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How science has been corrupted The pandemic has revealed a darkly authoritarian side to expertise

Increasingly, science is pressed into duty as authority. Kevin Frayer/Getty

Increasingly, science is pressed into duty as authority. Kevin Frayer/Getty


May 3, 2021   17 mins

When I was small, my father would conduct experiments around the house. When you blow across the top of a wine bottle, how many modes of vibration are there? How do you get the higher notes?

Another time, the matter under investigation might be the “angle of repose” of a pile of sand, as in an hour-glass. Does it depend on the particle size? On their shape? Do these factors determine the rate at which an hour-glass empties?

My favorite was the question of what technique will empty a jug of water fastest. Should you simply turn it upside down and let the air rush in (as it must, to replace the water) in that halting, glug-glug-glug fashion, or hold it at a gentler angle so the pour is unbroken? Answer: turn the jug upside down and swirl it vigorously to set up a whirlpool effect. This creates a hollow space at the centre of the flow, where air is free to enter. The jug will empty very quickly.

My father became famous for these “kitchen physics” experiments after he included assignments based on them in a textbook he wrote, published in 1968 and beloved by generations of physics students: Waves (Berkeley Physics Course, Vol. 3). My sister and I, aged two and five, are thanked in the acknowledgments for having surrendered our Slinkies to the cause.

 

He pursued such investigations, not simply as a pedagogical exercise, but to satisfy his own curiosity. And he made time for this even while working at the frontier of particle physics, in the lab of Louis Alvarez at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. This was fairly early on in the transition of the practice of science into “big science”.

Alvarez won the Nobel Prize in 1968 for his invention and use of the bubble chamber, an instrument for detecting particle decays. It was a device that would comfortably fit on a table top. Today you can build one yourself, if you like. But over the next few decades particle accelerators became enormous installations (CERN, SLAC) requiring the kind of real estate only governments and major institutions, indeed consortiums of institutions, can secure. Scientific papers came to have, not a handful of authors, but hundreds. Scientists became scientist-bureaucrats: savvy institutional players adept at getting government grants, managing sprawling workforces, and building research empires.

Inevitably, such an environment selected for certain human types, the kind who would find such a life appealing. A healthy dose of careerism and political talent was required. Such qualities are orthogonal, let us say, to the underlying truth-motive of science.

You can well imagine the appeal of getting back to basics for someone who was drawn to a scientific career when the prospect had a more intimate scale to it. Kitchen physics is about the pure intellectual refreshment of wondering about something that you observe in the world with your own unaided powers, and then investigating it. This is the basic image we have of what science is, immortalised in the anecdote of Galileo going up into the leaning tower of Pisa and dropping various objects to see how fast they fall.

Science as authority

In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Inquisition for his demonstration that the earth is not fixed but revolves around the sun. This was a problem, obviously, because the ecclesiastical authorities believed their legitimacy rested on a claim to have an adequate grasp of reality, as indeed it did. Galileo had no interest in being a martyr, and recanted to save his skin. But in the lore of Enlightenment, he is said to have muttered under his breath, “but it does move!”

This anecdote has a prominent place in the story we tell about what it means to be modern. On one side, science with its devotion to truth. On the other side, authority, whether ecclesiastical or political. In this tale, “science” stands for a freedom of the mind that is inherently at odds with the idea of authority.

The pandemic has brought into relief a dissonance between our idealised image of science, on the one hand, and the work “science” is called upon to do in our society, on the other. I think the dissonance can be traced to this mismatch between science as an activity of the solitary mind, and the institutional reality of it. Big science is fundamentally social in its practice, and with this comes certain entailments.

As a practical matter, “politicised science” is the only kind there is (or rather, the only kind you are likely to hear about). But it is precisely the apolitical image of science, as disinterested arbiter of reality, that makes it such a powerful instrument of politics. This contradiction is now out in the open. The “anti-science” tendencies of populism are in significant measure a response to the gap that has opened up between the practice of science and the ideal that underwrites its authority. As a way of generating knowledge, it is the pride of science to be falsifiable (unlike religion).

Yet what sort of authority would it be that insists its own grasp of reality is merely provisional? Presumably, the whole point of authority is to explain reality and provide certainty in an uncertain world, for the sake of social coordination, even at the price of simplification. To serve the role assigned it, science must become something more like religion.

The chorus of complaints about a declining “faith in science” states the problem almost too frankly. The most reprobate among us are climate sceptics, unless those be the Covid deniers, who are charged with not obeying the science. If all this has a medieval sound, it ought to give us pause.

We live in a mixed regime, an unstable hybrid of democratic and technocratic forms of authority. Science and popular opinion must be made to speak with one voice as far as possible, or there is conflict. According to the official story, we try to harmonise scientific knowledge and opinion through education. But in reality, science is hard, and there is a lot of it. We have to take it mostly on faith. That goes for most journalists and professors, as well as plumbers. The work of reconciling science and public opinion is carried out, not through education, but through a kind of distributed demagogy, or Scientism. We are learning that this is not a stable solution to the perennial problem of authority that every society must solve.

The phrase “follow the science” has a false ring to it. That is because science doesn’t lead anywhere. It can illuminate various courses of action, by quantifying the risks and specifying the tradeoffs. But it can’t make the necessary choices for us. By pretending otherwise, decision-makers can avoid taking responsibility for the choices they make on our behalf.

Increasingly, science is pressed into duty as authority. It is invoked to legitimise the transfer of sovereignty from democratic to technocratic bodies, and as a device for insulating such moves from the realm of political contest.

Over the past year, a fearful public has acquiesced to an extraordinary extension of expert jurisdiction over every domain of life. A pattern of “government by emergency” has become prominent, in which resistance to such incursions are characterised as “anti-science”.

But the question of political legitimacy hanging over rule by experts is not likely to go away. If anything, it will be more fiercely fought in coming years as leaders of governing bodies invoke a climate emergency that is said to require a wholesale transformation of society. We need to know how we arrived here.

In The Revolt of the Public, former intelligence analyst Martin Gurri traces the roots of a “politics of negation” that has engulfed Western societies, tied to a wholesale collapse of authority across all domains ­— politics, journalism, finance, religion, science. He blames it on the internet. Authority has always been located in hierarchical structures of expertise, guarded by accreditation and long apprenticeship, whose members develop a “reflexive loathing of the amateur trespasser”.

For authority to be really authoritative, it must claim an epistemic monopoly of some kind, whether of priestly or scientific knowledge. In the 20th century, especially after the spectacular successes of the Manhattan Project and the Apollo moon landing, there developed a spiral wherein the public came to expect miracles of technical expertise (flying cars and moon colonies were thought to be imminent). Reciprocally, stoking expectations of social utility is normalised in the processes of grant-seeking and institutional competition that are now inseparable from scientific practice.

The system was sustainable, if uneasily so, as long as inevitable failures could be kept offstage. This required robust gatekeeping, such that the assessment of institutional performance was an intra-elite affair (the blue-ribbon commission; peer review), allowing for the development of “informal pacts of mutual protection”, as Gurri puts it. The internet, and the social media which disseminate instances of failure with relish, have made such gatekeeping impossible. That is the core of the very parsimonious and illuminating argument by which Gurri accounts for the revolt of the public.

In recent years, a replication crisis in science has swept aside a disturbing number of the findings once thought robust in many fields. This has included findings that lie at the foundation of whole research programs and scientific empires, now crumbled. The reasons for these failures are fascinating, and provide a glimpse into the human element of scientific practice.

Henry H. Bauer, chemistry professor and former dean of arts and sciences at Virginia Tech, published a paper in 2004 in which he undertook to describe how science is actually conducted in the 21st century: it is, he says, fundamentally corporate (in the sense of being collective). “It remains to be appreciated that 21st-century science is a different kind of thing than the ‘modern science’ of the 17th through 20th centuries….”

Now, science is primarily organised around “knowledge monopolies” that exclude dissident views. They do so not as a matter of piecemeal failures of open-mindedness by individuals jealous of their turf, but systemically.

The all-important process of peer review depends on disinterestedness, as well as competence. “Since about the middle of the 20th century, however, the costs of research and the need for teams of cooperating specialists have made it increasingly difficult to find reviewers who are both directly knowledgeable and also disinterested; truly informed people are effectively either colleagues or competitors.”

Bauer writes that “journeymen peer-reviewers tend to stifle rather than encourage creativity and genuine innovation. Centralized funding and centralized decision-making make science more bureaucratic and less an activity of independent, self-motivated truth-seekers.” In universities, “the measure of scientific achievement becomes the amount of ‘research support’ brought in, not the production of useful knowledge”. (University administrations skim a standard 50% off the top of any grant to cover the “indirect costs” of supporting the research.)

Given the resources required to conduct big science, it needs to serve some institutional master, whether that be commercial or governmental. In the last 12 months we have seen the pharmaceutical industry and its underlying capacity for scientific accomplishment at its best. The development of mRNA vaccines represents a breakthrough of real consequence. This has occurred in commercial laboratories that were temporarily relieved of the need to impress financial markets or stoke consumer demand by large infusions of government support. This ought to give pause to the political reflex to demonise pharmaceutical companies that is prevalent on both the Left and the Right.

But it cannot be assumed that “the bottom line” exerts a disciplining function on scientific research that automatically aligns it with the truth motive. Notoriously, pharmaceutical companies have, on a significant scale, paid physicians to praise, recommend and prescribe their products, and recruited researchers to put their names to articles ghost-written by the firms which are then placed in scientific and professional journals. Worse, the clinical trials whose results are relied upon by federal agencies in deciding whether to approve drugs as safe and effective are generally conducted or commissioned by the pharmaceutical companies themselves.

The bigness of big science — both the corporate form of the activity, and its need for large resources generated otherwise than by science itself — places science squarely in the world of extra-scientific concerns, then. Including those concerns taken up by political lobbies. If the concern has a high profile, any dissent from the official consensus may be hazardous to an investigator’s career.

Public opinion polls generally indicate that what “everybody knows” about some scientific matter, and its bearing on public interests, will be identical to the well-institutionalized view. This is unsurprising, given the role the media plays in creating consensus. Journalists, rarely competent to assess scientific statements critically, cooperate in propagating the pronouncements of self-protecting “research cartels” as science.

Bauer’s concept of a research cartel came into public awareness in an episode that occurred five years after his article appeared. In 2009, someone hacked the emails of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain and released them, prompting the “climategate” scandal in which the scientists who sat atop the climate bureaucracy were revealed to be stonewalling against requests for their data from outsiders. This was at a time when many fields, in response to their own replication crises, were adopting data sharing as a norm in their research communities, as well as other practices such as reporting null findings and the pre-registration of hypotheses in shared forums.

The climate research cartel staked its authority on the peer review process of journals deemed legitimate, which meddling challengers had not undergone. But, as Gurri notes in his treatment of climategate, “since the group largely controlled peer review for their field, and a consuming subject of the emails was how to keep dissenting voices out of the journals and the media, the claim rested on a circular logic”.

One can be fully convinced of the reality and dire consequences of climate change while also permitting oneself some curiosity about the political pressures that bear on the science, I hope. Try to imagine the larger setting when the IPPC convenes. Powerful organisations are staffed up, with resolutions prepared, communications strategies in place, corporate “global partners” secured, interagency task forces standing by and diplomatic channels open, waiting to receive the good word from an empaneled group of scientists working in committee.

This is not a setting conducive to reservations, qualifications, or second thoughts. The function of the body is to produce a product: political legitimacy.

The third leg: moralism

The climategate scandal delivered a blow to the IPPC, and therefore to the networked centres of power for which it serves as science-settler. This perhaps led to a heightened receptivity in those centres for the arrival of a figure such as Greta Thunberg who escalates the moral urgency of the cause (“How dare you!), giving it an impressive human face that can galvanise mass energy. She is notable both for being knowledgeable and for being a child, even younger and more fragile-looking than her age, and therefore an ideal victim-sage.

There appears to be a pattern, not limited to climate science-politics, in which the mass energy galvanised by celebrities (who always speak with certainty) strengthens the hand of activists to organise campaigns in which any research institution that fails to discipline a dissident investigator is said to be serving as a channel of “disinformation”. The institution is placed under a kind of moral receivership, to be lifted when the heads of the institution denounce the offending investigator and distance themselves from his or her findings. They then seek to repair the damage by affirming the ends of the activists in terms that out-do the affirmations of rival institutions.

As this iterates across different areas of establishment thinking, especially those that touch on ideological taboos, it follows a logic of escalation that restricts the types of inquiry that are acceptable for research supported by institutions, and shifts them in the direction dictated by political lobbies.

Needless to say, all this takes place far from the field of scientific argument, but the drama is presented as one of restoring scientific integrity. In the internet era of relatively open information flows, a cartel of expertise can be maintained only if it is part of a larger body of organised opinion and interests that, together, are able to run a sort of moral-epistemic protection racket. Reciprocally, political lobbies depend on scientific bodies that are willing to play their part.

This could be viewed as part of a larger shift within institutions from a culture of persuasion to one in which coercive moral decrees emanate from somewhere above, hard to locate precisely, but conveyed in the ethical style of HR. Weakened by the uncontrolled dissemination of information and attendant fracturing of authority, the institutions that ratify particular pictures of what is going on in the world must not merely assert a monopoly of knowledge, but place a moratorium on the asking of questions and noticing of patterns.

Research cartels mobilise the denunciatory energies of political activists to run interference and, reciprocally, the priorities of activist NGOs and foundations meter the flow of funding and political support to research bodies, in a circle of mutual support.

One of the most striking features of the present, for anyone alert to politics, is that we are increasingly governed through the device of panics that give every appearance of being contrived to generate acquiescence in a public that has grown skeptical of institutions built on claims of expertise. And this is happening across many domains. Policy challenges from outsiders presented through fact and argument, offering some picture of what is going on in the world that is rival to the prevailing one, are not answered in kind, but are met rather with denunciation. In this way, epistemic threats to institutional authority are resolved into moral conflicts between good people and bad people.

The ramped-up moral content of pronouncements that are ostensibly expert-technical needs to be explained. I suggested there are two rival sources of political legitimacy, science and popular opinion, that are imperfectly reconciled through a kind of distributed demagogy, which we may call scientism. This demagogy is distributed in the sense that interlocked centers of power rely on it to mutually prop one another up.

But as this arrangement has begun to totter, with popular opinion coming untethered from expert authority and newly assertive against it, a third leg has been added to the structure in an effort to stabilise it: the moral splendor of the Victim. To stand with the Victim, as every major institution now appears to do, is to arrest criticism. Such is the hope, at any rate.

In the unforgettable Summer of 2020, the moral energy of anti-racism was harnessed to the scientific authority of public health, and vice versa. Thus “white supremacy” was a public health emergency — one urgent enough to dictate the suspension of social distancing mandates for the sake of protests. So how did the description of America as white supremacist get converted into a scientific-sounding claim?

Michael Lind has argued that covid laid bare a class war, not between labor and capital, but between two groups that could both be called “elites”: on one side, small business owners who opposed lockdowns and, on the other, professionals who enjoyed greater job security, were able to work from home, and typically took a maximalist position on hygiene politics. We can add that, being in the “knowledge economy,” professionals naturally show more deference to experts, since the basic currency of the knowledge economy is epistemic prestige.

This divide got mapped onto the pre-existing schism that had organised itself around President Trump, with the population sorted into good people and bad people. For professionals, not just the status of one’s soul, but one’s standing and viability in the institutional economy, depended on getting conspicuously on the right side of that divide. According to the Manichaean binary established in 2016, the fundamental question mark over one’s head is that of the strength and sincerity of one’s anti-racism. For white people who worked in technical bodies connected to public health, the confluence of the George Floyd protests and the pandemic seemed to have presented an opportunity to convert their moral precarity on the issue of race into its opposite: moral authority.

Over 1,200 health experts, speaking as health experts, signed an open letter encouraging mass protests as necessary to address the “pervasive lethal force of white supremacy”. This pervasive force is something they are specially qualified to detect by their scientific knowledge. Editorials in journals such as The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, Scientific American and even Nature now speak the language of Critical Race Theory, invoking the invisible miasma of “whiteness” as explanatory device, controlling variable and justification for whatever pandemic policy prescription it seems good to align themselves with.

The science is remarkably clear. It has also been bent to expansive purposes. In February 2021, the medical journal The Lancet convened a Commission on Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era to deplore the president’s politicisation of science – while urging “science-led proposals” that would address public health through reparations for descendants of slaves and other victims of historical oppression, the enhancement of affirmative action, and the adoption of the Green New Deal, among other measures. One can certainly make a case for such policies sincerely, freely, and with due consideration. Many people have. But perhaps it is also the case that the moral sorting and resulting insecurity among technocratic professionals has made them quick to defer to activists and sign on to grander visions of a transformed society.

The spectacular success of “public health” in generating fearful acquiescence in the population during the pandemic has created a rush to take every technocratic-progressive project that would have poor chances if pursued democratically, and cast it as a response to some existential threat. In the first week of the Biden administration, the Senate majority leader urged the president to declare a “climate emergency” and assume powers that would authorise him to sidestep Congress and rule by executive fiat. Ominously, we are being prepared for “climate lockdowns”.

The wisdom of the East

Western nations have long had contingency plans for dealing with pandemics, in which quarantine measures were delimited by liberal principles – respecting individual autonomy and avoiding coercion as much as possible. Thus, it was the already-infected and the especially vulnerable who should be isolated, as opposed to locking healthy people in their homes. China, on the other hand, is an authoritarian regime that solves collective problems through rigorous control of its population and pervasive surveillance. Accordingly, when the COVID pandemic began in earnest, China locked down all activities in Wuhan and other affected areas. In the West, it was simply assumed that such a course of action was not an available option.

As UK epidemiologist Neil Ferguson said to the Times last December: “It’s a communist one-party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with [lockdowns] in Europe, we thought… and then Italy did it. And we realised we could.” He added that “These days, lockdown feels inevitable.”

Thus, what had seemed impossible due to the bedrock principles of Western society now feels not merely possible but inevitable. And this complete inversion happened over the course of a few months.

Acceptance of such a bargain would seem to depend entirely on the gravity of the threat. There is surely some point of hazard beyond which liberal principles become an unaffordable luxury. Covid is indeed a very serious illness, with an infection fatality rate about ten times higher than that of the flu: roughly one percent of all those who are infected die. Also, however, unlike the flu this mortality rate is so skewed by age and other risk factors, varying by more than a thousand-fold from the very young to the very old, that the aggregate figure of one percent can be misleading. As of November 2020, the average age of those killed by Covid in Britain was 82.4 years old.

In July of 2020, 29 % of British citizens believed that “6-10 percent or higher” of the population had already been killed by Covid. About 50% of those polled had a more realistic estimate of 1%. The actual figure was about one tenth of one percent. So the public’s perception of the risk of dying of Covid was inflated by one to two orders of magnitude. This is highly significant.

Public opinion matters in the West far more than in China. Only if people are sufficiently scared will they give up basic liberties for the sake of security – this is the basic formula of Hobbes’s Leviathan. Stoking fear has long been an essential element of the business model of mass media, and this appears to be on a trajectory of integration with state functions in the West, in a tightening symbiosis. While the Chinese government resorts to external coercion, in the West coercion must come from inside; from a mental state in the individual. The state is nominally in the hands of people elected to serve as representatives of the people, so it cannot be an object of fear. Something else must be the source of fear, so the state may play the role of saving us. But playing this role requires that state power be directed by experts.

Early in 2020, public opinion accepted the necessity of a short-term suspension of basic liberties on the supposition that, once the emergency had passed, we could go back to being not-China. But this is to assume a robustness of liberal political culture that may not be warranted. Lord Sumption, a jurist and retired member of the UK’s Supreme Court, makes a case for regarding lockdowns in the West as the crossing of a line that is not likely to get uncrossed. In an interview with Freddie Sayers at UnHerd, he points out that, by law, the government has broad powers to act under emergency. “There are many things governments can do, which it is generally accepted they should not do. And one of them, until last March, was to lock up healthy people in their homes.”

He makes the Burkean observation that our status as a free society rests, not on laws, but on convention, a “collective instinct” about what we ought to do, rooted in habits of thinking and feeling that develop slowly over decades and centuries. These are fragile. It is far easier to destroy a convention than to establish one. This suggests going back to being not-China may be quite difficult.

As Lord Sumption says, “When you depend for your basic freedoms on convention, rather than law, once the convention is broken, the spell is broken. Once you get to a position where it is unthinkable to lock people up, nationally, except when somebody thinks it’s a good idea, then frankly there is no longer any barrier at all. We have crossed that threshold. And governments do not forget these things. I think this is a model that will come to be accepted, if we are not very careful, as a way of dealing with all manner of collective problems.” In the US as in the UK, the government has immense powers. “The only thing that protects us from the despotic use of that power is a convention that we have decided to discard.”

Clearly, an admiration for Chinese-style governance has been blossoming in what we call centrist opinion, in large part as a response to the populist upsets of the Trump and Brexit era. It is also clear that “Science” (as opposed to actual science) is playing an important role in this. Like other forms of demagogy, scientism presents stylised facts and a curated picture of reality. In doing so, it may generate fears strong enough to render democratic principles moot.

The pandemic is now in retreat and the vaccines are available to all who want them in most parts of the United States. But many people refuse to give up their masks, as though they had joined some new religious order. The wide deployment of fear as an instrument of state propaganda has had a disorienting effect, such that our perception of risk has come detached from reality.

We accept all manner of risks in the course of life, without thinking about it. To pick one out and make it an object of intense focus is to adopt a distorted outlook that has real costs, paid somewhere beyond the rim of one’s tunnel vision. To see our away out of this — to place risks in their proper context — requires an affirmation of life, refocusing on all those worthwhile activities that elevate existence beyond the merely vegetative.

Losing face

Perhaps the pandemic has merely accelerated, and given official warrant to, our long slide toward atomisation. By the nakedness of our faces we encounter one another as individuals, and in doing so we experience fleeting moments of grace and trust. To hide our faces behind masks is to withdraw this invitation. This has to be politically significant.

Perhaps it is through such microscopic moments that we become aware of ourselves as a people, bound up in a shared fate. That’s what solidarity is. Solidarity, in turn, is the best bulwark against despotism, as Hannah Arendt noted in On The Origins of Totalitarianism. Withdrawal from such encounter now has the stamp of good citizenship, i.e., good hygiene. But what sort of regime are we to be citizens of?

“Following the science” to minimise certain risks while ignoring others absolves us of exercising our own judgment, anchored in some sense of what makes life worthwhile. It also relieves us of the existential challenge of throwing ourselves into an uncertain world with hope and confidence. A society incapable of affirming life and accepting death will be populated by the walking dead, adherents of a cult of the demi-life who clamour for ever more guidance from experts.

It has been said, a people gets the government it deserves.


Matthew B Crawford writes the substack Archedelia


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Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

A brilliant article. Agreed with every word of it. I’ve become jaded at how many people around me are so quick to give up their freedoms in order to feel safe.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

I’ve become jaded at the realisation of just how complaint and stupid people have shown themselves to be. I feel like a stranger in my own land.

Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

FWIW I completely agree about being a stranger in one’s own land. I have largely hidden myself away during this disaster, being self-employed for the last few years helped that. But now I think I will struggle to get on with anyone who doesn’t think that we’re currently living in a totalitarian clown world. The people who willingly demean themselves and everybody else by strapping on their muzzles like an animal mystify and depress me in equal measure.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

Same here. I am absolutely dismayed at the sheer stupidity of Joe public. It’s hard to fathom why so-called, “intelligent” people have fallen for this crud hook, line, and sinker.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

I am absolutely dismayed at the sheer stupidity of Joe public

Look, we voted for Brexit. Get over it.

It’s hard to fathom why so-called, “intelligent” people have fallen for this crud hook, line, and sinker.

If you remember back to October 2020, you said

Please remember these words, because within the next 3 months many of these people (medical experts) will be facing serious charges.

Should intelligent people have believed that? Doubtless the 77th Brigade have used their orbital mind control lasers to prevent these prosecutions, which otherwise would have taken place?

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

I started studying the plague some time in January 2020. By February, I thought it best to stock up. In March, as it was beginning to take hold in New York, where I live, I read dire predictions of hospitals overflowing and forced to practice triage on people like me, and understood that I was on my own. (Indeed, some hospitals did go over capacity, but no one was put in the back alley that I know about.) I read whatever I could find that seemed semi-rational, and came to the conclusion that I would have to practice strict isolation for the duration. It did not seem like something anyone could fool with. I do know some people who fooled with it and got caught. Masks? Certainly, but you couldn’t buy one that wasn’t a fake for many months. So I made one of my own, with alternating layers of high-count cotton and silk. It was sort of black and pointy, so I painted big white teeth on it. The evidence that the plague was airborne convinced me, in spite of the CDC, and I stayed out of enclosed structures, especially those lacking vigorous ventilation, even though using a mask. I don’t see anything stupid, ignorant, or irrational about any of that. Maybe you all can explain. Don’t forget to account for survivors’ bias.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

I openly defied all the lockdown rules – would not mask although I had to put up with huge amounts of disapproving radiating from the masked sheep (although they do not look you in the eye, but avoid eye contact, but you still feel it – much easier to mask, but I refuse to have my rights as a free man taken). During the actual lockdown my employee and I worked in public view all the time, no one said anything. Open defiance is vital to keep freedom! I am glad I was not in London or I would have racked up loads of tickets – but freedom must be paid for, it is NOT free in cost.

Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Thanks for sharing. Well done!

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I thought the plague was rather like a war. I was born in 1939, and grew up in coastal New Jersey, so I actually have vague memories of the war and its numerous inconveniences and panics, and heard all the war stories later. Of course, we were not being bombed every day, so it was kind of an easy war for us, but still no gasoline, no tires, no butter, strict light discipline, young men going off and not coming back alive, and so on. One thing I did not observe was people denying that there was a war going on, and that something needed to be done about it. I suppose today one would see that, plus loud complaints that one’s freedom was being interfered with. It’s kind of interesting to contemplate the difference.

Last edited 3 years ago by Starry Gordon
Tim Bartlett
Tim Bartlett
3 years ago

While I strongly suspect wearing a mask is vanishingly close to pointless, wearing one because a legitimate, democratic government has told me to is simply civilised. We all have the option of voting in a more reasonable one next time.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

Except that the voting choice used to be Labour-big government & Conservative smaller. Now they are really just the same political party.

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

You can’t get much bigger govt than the Tories doing a lockdown. Only difference with Labour is that Labour want to spend even more. It’s more a comparison of massive govt or even more massive govt.

JulieT Boddington
JulieT Boddington
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

Who will be reasonable? Keir Starmer appears to be even more keen to lock down.Who can we vote for?

Tim Bartlett
Tim Bartlett
3 years ago

If theres no real choice then it’s up to us to make a new one. Nigel Farage didn’t just accept the status quo. You have to be prepared to act.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

Rosa Parks.

Val Colic-Peisker
Val Colic-Peisker
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

As several responses below state, where do you find the ‘reasonable people’ to vote for? Surely not in Australia! The two main parties are barely different. Politics is such a sorry business that intelligent and decent people (and those ‘reasonable’) keep well away from it, or drop out soon.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

I don’t think you should confuse compliance with pacifity. I get the feeling few people believe a word of it now- maybe at first but not so much now. I think they are waiting to see which way the wind blows.

Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I accept that and certainly hope you’re right. But some people seem to be perfectly content to wait for the rest of time until somebody tells them it’s ok to show their faces again and pass within arms length of somebody else. Until last year I didn’t know there would be so many of them around me. I have been shocked to discover how many there are.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

You are quite right Lee. There is a deeply unpleasant level of completely unjustified superiority about many of the BTL commenters when they write about the views and behaviour of the people in this country. I note the same commenter referred to the electorate as “morons” earlier on this page.
Odd how the hoi polloi were so wonderfully enlightened when they voted for Brexit but not when they complied with curbs on their freedom during a pandemic.
Ironically this selfsame smug air of superiority is reflected in the behaviour and policies of the current government, which I suspect most BTL commenters voted for, so they have certainly got the “government they deserved”.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

hoi polloi = the many.
Thus the hoi polloi = the the many.

QED.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

I remember George making this point. Of course, technically you are correct but everyday usage has a way of working in to become correct.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

“Manners Makyth Man”.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

Surely, ‘maketh’.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Not in the ‘original’ at New College or Winchester.

Last time I mentioned it in the modern/ your version but someone (a Wykehamist ?) objected!

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

OK. Point taken.

X Carys
X Carys
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Why were you so rude?

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

That’s not an argument….?

X Carys
X Carys
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Why are you so rude?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

About the best article I have read on Unherd. More than a stranger in my own land, the feeling of isolation make it seems more like invasion of the body snatchers.
Many people I have spoken to do not necessarily believe in what they are being asked to do. They comply for an easy life and because they cannot see any harm in it.

Will R
Will R
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

I think you mean ‘stupid’ people being ‘compliant’ ?

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

But the real joke is that they gave up their freedoms so that others could be safe, and you couldn’t even realise that fact.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

That is a poor argument since we never apply it to influenza and there can be many deaths from that. Common sense rather than government rules is normally sufficient, since people who are ill stay at home. Now people who have no symptoms of any illness are told to isolate and we have a mass vaccination programme of healthy people. Your argument assumes that we have a responsibility for the health and safety of other people. If this is the case, are we expected to advise every obese person about how to eat healthily, stop anybody smoking in the street, stop people drinking sugary drinks, or even stop them getting into cars because there is a risk of injury or death with every journey?

mattpope145
mattpope145
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

We don’t apply it to influenza, nor any of the other examples mentioned, but I don’t think the comparisons are fair. Influenza we have learned to live with over its long history, but during the Spanish Flu pandemic measures were taken that proscribed some civil liberties. The others (obesity, smoking) are more individually-based, and often involve personal choices the prohibiting of which would seem like more of a selective, and so discriminatory, ban on people’s freedoms. Incidentally smoking inside is banned because the freedom to be in a smoke-free environment trumps the wish of smokers to smoke indoors. This is now considered basic consideration, however much some libertarians bemoan it as another case lost to the nanny state.
A blanket ban on general freedoms because of a relatively unforeseen emergency is apparently easier to stomach because to those who accept it it feels like something nobody wants. In this case compliance doesn’t feel like an act of so-called depersonalisation (the Nepalese have been wearing masks in Kathmandu for a fair while and their sense of shared humanity seems very much intact, and deeper than what you’d find in London) instead it feels like an expression of solidarity.
The relinquishing of personal freedoms and the accompanying propaganda, if that’s not too strong a term (Michael Gove’s November essay) may make you queasy for all the reasons Crawford gives, but it must be understood that the main idea behind such a ‘surrendering’ is that extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures. Obviously the fears that emergencies, however overblown, may ‘make democratic principles moot’ are founded, and the careful, evidential construction of this argument over the course of the article is what makes it so good.

Last edited 3 years ago by mattpope145
Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  mattpope145

…so would these journalists be much better employed if they actually did some old-fashioned investigative journalism, and exposed the whole covid scam? If the media and medical profession did the job they were supposed to do, they couldn’t have gotten away with this scam.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

“Covid scam” – £120,000 dead in the UK (or thereabouts). Some scam.

And I’m not quite sure whose interests in the current UK government, this ‘scam’ is supposed to serve..

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Terence Riordan
Terence Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

120,000 death certificates assigned to Covid to support the Project Fear. Cases in the “Waves” changed from presented at hospital with real symptoms to a positive result on a test and are plotted on the same graph…just shows how much the public data means….not a fat lot….including deaths.

JulieT Boddington
JulieT Boddington
3 years ago

Quite right.

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Context and comparisons are all. 120k deaths assigned to Covid (within 28 days of +ve PCR test with or without Covid 19 signs or symptoms; alternatively simply attested to by nursing home staff or one physician) that occurred over 2 respiratory virus seasons set against c600k/annum all cause deaths.

Gandydancer x
Gandydancer x
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Have you figured out how many deaths would be attributed to vaccines if the criteria were as loose and the incentives as insistent and/or lucrative?

JulieT Boddington
JulieT Boddington
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

They were afraid of being vicitimised and so lose their jobs – terribly sad state of affairs to put it mildly!

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  mattpope145

“Asymptomatic spread” as a significant means of spreading this virus has been thoroughly debunked. Viruses are spread by sick people with active symptoms. Hence the strong injunction we’ve always given to people with the flu to STAY HOME. Not, “Go out and about if you want, go to work, go to school, use the bus and train, go to bars, concerts, etc., but be sure to wear a mask.” Any doctor proposing that as a flu preventative measure in 2019 would have been laughed out of the room.
I am under no moral and certainly no legal obligation to go through life assuming that – even when I feel 100 percent fine – I may be carrying some dangerous virus that some unsuspecting person may catch unless I cover my nose and mouth everywhere.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

To be devil’s advocate I do prefer not to be sneezed on by someone not obviously shown the ‘hankie technique’ and masks have prevented this. I do agree with your points though and also wonder why these ‘green’ charities don’t seem to mind all these discarded masks?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Obviously sneezing on someone is terrible manners, but (I think) a pretty rare occurance. And as we now know that asymptomatic spreadis mostly a crock, unless that person who sneezed on you is actively ill its highly unlikely theyll infect you. Ive actually always found it a bit peculiar that sneezing is interpreted as a sign of illness; it isnt (except a possible sign of allergies, which arent contagious), although excessive coughing is. Sneezing is just a way for the nasal passages to expel irritants, so actually something thats good for us. And anyway, even if a sneezer is wearing a mask, plenty of fluid gets expelled through the mask, which will still get on anyone close by if they dont still cover their mouth with a hand or arm, or hankie.

Gandydancer x
Gandydancer x
3 years ago
Reply to  mattpope145

Smoking is routinely banned outside now, too.
I don’t care for it anywhere, but see no reason why it can’t be done indoors if I have a fair opportunity to not go in such places.
Similar thinking ought apply to masks. Even more so to vaccination, and more than that with experimental vaccines.

Last edited 3 years ago by Gandydancer x
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Er, vaccination programmes always involve healthy people. That’s the point.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

No the usual flu vaccination is offered free only to the elderly and those with health problems and is usually administered at the doctors or chemists . Everyone else ie the healthy adults, pay and can get it from a variety of sources-sometimes the work place organizes them.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

 Alan says like it’s a bad thing:

“we have a mass vaccination programme of healthy people”

Aren’t vaccines usually given to healthy people? I know some can sometimes be used therapeutically, but that’s much much less common.

John Mcalester
John Mcalester
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

So why don’t we ban all motorised transport so pedestrians can be safe ?
The answer is perspective and risk.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mcalester

Theres the potential for everything to cause some sort of harm-the reason it is not usually exaggerated by the media or the medical profession is economic. It would therefore seem that there is an enormous commercial value to some (helped by the medical and scientific community ) to panic people about this particular virus. An obvious change has been the virtual end of cash as a means of exchange and the cards that we use can be easily tracked.People have also had their lives controlled and limited in ways unseen outside wartime, using a medical emergency as the reason.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Or, alternatively, there is good reason to worry about this particular disease because it is new, clearly quite dangerous, and we do not know enough to say exactly how dangerous it might be. If people can legitimately worry about fairly well understood and thoroughly tested vaccines, surely we can worry about new and deadly diseases?

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Well thank goodness we have such trusty scientists as Professor Ferguson to lead us-three wrong predictions out of three isn’t bad is it? I was never very good at maths ,though neither it seems is he.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Interesting that all these experts and politicians who want us to ‘fear’ this new virus were brave enough to break their own rules and sanctions for various ( noble I am sure ) reasons.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

According to you, how many people have died from COVID in the UK so far?

Back in spring 2020, Ferguson published some hurried models showing a possible maximum of 500000 dead if nobody did any prevention measure, and maybe 250000 under some more reasonable assumptions (if I remember rightly). Around the same time Sunetra Gupta published some other models with other assumptions, one of which suggested that the UK was close to herd immunity already. Ferguson seems to be rather closer to the mark, but I would not knock either – with what was known at the time both scenarios were possible. That was the point – showing the range of possible outcomes and what the risks might be. The decision was that just the risk that Ferguson might be right was enough to warrant countermeasures. You may not like that decision, but Ferguson was surely no more wrong than Gupta was.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I cannot begin to fathom out why you are condoning the absolute drivel put out by Ferguson. In any other profession, he would be fired immediately for such gross negligence and incompetence. He has crippled the economy, killed thousands of elderly people with absurd nursing home policies, and probably millions more from medical negligence, ie, cancelled vital appointments. I for one, cannot wait for these criminals to be tried in the Hague.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

You really need to separate the fact-finding from the decision-making. Ferguson (just like Gupta) put out a scenario model with specified assumptions and simplified but technically correct calculations (no one has proved the contrary yet)). That is his job. He showed that 250000 deaths could be a plausible outcome, just like Gupta showed that a different set of possible assumptions would give many fewer deaths. Given the ignorance and the time constraints both were reasonable calculations – the situation was very uncertain. The government and their advisers evaluated the plausibility of the available scenarios, and considered the risks. – and Boris Johnson decided what to do about the economy, nursing homes, and all the rest.
It is up to the government to balance different considerations and decide what to do – and politicians are surely better at dealing with decision-making under stress and uncertainty than scientists are. Anyway it is their job. The Danish prime minister explicitly overruled her health advisers to introduce lockdown, and the Swedish prime minister decided to ignore Ferguson and let his health advisers decide for him. Both took responsibility for their actions. The Boris and his friends really ought to do the same,

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You make it seem as though all the government had to do was choose between the two models and that they erred on the side of caution. My memory says that it was the media screaming that forced a decision against what our PM really wanted to do.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

It was, indubitably, the government that took the decisions. I cannot speak to Boris Johnson’s decision processes. but what the government should do is to evaluate the available evidence, balance the consequences of different choices, decide, and take responsibility for the result. If the Johnson government chose to let itself be stampeded into what they believed was a wrong decision by excessive headlines, that is their problem. The solution is to get a better government, not to pressure the media (let alone the epidemiologists) to avoid publishing data that might put the government under pressure.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Also the government didn’t then decide its course and then advise the public-it ordered the public. Prof Ferguson said he wondered if it were possible to compel an entire nation to adhere to certain rules & apparently was delighted to find it was. Roll on totalitarianism-its for your own good, the experts have decided.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Perhaps Nuremberg would be better.
Does the Gymnasium still stand does anyone know?

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Please read Ferguson/Imperial’s March 2020 report here and explain specifically what you think he got wrong:

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf

Jane In Toronto
Jane In Toronto
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

I believe they say or imply no one will have immunity. Totally wrong. Many, especially children, flick off Covid with non-specific immunity and still don’t make specific antibodies. For that reason, many professors say the assumption that spread would be exponential was totally wrong.
The paper assumed symptomatic people would be twice as contagious as asymptomatic. Turns out asymptomatic transmission is inconsequential, i.e., far less than half as powerful as from symptomatic people.

Dan Woodall
Dan Woodall
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Well, for starters… “In total, in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in GB and 2.2 million in the US, not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality.” 

JulieT Boddington
JulieT Boddington
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Unfortunately, this will never happen. Tony Blair is still ‘trotted out’ to give his opinion on many occasions even though the Chilcot report recognised that he was responsible for taking us into an agressive war, murder and conspiracy to murder.

Jane In Toronto
Jane In Toronto
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The huge flaw in the Imperial College paper was the failure to extend the IFRs out to see the result ―that 70%-80% of his projected deaths were going to be those over 70. This proved to be the case. Immediately one knows this, one also knows that there will be huge double counting. In other words, though his projected deaths were approximately equal to the ‘normal’, i.e., sans Covid rate, that did NOT mean Covid was going to cause a doubling of the usual rate, nothing even close. Remember, all the people who died of anything were pretty much labeled Covid if they tested +ve.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

…and during the “scamdemic” his dalliance with a colleague’s wife meant that his idea of “social distancing” was apparently about 4 inches.

Last edited 3 years ago by Russ Littler
Brett McSweeney
Brett McSweeney
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

That would be *negative* four inches.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Four inches apart? Were they like a couple of Catholic high school teens at their first mixed dance, under the watchful eye of several ruler-wielding nuns? Somehow I think not.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Rules for thee but not for me.
It was never about safety for these people; it was about power.
When you give governments more power, its like giving a toddler a toy that doesnt belong to him. Don`t expect to get either back without a huge fight.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Please read the Imperial/Ferguson report from March 2020 and explain to us what you think he got wrong:

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Lots of down votes but not a single person engaging with the substance of my comment. Sigh.

Terence Riordan
Terence Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Luckily he caused more cows to be killed than people.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

The trouble with that is it was a pleasing result for Blair who could punish the tory voters , the next ‘prediction’ was also finincially beneficial to a key labour supporter through the vaccine. I wouldn’t imagine many on the SAGE panel vote tory-so why does a 80-seat majority party accept their advice?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Because they know what they are talking about?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

If the virus is so new etc how can they know what they are talking about? It is pure speculation and the country whose figures they were basing their advice on cannot really be trusted.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

If you bother to look at the minutes from the Sage meetings (all available and free to view on line) you will see exactly what they based their decisions on – the references of the papers they used to assist them in their deliberations are all listed, you can read them for yourself.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Yes, Professor Ferguson who was obviously not frightened enough of this new virus to refrain from breaking the lockdown rules that resulted from his OWN RECOMMENDATIONS going out to hook up with his married mistress.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

And I believe both households ( which contained children) were meant to be sheltering because they had the virus. Obviously she had something of vital importance to communicate which couldn’t safely be transmitted by phone!

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Its just like the Governor of California going out to eat at a fancy restaurant with a bunch of his cronies, unmasked and indoors, during lockdown when ordinary Californians were allowed to do neither. Or Pelosi getting a salon to open specially for her so she could get a haircut (also unmasked.) These elites really think theyre a law unto themselves. Rules are or the lowly serfs to follow. And they make the rules because they enjoy the power.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Rich people obviously have better immune systems than us ordinary folk & so can be ‘brave’ and take these risks.They are just being kind and considerate to us really in denying us these things.

Neil Mcalester
Neil Mcalester
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Did you miss the part where it was explained that the average age of death is greater than average life expectancy?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Mcalester

???

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Mcalester

Average life expectancy at birth is different from life expectancy if Covid did not intervene. The relevant figure would be the number of years of life lost to Covid. For someone of 81 this is on average ten years. For someone of 50 it’s 37 years and for someone of 60 it’s 27 years. Many people in their 50’s and 60’s have lost decades of life to Covid. And the high average age of death rate in wave 1 was skewed by Care Home deaths.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Surely ‘Care Home’ is just a euphemism for ‘Departure Lounge’?

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Precisely. Many UnHerd commentators apparently refuse to comprehend that Years of Life Lost is the relevant statistic here.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Some people died in hospital from the virus who were admitted for something else. Old people with the virus were moved to nursing homes where they ‘removed’ some of the inhabitants. Many people have been making sure they don’t go near hospitals as they are afraid of them.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Yes, during peak waves of Covid infection, hospitals become full of Covid patients, and due to the infectiousness of the disease and limited staff it is very difficult to prevent the spread to other non-Covid patients.
The UK is very fortunate its hospitals were not forced to close their doors to new patients, as we are seeing today in India.

Last edited 3 years ago by Eva Rostova
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Hospitals became “full of Covid patients” during the first wave…really?
Then how did all those hospital staff find the time to make endless silly TikTok dance videos, scold anti-lockdown protesters, then (about a week later) stand outside and cheer on BLM protestors who were doing exactly the same thing?
And if any hospitals really were “full of Covid patients” at that time, it was likely as much due to the media scaremongering as anything else. Most of them would have recovered just as quickly (if not more so) if they’d just stayed home in their own beds.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Exactly-when I did nurse training if you had nothing to do , you cleaned equipment , sorted out the store-room and talked to patients with no relatives-no dancing was involved. Also Eva seemed to have missed the bit where I said patients without covid ie Major Tom came into hospital where they caught it. Bit rich expecting people to be grateful for a system that ‘makes’ you ill.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I’m sorry Kathleen, but logically what do you expect during a pandemic where the hospitals are full of Covid patients?
Is your solution not to admit Covid patients? (Unfortunately, this is effectively happening today in India, because several of their hospitals have been overwhelmed and have run out of oxygen.)
Admissions to ICUs, which only ever admit very unwell patients, reached unprecedented levels in the UK in winter 2020-21, 3x+ greater than the worse flu season in the past 40 odd years: https://www.ft.com/video/0cd6f9f9-664e-40f9-bad4-dde59d7c746c

Last edited 3 years ago by Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

Your are spreading misinformation, Kathy. The data do not support your opinions.
A person is only ever admitted to ICU if they are very unwell, and it is a fact that there were 3x+ more ICU patients over Christmas than during the worst winter flu season of the past 40 years (and that’s with substantial social distancing measures that were in place in the UK to slow transmission; contrast to places like India and Brazil). That is huge.
These are facts. Learn more for yourself here:
https://www.ft.com/video/0cd6f9f9-664e-40f9-bad4-dde59d7c746c

Last edited 3 years ago by Eva Rostova
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Did I just imagine I saw all those stupid videos…

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

Logically, what has a tiktok video got to do with the quantitative question of whether ICUs were at record capacity? Is your definition of healthcare overcapacity the point at which healthcare staff are physically incapacitated and incapable of using a social media platform? You are being completely irrational.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

I expect health care workers to be doing the jobs they are paid to do during their working hours, not using social media. For anything, much less making stupid dance videos. If they have time to do this, obviously the hospitals were about as far from being “overwhelmed” as any hospitals could be.
How is being extremely busy at your job, to the point of having no time to use social media, “physically incapacitated?” I’ve known quite a lot of doctors and nurses; back in the day, that was just called a normal day’s work. Last time I checked, practicing medicine and nursing was hard. Some days are extremely hard. People don’t choose to go into these fields (or at least I assumed) because they want an easy job. They know that sometimes it’s going to be like hell on earth, and they’re going to be expected to still do their absolute best and not fall apart because that’s what they signed on for.
And no, I don’t consider them “heroes” just for doing the jobs they are paid very adequately to do. If they were volunteers they’d be heroes.
If they do their jobs as they’re expected to do, they have my respect, but that is all.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

The baseline capacity nationally in the UK at the start of the first wave could have accomodated 327 extra patients in critical care (CC) beds and 97962 in General and Acute (G&A) beds. These numbers are far below the observed peak of Covid patient numbers of 3100 and 15700 in CC and G&A respectively that ocurred on April 12.

The largest restriction on CC resources were CC nurses with a spare capacity allowing for only an extra 642 patients, nationally.

The NHS adapted in March by converting G&A beds to CC beds, calling in retired staff + medical students to help (mainly on the G&A side), cancelling elective work and utilising Covid free private hospitals for non Covid emergencies, retraining theatre technicians as CC nurses + a bunch of other measures.

Hospitals at this time had to be physically reconfigured to separate proven Covid patients from those awaiting Covid test results and those who were known to be Covid free. This partly involved increasing the distance between beds to improve cross infection control (basic Florence Nightingale stuff) so total G&A bed numbers were reduced by about 20,000 with all these measures while the CC bed capacity increased from 4,100 to about 14,000 (not all fully staffed).

For the first wave new guidelines were issued allowing one CC nurse to look after 6 patients, with lesser minion assistance – patently dangerous given the usual 1 : 1 ratio. This guideline was adjusted again for the winter waves to read 1 : 3. Both in April 2020 and January 2021 CC units just about managed to squeak through with this nurse / patient staffing ratio – by 24 January 2021, 148% of beds were occupied relative to the number of available beds on the same day in January 2020 – almost 1.5 times the capacity of the same time last year (those figures from the Nuffield Trust).

The MSM knows bu**er all about how hospitals are managed and how they changed (continuously) during the last 18 months. The limiter, in truth was never bed numbers but enough suitably trained staff.

This is what happens when you run a lean and mean health care system.
For a very good account of the contortions the NHS had to go through see :  Adapting hospital capacity to meet changing demands during the COVID-19 pandemic McCabe BMC Medicine October 2020

Last edited 3 years ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

The big General Hospital I was in during the ‘exponential spread’ phase in 2020 was not full of Covid patients. It was not full of anybody. On a ward of 4 six bed bays I was the only patient for three days of my stay. There were two of us on the other two days in separate bays. At one point I had a walk around the deserted corridors, waiting areas and different units. Nobody. Felt like an episode of Dr Who. Thought Daleks might emerge from around the corner.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Smith

If you didn’t have Covid then you would have been in the portion of the hospital that they were trying to keep Covid free.
Depending on what sort of hospital you were in maybe a lot of the staff had been seconded to look after Covid patients in a different part of the hospital another hospital ?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

It is almost funny, how desperately you are trying to spin it.
He was in an entire hosptial WING that was practically empty.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Smith

Nice anecdote. Here’s some empirical evidence from an authoritative source:
https://www.ft.com/video/0cd6f9f9-664e-40f9-bad4-dde59d7c746c

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Smith

Theres been quite a lot of anecdotal evidence which agrees with you-other nursing staff , visiters , patients and people who live near hospitals. All of these people have been told they are wrong or even evil ‘don’t you know theres a pandemic’ and some have even lost their jobs. Odd because you usually don’t want to panic people-deadly strain of strawberry yogurt-don’t all rush to A & E.!

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

If a 50-to-55-year-old who has a serious comorbidity dies “with Covid” (and the overwhelming majority of so-called “Covid deaths” in this age group have been in this category, i.e. people who already have very serious health issues such as morbid obesity, cancer, emphysema, MS, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) how does it make sense to conclude that they lost at least three decades of their life, when their health was very poor to begin with? Was such a person really expected to live to 80-85, if it weren’t for the dread virus?
I don’t mean to sound callous, as every premature death is tragic. But it makes no sense to me.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

You are incorrect that comorbidities materially reduce the substantial years of life lost to Covid.

See, eg, https://www.inet.ox.ac.uk/files/17.10-29-Jun-20-Aron-Muellbauer-Giattino-Ritchie-Excess-Mortality-article.pdf

“While it is true that three-quarters of the excess deaths were of people aged 75 and above, and that the majority had one or more pre-existing medical conditions (co-morbidities), in practice, life expectancy is quite high. For example, at the age of 80, life expectancy is 9 years for males and 10 years for females. Co-morbidities add little to this, in his opinion, since four-fifths of this cohort has two or more co-morbidities, and 90 percent have one or more (there is of course variation around the average).”

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

The vast majority of people in their 50s and 60s who have died “with Covid” have had at least one comorbidity. This is still very much a disease of the elderly and/or immuno-compromised and/or medically frail. And even among the most vulnerable, it’s fatal in only about 6 percent of all cases.
I realize that premature deaths are always tragic. But the impact of this virus on the general population – and particularly the young and healthy population – is statisically insignificant. Those who catch it either don’t get sick at all or get a mild illness they quickly recover from. And “asymptomatic” spread is a crock. We’ve been subjected to nothing but fear porn for the past year. Now nearly all of the most vulnerable are vaccinated, and we’re still being told it’ll be months, possibly a year or more, before our lives get back to normal, if they ever do. We are sick of this. No “pandemic” has ever lasted this long.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kathy Prendergast
Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

“No ‘pandemic’ has ever lasted this long?”.
I suggest you brush up on your history before making completely incorrect statements like that.
For example, the Spanish Flu continued from 1918 to around 1921.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2020-09-08/covid-coronavirus-how-do-pandemics-end-and-how-will-this-one-end/12596954
All right-minded people want this to be over. Pretending that it’s no big deal, however, doesn’t help anyone. Just take a look at the situation with hospitals and oxygen in India today and be grateful we are not in their position.

Last edited 3 years ago by Eva Rostova
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

The Spanish Flu PANDEMIC was over by early 1919. Obviously there were some more cases of it after that.
And anyway, in no way can that illness be compared to Covid-19. Spanish flu actually struck down young, healthy people, which is what made it such an anomaly.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

You are yet again spreading misinformation, Kathy. The Spanish flu pandemic is generally considered to have lasted around two years, with material outbreaks lasting until 1921 as I said. See, e.g., https://www.history.com/news/spanish-flu-second-wave-resurgence. By comparison, the SARS-Cov-2 virus achieved pandemic-level spread around Feb/March 2020, barely a year ago.
In any event, what is the relevance of your point that Spanish flu killed more people and impacted younger demographics? It does not change the fact that Covid-19 evidently poses a systemic threat to healthcare systems, as we have seen around the world over the past year, and are seeing most acutely today in India.

Last edited 3 years ago by Eva Rostova
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

You are not making sense. If this disease is not a threat the the mjaority of the population (and it isn’t), why, then, is it seen as a “threat to healthcare systems”?
People like you talk like the wellbeing of “healthcare systems” is more important that the wellbeing of people. Healthcare systems are MEANT to take care of people, not to be “protected” from overt pressure to the point of hospitals being kept virtually empty. And yes, sometimes enormous strains are placed on these systems, eg. when catastrophic accidents or natural disasters occur. They are expected (by us, the taxpayers, who fund it) to deal with it, to the best of their ability.
Most people who get Covid-19 have no need to stay in hospital. Most don’t even need to see a doctor and recover in a few days even if they do nothing other than stay in bed.
Why do you think the death rates from Covid-19 are so much lower in Africa? Maybe because most people with it are treated on an outpatient basis, with known effective drug therapies (saw an interview the other day with a doctor in Zimbabwe, who routinely treats it with Ivermectin with much success), keeping the virus from spreading through hospitals and infecting the most vulnerable. In Africa, they can’t afford the luxury of fretting about hospitals being “overwhelmed”, when many communities have no hospitals to begin with, just outpatient clinics.
I also suspect, however, that the much lower rate of obesity and lower median age in Africa has something to do with it.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

This has NEVER been all about death. In the UK it has been about the disease burden on the NHS that should really be concentrating on other stuff.
The ones who filled the hospitals. Best source of information for this are the ICNARC reports regularly updated :
“ICNARC report on COVID-19 in critical care: England, Wales and Northern Ireland 5 February 2021
90.3% admitted to these critical care beds did NOT have serious comorbidites” – another UnHinged fallacy out the window.

Presymptomatics = Asymptomatics and there is now plenty of evidence that transmission can occur 1 -2 days before symptoms appear. See “Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Different Settings, Brunei Chaw, November 2020” for one of the better studies looking at this.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

It sounds like you are admitting that at least 90 percent of those who were hospitalized with Covid never needed to be there.
Most people who got – and get – Covid 19 would have fully recovered from it without any medical intervention whatsoever, because for people who are not elderly and have no co-morbidities, it is no more dangerous than the flu.
I do not know what the standard is in the UK, but in Canada we do not routinely hospitalize non-vulnerable patients with the flu, even if they are running fevers; we tell them to go home, stay in bed, keep warm, and drink plenty of liquids.Hospitalizing them is highly unlikely to help them recover faster and will just expose truly vulnerable people to the risk of catching what they have.
So a flu-like illness that most people recover from on their own should not threaten to overwhelm a competent health care system.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

I don’t know how you managed the end of life covid cases but some of the stories have been truly shocking-parents not allowed to say goodbye to their dying child, grown men weeping for their families and given no comfort-and thats before we even get started on the nursing homes. Have those in the caring professions lost their minds?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

The media was also so desperate to prove anyone could ‘get it & die of it’ that it published any cases of youngsters ( most of whom sadly already had problems like cancer) and even showed pics people who worked in NHS and were minority & had died and somehow linked this together with BLM protests. The whole media thing has been a frenzy-something like Huxley’s book The Devils of Loudon.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I never knew the term “psy-op” before this happened, and thought all conspiracy theorists were crackpots.
Now I increasingly feel like the Donald Sutherland character in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, right up to the end when they finally get to him too.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Mcalester

The average life expectancy of someone who has reached 82 is another 8-9 years. So no, Covid isn’t just killing people who were about to fall off the perch anyway.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

So they have used up 90% of their fuel? Isn’t that enough or is greed the paramount virtue ?

Whatever happened to “moderation in all things “ as the Ancient Hellenes maintained?

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

I see it’s easy to be blasé about other people losing 8 or 9 years of life.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

So the average life expectancy in Britain is now 90 or 91? That’s news to me.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

When you calculate the average length of life, that includes people who die just after birth, while still in school, in late middle age, etc. All these live lives that are shorter than the average. To balance that out, other people have to live longer than the average. Those who make it till 82 have already evaded all those traps, and can expect to live well beyond the average length of life.

You do not work with numbers in your day job, do you?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

A huge number of those who had made it to 82 had done so because their life spans had been artificially extended by modern medicine, including flu vaccines. This is not saying they should not have been around, obviously it is great their lives were extended, just that they most likely would not have been, without these things. Viruses are opportunitistic and the novel Covid virus took advantage of this large population of people with weak immunity. And the government and healthcare systems did the exact opposite of what they should have done to protect this population. Lockdowns, forced masking, and imprisoning the healthy did NOTHING to protect these people.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Exactly-both my parents came from large families of whom only 2 ( both women) made it to 90 and they were in poor health for years. The rest died in their seventies or younger. Most people live to 80ish if they are lucky but some groups ie Ashkenazi Jewish people live longer than usual which mean the overall figures are unbalanced-just as if one person earned £10,000 & another 1 million doesn’t mean the average wage is 1/2 million.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

No it isn’t the average age .As I commented below but its ‘waiting’ if a person earns £10,000 and another 1 million this doesn’t make the average wage 1/2 million.Statistics are a funny old thing.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Mcalester

Wrong statistic to quote as the Actuaries (you know, those people who deal with death and destruction every day) made very clear way back in May / June they calculated 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.
The average age of death argument is a red herring – this is the expected age of death AT BIRTH.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

So let’s assume most of the UK C-19 casualties so far are predominantly the old, plus a few fat & black. Say 100K as a round figure

That leaves about 3.5 million ‘toughies’ (80+), so it is going to take sometime for C-19 to cull them all, unless it mutates into something like the Black Death or the Justinian Plague.

More chance of decent, full scale Nuclear War with China I would have thought.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

Won’t cull any of them if they have all been vaccinated.
No signs of significant vaccine escape so far.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

Then we have a problem as the the late HRH Prince Philip said so eloquently.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Mcalester

82.4 versus 81.1.
Statistically if you old, fat or black, you need to take care.

For the rest it should be ‘Dives in Omnia’,*
‘Riches in Everything’

(*Thank you Porterhouse).

JulieT Boddington
JulieT Boddington
3 years ago

Why didn’t the government/press/anyone explain why Vitamin D is vital and that those with darker skins need to supplement their diets?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

Cost probably, we don’t want the NHS to be inundated with the demos clamouring for Vitamin D do we ?

The same is also true of why we don’t routinely give an ECG to the over 50’s, twice year, as is required by the Civil Aviation Authority for Commercial pilots.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Mortality rate 0.98% for all those who contract it. Average age of death 82.2 years old. Exactly the same as any seasonal flu. Show me the dangerous disease?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Sounds like more chance of dying from a Verruca.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

This has NEVER been all about the death stats. In the UK the real problem was how a creaking NHS was going to cope with the disease burden on top of all the other stuff it is supposed to be doing.
From a VA study in the US :
“Notably, compared with patients with influenza, patients with COVID-19 had 2 times the risk for pneumonia, 1.7 times the risk for respiratory failure, 19 times the risk for ARDS, and 3.5 times the risk for pneumothorax, underscoring the severity of COVID-19 respiratory illness relative to that of influenza.”
and
“The percentage of COVID-19 patients admitted to an ICU (36.5%) was more than twice that of influenza patients (17.6%); the percentage of COVID-19 patients who died while hospitalized (21.0%) was more than five times that of influenza patients (3.8%); and the duration of hospitalization was almost three times longer for COVID-19 patients (median 8.6 days; IQR = 3.9–18.6 days) than that for influenza patients (3.0 days; 1.8–6.5 days) (p<0.001 for all).”
And as anyone who has been in an ICU – this is no picnic for anyone.

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

I bought a 540 fitting medical oxygen regulator for $20 from E-bay, 2 cannula from Walmart at 10$ each, put my 80l O2 Welding Cylinder in the bedroom as soon as they showed the (I think fake) videos of Chinese collapsing in the streets in Jan 2020. (a 540 valve is what welding O2 tanks use)
By the way a full O2 cylinder, 80 L, is about $320 at my local welding supply, (in case you want home Oxygen for late night welding), with regulator and cannula under $400, and Is something I would think prudent to keep, it is not very expensive to swap every few years as the bottle is the most expensive part and the old bottle is credited against the new bottle – choose a cylinder with the most years left on its certificating stamp.
But then I have always been self reliant, like ‘Fish Antibiotics’ which I DO NOT RECOMEND (fish antibiotics are the same as human and vet ones, but require no prescription, but if you are remote extended times can be taken along in case your fish get sick) Clindamycin is for staff infections and things…. https://fishmoxfishflex.com/collections/clindamycin-fish-cin-fish-antibiotic/products/fish-aid-clindamycin-150-mg-100-count-fish-cin-equivalent.

Just like I always build my own house, fix my own vehicles, and so on, I like to take care of things myself.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Covid 19 is a multi-organ, endothelial thrombotic disease.
Unless you have the capability of measuring D-dimer, renal function, cardiac function, a smorgasboard of cytokines, coagulation in all it’s various flavours and a raft of other parameters you will be dead meat if you get really sick.
As for oxygen, what sort of oxygen support you would need (nasal canula, simple face mask, reservoir mask, nasal high flow O2 – up to 70L/minute, CPAP, venturi mask, variable positive airway pressure) would depend in part on your arterial blood gases – this involves sticking a needle into an artery to get the sample, not a vein. See the BMJ Respiratory failure and non-invasive respiratory support during the covid-19 pandemic: an update for re-deployed hospital doctors and primary care physiciansfor an easy to follow guide with pretty pictures.
Some patients can theoretically be managed at home with supplementary oxygen of one sort or another. Others can’t and that’s where the disease burden for hospitals comes from.
Antibiotics are absolutely contra indicated unless there is a proven secondary bacterial pneumonia – only diagnosable with repeated positive blood / sputum culture and for that you need a lab that can culture both anaerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
Good luck with all that.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

Prednisolone in very large quantities proved efficacious in my case.
(Entire self-administered).

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

Yep, steroids appear to be useful if you give them at the right time – hugely unhelpful if you take them at the wrong time.
You were in luck !

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

What you just described is a worst-case-scenario case of Covid-19, i.e., what happens in the tiny minority of cases in which it kills or causes permanent damage because the patient was already highly compromised.
Your fear porn has passed its sell-by date.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

Of the two of you, one seems to know what she’s talking about – and the other seems to be repeating conspiracy theories from the internet. You may not know which is which, but most people reading this will.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

Nope.
The BMJ article and crib sheet covers all the bases from those who can be and have been managed just in a home setting up to those you are desperately trying to keep off a ventilator.
The thromboses problem can occur in anyone. We know that Sars Cov 2 can latch on to almost any part of the body because of the ubiquity of ACE2 and TMPRSS receptors and from clinical observation – everything from brain fog to gut ache to muscle pains to myocarditis.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

Nasty complications CAN result from many different viruses. As any medical professional would know. Read up on what chicken pox could do to an adult unfortunate to catch it, pre-vaccine.
All I am interested in is how frequently they do.
The fact is, no matter how you spin is, the virus causing Covid-19 causes neither death nor long-term health issues in the vast majority of people who get it.
Its level of danger simply does not justify the extreme and destructive measures taken in the name of controlling it.
An apt metaphor is burning down a house to get rid of rats.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

Do you have any figures showing how many admitted to hospital vs how many needing ICU?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

Our World in Data have some nice linear and log graphs – you can select for country and the statistic you want to look at – they have a list of about 160 to choose from !
However, from Gov.uk looking at the
12 April 2020 peak – 21,687 Covid patients in hospital 3,036 in ICU
19 January 2021 peak – 38,838 Covid patients in hospital 3,947 in ICU
Critical care beds, however include more than just the really very ill in ICU.
Someone on Twitter abstracted the total critical care numbers Jan – Nov 2020 and did a lovely histogram of all this but I have lost the link. Looking at the image I copied:
April : aprox 4200 Covid + 800 non elective and non Covid + 100 elective and non Covid
Sept : aprox 200 Covid + 2000 non elective and non Covid + 300 elective and non Covid.
so … a moveable feast.

Last edited 3 years ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

JUST WAIT!!!! Crypto is coming from all the central banks, and soon all will have a digital wallet on their phone using National digital Fiat money through the central banks, and your entire life will be an open book!

This is why Bitcoin and eythurium have trillion $ caps – people want their digital wallets not just to have the crypto Renmibi (Chinese) potentially costing the USA the Reserve currency (And that is very bad) but IMF Crypto SDR, Fed $ crypto, ECB Crypto, and so on, but it may also have Bitcoin/Ether to conduct annononmyious buying. Just imagine, everyone having a digital wallet with half a dozen crypto’s on it! The Banking industry will be toast, as will paypall, credit cards, the world upside down – in a decade. The world economy may shatter, and lockdown moved it forward decades, so will happen suddenly rather than gradually. May be really bad. Go to your local coin shop and buy some silver bars with your stimulus money.

idazbiro
idazbiro
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Have you lost your marbles or have you just had lobotomia? Both lobes?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  idazbiro

Idazbiro – I guess you are the sort of ignorant person with nothing to say so comes here to say it – I was responding to the bright poster Kathleen Car’s post
“Theres the potential for everything to cause some sort of harm-the reason it is not usually exaggerated by the media or the medical profession is economic. It would therefore seem that there is an enormous commercial value to some (helped by the medical and scientific community ) to panic people about this particular virus. An obvious change has been the virtual end of cash as a means of exchange and the cards that we use can be easily tracked.People have also had their lives controlled and limited in ways unseen outside wartime, using a medical emergency as the reason.”

Try to keep up, this whole shutting of the world is for control over money – look up blockchain, check out the Chinese digital currency, check out Bit-Coin, check out what is Banking and how it works, your ignorance is not reason informed people should not talk.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

This is a pure conspiracy theory. SAGE etc trying to abolish cash?

There is a pandemic, every government in the world has taken measures against it, technology for the first time enabled us to replace face to face interactions, however imperfectly. That’s it.

Some big businesses have done very well, far more, who also by the way vigorously lobby governments, and, who knows even donate funds to the Conservative Party!) extremely badly e.g.the huge hospitality industry.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

The Pandemic response is purely to for ever ‘reset’ the Globe, it has very little to do with the virus. Gates and Fauci have their finger prints all over the Wuhan Lab (a quick google will show) The virus was the ‘Excuse’ for the response, the response means utterly changing the whole world, to the detriment of all free people, and destruction of the Middle class, who are the only engine for democracy.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I suspect they hadn’t expected the vaccines to be rolled out so quickly, and that the original plan was to keep us in successive waves of “outbreaks” and lockdowns for years until all the fight had been beaten out of us.
The vaccines themselves present all kinds of other issues, not least being the way they are now aggressively promoted for people who don’t need them in the least (i.e. the young and healthy and people who have had and recovered from Covid) but I really have doubts they were part of the original plan, at least not this soon. Maybe they overestimated how “novel” this virus actually was. From what I can understand, it’s not a hell of a lot different from the one that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003. And coronoviruses themselves are nothing new.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Personally I hate small businesses that don’t accept cash, and avoid them. I’ve heard it argued that it’s not fair to expect employees in the service industry to handle cash all day because of Covid, but I say bollocks. How many cases have actually been traced to someone handling a dirty banknote or coin? It’s ridiculous. They can spray their hands with sanitiser after every transaction, if it makes them feel better.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mcalester

Some very restrictive measures were taken to keep pedestrians safe in the early days of motorised transport. Have you forgotten the 4mph speed limit and the man with the red flag who had to proceed every vehicle?
Over time, we learnt how to manage the risk with a mixture of public awareness, infrastructure and regulation. Something similar is happening with Covid in a very short timescale.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

Whilst I’m old I’m not old enough to personally remember it. I wonder how much of the change was simply because cars could go faster and rules were ignored. Is there a book about it?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mcalester

Your general point about risk is completely valid; we talk too much as if there is such a thing as absolute safry. But there is a difference with infectious diseases. One road accident does not (except in a few cases) lead to another. Or falls off ladders, or drownings. Pandemics however do spread exponentially, without some measures, compulsory or voluntary, to inhibit the spread.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Kelly Mitchell
Kelly Mitchell
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

What? I couldn’t hear you through your face diaper

andrew harman
andrew harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

Who is stupid and arrogant?

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

Yes, many were willing to sacrifice liberties for others. But it was all based on a lie, and was imposed, not chosen.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

Correct Terry.

Neil Mcalester
Neil Mcalester
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

I think that the real joke, as you put it, is that those that have given up their freedoms willingly did so out of fear and they still cannot admit to themselves that that is why they did it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Neil Mcalester
Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Mcalester

Yes. Fear of doing something to cause death and illness in others. Same reason we don’t normally fire machine guns into crowds of people.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

.?

Last edited 3 years ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Chris D
Chris D
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Mcalester

They never will admit it – how can they? Their conceit of themselves as morally and intellectually superior would fall apart at the seams and they so love to feel superior.

Russ Littler