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Join me, parents, to fight mass testing in schools


WHAT a fun year 2020 has been for the children! First they were excluded from school for months on end, left largely to ‘self-educate’ while parents juggled jobs alongside their new career as ‘teacher’. The take-home message: ‘Seeing people will kill granny’. They stoically got on with it, in spite of sky-rocketing mental health issues, loss of educational years and the exam fiascos. ‘Suck it up, kids, we’re all in it together’. Apparently. 

Next came ‘bubbles and masks’. Oh, what fun they make it sound! But the sinister reality of limited socialisation, permanent visual reminders of disease, Stasi-like enforcement of ‘the rules’ . . . not such fun, it turns out. Leaving aside the glaring lack of risk assessments in relation to these wholly unscientific new ‘measures’, we now move on to the next chapter in the ‘Covid Shop of Horrors’.

Bringing you . . . ‘Mass testing for secondary school children’. 

The government, in its seemingly demonic quest to ‘keep testing’, is now moving into our schools. In spite of independent scientists’ repeated calls to examine the veracity of PCR data, they plough on. ‘We need MORE testing to quell the plague.’ I think more and more people might finally be noticing that the cure is undeniably worse than the disease. You would be forgiven for thinking that the government’s ‘strategy’ is more analogous to terminal cancer. 

Perhaps now is the time for parents in England to find the courage to say ‘enough is enough’. The disease represents a vanishingly small risk to children. Robust evidence for the existence of asymptomatic spread of Covid-19 simply does not exist. Outside Chinese propaganda (which recently did a U-turn on the ‘official narrative’) there are only five instances of individuals said to have contracted Covid-19 from an asymptomatic person, and the evidence in these cases is weak. Mark Woolhouse from Sage has made it clear that it is extremely difficult to find evidence of any child having transmitted Covid-19 to a teacher anywhere in the world. Even when symptomatic, children transmit the virus at a much lower rate than adults. Taking into account the most recent research, mass-testing asymptomatic people in general, let alone children, simply does not add up. 

The finer details of this particular omnishambles are yet ‘to be finalised’. A cocktail of PCR and Lateral Flow Tests is apparently to be used. This will result in a confusion of results, as the latter consistently finds a lower percentage of ‘cases’ in a given population and a much more stable rate of infection (around 0.6 per cent). This will lead to wrong assumptions regarding the population as a whole if other areas are using PCR testing. I want to stress, however, that nit-picking about the relative benefits of one test over another is rather missing the point. The elephant in the room is that we do not need any mass testing of a well population. It is not clinically useful. 

I am constantly asking myself if there is some sort of time warp between my own access to the latest scientific research and that of our MPs. The situation/scientific evidence is fast-moving and largely reassuring, yet changes to policy are at best glacial or, more often, impervious to this. Disease patterns need to be reconsidered with militant regularity as new data emerges. Given the acrimonious divorce between government modelling and ‘reality’, we should be especially concerned that real-life scenarios are not being fed into policies quickly enough. Children are unnecessarily missing weeks of school based on PCR testing. Continuing to enforce policies that now clearly sit outside of the sacred chant of ‘following the science’ is nothing short of negligence. 

Let’s look at the position on December 10, according to the government website:  

·       7-9 per cent of pupils in state-funded schools were not in school for ‘Covid-19 related reasons’;

·       0.2 per cent with positive PCR test;

·       0.4 per cent with ‘suspected but unconfirmed’ Covid-19;

·       6.6-7.3 per cent were ‘isolating’ having been sent home for being in contact with a ‘positive case’.

An estimated 694,000 pupils were not at school in England on Thursday 3 December. Of these, 62,000 were off because of total school closures. As of December 10, the average attendance in state schools stood at 84.6 per cent, which ordinarily would be classed as ‘persistently absent’ and falls very far short of the 96 per cent regarded as ‘good attendance’. 

So let us now imagine how these figures might look when these notoriously inaccurate tests are rolled out across entire schools. Without wishing to seem like Mystic Meg, I would suggest that the numbers above will pale into insignificance compared with those we will see following Matt Hancock’s latest publicity stunt to save his ultimately doomed career. 

Swab tests are not benign. Having things shoved into the delicate lining of your nasal cavity and down your throat to the point of gagging is not a pleasant experience. It is invasive and uncomfortable and entirely inappropriate in a school setting of healthy children. 

Casting our minds back to the halcyon days of 2019, before PCR testing became the new global religion and we were still in charge of our faculties, we might remember that to be sick, you generally had symptoms. Never in human history did we need to ‘mass-test’ a population to decide whether they were ‘ill’. 

And yet, in a move which would be staggeringly simple, we could collectively choose to break this misery cycle. We could simply, in unison, say ‘we do not consent’. It is completely within our rights to say ‘no’ to this. In fact one might think that it is for ‘the greater good’ to withdraw from something that could result in entirely healthy children being denied yet more education.  

I hope all parents will stand with me and insist that it is time to get off this medico-political merry-go-round. Until people refuse to play, the show will go on. And on. And on. 

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Anna Rayner
Anna Rayner
Anna Rayner is a health practitioner and defender of civil liberties living in London.

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