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Sage is still prophesying doom


THE Government has been caught using secret, non-peer-reviewed Sage modelling again. When’s it going to learn? The Telegraph has the exclusive.

It reports: ‘An internal analysis of the projected course of the second wave of Covid-19 is understood to show deaths peaking at a lower level than in the spring but remaining at that level for weeks or even months.

‘It is understood that the projection – provided by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – has led to intense lobbying from Sir Patrick Vallance and other Government advisers for Boris Johnson to take more drastic action. “It’s going to be worse this time, more deaths,” said one well-placed source. “That is the projection that has been put in front of the Prime Minister, and he is now being put under a lot of pressure to lock down again“.’

The report continues (though it fails to mention that the 367 deaths reported yesterday followed two days of 102 and 151 so that the average has not risen by much): ‘Details of the UK projection emerged as the Government announced that a further 367 people had died with Covid – the highest daily figure since May, bringing the UK total to 43,365.

‘Dr Yvonne Doyle, the medical director of Public Health England, said: “We continue to see the trend in deaths rising, and it is likely this will continue for some time. Each day we see more people testing positive and hospital admissions increasing. Being seriously ill enough from the infection to need hospital admission can sadly lead to more Covid-related deaths.” Health officials expect the death toll to reach 500 a day within weeks.’

Meanwhile, SAGE finally admits that lockdowns don’t work. The Telegraph reports: ‘Professor Wendy Barclay, a SAGE member and scientist from Imperial College London, on Tuesday said none of the current restrictions appeared to be having a significant impact on the spread of the virus. “The total lockdown that we had back in late March was enough to turn the tide and get the virus back under control,” she told Times Radio. “So far, none of the other restrictions that we’ve seen, and none of the other actions, seem to have done that”.’

Ok, so she actually said nothing short of full lockdown works – wholly ignoring the fact, admitted by Chris Whitty in July, that infections in the spring were falling well before the lockdown began. And are daily positive tests currently rising? Here’s the graph by specimen date:

UK Covid positive tests by specimen date

They went up around October 19 but there’s no sign of further growth in over a week now, even allowing for reporting delays. What about hospital admissions in England? The latest data shows them flat since October 21 (though it was reported yesterday they rose again on October 25):

Covid hospital admissions in England

This level of admissions is not unusual for the autumn. As noted on Lockdown Sceptics last week, admissions with respiratory infections always rise through October and November and go crazy in December. October 2016 had 24,500 such admissions in England. Up to October 24 there have been 16,260 Covid admissions, with seven days to go, so very similar. And as the ONS pointed out yesterday, ‘The numbers of deaths in hospitals remained below the five-year average in Week 42’ (Week ending October 16). While it may be that winter 2020-21 turns out to be somewhat worse than previous winters, given that some parts of the country were likely prevented by the spring lockdown from reaching herd immunity before summer arrived, it would hardly be surprising. But none of this amounts to a devastating ‘second wave’ that justifies ongoing ruinous, totalitarian restrictions.

As for deaths at ‘500 a day within weeks’, why is Spain still only seeing around 130?

Thank goodness Boris Johnson seems so far to be resisting the siren calls of the prophets of doom. But with these whispers in his ears, neither is he likely to be doing an about turn and embracing a liberal, focused protection approach any time soon.

This article first appeared in Lockdown Sceptics on October 28, 2020, and is republished by kind permission.

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Will Jones
Will Jones
Will Jones is editor of the Daily Sceptic.

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