8 May 2020 — OffGuardian
This is the largest interference with personal liberty in our history”
Virtually overnight our world has turned into a wasteland of closed towns, deserted streets and a few people scuttling along with masks and stricken faces. It’s a place bereft of imagination, the light sucked out; a padded cell in Psych Ward B.
The so-called new normal is anything but normal. On March 23rd, when Boris Johnson declared a lockdown in the UK, it was a beyond surreal moment for me. With no debate, our freedoms, social life and jobs were gone.
The reasons given for the lockdown were to try and save lives, slow the spread of this virus and limit the impact on the NHS. It sounds good until you start to pose searching questions. Confining people to their homes and a complete loss of social life comes with its own set of serious problems. Focusing on Covid-19 means other people needing operations are postponed for months.
We had heard about other so-called Pandemics that had turned out to be nothing of the sort, Swine flu being one example. What was different about Covid-19? Johnson had seemed to be going the way of putting in some mitigation recommendations, like social distancing, hand washing and isolating of the elderly. Then he changed his mind.
The reason were the numbers of possible deaths that could occur if a full lockdown was not implemented. The numbers came from a Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London.
Ferguson had told the government that according to his computer model, over 500,000 people would die in the UK if they did nothing, 250,000 people would die if he continued with lesser mitigation in place, but allowing businesses to stay open as usual. With a full lockdown, deaths would be 20,000 or less, and the impact to the NHS would be kept to a minimum.
What immediately struck me was that Ferguson’s computer model is just that, it’s an estimate based on certain data. His projections could be totally wrong, we’ve all heard the expression, garbage in, garbage out. Why on earth would Johnson decide to implement such drastic measures based on a theoretical computer model?
It was also disturbing to find out that Ferguson has a lot of form for making highly exaggerated claims with his computer models.
In the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic millions of cows and other livestock were killed and burned based on his models. But Professor Michael Thrusfield, an expert in animal diseases, said Ferguson’s models were ‘not fit for purpose’ (2006) and ‘seriously flawed’ (2012).
The 2009 Swine Flu outbreak turned out to be one of the most overhyped non pandemics in the history of medicine. Ferguson got that one wrong as well, saying it would probably kill 65,000 people in the UK, but in fact 457 people died.
I looked for other expert opinions. One of the world’s top Epidemiologists is Sweden’s Dr. [Professor] Johan Giesecke. Sweden is one of a few countries who went with a different approach to the virus.
Giesecke and his medical team recommended that the elderly and sick should isolate themselves. They recommended social distancing. But restaurants, coffee shops and most businesses would be open as usual.
In an interview on April 16th with Freddie Sayers of Unherd TV, Giesecke explained the reasoning behind Sweden’s approach:
Q. Is it correct to call it herd immunity and is that the Swedish strategy?
Giesecke: It’s not the strategy, but it’s a by-product of the strategy. The strategy is to protect the old and the frail, try to minimize their risk of becoming infected and taking care of them if they get infected. If you do that the way we’re doing it, you would probably get herd immunity in the end, but that’s a by-product, its not the main reason to do it.
Q. What was your impression of that (Ferguson’s) paper?
Giesecke: I think it’s not very good… it rests on the assumptions, and the assumptions in that article have been heavily criticised… The paper was never published scientifically, it’s not peer reviewed, which a scientific paper should be. It’s just an internal departmental report from Imperial.
Q. It’s your impression that it was overly pessimistic?
Giesecke:Yes, oh yes, very much so.
Sweden has also helped us in another unforeseen way, by putting Ferguson’s computer model to a real-world test. Ferguson had predicted that with lighter mitigation measures in place, the same as Sweden, the UK would see 250,000 dead. Sweden has a population of just over 10 million, 1/6th that of the UK.
So according to Ferguson, Sweden’s death rate should be going through the roof right now, at around 35,000+, but its 3,175 as of May 8th. The one thing you can say about Ferguson is this, he stays true to his form.
[A Swedish research group from the University of Upsalla actually applied the Imperial Model to Sweden, and found it predicted 40,000 deaths “shortly after May 1st, you can read about that here. – Ed.]
Do we actually know how many people are dying of Covid-19?
Every day the media blasts us with the numbers of people who have died from Covid-19, but it’s very misleading. Journalist Peter Hitchens was one of the first professionals to pose serious questions about whether the lockdown was the right path, and also to question how COVID-19 deaths were being recorded.
Both in the UK and the USA, it has been openly admitted by health officials that anyone dying *with* COVID-19, is being categorized as having died *of* it. Its crucially important that we understand the difference. The fact is that at least 90% of the deaths from COVID-19 are for patients who were already suffering with other serious illnesses. So, if someone dies of a heart attack and they test positive for Covid-19, that is counted as a Covid-19 death.
Let’s look at this in another way. Every year in the UK people die from Flu. The 2014/15 was one of the worst flu years, killing 44,000 people in the UK. Once again though, the vast majority of them had other serious health issues. We had another bad flu year in 2018 with a different strain, named ‘Aussie’ Flu.
This raises other important questions about the accuracy of the reported COVID-19 deaths. Did anyone die of regular Flu during March/April 2020? Or is everyone who had flu like symptoms and died, being counted as dying with COVID-19? Pneumonia is more serious than flu; once again, are all pneumonia related deaths being lumped in with COVID-19 deaths?
This puts the Covid-19 deaths, and how dangerous it is, into a much clearer perspective. It looks like Covid-19 is no deadlier than a bad flu year. This is an opinion shared by several top epidemiologists and other experts, like Dr Sucharit Bhakdi, a specialist in microbiology, who used to work at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, Dr John Ioannidis Professor of Medicine, of Health Research and Policy and of Biomedical Data Science, at Stanford University School. (see OffGuardian here and here)
Doctors in the US are also seeing this skewing of Covid related deaths.
Dr. Dan Erickson said in a recent interview:
What’s interesting to me to is, when someone dies in this country right now they’re not talking about the high blood pressure, the diabetes, the stroke. They say did they die from COVID. We’ve been to hundreds of autopsies. You don’t talk about one thing, you talk about co-morbidities… COVID was part of it, it’s not the reason they died folks.
Also, Dr. John A Lee, a retired professor of pathology and NHS consultant pathologist, has written some excellent articles for The Spectator. Dr. Lee has raised similar concerns about how we are defining the amount of people actually dying
He also questions the lack of science behind the Lockdown, saying in an interview for Spiked on April 17,
It is only an assumption that the lockdown is having a big effect on the virus spread, but this is not a known scientific fact. As far as I can see, Sweden, despite not having anywhere near as severe a lockdown as we have had, actually has a very similar curve to ours. And Sweden’s death rate per hundred thousand people is roughly half of ours at the moment.”
We cannot even trust that the number of Covid19 deaths that are reported daily as actually having died in the previous 24-hrs. There could be a lag of several weeks in the reporting.
A recent OffGuardian article covers this. In one example for April 10th, it was reported that 980 people had died from Covid19.
But in reality, there had been just 117 “Covid19 related deaths”, with about 90 additional deaths in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, for a total of 204. The other 776 had died sometime between March 5th and April 8th.
Deaths and serious social issues because of the Lockdown
An article in the Telegraph on April 9th by Fraser Nelson said that ministers were becoming concerned about the number of people who would die because of the Lockdown, early estimates put it around 150,000. Another article referred to the massive drop in A&E patients, quote, a 29 per cent year-on-year drop in A&E use, including a 50 per cent drop in heart attack attendances.
People who are having heart attacks are either too afraid to go to A&E because they think they might catch Covid-19, or think it’s overloaded with Covid-19 patients. The list is long for seriously ill people who have been side-lined by the total focus of the NHS on Covid-19.
All surgeries, except life-threatening, have been postponed. Most cancer treatments have been postponed, dialysis disrupted or put off. Domestic abuse is up 30% to 50%, suicides, divorces, bankruptcies, the list is very long.
There are 100’s of NHS medical centres around the UK. Most of them are not seeing patients. Where do the sick people go to see a doctor?
I think the psychological damage to millions of people, forced into isolation for weeks and months, will only be fully understood in the next 12 to 18 months.
Freedoms stripped and unprecedented Police Powers: We now have a Police State light
Literally overnight our freedoms have been removed. You are only allowed to go out for one form of exercise a day or to buy food or prescriptions. You are encouraged not to go to work, supposedly only key workers (identified by the government) are supposed to work.
For the first time in our history, every person can be randomly stopped by Police to see if their journey is considered necessary.
Sunbathing, sitting on a park bench, groups of 3 or more can be questioned and possibly fined. Car trips longer than a few miles to go for exercise can be considered unnecessary, after all, you can simply get exercise walking around your block of flats, right?
On Twitter there are many videos showing Police overreach. In one video, a family with some children were sitting in a communal grass area by their block of flats. The Police came to fine them for sitting in that area.
The damage the Police have done to their own reputation within their communities will be felt in the coming months and years.
Absurd rules that make no sense
We are all supposed to be social distancing, staying 2 metres apart, but people can cram onto packed subway trains. Plumbers, electricians and other contractors can come to your home and make repairs, but we cannot visit family or friends who are not in our household. It’s not only blatant stupidity, it also affects us emotionally, being distant from loved ones for months.
Now we are forced to stand in queues to pick up the most menial of items at supermarkets. Walking around a supermarket is like trying to work an obstacle course, as you dodge people to try to keep the social distancing rule. People treat you as if you may have the Bubonic Plague and often cross the street to avoid you.
Park benches have red tape around them to stop people from sitting on them. It’s virtually impossible for a virus to be spread from a park bench with sunlight and rain on it daily. Viruses do not survive outside in warmer weather, but still the madness continues.
Yellow Journalism is a label for newspapers that print cheap sensationalized headlines to get more sales, instead of well researched investigative pieces, that is the hallmark of real journalism.
Leading up to the occurrence of Covid-19 and onwards, the press in the UK have strived to make Yellow Journalism their raison d’etre. They have stoked up the public’s hysteria to manic levels with the worst gutter non-journalism I have ever seen.
It was a race to the bottom of tabloid trash, each paper trying to outdo the other with hyped up headlines, while whipping the public into a frenzy. All of them predicting a virtual armageddon, a new Black Death that will kill untold millions.
With a few exceptions, there has been no serious questioning of the governments continued path with the lockdown. The BBC has been the absolute worst, a servile and obedient government servant that simply re-writes press releases.
If there is one small positive to come out of this appalling lockdown, at least the public now recognizes just how pitiful the mainstream media have become.
We are being manipulated with emotional blackmail. Stay home, save lives and protect the NHS. It’s an insidious mind game repeated ad nauseum to keep people quiet, compliant and unquestioning.
We started lockdown because it was an unknown virus, now we know it’s nothing more serious than other viruses we have endured over 100’s of years; it’s time to end it.
Sweden’s epidemiologist Prof Giesecke made an interesting statement during his interview. When discussing the number of deaths each country will have from Covid-19, he said, paraphrasing, let’s talk in a year from now and see where we are.
I’m pretty certain he is referring to not only the deaths from Covid-19, but deaths from the Lockdown. Sweden will not suffer at all in this respect.
It’s a tragedy when anyone dies, whether it be from (most often with) Covid-19, the flu, a heart attack and many other reasons. We need to get back to seeing our loved ones, get back to work so we can feed our family and many aspects of our lives.
The NHS needs to start performing much-needed surgeries and helping others who have been side-lined in the last 2 months. Remember, the lockdown is costing lives, how many, we don’t know yet. The lockdown needs to be lifted in stages, as experts have stated, but it should be started immediately and should never return.