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How safe is the AstraZeneca jab? Without a firm grasp of statistics, bad decisions are inevitable

The anti-vaxx brigade loves a bit of bad science. Credit: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty

The anti-vaxx brigade loves a bit of bad science. Credit: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty


March 16, 2021   9 mins

At least 37 people have suffered potentially life-threatening blood clots after taking the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. That number, on its own, could easily convince you that the vaccine is dangerous. It’s a number that has misled entire governments. And it’s a prime example of how numbers go wrong, and how important it is to present them fairly.

Since it’s very likely that you are a British person, and therefore have either recently had or will soon have your first jab – and that it is very likely that that jab will have been the Oxford/AZ vaccine – I can understand if this makes you feel nervous. Especially since the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Thailand and Germany have all suspended or partly restricted the use of the jab.

It is a stupid, harmful decision; it will predictably lead to some avoidable deaths; and there is absolutely no good reason to think that the Oxford vaccine is linked in any way to blood clots. It’s also dangerous because it will give people the false impression that it is unsafe, even when these countries change their minds.

But it is very instructive. Because it shows us a simple, but common, way, in which numbers go wrong in the news: the failure to ask “Is this a big number?” After all, 37 people getting sick sounds really bad, on its own. But is it more than we would expect? What do we need to know to understand that?

We need two more numbers: one, how many people have been given the Oxford vaccine; and two, how many blood clots we would expect to see in that many people, if we hadn’t given them the vaccine. Luckily, we know those two numbers fairly well. About five million people have been given the Ox/AZ vaccine in Europe (about 17 million worldwide, according to AstraZeneca); and about one person in every 1,000 suffers a thrombosis every year.

So you’d expect to see about 5,000 blood clots among the five million recipients of the jab every year — 14 a day, nearly a hundred a week — even if that jab had nothing to do with blood clots whatsoever. Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, the Cambridge statistician, goes into a bit more detail here if you’re interested.

On that basis, it’s hardly surprising that we might see 37 thromboses over a few weeks of vaccination. In fact, it’s surprising that there aren’t quite a lot more, although that’s probably because a lot of people had blood clots and didn’t associate them with the vaccine.

Asking that simple question — “is this a big number?” — and knowing how to answer it would have saved a lot of bother, for journalists and for policymakers. But it often doesn’t occur to people.

So I’ve written a book with my cousin David (he’s an economist) in an attempt to correct this: How to Read Numbers: A Guide to Stats in the News (and Knowing When to Trust Them). Because while it’s true that the public needs to be literate in order to participate in democracy, it’s not enough to be able to read words. We also have to be able to navigate numbers.

Is 37 a large number of thromboembolic events? Probably not. But if you don’t know to ask “is it a big number?”, you might end up being scared when you don’t need to be – and be put at risk of Covid, if you don’t get vaccinated.

How about 361, as in “361 cyclists were killed on London roads between 1993 and 2017.” Is that a lot? Obviously it’s tragic for each cyclist and their families. But should I feel unsafe when I cycle, or not? Should I be out campaigning for TfL to improve cycle safety? Well, that depends how many cycle journeys there were in London in that time. Was it 4,000 a day? 40,000? 400,000? (It was 437,000, so about one journey in every 10 million ended in tragedy. Only you can say whether that is safe enough for you.)

Or: when we say that police-recorded hate crimes have gone up in the last few years, is that the same as saying that actual hate crimes have gone up? Or has the way that hate crimes are reported and recorded changed? (Probably the latter. If you look at survey data, the number of actual hate crimes has been steadily falling. But police-recorded crimes have gone up, because as a society we take them more seriously: so the public has become more likely to report them, and the police more likely to record them.)

It’s important to be able to navigate these issues. You don’t need to be especially good at maths; you simply need to be aware of how numbers can go wrong. It’s more about a way of thinking than about mental arithmetic. It matters, because we make decisions every day — should we have a bacon sandwich? Should we have a glass of wine? Are we safe walking home? — based on numbers which we have seen in the news.

But journalists, too, need to be clearer. We are performing a public service: we hold governments to account; we inform the public. Despite the stereotypes, journalists in my experience are usually well-intentioned and public-spirited. We’re not just out there hawking for clicks; we pride ourselves on finding out things that other people don’t want to be known, or for explaining complicated things to our readers.

Often, though, journalists aren’t traditionally very good with numbers. One of the things I try to do with my columns for UnHerd is explain bad science stories. Often the numbers in these stories mislead not because journalists are doing it on purpose, but because they’re not scientists or statisticians. Questions like “Is that a big number?” “Are we still measuring the same thing?” “Is the study it comes from any good?” simply don’t occur to them. We’ve thought of a neat way to address this: a statistical style guide.

Most publications have style guides. At the Telegraph, the style guide was very concerned with the correct terms of address for aristocracy. (“The Duke of Bedford’s son is the Marquess of Tavistock. Lord Tavistock’s elder son, if he has one, can use the third title of the Duke, and he therefore is Lord Howland.”)

The style guide at BuzzFeed, where I worked after that, was much more concerned with whether or not to hyphenate “butt-dial”, “circle jerk” or “douchebag” (all thus).

The Sunday Sport’s style guide, meanwhile, is extremely particular about how to write “bellend”. (“BOLLOCKS: Full out in copy and in headlines. WANK: Full out in copy, w**k in headlines. BELLEND: One word, full out in copy and headlines.)

Having a consistent style is useful; it helps publications maintain a clear identity. But as far as we know, no publication has a style guide for numbers. Not just in terms of when to write 100 and when to write “one hundred”, but: how should you present statistics in order to avoid misleading your readers?

So we have put together a list of 11 points that we think will help. They’re in our book. We don’t pretend that they’re the final word, and we’re keen to find out how we might improve them. For instance, Evan Davis, the radio presenter, tells us that he thinks we should explain in words that there is uncertainty around an estimate, or that a study is not very robust, rather than explicitly including confidence intervals and sample sizes.

We do think, though, that if journalists follow our guide, we’ll end up with a better national discussion. People will have a better understanding of the numbers in the news, and therefore make more informed decisions. It might also prevent governments from making insane decisions about perfectly good vaccines, putting thousands of lives at risk in the middle of a pandemic.

 Our Statistical Style Guide

 

1) Put numbers into context

Ask yourself: is that a big number? If Britain dumps 6 million tons of sewage in the North Sea each year, that sounds pretty bad. But is it a lot? What’s the denominator? What numbers do you need to understand whether that is more or less than you’d expect? In this case, for instance, it’s probably relevant that the North Sea contains 54 thousand billion tons of water.


2) Give absolute risk, not just relative

If you tell me that eating burnt toast will raise my risk of a hernia by 50%, that sounds worrying. But unless you tell me how common hernias are, it’s meaningless. Let readers know the absolute risk. The best way to do this is to use the expected number of people it will affect. For instance: “Two people in every 10,000 will suffer a hernia in their lifetime. If they eat burnt toast regularly, that rises to three people in every 10,000.”


3) Check whether the study you’re reporting on is a fair representation of the literature

Not all scientific papers are born equal. When CERN found the Higgs boson, or LIGO detected gravitational waves, those findings were worth reporting on in their own right. But if you’re reporting on a new study that finds that red wine is good for you, it should be presented in the context that there are lots of other studies, and that any individual study can only be part of the overall picture.


4) Give the sample size of the study – and be wary of small samples

A drug trial which has 10,000 subjects should be robust against statistical noise or random errors. A psychological study looking at 15 undergraduates and asking whether washing their hands makes them feel less guilty is much less so. It’s not that small studies are always bad, but they are more likely to find spurious results, so be wary of reporting on them.


5) Be aware of problems that science is struggling with, like p-hacking and publication bias

Journalists can’t be expected to be an expert in every field, and it’s hard to blame them for missing problems in science that scientists themselves often miss. But be aware of the various ways that scientists can chop up data to make it look as though there’s something there when there isn’t — or to quietly hide results that don’t support their hypothesis. Also, if a result is surprising, that might be because it’s not true. Sometimes science is surprising, but most of the time, not very.


6) Don’t report forecasts as single numbers. Give the confidence interval and explain it

A lot of the time, the media will report on forecasts and models of the future. For instance, each year the Office for Budget Responsibility will make an economic forecast for how much the economy will grow. Or in early 2020, statistical modellers made forecasts for how many people the Covid-19 pandemic would kill.

If they said “Without a lockdown, Covid-19 will kill 250,000 people in Britain,” they didn’t mean that it would kill exactly 250,000. Instead, that was a best guess, in the middle of a wide range of uncertainty: they might say, for instance, that they were 95% sure that the true figure would fall between 100,000 and 400,000. That is the “confidence interval”.

Often, though, when the media reports on forecasts and models, they just give the central, best-guess estimate, which makes them sound more precise than they are. When reporting on forecasts and models, make sure you give the confidence interval, not just the central estimate.


7) Be careful about saying or implying that something causes something else

Lots of studies find correlations between one thing and another — between drinking fizzy drinks and violence, for instance, or between vaping and smoking weed. But the fact that two things are correlated doesn’t mean that one causes the other; there could be something else going on. If the study isn’t a randomised experiment, then it’s much more difficult to show causality. Be wary of saying “video games cause violence” or “YouTube causes extremism” if the study can’t show it.


8) Be wary of cherry-picking and random variation

If you notice that something has gone up by 50% between 2010 and 2018, have a quick look — if you’d started your graph from 2008 or 2006 instead, would the increase still have looked as dramatic? Sometimes numbers jump around a bit, and by picking a point where it happened to be low, you can make random variation look like a shocking story. That’s especially true of relatively rare events, like murder or suicide.


9) Beware of rankings

Has Britain dropped from the world’s fifth-largest economy to the seventh? Is a university ranked the 48th best in the world? What does that mean? Depending on the underlying numbers, it could be a big deal or it could be irrelevant. For example, suppose that Denmark leads the world with 1,000 public defibrillators per million people, and the UK is 17th with 968. That isn’t a huge difference, especially if you compare it with countries that have no public defibrillators. Does being 17th in this case mean that the UK health authorities have a callous disregard for public emergency first-aid installations? Probably not. When giving rankings, always explain the numbers underpinning them and how they’re arrived at.


10) Always give your sources

This is key. Link to, or include in your footnotes, the place you got your numbers from. The original place: the scientific study (the journal page, or the doi.org page), the Office for National Statistics bulletin, the YouGov poll. If you don’t, you make it much harder for people to check the numbers for themselves.


11) If you get it wrong, admit it

Crucially – if you make a mistake and someone points it out, don’t worry. It happens all the time. Just say thank you, correct it, and move on.


And if you agree with all that, then join our campaign…

How to Read Numbers: A Guide to Stats in the News (and Knowing When to Trust Them) is published on Thursday.


Tom Chivers is a science writer. His second book, How to Read Numbers, is out now.

TomChivers

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘But journalists, too, need to be clearer. We are performing a public service: we hold governments to account; we inform the public.’
Well that’s nonsense. The vast majority of journalists, for many years now. have existed primarily to misinform the public, or to push either their own agenda, or that of their organisation, upon the public. This is why so many of us have given up on the MSM.
And to suggest that journalists have held governments to account is just a sick joke. I can no longer distinguish between the government/state and the media, on subjects ranging from Iraq to Covid. Of course, the media has been handed millions in govt advertising due to Covid, which is why the media has fallen in line so abjectly.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

When the MSM journalists spent 3 months obsessing about a drive from London to Barnard Castle – rather than raising incisive health and science-based questions, any case for their defence was utterly obliterated.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Would you have said the same if it had been Jeremy Corbyn rather than Dominic Cummings?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Without question – dreadful non-story from partisan goons

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Yes and still would

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Absolutely. Also there is the very heavy handed way in which his brother has been treated.
By the nature of you comment you clearly do not think this way

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago

Piers Corbyn is a first class moron. It really is that simple. Moron is not my first choice of word though.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

I am not sure that is fair. I suspect he is smarter than his brother. I fear his problem is that he is unable reconcile the changing political agenda of the left with his own longstanding political allegiances

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I think he’s great. He has protested vehemently against lockdown, and I believe he saw through the climate change racket years ago.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

He is only against climate because it entirely conflicts with his Marxist devotion to coal miners the coal industry.
As soon as you give any credence to the idea of man made global warming you have little choice but to sign up the elimination of coal as an energy source and wave goodbye to the storm troopers of the socialist movement.
I think he is right on climate change albeit for the wrong reasons

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

I know Piers Corbyn personally, I like his views of Climate Change rubbish,Carbon Neutral nonsense, Stop Lockdown ,but not his Anti-vax he is a good guy ,Although i disagree with his Marxist views

Last edited 3 years ago by Robin Lambert
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

How very interesting, he may yet be ‘saved’. Thank you.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Stephen kinnock , A welsh labour Mayor,,Liverpool Labour councillor, A SNP MP aLL journeyed miles breaking lockdowns…but someone who Was a brexiteer and with an autistic child.shows was hounded & vilified, by these Warriors of @@truth” Not…Woke hypocrisy backed by stupid gullible mainstream Roll on GB news ..i WANT unbiased news like Al-jazeera & Russia Today NOT opinions usually wrong ..its ”Your Truth”!

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

but someone who Was a brexiteer and with an autistic child.shows was hounded & vilified

What is your evidence that Cummings has an autistic child? That was a Twitter rumour at the time but I never saw anything to substantiate it.

.i WANT unbiased news like Al-jazeera & Russia Today 

Nyet Vladimir, too obvious again! Vodka ration docked for a month. Also report to re-education centre for remedial English punctuation.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

“What is your evidence that Cummings has an autistic child? That was a Twitter rumour at the time but I never saw anything to substantiate it.”
you simply aren’t “friended” on the authoritative Facebook page.

David Waring
David Waring
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

The Cummings family were driven from their home by N London Corbynistas who drove and LED Truck repeatedly past his property.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

make them squirm and double down on their prevarication…well done.

John McFadyen
John McFadyen
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

This was not necessarily a political comment, simply an observation of fact!

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Yes though MSM journalists were rather less critical of Stephen Kinnock at the time and others according to their political persuasion.

Last edited 3 years ago by Micheal Lucken
Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The difference between you and most of the rest of us is that we would. Had Jeremy Corbyn been the father of a two year old child with autism and had Jeremy Corbyn had a wife who was showing signs of covid-19 infection, and had he been living in a house, picketed by hostile groups of @rseholes, yes – I would have encouraged him to travel to Durham to seek the support of family members. Of course in such circumstances, Jeremy would have been fully within the law.
Had Cummings not been, don’t think for a minute that, given all of the publicity and the repeated demands for punishment – even by the vile Labour place man Police and Crime Commissioner, that plod would not have handed him a ticket. If Corbyn was in the same position, he would have had every right to act as Cummings did.

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The media in the UK has become utterly appalling in terms of quality. Partisan, driven by click bait and political to the last.
They completely failed to miss the fact that Cummings had not, as they asserted, weakened the adherence to lockdown rules. Rather, their coverage of it was the problem. If they had not been driven by some snidey, pseudo-political agenda and not reported it, no harm would have been done. So who was the problem, Cummings or the media? Seems clear to me which did the most damage.
And every day, reporting figures with no depth – no breakdowns of age groups, underlying illnesses – nothing but who can print the most salacious or terrifying headline.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

Agreed. They could not resist the opportunity to damage to Cummings no matter the consequences while at the same time declining to question the basis of the lockdown because of the consequences.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

Cummings is not a victim he is the author of his own demise.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

What nonsense.
As far as I can tell he was not in breach of rules but the knives were out for him as though he had committed some appalling crime.
At the same time other politicians an d celebrities who could have been pilloried for lockdown breaches were given a free pass

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

So who was the problem, Cummings or the media? Seems clear to me which did the most damage.

So “one rule for the government and another rule for the rest of us” is fine so long as nobody finds out?

Last edited 3 years ago by Paul N
Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Ian – I agree about the Barnard Caste obsession, but feel inclined to take you to task about the horrible use of the MSM acronym, which is the mark of the hideously misled, conspiracy loons of the Trumpian extreme who think what is true is what they make up – that world of ‘alternative facts’, which of course are contrasted with actual facts and are hence, just made up. There are plenty of ‘MSM’ journalists who pointed out that Dominic Cummings had a very good reason to go to the North. It was the journalism of the left predominantly that made trouble over it and I presume that this is the ‘journalism’ that you object to.
The alternative to the MSM for news is not the mad world of invented, Qanon lunacy. and if I spelled Q Anon wrongly – good – I won’t waste the electricity involved in a google search to find out how they spell their madness.

Bertie B
Bertie B
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I agree with you, however I actually believe that much of the MSM does this not out of any machiavellian desire to misinform, but because as Tom states they simply don’t understand. They can’t (as a collective) do anyalsis any more – they simply report things out of a desire to break stories and not be left behind.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Bertie B

Hole in one!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Bertie B

Well I think it is obvious that the BBC/Sky/ITV/Guardian etc are out to misinform. Some of the ditzier ones, as you suggest, might simply be unable to understand or analyse anything, not least because they are unable to place any information in any historical, geographic, social or scientific context.

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Obvious? On what grounds do you say that? Actual studies of media output? (careful here: there are some).

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Almost 40 years of reading the serious and not-so serious press. Over the last 20 years there has been a catastrophic collapse. There was a time when I would buy or fall upon any newspaper or magazine and read it for information and commentary. When I had a paper round I spent more time reading the papers then delivering them. Today, I don’t even look at them if they are put out for free.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
dougmailw
dougmailw
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Honestly, I trace it back the Y2K bug. That’s the start of it for me. It’s not just that countries that did nothing about it suffered no dire consequences, but it’s also that the companies who cause the mess profited off creating the problem and selling the solution. The subprime crisis followed the same pattern, but just expanded it. Notice also the interval for these events.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
3 years ago
Reply to  dougmailw

Thank God we survived that -near miss though!

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You are so correct. And that 20 years is the internet era.

Will R
Will R
3 years ago

You clearly have no idea what the y2k bug was or the threat it posed but dont let that stop you ….

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  Will R

But we spent ÂŁ20 billion and Italy spent a few million quid. Nothing happened in either country. It was very similar to Covid 19, a mass hysteria and over reaction.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

what is the death toll in England from the SARS-CoV-2 virus? And Italy which is back in lockdown.
So I guess Johnson’s hospital stay was cover for a vacation?

Last edited 3 years ago by Nun Yerbizness
diana_holder
diana_holder
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Perhaps Italy’s businesses had been computerised more recently than the UK’s? If that was the case there would have been far fewer surviving examples of late seventies systems, written in COBOL and the like, all full of six digit dates and that WOULD have failed completely – such as the one I spent several months fixing. Had I failed, no planes would have fallen from the skies. But wrong interest payments would have been paid. It was not hysteria, apart from in a few press articles.

The other thing Italian businesses may have done was replace their systems with short dates with shiny new millennium-proof ones. That could have been accounted for as Cap Ex, not y2k fix costs.

I am sick of people with zero understanding of the y2k bug falsely using it as an example of a hoax or scam, when there are so many genuine examples to pick.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  diana_holder

It was a huge exaggeration of the threat though and that is the nature of a significant amount of misinformation. I don’t believe the y2k scare was intentionally so, more out of careless ignorance with a degree of attention grabbing sensationalism which nonetheless cost a lot in time and money updating systems unnecessarily, but certainly an awful lot of exaggeration is deliberate in order to build a narrative to suit a purpose. I daresay it was something of a windfall for number of tech companies able to sell new systems and software updates off the back of it as well.

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago
Reply to  Will R

The y2k bug was a total invention, a pure scam.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Jean Fothers

It was not strictly an invention bit it was was a complete scam

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

your comment says more about you than print media.

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Yes, it does. It says he is sensible and observant, unlike most of the MSM

sambo.searle
sambo.searle
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yep. Coincides with the press going onto the net. How advertising works drives click bait. Previously respectable publications are now just rubbish. The amount of internet traffic analytics that the media can review to determine what gets published next….

J J
J J
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

The MSM is largely staffed by left of centre, often far left of centre, people. It’s been the case for sometime that people with strong ‘social activist’ tendencies go into the media, as they see it as a platform where they can ‘do good’.
It’s a substantial issues across the entire public sector. Broadly speaking conservatives do not work in the public services, whereas Left wingers / socialist activist types do. That’s why you can often end up with a centrist / right of centrist government being frustrated by a public institutions that essentially unrepresented of the people they serve.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/10235967/BBC-is-biased-toward-the-left-study-finds.html

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  J J

Interesting article in the telegraph. It says that the BBC:

‘are more likely to cover left-wing think tank reports and to hail them as “independent” while giving right-wing research a “health warning” by pointing out its ideological position’

It bases its article on a right-wing think tank “report”, for which it fails to give any kind of health warning until the very end of the article. So much for following the standards it demands of the BBC.
The Centre for Policy Studies additionally points out that the BBC covered 7 out of 10 of the reports covered in the Guardian, and only 3 out of 10 of the reports in the Telegraph. No indication in the article of the time period they looked at, the number of reports involved, or whether it was representative of a longer period of output. Lots of issues of the sort pointed out in the UnHerd article in fact. Perhaps the remaining Telegraph-exclusive reports were as slight as this one.

J Moore
J Moore
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Well it’s the BBC – institutionally woke.

Duncan Cleeve
Duncan Cleeve
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Totally agree Fraser, took me 30 minutes to look up Ferguson after his 500,000 would die if we didn’t lock down claim, anyone else who looked him up would’ve asked the same question I did, i.e why on earth did they ask that guy? Not one journalist, politician could do this, then the fraudulant use of the PCR test, they have not investigated anything and just ask daft questions about locking down earlier, PPE, etc.

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Cleeve

Unfortunately “500,000 will die” is better clickbait than “obscure Epidemiologist has dodgy forecasting record”.

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  croftyass

It’s not that it’s better per se, just that a lot of subs and journos can’t spell Epidemiologist…

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

while you and yours can spell “Epidemiologist” you have no clue as to what they do and the science behind what they do nor the curiosity to find out.

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

When you don’t hide behind a stupid name and stop being a keyboard warrior, your comments may (probably not) be taken slightly seriously.
I am fairly sure you don’t need a biological sciences degree to be a journalist writing click bait.
I hold one and have a much better than average understanding of epidemiology. But you just warrior away, slinging out nonsense – it really helps the debate. <slow_clap>

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Cleeve

Have you actually followed Tom’s suggestion and taken personal responsibility for the information you choose to view and in particular followed suggestion No 10 and gone to the source ? Have you read Imperial’s report No 9 from soup to nuts ? Do you know what assumptions underpinned the 550,000 figure and what the other scenarios in that report described ? and what the 550,000 actually referred to ?
What fraudulent use of the PCR test ? by whom ? how ? when ?
Have you read any of the scientific literature on the timing and effectiveness (or lack thereof) of NPI’s ?
If nothing else this last year was a golden opportunity to educate yourself in the basics of critical appraisal of data and to examine how science is done and critiqued (by other scientists). Tom’s new book sounds like as good a place to start as any.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Viewed from the Arno it may appear like that.
However for others Tom has been a classic male hysteric and lockdown fanatic, and as such his opinions are worthless. QED?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

1 – 4 and 6 – 9 are statistics 101. No opinions there.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

If ever you return to Alleyn Road you will find a certain rage against this nonsense is growing.

This is (C-19) the greatest “rip off” since the Resurrection.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

LOL ! Well Alleyn Road was and I am sure still is a very particular type of ghetto.
Since I still have pals working in the NHS I don’t share your view that C-19 was and remains an overblown myth.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

speaking of worthless opinions…Charlie you have a special talent in that regard.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

You make a good point, Elaine, but the devil is in the details. In my experience much research looks good up close, but when you move away to take in a broader view, it’s not widely applicable. I’m actually studying this phenomenon in my doctoral study. My research professor strongly hints that too much emphasis is placed on research and not enough on actual common sense.
Orwell summed it up well: “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”
Here he wasn’t actually suggesting that intellectuals are stupid, but that they are too close to the subject matter to take a more objective view. It’s a good explanation for all the Crit Theory literature that currently abounds. It even openly states as such by claiming that objectivity is subordinate to lived experiences. Unfortunately, this kind of discourse is starting to infect other areas like medicine, education, and psychology. It is very difficult to find any people-related research that isn’t pursuing a political agenda of some kind. I suspect that this is the reason that many people, whether rightfully or wrongfully, are starting to harbor deep distrust of public institutions. Almost all institutions these days seem to want people to give up their critical thinking skills in order to do their thinking for them.
My take on all this is that there has been a strong coercive element to the vaccines. I’m not taking one, not because I am antivax, but because I feel pressurized to do so. I’d much rather suffer the consequences of my own actions than someone else’s.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

clearly you are devoid of all understanding of what statistics provide.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Statistics are an invaluable instrument for measuring variables and comparisons, but often don’t provide a complete picture. One of the first things impressed upon me by my professors is to question the data. For any researcher to claim that their statistics are infallible is utterly spurious. There are always measurement errors with any given data set.
Why the hostility? Perhaps explaining your position would help.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

“…suffer the consequences of my own actions …” – well just so long as you don’t block the bed my best friend needs for her chemotherapy.
Up to date Advanced Directives – as important as having a will in these days of a lean and mean NHS.

M P
M P
3 years ago

I’ve read all the above in detail, too much to go into here, but yes the assumptions were wildly disproportionate to reality making the 550,000 ludicrous, yet we’re supposed to be happy with being kept ‘safe’ by removal of all our freedoms? The scientist who developed the PCR test came out in public early on saying this was never meant to wholsesale testing – it should be used on those with symptoms only and testing well people can produce upwards from 90% incorrect false positives. The WHO did a large scale study last year showing that well people do not transmit the virus, unfortunately they were forced to remove the posting – not because it was wrong but because of government pressure (now I’m guessing here that it was Bill Gates). Go ahead and read Tom’s book if you feel like funding yet another media charlatan.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Cleeve

look up Ferguson after his 500,000 would die if we didn’t lock down claim

Where exactly did he make that claim? The only claim I’m aware of in this direction was in the by now rather well-known Report 9 which said “In the (unlikely) absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behaviour”. Not the same as “if we don’t lock down”.

Roley Ensoll
Roley Ensoll
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Cleeve

We are past 120,000 with measures, so his estimate seems not so far-fetched.

James Pelton
James Pelton
3 years ago
Reply to  Roley Ensoll

Unless they were diagnosed with Covid and then got hit by a bus. That counts as a Covid death in most of the world. That’s journalists working with politicians to misinform the public.

Jane Steele
Jane Steele
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And bearing in mind this article, where is your evidence for this claim?

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Steele

I won’t comment on the British media but, in the US, all you need is a review of press coverage of Chris Steele, James Comey, the Intelligence Community and the Democratic National Community for the period 2016-2020. It makes for a sad story of mis/disinformation coupled with appalling ignorance. The best case is the mindless acceptance of an open letter from 50 former intelligence officials that the Hunter Biden laptop story had all of the hallmarks of Russian disinformation. Those who confronted the story were castigated for not believing the intelligence officials.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Jennings

what is the “Democratic National Community”??
even more appaling is your willful ignorance that is crossing over into malign ignorance.

Terence Riordan
Terence Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It’s worse ..they can’t add up.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And sometimes Journalists are just a bit thick. Take Anna Wintour editor of Vogue remonstrating with Sarah Vine about the use of the word “niggling” being racist in its context meaning only to find her magazine has been using the word too on more than one occasion.

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Martin

Not to mention that it has nothing to do with a racist context. Sheer ignorance. Stick to fashion, Anna, and sustaining your helmet-like coif with no hair out of place.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Martin

I expect the budget at Vogue for science coverage is rather niggardly!

Alfred Prufrock
Alfred Prufrock
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Martin

Not just on more than on one occasion but several hundred times. the Guardian used it more than 2000 times.

Paul Ashton
Paul Ashton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It’s interesting that you include the BBC and ITV but exclude The Telegraph. Is it possible that you are seeing things you agree with as information and things you disagree with as misinformation?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Ashton

Not really. I gave up on the DT some time ago. I don’t think it’s as bad as the others, but it still describes Farage and Ukip etc as ‘far right’. And it takes a lot of money from Bill Gates, so damn the DT to hell!
I would also point out that I was once a Guardian buyer and reader. I always have, within easy reach, a copy of ‘The Hugo Young Papers’. There was a time when the Guardian was a (reasonably) serious newspaper, but that time has long passed.
I am currently reading ‘And The Weak They Suffer What They Must?” by Yanis Varoufakis. He is very much to the left and I agree with much of his analysis.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I believe Bill Gates (of hell) Foundation gives filtered funds to finance ,the declining ”Guardian”,”The observer ”,Just as Soros is believed to fund ”The new European” as hardly anyone buys these 60,000 daily sales of ”The Grauniad” it pains me i used to Read The guardian 1970-74 but its Unbiased views disappeared when Editor Alistair Hetherington left..

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

your bald faced lies are noted,

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Google ‘Philanthropic partnership at the Guardian’. Its partnerships are clearly laid out on the Guardian website.

James Pelton
James Pelton
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

What’s wrong with you?

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The vast majority of journalists…push either their own agenda…”
Ha,ha, even this article is more about Tom Chivers pushing his own book at ÂŁ9.50 a pop.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It is the members of parliament we elect who should be holding the government to account, including those MPs who are members of the party in power. It is their failure to serve the people who elect them that is the problem. Politicians only serve the party because they are only interested in power.

andy young
andy young
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I’ll say it again, the news industry is just that. An industry. And its raw material is bad news – nobody’s interested in good news for the perfectly valid reason that it has no survival enhancement value. Threats are what we’re, quite rightly, concerned about. When bad news – properly bad news – is in short supply, then some, um, creativity is applied.
So don’t expect any change in MSM clickbait anytime soon. Personally I go for the least sensationalist headlines & try to get opposing views on any subject. Then it’s down to me as an adult to make an assessment.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  andy young

To paraphrase Parkinson’s Law for our 24-hour news channel world: the news will expand to fill the channels available.

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The coronavirus data gov uk website on 16 March 21 informs all of World that:
ï»żUK People vaccinated with First dose total = 24,839,906.
The Yellow Card reporting system means that EVERY reaction seen by any Medical Professional MUST be reported to MHRA immediately. I have not heard of any reports of Death or major reaction to the OX-AZ vaccine. Has anyone?

Iain McCausland
Iain McCausland
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Walker

If you look at http://www.gov.uk you can find the latest reported Yellow Card fatality figures – 227-Pfizer/BioNTech, 275-Oxford/AstraZeneca and 6 unspecified. No one seems to check them, no one seems bothered. I am not taking an experimental vaccine for a disease with an IFR 0.2-0.3%. Why would any rational person do so?

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago

Well, 500 out of 25 million is 0.002%, two orders of magnitude lower risk than the IFR – and this is without knowing how many of those fatalities were in anyway linked to the vaccine (remember, correlation is not causation).
So as a rational person, I will be having the vaccine.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

And that is of course the distinguishing difference between you and Ian and his ilk…being rational.

mick
mick
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

A review of the yellow card reporting system a few years ago came to the conclusion that it seemed to be designed to obscure side effects rather than find them. Problem is it relies on self reporting more than on medical professionals. If your side effect is immediate then medical professional reports it. If not unless it requires hospitalisation hardly any chance of medical professional being involved. Even serious side effects may not be tied to the vaccine unless the hospital treating has a number of cases at the same time. Take the blood clots, as the article says they are common, but not evenly spread throughout the population. But common enough that even though for certain groups of people they are unusual the odd case in these groups isn’t remarkable. If a number of cases appear at the same place at the same time alarm bells may ring. But if these cases are spread out in location they are unlikely to be noticed!

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
3 years ago

How do you know that no-one checks them or seems bothered? That is a ridiculous statement.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I’m sorry you are suffering from acute Conservative ideology derangement syndrome.
Thoughts and prayers.

John McFadyen
John McFadyen
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Spot on. Take for example the current onslaught by the Express about the The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Daily they are posting multiple articles of dubious content and quality. They are all sensationalist, biased headline grabbing tosh! So are they performing a public service?

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The media and judiciary have become the real enemies of the people, because they all aid and abet criminal activity by the politicians. No one holds anybody to account any more.The mdia actively suppress the truth.

sallydo
sallydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Indeed, thrombosis is among the conditions that the Covid19 itself was linked to spuriously and reported widely.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

First, journalists are almost never impartial, give us some numbers on that Mr Chivers, start with your fellow Guardian writers. My guess is some Left-or-Right-o-meter would find 90% swing left, and are not in the ‘give the info and let the reader decide’ game, but are out to promote their agenda by which info they print. Hard to define, but like Obscenity, I know it when I see it, and the 90% is about correct.

The rest of your article is pretty much common sense in that a number is meaningless without context, which is all really needed saying, and we knew.

Take a man testing positive for covid and being hit by a bus and thus is a covid statistic. Take an illness which 95% (or some such number) only is lethal when occurring with comorbidity and tell us how many really died of it. Come on, the numbers cannot ever be quantified in those parameters.

The entire 2020 is pure voodoo statics. Then add in inflation (the insane basket of goods price), MMT (magic money tree) fiat currency printing effects, ‘Real Yields’ (bond yield – inflation), unemployment, business loss, cumulative collateral deaths from the NHS becoming the NCS, lockdown mental pathologies, lockdown costing the children a year of education which few will make up,, quantitative easing stock price inflation, and on and on, and then give us a ‘State Of The Nation’ number telling us how lockdown has effected it all. Can’t be done as the entire covid thing is based on lies, inferences, guesses, agendas, collateral damages, unintended consequences, fear, hysteria, The Great Reset, abuses of freedoms and rights, and politicians more afraid of losing votes than they worry about destroying the country.
Your numbers are meaningless in big pictures where a million equations need to come with a ‘Grand Unified Theory‘. But I know what the result is without a number, and it is criminal, what the politicians, with their lackeys the MSM, and their Globalist masters have done to us in the name of saving us. You idiots burned the house down to get rid of a wasp nest.
.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You are right that much of the article is common sense but common sense is rather rare. (I don’t have the statistics!)

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Yes and unfortunately “You can’t put in what God left out”.

Ian Wigg
Ian Wigg
3 years ago

You can in sex change surgery

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Wigg

When ‘Adam’ gives birth I’ll believe you.
Until such time it only scares the horses!

Richard Burgess
Richard Burgess
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Very funny. Says it all.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

you may not have the statistics but you can be certain Sanford’s bogeyman “…their Globalist masters…” have them.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Perhaps. It might come across as conspiracy theorist, but surely you can’t deny that there is a concerted effort among many different countries to push events down a certain path?

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

An economically left/right bias is unlikely to be the problem in the reporting of science (economics excepted, perhaps). Even the progressive/reactionary split, however you want to label it, will only affect the appeal of relatively few studies in the social science.
Speaking of numbers, I’d like to see a study that backs up your claim that 90% of journalistic outlets are economically left wing (since that’s what “left wing” means). Perhaps you have one that is broken down by sector (TV, Newspaper, etc), because the newspapers seem much more right wing than UK TV journalism – so far at least.
The other part of your claim, that journalists tend to advance an agenda, may be rather more true. I suspect that if statistics (or scientific studies) are being used in a political way, it’s likely to advance the interests of the media proprietors rather than those of the readers (so probably right wing, rather than the reverse).

Last edited 3 years ago by Paul N
Todd Kreider
Todd Kreider
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

In 2013, a survey by Lars Willnat and David H. Weaver, professors of journalism at Indiana University, showed that out of 1080 American journalists interviewed, only 7% identified as Republican. The rest said Democrat or independent.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Todd Kreider

Mainstream US Democrats and Republicans are right wing, and the economics of most US news outlets have followed the right wing neoliberal consensus. A lot of the independents are libertarians, who also tend to be economically well to the right. True, there are people like AOC, Sanders and even Warren in the Democratic party who are more left wing, but it’s still hardly a majority in the party.
So journalist party affiliation in the USA ells you surprisingly little about whether they are left wing.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Todd Kreider

How nmany journalists (in total) are there in the USA ? what percentage of this total does 1080 represent ? Be aware of No 4 in Tom’s list

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You’d expect a left-leaning newspaper to have a lot of left-leaning articles. Studies of the MSM, however, reveal a massive rightwing bias overall.
Yes, the covid death statistic is imperferct (as they would all have to be, no matter what the criterion). But crucially, plenty of people go on to die of Covid after 28 days, so it’s likely to balance out.
As for lies, inferences, etc, you should remember that history is not the history of plots and evil conspiracies, but mainly of c**k-ups. I don’t think anyone set out to destroy the country, because there’s no evidence for that. There is plenty of evidence that people got things wrong. People do. The point of the Chivers article is to show why and what might be done about it. Yes, I expect he hoped to sell a few copies, but as a writer of both fiction and nonfiction books I can assure you that there isn’t a lort of money in this, unless you’re very lucky indeed.

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Ah, yes, the “mistakes were made” chorus.
Be a bit more curious! Ask why the “people who got things wrong” are the ones in power, whereas there are plenty of people who “got things right” who have been and are still being sidelined and quashed and deplatformed. If all were heard equally and their views about the features and treatment of covid-19 put on the table to discuss and weigh, we wouldn’t have these terrible outcomes that result from dunderheads such as Ferguson being given the reins, then to drive the chariot over a cliff.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

Examples (names) please of prophets who “got things right”

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

I’m one of them. I’ve often been accused of slippery slope fallacies, but every single thing I’ve ever predicted has come true.

caroline2
caroline2
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Excellent post! You’ve summed this whole criminal agenda so well. Bravo!!!

John Armstrong
John Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The one unarguable fact from your post is that “effected” should be spelt “affected”.

Stu White
Stu White
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Amen

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Well. Actually it is a great example of being one sided. Every vaccine death is a death “with” vaccine. Every Covid death is “of” covid. What you are hinting on is the difference between relative risk reduction and absolute risk reduction. Big Pharma trumpted relative risk reduction to sell its vaccine and didn’t even publish the absolute risk reduction as far as I can tell. Like you say it is probably less than one percent. Tom doesn’t bring this part up about vaccine efficacy but to him it is a great example of how dying “of” vaccine isn’t a big deal. Any deaths under 40 are a huge deal as covid is such a low risk for them. With the expected life years this just compounds the error.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

According to a Mr Cunningham writing a couple of letters to the BMJ in November the NNTV for the Pfizer vaccine to prevent “a case” (he doesn’t define what this is) = 256. For Moderna for “illness” NNTV = 176 and for “severe illness” = 1370. He shows his workings.
From the Voysey Lancet paper in December, looking just at the AZ phase III trial results NNTVs vary from 9 – 93 depending on what subgroup you look at which just goes to show how important it is to have Big Numbers in order to arrive at a realistic Numbers Needed To … anything
Anyways, this has always been all about freeing up beds in the NHS so that they can get on with other stuff, and in that respect, it seems to be working.
If these vaccines reduce transmission as well then there might be a stronger argument for vaccinating lots of younger folks to reduce the risk of the appearance of new, peskier variants.

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago

Excellent article and good luck with the book.
I only have one issue with this article. The author states “Despite the stereotypes, journalists in my experience are usually well-intentioned and public-spirited.” He also asserts that journalists “… are performing a public service: we hold governments to account; we inform the public.”
Isn’t that the problem? Journalist should be performing a public service and informing the public, but I honestly believe most no longer do that. Worse, in many publications they are not allowed to do that even if they want to because the publications are no longer traditional news outlets. They are agenda-driven propaganda machines.
The author’s excellent advice regarding presentation and explanation of statistical data is only relevant if journalists want to use it and are allowed to use it. Sadly, I think many journalists must now tow their employer’s ideological line and fudge the numbers if that’s what it takes to present a certain warped version of reality.
I don’t mean to criticize the author’s excellent article, but he seems to be attempting to preach morality and restraint to the invading hordes.

Last edited 3 years ago by J Bryant
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

If journalists are as said above, then we do not know what the word journalist means.. I mean look at the Daily Mail and Harry and Megan in which half the paper is journalists reporting on them, and the cosmology they dwell in. I naturally look to the classics when ever I find myself lost in concepts and find Lewis Carroll is excellent in this instance:
“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

Louis Van Steene
Louis Van Steene
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Excellent quote! Especially applicable these days…

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

It’s an excellent list, but the most forgiving spin I can put on this article is that journalists are “thick”.
You don’t need to be a statistician, you just need an enquiring mind.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Couldn’t agree more on your last point, but it seems to be forgotten by many that the vast majority of journalists’ primary purpose is to provide a product that sells in an increasingly competitive, oversaturated market rather than to be the purveyors of truth that some rather loftily like to assume they are about.

Unfortunately, these two aims so often conflict for obvious reasons and when they do ‘the truth’ is inevitably the casualty to a greater or lesser degree, hence the reason why ‘we’, the audience, should always question what we see, read and hear and, as you say, keep an enquiring mind.

caroline2
caroline2
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Hear, hear! Out with the odd courageous, honest hack. Most journalists these days have little journalistic integrity and now dwell at the bottom of the toilet pan in my opinion! The profession is utterly compromised. I mean, who really gives a rats ar$e about Harry and Meghan?

Last edited 3 years ago by caroline2
Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

How is it that millions of members of the public have been able to figure out that positive PCR tests are not “cases of covid-d19,” but no journalists have been able to figure this out? Are journalists stupider than the public, or what? Or were they told promulgate this PCR test scam by their editors? If so, the public has a right to know this. I wrote to the editor of my local paper that postiive PCR tests are not cases of covid-19, but he ignored me . . . I fugured perhaps the paper’s owners were telling him what to print on this. Meanwhile the local hospital screamed headlines every day: “2 more cases! Governor extends lockdown!” etc.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

As I understand it, a positive Covid-19 PCR test confirms the presence of viral genetic material, which would indicate an actual infection. What do you think it means?

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

But if the test is run at too high a CT level, it will detect virtually anything including dead viral fragments in recovered infectees. The WHO waited until the day of Biden’s inauguration to clarify that anything above a CT of 15 would lead to too many false positive results and therefore be misleading.

PHE has consistently refused to disclose what CT level is being used in UK testing but it is rumoured to be over 30, maybe even in excess of 40. So, our high “case” numbers – used to justify every public health policy decision and lockdown – is based on a flawed test and has led to all the finger-pointing and sneering about Britain being the sick man of Europe.

Even PCR’s late inventor – Kary Mulis – rejected its suitability for viral detection. But we have used it wrongly to dreadful effect. An increasing number of scientists have said we are being played. The Federal Prosecutor in Germany is suing Peter Drosten, who advocated its use in Europe to the EMA. But the MSM shows neither interest nor understanding of this scandal so central to the hysterical and irrational response to this virus.

Add the illogical way deaths are recorded in the UK and the entire distorted use of data to ruin lives and livelihoods is laid bare.

As and when there is a public enquiry, multiple heads should roll.

Last edited 3 years ago by Duncan Hunter
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

2 posts because you seem to be very confused.

As of Mar 16 for the Pillar 1 testing : “Guidance and standard operating procedure COVID-19 virus testing in NHS laboratories” any sample with a Ct value of < 40 = “positive” even though people are proably not meaningfully infected and shedding virions until the Ct drops to <24. I don’t know whether this guidance still applies.

Couldn’t find anything useful about how the Lighthouse labs for Pillar 2 testing (the testing done at testing stations) carry out their procedures or what Ct cut off they use to designate a positive sample. HOWEVER with their super splendid 3 primer testing mechanism a sharp eyed minion in Milton Keynes did spot the B1.117 variant in September (?).

The Mullis comment is a misattribution. The quote is actually from an article written by John Lauritsen in December 1996 about HIV and AIDS, not COVID-19. Lauritsen, at that time, didn’t believe that HIV caused AIDS. This particular notion didn’t age too well.

Peter Drosten – is this part of the Fuellmich circus ? It seems to me that in order to prove question No 2 posed by Dr Fuellmich to the WHO he will have to come up with some sort of credible model that will show that doing nothing would have produced less harm (definition ?) than what they actually did in Germany to mitigate their Covid disease burden.

Last edited 3 years ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

As far as the PCR test is concerned, yes, at the tail end of an infectious episode it will be picking up just bits of chopped up RNA not viable virus. For 1-2 days before someone displays symptoms and for 7 – 10 + ? days after (depending on the robustness of your immune response) you potentially have enough virions up your nose to infect someone else in favourable circumstances. Either way, if you have a positive PCR test (operational false positive rate we know from when the prevalence was very low in summer 2020 – 0.08% according to the ONS random survey, 0.9% from Test and Trace ) it means you either currently have, or have recently had a Sars Cov 2 infection.
The main PURPOSE of testing all along was to act as an early warning mechanism for your local hospital / adjacent hospitals within respiratory ambulance driving distance – do they need to magic more critical care beds + trained staff in the next 5 – 10 days out of thin air ?

” …has led to all the finger-pointing and sneering about Britain being the sick man of Europe…” Absolutely correct according to Richard Horton in the Guardian in October (although he is a bit of an Eeyore)

ONS death stats are the most reliable because they are based on death certificates :
1. Certificates can only be completed by doctors who looked after the patient in the lead up to death and knew the full facts of the case.
2. Doctors have a clear statutory professional duty to complete certificates to the best of their knowledge and beliefs.
3. Falsifying certificates would be a serious offence with serious sanctions.
4. Certificates are checked by an independent medical examiner of deaths.
Ask yourself – what do doctors gain by lying ?

Last edited 3 years ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

Thank you for your comprehensive and considered response, but it appears you are as much in the dark as the rest of us until PHE opens up about prescribed CT levels. You are technically correct re Lauritsen but the inappropriateness of PCR tests for Viral detection in general and Covid in particular still stands scrutiny – not least in light of the lack of transparency in a Pillar 2 tests and the gap between the belatedly publicised WHO recommendation of 15 and the rather vague <40 level you cite. Anything above 20-25 is straying into dangerous territory. Bottom line, neither of us really know and we have a right to!

As for death certificates, I’d want to agree that there is no incentive for our GPs to not be utterly truthful. But you cannot escape the point that deaths from comorbidities such as cancer are outranked by attributing them as primarily due to Covid and that other countries record deaths very differently from the UK, much more conservatively and prima facie objectively / common sense. Comparison is odious, to paraphrase the late Dr. Johnson (as opposed to the altogether inferior Johnson we have to tolerate in our times).

Our default attribution is Covid. Strange that if one dies less than 28 days after a vaccine, that death is either brushed off as due to natural causes or even as….due to Covid.

Julian Newman
Julian Newman
3 years ago

I am not so sure about the reliability of death certificates. Doctors have said that they received instructions from the BMA to err on the side of attributing deaths to COVID, and this seems consistent with the number of complaints by next of kin about Covid appearing on the death certificate even though they knew that this was false. I believe the requirement in England for two doctors to sign the death certificate was waived by Government fiat when the pandemic struck. It is not so much the question “what do the doctors gain by lying?” but “who would stand up for a doctor who refused to do as expected?”
The most high profile example was the death certificate issued for the father of Bel Mooney, the journalist. She wrote about it at length in the Mail (sorry I don’t have the precise date for the article).

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Indeed, journalists and the media tend to regularly produce headlines and articles designed to sell papers and push their narrative. I don’t think this is a modern invention, hysteria sells.

The idea that journalists are out to make the world a better place based on truth is laughable. If one spends 5 minutes reading actual facts around race and sex outcomes for example in the UK, then huge chunks of the mainstream narrative falls apart. The stats around these issues are bent, perverted and where required wholesale ignored and replaced with ‘feelings’. Journalists are not the good guys.

And on the vaccines, the blood clot issue is not complex. Its a relatively common medical issue so the data is quite easy to compare. As others have pointed out the whole Covid debacle has involved lots of poorly informed guesses being presented as facts, with numbers used to make them sound scientific. Sadly a lot of these people are in positions of power

Last edited 3 years ago by LUKE LOZE
Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

J Bryant you are echoing my thoughts. Can we say that on the intentionality of journalists at large, reality is somewhere between the author’s overly optimistic view, and your own far more pessimistic one? But it’s true that the onus of objective opinion-making has become much heavier for us news consumers.

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Some journalists have been out and out liars, of course. One well-known one even lost his job for it. Does anyone know what happened to Boris Johnson, by the way?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

He was later sacked by Tory leader Michael Howard. That was for lying, too.

dougmailw
dougmailw
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

The problem is that not nearly enough journalists do these days. Especially during the last presidency it became normalized for journalists who lie to be protected from consequences providing they bat for the right team. Whatever you think of their politics, the effect has been devastating on media ethics, which is almost completely nonexistent now.

John Armstrong
John Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Oh dear, another one. The only line you tow is one attached to a boat. It should of course be “toe the line”.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Armstrong
Nick Wade
Nick Wade
3 years ago

Shame Mr Chivers didn’t write and promote something like this a year ago. He could covered the statistics of Covid victims, such as their age and comorbidities. He could have delved into the statistics of false positives with mass testing and low prevalence of a disease, not to mention the dodgy mortality statistics being peddled, in relation to Covid. A little education of the politicians and public on this would go a long way.

Instead, we get a thinly disguised “Ra Ra” piece for vaccines, and a plug for his new book

Last edited 3 years ago by Nick Wade
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Indeed, a terrible dereliction of duty.

benjamin.mrsh
benjamin.mrsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

You beat me to it Nick. By-the-by, if people want to see the percentage of overall excess mortality, due to COVID, broken down by country, the CEBM have a good post on it. Once again shows no link between lockdowns and excess mortality.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Shame ON Mr Chivers

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

Shame on him for writing a perfectly good and timely article now? Just because of something he (and many others) may or may not have written ages ago?
I think we need more voices speaking out for scientific accuracy and rigour in scientific reporting.

andrew harrison
andrew harrison
3 years ago

We have been manipulated with numbers all the way through this pandemic and it will continue, i do not believe our commentators or our politicians are stupid they have done this for one purpose only to heighten fear and gain control.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
3 years ago

Thank you I find the response by certain countries to the Astra Zeneca jab is simply more of the same from all governments. As millions of people have had the jab in the UK including my son in law who is on an anti coagulant it might have one interesting and unintentional side effect that some of those people that have swallowed the fear narrative will begin to reevaluate all government offerings including their own.
If these countries can pause their rollout based on a lack of context or comparison what else is government, any government mis representing may grow more in peoples mind. I will not insult you by offering a rather long list of how this kind of thinking to pause has crossed into so much policy. We know about context (both historical and in relation to), cross comparison, cost benefit analysis and most certainly we know who has suffered the most. Those that do not understand and live close to poverty and our children.

Last edited 3 years ago by Michelle Johnston
Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago

I wouldn’t rule out stupidity as a confounding factor!!

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
3 years ago

I have a 12th suggestion. Present graphs in an honest manner.
I mention this as there was a survey comparing risk of death from Covid based on occupation and sex. This showed differences by occupaion, but also that working age men died at rate double that for women.
The Guardian however presented two graphs for men and women with different scales which unless you looked closely at the numbers on the axis appeared to show the same level of risk for the most risky occupation for each sex.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

What else would you expect from the Guardian? Its writers are as deceitful as they are dumb.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Indeed, I can easily foresee the Guardian lobbying to prevent publication of Tom’s book, as it clearly represents an attempt to impose a patriarchal definition of “truth” which doesn’t represent their lived-experiences.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fraser, this is a genuine question. Why do you assume that people with an pinion differing from yours, hold their opinions as a result of moral and/or character defects?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Because I have observed the moral and intellectual collapse of the MSM over the last 20 years or so. Just last night, Jeremy Clarkson tweeted that he no longer believes a word of the BBC’s new output. Well, some of us reached that point a long time ago.
Moreover, there was a time when I held at least some of the same opinions as those I disagree with. I get frustrated by their inability to change their mind in response to emerging facts and changing circumstances, or to cling to policies and beliefs that have clearly failed.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I thinks it’s generally the media organisations themselves that are morally defective (egregious disingenuousity being the main flaw)
The paid “journalists” who contribute are presumably playing the Nuremberg card as a means of justifying their complicity.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Thank you!

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I always thought that the BBC was supposed to be impartial or at least apolitical. The Laura K piece on the news last night seemed like a party political broadcast to me.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

I didn’t see it because I can’t bear to watch her or Queen Emily for the reason you just outlined.

David Gray
David Gray
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Sounds like your one-person in-depth research over a 20 year period and a dataset of one has yielded just the result you were looking for.

Last edited 3 years ago by David Gray
David Platzer
David Platzer
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I wish they were dumb in the strict sense of the word, that is to say, unable to speak, rather than unintelligent.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

This is very common.
I also remember they were very selective in which figures they discussed.
They revelled, when Sweden had an upsurge in cases over a 7 days period. They totally ignored that low death rate and low rate of cases over the entire period.
But the Swedish policy of not locking down showed the pointlessness of lockdown, and so were always the enemy.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Sweden is indeed a good example, but it’s more accurate to say that “the Swedish policy of not locking down showed the pointlessness of lockdown in Sweden“.
We need to control for all the ways in which Sweden is different from other countries, and especially national culture. So maybe Finland would have benefited from a Swedish style non-lockdown.
But without actually drilling down to the underlying reasons for the success of the Swedish non-lockdown there is no way to determine which lessons are applicable to other countries.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

Plucky little Switzerland didn’t go for draconian Lockdown either. Their pragmatic Cantonsl/Federal system just wouldn’t stand for it.

Thanks to the ‘Third Man’ we have been culturally ossified in thinking of Switzerland only it terms of Cuckoo Clocks and Skis.

James Mason
James Mason
3 years ago

I might add a few more characteristics, cheese, crooked bankers, chocolate, yodelling and William Tell.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  James Mason

No dispute over Cheese, Chocolate Yodelling or even William Tell, but for ‘crooked bankers’ I would say EC2 gives them a “good run for their money”.
In fact EC2 probably takes the Victor’s Palm for this event.

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  James Mason

You forgot custodians of Nazi looted art from Jewish victims….

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

Nor did Japan.
By the way – for the fools that I have often heard trying to be intellectual and stating that of course Sweden has a very low population density – they have a higher urban population than the UK. It’s just the same logic as if you looked at a map of Australia and assumed that the entire population is living equidistant from each other across the entire landmass. (Australia has an even higher urban population than Sweden and the UK!).

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

My apologies I had complete forgotten about Japan.

Like many Englishman of my generation Japan was cast into the pit of eternal stench, by the 1922 Washington Conference and the near concurrent abrogation of the 1902 (4?) Anglo – Japanese Naval Treaty, and thus, along with 1941-5 sanitised from ‘our’ collective memory.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Personally I think inter country comparisons are almost a complete waste of time, but just for fun, these stats might be more pertinent :
In Sweden, 40% of households are single person households. By way of comparison in 2019 according to ONS UK average was 30% range 35% (Scotland) – 24% (London)
Sweden has the smallest average household size in the OECD (1.99)
Largest age group in Sweden : 25 – 34 years (in 2019).
A 2017 study by Statistics Sweden found that more than 55% of 16 to 24 year-olds don’t socialise with any close relatives.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Agreed, but that is the world we have made and must now live in.

How the Romans would weep at our stupidity and ignorance.

andrew harman
andrew harman
3 years ago

It does seem strange that we now associate Switzerland with such things, not to mention Roger Federer. In the late medieval / early modern period they did – you would think rather surprisingly – have the most kick ass mercenaries that could be bought. Francois I of France put that to bed at the battle of Marignano.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Isn’t the same true of the once ferocious Vikings, and one or two others who it would too impolite to mention?

The interesting question is do we call this decadence or civilisation?

andrew harman
andrew harman
3 years ago

Yes indeed. Also consider Sweden – in the late C17th / early C18th, a warrior king of a militaristic society indeed in Charles XII who duked it out with Peter the Great of Russia. And what do we associate Sweden with more latterly? Bjorn Borg and Abba.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

What! the Guardian misrepresented data in order to push their agenda? That’s actually quite advanced, last week the Telegraph presented the ‘fact’ that the lockdown has been hardest on women, revealed by a survey of women.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

You think maybe the women were lying, or that we men have secretly been doing all the housework and homeschooling?

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago

A pity you didn’t and still don’t adhere to your own standards in that regards.
Otherwise, you would have debunked the sheer need for a vaccine against Covid on the basis of a 0.4% infection rate of the roughly 40.000 trial participants in each of them, and on the even lower absolute risk reduction of these trialled ‘vaccines’ aka gene therapies.
You would, of course, also know that the ‘vaccines’ have not been shown to confer immunity or eliminate transmission, as would be required from a proper vaccine.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

0.4% during the trial period.
And they are not “gene therapies”, that’s a distortion coined by anti-vaxxers and Russian trolls. Or shall we pretend that there really is a Father Christmas, and Russia isn’t pushing vaccine scepticism in the West?

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Read the Mercola article I posted below on that, and then come back to me and claim again that these are not gene therapies.
And I am neither an anti-vaxxer, nor a Russian troll.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

Mercola: “SARS-CoV-2 has not even been proven to be the cause of COVID-19.”
So, he’s a nutter, and if you believe him, you’re a fool. The vaccines are not gene therapies, since they don’t involve changing the recepient’s DNA : https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-gene-therapy-how-does-it-work

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Russia! Russia! Russia!
Give me the Sputnik V anyday over the mRNA shots.
And, BTW, we really do not need Russia to push vaccine scepticism. All of the smart people are NOT in Russia.

John Smith
John Smith
3 years ago

Mr. Chivers! A charming book-plug (note hyphenation) combined with talking-your-fellow-journalists book all in one article? Bravo!
That being said I shall certainly buy your missive as I have a weakness for that that kind of thing having owned a data analytics business in the past. I would add a few points to your list:
Correlation does not imply causation. Ensuring your independent variable is truly independent is the hardest thing of all. Avoid confirmation bias. Wherever you can do a meta-analysis. Avoid survivorship bias. And lastly a single data point can father an infinity of lines of fit (which is why I get so irritated when people grind on about their ‘lived experience’ in the context of wider society).

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  John Smith

I’m fairly sure “lived experience” is shorthand for: “ignore well researched and undisputed data that contradicts or puts my arguments into context, instead listen only to my cherry picked arguments”.

Weyland Smith
Weyland Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

See also “speaking their truth”

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  John Smith

I’d add, “if you want a straight line graph, take only two measures” – and “if reproducibility is a problem, just take one”.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

Isn’t the whole problem, that we have lost the ability to measure risk.
The very low risk of catching and dying from covid 19 for the vast majority of the population. Basically lockdowns were not necessary and don’t even work. They may even help create more dangerous variants.
The risk from blood clots is lower than the risk of covid 19 for high risk groups.
Low risk groups – those under 65 and healthy, don’t even need to take the vaccine.
We are statistically illiterate.

Last edited 3 years ago by Richard E
LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

The benefits of the vaccine for us lower risk groups are: far less chance of passing the virus on to some who is vulnerable, prime your immune system so that if you do meet Sars-Cov-2 in a few years time when you are vulnerable you’ll stand a better chance of fighting it off.
There’s also the benefit of a massive reduction in catching a nasty bug that 99.99%+ of middle aged people won’t die of, but would still rather not have. Most otherwise healthy people I’ve known catch it – wouldn’t recommend it. In this sense, rather like the flu (ok the flu is more likely to kill younger people). Serious, best avoided – but not worth locking everyone down and tanking the economy for.

Last edited 3 years ago by LUKE LOZE
Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

The vast majority of people who catch covid 19 are not even sure if they have had it. That’s how big an over reaction the whole lockdown has been to this, and that’s before the undiagnosed cancer deaths start rolling in, and of course the economic damage. The vaccine is probably best taken by a higher risk elderly people with pre-existing conditions, the rest of us could have kept on going to school, working and living our lives as normal.
If you choose to have the vaccine and the vaccine works – you are safe – no matter what the rest of the population does. If that isn’t the case, and you see the unvaccinated as a risk to the vaccinated – well that means you have a vaccine that doesn’t work.

S Trodare
S Trodare
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

It would appear your contention that vaccination is protective may in fact be incorrect see: https://doctors4covidethics.medium.com/ if what these doctors are concerned about regarding the danger posed by mutant strains turns out to be true, then we should all be extremely worried that mass vaccination may turn out to be anything but safe. Lets us hope they are wrong but the ferret incident during trials does not bode well.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

“The vast majority of people who catch covid 19 are not even sure if they have had it” is simply not true. The asymptomatic rate is debated, but it’s certainly not the vast majority – otherwise we’d have already reached aquired herd immunity.

If we don’t have naturally aquired immunity it means that with this endemic virus you’re likely to catch it at some point. At the moment the ‘best’ place to catch it is when you’re in hospital or a carehome. If I’m in a hospital with another serious condition one day soon, I don’t want to then remember that Covid is more dangerous to those with other serious health conditions.

Last edited 3 years ago by LUKE LOZE
Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

the undiagnosed cancer deaths”
Undiagnosed because hospitals are swamped with Covid sufferers who can’t breathe and will suffocate to death in the car park if not given a hospital bed with oxygen on tap.
So if you let the virus rip, and even more people turn up at the hospital gasping for breath, would you expect the number of uninvestigated cancer cases to (a) decrease (b) increase?
Whatever nonsense fantasies people indulge in online, when people with Covid turn up at hospitals, they can either be admitted or they can be allowed to die. If you were a doctor, what would you do?

samuel.goulding
samuel.goulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Brilliant points. Thank you

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Quite few of those who don’t know if they had the infection are dead. Can you explain what was filling up our ITU’s in the last two waves? There are many more secondary deaths from hospitals being unable to offer treatment for other serious illnesses because they were so full.

Angela Paris
Angela Paris
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

It does not stop transmission, so the “passing it on” does not apply. Natural immunity is always better than a vaccine, something the media does not report.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Angela Paris

The vaccines appear to significantly reduce transmission.

Mike Page
Mike Page
3 years ago
Reply to  Angela Paris

Just rubbish, Angela – sorry to be abrupt

Paul Ashton
Paul Ashton
3 years ago
Reply to  Angela Paris

Can you share where you discovered “natural immunity is always better than a vaccine”. I have always understood that vaccines generate a much stronger immunity than an infection but I have no evidence to hand to support it. If you have seen evidence to say infections produce a stronger immune response than a vaccine it would be good to see. Thanks.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

And… what are the statistics that underly those assertions?

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

It’s all out there if you take the effort to look.

Lindsay Gatward
Lindsay Gatward
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Agreed. Also it is clear from observation and logic that if restrictions are effective the disease will unfortunately become more contagious as only the more contagious will overcome the restrictions. Plus if you restrict all as in Lockdown then unfortunately you lose the natural event of the disease becoming less harmful where the more incapacitated leave the arena and those remaining active pass on their milder circumstance. Plus are we ever going to get a milder pandemic where most have to be tested to know they are actually ill and the average age of death by the disease is higher than the average age of death from all other causes and total deaths for the year remain around average? For sure history will regard our panic response to the mildest possible pandemic as the most pointless self inflicted wound of all time. It so shows how little we know about what we are doing medically. We have the illusion of being gods and knowing all because we know so much more than we used to but the amount we still do not know remains vast and actually well beyond even our imagination.

Last edited 3 years ago by Lindsay Gatward
samuel.goulding
samuel.goulding
3 years ago

Great piece Lindsay

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago

“It so shows how little we know about what we are doing medically.”
Well, that is the narraitve. The truth could well be that someone does understand perfectly well that lockdowns weren’t necessary and in fact were pointless *to curb the disease.* So, next question: What is the point, then, of general lockdown? To prevent and buy time for a general economic crash? Or perhaps to bring one about under “controlled” conditions?

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

I heard the Illuminati organised it with their orbital mind-control lasers. I elaborate on this in my monograph Elvis Shot Kennedy: Freemasonry’s Hidden Agenda.

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago

Extending your assertion, guess what will happen if the whole population is not vaccinated, in terms of viral evolution.
I can’t be sure but my money is on you not having a qualification in Virology or Immunology. Happy to be corrected.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

You seem very confused. This isn’t how respiratory viruses evolve. The more transmission that occurs >> the more (very different) immune systems the virus is exposed to >> the greater the selection pressure on all its random mutations >> the more likely it is that a variant that is better at surviving will appear. The virus has already done this quite successfully 4 times – D6104G early last year and then the B1.1.7, B 1.351 and P.1. This is the rationale for reducing transmission rates by people not meeting one another and by vaccination (Pfizer, Moderna and AZ all showing some evidence of reduced transmission).

The average age of death argument is a red herring – this is the expected age of death AT BIRTH. According to the Actuaries (you know, those people who deal with death and destruction every day) calculate that during this pandemic 80 – 89 year olds in the UK with 2 long term conditions could expect to live for another 5 years at least – provided they didn’t get Covid. They are the toughies.

As for death stats, the only measure worth looking at is all cause excess mortality becasue it includes everyone – covid, covid free people who succumbed to dementia at home instead of in hospital, heart attacks who didn’t make it to hospital in time, people who DIDN’T die of flu, people who DIDN’T die in a road traffic accident because they didn’t go out etc.etc. We are at about 100,000 excess (compared with the same period over the last 5 years) counting from March 2020. (PHE and ONS).

Plenty of medical imagination on tap over the last year – like repurposing an mRNA anti cancer drug as a vaccine.

Edward Hocknell
Edward Hocknell
3 years ago

There is another factor as regards the vaccine: What risk does it avert? It does not have to be very harmful to be more dangerous than the minute risk of dying from Covid.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

A minute risk which has killed 125,000 people.
Two of whom are known to me. I bumped into an old colleague this morning and he told me of three other people known to him.

dougmailw
dougmailw
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

When you compare things statistically you have to make sure you are comparing like for like. If you apply the logic that yielded your 125000 number to vaccines, you can be certain the result would have been similar. If dying after being vaccinated doesn’t count as a vaccine death in every instance, then neither should dying after a positive PCR test.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  dougmailw

If dying after being vaccinated doesn’t count as a vaccine death in every instance, then neither should dying after a positive PCR test.

Dying after being vaccinated doesn’t count if people die at the rate you’d expect anyway. Same goes for dying after a positive PCR test. However, people die after a positive test at a higher rate than you’d expect, and the ONS’s stats (based on death certificates) for dying of COVID19 give similar numbers to that death rate, so a death after a PCR test is a good proxy for dying of COVID19.

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

And that’s with lockdowns. Imagine what the death toll would have been had it been left to run wild. And once you add politics into the equation, nobody was going to let that happen.
You would need an authoritarian government with full control of the media and a collectivist society to squash this quickly. Hello China.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
3 years ago

more dangerous than the minute risk of dying from Covid.

That “minute” risk is around 0.5% of dying within three weeks of infection. If the vaccination risk was anything like that, it would have caused about 200,000 extra deaths in Europe, half of them in the UK, since January. It didn’t.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago

The writer certainly sounds like an advocate for everyone taking the vaccine. Research these numbers and be wary of this writer. Lots of numbers and comparisons used to justify taking the vaccine. No mention at all about the comparison of the success rate of the vaccine compared to the success rate of the bodies immune system. The fact is that 99 plus percent is the survival rate for persons under a certain age. For my age group the survival rate is about 94 plus percent. No mention that way more than half the people being strongly encouraged to take the vaccine have zero need for it. Lots of numbers in the article used to achieve an agenda driven outcome. How about giving us numbers about the survivability rates for the various age groups. This article is misleading. Not everyone needs the vaccine. I am 76 years old and in good health, no pre existing conditions of any type. Wash your hands, keep hands away from face. I take vitamin D3, 25mg zinc, and Quercitin, an ionophore for the zinc that helps it get into the cells. Ask yourself why the incidence of the seasonal flu has greatly decreased? Ask about the test being used for COVID19. Stop worrying about the number of new cases. The more people that get the disease the better. That number is not accurate and is not meaningful. It is a propaganda tool used to push an agenda.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Totally agree about follow the money and that Big Pharma and Bill Gates have a record of turpitude to make Old Nick blush. But at 60 i still took vaccine #1 and have #2 coming up mainly because i want to travel, but also because it looks as though stats wise AZ vaccine is relatively risk free. If it were a risky vaccine i guess i’d have to decide not to travel. We bought Chloroquine on medical advice once the scamdemic started and though it cost $2k for 2 courses its got a 2024 date. So if myself and wife get Covid (again*) despite the vaccine we at least have some back up. 3 out of the 6 in our household have tested positive for Covid/SARS – CoV2 without any symptoms. Plus read the small print on the UK NHS leaflets: “having this vaccine does not mean you cannot catch Covid and you may still spread it” Calling Dr McCoy !!! “its a vaccine, Jim, but not as we know it”

Last edited 3 years ago by mike otter
Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

After reading your post, my question is why would you take it then? Baffling.

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

I totally agree Chuck. All that has been created during the past year is wild hysteria over a virus that most people will survive. Today, it seems many want a vaccine for every thing that shows up. This has been pushed heavily over the last 25 years or more. Maybe we could become more inspired to eat better, supplement as needed (I take the same supplements as you indicate), exercise, get out in the sun, walk, care about the one body you have been given. In other words, put care there instead of an experimental jab.

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Flu has decreased, obviously I would have thought, due to lockdowns, face coverings, social distancing and most people not commuting nor working in an office.
You also don’t seem to have considered or understand evolutionary pressure on a virus when only sections of the population are vaccinated.

Hayden McAllister
Hayden McAllister
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

I am also seventy six, and agree wholeheartedly with you. I also take Vitamin D, and C, Zinc and Quercetin. Many people lost their sense of smell after getting Covid – and the reason is likely to have been that their body was depleted of Zinc. Where allowed, Front line doctors are using Hydroxychloroquine + Zinc or Ivermectin very successfully. Quercetin can have a similar effect. as HCQ. Ivermectin looks to be a virus zapper and a variant blocker. So why don’t we hear about this on the main stream media? In fact, in the UK, why is it always the same incompetent’s on the corona TV show – all, it appears, pimping for Big Pharma and Bill Gates. They are into wealth, propaganda and control.. When most people want Health, Truth and Freedom

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

I am glad for your comment!

David Smethurst
David Smethurst
3 years ago

Having read several Tom Chivers articles, he’s probably the last person on earth from whom I would seek advice on vaccine safety.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
3 years ago

Spot on ! It’s all blah blah blah and on he goes !

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

I am still convinced that long term the vaccines won’t work. The mutations and variants will continue and the vaccines will stop working. Luckily this is such a minor disease. 2.66 million dead from a population of 8,000 million plus. And 95% of the dead with pre-existing conditions. In places like the UK, the average age of death from covid 19 older than the average age of death, and very dubious allocations of deaths to covid 19. It will be remembered as the biggest hysteria of all time and baffle people for hundreds of years to come.

And wait until the undiagnosed cancer deaths roll in and economic disaster hits.

Last edited 3 years ago by Richard E
Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

The vaccines will surely be required every year. This is a cash cow for the manufacturers & associated industries .

Taxes are on the rise.

If the vaccine were that safe we would have been released esp those vaccinated!

We will already begin to hear more of such cases- Sarah Harding ( a singer) ignored her cancer warning signs during Covid and was now told that it had progressed too far and is untreatable . The bottom line is that you CANT save all the people in the world.

And I agree, there might be a boomerang style economic boom in the short run but when the economy of the world is put together, a year of loss might have a snowball effect. These & other unintended consequences will remain with us for years to come.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

Logic tells you they have no faith in the vaccine. The vaccine does not work. Otherwise they would say that once everyone has the chance to have the vaccine, everything will be open to all whether you have had the vaccine or not.
Those who don’t take the vaccine would only be a risk to themselves and others who didn’t take the vaccine.

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

…and those needing the NHS for something not related to COVID…
I think ‘they’ have every faith in the vaccine.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

I agree its like “tulip mania” crossed with a UFO cult and a great way to demonstrate to future generations the notions of pseudo science and cognative dissonance. Not that this in anyway absolves BJ, Gates, Imperial College or Macron etc for using disease and health care as mechanisms of conflict. The Geneva convention is pretty pithy on the subject of illness or healthcare used as weapons and we must make sure the actors names and actions are never forgotten, along with Halabjah ( Saddam) Falujah ( Blair Bush) the Somme etc.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Well said, it will even outdo the most baffling question in History so far, what caused The Fall of the Roman Empire?

Simon J Hassell
Simon J Hassell
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

A perfect example of statistical obfuscation (or, less politely, ignorance) – you can’t take the death number and divide it by the planet’s population. They haven’t all been infected. The only figure of relevance is deaths in known cases of infection. That may still be quite low in percentage terms, but multiply it by your 8 billion, if everyone was left to get infected.
1% of 8 billion is 80 million people. Would that change your perspective?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

No, off course not, but 99% survive, a great outcome!

On the night of 23/24 March, 1944, 20 Halifax bombers set off from RAF Breighton to drop some not very “friendly” bombs on Berlin.
By the time they returned 6 had been shot down, killing about 40 of the crew, a chop rate of 30%, and a lot of Squadron dogs to rehouse.
You may also recall Comrade Stalin’s opinion,
“One death is a tragedy, a million a statistic”.

Incidentally world population growth is staggeringly over 80 million per annum!

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Hayden McAllister
Hayden McAllister
3 years ago