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One part in, the Covid inquiry still isn’t providing answers

Prof Mark Woolhouse addresses the Covid inquiry earlier this month

July 17, 2023 - 8:15am

This coming week the UK Covid inquiry will end its first module, on resilience and preparedness. 

One of the few lockdown-critical voices to take the stand so far was Prof. Mark Woolhouse, a leading infectious disease epidemiologist from the University of Edinburgh and an adviser to the UK and Scottish governments.

His book title summarises his Covid stance: The Year the World Went Mad. Woolhouse’s scientific memoir is full of soothing quotes — at least for those who wondered, in the throes of 2020-21 Kafkaesque confusion, whether it was they or those around them who had really “gone mad”:

The average age of death in the UK is 78 years old […] the average age of death from Covid-19 up to October 2020 was 80 years […] I’d say that was a reasonable definition of a disease of old age.

Lockdown was conceived by the WHO and China as a means of eradicating the virus once and for all from the face of the earth […] this plan was doomed to fail from the outset.

As the care home crisis unfolded I received emails from veterinary colleagues shocked by what was going on and wondering if they could help […] e.g. the transfer of hospital patients back to care homes to free up beds.

In June 2020 I gave a virtual seminar to few dozen head-teachers […] they looked astonished; most of what I said was completely new and contradicted what they had understood about the threat to students and staff.

- Mark Woolhouse

Those of us who appreciate the irrationality of that 2020 response would like to see the Covid inquiry investigate this “old persons’ disease” from a more critical perspective. It could take more seriously the idea that lockdowns caused a greater amount of harm than good, explore the multiple failures of shielding the most vulnerable (could the veterinary profession really have managed the crisis in care homes better?). That’s not to mention the issue of STEM teachers failing to apply their analytical capacity to a real-world problem: prolonged school closures that hurt a generation of children and young adults. 

The title of Prof. Woodhouse’s book undoubtedly contains some truth, yet we may still see a greater viral madness during our lifetime. His testimony ended with what is a relatively typical warning among infectious disease epidemiologists for ‘the next pandemic’: 

There will be a next time […] a virus that is much more deadly and is also much more transmissible, in which case actually the things we did to control Covid-19 wouldn’t have worked anyway, at least not without society completely falling apart.
- Mark Woolhouse

Covid was certainly not the virus of sensationalist science fiction books and film — far from it. But it did reveal how quickly collective madness and social breakdown can occur. We now have a mental signpost, some scaffolding to help us better imagine the possibilities.

Earth is a planet ruled by microbes, with hundreds of thousands of potential mammalian viruses. A recent analysis found more than 100 labs handling dangerous pathogens around the world: a recent boom in construction has not been accompanied by adequate biosafety oversight. Crucially, while most major and even many minor powers have active biodefence programs, it is much harder to determine the existence of more secretive offensive bioweapon programmes. Novel gene-editing technology is also a new added threat. 

As the inquiry ends its module on resilience and preparedness, these microbial threats remain real but also very hypothetical. How do you prepare for the possible? Or as we say in global public health: Disease X.

Understanding the peculiar madness we all endured during 2020-22 is surely part of the antidote. But doing so would first require the public to more honestly appreciate the depths and range of this condition. We seem reluctant.


Kevin Bardosh is a research professor and Director of Research for Collateral Global, a UK-based charity dedicated to understanding the collateral impacts of Covid policies worldwide.

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Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago

Perhaps a ban on weaponising relatively harmless viruses on the pretext of vaccine research? Just a suggestion.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Great idea.. but first you need to be sure the viruses ARE “Relatively Harmless”, not only in their immediate effect but in (at least) the immediate aftermath.. don’t forget Long Covid!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I just read that many (primarily young women) claiming to suffer from “Long Covid” never had Covid in the first place. Some people are very suggestible, which also explains the trans madness plaguing school girls.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

This is true. Yet also there are huge numbers of people who claim to be harmed by the vaccine with symptoms covering the whole medical spectrum.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Young, fit, healthy athletes keeling over of heart attacks after receiving the shot(s) isn’t a normal thing. I just read that the batches of sera are quite different: some have had gain-of-function mutations intentionally inserted in them. There is much evidence to support that SAEs (Severe Adverse Effects) were caused by “vaccines” rushed into production with little to no clinical trials (effective vaccines take at least a decade to test: the general population was the trial). And, given that the pharmaceutical companies are exempt from any liability, no one except those who submitted to them will pay the price. Anyway, have a look: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eci.13998

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

What utter garbage, where do you get these crazy ideas from?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

aif you READ Allisons contribution TO THE END you’ll discover the answer to your question! I’m not saying it’s reliable; I don’t know.. but if you hadn’t been so dismissive you’d have saved me writing this you lazy sod.. just kidding!

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

tbh I really wasn’t inclined after the fruitcake references in the first paragraph of that post.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

8s that an apology? If you criticise too soon you miss the best bits!!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

8s that an apology? If you criticise too soon you miss the best bits!!

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

tbh I really wasn’t inclined after the fruitcake references in the first paragraph of that post.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

aif you READ Allisons contribution TO THE END you’ll discover the answer to your question! I’m not saying it’s reliable; I don’t know.. but if you hadn’t been so dismissive you’d have saved me writing this you lazy sod.. just kidding!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago

Most of the lists of such alleged vaccine deaths are US-inspired, and they’re pure hokum. A kid in our village (who played a bit of football) committed suicide after a relationship break up (he walked int the sea), and I see his name is still listed on the “vaccine deaths” list. You’d have to be pretty gullible, but whatever turns you on I guess.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

What utter garbage, where do you get these crazy ideas from?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago

Most of the lists of such alleged vaccine deaths are US-inspired, and they’re pure hokum. A kid in our village (who played a bit of football) committed suicide after a relationship break up (he walked int the sea), and I see his name is still listed on the “vaccine deaths” list. You’d have to be pretty gullible, but whatever turns you on I guess.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I suspect every class of charlatan and hypochondriac emerged to ride several bandwagons.. and so these need to be examined as well so that sound judgements can be made.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Young, fit, healthy athletes keeling over of heart attacks after receiving the shot(s) isn’t a normal thing. I just read that the batches of sera are quite different: some have had gain-of-function mutations intentionally inserted in them. There is much evidence to support that SAEs (Severe Adverse Effects) were caused by “vaccines” rushed into production with little to no clinical trials (effective vaccines take at least a decade to test: the general population was the trial). And, given that the pharmaceutical companies are exempt from any liability, no one except those who submitted to them will pay the price. Anyway, have a look: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eci.13998

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I suspect every class of charlatan and hypochondriac emerged to ride several bandwagons.. and so these need to be examined as well so that sound judgements can be made.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

I have wondered whether this suggestibility might extend to death

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

We have become a weak people who can no longer evaluate risk. Safety is built into the culture now. We must all be protected from the latest thing, and we don’t even bother to assess the cost of that protection. Safe spaces may be the hysterical, extreme edge of this trend, but it’s everywhere. Trauma is no longer reserved for people who have suffered extreme physical and psychological harm, it’s now diagnosed for people who feel uncomfortable. Our political and cultural elite have never faced true adversity in their lives so their conception of harm and risk is distorted in an unhealthy way. We now believe a 1.5 degree increase in global temps will destroy the world because we have never been exposed to the relentless brutality of Mother Nature. We are weak and breakdown is almost inevitable because we can longer assess risk in a healthy way.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I think you’re correct.. but I also think your assertion is largely irrelevant to this particular issue.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I think you’re correct.. but I also think your assertion is largely irrelevant to this particular issue.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

I fully believe it.. but I have heard otherwise as well, from a very reliable source (a lifelong friend). I dare say both are true.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

This is true. Yet also there are huge numbers of people who claim to be harmed by the vaccine with symptoms covering the whole medical spectrum.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

I have wondered whether this suggestibility might extend to death

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

We have become a weak people who can no longer evaluate risk. Safety is built into the culture now. We must all be protected from the latest thing, and we don’t even bother to assess the cost of that protection. Safe spaces may be the hysterical, extreme edge of this trend, but it’s everywhere. Trauma is no longer reserved for people who have suffered extreme physical and psychological harm, it’s now diagnosed for people who feel uncomfortable. Our political and cultural elite have never faced true adversity in their lives so their conception of harm and risk is distorted in an unhealthy way. We now believe a 1.5 degree increase in global temps will destroy the world because we have never been exposed to the relentless brutality of Mother Nature. We are weak and breakdown is almost inevitable because we can longer assess risk in a healthy way.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

I fully believe it.. but I have heard otherwise as well, from a very reliable source (a lifelong friend). I dare say both are true.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I just read that many (primarily young women) claiming to suffer from “Long Covid” never had Covid in the first place. Some people are very suggestible, which also explains the trans madness plaguing school girls.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Great idea.. but first you need to be sure the viruses ARE “Relatively Harmless”, not only in their immediate effect but in (at least) the immediate aftermath.. don’t forget Long Covid!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago

Perhaps a ban on weaponising relatively harmless viruses on the pretext of vaccine research? Just a suggestion.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago

There will be a next time…
Yes, there will be. And I can’t speak to the UK, but I’m pretty sure that the American and Australian (at a minimum) public health people no longer have the credibility to manage such an outbreak. They squandered their credibility on a disease that killed primarily the elderly and doubled down for years despite the age-mortality curve being obvious within a few months. People simply won’t believe them next time. Facing a novel disease on the order of smallpox or Spanish flu, this would be disastrous.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago

There will be a next time…
Yes, there will be. And I can’t speak to the UK, but I’m pretty sure that the American and Australian (at a minimum) public health people no longer have the credibility to manage such an outbreak. They squandered their credibility on a disease that killed primarily the elderly and doubled down for years despite the age-mortality curve being obvious within a few months. People simply won’t believe them next time. Facing a novel disease on the order of smallpox or Spanish flu, this would be disastrous.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

It seems to me there are two very distinct issues here:
1. Who is to blame for the ‘madness’.
2. What lessons can be learned.
In the world of Health & Safety the first is seen as something of little interest (only voracious lawyers and their clients stand to gain). The benefits of 20:20 hindsight and impossible** to comply with law being the tools of the trade. One thing must be said however, namely that the Precautionary Principle must apply, ie the greater the unknowns + the potential negative outcome, the greater the precautions need to be. It’s very easy now to forget that!
No.2 is vastly more important. It focuses on future responsibilities, not on past scapegoats and on the scientific (and sociological) facts / theories gleaned and studying real data (not unreliable models) and the degree of confidence that can be placed on those facts / theories.
Future virus scares will need a better response but the value of (1) blame is not only of little use, it may even distort the far more valuable (2) as fearful scientists run for cover; leaving the way open for greedy, egotistical scientists to again lead us and governments astray.
The clear and obvious solution is (as per the Great Barrington Declaration) Isolate* the Vulnerable, and let the virus spread among those at little risk.
*Commandeer/erect remote refuges, cordon them off, army patrolled.. entry only via test and quarantine.
**H& S law is impossible to comply with fully, by everyone at all times.. I’ve spent a lifetime in OH&S so just take my word for it.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The clear and obvious solution is (as per the Great Barrington Declaration) Isolate* the Vulnerable, and let the virus spread among those at little risk.

*Commandeer/erect remote refuges, cordon them off, army patrolled.. entry only via test and quarantine.

Wow, sounds more like concentration death camps. The old (and vulnerable) represent about a third of the population, so good luck with that.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That’s the problem with the GBD – it’s seems(ed) so obvious and common sensical yet would last 5mins when you get into the actual practicalities. The most vocal GBDs avoided moving from the generality to the specific because of exactly that.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Totally agree. The concept of ‘protecting the vulnerable’ and allowing the rest of society to function normally is ideal until you start to get to the details and logistics of how it would work – which is why no one can explain it.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You make it voluntary of course. If the old and vulnerable don’t want to take steps to protect themselves, that’s their business. You offer protection and a supportive isolated environment. It’s up to the each person to comply.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

That would be a disaster. Households, families and couples can be divided in opinion on what strategy to take, either through confused messages and misinformation or biases. Just shrugging your shoulders and saying get on with it folks is not a policy.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It absolutely is. Each household is given the facts and allowed to make an informed decision as to their best course of action. What you imply is that a mandate is the only policy. You are thinking like a typical benevolent tyrant – “Only I can solve this problem, so the answer is to get everyone to obey me”.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

The ‘facts’ are contested are they not?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Yes, that’s why confidence limits have to be applied.. this is normal scientific procedure.. Where confidence levels are high the resultant advice is very strong; where it’s low it’s take it or leave it.. We ordinary mortals were not informed (as a rule) of confidence limits and politicians took those decisions, for simplicity one presumes.. But next time more choice will have to be provided with fewer rules and more recommendations be they very strong, strong or merely ‘advisory’ ..ye takes yer chance, Downing St. party style.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Yes, that’s why confidence limits have to be applied.. this is normal scientific procedure.. Where confidence levels are high the resultant advice is very strong; where it’s low it’s take it or leave it.. We ordinary mortals were not informed (as a rule) of confidence limits and politicians took those decisions, for simplicity one presumes.. But next time more choice will have to be provided with fewer rules and more recommendations be they very strong, strong or merely ‘advisory’ ..ye takes yer chance, Downing St. party style.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

The ‘facts’ are contested are they not?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That’s not what I said at all. I said offer vulnerable people a safe and supportive space to voluntarily quarantine. If families are divided, that’s a problem they have to solve. The alternative is forcing people to quarantine. No thanks.

It’s even worse than that though. We quarantined everyone in their home, but we really didn’t. Millions of working class people still went to work – grocery stores, drivers, trades people etc.

They came home to a vulnerable family member and didn’t have the option of placing them into a quarantined environment because there was no option.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

What ‘quarantine environment’ for millions of people? This is absolute fantasy.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

In Britain, during the first year of the pandemic they spent something like $170 billion on income replacement programs and business bailouts (I may be wrong about the exact number but it’s close). It beggars belief that you couldn’t spend say $50 billion to create a workable, real quarantine program for the vulnerable.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Ah right, all in a few months?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

China built a massive hospital in something like three weeks. Remember all the vids of that project. The US brought some naval ship to New York to be a floating hospital. I don’t think you can simply shrug and say it isn’t possible. This isn’t the moon shot.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You’re talking about a third of the population. Some 20 million people.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Can’t be that many.. what lower age limit are you using?:..70 is low enough but add in others who are immuno suppressed etc..
10 million? ..many 2 to a home so say 7 million? My cabin had 3 guys for one week to build it.. But you have many isolated hotels, holiday camps etc and existing nursing and retirement homes.. Doable.. better than ruinous lockdowns. So divide by 2. Now divide by 2 again because many will choose to take their chances in the virus ridden towns and cities.. Very doable.
It will also free up desperately needed houses for use by productive and studious young people..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Can’t be that many.. what lower age limit are you using?:..70 is low enough but add in others who are immuno suppressed etc..
10 million? ..many 2 to a home so say 7 million? My cabin had 3 guys for one week to build it.. But you have many isolated hotels, holiday camps etc and existing nursing and retirement homes.. Doable.. better than ruinous lockdowns. So divide by 2. Now divide by 2 again because many will choose to take their chances in the virus ridden towns and cities.. Very doable.
It will also free up desperately needed houses for use by productive and studious young people..

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You’re talking about a third of the population. Some 20 million people.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

My log cabin took one week to assemble.. I’m guessing it took less than that to cut and package.. It is super comfortable, very easy to heat and has my favourite ‘look’. It cost just €35k incl kitchen, bathroom, furniture and all services. ‘piece o’ cake!

Last edited 11 months ago by Liam O'Mahony
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

China built a massive hospital in something like three weeks. Remember all the vids of that project. The US brought some naval ship to New York to be a floating hospital. I don’t think you can simply shrug and say it isn’t possible. This isn’t the moon shot.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

My log cabin took one week to assemble.. I’m guessing it took less than that to cut and package.. It is super comfortable, very easy to heat and has my favourite ‘look’. It cost just €35k incl kitchen, bathroom, furniture and all services. ‘piece o’ cake!

Last edited 11 months ago by Liam O'Mahony
Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Ah right, all in a few months?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

In Britain, during the first year of the pandemic they spent something like $170 billion on income replacement programs and business bailouts (I may be wrong about the exact number but it’s close). It beggars belief that you couldn’t spend say $50 billion to create a workable, real quarantine program for the vulnerable.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

What ‘quarantine environment’ for millions of people? This is absolute fantasy.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I think you’re..
A. Missing the point and
B. Forgetting the alternative we already used!

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It absolutely is. Each household is given the facts and allowed to make an informed decision as to their best course of action. What you imply is that a mandate is the only policy. You are thinking like a typical benevolent tyrant – “Only I can solve this problem, so the answer is to get everyone to obey me”.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That’s not what I said at all. I said offer vulnerable people a safe and supportive space to voluntarily quarantine. If families are divided, that’s a problem they have to solve. The alternative is forcing people to quarantine. No thanks.

It’s even worse than that though. We quarantined everyone in their home, but we really didn’t. Millions of working class people still went to work – grocery stores, drivers, trades people etc.

They came home to a vulnerable family member and didn’t have the option of placing them into a quarantined environment because there was no option.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I think you’re..
A. Missing the point and
B. Forgetting the alternative we already used!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The trouble with that is that with contagious diseases people who choose not to take any measures (or not to get vaccinated, BTW) are not just risking their own health. They are also risking the health of all the people they might pass the disease on to. In fact masks seemed to be rather better at protecting others than at protecting the wearer. This is not like wearing seatbelts, where it is only your own risk that is involved.

I am not claiming it is a simple choice, but you cannot blithely say “I am fine with my risk – what you risk is none of my business“.

Last edited 11 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

But the vast, vast majority of people were not at risk from Covid. The window of risk was extremely narrow – the very old and the very sick. If healthy people are spreading the disease, it might actually build up natural immunity quicker.

Instead, we locked up everyone in their home, but in reality we really didn’t. Millions of working class people still went to their jobs – grocery, drivers, trades etc. Many of them brought the disease home with them and infected vulnerable family members – because there was not an option to truly isolate these people.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

BUT offering isolated refuge ‘villages’ to the vulnerable would remove that risk.. once tested and quarantined they go inside and can mingle freely with all the other ‘refugees’ ..no, not those kind of refugees.. Just think of Retirement Village and you’ll get the hang of it..
The army patrolled cordon is to keep others OUT! Any insiders can come out any time they like but it’ll be test and quarantine for 2 weeks to get back in!

Last edited 11 months ago by Liam O'Mahony
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

But the vast, vast majority of people were not at risk from Covid. The window of risk was extremely narrow – the very old and the very sick. If healthy people are spreading the disease, it might actually build up natural immunity quicker.

Instead, we locked up everyone in their home, but in reality we really didn’t. Millions of working class people still went to their jobs – grocery, drivers, trades etc. Many of them brought the disease home with them and infected vulnerable family members – because there was not an option to truly isolate these people.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

BUT offering isolated refuge ‘villages’ to the vulnerable would remove that risk.. once tested and quarantined they go inside and can mingle freely with all the other ‘refugees’ ..no, not those kind of refugees.. Just think of Retirement Village and you’ll get the hang of it..
The army patrolled cordon is to keep others OUT! Any insiders can come out any time they like but it’ll be test and quarantine for 2 weeks to get back in!

Last edited 11 months ago by Liam O'Mahony
Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

That would be a disaster. Households, families and couples can be divided in opinion on what strategy to take, either through confused messages and misinformation or biases. Just shrugging your shoulders and saying get on with it folks is not a policy.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The trouble with that is that with contagious diseases people who choose not to take any measures (or not to get vaccinated, BTW) are not just risking their own health. They are also risking the health of all the people they might pass the disease on to. In fact masks seemed to be rather better at protecting others than at protecting the wearer. This is not like wearing seatbelts, where it is only your own risk that is involved.

I am not claiming it is a simple choice, but you cannot blithely say “I am fine with my risk – what you risk is none of my business“.

Last edited 11 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

That is quite true, because (as we see here) people would jump to all sorts of dystopian imagery. Think about all the advantages.. They are many: and such ‘refuges’ already exist in the form of very happy, crime-free, noise free, rat race free surroundings.
With stringent test + quarantine regimes no lockdown either! Whats not to like?
And BTW no compulsion whatsoever! You don’t want to go? ..no problem but the virus will be all around you and you’ll have to take your chances… fine.

Last edited 11 months ago by Liam O'Mahony
Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Totally agree. The concept of ‘protecting the vulnerable’ and allowing the rest of society to function normally is ideal until you start to get to the details and logistics of how it would work – which is why no one can explain it.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You make it voluntary of course. If the old and vulnerable don’t want to take steps to protect themselves, that’s their business. You offer protection and a supportive isolated environment. It’s up to the each person to comply.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

That is quite true, because (as we see here) people would jump to all sorts of dystopian imagery. Think about all the advantages.. They are many: and such ‘refuges’ already exist in the form of very happy, crime-free, noise free, rat race free surroundings.
With stringent test + quarantine regimes no lockdown either! Whats not to like?
And BTW no compulsion whatsoever! You don’t want to go? ..no problem but the virus will be all around you and you’ll have to take your chances… fine.

Last edited 11 months ago by Liam O'Mahony
Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You’re missing the point. The elites did not allow for discussion or contrary opinions. They suspended democracy and imposed mandatory vaccinations and lockdowns on everyone. The issue is not which COVID mitigation approach might have worked better. They never even asked that question. They simply said, how can we force everyone to comply with our elite “experts”? (who have a massive financial and sociological stake in taking charge) A tyrannical approach denies who we are as a liberal democracy.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

Hyperbole.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

Hyperbole.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I should of course have added: entry to the refuges would be 100% optional (but refusal would mean you takes yer chances)..
I should also have pointed out that no lockdowns would be necessary in or out of those refuges! Indide would be guaranteed virus free and outside the virus would simply spread and thereby achieve herd immunity.
We already have such ‘refuges’ – in the form of luxury retirement villages! Expensive yet no shortage of take up!
The GBD (+my) proposal would free up town and city housing overnight (sell + buy or let + rent) and the vulnerable elderly could escape the fearful, crime-ridden, noisy cities and relax in safe, quiet surroundings among their peers. Count me in!

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That’s the problem with the GBD – it’s seems(ed) so obvious and common sensical yet would last 5mins when you get into the actual practicalities. The most vocal GBDs avoided moving from the generality to the specific because of exactly that.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You’re missing the point. The elites did not allow for discussion or contrary opinions. They suspended democracy and imposed mandatory vaccinations and lockdowns on everyone. The issue is not which COVID mitigation approach might have worked better. They never even asked that question. They simply said, how can we force everyone to comply with our elite “experts”? (who have a massive financial and sociological stake in taking charge) A tyrannical approach denies who we are as a liberal democracy.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I should of course have added: entry to the refuges would be 100% optional (but refusal would mean you takes yer chances)..
I should also have pointed out that no lockdowns would be necessary in or out of those refuges! Indide would be guaranteed virus free and outside the virus would simply spread and thereby achieve herd immunity.
We already have such ‘refuges’ – in the form of luxury retirement villages! Expensive yet no shortage of take up!
The GBD (+my) proposal would free up town and city housing overnight (sell + buy or let + rent) and the vulnerable elderly could escape the fearful, crime-ridden, noisy cities and relax in safe, quiet surroundings among their peers. Count me in!

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The clear and obvious solution is (as per the Great Barrington Declaration) Isolate* the Vulnerable, and let the virus spread among those at little risk.

*Commandeer/erect remote refuges, cordon them off, army patrolled.. entry only via test and quarantine.

Wow, sounds more like concentration death camps. The old (and vulnerable) represent about a third of the population, so good luck with that.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

It seems to me there are two very distinct issues here:
1. Who is to blame for the ‘madness’.
2. What lessons can be learned.
In the world of Health & Safety the first is seen as something of little interest (only voracious lawyers and their clients stand to gain). The benefits of 20:20 hindsight and impossible** to comply with law being the tools of the trade. One thing must be said however, namely that the Precautionary Principle must apply, ie the greater the unknowns + the potential negative outcome, the greater the precautions need to be. It’s very easy now to forget that!
No.2 is vastly more important. It focuses on future responsibilities, not on past scapegoats and on the scientific (and sociological) facts / theories gleaned and studying real data (not unreliable models) and the degree of confidence that can be placed on those facts / theories.
Future virus scares will need a better response but the value of (1) blame is not only of little use, it may even distort the far more valuable (2) as fearful scientists run for cover; leaving the way open for greedy, egotistical scientists to again lead us and governments astray.
The clear and obvious solution is (as per the Great Barrington Declaration) Isolate* the Vulnerable, and let the virus spread among those at little risk.
*Commandeer/erect remote refuges, cordon them off, army patrolled.. entry only via test and quarantine.
**H& S law is impossible to comply with fully, by everyone at all times.. I’ve spent a lifetime in OH&S so just take my word for it.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago

That ghastly little man Malter Whitty who happily saw two harmless harrasers prosecuted, when he could easily have not pressed charges, was to me the embodiment of the ” 1984″ world that edges closer each day, as Eric Blair so brilliantly predicted….

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

1984 already exists – in China, in North Korea, in Iran, in Russia, in Saudi Arabia. It’s why the book is still banned in those places.
We have things we must push back against in some western countries, but we are many miles from those nations.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

1984 already exists – in China, in North Korea, in Iran, in Russia, in Saudi Arabia. It’s why the book is still banned in those places.
We have things we must push back against in some western countries, but we are many miles from those nations.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago

That ghastly little man Malter Whitty who happily saw two harmless harrasers prosecuted, when he could easily have not pressed charges, was to me the embodiment of the ” 1984″ world that edges closer each day, as Eric Blair so brilliantly predicted….

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago

Understanding the ‘madness’ of the lockdown era lol
Lovely quiet period in my life, wish it was still in place.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago

Understanding the ‘madness’ of the lockdown era lol
Lovely quiet period in my life, wish it was still in place.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago

There will be a next time [
] a virus that is much more deadly and is also much more transmissible, in which case actually the things we did to control Covid-19 wouldn’t have worked anyway, at least not without society completely falling apart.

Interesting quote. Especially since the article seems to say that 1) we should be prepared for the next pandemic, 2) we should have done little or nothing to stop COVID. It would be interesting to hear what prof. Woolhouse thinks we should actually be doing next time. Let people die in order to keep society from falling apart? Or does he have anything more concrete to offer?

As John Pade said, by all means learn, but please leave off the hindsight.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Woolhouse clearly spent the initial few weeks of the pandemic at home probably quarantining himself, whilst the surge in admissions overran some elements of our health care system.
He/they also forget the subsequent mortality data is influenced by the actions that were taken, and cannot give an indication of what it might have been had no action been taken.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

People are forgetting that Covid was a danger to an extremely small subset of the population. And we knew this by the summer of 2020. The next pandemic might very well target children. Then we have a massive issue. The response will be much more complicated, but our political leaders have thrown away any trust we might have had.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Woolhouse clearly spent the initial few weeks of the pandemic at home probably quarantining himself, whilst the surge in admissions overran some elements of our health care system.
He/they also forget the subsequent mortality data is influenced by the actions that were taken, and cannot give an indication of what it might have been had no action been taken.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

People are forgetting that Covid was a danger to an extremely small subset of the population. And we knew this by the summer of 2020. The next pandemic might very well target children. Then we have a massive issue. The response will be much more complicated, but our political leaders have thrown away any trust we might have had.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago

There will be a next time [
] a virus that is much more deadly and is also much more transmissible, in which case actually the things we did to control Covid-19 wouldn’t have worked anyway, at least not without society completely falling apart.

Interesting quote. Especially since the article seems to say that 1) we should be prepared for the next pandemic, 2) we should have done little or nothing to stop COVID. It would be interesting to hear what prof. Woolhouse thinks we should actually be doing next time. Let people die in order to keep society from falling apart? Or does he have anything more concrete to offer?

As John Pade said, by all means learn, but please leave off the hindsight.

John Pade
John Pade
11 months ago

I haven’t seen any criticism of the 2020 Covid response that isn’t 2020 hindsight. If there are lessons to be learned, fine. Learn them. But don’t jump all over the people who were in charge, who had to confront a crisis unseen in the history of mankind. And who had to stand for election in a year or three.

jlhaggerty
jlhaggerty
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

Unseen in the history of mankind? The Spanish Flu and Hong Kong Flu were of similar lethalness and provided pandemic playbooks that had been worked on for many years. None included lockdown right up to 2020

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  jlhaggerty

Actually, there is a history of lockdowns which go right back to the plague.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  jlhaggerty

TB involved isolation of the ill so that ain’t new either!

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  jlhaggerty

Actually, there is a history of lockdowns which go right back to the plague.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  jlhaggerty

TB involved isolation of the ill so that ain’t new either!

Mark Duffett
Mark Duffett
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

There were many of us critical of the 2020 covid response at the time, not just in hindsight. See for example anyone who dared to defend Sweden and Anders Tegnell. Here is one example I found with a few seconds’ googling. Gigi Foster is another who comes to mind as one in Australia who was lockdown-critical from the get go.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Duffett

People had all kinds of opinions at the time. The trouble is that no one knew enough to do anything but guess. Having a lucky hunch once does to mean you are wise. My judgement on Tegnell at the time was that this might quite possibly prove to be the best approach in the end. BUT that it was still the wrong thing to do because no one knew how dangerous COVID was going to be. The information available at the time was so uncertain that Tegnell was taking a huge risk and was gambling with people’s lives. I am still of that opinion.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

We knew by the summer of 2020 that the disease impacted a very narrow band of people.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Did we now? I do not remember any great degree of certainty. I do remember a fair few debaters saying, in effect, ‘The victims are mostly old. Just let them die, who cares?’

To me it is still mostly like a horse race. The people who bet on the winning horse may well claim that they ‘always knew’ but we all know they are lying. Never mind the fact that the winner of this particular race still has not been declared.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The winners are those who became millionaires as a result of shares in PPE Perspex shields and Phizer and Moderna. Not the healthy folk pressurised into testing a new type of vaccine (mRNA)

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The winners are those who became millionaires as a result of shares in PPE Perspex shields and Phizer and Moderna. Not the healthy folk pressurised into testing a new type of vaccine (mRNA)

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

We knew by the summer of 2020 that the disease impacted a very narrow band of people.

Let’s assume this correct – are you suggesting this band of people is expendable?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That band of people should have been offered ISOLATION in speedily commandeered Rufuge Villages as set out by me above.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Delusional. It’s a third of the population, not a few hundred.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Your maths is out.. you’re assume over 60s rather than over 70s – reduce by ⅔rds. Your assuming no refuges exist already, but some thousands do.. reduce by ⅓rd. You’re assuming 200% take up.. many will opt out and take their chances.. reduce by Âœ. So that’s your figure x ⅓ x ⅔ x Âœ = 11% of your figure! ..you’re clearly not a statistician like me!!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Your maths is out.. you’re assume over 60s rather than over 70s – reduce by ⅔rds. Your assuming no refuges exist already, but some thousands do.. reduce by ⅓rd. You’re assuming 200% take up.. many will opt out and take their chances.. reduce by Âœ. So that’s your figure x ⅓ x ⅔ x Âœ = 11% of your figure! ..you’re clearly not a statistician like me!!

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Delusional. It’s a third of the population, not a few hundred.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That band of people should have been offered ISOLATION in speedily commandeered Rufuge Villages as set out by me above.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Did we now? I do not remember any great degree of certainty. I do remember a fair few debaters saying, in effect, ‘The victims are mostly old. Just let them die, who cares?’

To me it is still mostly like a horse race. The people who bet on the winning horse may well claim that they ‘always knew’ but we all know they are lying. Never mind the fact that the winner of this particular race still has not been declared.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

We knew by the summer of 2020 that the disease impacted a very narrow band of people.

Let’s assume this correct – are you suggesting this band of people is expendable?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

We knew by the summer of 2020 that the disease impacted a very narrow band of people.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Duffett

People had all kinds of opinions at the time. The trouble is that no one knew enough to do anything but guess. Having a lucky hunch once does to mean you are wise. My judgement on Tegnell at the time was that this might quite possibly prove to be the best approach in the end. BUT that it was still the wrong thing to do because no one knew how dangerous COVID was going to be. The information available at the time was so uncertain that Tegnell was taking a huge risk and was gambling with people’s lives. I am still of that opinion.

Iris C
Iris C
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

Governments have confronted extreme viral illnesses over the centuries that were far worse than this virus and yet lockdown was never contemplated.
I would suggest that lockdown was a symptom of contemporary society which always looks for someone (or something) to blame when faced with debilitating illness
I wonder how many people over 70 contracted Covid and yet recovered, having not abused their bodies over the years with an excess of food and alcohol with little exercise taken..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

Correct.. if we find a few scapegoats to flog, not only will it do us no good whatsoever, it will damage our chances to learning real, valuable lessons by scaring off worthwhile scientists / courageous politicians and leave the field free once again for greedy, egotistical scientists and megalomanic politicians lead us astray!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

I’ve heard this argument before many times. It wasn’t necessarily that wrong decisions were made. We’re all human and people make mistakes. It was the silencing and social condemnation of those that suggested alternative paths. Instead of providing calm and reasoned debate, the establishment whipped up fear and hatred against those of us who kept our heads.

Last edited 11 months ago by Julian Farrows
Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

What alternative paths were these then? As you had a clear head I’m sure it will be an excellent explanation…

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

This is where it gets hard. Lockdown, mask wearing etc. were a collective solution to a collective problem. It may be hard to prove how well they worked, but it was clear from the beginning that they could never work at all unless (almost) everybody cooperated. Collective solutions, in general, cannot fly unless there is a way to punish freeriders. If you leave people free to spread (what was seen as) lies, and to openly refuse to cooperate, then everybody else would simply say ‘sod it – I am not taking the trouble to protect others, if the others will not take the trouble to protect me’. What you are asking for is not just the freedom to opt out of common protective measures, but the freedom to sabotage the entire project without risking social condemnation.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

True, but don’t forget there WERE nut jobs too.. far too many of them; Trump among them fgs!

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

What alternative paths were these then? As you had a clear head I’m sure it will be an excellent explanation…

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

This is where it gets hard. Lockdown, mask wearing etc. were a collective solution to a collective problem. It may be hard to prove how well they worked, but it was clear from the beginning that they could never work at all unless (almost) everybody cooperated. Collective solutions, in general, cannot fly unless there is a way to punish freeriders. If you leave people free to spread (what was seen as) lies, and to openly refuse to cooperate, then everybody else would simply say ‘sod it – I am not taking the trouble to protect others, if the others will not take the trouble to protect me’. What you are asking for is not just the freedom to opt out of common protective measures, but the freedom to sabotage the entire project without risking social condemnation.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

True, but don’t forget there WERE nut jobs too.. far too many of them; Trump among them fgs!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

I and many others very vocal from the outset about the folly of lockdown and the consequences that would follow

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

Lockdowns were hardly a ‘folly’ if they saved millions of lives.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

Lockdowns were hardly a ‘folly’ if they saved millions of lives.

jlhaggerty
jlhaggerty
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

Unseen in the history of mankind? The Spanish Flu and Hong Kong Flu were of similar lethalness and provided pandemic playbooks that had been worked on for many years. None included lockdown right up to 2020

Mark Duffett
Mark Duffett
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

There were many of us critical of the 2020 covid response at the time, not just in hindsight. See for example anyone who dared to defend Sweden and Anders Tegnell. Here is one example I found with a few seconds’ googling. Gigi Foster is another who comes to mind as one in Australia who was lockdown-critical from the get go.

Iris C
Iris C
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

Governments have confronted extreme viral illnesses over the centuries that were far worse than this virus and yet lockdown was never contemplated.
I would suggest that lockdown was a symptom of contemporary society which always looks for someone (or something) to blame when faced with debilitating illness
I wonder how many people over 70 contracted Covid and yet recovered, having not abused their bodies over the years with an excess of food and alcohol with little exercise taken..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

Correct.. if we find a few scapegoats to flog, not only will it do us no good whatsoever, it will damage our chances to learning real, valuable lessons by scaring off worthwhile scientists / courageous politicians and leave the field free once again for greedy, egotistical scientists and megalomanic politicians lead us astray!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

I’ve heard this argument before many times. It wasn’t necessarily that wrong decisions were made. We’re all human and people make mistakes. It was the silencing and social condemnation of those that suggested alternative paths. Instead of providing calm and reasoned debate, the establishment whipped up fear and hatred against those of us who kept our heads.

Last edited 11 months ago by Julian Farrows
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

I and many others very vocal from the outset about the folly of lockdown and the consequences that would follow

John Pade
John Pade
11 months ago

I haven’t seen any criticism of the 2020 Covid response that isn’t 2020 hindsight. If there are lessons to be learned, fine. Learn them. But don’t jump all over the people who were in charge, who had to confront a crisis unseen in the history of mankind. And who had to stand for election in a year or three.