by Freddie Sayers
Wednesday, 11
November 2020

Prof Tim Spector: hopes of a vaccine will lead to more lockdowns

by Freddie Sayers

Podcast version:

One of the most interesting sources of data for the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the ZOE app — downloaded by over 4.3 million people, who input symptoms and test results every day.

Its founder is Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist from KCL, and the app is now funded by the Government and Number Ten receives daily data from it. He received an OBE for services to fighting the pandemic earlier this year.

The ZOE app made headlines recently for demonstrating quite conclusively that the number of daily infections was already levelling off and even coming down in some areas of England at the end of October, prior to the second national lockdown. It painted a very different picture from the apocalyptic scenarios described in the Prime Minister’s briefing.

Professor Spector was refreshingly outspoken when I interviewed him yesterday. He said

  • Had the Government followed data from the ZOE app they would not have gone into a second lockdown, which he believes was unnecessary
  • The Government is tilted too much in the direction of caution and has lost a balanced sense of proportion
  • He is worried that they will use the new vaccine news as a “carrot” to keep us locked down for the next three months, when he believes it will likely take most of the year to get enough people vaccinated
  • He understands people’s concerns about such a new vaccine, and ZOE will be tracking any side effects from vaccinated people via its app


Join the discussion

  • December 2, 2020
    I think I will give up after replying to Alex Lekas, saying why I do not agree with him. I seem to be out of line with a lot of the comments here and it is getting frustrating. Unherd thinking demands that we abandon the inflated level of importance given to the economy and jobs over the virus. The... Read more

  • December 2, 2020
    Do not agree either with David Bewick or Graham Smith replying to him. There is no such thing as balance because all the measures fail to get the disease under control and no longer a danger. There is not even an unstable equilibrium. IMO it is criminal to pretend there is. Read more

  • December 2, 2020
    "The Government is tilted too much in the direction of caution and has lost a balanced sense of proportion". I do not agree with this at all. The government is not nearly cautious enough. It is all very well trying to protect the economy and jobs, but the end result is more cases and more deaths,... Read more

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