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The trouble with ‘Covid denialism’ Our actions should reflect, not dismiss, the possibility of a second wave

He may as well go back inside. Credit: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty

He may as well go back inside. Credit: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty


and
November 5, 2020   10 mins
and
November 5, 2020   10 mins

“Pestilence is in fact very common, but we find it hard to believe in a pestilence when it descends on us,” declares the narrator in Albert Camus’s The Plague. For the second time this year, a pestilence is descending upon us. But, once again, some are finding this fact hard to swallow.

There are important debates taking place about the effectiveness and necessity of restrictions and lockdown measures. Now that the pandemic has taken hold in communities across Europe — and many governments have been incapable of operating effective test and trace systems — there is unlikely to be a ‘perfect’ strategy. 

On one hand, if we entirely reject restrictions, there is a substantial risk of lethal second waves, overwhelmed healthcare systems, and tens to hundreds of thousands of deaths. On the other hand, as ‘lockdown sceptics’ have rightly argued, these measures cause immense economic, educational, social and health damage, and undermine our civil liberties. We are, for now, stuck between a rock and a hard place.

There are, however, some people on the lockdown sceptic side of this debate who would deny the existence of this tradeoff; they are flirting with a sort of ‘Covid denialism’. The pandemic, they claim, if it ever existed, is over because ‘herd immunity’ has already been reached. There is no true increase in cases, they insist, just more testing and ‘false positives’. 

This approach deserves interrogation, we believe. And a key proponent of the herd immunity and false positives theory is the well-credentialed Dr Michael Yeadon, a PhD in respiratory pharmacology and a former leader in pharmaceutical companies. Yeadon surmises, in a post for Lockdown Sceptics, that:

“The susceptible population is now sufficiently depleted (now <40%, perhaps <30%) and the immune population sufficiently large that there will not be another large, national scale outbreak of COVID-19. Limited, regional outbreaks will be self-limiting and the pandemic is effectively over. This matches current evidence, with COVID-19 deaths remaining a fraction of what they were in spring, despite numerous questionable practices, all designed to artificially increase the number of apparent COVID-19 deaths.”

Yeadon’s central assertion is that, by his calculations, a large proportion of the population have already had the virus (32%), have prior immunity to it through exposure to other coronaviruses (30%), or are too young to spread the virus (10%). This, he says, leaves relatively few (28%) susceptible. 

While Yeadon admits in his report that the precise numbers are not “mathematically perfect”, they could, if true, mean we already have herd immunity (typically estimated to require 60%-70% of the population to be immune). We could all get back to life as normal. Everything could reopen; social distancing, testing, and vaccines would be unnecessary; and we could return to our terrible former hygiene habits. 

Sadly, we cannot. Yeadon’s claims are riddled with leaps of logic and illustrated with highly inflated, speculative statistics that most infectious disease experts dispute, and which are being disproved by the explosion of second waves across Europe. To understand why he’s so wrong, we need to address his claims about how many people have already had Covid, the alleged existence of prior immunity, and whether false positives explain the second waves. 

So let’s start by examining how many people have already had the virus. Serological surveys, which assess whether people have been infected by Covid-19 and have developed antibodies to it, provide weak evidence of population immunity, even in some of the worst affected cities. Despite large outbreaks this year, only 23% in New York, 18% in London and 11% of people in Madrid have Covid-19 antibodies. Overall, the REACT-2 survey found just 6% of England had antibodies by July. A US study estimated 9.3% seroprevalence nationally.

On the positive side of the ledger, it is possible that a higher number of people, even some who lack antibodies, are developing longer lasting T cell memory. T cells ‘reactivate’ the immune response when a virus, which has previously been encountered, is encountered once again. They help reduce the severity of symptoms upon reinfection, but are highly unlikely to prevent it — meaning that those who have T-cell memory may still be reinfected and spread the virus again.

The possibility that some patients develop T cells but not antibodies does complicate the calculation of how many people have actually been infected by Covid-19 and are immune. But it is, nevertheless, a leap to claim one-third of the United Kingdom has been exposed and is immune. This is because most people who get infected do develop antibodies: between 91.1% and 100% of cases who tested positive by PCR then developed antibodies; studies show that antibodies last for several months at least. Thus, only a small proportion of people would be missed by serological surveys, by only having a T-cell response to the virus.

Yeadon’s claim that 32% of the population have already been infected derives from his estimate of the chances that someone will die from the disease if they have been infected, i.e. the infection fatality rate (IFR). He estimates the average IFR is 0.2% which, with 43,000 Covid-19 deaths in the United Kingdom, equates to 21.5 million people having been infected (i.e. 32% of the population.) Yeadon admits this “might be a little high”. 

Indeed. It is dependent on a substantial underestimation of the IFR. The WHO has estimated the Covid-19 IFR is around 0.5%-1.0%. A meta-analysis in September put it at 0.68%, and another analysis puts it at 0.53%, while in England specifically, it is estimated to be 1.5%. A Swedish government study put the infection fatality rate at 0.6%, based on a sample of PCR-positive individuals in late March. An IFR between 0.5% and 1%, and 43,000 infections, equates to between 6% and 13% of the population previously being exposed in the United Kingdom and likely to have immunity.

In sum, Yeadon may be right that serological surveys underestimate the extent of previous infection and immunity, but by nowhere near enough to mean we already have herd immunity.

So let’s turn, then, to his claim about prior immunity. Yeadon states a large number (30%) have prior immunity because they have previously encountered other seasonal and endemic “common cold” coronaviruses. It appears that some individuals have T-cells circulating in their blood which are able to react to the novel coronavirus in laboratory conditions, even though they have not been infected by the virus. A study of donor blood specimens in the United States between 2015 and 2018 suggested half displayed various forms of this “T cell reactivity” to SARS-CoV-2, and a German study found reactivity among one-third of donors.

But this reactivity does not necessarily mean, as Yeadon asserts, that these people are immune. First of all, these studies had small numbers of participants, 20 and 37 respectively, meaning they may not be representative of entire countries. Secondly, their T-cells were found to react to virus particles in cell cultures in laboratory conditions specifically; we do not know how they behave in practice, how these individuals would actually respond to an infection by Covid-19. And contrary to Yeadon’s implication, it would be unprecedented for cross-reactive T-cells to prevent an infection entirely, reducing its spread in the population so substantially.

In reality, T-cells reduce the ability of viruses to make copies of themselves over the course of several days and may potentially reduce the severity of disease. And in previous small human challenge trials, participants were exposed to common cold coronaviruses and re-exposed to other similar coronaviruses later, or the same virus one year after, and most were reinfected and developed symptoms. 

For now, there are reasons to believe cross-reactivity may not have much impact on the threshold for herd immunity. There are too many cases in which too large a proportion of a population has been infected to indicate widespread pre-existing immunity to infection. Two large outbreaks on ships this year, for example, resulted in 67.9% and 85.2% of their passengers being infected. By April, 57% of the population of Bergamo in Italy had been infected and developed antibodies to the virus. By July, 54% had in Mumbai, while 55% in Karachi in Pakistan had by September. Clearly, huge swathes of populations are susceptible to infection.

Finally, Yeadon claims that two thirds of those aged 0-11 years old cannot spread the virus (10% of the population). There is, indeed, widespread evidence that young children are not likely to develop disease from Covid-19; but there is scant evidence that they are unable to be infected or spread it. In fact, the evidence is mixed when it comes to how much less likely they are to be infected than adults or how much they contribute to the spread of the disease.

In any case, if people have T-cell immunity from their exposure to other coronaviruses in the past, that is already considered in empirical estimates of the R. The R for the coronavirus has been estimated in a variety of different ways that examine the way the virus is demonstrably spreading in the population — accounting for any pre-existing immunity they might have. If there were isolated groups of people who did not have this pre-existing immunity, however, it would imply that the R0 (and hence the herd immunity threshold) in those groups would be higher than in the populations that scientists have already looked at — in other words, harder to reach.

Besides, the ultimate proof of whether or not we already have herd immunity is being provided by events unravelling right now. The second wave of infections, hospitalisations and deaths all demonstrate that there is a large proportion of people who are still susceptible to being infected.

This is where the second key facet of denialism comes to the fore. The rise in cases, we are told, is a function of greater testing and widespread ‘false positives’, which is when people who are not infected are receive positive results. We are apparently experiencing a ‘casedemic’, not a pandemic. But this claim is crumbling under the weight of new evidence. 

Back in September, Yeadon said that “because of the high false positive rate and the low prevalence, almost every positive test, a so-called case, identified by Pillar 2 [community testing] since May of this year has been a FALSE POSITIVE.” The inaccuracy of tests is so dire that, according to Yeadon last week, we must immediately stop “lethal PCR testing” that is driving fear and restrictions (rather than helpfully spotting cases to prevent outbreaks). 

You could, perhaps more reasonably, have made this claim during the summer, when far fewer people were infected by the coronavirus. But explaining why the UK has uniquely high false positives rates would be difficult, and so would the observation that many other countries have undertaken similar numbers of tests with much fewer positive results.

As Tom Chivers pointed out in September, tests are used more frequently by people who have symptoms, meaning the chances that a person who is tested is actually infected by the virus is higher, which reduces the chances of false positives. Yeadon’s argument would also require ignoring the presence of false negatives (cases where people are infected but test negative), which occurs very frequently in the first days of the illness. 

In any case, more recent data from the UK dispels the notion that false positives alone explain the rise in cases. This is because the proportion of positive tests has been increasing dramatically across a number of measures, from as low as 0.4% at the start of July to 8% at the start of November. This would mean, even with Yeadon’s claim that 1% are false positives, almost all of 7% are true cases. The increasing proportion of positive tests cannot simply be explained away by false positives, as that would mean testing quality is severely declining.

It is a similar story for the Office for National Statistics infection survey, the most reliable source on community infection in the United Kingdom (because it is a large representative survey of the population). The ONS indicates that the proportion of the population who tested positive during the fortnight they were tested had risen from 0.03% in late June to 0.1% at the start of September, and 1.04% by mid-October. Again, the change is important: even if much of that 0.03% in June were false positives, it is not likely the number of false positives have increased 35 times. 

This can also be triangulated against the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, which uses a large number of daily symptom reports and tests to estimate the total number of cases in the community. They estimate the case numbers have risen from 22,000 at the start of September to over 540,000 by late October, with about 43,000 daily new infections. Imperial College’s latest REACT-1 study, from another large community survey, is more pessimistic, estimating an increase in community prevalence from 0.60% in late September to 1.28% in late October, which would mean about 100,000 new cases a day. 

Over and above the dramatic rises in cases are the rising numbers of hospitalisations and deaths. The time between new cases and a rise in deaths typically takes around four to six weeks: it takes time for the virus to spread from the young to more vulnerable groups, longer for them to develop symptoms, be hospitalised, die, and finally have their death recorded officially. The average time between infections and deaths is around 22.9 days, and deaths are registered and reported in official statistics even later.

In the United Kingdom, we can see that hospitalisations are in fact rising proportionately to new cases, and while deaths have taken over five weeks to start rising, they are certainly on the way up. There are now already over 10,900 people in hospital with confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom. There are also a few hundred people dying a day, and that number is rising. Across Europe, including in Spain, France, Germany, and Belgium, there is a similar story of rising cases, followed by hospitalisations and deaths. Even Sweden is now instigating a new voluntary lockdown in the face of growing case numbers.

Yeadon’s typical response has been to point to the lack of excess deaths in recent months. But this is simply a reflection of delays in reporting. The death registrations from the Office for National Statistics are now showing excess deaths.There were 980 excess deaths in the week ending 23 October, 10% above the 5-year average, after 726 excess deaths the week before. These numbers are near identical to the number of deaths involving Covid (978 and 761, respectively). The ONS have also found nine-in-ten death registrations listing Covid-19 as the underlying (main) cause of death. This is consistent with the 28 day death numbers from Public Health England (which provides daily death count figures), showing deaths picking up from mid-October — again, about five weeks since cases started increasing at a substantial rate in September.

The precise relationship between cases, hospitalisations and deaths, as well as the speed of the outbreak, is not the same as it was in March. There are some who have already been infected, and there is ongoing social distancing, improved hygiene, local lockdowns, more frequent use of masks, better testing and tracing, and improved treatments. If we stopped taking precautions, as lockdown sceptics insist, the cases would increase at a faster rate. 

But even though the pandemic is not over, we should not despair. The smartest forecasters are expecting at least one of the dozen promising candidates to produce a workable vaccine by early next year. We have learnt a lot about the virus and how to treat it, with drugs such as dexamethasone, tocilizumab, potentially remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies — making the disease less lethal than it was earlier this year. We also know that the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) instead of invasive ventilation, anti IL-6, and blood thinning provide benefits to patients. And although treatments would be hard to scale up to everyone who required them, they could make the disease far more benign. 

Meanwhile, effective testing and tracing can prevent outbreaks and save lives — as in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. We are also on the cusp of a large number of cheap and rapid testing technologies — LAMP, antigen strip tests, and, even, breath tests — that could allow life to return more or less to normal even sooner. 

Earlier this year, exceptionalism blinded many Western countries to the coming carnage of Covid-19. Overconfidence and inept bureaucracies led to dramatic failures in border controls and testing, tracing and isolating that could have prevented widespread outbreaks. The result was harsh lockdowns and tens of thousands of deaths.

Europe is in the foothills of a second wave of Covid-19. This has, rightly, led to a renewed debate about the appropriate policy response. It should not lead to a denial of reality.


Saloni Dattani is a PhD student in psychiatric genetics at King’s College London.

salonium

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maps foderit
maps foderit
3 years ago

At the start of this health crisis, those of us that didn’t (don’t) buy into the fear, and yet acknowledged the very real unknowns of early February/March, we happily wore the masks and followed the draconian lockdown measures, mostly as consideration to those around us (and naturally to avoid the punishment of the authorities).

Now, with *large* amounts of data, much of which is even biased in the ‘err in the conservative’ direction, we know with high levels of certainty the following:

– Masks are largely ineffective for the purposes they are being required. Not completely ineffective, (slightly better than nothing), but functionally irrelevant to the purported task. Studies confirming this have existed for years and are largely ignored by the power-brokers in our midst. The ‘experts’ at the American CDC and the WHO have flip-flopped on their recommendations multiple times, seemingly aligning with the political fashion of the day, rather than the science that they themselves publish (!) and know with high certainty. This is a bit odd.
(eta: wwwnc cdc gov /eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article – fix the URL to access)

– In countries, states, counties, districts, towns, and clubs, the infection propagation rate is audit-ably only slightly above the common cold or flu. The data is in and not even being argued, let alone dignified in the few conversations being had. But the authorities’ behavior somehow continues as if on auto-pilot.

– The available and growing data indicates that the real death-rate is slightly above that of the flu, and notably hard on our elders, especially those with co-morbidities (pre-existing health stresses). The ‘damage’ rate is very low to the remaining population (especially under 25ers) but seems to really hit some ‘average’ folks very hard with lasting effects – notably lung damage, while leaving others relatively unscathed, if not completely unnoticed. That the American CDC has admitted that of the 220,000 recorded deaths in America, that only 6% (14k?) were ‘pure COVID-19’ best they could tell, and the rest were registered as COVID-related – meaning the poor folks that died may have been pushed over an ‘edge’ in the same way as a flu or cold may have. My problem isn’t with the probable and valid association with COVID-19, it’s with the unquestioned binding that the statistic, which was probably cited 30 times by the American *Presidential candidates* in their recent political debates, as being simple un-nuanced facts. Sorry guys, we’re *not* certain that all 206,000 of the COVID-19 patients in question died of the virus, we only know that the now dead people had it!
(eta: great comment below by TomD: disq us /p/2czytxd – fix the URL or browse down a bit)

– There are virtually no studies that verify the existence of so-called ‘super-spreaders’, Only rumors that make good headlines. Like colds and flu carriers, the period just before you realize you have something, you are likely to be sharing it liberally, after which the contagious factor drops notably. You’d think if super-spreaders were ‘real’, that within the pool of positive testers, some sample would be tested and tracked for the existence of such entities. I’m still waiting.
(eta: a comment was made that cited an existing study, but since has been removed by the user. That such a study exists is worth noting.)

– Watching closely, to my count, there have been ~10 audit-able cases of repeat occurrences in persons who have gotten the bug twice, 2 of which have reportedly died as a result. This is out of 7 billion people, and with a vulturing media that will headline every case they find to sell more clicks or papers, it’s not like repeat cases would be slipping through the cracks here. The idea that re-infection is currently a *real* problem in the general risk profile is abject nonsense. Yes, it could be, but it currently is not.

– The true data shows virtually no difference in infection and propagation rates between populations that mask and lockdown relative to those that don’t, and in far too many cases, the supposed occurrence of spikes in infections (which do make headlines), has turned out to be data spikes due to IT and data processing errors (which don’t make headlines, except in skeptical media outlets). In a few cases, it appears there have been some delay and deferral effects due to these prevention measures, but even in a few of these cases the data is arguably questionable. The effectiveness of these defense measures is clearly lower than those in power would wish it (laudably), but also far lower than they would have you believe as they seriously consider round two.

– The most common test, (PCR) is *known* to be useful but it is *not* a certain indicator of infection. While hard to explain, they can determine with useful certainty that one has been exposed and/or is fighting the COV SARS2 – COVID-19 virus, but many other infection influences across a lifetime *will show the same signature*. Add to this that the test can be run at different levels and is currently being run at levels that *will show indicators at a higher contrast, but with less certainty* – to put it in layman’s terms. This means the tests are being run to generate more false-positives, rather than to miss cases, which might be a fair choice if the consequences of false positives aren’t high. This also means that those (especially nurses and techs who are simply following clearly established protocol) are reading the results much like a madame would read tarot cards.
(eta: great PCR test info by a Dr. Mackay mentioned below by Paul Wright at “virologydownunder com /yes-pcr-tests-can-detect-the-covid-virus/” – fix the URL to access – great read – balanced and complete.)

– When the vulture media report new ‘cases’, how many of you can describe exactly what a ‘case’ is, and if that case poses a risk to fellow citizens – which is really the most important factor isn’t it? Is a new ‘case’ simply someone that had it?, or do they still have it? Is that person contagious? or not? and if so, how contagious *now*? and how contagious over the next 14 days (so-called lifespan of the sickness – and don’t get me started on that)? Very few know, but worse, apparently very few care: “More cases!” This means that effectively nobody can tell you how much risk is actually present in the system at a given moment. So, … we assume it’s all bad and lock ourselves up. Again. “Just in case”. “Trust the science”. But don’t do any science. Contagiousness matters, otherwise ‘cases’ are simply interesting in that we know who is *not* likely to get it – for which it could be argued that we should be wishing there were *more* cases, not less… sigh.

– Counting cases – this is a doozy for the fear-mongering headline grabbers… A new case is *bad*, and the fact that there are more-than-there-were-before means we’re dooomed, right? Well, as many have tried to articulate, you test more, you’re going to get more results! duh. It’s when you see headlines that say “Cases have *doubled* over the weekend!”, – or “200% more cases over the last 3 days!”, and then, with rudimentary digging, you find that the case count went from 7 to 13 cases, (in a population of 300,000!), and 3 of them had no symptoms, and one had tested negative the next day… all of which, if you *choose* to look, should clue you into the idea that something isn’t passing the sniff test here. Something else is going on, and it’s well-past time for more of us to *choose to look*.

When you consider that virtually every outcome of this statistically low-risk disease event can in some way be be tied at the highest levels of our sources of trust and information, to high-power and high-profit mandates of the in-place power systems and the medical service and product corporations, at least the connections between some of the dots might start to make more sense. Of course you can go conspiracy crazy here, but even the simplest consideration of the agendas and the amounts of power and money involved ought to raise some questions in a healthy and intelligent gut.

When you also consider that most rational but gutless politicians will far more likely ‘chance’ the possibility of figuring out what to do *tomorrow* with the side-effects of the lock-downs and creating functional police states with your communities today, rather than risk the very immediate, unpopular, and tragic death of ‘grandma’ today… Kicking the can isn’t exactly irrational, but “at what cost?” would be a great conversation to begin someday soon.

It seems to me a better approach to this situation is to re-visit the *current* risk profiles, trust the *current* data, and assume that perhaps a better answer is to take extra steps to protect those ‘at risk’ while encouraging the broader community to carefully and conscientiously keep the gears of life moving for the better good of the community at large. This would be a far more prudent approach (as proven in more than a few *large* populations) and *does not* preclude moving back to more careful measures if data-backed and otherwise warranted.

Perhaps we will also reconsider the structures of our current community “emergency powers” directives and better-scrutinize the character and crisis-management judgement capabilities of our duly elected leaders more carefully as we vote in the near future.

As with so many ignorant and fearful media outlets, the writers of this article have shared a good amount of speculation, fear, uncertainty, and arguable ignorance with us, mixed in with some merit-worthy points and information. Perhaps it is time that we all poke around at some of the more pragmatic information sources out there (this article is pretty one-sided) and make up our own minds about the current situation, rather than trusting others to do it for us. Perhaps you can’t do this kind of digging for every threat that surfaces, but this would be a good time and a good issue to maybe withhold some of your trust and do your own research and thinking, given the license to destroy lives and lively-hoods it apparently has handed to our elected (and many non-elected!) officials. I’m pretty sure they mean well, but… you know what they say about the path to hell.

Remember at the beginning of this adventure, we knew nothing about it other than “china” and “scary”. We were all wary, nervous, and conscientiously willing to dignify our own fears and honor our neighbors fears as well. That’s what good people do.

Now we know far more, and we’re behaving like we know nothing more – dogmatically adhering to less-justified fears and expired narratives. With data being ignored by our leaders, sincere intelligent doctors being censored for questioning the ‘science’ and more-so the narrative, and worst of all, bubbly but absolutely ignorant talking heads on network TV telling us with clear-eyed *certainty* that we’re literally ‘killing people’ by questioning that same narrative – all this, in spite of our own seasoned eyes and guts telling us that maybe things aren’t quite like they’re telling us…
(eta: Okay, this is a bit hyperbolic. I was on a roll there… it’s not like nobody is updating their responses and behaviors, but… there’s are still a *lot* of questionable rules being executed out there, and not all are based on current information, and the trend doesn’t seem to be improving in some areas)

This article has the proper form, the right words, the pretty graphs, and the scary accusatory headline that implies that many well-intentioned and intelligent skeptics are dangerous nay-sayers and conspiracy nuts – but really, to my read, it’s an interesting take, rich with not-so-self-evident ‘truths, leaving me a bit wanting for more of the other side of the discussion.

Perhaps it’s time to consider that something else might be going on here and do some checking for ourselves.

(edit to add:

I am firmly convinced that COV SARS2/COVID-19 is a real and potentially deadly/crippling threat to some folks, and we cannot lose sight of that. I believe if my mother gets it before a working vaccine is available for her, that she will die. I am close in age to the published risk population and am not interested in taking on this beast either, but I wish to live my life with consideration and selfishness both until new options are available. 8 months of emergency aren’t working for me *with what we now know*.

My inspiration for this note was the authors’ use of the term ‘deniers’ with respect to anyone who doubts a second wave, or who doubts anything presented by the highest levels of our scientific community. There are innumerable brilliant and capable people that do not work for the CDC or WHO, and the forces that drive those organizations are hardly transparent. The read of the article also showed bias that moved me to at least comment… so here we are.

Like everyone here, we don’t know, but I am comfortable with my conclusions that blanket policies that paint too broadly and have been now been determined to have ‘negligible’ effect are the easy way out for our leaders, and I fear these policies are causing damage beyond our ability to understand to the economic and social fabric of our societies, and are decisions being made without the blessings and participation of our communities. I hope my fears are unfounded. I also believe we are resilient as heck, so we’ll ultimately be fine, but this seems *so* unnecessary, given a bit more thought could save us from a lot more trouble.

When writers of an article like this take well-studied but differing opinions and shut them down with terms like ‘deniers’, I take offense and spend way too much time in a forum describing why. Perhaps it articulates what many others have also been thinking, and I suppose that’s worth something.

Thanks for your kind and critical words, both, and please continue to peacefully and rationally engage your peers and leaders in coming up with better solutions today than we had yesterday. Its all we can ask, and the noble-est and most achievable path I can expect to live up to. Best of health to your and yours

end: edit to add)

best,
mf
(edits: re-phrasing and softened the unnecessarily harsh critique of the original authors and article., links/references added)

Bob Honda
Bob Honda
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Great points raised, upvoted.

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Wonderful-thanks for taking then time to put it down.

Sarah Driver
Sarah Driver
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Brilliant. Wish I could read more of these types of views to balance things out.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Driver

It’s on the internet, particularly on Youtube if you look for it.

Suze Burtenshaw
Suze Burtenshaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Driver

Lockdown Sceptics site is a mine of information with many reference sources and further reading suggestions.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

10 audit-able cases of repeat occurrences in persons who have gotten the bug twice, 2 of which have reportedly died as a result.

========

That’s out off 750 million infections. Population is the wrong measure for the denominator.

The conclusion is that its not an issue.

Falling antibody levels is another fraud. The conclusion from the alarmists is that this must mean immunity is lost.

The research from the SARS outbreak is people still have immunity. What’s going on is that antibodies aren’t being produced because people are not exposed to more virus.

It’s evidence that its over.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

At issue are the SARs-CoV-2 variants. The multiple infections in India were examined to verify the second infection was a verified genomic variant. Apparently T-cell response wasn’t triggered for the variant. We have little reporting on the various circulating variants.

rhino678
rhino678
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Great post. I also do not understand why the government have not advised the taking of Vit D and Zinc. The admittedly small survey in Spain and data from Iran show people who are low in them are more likely to suffer more and die. Vit D and Zinc cost pennies, meanwhile we have spent over 12 billion pounds on testing, that is £200 for every person in the UK.

Lisa
Lisa
3 years ago
Reply to  rhino678

Quite! And also why the authors mention all drug interventions under the sun and vaccines but make no mention at all of vitamin D and zinc. This article explains just how important vitamin D is and why even people that are taking supplements are probably not getting enough or not getting it in the right form: “Correcting misapprehensions about vitamin D to save lives
and reduce hospitalisations” https://drive.google.com/fi

worldsbestbrewer
worldsbestbrewer
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

No point in me answering any further. Thanks for the succinct reply.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Thanks. You have said it all.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

No, there is always one HUGE thing left out. Taiwan and Vietnam (worldometers) have 0.3 deaths per million, the rest of Western Pacific have 3 deaths per million contrasting the Western Nations having 600-800 deaths per million. Why? I read a natural immunity exists from eons of exposure, rather like the Europeans taking the normal illnesses to the New World and wiping out half the natives. Is this true? Is this the ‘Dark Matter Immunity’ at play? What does this mean about the source and such?

michael9
michael9
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Well said. So much face saving going on ..

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Exactly. For anyone who is really interested in what this is all about, I will be happy to explain in minute detail, however, Discus will not let me post links to any evidence, so it falls upon the reader to verify any information I give.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

So now Discus is playing the game of political correctness?

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Disqus won’t let anyone post links to anything, and decided my response to this thread was “spam”, so I don’t think Russ has been singled out by Them (although it’ll feed his persecution delusions, unfortuanately).

Katrina Blake
Katrina Blake
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Precisely. There are so many things to take issue with in this piece, which I hoped would give me something to counter my impending sense of doom and that we’re on a road to self-destruct. Apart from the many issues they don’t address (old data used by Sage, cases caught in hospital, confluence with other seasonal illnesses, the idea that a vaccine is the only thing worth counting on etc etc), what I really take issue with is this patronising, let-us-set-the-plebs-straight approach that treats everybody with legitimate concerns as irresponsible deniers of the facts, which, according to these authors can only be viewed through the prism of control of a single virus and to hell with everything else – our jobs, livelihoods, sanity, our culture, our common life, our family & social networks – all the things that make our lives meaningful and give us a sense of purpose.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

MF, with a bit more information about your sources, your really well argued piece should feature in the press, not in the comments. Well put.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

> – In countries, states, counties, districts, towns, and clubs, the infection propagation rate is audit-ably only slightly above the common cold or flu.

Is it? Evidence? “Comparing SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV and influenza
pandemics” in the Lancet has: ” The basic reproductive rate (R0) for SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be 2·5 (range 1·8″“3·6) compared with 2ñˆℱ0″“3ñˆℱ0 for SARS-CoV and the 1918 influenza pandemic, 0ñˆℱ9 for MERS-CoV, and 1·5 for the 2009 influenza pandemic”.

> but many other infection influences across a lifetime *will show the same signature*

Dr Ian MacKay at the University of Queensland says (in his blog, under “Yes, PCR tests can detect “the COVID virus””) that primers are chosen to pick out unique sequences of SARS-Cov-2 and tests are validated against other viruses. What do you mean by the quoted text?

> Add to this that the test can be run at different levels and is currently being run at levels that *will show indicators at a higher contrast, but with less certainty* – to put it in layman’s terms.

At Birmingham Lighthouse lab they sequence every positive test, so they all contain the virus. (Source: Prof Alan McNally who runs the lab, @alanmcn1 on Twitter, Oct 31). More could be done to publicise this in the wake of the current round of “casedemic” conspiracy theories on social media, but I suspect the people running the labs are a bit busy.

> This means the tests are being run to generate more false-positives, rather than to miss cases, which might be a fair choice if the consequences of false positives aren’t high.

FPR is no worse than about 0.05%. Source: ONS’s page “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey pilot: England, 17 July 2020” where they say “For example, in our most recent six weeks of data, 50 of the 112,776 total samples tested positive. Even if all these positives were false, specificity would still be 99.96%” (and so the FPR 100% – 99.96% = 0.04%).

The proportion of tests giving positives has been increasing since the end of August (source: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing statistics (UK): data tables”). Has the testing methodology changed during that time, or do more people have the virus, do you think?

> This article has the proper form, the right words, the pretty graphs, and the scary accusatory headline that implies that many well-intentioned and intelligent skeptics are dangerous nay-sayers and conspiracy nuts – but really, to my read, it’s hollow, incomplete, sensational garbage.

The article is specifically addressing the current round of people quoting Yeadon and saying that therefore there’s no need for government interventions. Yeadon is, as far as I can see, completely wrong.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

I tend to agree with that as well. The trouble with politics is that once you are locked into a point of view you can be unwilling or unable to look at new facts, the attention being on saving face because of your political career.

John Ottaway
John Ottaway
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

A rather better description of the situation than that of the author.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Thank you for making the effort. This article is long-winded scare mongering. CV is bad flu, we live with flu, yes you can get it more than once, so what? There is NO reasonable justification for these extreme and damaging measures. There IS an agenda; it behoves each one of to find out what that is.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

No more to say. Many on this forum have been trying to articulate this over a period of time and this puts it all together in one comment that could stand as an article.
Respect sir.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

How about death years? How many years are lost to these 300,000 CDC excess deaths? Average age of 82 and all – what I am getting at is will the excess death numbers become below normal deaths in 2021 where it balances out with some under a year of life lost per average? If so how much importance should be put on end of life years contrasting beginning of life years(loss of school and jobs).

nope nope
nope nope
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Life years lost consistently measured at over 10, which is the average. Some obviously lose very little time (as with most diseases), the flip side is that there must be plenty losing a lot.

See e.g.:
https://www1.racgp.org.au/n
https://www.medrxiv.org/con
https://wellcomeopenresearc

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Which is what the GMB (?) declaration was pretty much saying, and look how everyone buried that

tom j
tom j
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

I’m just joining in saying thank you for this great reply. I do think Saloni is one of the good guys, but her piece is a very detailed rebuttal of a case that few of us have much attachment to, yet it claims the sensationalist headline.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

A well-presented analysis. If only we could have you at one of the daily audiences given by Boris and his clowns to put these issues to them. Out with Beth Rigby, in with bf.

It is time the nonsense of wave was left behind. We have seasonal respiratory illnesses every winter. We are not in a second wave, it is just coming around again like flu, and seems likely to do this for some years, even with a vaccine.

Christiane Dauphinais
Christiane Dauphinais
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Very well done. thank you.

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Your interpretation of the CDC figues is off.

Only a few percent mention no comorbidities, but of those that have comorbidities, many are covid-caused. Pneumonia is one of the common ones, oddly enough something frequently caused by respiratory diseases like covid. So do we know that allnof the dead definitely died of covid? No, but neither is that 6% figure in any way useful.

It’s good to examine the facts from all sides.

maps foderit
maps foderit
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

Granted.

I enjoyed a recent comment by a fellow who stated that nobody actually dies from COVID itself… A bit like Mark Twain’s line that “It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the abrupt stop at the end…” 🙂

Of course, the information available in the stats – that most of the 220k+ who died were measurably compromised in some manner, and some small percentage were not, is more complex than generally being represented, but still very relevant the the actual risk that we’re all facing.

Clearly, that some of the ‘found’ co-morbidities may have been irrelevant to certain deaths, and that some of the non-co-mobidity deaths may simply have had underlying issues that were present and simply missed – is also likely and worthy of note.

My general grumble is that these important details are so easily distilled out of the conversation in the 24×7 ‘news’ cycle. While simplicity and narratives are generally understandable in the news-business, the reality is that in many ways these stories, and articles like this can motivate some very questionable policy making by well-intentioned but ignorant (not stupid!) leaders.

In so many ways we’re woefully at the mercy of the medical ‘priests’ that our leaders choose to follow, and anyone who is calling holders of alternate points of view ‘deniers’ (as the article title opines), is certainly *not* helping the situation.

your thoughts appreciated,
mf

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

We hear that a positive test within 28 days of death counts it as a covid death. I remember UNICF saying 1.2 million third world children may well die of Western Lockdowns causing reduced economic activity in their lands. Do these numbers fit into excess deaths? And if so are they covid excess deaths (the 1.2 million children) or hunger and medical lack deaths?

Tom D
Tom D
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Such deaths as these are not Covid deaths, but they would be pandemic deaths. For example, the American CDC is guessing that 10% of the 300,000 excess deaths in 2020 are due to deferred medical treatments. Those definitely would be caused by the pandemic. How many are actually avoidable? Realistically there are three subsets (fear of contagion by medical practitioners, fear of contagion by the patients, and overburdened medical facilities), and only the first is really avoidable – that is, IF there is no PPE shortage. I had to deal with the refusal of doctors to see a family member, and the refusals ended when the PPE shortage ended.

So here 300,000 deaths would be pandemic deaths, but only ~270,000 would be Covid deaths.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

Many thanks for your well thought out post and devoting the time to it.

The only additional contribution I would make is the CEBM report on excess mortality into October. I would recommend anyone to read this at cebm.net as it shows very clearly that excess deaths per week are running now at about 250 to 350 a week. Sars CoV 2 has entered the endemic phase and quite clearly the Pandemic phase ended at the end of May June. Respiratory illness each year increase from 2.5% positive rate for RSV in early September to 30% at the end of November. What is happening now is seasonal. Anders Tegnell also has concluded an exhaustive interview updating us on his current thinking. His understanding of the dynamic of transmission and how he responds to it is a lesson for Health Directorates around the world and of course he is the one person who admits past mistakes and corrects them. One stat from him there are 20 cases of recorded reinfection globally the clearest possible evidence of immunity being generated what ever the reason..

Clach Viaggi
Clach Viaggi
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

This maybe the best comment I read so far since the beginning of this craziness.
Thank you for your clarity and patience.

nolstarcats
nolstarcats
3 years ago
Reply to  maps foderit

ðƾ‘ðƾ˜€

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

The very use of the word Covid “denialism”, detracts from the believability of your article.
It is an attempt to shut down discussions about an illness that we know relatively little. The fact that experts in the field have different opinions, shows that our understanding of the human body is not as perfect as we would like.

You fail to mention the fact that positive tests in Liverpool are falling. They have dropped from around 100 ( per 100,000) to 50 over 3 weeks (Cut off date 1st of November). This means that the cases started to fall before Liverpool was affected by Tier 3 regulation. Sage says that the effect of new regulations take around 3 weeks to have an effect.

So if we believe Sage – when they say 3 weeks – how come there has been a dramatic fall in the numbers in Liverpool over 2.5 weeks (Since Tier 3 regs were introduced)?

Put simply this means, we do not fully understand this disease and hence there is room for discussion on its effects.

One thing we do know is that the economy, is being hit very hard – people are losing their jobs, next their homes?. The borrowing, by the Government is not sustainable in the long term.

There is a need for the discussion on the balance between healthy people and those potentially dying – calling someone a “denier” because they disagree with you is not a healthy attitude.

Sarah H
Sarah H
3 years ago

“Denialism”: merely abusive. That it’s a belief, that it’s disbelief in virus mitigation, that it equates with holocaust denial. It’s a disgusting word to use in an apparently scientific and rational discussion. The author should apologise for the vilification.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah H

Oh, the author was quite clear about the word. This was no casual mistake. How ironic that the folks who wrap themselves in the flag of science frequently resort to the most anti-science rhetoric.

s p
s p
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Agreed. And, of course, it is not surprising that this same slur is used in the context of earth’s changing climate.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  s p

I have made this same point. It is also interesting that we have a PhD student as an author. A PhD student, Michael Mann, also produced he discredited Hockey Stick curve but the influence it has will not go away.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

She was partial from the beginning as if she was the expert because she had control over the article. I don’t honestly believe in the official take on this and I believe time will tell that.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
3 years ago

So many people say, ‘listen to the science’, as a way of suggesting that they themselves are more clued up than others. They forget scientific knowledge isn’t built overnight. We can only be thankful that some scientists do challenge the prevailing opinions.

s p
s p
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Cordy

One of the fundamental principles that science is built on is that the data or observations (and to some extent interpretation) must be independent of the observer. Hence, data must always be scrutinized.
Scientists must be willing and welcoming of others to examine their findings and interpretation.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

Denialists are the new Deplorables.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

I love articles that claim to be oh so neutral but in fact use every logical fallacy going for them. The number of Covid deniers is tiny, there is a huge number of people doubting whether the massive health (deaths, shorter lives), social, economic damage is worth it for a disease that overwhelmingly kills the old and frail, not children (Edit: I’d prefer us to use focused protection as we know those at high risk).

Will they answer the simple questions:

1. Lockdown v1 took place ~2 weeks before a peak in deaths, on average infection to deaths lags by 20 days. Will they admit that voluntary action had a great effect and that draconian government action was of limited use?

2. How many people are being re-infected in the UK? I ask genuinely, there appears to be some documented cases of re-infection worldwide (from 50 million cases) – but with ~1million positive tests in the UK how many have become re-infected? I suspect (although I may be wrong) that the number is small, if it was significant I believe they would be shouting it from the roof tops.

3. Do they condemn the fraudulent modelling from Imperial and the governments advisors use of old and wrong statistics? Do they not realise that when people see the government lying about one area of Covid, they become suspicious of everything they say?

4. Will then admit as numerous ‘evil’ people have speculated that this is now an endemic, seasonal respitory disease that comes and goes inline with other respitory dieseases.

5. Why isn’t everyone in Sweden dead? a place with 55% of our relative excess deaths?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Thank you for your excellent post, which lays out the truth will exceptional clarity. I agree with every word.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The fact that they couldn’t resist using a word like “denialism” in their headline, with its bigoted implication that their opponents are – in effect – liars or fools, told me all I needed to know about what was to come. And sure enough…

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I am a denialist, I am glad to be one, like I am proud to be a Deplorable! The other side of the coin, the one adopted, the close down the West and thus lose the world’s status quo, is 100000 times worse.

Nick Jarvis
Nick Jarvis
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I agree with you Luke. I very much welcome and appreciate Unherd’s efforts to provide balance to the mainstream media hysteria, but also to the more extreme scepticism towards the lockdown policy. This article feels like a missed opportunity. I firstly question whether Solani and Matt really have the relevant backgrounds to set out credible counter views on the subject. Their point by point deconstruction is however welcome, but their own bias appears to be inherent on each one. But in a way it’s their own denial that’s the issue in how they’ve framed the article. I think it’s frustrating how the aim for such pieces is to focus on simply discrediting the alternative perspective (such as from Yeadon and the Great Barrington Declaration) rather than bringing them into a balanced discussion That’s what people like me crave. A more transparent analysis of the data and discussion of the many credible scientific views rather than scaremongering with completely implausible forecasts of death rates to justify a lockdown with significant social, health and economic implications.

There’s no denial of Covid here. There is just deep concern of mismanagement of the country with available information. I increasingly lack confidence that the country (and world) has a decent grasp of the actual relative risks on the matter, and the fear is that the ongoing denial to transparently address/ frame the data and interrogate competing views in the mainstream will perpetuate a bubble of hugely damaging Covid hysteria.

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Jarvis

So well said. I am convinced that said scientists, academics, Governments worldwide are so far down this road of hysteria, they are now completely incapable of balanced opinion. They cannot admit to themselves never mind us that they might have got it wrong, or heaven forbid there could be alternative routes out of this. Instead they hunker down and throw out aspersions on anyone who dare disagree.
Covidiots the lot of you…

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Jarvis

“There’s no denial of Covid here.”I am a proud Denialist! I deny covid is anything like the issue needed to destroy the West and the lives of the innocent citizens! I deny covid needed a response beyond massive public information and the distribution of access to hygiene and ability of risk groups to opt out of public association. But then I am a conspiracy loon and so ascribe all the responses taken to very dark forces. I do NOT think this destruction of the West is by bad choices in leadership!

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

1. Yes, voluntary action before the UK Government acted probably reduced infection rates. Official lockdown in UK was 23rd March – deaths peaked between 10th and 21st April – that’s 18 to 28 days after lockdown – fits with your 20 day timescale from infection for peak deaths.
2. You ‘suspect’. Not enough for me to reply.
3. Agree – government lying doesn’t help – Imperial did modelling – it’s a model – a forecast based on a particular interpretation of evidence. Because you disagree with it doesn’t make the modellers fraudulent even if you think they were wrong.
4. No, it’s been identified as a new variation on a virus type. And the people who say it isn’t and think it’s flu or common cold aren’t ‘evil’.
5. Is it because they drive Volvos? More seriously, do you mean only just over half as many extra people died than in the UK?

My question back to you is what exactly do you mean by focussed protection? Details of how much support you think is needed for those who need to protect themselves – which is estimated at around 20% to 25% of UK population. Many of these people live in mixed, multi-generational households. Do we pay and force all the clinically vulnerable to move to hotels if they can’t continue to live with their families? Or do we offer them the money to do so but leave it up to them whether to take up the offer? I really want to know how this would work.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

1. Deaths peaked on the 8th April, you’re confusing reported and actual dates. I refer you to: https://coronavirus.data.go…. The top 2 graphs show the difference nicely.

2. Can you prove a significant reinfection rate? I suspect rightly or wrongly that if the data was there to destroy the aquired immunity viewpoint it would be presented. And I would be shocked if somebody hadn’t worked it out from ~1 million positive tests.

3. The Imperial model is a sick joke in software engineering terms. And not peer reviewed. It’s input data is still unreleased. The ONS for example make their software opensource where possible.

In March we merely had to look at Italy to realise that sometthing serious was going to hit us. Why 10,000s actually dead Italians had less affect on the government than ‘just a model’ is beyond me.

4. I agree this isn’t ‘the flu’. Some people say ‘like the flu’ which is different. It’s a serious disease. One of many. It’s about proportionality.

5. The term relative should be the give away here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peop
Look at the graphs comparing Sweden to England. They did bad, we did really bad. Carehomes appear to have been key, the Swedes admit this – we still don’t test ours weekly.

On focused protection please see the GBD.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Note: full reply on way once moderators happy with links to government stats sites.

In short
1) No it was the 8th of April, actual death date, not reported dates. Links to follow. This is consistent with the R rate falling long before the lockdown. See main UK gov coronvirus site.

5) relative excess deaths, relative. Sweden’s was realtively 55% of the UKs. About ONS links to follow. Excess deaths is probably the best fair comparisson, and the UK did really badly.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Neil Ferguson and his models may not be fraudulent, but they are consistently and egregiously wrong by massive margins. His track record on Foot & Mouth, SARS and Avian ‘Flu were so inaccurate and Cassandra like in their scaremongering, that it should have been evident that his Covid-19 modelling had a very high risk / probability of being wrong. And yet this was what largely bounced the government into Lockdown #1/

I have decades of experience in highly complex financial modelling. One the oldest truisms regarding them is that if you put rubbish / garbage in as an input, then that is exactly what a model will spit out. The quality of assumptions used is directly correlated to the reliability of forecasting.

The other truism, perhaps – hopefully less / not the case the case here – is that you start with the desired output / outcome and work backwards.

Ferguson has been wrong so often that he would have been shown the door in most self-respecting organisations a while ago. Yet the MSM still regard him as a “go to” “expert”.

The same applies to Vallance & Whitty (VW – another outfit with a casual attitude towards truth and accuracy) and their selective, outdated and hard to read / interpret graphs.

According to VW, we were going to have in excess of 50,000 new “cases” (point taken re definition of a “case”) a day by mid-October. We’re not at half of that almost a month later. Their chart purporting to show pubs, restaurants etc as the largest source of infections casually omitted schools and non-hospitality workplaces (ie only considered 58% of the overall data). And the chart relied on by our hapless trio on Saturday appears to be the worst possible case scenario, using out of date numbers which apparently risk overstating deaths by a factor of 4x. Theresa May had it right: the policy is driving the numbers, not the other way round.

So – not fraudulent perhaps. Disingenuous, maybe.
Hancock & Gove leaked and got their cynical way.
The unanswered question is WHY?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

It’s hard to believe anything from Matt Hancock. He should be begging for forgiveness for not increading ICU capacity for the last 8 months – and completely failing to get control of hospital and carehome transmissions.

And yes it would be hard and expensive, but not compared to national lockdown. Again.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

Lets Ask ”mystic meg” shes More ‘Scientific than Professor pantsdown Ferguson..

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Covid 19 denialism is indeed ‘madness’, but the near global overreaction to it and its long-term consequences far, far exceeds the meaning of that word, I’m afraid.

Mike Orman
Mike Orman
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

In a way, the global governmental over-reactions mirror the unmoderated reactions of some folks’ immune systems to the SARS-COV-2 virus.

And we all know where that over-reaction leads.

Bob Honda
Bob Honda
3 years ago

Actual “deniers” of the virus are rare. However, skeptics are increasingly coming forth with their arguments – in academia and medicine too. This is a good thing, we urgently need debate on this topic.

A simple question regarding the “second wave” needs to be answered: Why is it happening now, exactly when the flu season starts? why didn’t the second wave come during summer when restrictions were off and everyone went about their business as normal?

The answer is obvious: the COV SARS2 virus is a Coronavirus, a virus that causes “influenza like illness” and it is seasonal in nature. It will come and go every flu season from now until eternity. Observe now that the southern hemisphere is going out of their flu season, and the northern hemisphere is going back into flu season. Hence, infections and deaths will now occur primarily in the Northern hemisphere.

We will never be able to “stop” or “eradicate” COV SARS2 any more than we will ever be rid of seasonal influenza. This is the key reason why the reaction to the virus needs to change.

Finally, the IFRs quoted in this article are woefully out of date. Latest research Indicate a spectrum from 0.05% to around 0.3%, with 0.3% being very much an upper bound. Another useful fact, while it was “fact checked” and later backtracked, Chris Ryan of the WHO did come out and say that “Our current best estimates tell us that about ten percent of the global population may have been infected by this virus” in a press conference 5. october. Those are his words – verbatim.

Applying basic math of number of dead due to COVID19 at the time, which was 1.1 million, divided by 10% of the world population, about 780 million, nets an IFR of 0.14%. While we can argue about the accuracy of the 10% and the fact that Chris Ryan backtracked (probably because he realized the implications for IFR…) it’s probably not far off, and thus it does put the IFR squarely in the 0.05%-0.3% range, which history probably will vindicate as accurate.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Honda

Agree with the thrust of you comment. John Ioannidis has the IFR at 0.15-0.2% and for under 70’s 0.03-0.04% Peer reviewed and published and available on the WHO website.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

I have an opinion on the IFR, but since the ONS infection survey is likely to peak soon, and deaths are likely to peak soon, we’ll have a good idea in about a fortnight of a rough IFR.

I know the tests aren’t perfect, but as long as the testing methodology stays the same the number of deaths calculated by this measure is likely to be predictive.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Honda

Yeah. A spike was predicted by un-politically correct scientists that it would rise about now (Nov 5th) due to the onset of colder weather. It is not a second wave but the normal peak in corona type viruses. It will not rise to anything like the March and April figures. It will work itself through if they let it. Rather like the flu epidemics where nobody wore masks.

nick harman
nick harman
3 years ago

One can read articles forever, but lived experience is perhaps a better guide

I live in London. Only one of my acquaintances knows of a Covid victim, his student daughter, (guess where she caught it) who was mildly ill for three days.

By rights and perhaps logic, London with its large tightly packed population many of whom do not wear masks and party hard, should be a wasteland with dead bodies piled on every corner since April

And yet it isn’t

Covid is real but the panic is unnecessary. Waves pass on. We had ours.

maps foderit
maps foderit
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

i wrote many paragraphs nearby to this comment to detail what you just expressed beautifully in four lines … and yours speaks far more clearly.

well said,
mf

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

> By rights and perhaps logic, London with its large tightly packed population many of whom do not wear masks and party hard, should be a wasteland with dead bodies piled on every corner since April

This is simply wrong: in Chris Whitty’s lecture to Gresham College (posted to YouTube on 30th April, I won’t link to it as links seem to mean your comment gets stuck in moderation forever), he says “at an individual level the chances of dying of coronavirus are low” (slide at 13:14) and gives case fatality rates of less than 1% for people under 50 (slide at 14:44). Infection fatality rates must be lower.

The problem is not that bodies would pile up in the streets, but that a small percentage of a UK population of 66 million is still an unacceptable number of deaths.

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

I fail to understand this reasoning, when in the winter of 2017/18 there were, according to the ONS, an excess of 50,000 winter deaths in England and Wales alone.

50 thousand excess deaths in one winter…

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

The difference is that the media is all over Covid and so people in government need to protect their political careers.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

ONS says we’re at 56,000 this year. We’ve also had about 50000 deaths with COVID named as the main cause, and 55000 where the death certificate mentioned COVID (between weeks 1 and 43 2020, see “Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 23 October 2020”). Of course, we’re not done with 2020 yet.

This is with government interventions and people taking care. It’d be much worse without that, and could have caused the NHS to be unable to cope, leading to further deaths not just from COVID19.

Government restrictions will cause deaths, the government’s unenviable job is to chose between that and the potential deaths from the virus. Personally, I think they wasted the summer when they could have put in less blunt interventions (i.e. fixing T&T), but with other European countries facing similar problems, perhaps I’m being a bit hard on them.

NIGEL PASSMORE
NIGEL PASSMORE
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

NS says we’re at 56,000 this year. We’ve also had about 50000 deaths with COVID named as the main cause, and 55000 where the death certificate mentioned COVID (between weeks 1 and 43 2020, see “Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 23 October 2020”). Of course, we’re not done with 2020 yet.

Er re your statement in bold. Rubbish. Only 5-6% of fatalities globaly have recorded a death of pure/main COVID (and that is only becasue they didn’t have a formally diagnosed CM which doesn’t mean they didn’t have one or just s**t happens to people medically some times) i.e. the rest 95% plus had co-morbidities (CM) and were an average age of 82.4 (also known as old people coming to the end of their time – it’s normal dont you know?). That’s WHO data globaly in the UK it is ONS data not NS among three main sources of public data on this. You really need to learn how to read ONS (not NS) data before you quote it incorrectly.

Regards

NHP

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Exactly Paul, we are in the midst of a global pandemic and have an excess of 56, 000 deaths.

So why, in a so called normal year, when there was an excess of 50 thousand deaths in one winter, did no one seemingly bat an eyelid?

It went unreported.

Were you on social media then decrying this terrible failure?

Doctors weren’t on TV and the radio shouting about it. Telling the young not to socialise and risk infecting their grandparents perhaps causing their deaths… People weren’t filled with fear about catching flu and dying….

I’m not a physicist so perhaps not as clever as you, but I can smell hypocrisy a mile off…

neilpickard72
neilpickard72
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

“It’d be much worse without that”.
But it’s not good enough just to leave it there is it? Firstly, it is the severe government restrictions we are talking about here. Not a soul in the country is advocating not taking care and hardly anyone about not wearing masks. That level of precaution – and other similar ones – has no place being mentioned alongside lockdown. Secondly, to substantiate lockdown you have to explain to me (please, I would welcome it) how Sweden has had a better outcome or Brazil isn’t a Covid wasteland because what’s not doubted is that lockdown kills and in large numbers but less identifiably. I also would love to know how the author supposes that the UK has a IFR 3 times that of other countries rather than putting it down to wholley more realistic methodology of counting? The NHS isn’t that bad surely nor the virus more deadly.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  neilpickard72

> Not a soul in the country is advocating not taking care and hardly anyone about not wearing masks

There are plenty of people on here and on social media advocating not wearing masks, proudly wearing fake lanyards saying they’re exempt, and so on. You’ll find them underneath almost any article on Facebook published by a public health authority (NHS, PHE and so on) or under ads for masks, of course. Possibly they’re all Russian bots, but a lot of them seem like real people.

> how Sweden has had a better outcome

Better than who? Not its Nordic neighbours.

> I also would love to know how the author supposes that the UK has a IFR 3 times that of other countries rather than putting it down to wholley more realistic methodology of counting?

IFR for a country is an average which will depend on the population age structure and health, among other things. African countries with fewer older people will do better, for example. Looking at the world average and objecting to a higher UK average is like saying no one in the UK is poor because if you take the average over the whole world, pretty much everyone in the UK is fine.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

“Government restrictions will cause deaths, the government’s unenviable
job is to chose between that and the potential deaths from the virus.”The government has bottled this choice totally. Human Rights of the society have to count more than the individual risks of a minority. To take such actions of curtailing every citizens personal rights of freedom need a higher standard of risk! What would FDR and Churchill have done?

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

7882fremic, that is the most succinct, insightful, straight to the very heart of the matter, way of putting EXACTLY the most important point of 2020, when you say…

“Human Rights of the society have to count more than the individual risks of a minority. To take such actions of curtailing every citizens personal rights of freedom need a higher standard of risk”

Thank you for putting my mixed up thoughts into words so well. I will commit your words to memory, and repeat them to who ever cares to hear them.

The most important, fundamental point for 2020…period! Thank you

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

> What would FDR and Churchill have done?

I’m not sure how Churchill would have dealt with people claiming that the Germans weren’t real, that houses caught fire because of radar or that they did so no more often than usual at this time of year, and that the blackout was an infringement on our freedoms which should be ignored, or calling ARP wardens “snitches”. It probably would have been fun to watch, but not so much fun for the people themselves.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

UK Population is 70 Million .5m Scotland; 3.5m Northern Ireland, 3.6m Wales 58m England (Migration Watch &UN) london’s population is 9.5m(UN) &usually 1.5m tourists at anytime, lower figures always quoted by London evening standard

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Why? A small percentage of the UK population die every year. This is not unacceptable – it’s life, and its inevitable end, death.

Mike Orman
Mike Orman
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

“The problem is…
that a small percentage of a UK population of 66 million is still an unacceptable number of deaths.”

What number of deaths annually would you be prepared to accept?

Using your figure of 66 million for population, and average life span of around 81 years, about 0.8 million would have to die each year (and about the same number be born) if the population is to stay stable.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

I suspect we are going to see some herd immunity in London which will be good news, unlike our molly coddled people in the counties who are locked down and isolated up to their eyebrows with no chance to build immunities. By all means protect the vulnerable but give others some voluntary options on what they do like in Sweden who have managed it very well.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Two days ago Tranport for London published the results of an extensive investigation, carried out by Imperial College London, into Covid-19 contamination on surfaces and in the air on the underground network and on London buses. That is certainly a place where people will pack tightly together. No traces of contamination were found.

I’m surprised these findings seem to have generated little interest in the MSM or social media.

Mike Orman
Mike Orman
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Strange indeed.

Obviously this sort of research requires a lot of manual input; not just feeding figures into a computer model. Good to hear ICL are doing the former and not just the latter.

Could it also be safe to stop all the excessive hand washing too?
I’ve always suspected it could be damaging people’s skin microbiomes making them more susceptible to diverse infections.

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago

The problem is not denial, the problem is that scientific facts are not taken into account like the IFR of around 0,05% for people under 70. This article is complete rubbish because it suggests that fear has not yet been spread enough, it’s the other way around. And not a word about the catastrophic damage done by the measures (also in life-years lost). Not one word. I can’t believe that seemingly intelligent people can be so narrow minded. It’s even criminal I would say. Like the brilliant Belgian professor Mattias Desmet (clinical psychology) already stated: experts who shouted from the beginning that the new plague descended on us are now sometimes literally fighting for their lives to keep the narrative of total carnage intact. At the same time many of those experts find themselves in the same collective hypnosis as the rest of the population.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

Once a poor student loses time in school every study shows they rarely make it up. How do you weigh those lost life years. When a young person leaves school and is unable to get a proper job it diminishes their life employment as they receive less work experience and skills just when they need to be gaining those. How is that factored in?

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

Meanwhile, effective testing and training can prevent outbreaks and save lives ” as in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

BS. Deadly, unscientific BS.

There have been no deaths in Cambodia or Laos, either, where they do not have “effective testing and training”, or wide spread mask wearing or quarantines. There was never going to be a widespread outbreak in any of the countries listed (or in Japan, conveniently left off your list).

Some people/populations very clearly have an underlying resistance to Covid-19. This is a real thing. The high cost in money and lives of lockdowns are also a real thing. Enough with denialism.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

You are merely speculating by observing evidence so far, including the standout Japan. Germany is for some reason now missing as are the Eastern European countries who kept it out in the spring.

Observed evidence isn’t consistent with their modelling, forecasts and authoritarian instincts, the only possibility is that observed evidence is wrong.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I don’t understand your comment, Luke. What do you mean?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

It’s sarcasm. The authors of the article work on speculation and modelling – most of which consistently fails to match the real world. They then pick and choose data, Germany was lauded but now is unable to do track and trace?

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

I agree that it is likely a genetic trait that is making life easier for countries in the far east.
In a similar vein, amerindians from the Navajo Nation down to Argentina are suffering disproportionately.
Seeing how some of the waves in the government heatmaps seemed to be happening in synchronisation across large parts of the country, one has to posit the weather as a confounding factor too.

Come the end of this second wave, which most experts seem to be aligning with seasonality, we will find out if the numbers of cases in different parts of the countries have levelled up, or spread apart.

If the numbers are levelling up then we must assume that the 57% infection rate in Bergamo, and the 30% non-susceptibility suggested by Yeadon are not mutually exclusive facts after all. What we need to know is whether the 43% uninfected in Bergamo were sat on one side of a river, sat in completely separate households, or intermingled in the same households as the 57% infected.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

I cannot see testing and tracing being an effective long term strategy. I just consider my movements on a weekly basis and with my limited movement, they would need an army to follow me up. And after lockdown experiments I am not that keen on an app telling the government my movements. Further, apps don’t work in poorer countries where I live – people might not have phones or not have a later version of phone that is compatible with the app.

I agree that it must be genetics driving lower infections in the East. A frustration is that as English speakers we read less information coming from Eastern countries in order to make informed opinions. If anyone can advise me on regular sources of data and emerging science from the East I would be grateful.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

Can’t test and trace me, I would lie, and will never own a cell phone so cannot be tracked by any means but illegal ones. But ID2020 is out to subvert that, first it is all for altruistic reasons, but underneath is all darkness.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Thankyou Harvey, No one mentions this! 0.3 deaths per million in Taiwan and Vietnam! We are the Cherokee ,
Seminole, Chickasaw,
Choctaw handed out smallpox infected blankets! We have not got the ‘Dark Matter Immunity’ that China has!

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
3 years ago

Why have the authors of this article focussed almost entirely on Dr Michael Yeadon? Why did they not focus on findings by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) and Prof Carl Heneghan? The models and figures used by SAGE have consistently been found wanting by CEBM. The most recent example being a significant over estimation, by Government/SAGE, of forecasted future deaths. It has also highlighted Sir Patrick Vallance, in mid-September, referring to cases doubling every 7 days when in fact they were doubling every 21 days. CEBM has further identified significant weaknesses in relying solely on PCR tests due to problems with false positives/people who are not infectious.

The Government should not be basing policy, and closing down the economy at vast cost, on misleading extreme worst case scenario forecasts. We have had all Summer to prepare for a rise in cases during the Winter so why are we going into another lockdown?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

“We have had all Summer to prepare for a rise in cases during the Winter so why are we going into another lockdown?”

Because Boris and Co. gave the T+T job to one of their cronies, and contracts to the privateers who have already failed when other parts of the public sector were privatised, while refusing to empower local public health teams, perhaps?

Viva R
Viva R
3 years ago

“other countries have undertaken similar numbers of tests with much fewer positive results.”

Please do some research on CT (Cycle Threshold) value of PCR tests. That another country has fewer positives than yours may be solely because they set their CT lower for a positive result

When any government is ready to claim the crisis is over and quell the panic, all they need to do is require a much lower CT than is presently allowed and cases will “magically” go down. It’s math. COVID has exposed a distressing lack of basic math skills which has allowed the public to be manipulated.

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago
Reply to  Viva R

a distressing lack of basic math skill
I suspect its more fundamental than that unfortunately..a distinct inability to focus on a topic and use logical,rational,analytical thought

Bob Honda
Bob Honda
3 years ago
Reply to  croftyass

Agreed. The ability to think rationally about complicated topics independently of what others think seems to be a rapidly disappearing skill in todays society. But also a distressing lack of mathematical understanding plays into it. The herd mentality (see what I did there) reigns supreme.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Honda

I don’t think peoples rationality is declining, I suspect it has always been so. Although I have ltd faith in psychology (replication crisis) it appears as you say that most people go with the herd – it’s easier.

It probably makes evolutionary sense to go with the herd, most of the time.

Saying you think Covid is the worst thing ever and we must do everything to save lives has few social costs to the virtue signaller.

It also shows you to be emotional and therefore good.

What’s funny of course is that people are comfortable with common risks. Compare flying to driving, flying worries me far more due to the novelty and ironically all the safety checks. But flying is safer.

maps foderit
maps foderit
3 years ago
Reply to  Viva R

yes – we need to continue to beat this drum – being careful *not* to discount the PCR’s value, but rather to promote its true strengths and weaknesses.

Acknowledging that nuance isn’t that pervasive in most of these venues, the real information seekers will sniff it out and appreciate it when it’s available.

bravo
mf

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Viva R

Although “cases” are what the largely innumerate media concentrate on they have only ever been an imperfect predictor (along with the age distribution of these cases) for hospitalisations.
The problem the NHS is grappling with right now is juggling an increasing number of hospitalisations of Covid cases requiring, in the main just CPAP and similar + trying to maintain a throughput of normal work (now backlogged). Covid cases, even when they don’t go to ICU, require longer hospitalisation than your average bad flu. It’s a capacity juggling problem. Great Royal Society of Medicine webinair about this today (#49) available on YouTube tomorrow.

As for testing – another strong argument for rolling out low sensitivity rapid testing and accepting the risk of false negatives, as they are now doing in some areas of the US.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Viva R

An excellent point. No two countries will necessarily use the same numerator / denominator settings any more than any two countries will use the same methodology for recording deaths.

We in the UK are not being shown much in the way of data analysis that would reveal crucial trends, such as the age distribution of C-19 deaths – other than the headline level data of the average age of death being 82.4 years and an average of 2.5 underlying health conditions. Any data we get fed is overwhelmingly worst case or not broken out or down. For example: what is the R rate for the under 70s?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

The use of “denialism” is an indicator that what follows is not coming in good faith. No one has denied the reality. On the contrary, it appears the “deniers” are far more aware of the reality of covid than are the panic-mongers. The deniers see that the most vulnerable were, are, and will be the old, the sick, and those with compromised immune systems. The deniers see CDC numbers that point to 94% of deaths involving people who were old and had an average of 2.5 other health conditions. The deniers also see that panic-mania has side effects of its own, as measured in increased overdoses, instances of abuse, cases of depression, suicides, and so forth.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

No, it also means denialism is a badge to be worn with pride, as the Lockdownism is producing absolutely horrific results with worse coming hast and hard!

Duncan Cleeve
Duncan Cleeve
3 years ago

Couldn’t take this article seriously given the emotive over the top language, ‘Covid denialism’, nobody serious is denying covid exists and ‘denialism’ is generally used to evoke emotion over a certain genocide and to present the other side of the argument as a bad person. Again, ‘ For the second time this year, a pestilence is descending upon us.’ No, it isn’t the data doesn’t remotely point to a plague such as the black death, that’s just ridiculous. In 2018 50,000 people died of the flu but most people don’t even remember it. The average age of a covid victim is 82, it has killed 0.06 percent of the population, we should have protected them from the beginning, instead the Government has spent 100’s of billions, has crashed the economy, destroyed the lives of millions of people and have taken away liberties as never before in our history. It must stop.

zsretic1701
zsretic1701
3 years ago

The article misses the point of lockdown scepticism. Whichever data you throw upon, it does not take away from the main concern, the proportionality of the measures against the risk. Hence, even if debunked, which is hard to fact check, since both Yeadon’s and authors’ arguments are based on some assumption, the article fails to underscore why the “data” suport the lockdown, against more targeted approach. The assumption that the sceptics argue no measures at all reflects perhaps wellintended activism, yet zeal to push the battleground in wrong direction. That explains why authors have deep trouble to confront Sweden’s approach as reasonable. Their rethorical escape is to coin it “voluntary lockdown”. Well call it what you like, it is still better.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  zsretic1701

That wasn’t the point of the article. You can hardly blame the authors of this article for not writing a completely different one. They are simply addressing the argument that the virus is about to go away and, sadly, they make a good case for why this view is not turning out to be true. It’s perfectly to possible to accept that the virus is not going to go away – we’re some way from herd immunity – without accepting everything the government has done and the whole SAGE analysis.

zsretic1701
zsretic1701
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

Michael the article starts with quoting Albert Camu’s Plague: “Pestilence is in fact very common, but we find it hard to believe in a pestilence when it descends on us.” It is clear to me the point the article is trying to argue, and I do not blame them for writing it. The argument of the article is not that the virus will not go away, but that the fact it will not go away is, somewhat, critical data. Yet, the plague is in the quote not in the real life, whatever data you throw at Yeadon. Hence, to translate literal meaning of the quote to the data they employ does not make the article convincing in relation to arguments it tries to argue or imply. The opposite is true. The book is about plague, as much as Crime and Punishment is about prosecuting crime. That said, the irony is that measures imposed reflect human fallacy Albert tried to describe in the novel not the virus. Hence, the article misses the very point it tries to make.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  zsretic1701

The Camus quote is not actually the subject of the article and the authors’ reference to a pestilence is unfortunate as it distracts attention away from what they are actually addressing, which is the argument that we have reached herd immunity, so any government restrictions now have no benefits and lots of costs. Maybe you could address that? As is predictable on this site, there are a lot of critics of the article, but very little detail in what they say. I was hopeful Prof Gupta would be right in May, then Dr Yeadon more recently. But the evidence does not support their predictions – and by evidence here I am referring to deaths and hospitalisations, as well as cases, not just in the UK but elsewhere in Europe too.

zsretic1701
zsretic1701
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

I understand your point, indeed, it may appear that herd immunity has yet to be reached. However, that being said, that still does not corroborate the lockdown, since, you do not protect effectively the population at risk, while in the same time it seems that very structure of the society is indeed put at risk. Hence, to set the scene with Camus, without proper argumenta to support such a strong statement, makes a poor argument for a rather ambitious article, which tend to argue the case for strong interference with free society.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
3 years ago

Interesting how the authors of this article are also cherry-picking their data. They dismiss an IFR of 0.2% stating “the Covid-19 IFR is around 0.5%-1.0%….while in England specifically, it is estimated to be 1.5%”. Yet further on in the article, in attempting to dismiss pre-existing immunity to infection, they refer to research showing 54% had developed antibodies in Mumbai. The positive test rate of 54% related to the Mumbai slums which contain some 6m people (ie more than 3m people were likely to have been infected at some point). One of the main conclusions of the study, not mentioned in the above article, was that “The high seroprevalence in slums implies a moderate infection fatality rate”. Further evidence that this is not the big killer disease. Of course we want to avoid catching it and we should protect the vulnerable, but shutting the economy down and spending hundreds of billions of pounds propping up jobs of the non-vulnerable is just complete madness.

Bob Honda
Bob Honda
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

They are quoting outdated studies on IFR. This is one is more recent, more complete and more accurate (0.05%-0.27%). For reference, the flu has an estimated IFR of 0.1% ….

https://www.who.int/bulleti

I make a prediction that the estimated IFR will continue to fall as more and more research into this topic is being done.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

I agree but when will the government see it?

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

Perhaps it’s all part of hush hush Project ‘Meek shall inherit the Earth’?

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Or the Geeks perhaps?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

The IFR rate is almost pointless, age of infected person changes it by a factor of 10,000.

Due to the panic caused by Imperial we sacrificed 20,000 people to Covid in the care homes, by putting covid positive people into care homes with predictable results.

Ironically this panic that killed so many is then flipped and used to justify the panic. Its a neat trick as it turns them from the bad guys onto the good guys.

The lockdown meant Covid killed working class people and minorities in hugely disproportionate numbers. However the pro lockdowners are the good guys, focused protection people are far right etc. It hurts my head.

peter.azlac
peter.azlac
3 years ago

Unheard should require authors to state all affiliations and sources of funding as is normal with scientific papers such that the readers can judge any sources of bias.

Bob Honda
Bob Honda
3 years ago
Reply to  peter.azlac

Great point, fully support that.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  peter.azlac

A useful maxim when looking at “dark money” organisations such as the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Adam Smith Institute and the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which refuse to disclose the identity of their donors.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Or SAGE refusing to disclose its total membership (plus their affiliations)…

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago

When the authors of this article state as fact that 43,000 people in the UK have died of Covid-19, it is hard to take the conclusions seriously however logical and pretty the maths. Anyone who has read anything about the crisis will know all about the difference between dying of covid and dying with it. Plus there are the demographics of the 43,000, with an average age above 80.

What is more likely – that we have a killer disease on the loose about to kill half the world, or that governments have massively over reacted due to the emotional propaganda spread about by certain parties and amplified by the msm who know that if it bleeds it leads?

maps foderit
maps foderit
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

brilliant comment. perfect synopsis of the situation as I see it as well.

i would only add the possibility that well-intended government subsidies in response to this situation, and not-so-well-intended private industry subsidies to the msm (which serve to ‘inform’ and influence those same policy makers) would in effect amplify what you’ve described so well, in the absolutely wrong direction relative to truth finding.

nicely put,
mf

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
3 years ago

It’s not a “second wave”. I’m sick of hearing that term. People like to use it because they read about the Spanish Flu, which did have a unique deadly second wave, and they think it makes them sound learned.

Funny how this “second wave” began just as the weather cooled in Europe, and people normally start suffering from respiratory illness.

It’s now an endemic virus, and unless they eradicate it (!) will reappear every Autumn.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

The first wave of the Spanish Flu happened under conditions of censorship, so may have been larger than the second wave.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

”Spanish Flu” Originated in Kansas Troop camps & on US Troop ships..Not a lot of people know that!..But it Was beaten by ”Herd immunity” it Was more deadly to Younger Population! It fizzled out after two&half years..

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Funny how this “second wave” began just as the weather cooled in Europe, and people normally start suffering from respiratory illness.
Exactly. It’s as if people totally forgot how way back in March, they were predicting a drop off in cases as the summer approached.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

That’s what I think. Not a second wave but the onset of winter on it’s way.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

”Spanish Flu” became Less Virulent as people Assumed ‘Herd Immunity” after two&half years..&100 million deaths …SARS2 is an Influenza strain? .There are 15 strains….Its the hysteria I cannot stand and the fact my Nephews Great Grandchildren will be paying off 2Trillion£ debts …

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

The reason that Spanish Flu was so deadly to so many people, even the young, was, and some people seem to conveniently forget this, is that it occurred in the days BEFORE anti-biotics.

A good deal those who died didn’t do so of the virus itself but from its resulting, secondary, usually pulmonary complications, a great deal of which would be treated successfully today with anti-biotics.

dean
dean
3 years ago

As you point out ‘it is not likely the number of false positives have increased 35 times’. Also you point out that more people get tested when they have symptoms.
To not point out that as we enter into September, we also start to see colds, flu and other seasonal respiratory issues, is to tell half the story.
So of course there was a huge rise in testing.
Students were locked down and tested in their thousands, pupils and teachers tested every time someone coughed . Children back at school so parents can work, but safety conscious business owners sending their staff for a test at the slightest sniffle, before being allowed back. There is even a study of thousands of paid human guinea pigs being tested once or twice a week, every week.
Stories from Doctors, nurses and test centres, detailing the massive issues with cross contamination due to excessive testing.
So false positives will have jumped exponentially, with a return to normal life and our shorted immune systems from lack of human interaction for 6 months, as this would make everyone much more likely to catch a cold or flu. Or has covid managed to almost eradicate flu after 80 years of vaccines, while also dropping new heart disease and cancer cases off the scale. So it makes as many people better as it does ill?
Or is there some serious miscounting, massaging of numbers and a super sensitive test that our Boris actually told a camera crew around 9 months ago, was only7% accurate at best. Thats 40 years of immunology proved wrong in 3 months of associated science.

Even if what you are trying to balance out was true(but it is flawed), the country does not need a lockdown, safety measures are fine, lockdowns will kill far more than Covid.
Even if T-cell immunity isn’t 100% immunity, so what! The covid survival rate, average death age and the small proportion of society that will actually get very ill from it, does not warrant lockdowns. As you point out with Sweden above.
ITU is falling, theres capacity in hospital beds and they are freeing up quickly, but it is hindered by thousands of medical staff are self isolating, which isnt what we see in a normal flu breakout.
So predictions for the future-
Moonshot is nowhere near ready, as pointed out by many including recently in the BMJ. Will be forced upon us raising the issues of many more false positives and pushing ever harder this ‘test-demic’ madness, fulfilling the governments obsession with taking away our civil liberties and passing harsh laws.
If I had a bunch of people work for me that produced such materially incorrect data and forecasts, as SAGE do, they would all have been fired by now.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
3 years ago
Reply to  dean

If you saw their past track record then you wouldn’t hire them in the first place!

tmglobalrecruitment
tmglobalrecruitment
3 years ago

er the facts are the average death age is 82.5, and of people already ill

Bearing in mind people know there are vulnerable and they not govt. can take appropriate measures. Killing the economy, killing non covid ill people, killing basically the economic future of an already debt laden low growth economy is a nonsense, to give an 82 year old a couple of extra months being ill.

History will look at this as a farce, t6he West is dying in the face of the growth of the East, and this will put it over the edge.

The denial is in pretending Covid kills many more than it does.

Simon Bond
Simon Bond
3 years ago

As always tons of data to support a view (either way) but a couple of observations… Firstly you skip over the false positive/false negative as if this is linear – ie equal and opposite. But at relatively low levels of infection this is not true… Imagine that 10/1000 are infected. A false negative can only be a maximum 10 of the 1000 in which case the test is useless anyway – even 1 out of the 10 being wrong would be a poor result for the test.

The false positive though leans on the other 990 tests a much bigger denominator. A 1/10 error rate there gives you another 10 cases quite easily. Your assertion is that cases are quite low so imagine that the false positive /negative were equal at 3/10 then the false positive number explodes.

Secondly you are caught in the Herd Immunity trap…. you cannot have herd immunity unless there is infection. Put aside the second infection argument for a moment (as that would also be a problem for a vaccination program), then if we do not reach some form of herd immunity wherever it is then each time the lock-downs end then the whole cohort of vulnerable people is exposed again. With herd immunity higher, the virus implicitly moves more slowly. The key of course therefore is not stalling the economy (with untold other health and social issues) but to protect, emphatically not lock up, the vulnerable pro tem.

kevbuk
kevbuk
3 years ago

There is an error in this article. You mention that “[T-cells] help reduce the severity of symptoms upon reinfection, but are highly unlikely to prevent it”

But the study referenced to support this claim refers to cross-reactive T-cells, which is a completely different thing.

John Mcalester
John Mcalester
3 years ago

I’m not particularly impressed with the qualifications of the authors of this piece as regards the subject. A PHD student and the Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute !

Paul Dixon
Paul Dixon
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mcalester

The information on the Adam Smith Institute seems to broadly follow that of the WEF. The latter sees the pandemic as an opportunity for a great reset. I’m suspicious, purely irrational and emotional no doubt. I’m not a covid denier though but I might accuse the authors of being unqualified to critique Yeadon and others. Maybe SALONI DATTANI AND MATTHEW LESH are deniers of alternative perspectives.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mcalester

Exactly. It’s a joke.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mcalester

It is a sort of true believer written article, more an example of picking and choosing ones way through numbers can give any outcome desired. Next: The Carl Marx Institute debunks Capitalism!

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
3 years ago

Let me save you some time: the author is an idiot, and the comments section tells you why.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago

No mention of the “Great reset”. No mention of the Leftist anti-America Democrats in the USA claiming the virus as “their opportunity”. There is no mention that the Left has seized upon the virus to use as a political weapon. No denying that there is a virus, it is a Corona Virus similar to several others we have experienced. The difference is the politicization of the pandemic as a means to an end. The Leftist agenda, the Great reset, the “opportunity” Agenda 21, Agenda 30. Lies, deceit, fabrication, fear mongering to promote the Lefts authoritarian agenda.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Ah yes, all that Leftist propaganda from (checks notes)… the Adam Smith Institute.

You forgot to include the Knights Templar, the Freemasons and the Bilderbergs, though. Fear not, if you wear your tin foil hat, it’ll keep the black helicopters from landing.

Bob Honda
Bob Honda
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

I won’t defend this post in it’s entirety, but here is the actual WEF homepage for the “the great reset” which is pretty obviously an attempt by the WEF to use the Coronavirus crisis to usher in their “great reset”. How is this is conspiracy if they are openly admitting as much on their own webpages?

https://www.weforum.org/gre

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

It is not a conspiracy if it is on the WEF website.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Paul, I am sure your post was very similar to ones made as the storm clouds gathered over the world in the 1920s – 1930s.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Thankyou Burns, tor bringing up the real covid lockdown reasons, That and the fact it came from a China Bio Lab, and it appears they are basically immune (The West Pacific nations, 0.3 to 3 deaths per million to the Wests 600-800) And the fact China is furiously economically-colonizing Africa, and even South and Central America, it has done it in East Asia already, as the West focuses on its covid navel and goes bankrupt!

Rainer Schlötterer
Rainer Schlötterer
3 years ago

I think the 2 authors largely overestimate the IFR and base this on old estimates (not on studies). Many studies on the IFR have shown an IFR which is far below the old estimates.The meta study by Ioannidis published in October on the WHO website has summed this up quite well. I would like to quote from it:
“Across 51 locations, the median COVID-19 infection fatality rate was 0.27% (corrected 0.23%)”
“Conclusion The infection fatality rate of COVID-19 can vary substantially across different locations and this may reflect differences in population age structure and casemix

of infected and deceased patients and other factors. The inferred infection fatality rates

tended to be much lower than estimates made earlier in the pandemic.”

Bob Honda
Bob Honda
3 years ago

I agree, the IFRs put forth in the article are too high and based on outdated research. The Ioannidis study is even hosted on WHO webpages:

https://www.who.int/bulleti

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
3 years ago

Indeed. It is interesting that the research study referred to by the authors, concerning the figure they use of 54% having developed antibodies to the virus in Mumbai slums, also states that “Taken together our estimate of seroprevalence, these number imply an infection fatality rate of 0.076% and 0.263% in non-slums. The overall rate is estimated to be 0.12%”.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

There’s no evidence for second waves with corona viruses If there is, I’m interested.

Where are the mathematical models for second waves

There is evidence for seasonality. That’s what is being used to justify the lock down and its a lie.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Is there a meaningful difference between 2nd waves and seasonality?

pettersonvale
pettersonvale
3 years ago

Thanks for writing an excellent piece.

I hope another one can be written about the other end of the spectrum – alarmism. I believe this other end is a lot more widespread so definitely deserves serious criticism.

Here is a perspective from France, where a crazy story is unfolding.

On the one hand, the second wave looks serious enough. On the other, the official data on ICU hospitalizations are misleading. The information the government publishes is number of ICU hospitalizations with a positive PCR divided by number of beds. However, they are summing three different types of intensive care coverage (“reanimation” and two other types of intensive care) in the numerator to obtain today’s ~ 4,000 hospitalizations and using a denominator of 5,000. They call the indicator, which they publish daily, share of reanimation beds occupied by covid patients. Now, the numerator includes more than just reanimation, and the denominator does not reflect today’s reanimation beds (“réanimation”), which have increased to 5,800 over the summer. Moreover, the denominator does not reflect the number of beds available for the three types of intensive care that are accounted for by the numerator of 4,000. The actual number of beds in the three types of intensive care is 20,000. So one possible way of calculating the indicator – arguably, a more reasonable one – would have it drop from about 75% today to less than 20%. This is a masking of the data that creates unnecessary alarmism.

Second scandal is that of hydroxicloroquine. The French government not only stopped all clinical trials using hydroxicloroquine after the now retracted Lancet paper, never removed the prohibition even after the Lancet scandal, but now seems to be making it impossible for doctors in France to be able to prescribe hydroxicloroquine. At the same time, the French government recommends the use of Gilead’s redemsivir as a potential treatment even though there is basically nobody – doctors, toxicologists, scientists – that believes redemsivir is a good treatment.

All of this is maddening. They mask the data to make it more scary, recommend a treatment that is ineffective and dangerous, prohibit a treatment that is not dangerous and potentially effective, and go ahead closing down most of the economy and taking money from our children and grandchildren to pay people not to work against their own will.

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago

Surprise surprise…. The UK Statistics Authority has actually criticised the Government for using out of date modelling and having a lack of transparency over data…. What those naughty boys Sir Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance ( they are Sirs’ so beyond reproach by the common man) regurgitating garbage to justify their own ends…. I mean it’s just shocking!

John Vaughan
John Vaughan
3 years ago

When these 2 bright kids get back to school, maybe the teachers will give them a basic lesson in virology – viruses don’t have second waves. The pandemic was over in June.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago
Reply to  John Vaughan

You probably know Roitt’s Textbook of Immunology.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
3 years ago

It’s instructive to look at the Covid death/day curve for Sweden at worldometers dot info (it went into post prison when I posted the working link!)
It peaked at around 100 back in April, and they now already seem to be over the 2nd wave which topped out at 7 deaths/day.

Hard lockdowns may only delay the inevitable while killing the economy and burdening the young with massive national debts.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

Check out the great secret, Belarus, the other country which refused the insanity of lockdown.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

If and when Joe Biden becomes president, the number of Covid cases will no doubt begin to subside.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Senile ‘ Joe Biden ‘Doesn’t have dementia” MSM says so it must ‘Be true?” Vallance has £650,000 in big pharma shares Why no BBC,iTV ,ch4 investigation?..

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Brian Dorsley, we need a laugh button.

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

I see a pretty good chance that COVID will be fading by Inauguration Day (Jan. 20, 2021). Won’t be gone by any means, but very plausible that the main impact by then will be scattered outbreaks and relatively low, endemic spread in most of the country. The outbreaks would mostly be in parts of cold weather states – due to people being indoors – that haven’t been hit too hard.

Also, one U.S. data point (which I discuss in more detail in a separate comment): the 9.3% estimated U.S. seroprevalence referenced by the authors is from a study calculating that number as of 3-4 months ago. The study used blood draws (from dialysis patients) taken in July 2020.

Viva R
Viva R
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Change maximum allowed PCR CT (cycle threshold) for “positive” to 32 and voila: “cases” (positive PCR tests) drop like a rock.

mark63
mark63
3 years ago
Reply to  Viva R

Actually they are run up to 45 cycles, however anything above 35 is deemed inconclusive with a re-test recommended. Here is Alan McNally (who has set up 2 testing labs) correcting Mike on this https://twitter.com/alanmcn

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

An unfortunate title for the article, which perhaps reflects an unwillingness to think laterally. Mike Yeadon and others are not denying the existence of COVID-19 – that is silly. They are questioning the response and suggesting previous WHO and CDC recommendations for pandemic management be followed, not those introduced from China earlier in 2020. May or not be reasonable, but clearly not denialism. They are just recognizing the body of evidence on which the discarded recommendations are based, and for which limited evidence to justify change has been provided.
However, subsequent errors or omissions seem to undermine the main premise (which seems to be that we all need a vaccine to get back to normal).
IFR: WHO estimates about a million deaths in 170M infections. that is about 0.13%, similar to that recently published in the Bull of WHO.
Evidence for pre-existing T-cell cross-immunity seems to be overlooked?
Modelling that includes heterogeneity and immunity (basic to biological modelling but seemingly omitted by Imperial and IHME models) predicts a much lower population infection requirement to achieve herd immunity.
As with so many other analyses, it completely overlooks the fact that average age of mortality is at or above all-cause mortality. Lockdown-induced deaths are frequently younger. It does matter that the average age of death is over 80, and in people with co-morbidities who are expected to die relatively soon. Unfortunate to lose some months, and sometimes far more, but relevant if you are talking about raw numbers dying. We do die when we are old, of various causes.

So no one (or few) are denying COVID-19. The point is, surely, to use context in the response, as the response will also kill people, often at younger age (simply increasing poverty does that).
When we can get past silly jargon, we will find it easier to have a sensible debate that leads to sensible policies.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

Once again, we have the use of the word “deniers” to describe people who question and ask for more information. It is used for people who rightly question the human climate change fraud and it’s use effectively trying to associate anybody who does not follow the agree script with deniers of the holocaust and so discredit them.

If there is any denier in this farce it is Boris. He is denying the reality of all viruses. I have just listened to him telling us that we need to put the virus back in its box. This is more Boris Bluster. We have not managed to put the influenza virus back in its box even with a vaccine. The Tory Party needs to get rid of him and the entire cabinet as soon as possible.

We also have the NHS telling us how we should be helping them. We don’t have a choice about when we get ill. Only monolithic socialist organisations like the NHS lecture their “customers”. The NHS needs to go with Boris.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago

So, to sum up a very long article, Yeadon has not said ONE correct thing. Not one. Not even the date probably…

neilpickard72
neilpickard72
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

If you take the word of a PhD student and the Adam Smith Institute then yes I suppose so. No one is completely right here as that is not possible but the scientific basis on which the lockdown is based is outrageously flawed and cannot be right. Yeadon can be close to it.

david bewick
david bewick
3 years ago

Where’s my post gone? Is the BMJ not suitable for Unherd? Mike Yeadon on talk radio this morning wading into the situation again. He ain’t backing down.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  david bewick

Talk Radio, which regularly gives a voice to people like Mike Yeadon and Professor Gupta, is the only mainstream media outlet that allows dissenting voices.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

OK, but it’s fair enough to criticise those voices as well. Professor Gupta’s view back in late Spring was essentially that the virus would not reappear. Dr Yeadon’s article from a month or so ago basically said there would be no general increase in cases, hospitalisations and deaths. Neither has proved to be accurate so far. I wish they were right, but frankly they haven’t be up to this point.

This does not mean I support the Imperial model, SAGE etc. There are plenty of problems there too. But as the authors of this article point out, denying the reality of the virus is not a good starting point for any analysis.

neilpickard72
neilpickard72
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

There is a difference between being slightly wrong and outrageously out.

Alex Camm
Alex Camm
3 years ago

Encouraging to see an almost complete denial of ‘denialism’ from all the sensible response

neilpickard72
neilpickard72
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Camm

That’s because no one denies the virus.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Camm

I am a denialist, and wear it like a badge of honour.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

I don’t think we are seeing a spike. Just the normal increase in covid type viruses one always sees as the weather gets colder as with flu which is a covid virus. What could be being interpreted as a spike is the results of testing which can pick up all sorts of covid traces associated with flu and even dead covid traces from someone who has already had it. I think it is a panic because of ignorance and fear. As soon as one brings politics into it things get misty because of the compunction to be seen doing the right thing.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

> What could be being interpreted as a spike is the results of testing which can pick up all sorts of covid traces associated with flu

This is false. The PCR tests looks for sequences specific to SARS-nCOV-2, not any influenza virus. See “Yes, PCR tests can detect “the COVID virus”” on Dr Ian M. Mackay’s site.

John Ottaway
John Ottaway
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Paul, may I ask if you work for a Pharmaceutical company, or otherwise what is your area of expertise. Could you even be a Bot?

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  John Ottaway

You’ve caught me, I’m a Big Farmer Bot. Beep boop.

It’s not particularly hard to work out who I am and what my background is, seeing as I’m using my real name and photo. I am a physicist by degree and a software engineer by trade, usually in jobs which end up using bits of physics and maths. As is well known, physicists are experts on absolutely everything, because it’s all made of atoms (except for software, which is made of electrons).

I’m here mostly because I follow Tom Chivers on Twitter and he writes here (and linked to this article).

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Paul, is AI going to kill us, or make us pets?

maps foderit
maps foderit
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

To anyone serious about this issue (PCR use and its appropriateness), please read the above mentioned article – find it easily with a search for virologydownunder – and appreciate that the author is knowledgeable about the science, refreshing complete in his presentation of his topics, and amazingly adept at communicating very technical information in understandable terms that most readers can understand.

He’s a favorite read, and I base some of my commentary on his work (there’s a great youtube interview out there as well.)

While it seems that I highlight the test’s weaknesses, also mentioned in the article, I believe it’s only because I have concerns in the amount of trust being placed in this (deniers) article and the PCR test in general. In many ways, it is a delicate science being sold with a sledgehammer of certainty.

The mentioned article’s author (Dr. Mackay) even references comments related to the limitations of the test from the recently deceased inventor (Kary Mullis – who ironically died just months before the current COVID-19 outbreak – go figure) of the test in certain situations. Be wary that some recent mis-quotes attributed to Dr. Mullis are floating around the web, but some relevant critiques were also made regarding the original SARS outbreak analysis that are potentially relevant to this situation – I’ll be durned if I can’t find them right now, sorry.

That said, science doesn’t sit still, and improvements continue in the mechanics, configuration, and analysis of PCR technology, especially in the current environment – many bright eyes are working on this, but the one quote from the article that still seems especially relevant to me from Dr. Mackay, is

Expertly designed and used SARS-CoV-2 tests have been well-proven to detect this virus.

Where ‘expertly designed’ is the detail of note. He also mentions that poorly designed tests would result in … poor results, etc.:)

good catch and share Mr. Wright,
mf

Simon Adams
Simon Adams
3 years ago

Some good points, but a lot of special pleading in the article. If the existing ‘immunity’ is related to levels of naive T cells, then cruise ships full of mostly elderly couples are not a great example to use.

Also these “second waves” we’re seeing cannot be compared with the cases graphs in the first wave, yes because most people weren’t tested. The only thing that is in any way reliable is to look at death rates and compare with average all causes mortality for this time of year.

Of course there are people dying of Covid, which is not what anyone wants. But there would also be hundreds per day dying of flu in normal winters.

There is of course a mid way between these views, where we are not at herd immunity (which is clear), but do have enough immunity in the population such that hospitals would not be overwhelmed using basic social distancing, and isolation of the vulnerable. The trouble is that politically that would always be difficult versus those who think we can control everything…

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

I saw this headline and immediately thought wtf? What is a Covid denialist really? These people I do not know. Covid exists and sadly kills people, as does flu and many other viruses. I don’t know anyone who denies this. What I also know is that the mortality rate is very low, we cannot sterilize ourselves from death, lockdowns are deadly and devastating, lockdowns have been proven to have limited effect unless they are done early with extreme lockout and suppression which is not viable in most countries who want to have a future. So please call me a lockdown skeptic, not a Covid denialist.

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
3 years ago

This article was a slap on the wrist for those of us who dare to question the orthodoxy. The headline was designed to put us in our place, alongside Holocaust deniers and flat-earthers. “People are dying” is the much heard catch-phrase, as though people have never died before. Well might Marlon Brando have mumbled, “the horror, the horror”. “The madness, the madness”, is now more appropriate.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Simpson

You omitted the favourite accusation of ”Trumpist”. That is designed to end the debate and put one well and truly in ones place.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

I doubt there are any sane people who deny SARS-CoV2 exists. However the constant lies and assaults on civic society by those seeking to profit from this unfortunate outbtreak are there for all to see. Boris thinks he can play St George and hide his Brexit issues, the left including most of academia and PHE etc think they can trash the economy thereby causing them to rise to power atop a class and possibly a race war. For the Ickes, Corbyns, Chris Hedges etc this is manna from heaven (or the moon) as they rush to validate their untestable
conspiracy theories. The fact that all 3 of the above tribes have the same lack of decency and the same delight in lies and chaos tells you all you need to know. If the grown-ups don’t stop the party soonish people are going to get hurt.

Lisa
Lisa
3 years ago

This unhealthy focusing on Dr Yeadon’s credibility (using faulty logic, cherry picking and twisting of immunological logic and research) and ignoring many other relevant arguments from other scientists leads one to wonder what or who is really behind this article

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

Just like you get book review articles this is a Dr Yeadon review article.

Reviewing say half a dozen of the leading books on ornithology would take ages.
So your average book reviewer reads a single book on birds over the weekend and jots stuff down as they go to get their review out. And they’ll tend to pontificate on the general state of ornithology from this single book.

Same with this article.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

I have commented before (BMJ on-line) but here again:

“We are in an exceedingly dangerous position while we are at the mercy of endless worst case scenarios which do not have to be proven. Moreover, the wreckage of the policy is far more quantifiable than any benefit i.e we do not really either know how bad Covid is going to be or how much the policy will mitigate it, while we do know the catastrophic damage to everything else. To institute policy on this basis is without rationality.”

We have been here before: WMD in 2002-3 (maximising the global threat of Saddam Hussain). It is not as if there are no concerns but in total it is pernicious rubbish.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

Saddam had WMDs, he used them on the Marsh Shia and the Kurds and the Iranians in the trenches. That he would not cooperate one had to think he had a lot of them, it would have been just like him to get them as much as he could. But then I like the analogy, as covid came from a Chinese bio lab, and they seem basically immune to it, so what exactly are you saying?

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Saddam used weapons of terror and was a ruthless cruel dictator. The Iraq War was sold on the basis that he posed a direct threat to the survival of the West i.e. these were WMDs that could kill us en masse. A sober assessment – such as Dr Kelly’s – was that there was little evidence for this. We are dealing with governments hyping risks to suit agendas which have never been debated.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

Thankyou for the article.
Two questions:
1.Why has influenza almost disappeared worldwide apparently?
2.How do you refute the claim that the 2007 New Hampshire PCR mass screening programme for whooping cough was shown up as a mirage? This seems better from what you write as there are genuine positive results, but I doubt if that is enough to justify the current management.
Covid was real and I don’t deny some deaths, but I am watching people go blind in clinics and listen to others on the phone yet to be seen. Some of these are children under 10. I would hate to be an Oncologist.
The last person I saw was an hour ago. Normally that person would be seen as an emergency within days. Now she is likely to wait weeks and it will be too late.
Life is a balance of risks and benefits. Politicians’ reactions to media pressure and public health officials is killing people in large numbers and harming the health of many more.
This is shameful.

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago

Why would you bankrupt a country based on a PCR test that is twice as likely to record a positive case without the possibility of passing on an infection as opposed to a positive case with infectivity.
Sometimes I think it can be unproductive to refer to the minutiae of physiological processes to explain the progress of the epidemic.
There is varying resilience in the population to what life throws at us. Young people have more resilience and old people have much less.
In the winter of 2017/18 there were over 55,000 excess UK deaths. The great majority of these deaths were people over the age of 75 ( over 42,000 ) They had far less resilience to viruses, bacterial infections, cancer, hypothermia etc than the rest of the population. This happens year in year out.
Those who did not die might have had the appropriate antibodies, T cell immunity etc but for Imperial Collage to say that over 90% of the population is susceptible to covid because antibodies do not last, shouldn’t the question be – susceptible to what? Certainly not susceptible to dying as we know that dying from Covid is almost exclusively reserved for the old

Let the people least likely to be incapacitated by Covid get on with their lives and save the country and let us take care of the vulnerable and old as best as we can.

Personally I believe that Yeadon gives a plausible explanation (I am not a scientist) only time will tell

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jones

Sadly time already is telling and Dr Yeadon’s explanation/forecast is being contradicted by events. I have some sympathy with your wider point about an over-reaction and do not agree with various things the government has done and is continuing to do. But the article is quite right to argue that it is facile to claim there is no great trade-off between everyone living their lives as normal and the many extra deaths that would likely follow, to the point where people would stop living their lives as normal because they would be scared out of their wits that if they caught the virus they might die, due to a complete collapse of the NHS.

neilpickard72
neilpickard72
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

But the point is that all has to accept that nobody is going to be absolutely right and the government response cannot be formulated on that basis. That taken as given what should the government choose to use as evidence because everything points to SAGEs evidence to be dud. I cannot happen. Yeadon can be wrong but close. The precautionary principle doesn’t carry here. The effects of lockdown are severe on the economy and life – that begins to explain why SAGE needs severe evidence of its own. Speaking of which where is the government’s analysis of the impact of lockdown? It has not even been given to parliament.

R S
R S
3 years ago

I like reading a counter argument now and then. But I stopped reading at the claim that 67.9% of the Diamond Princess was infected, because it is such a blatant lie. Only about 20% got infected, and that is so well documented that to suggest anything else is an insult to the public.
I don’t know what the rest of the article said. If you lie to me, all you are is lies.

miketomaus
miketomaus
3 years ago

It’s true that there has been a significant rise in daily deaths in the UK, Spain and France but only to 136 so far in the UK compared with the notorious worst case projection of 1,000 per day by now. Fortunately deaths have lagged far behind projections. It remains to be seen whether they will match the first wave. While there may well be a considerable reservoir of people left who are susceptible to infection, the number of people susceptible to severe illness leading to death may have reduced.

The other point to be careful of is that these three countries are outliers in world terms. We are not seeing these increases in other regions of the world, or even in the much criticised Sweden, where daily deaths are sinking towards the floor again.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  miketomaus

The number of overall deaths in Sweden in September was the lowest number they had ever recorded for a September.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

presumably because many of those who would have died in September died in the previous 6 months

Jeremy Rolls
Jeremy Rolls
3 years ago

Whilst Dr Yeadon is probably wrong about false positives it doesn’t necessarily follow that he is completely wrong about the other three key points namely: 1. The “real” IFR being a lot lower than forecast, 2. (Therefore) the level to which the population has already been exposed being much higher and 3. the degree of pre-existing immunity (or biological incapability to get the disease) being under-estimated. In terms of the first point it is perfectly possible to find credible data that shows IFR to be around 0.2% (in a population with similar demographics to the UK). For the second point Dr Yeadon may not be taking into account that the government dumped hospital patients into care homes in March and a lot of covid-19 deaths were caused by patients getting the virus whilst already in hospital (as is sadly happening again now). Both of those factors may considerably have skewed the number of deaths given that the virus is indisputably more deadly amongst the elderly. Adjust for that is his calculations and maybe you get more like 20% rather than 32% of the population getting the virus earlier in the year. Regarding the antibody v T-cell debate I cannot comment on the study that the authors quote but there was a study done in Sweden a few months back that showed for every person with antibodies two more had t-cell immunity. We also know (again I think not disputed) that antibodies decline over time or can sometimes not be detectable. Put those factors together and you also get perhaps around 20% of the population having exposure.
Of course exposure is not uniform across the country and (reference excess deaths) in London excess deaths up to 23rd October (the latest report) have remained mainly negative since June, apart from a spike in the summer likely caused by a heatwave rather than covid. In other regions there has indeed been a discernible rise in October. (And yes I get deaths lag infections by 3-4 weeks so the picture is emerging still). But London’s significantly lower mortality in the second wave compared to other urban areas does not appear to be explained fully by it’s likely higher rate of infection in February/March. It is probable that a % of the population simply cannot catch the disease for whatever biological reason that might be (pre-existing immunity or otherwise). The data from the two ships is interesting but surely in a closed environment with frequent person to person contact you would expect nearly 100% to catch the disease? Dr Yeadon’s estimate of those with pre-immunity may again be too high but it doesn’t mean the phenomenon doesn’t exist.

The points Dr Yeadon is making are not out of line with other eminent scientists like Sunetra Gupta. He may not (by his own admission) be right about the precise numbers but that should not dismiss him from a reasoned and reasonable argument. Sadly, the debate has become very polarized. My own view, for what that is worth, is that London is close to herd immunity and the second wave would die down pretty quickly without lockdown measures in place. Other parts of the country got it less badly earlier in the year and for them herd immunity may be a way off yet. But what we do know for absolute certainty is that covid-19 kills the elderly more than the young, by as much as 10,000 times. Any measure designed to reduce the virus’s impact, pending the availability of a vaccine, would surely be better focused on those most likely to die from the virus, rather than the blunt and economically catastrophic tool of a lockdown.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Rolls

For a back of fag packet calculation do the following:

Take a smoothed number of deaths from the government stats – say roughly 500 today, to be on the generous side.
Take the latest ONS infection survey, which is a wonderful thing. That shows cases a fortnight ago, and corresponds to infections roughly 3 weeks ago, so dying yesterday. 95% credible lower figure is 536500.
500/536500 = 0.09%

If I’m out by a week, because of reporting dates and so on, and infections double every two weeks then multiply by root two, IFR = 0.13.

If I’m out by two weeks then IFR = 0.18%

So 0.2% is not a silly figure for IFR at all, and would concur with the government approved sources of data.

When infections and deaths have peaked for this wave we should be able to compare the numbers at peak, and get a pretty solid IFR figure for the UK.

By that reckoning we are heading for another 11000 deaths over the next year or two, and this will bring us in line with San Marino at about 1000 deaths per million. Note San Marino hasn’t had a death since May.

Sean Arthur Joyce
Sean Arthur Joyce
3 years ago

Sad when the comments on an article are more intelligent than the article itself. Skip the article and read “maps foderit”‘s comments if you want a dose of common sense so lacking anywhere these days.

Bob Honda
Bob Honda
3 years ago

Totally agree. the comments to this article actually blow the article out of the water. Well done, random people on the internet! you make me think that there is actually a sliver of hope for a more rational approach to this crisis.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
3 years ago

“By July, 54% had [developed antibodies to the virus] in Mumbai…” Yes, and the research paper you quote that relates to the Mumbai figure also states: “Taken together our estimate of seroprevalence, these number imply an infection fatality rate of 0.076% and 0.263% in non-slums. The overall rate is estimated to be 0.12%”. Maybe Yeadon’s IFR figure of 0.2% is nearer to the truth than the 0.5%-1.5% you are suggesting in the article. Also, could it not be that one factor for the very low IFR in the slums, compared to non-slums, is the existence of a degree of pre-existing immunity? A concept which your article seems at pains to try and discredit.