from happening ” it would pose a very serious problem for the development of a vaccine if it did.
You can’t have it both ways-if you are hanging your strategy on a vaccine then you hav eto accept herd immunity in some form-or conversely if you don’t accept any form of herd immunity then be clear about what a vaccine will achieve.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

HANCOCK SLAMS HERD IMMUNITY STRATEGY AND “THE GREAT BARRINGTON DECLARATION”

Well, of course he does.

If we don’t lockdown then we achieve Herd Immunity
If we achieve Herd Immunity, we don’t need a vaccine

Le Fin

If we continue lockdowns, less people acquire the virus
If less people acquire the virus, every time we come out of a lockdown the case numbers start increasing
If the case numbers start increasing bedwetters start crying for more lockdowns
So we lockdown again and less people acquire the virus

And so we go round and round until Bill comes up with a working vaccine, and because we’ve all been locked down we all have to take it because there is no herd immunity, ‘cos we kept locking down.

If anyone still thinks this a Public Health Issue then you have your head in the sand. This is a global political issue, almost every country in the world is involved and they are getting the same instructions from the same WHO/UN axis as our government is, and that message is LOCKDOWN, at all costs do not seek herd immunity.

Toby Aldrich
Toby Aldrich
3 years ago

The irony is that Patrick Vallance was preaching this identical message in March.

https://twitter.com/EighthO

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

I am quite concerned that people still think this is a public health issue, and argue from a Public Health perspective.
That the Corona virus exists is certainly not debatable, and that it has a mortality rate is also not debatable.
But if this is no longer a public health issue what is debatable is why the actions being taken are being taken.
The below link will answer some of those questions, but will also raise many more.

https://evidencenotfear.com

Uwe
Uwe
3 years ago

Thank you, Professor Gupta, for your relentless effort to show us another way. How feasible this path is may be assessed when looking at Sweden, where life goes on in very much a normal fashion. They seem to not have made too many mistakes, after all.

As for observers and the general public: We should not leave it to the scientists and Professor Gupta to defend their proposal. We should join in and defend it for them whilst they continue working on solving the problem (doing more empirical research on the past six month).

Why is the criticsm for the Declaration so outspoken from governments as well as from media or social networks? Because they are party in this? From very early on, John Ioannidis (who has not signed the Declaration so far, has he?) pointed out the “evidence fiasco. He went unheard. Which is a liability for governments and scientists alike. Now, the science is coming around, leaving government (and vested interests, of which Google et.al. are a part of) with a growing number of scientists demanding a new approach based on empirical data.

Essentially, the Declaration does away with the mantra of “only a vaccine can take us back to normal”.

Matt Hancock would have to resign immediately if he accepted the Declaration, for he has been part of those decision makers that have dismissed Ioannidis and bought into the lockdown-until-a-vaccine-is-ready-strategy. A strategy which was sold to the world by Bill Gates himself. Where is he now? Why does he not dispute Professors Gupta or Bhattacharya? Is it because everyone would immediately get it: What on earth does Bill Gates know about epidemiology? Well, that is a question Mr. Hancock should have asked right from the start. He did not, and that is why he now has do try and shoot down what clearly is the most reasonable way forward! And what will result in Herd Immunity. For that is the expression of a state any given population finds itself in at the end of an epidemic. Protecting the vulnerable on the way is the strategy.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago