UK Lockdown Addiction: Time To Ditch “The Experts” And Get On With Life… 

From Spiked Online…

Sir Chris Witty, Chief Scientific Adviser UK Government

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the pub, up pops a new report from SAGE with some very scary projections.

The report focuses on the impact of reopening in the context of the Indian variant (B.1.617.2) spreading in the UK. It suggests that because the new variant could be 40 per cent more transmissible, we are likely to experience a third deadly wave of Covid, even if the government delays the final stage of the reopening. It warns of ‘a further resurgence in hospitalisations similar in size or larger’ than the one January, when admissions peaked at just over 4,000 per day – a rate of nearly seven per 100,000 people. If we proceed with removing restrictions on 21 June, the report warns that the peak of hospitalisations ‘could be double’ the January peak. In fact, the authors tell us they cannot rule out the variant being 50 per cent more transmissible. In that case, they project that hospital admissions would peak in July at about 10,000 per day, with an upper-bound projection of as many as 20,000 per day.

A defender of these projections might argue that, back in January, we were already under significant restrictions and, without those, hospitalisations would have been even higher. That’s a difficult position to sustain given what we have observed in parts of the world with no restrictions. For instance, the winter peak in Florida, a US state which famously removed most of its restrictions back in September 2020, was only 5.4 admissions per 100,000 – much lower than SAGE’s worst-case estimate for a mostly vaccinated England.

Indeed, the highest-ever number of daily admissions for the whole of the US – despite having a population six times the size of England – was just over 16,000. Yet SAGE thinks it is reasonable to present a scenario in which England experiences 20,000 admissions in the middle of summer, and all this after the vast majority of the vulnerable population have had two doses of the vaccines.

So why are SAGE’s models so disconnected from what has happened in the real world? One issue is that its models assume the only thing that impacts on public behaviour is the government restrictions. In reality, the evidence shows that people take fewer risks when infection rates increase. In fact, voluntary behaviour change has a much bigger impact on Covid spread than government restrictions. The failure to recognise this has been a consistent flaw of much of the Covid-19 modelling.

         
                       Mad Scientist…

Related to this, SAGE’s modelling still assumes that lifting restrictions has a big, unambiguous effect of increasing transmission, hospitalisations and death. But the weight of academic research suggests that lockdown restrictions have a very limited independent effect. We cannot rule out that the impact of some restrictions can be zero or worse.

An obvious counter-example to SAGE’s assumptions is Texas, which eliminated nearly all state-level restrictions including mask mandates in early March. Despite predictions of doom from many health professionals and politicians, infections, hospitalisations and deaths in Texas have fallen very significantly ever since.

Of course modellers try to include a range of scenarios and it is not unreasonable to model hypothetical outcomes in which lifting restrictions increases infections. Indeed, no one can predict with certainty what will happen to infections in England over the next few months. The problem is that every single one of the scenarios in the SAGE models simply assumes that lifting government controls will lead to significantly higher hospitalisations and deaths.

It seems odd that no one from SAGE stopped for a moment to check the numbers against the real world. Someone ought to have questioned whether 10,000 hospital admissions per day was a reasonable estimate. The real scandal here is that SAGE as a whole decided to let the paper through and presented it to ministers as serious projections on which policy decisions might be made.

Clearly, the modellers have learnt nothing from earlier misguided projections. Most infamously, the predictions by Neil Ferguson’s team at Imperial that, without a lockdown, Sweden could have had between 66,400 and 90,200 Covid-related deaths by the end of July 2020. In fact, the actual number was 5,721, less than a tenth of the lowest estimate.

The government needs to ensure that SAGE presents evidence that is grounded in real-world data. Its models must allow for voluntary behaviour change and for the possibility that legal restrictions may not be as impactful as is often claimed.

Just as importantly, the government should instruct SAGE to present evidence not just on infections but also on the cost of the restrictions. It is scandalous that decisions are still being taken based on only one side of the cost-benefit equation – only Covid is considered and the harms of the restrictions are ignored.

Unfortunately, many scientists who sit on SAGE seem opposed in principle to easing restrictions. They are unlikely to change their minds even though policies based on their advice have had devastating implications for business, for public finances, and for the wellbeing and livelihoods of millions of people.

The government now needs to take a radically different approach. If SAGE is not up to the task, might it be time to dispense with its services altogether?

David Paton is professor of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School. He tweets as @CricketWyvern. He is a member of the Health Advisory and Recovery Team (HART).

Comment: 

It’s very clear that there are people in high places who do not want life to return to normal in the UK.  As I’ve said many times, the only way we will get our freedom back is to take it back.  We’ll wait a very long time if we are waiting for the “experts” in SAGE (mainly behavioural psychologists, i.e. specialists in controlling us)  to allow us to live life as we did before that now infamous “three weeks to flatten the curve” back in March, 2020.  Either we love freedom or we love Government control.  We can’t have both – we have to choose. 

Boris seems to be  uncomfortable (seems to be) at the prospect of cancelling or curtailing the promised easing of restrictions on 21 June.  So-called Health experts – mainly behavioural psychologists, at least one of whom is a professed Communist –  are running the country.  We could say “why is Boris so weak” (if he’s not play-acting) but a better question is, why are YOU so weak; why are YOU accepting the unlawful removal of your personal and religious freedoms and when, precisely when, will  you take them back… What about, say, no later than  21 June? 

Remember, too, that where England goes, Scotland is sure to follow.  I think (hope) that we’ve all had enough of this false imprisonment, and the stupid restrictions. Had enough, I hope, of being treated like children (don’t forget to wash your hands… Gimme a break!) 

So, let’s pray that Boris finds the courage to stand up to his dictatorial “experts” and stick to his promise to end restrictions on 21 June, “allowing” the population to live, move and travel freely.  Otherwise, given the meek obedience across the UK to date, I think we can say “goodbye” to life as we knew it prior to the flattening of that (blankety blank) curve…  

Is UK In Permanent Lockdown? Is The New Normal Already Here… To Stay?

From Spiked Online…

Brendan O’Neill
Editor of Spiked

This lockdown feels different to the first one. Everyone can sense it. It feels greyer, more dispiriting. The sunny weather of the April / May lockdown has been replaced by rain and the occasional snowstorm, robbing even our ‘daily’ walk of its tiny promise of pleasure. The social solidarity of the first lockdown has been usurped by a concerted emphasis on the necessity of atomisation. Back in March, April, May, we set up local WhatsApp groups and pulled together to shop and care for isolated neighbours. This time round if you go outside you’ll be greeted by ghoulish public-health posters featuring elderly people in oxygen masks and the reprimanding line: ‘Look her in the eyes and tell her you never twist the rules.’ First time round we were assistants to the elderly; this time round we’re their potential killers.

The first lockdown felt novel; this one – the third – feels onerous. The first encouraged us to remove ourselves from society but to still think and behave as members of society: sign up to be an NHS volunteer, deliver medicines to the old, phone a mate and check he’s okay. This one discourages all forms of social connection. This is best summed up by the instruction from the Department of Health’s propaganda wing: ‘Act like you’ve got it.’ That is, assume you are diseased, assume you will sicken others. Who would knock on an elderly neighbour’s door to see if she needs anything if they believed, or assumed, that they were carriers of a virus that has a high fatality rate among the old? In the first lockdown I received messages every hour from local volunteers asking if someone could do some shopping, drop off some drugs, give somebody a phone call. This time, nothing.

Then there’s the most striking difference – the absence of anticipation. In the first lockdown there was always a buzz, building after a while to a palpable sense of national expectancy, about a return to normality. Remember the cheers and memes when we found out the date pubs would reopen? Lockdown was seen as a temporary measure, and more importantly an unusual measure. Aside from a few comfortably off green types who loved the lack of airplanes and the disappearance of greedy shoppers, and some millennial socialists who fantasised that having the government pay everyone’s wages was akin to revolution, most people viewed lockdown as a thing that would end, not a way of life. The baleful impact of lockdown was partially alleviated by a shared desire for a return to the crowded, shoulder-rubbing, maskless days of old. Never had the word ‘normal’ seemed so thrilling. ‘Back to normal’ was the moral glue of a necessarily atomised people. Now, perhaps most tragically of all, that seems to have disappeared, too. 

Of course many people still crave a return to normality. But in the public sphere of commentary and politics, talk of opening up, of planning for the thrusting of society back into normalcy, is actively discouraged and even frowned upon. There can be no going back, some say. Ask the government for a timeframe for the restoration of normality and you’ll be branded a ‘Covid denier’ who wants to rush things to a potentially catastrophic degree. ‘We are not at the beginning of the end of this pandemic’, says Yale sociologist Nicholas Christakis, ‘we’re just at the end of the beginning’.

The ‘dream of going back to normal’ is a ‘huge distraction’, says a writer for the Guardian. The inescapable Devi Sridhar, the public-health academic whose voice of doom is enthusiastically coveted by the media, speaks to us as if we are patients on a therapist’s couch – ‘it is perfectly normal to grieve for our lost normality, but denial needs to be followed by acceptance’, she has counselled. This idea of ‘denial’ – the favoured slur of lockdown elites who want to frustrate discussion about life and liberty after Covid – was taken up by the New Statesman, too. The blather about going ‘back to normal’ is just a way of denying reality, says one of its columnists. Which isn’t surprising – ‘denial… is a natural dysfunction’. ‘It is a hard truth to swallow, but: there won’t be a return to “normal”’, says a writer for the Atlantic.     Click here to read entire article at source…

Comment:

There’s only one way to object to the “lockdown is here to stay” mentality and that is not to comply. There IS no other way.  If you disagree, share your strategy, because I’m fresh out of ideas…   

It seems to me that if everyone opened up businesses – and churches – and we all went about our daily lives as we did before China sent us this less-than-deadly virus, there really isn’t anything the Governments of the UK could do, except bring in the military to round us up and take us to the re-education camps… and thus they would be revealing their true colours, making clear their real agenda.  Then we would know that this is not about a virus at all.  Not at all.  And is this not what we have been saying from the get-go?  

At that point, we could surrender our freedom freely (so to speak) – we would know officially that the game was up.  Until then, we need to stop the childish obedience and start living our lives fully again. Yes? No?

Covid-Con Continues As UK Population Keen For Even Less Liberty – Pollsters…


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today warned that a vaccine will not deliver a ‘knockout blow’ to coronavirus as Tories insisted he must not use the prospect of jabs to keep the country in lockdown longer. (From YouTube, 11 November, 2020)

Comment: 

How incredible is this: pollsters claim that a significant number of people in the UK are willing to continue the lockdown lifestyle indefinitely, with even tighter Government control over their lives. The question has to be why?   Is it, as some of us would argue, the lack of God in the lives of these terrified (of a virus!) people; indeed, is it the absence of God in the countries of the UK,  the absence of God in all national institutions?

We hear the Americans say, almost routinely, “God bless America” – have you ever heard anyone said “God bless the UK”?  Or any constituent part of it – God bless Scotland, for example?  Never.  So, there’s a clue.  Lacking God, empty souls, Godless societies, must make the most of this life and if that means NOT living life to the full, but living in fear of a Covid-19 death (highly unlikely unless  you’re over 85) then, so be it.  Crazy or what?   

Peter Hitchens On Loss of Our Liberty – A Lonely, Sane Voice in the Madness …

Comment:

Peter is considered a rebel by his peers in the media.  He is certainly a voice crying in the wilderness.   

Is his voice one with which you find yourself agreeing?  Or are you with the majority who believe (according to the polls and anecdotal evidence) that the Government measures are necessary – and a good thing? 

And what about his comments regarding social pressure e.g.  to wear face masks or be prohibited from entering shops? Will you continue to obey the State or will you join Peter and rebel? 

What about his predictions of a financially painful future, where we will all – rich and not so well off – be poorer, in order to pay for these measures? 

His remarks about those who were threatening to take the Government to court over Brexit but are not saying a word about the Government crackdown on our civil liberties now, resonated with me – what about you?  As did his rebuke to the churchmen who disappeared off the scene faster than the cowardly apostles in that first Holy Week. 

Peter admits that everything he says about this situation may be wrong – what do  you think: IS he wrong?