IT IS seven weeks since the October 31 government press conference that unveiled the shock forecasts that underpinned the decision to impose the second lockdown on England. That began on November 5 and lasted four weeks. It was replaced in 99 per cent of areas by the strict Tiers 2 and 3. On Saturday came a new Tier 4 for London and the South East, cancelling Christmas for 20million people.
The four projections in the presentation at the October 31 press conference were shown as Figure 1, below.
Source: UK Government website
Based on these projections, the Public Health England/Cambridge University deaths figure in England alone would have already passed the 4,000 per day level, the Imperial College model approximately 2,500 per day, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine just under 2,000 and the University of Warwick slightly lower but also just under 2,000.
The actual figure, on a seven-day moving average from the ONS data for the week ending December 4, is 405 deaths per day, with the recent trend slightly falling.
The best of those projections is out by a factor of almost five times in under two months and the worst by 10 times. All the projections exceed the first wave peak of about 1,000 per day by a factor of close to two or more. A peculiarity of the projections is that they seem to take no account of the normal January to March seasonal influences in naturally increasing deaths.
It is disingenuous for the government, Sir Patrick Vallance and the producers of these models to pretend that they were only ‘scenarios’. All knew full well that they would be taken to be the alarming forecasts they were absolutely intended to be.
The models are turning out to be just as hopeless and destructive as the Covid-19 forecasts before the first lockdown, and the government measures taken in light of them are destroying lives, livelihoods and industries for no benefit against the spread of the disease.
The rose diagram below shows the pattern of all deaths in England and Wales for each of the last five years by coloured lines with higher numbers further from the centre. The contribution to deaths of the coronavirus in 2020 (orange line) is only notable in the spring, with the summer and autumn figures in line with previous years.
Source: The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Oxford
More up to date figures than those in this diagram are showing the usual increase as we head into full winter with just over 12,000 weekly deaths, slightly above the five-year average. This pattern illustrates that the epidemic in the UK was over, at least for now, by June if it is defined by causing excess deaths.
Recent forecasts from the ONS suggest that 2020 total deaths per thousand of the population will be in line with the last thirty years but slightly higher than the five-year average.
As the UK’s worst effects from the pandemic seemed over based on its most important determinant, deaths, the government seamlessly moved to judge the seriousness of the crisis by the number of positive PCR tests. The problem for the government, if it cared to justify the change, is that using the example of London in the bar chart and graph below, the eight-fold increase in positive PCR results between late summer and late autumn is not influencing the number of deaths, which are around 13 per cent of the April peak and mainly in line with seasonal averages as we have seen. The contrast in cases, which are actually just positive tests, in the bar chart is a function of the higher rate of testing.
This must mean that the virus is inexplicably less lethal than in the spring even allowing for the fact that there has been a 35 per cent improvement in mortality rate since then due to improved treatment, or testing is biased towards non-infectious young people or, and most likely, that the PCR test is producing an epidemic of false positives.
The PCR false positive theory (as discussed elsewhere on TCW) is given greater credence by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which now acknowledges that there is a problem with the PCR test in low infection prevalence populations, as pointed out in other TCW blog posts (Yeadon), and that it is crucial that the presence of disease symptoms is taken into account.
If the government ensures that it changes the procedures in line with the new WHO guidance, the definition of cases would have to include symptoms in the way that disease identification normally does. The government may then discover that the deaths and hospitalisation statistics are a much better guide to the state of the pandemic than the PCR positive test results, and that it is fighting a phoney war with the wrong enemy, with untold negative consequences for the health and wellbeing of the population.
The government should then drop all the enforced restrictions imposed on the general population and focus on the issues which really matter. These are the medications which might help prevent infection, improved disease treatment, the protection of the most vulnerable to infection, a narrower in scope rapid vaccination programme, encouragement for existing sensible voluntary actions to reduce the chances of infection, and understanding, and dealing with, the unpleasant effects of long Covid for the 10 per cent of Covid patients who suffer from it.
The basis upon which the government’s measures have been taken that currently have 55 million people banned from mixing with other households indoors may well turn out be completely wrong.