The SKWAWKBOX has been indispensable during this pandemic. Here is the latest bulletin:
The editor-in-chief of the Lancet, Richard Horton, accuses the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, of ‘wilfully misrepresenting scientific opinion’ on the lifting of safety measures
|Professor Chris Whitty - colluding with those who misgovern us|
Richard Horton’s remarkable accusation highlights the degree to which expert opinion is against the Tories’ headlong rush toward unvaccinated and unattainable ‘herd immunity’
order to achieve a ‘herd immunity’ that Skwawkbox revealed (and others later confirmed) would have cost up to a million UK lives or even more.
|Acknowledgements to the Independent for this brilliant cartoon |
Chris Whitty is lying & the Government 'herd immunity' strategy is criminal say scientists
Following on from the health secretaries statement and the line of argument being argued by the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, a team of scientists and medical professionals have held a press conference to call out their lies.
Senior medical professionals are challenging the government’s “if not now, then when” argument, given that only 51% of the population is fully vaccinated and argue that there has been zero consideration given to the rate of people getting long-Covid or the subsequent consequences this will have on patient health, front line NHS workers and on routine care. The latest SAGE models are predicting that “at peak you could have 1000 to 2000 (hospital) admissions per day” and there don’t appear to be any contingency plans for when the NHS gets overwhelmed.
There is a lot of anger over the government’s rhetoric as well. They argue that dealing with an infectious disease, or “a pandemic, requires collective responsibility not individual responsibility… we can choose to support our vaccination program with better contact tracing, with support for isolation, with support for businesses, with better ventilation… All of that we can choose to do and ‘they’re’ not choosing to do it”
Thousands of scientists and medical professionals who have now signed a letter published in the Lancet do not agree with lifting of all restrictions and argue that this is especially wreckless at a time “when you’re seeing a doubling of the infections every 11 days, hospitalisations going up almost 50% in the past week, Covid-19 dedicated intensive care units being recreated, warnings from NHS providers and the NHS confederation about pressure on the NHS.”
They also point out that the government is choosing to be highly selective in the data they reference. They’ve recently quoted a rate of infection of 301 cases per 100,000 (6th July) when, in actual fact the infection rate is very different around the country… “in the north east its 706, per 100,000, in the north west its 434 per 100,000… in particular sub-regions it’s even higher, south Tyneside – 1,308 per 100,000, in north Tynside its 726 per 100,000, Newcastle its 837, Gateshead its 876” and they argue that the government is “allowing this unconstrained pandemic to course through our communities… rapidly deepening the existing inequalities that already put people at risk.”
GP service professionals have pointed out that people who are unvaccinated and those who have a weak immune system (i.e. older people in general) and cannot mount a response to the virus, feel like they’re being “thrown to the wolves.” They argue that the government is being “completely irresponsible” and that they are effectively allowing the UK to become a petri dish for the development of new mutant strains.
They’re also struggling to understand the logic behind telling NHS frontline workers that they won’t need to self-isolate if they’ve been double vaccinated, despite being pinged by the track & trace system, given that you can still get infected even if you’re double vaccinated and you can then become an asymptomatic carrier and pass it on to all your patients.
Primary care professionals see removing the legal mandate for wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance as insanity, given that it only takes one unmasked carrier in a train carriage to contaminate the air for all the other passengers. Masks, they argue, should be seen as a symbol of freedom and they argue that the clinically vulnerable, their children and their carers will not see the 19th July as “freedom day.” It’s also worth noting that the govt hasn’t confirmed if any “equality impact assessments were carried out on the impact of opening up, on the impact of abandoning ‘all’ public health measures or all legal restrictions around public health measures on disabled groups… and the clinically vulnerable.” They point out that this “also affects ethnic minorities and more disadvantaged communities who we know are already more exposed to catching Covid through their living and working conditions” and these communities also have significantly lower rates of vaccinations and are more prone to getting long-Covid. They argue that by dropping all restrictions, the government is “allowing infections to rip through disadvantaged and ethnic minority communities disproportionately”
They are clear that we have not “broken the link” between cases and hospitalisations. Prof. McKee explained that the government road map for the pandemic came in months before we registered the first cases of the Delta variant and yet the map still hasn’t changed to accommodate this fact.
Professor Aris Katzourakis, explained that “the public health measures that we take have direct evolutionary consequences and we saw this both with the alpha and the delta variants… the alpha was facilitated by the relaxation in December 2020, while the Delta variant was imported, in very grave numbers, due to a failure in having an appropriate border control policy.” The decision the govt is now taking will effectively risk further viral evolution (mutant variants) and spread within a partially vaccinated population.
There was also concern that clinically vulnerable children would be expected to attend school in September, after all restrictions had been lifted, despite the fact that the government hasn’t put in any mitigating measures to ensure their safety… “the only thing they can do is not attend school.. we’ve created this situation in the name of ‘personal responsibility’ where children can do nothing to protect themselves apart from get out if education.”
The panel seemed to be largely convinced that the government is now pursuing a herd immunity through infection strategy. It’s a “mass infection experiment” designed to see what happens when you let a virus rip through 48% of a population. Even the modelling that the Chief Medical officer had been referring to, in his earlier statement, in respect of scenarios for opening up over the summer, compared to opening up over the winter months is very limited because it only looks at cases and deaths. It doesn’t take into consideration the number of people who might get, and have to live with, long-Covid for example. The panel regard the government's thinking is deeply flawed when it comes to pursuing herd immunity through some final wave of infections because this will not stop another wave of infections or more transmissible variants taking hold, plus vaccine immunity is not indefinite as you do eventually need to have boosters.
Concluding the session, Dr Salisbury remarked on the distinctions between achieving herd immunity through vaccination compared to allowing infections to rip through the population.. “if you do it by infection, loads of people get ill and lots of people get really ill and stay really ill. If you do it by vaccination, you’re in control, you don’t pass it on and everybody stays well.” In her view, pursuing herd immunity through infection is “criminal.”
Worth pointing out that herd immunity through infection is also expected to facilitate new variants, which could potentially have a devastating impact on the UK population, not to mention the rest of the world.