“Britain’s Covid response is utterly mad – here are 10 reasons why” Dr. John Lee

Fauci

" … how can we find the right way forward? Revocation of progressively inappropriate emergency powers, with restoration of parliamentary scrutiny, accountability, transparency and debate must be part of it, along with involvement of a more diverse base of scientific and medical advisors.

If the NHS is struggling for capacity – which is debatable, and anyway substantially due to self-imposed rules related to “controlling” Covid – then sort it out: build more capacity, and remind NHS workers that they are there to look after the sick. 

The bottom line is that, at the present time, there is no reasonable scientific or medical justification for lockdowns, convoluted social distancing rules, masks, travel restrictions, quarantines or most of the rest of the flotsam that has attached itself to the Covid response. The sky is not falling. And the more people who understand the multifaceted reasons why this is the case, the sooner we will all get our lives back."  

————

This doctor lays out the extent of the damage we have done to ourselves in the UK and US and the reasons why this happened.   The great majority of the reasons are political and psychological.  Cowboy up, folks!  Cowboy up!  pl

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/britains-covid-response-utterly-mad-10-reasons/

 

"This year, like many years, there’s a new respiratory virus on the block. But this year, unlike any year ever before, the world has gone mad. Governments around the world have decided that their remit extends to micromanaging risk on behalf of everybody, for just about everything: where and when you can travel, what you must wear, what you can buy. Even in your own home, for goodness sake, amongst your own family, the state thinks it is “right” to regulate who you mix with, who you can see and who you can touch.

How did we come to this? Could such an approach ever be regarded as genuinely reasonable? To be honest, I think that it would be a stretch under any circumstances. But I could envisage a situation where a new pathogen was so nasty – say highly transmissible and reliably killing 30 per cent of people of all ages that it infected – that the very fabric of society would be at stake unless the state acted decisively.

But even in such dire circumstances the state would need to understand very clearly indeed what it was doing, in order to be absolutely sure that compelling populations to act in one way or another would definitely cause less harm than giving people the facts and letting them make their own decisions about risk. After all, what other justification could there reasonably be for trying to restrictively rewrite the rulebook of human interaction?

Of course, this has been tried before for all sorts of ideological reasons, and resulted in a 100 per cent track record of failure and disaster; responsible for untold misery, suffering, tragedy and deaths. One would have thought that there is a lesson there somewhere. Suffice it to say that Covid is orders of magnitude away from causing the level of societal damage that would justify even considering such a response.

Current consensus on the infection fatality rate (which has been continually falling as better data arrives) is 0.2 per cent. When we look back at this period any visible mortality signal will be well within the envelope of the last 30 years when deaths caused by lockdown are excluded. The average age of death from Covid is actually above the average age of death from all causes.

So why are governments around the world persisting in, and indeed elaborating, responses that are progressively being seen, as evidence accumulates, to be fundamentally wrong?

You don’t have to listen too hard to hear the sound of many, many pigeons coming home to roost simultaneously. I think this is why it has been so hard to explain what is happening, and why so many people remain deeply unsure as to what the right course of action should be. Any given article or interview tends to deal with only one or two key points, leaving so many unanswered questions for most people that doubt and confusion fill the gaps. Neither governments nor their advisors seem able to see the big picture, let alone explain it. So here is my attempt to assemble, in one place, the most important of the very many drivers of the Covid response. 

1. Preconceptions

Current ideas about how to “control” viruses are based on Spanish flu, smallpox, SARS, MERS, HIV, influenza and Ebola, among others. This coronavirus isn’t the same as any of them. The idea of “controlling” an airborne, easily transmissible virus on a population basis, beloved of “public health” “experts”, is largely myth, based on mediocre observational or questionnaire-based studies using unverified and unverifiable methods.

2. Incorrect framing

Television pictures from China, Italy and New York painted a picture of a deadly new global plague and were highly instrumental in determining the initial response. But TV pictures are highly selective and often unrepresentative, as was the case with coronavirus. Months ago, real-world evidence conclusively disproved initial perceptions of this virus, yet the initial framing still seems to be a key driver of government responses around the world.

3. Fear

It is a strong and evolutionarily valuable human emotion. Broadcast and social media are effective in maintaining it, especially with government backing aimed at generating the “correct” reactions from people. Written media is often more nuanced and thoughtful, but narrower in appeal, and slower to take effect. It has struggled to balance the broadcast narrative, which has thrived on highly selective presentation of information.

4. Poor quality data

The prerequisite for our current shambles of rubbish-in, rubbish-out, affecting all areas of our understanding of Covid. Suspension of peer review in the name of speed has removed a crucial quality control, undermining much research in the field and encouraging false consensus.

5. Excessive risk aversion

The anti-scientific Precautionary Principle has become so entrenched in public decision-making that it seems almost normal to respond to an unquantified threat with responses that have had no prior assessment for either effectiveness or harm.

6. Suppression of debate

In their eagerness to entrench the “right” course of action, governments have radically reduced the chances of it being found by suppressing contrary views. There is also an inability to have a grown-up and measured public conversation about human lifespan, illness and death. What does “saving lives” actually mean? Whose lives, and saved for what? And where is the discussion about quality of life? Old people do die, and we all are, in fact, more susceptible to dying of everything with advancing age. Covid is no exception to this.

7. Flawed testing

Detailed technical problems with the rapid development and mass rollout of tests (by technicians who are often marginally trained), without a sound biological understanding of the tests’ basis or meaning. Few are armed with the knowledge needed to understand (among other things) the technical subtleties of PCR or antibody tests, the meaning (if any) of weak positives, the relevance of antibodies versus T-cell reactions, the statistical invalidities of test and trace, the inadequacies of death certification, or the details of why get-out-of-jail-via-vaccination has such a low probability of success. These details matter.

8. Perpetually moving goalposts

Save the NHS, save lives, reduce “cases”, reduce positive tests, “control” the virus….

9. Focus on a single threat

And the virtual exclusion of everything else. How “public health” doctors can claim to be protecting “public health” with this approach seems incomprehensible, as well as being medically negligent.

10. Skewed motives

Political desire to be seen to be taking action. Media-driven and short-term, taking action is apparently politically desirable even if it means subjecting entire populations to experimental, unverifiable, oppressive methods of viral “control”. This also mirrors a cultural divide in medicine between interventionists and nihilists. 

There are probably more drivers of the Covid response that could be listed, but you can see the many-tentacled head of the medusa that is petrifying society.  It seems pretty clear that if we are asked to make major sacrifices there should be solid, quantifiable evidence of benefit to justify them. Unfortunately the solid, quantifiable evidence of benefit of the current approach to Covid simply does not exist.

The secrecy surrounding the basis for the government’s decisions speaks volumes. In fact, real-world data suggests that the harms caused by current actions outweigh the benefits when measured even in terms of deaths, and massively outweigh the benefits when measured in terms of quality of life – which, after all, is central to the human experience at all ages.

How can we know what would have happened if we had never locked down? The simple answer is that, for our particular circumstances, we cannot know for sure. But countries which have not enforced lockdowns, of which Sweden is the nearest, have not been noticeable outliers in terms of deaths or illness. 

More importantly, by allowing the virus to spread in the way that viruses do, these places are now in a much better position than countries which made major economic sacrifices, but still have to face the virus. Lockdowns may (perhaps) slow down slightly our arrival at herd immunity (through exposure of a large enough proportion of the population), but we will all get there in the end.

The only differences will be the extent of the own goals caused along the way by restrictions. Countries that have isolated themselves, such as New Zealand, will have to face the virus in due course or remain isolated from the world (their only get-out-of-jail-free card would be an effective vaccine). Yet the costs of such isolation seem highly suspect, since data suggests that very few cases of Covid are caught or spread by travellers. This virus has already circled the globe while we have been largely staying put. So we might as well start travelling again, since the risks, in a majority of countries, are rather similar.

So how can we find the right way forward? Revocation of progressively inappropriate emergency powers, with restoration of parliamentary scrutiny, accountability, transparency and debate must be part of it, along with involvement of a more diverse base of scientific and medical advisors.

If the NHS is struggling for capacity – which is debatable, and anyway substantially due to self-imposed rules related to “controlling” Covid – then sort it out: build more capacity, and remind NHS workers that they are there to look after the sick. 

The bottom line is that, at the present time, there is no reasonable scientific or medical justification for lockdowns, convoluted social distancing rules, masks, travel restrictions, quarantines or most of the rest of the flotsam that has attached itself to the Covid response. The sky is not falling. And the more people who understand the multifaceted reasons why this is the case, the sooner we will all get our lives back."  Dr John Lee

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15 Responses to “Britain’s Covid response is utterly mad – here are 10 reasons why” Dr. John Lee

  1. Avatar Jim Henely says:

    On the positive side, COVID seems to have all but cured the seasonal flu, and has greatly diminished other mortalities across the board. If we are not careful, the year 2020 will end with the annual all cause mortality rate being about the same, or lower than the recent preceding years. Can anyone weigh in with a plausible explanation?

  2. Avatar Diana L Croissant says:

    I liked that you used the phrase “Cowboy up” in your suggestion to the powers that be to grow some courage (or some whatever) in relieving the populace of all the requirements that have been put into place supposedly for our own good—whether we feel the need for them or not.
    I live only 50 miles from Cheyenne, WY, the home of the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days celebrations. Sadly, last summer many of those events were canceled—by cowboys. I read that currently some of those cowboys have indeed begun planning for the type of celebrations those Frontier Days once were. (Frontier Days was known to be a really rowdy celebration. We once thought we had permanently lost one of our roommates in college to that celebration. She was from Wyoming and had gone back to Wyoming for that week after first celebrating the Fourth of July rodeo and other celebrations in our town and then moving on after Cheyenne Frontier Days to Fort Collins, CO’s College Days, another quite rowdy celebration involving beer and cowboy style line dancing at the many dance halls there.
    Most of us here are so very tired of the masks. In our town, most coffee shops, restaurants and places of business are open, though it is because of the mask mandate that they were allowed by our Governor to open. But how in the heck can one drink coffee and/or eat anything with a mask on? No one wears them at the table no matter how many are seated. My church shut down really only for two weeks, as we are a congregation that thinks for ourselves. Many other churches are still closed for whatever reason they can think of. They are congregations that seem to follow the rules of their national or state organization.
    Some day soon I hope I won’t have to wear one whenever I step out of my apartment. I rip it off, however, the minute I am outside. We are not NY or DC; so our sidewalks and streets are usually pretty darned empty. Heck, I go for long walks just for the privilege of not having to wear a mask outside. I can’t wait for the time that I don’t feel like I’m getting away with breaking some rule when I am not wearing a mask outside, since many people here still do. They do need to grow some and cowboy up.

  3. Avatar Fred says:

    “So why are governments around the world persisting in,…”
    One factor the Dr. leaves out is that many in power are using their governments to control political opponents, drive their opponents supporters into bankruptcy, and thus enable ‘crisis’ that would allow them to legislate into action changes that would never gain traction through the normal legislative process.

  4. Avatar English Outsider says:

    Colonel – at least some of our problems in the UK are not due to government measures and I’ve seen no attempt to break down the figures.
    For example the drop in patients seeking medical attention is obviously in part due to medical practices and hospitals discouraging or postponing needed non-Covid medical care.
    But we don’t know how much the drop is also due to many not wanting to go into medical practices or hospitals for fear of catching Covid.
    Similarly the drop in takings in UK restaurants and pubs must mainly be due to restrictions imposed by government. But it also due to customers choosing to stay at home for fear of catching Covid.
    I’ve just been hearing from a friend about the catastrophic knock-on effect for concert halls and opera houses in Germany. The position is no doubt similar here. But even were performances to continue as normal, no restrictions, how many would attend?
    And similarly for air travel and even for normal shopping, particularly shopping for non-essentials.
    This pandemic is therefore going to knock the UK economy sideways and will do so whatever public health measures are taken or advised by HMG.
    As for those public health measures I believe that the current heavily politicised debate in the UK that sees the problem in terms of either lockdown or let it rip is a false debate; and that what we need in the UK are public health measures, and welfare measures, more accurately targeted and above all locally administered.
    I’d like to have seen Dr Lee’s article take in those two points.

  5. Avatar Rudy says:

    They have to know it’s all b.s. All the unnecessary restrictions are to maintain the illusion that covid is so bad that it justifies changing MANY ways we live and do business, instituting medical tyranny over our very movements, forced compliance with every type of poison they can cook up to sell..Major changes just around the corner, and all without need, just what the powerful want to better control and surveil us all.

  6. Avatar Fred says:

    English,
    “hospitals discouraging or postponing needed non-Covid medical care.”
    How much of that was due to government order? My Michigan dentist was shutdown for all but emergency care for more than 3 months by Gretchen Whitmer. That had nothing to due with stopping Covid19. They are still months behind in general screenings.
    Have you heard about events across the Channel. Apparently the French are bound and determined to destroy their country’s economy with another lockdown:
    https://twitter.com/MichaelEWebber/status/1321878671213416448
    https://www.france24.com/en/france/20201029-french-pm-details-new-restrictions-as-country-heads-back-into-lockdown

  7. Avatar Bill H says:

    I have not been going anywhere near the medical establishment and have skipped the normal twice annual screenings for my heart and lung problems. Not because I fear catching the virus. Been there, done that, and had no serious difficulty with it.
    The reason is that I want nothing to do with what I perceive to be an utterly shattered health care system, staffed by panic stricken, emotionally crippled workers. They are interviewed daily on television, weeping about how difficult it is for them to bear the pain of being constantly surrounded by sickness and death. What did they think working in a hospital was going to be about?
    If it causes me a premature death so be it. I am a social being, and interacting with faceless zombies through plexiglass barriers is just not working for me.

  8. Avatar walrus says:

    SO FAR, Australia’s lockdown has worked. I’ve just experienced 100+ days of it. It’s a PITA. BUT we are now down to donut days – no new cases, no deaths most of the time. Yes, it has cost the economy. It has especially cost the services and retail sector, but that is now changing as we reopen.
    We are helped by the Federal budget having been in surplus – which has allowed relatively generous unemployment and compensation payments. Some businesses have made the switch to online and are going gangbusters. New businesses have started out of the remains of others. My impression is that the economy is rebounding fast.
    However “lockdown” is totally useless without excellent and very fast contact testing and tracing and secondly an effective system of containment for identified contacts. Unless you have all three, you are wasting your time.
    our problems are still (1) The criminal classes, who don’t give a …..l..
    (2) Immigrant groups whose women are kept illiterate uneducated and suppressed and whose men have no time for Australian law and put their faith in God.
    Political correctness has hampered getting that group to comply.

  9. Avatar Fred says:

    Walrus,
    “Some businesses have made the switch to online and are going gangbusters”
    And the ones that didn’t were what, driven into insovlency because your government forbid them to operate?
    “New businesses have started out of the remains of others.”
    So you creatively destroyed businesses and the employees got “unemployment and compensation payments” and are still forbidden to work and entirely dependent upon the goodwill of goverment apparatchiks. So little in exchange for so much for freedom.
    “our problems are still (1) The criminal classes, who don’t give a …”
    According to your government those who oppose the lockdowns are members of the criminal class and get fined and arrested for disobedience to the state. The rich are destroying the middle class with the aid of government which they run using a very survivable viral infection as a tool of terror. Congratulations on destroying the rights of your fellow citizens.
    Science!:Great Barrington Declaration, purged by Goolag but briefly on the BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-54442386
    Of course you did get to read “what gets people worked up are four Cartier watches being distributed to some of the top executives at Australia Post.”
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-23/australia-post-chair-says-cartier-watches-cost-20000/12809000
    Good thing your Senate has the right priorities. Apparently your press is still not beholden solely to one political group, unlike ours.

  10. Avatar turcopolier says:

    fred
    Walrus is a dual Australia/US national.

  11. Avatar akaPatience says:

    Behavior that English Outsider describes in his comment is behavior I’ve witnessed myself here in the Midwestern US: peoples’ failure to patronize bars & restaurants, shops, etc.; less demand for air travel; reluctance to seek medical treatment and so forth. Cultural events where I live have all been cancelled, but I agree with EO that some patrons would be reluctant to attend anyway.
    However, Dr. Lee addressed this. Number 3 on his list is FEAR.
    Media report on C-19 around the clock here, and almost always with a lack of perspective and with the intent to scare people, repeatedly showcasing anecdotal cases of extreme C-19 effects in order to frighten people in spite of the odds against it happening. NBC even gave a TREMENDOUS amount of airtime to a doctor who claimed to have suffered devastating effects from Covid but who was later revealed – not by the MSM but by conservative news sites – NOT to have had the virus after all!
    It’s tragic to see the financial ruin small businesses all around me are suffering. I live in a downtown area that’s normally bustling but’s been like a ghost town for months. Employers fear liability if they require their employees to work in the office instead of isolated at home. This alone has had a devastating trickle down effect.
    IMO fear mongering has gone to the heads of authoritarian types who are relishing their power over people, power like nothing I’ve ever witnessed before.

  12. Avatar Artemesia says:

    Walrus: “our problems are still (1) The criminal classes, who don’t give a …….
    (2) Immigrant groups whose . . .men have no time for Australian law and put their faith in God.
    Political correctness has hampered getting that group to
    comply.
    Thank god.
    By the way, you say Australia is “down to donuts,” so “criminality” plus that god thing must be working equally well as government oppression.
    Does that suggest to you that Compliance, rather than healthy citizens is the goal?

  13. Avatar walrus says:

    Fred and Artemesia, By “criminal classes” I do not mean people not complying with covid rules, I mean drug dealers, car thieves,, burglars and other thieves that my son and his colleagues in the police force have to deal with daily.
    The second group “immigrants” means recent muslim immigrants who are also well represented in the first group. It is no accident that we have had two outbreaks traced back to islamic colleges. The morons seem to think covid is BS, act accordingly, and spread infection. The government was initially too PC to target the specific covid messages to this group. 700+ people have died as a result of what these a-holes did or didn’t do.
    Despite your paranoia, the government is not part of some worldwide conspiracy to pollute our vital fluids. We are on top of Covid because we decided to get on top of Covid and if the price is the closure of a few tanning salons and dog groomers then good riddance. The supermarkets are making good money, as are other businesses like IT. Retail was on a downward trajectory anyway thanks to Amazon.
    As I said, the economy is bouncing back anyway in our state and it never got bad in the other states. I note your own economy is also growing fast as noted in another topic.

  14. Avatar English Outsider says:

    Fred – on the initial handling of the disease in the UK I follow the verdict of Dr Richard North. In addition to being the UK expert on Brexit he’s also had practical experience of public health work at various levels. His verdict on that early handling – we screwed up.
    I have earlier submitted links to Dr North’s articles on the virus as it was dealt with in the UK to the Colonel’s site. The reasons for the UK failure, very briefly, are that we didn’t have the right admin and physical infrastructure, the prepared plans for such a pandemic were wrong back to the Blair years, we didn’t act fast enough, our underlying approach was wrong. I shan’t go into the further reasons for that last but as I understand them there’s a conflict here between the “Let it rip but don’t clog up the hospitals” and the “Knock it on the head wherever it pops up” approach and the first won.
    I think I’ve got that right but it’s history anyway. So’s the next bit, the first UK lockdown. That was a “Hail Mary” response to an unknown risk. It was a very panicky time so I can live with that.
    The important thing is what should happen after lockdown. Walrus above gives an answer which is by the way in line with that given by Dr North –“However “lockdown” is totally useless without excellent and very fast contact testing and tracing and secondly an effective system of containment for identified contacts. Unless you have all three, you are wasting your time.”
    In the UK we’re not so hot on all three of those. My belief – and I’m only talking about the UK here – is that the centralised health system we’ve got in the UK is not up to doing that well and that’s not something can be put right in a hurry. They blame Johnson for that but I doubt any of the politicians attacking him would do much better given that inherent and historic defect in the UK approach to public health. That’s a personal view, I should add, not one derived from any of the experts I’ve read.
    So we’ve perforce been “wasting our time” as Walrus says and are lumbered with another national lockdown. Pretty tight too. Damn. I’ve just been booking delivery time for internet deliveries and find everyone else has been too. And with relatives all over the place outside the UK that’s going to be another few months before we get to see them again. Damn again.
    One of my sons has had it, by the way, and has skated past it with no more than a headache. None of this “Long Covid” either thank the Lord. But I myself am skating round the subject here and feel I’m being a bit dishonest. I should come straight out with it and say I comprehensively disagree with any sort of “let it rip” policy that might be advocated. Any advanced country should be able to do a lot better than that and I’d much prefer to see that curve crushed rather than flattened.
    And I do so regret seeing what should be purely a matter of the correct public health approach getting mixed up with politics, in both countries too. Here, the Covid disaster has weakened the PM just at the time when he should be standing firm against the EU. Over your way it’s being used as a means of attacking President Trump – when aren’t they doing that? – and putting at risk what should have been the dead cert of his re-election.
    Not that disastrous. If our PM gets rolled over by the EU we can always put it right later. And I still expect Trump to win. But as I have attempted to say in my first comment above, and returning now to the case of the UK only, the economic consequences of this pandemic here, let alone the human consequences, are going to be serious whatever the politicians now do.

  15. Avatar Fred says:

    walrus,
    “the government is not part of some worldwide conspiracy to pollute our vital fluids.” I too watched Dr. Stranglove. That line was humourous in 1960whatever when it first came out.
    “if the price is the closure of a few tanning salons and dog groomers then good riddance. The supermarkets are making good money, as are other businesses like IT. Retail was on a downward trajectory anyway thanks to Amazon.”
    Says millionaire on his estate outside of town.
    “To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law—a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.”
    –Walter Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz

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