Professor Sunetra Gupta: the epidemic is on its way out

21 May 2020 — Youtube

Must Watch!

Read the accompanying article on UnHerd: https://unherd.com/2020/05/oxford-doubles-down-sunetra-gupta-interview/

We spoke to Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford and head of the team that released a study in March which speculated that as much as 50% of the population may already have been infected and the true Infection Fatality Rate could be as low as 0.1%.

In her first major interview since the Oxford study was published, she goes further by arguing that Covid-19 has already passed through the population and is now on its way out. She said:

On antibodies:

  • Many of the antibody tests are “extremely unreliable”
  • They do not indicate the true level of exposure or level of immunity
  • “Different countries have had different lockdown policies, and yet what we’ve observed is almost a uniform pattern of behaviour”
  • “Much of the driving force was due to the build-up of immunity”

On IFR:

  • “Infection Fatality Rate is less than 1 in 1000 and probably closer to 1 in 10,000.”
  • That would be somewhere between 0.1% and 0.01%

On lockdown policy:

  • Referring to the Imperial model: “Should we act on a possible worst case scenario, given the costs of lockdown? It seems to me that given that the costs of lockdown are mounting that case is becoming more and more fragile”
  • Recommends “a more rapid exit from lockdown based more on certain heuristics, like who is dying and what is happening to the death rates”

On the UK Government response:

  • “We might have done better by doing nothing at all, or at least by doing something different, which would have been to pay attention to protecting the vulnerable”

On the R rate:

  • It is “principally dependent on how many people are immune” and we don’t have that information.
  • Deaths are the only reliable measure.

On New York:

  • “When you have pockets of vulnerable people it might rip through those pockets in a way that it wouldn’t if the vulnerable people were more scattered within the general population.”

On social distancing:

  • “Remaining in a state of lockdown is extremely dangerous”
  • “We used to live in a state approximating lockdown 100 years ago, and that was what created the conditions for the Spanish Flu to come in and kill 50m people.”

On next steps:

  • “It is very dangerous to talk about lockdown without recognising the enormous costs that it has on other vulnerable sectors in the population”
  • It is a “strong possibility” that if we return to full normal tomorrow — pubs, nightclubs, festivals — we would be fine.

On the politics of Covid:

  • “There is a sort of libertarian argument for the release of lockdown, and I think it is unfortunate that those of us who feel we should think differently about lockdown”
  • “The truth is that lockdown is a luxury, and it’s a luxury that the middle classes are enjoying and higher income countries are enjoying at the expense of the poor, the vulnerable and less developed countries.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.