Dear Constituent

The government has decided to continue the lock down for another three weeks. They are afraid that an early relaxation would allow the virus to spread more rapidly again, losing some or all the gains  seen in fewer patients going to hospital in recent days.

In response to past representations by myself and others  the government is now doing more work on a timetable for getting more people back to work. It is unfortunate  there may be no early arrival of a vaccine to protect the population in large numbers,  nor even an early medical agreement on a  treatment which makes it much more likely patients with severe cases on Covid 19 survive. For that reason  we need  to plan to live with the virus whilst still being  able to run our economy at a reasonable level of output with more people in jobs and more companies generating revenue than today.

I have suggested to the government that a back to work plan should encompass new ways of working with better protection for employees. Office based businesses could encourage much more homeworking, with limited numbers of staff in the main office observing social distancing. Factories and warehouses need to operate at levels that do not require staff to be close together, with additional automation where necessary. Any business staff in touch with the public should be given protective screens or personal protective clothing suitable to the risk level.

We should continue to give strong advice to at risk groups to stay at home, and do more to support them with remote technology to ensure deliveries and safe social contact. The protection of care homes needs more work. I supported moves to ensure all patients to be discharged from hospitals back to care homes should be tested . We need to  avoid introducing the virus into a home  through the return of a patient . I am pleased the government has now promised to do this.

Yesterday saw the Furlough scheme to subsidise employment which I have long championed open for claims. It is vital as many jobs as possible are saved by this means, to keep them in being until their employers can re open and afford the wages again. The self employed package still excludes some groups who deserve support and is still on the low side so I am asking the Treasury to look again at it.

Let us hope the positive trends in cases and deaths continues as a reward for the sacrifice many are making. On the latest figures too many people are still dying, but our death rate in relation to total population is still well below Belgium, Spain and Italy who have suffered particularly badly. The next few days are important. If the rate of death and of new patients to hospital continues to decline we should be able to start to relax controls. In the meantime I am conscious there are pressing needs like getting more dentists to work on emergency treatment, and tackling some of the backlog of medical appointments that were cancelled or delayed to make way for Covid 19 patients.

I would like to say another big thank you to all of you who have volunteered to help in so many ways. Some are delivering food parcels, some tackling loneliness of those staying at home alone, some are making protective clothing. I also wish to thank all who are going to work to care for people, to treat people in hospital, to provide us with food and to keep basic services and deliveries going.

Yours sincerely

John Redwood

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231 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Good morning, and thank you Sir John.

    Once the government have no longer decided that we can remain under house arrest, would it bee too much to ask that parliament reconvene and seek to remove the extraordinary powers it gave to government to combat this disease ? I am aware that many people have other matters on their minds right now, but going forward it is important that we retain our liberties and not allow the state to further encroach into our lives. We have seen the police have behaved in all this, and the damage to their reputation. This drama turned into a crisis has been an eye opener for some and not before time.

    • Cortona
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Having lived in Italy (a country I love) and been appalled at their inability to queue at times I cannot fathom this implication that our police are being heavy handed. They have a reputation for chaotic indiscipline on the roads for example while I thought we were supposed to be sensible at self policing. My friends there don’t question the fact that they must carry ID & their address and will be fined if they stray beyond a weekly shop or short dog walk and their streets are far more deserted than ours. There is a funny video they shared of the police chasing a lone jogger on the beach and they see it as amusing not anything sinister. I’m therefore shocked that people think the police here are being excessive, if anything it is the opposite and our national behavioural reputations are inverting?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Most of us are under house arrest – except for “essential workers”. Presumably ensuring the reported 550 illegals safely got here ( since lockdown started) by Border Farce after putting themselves deliberately in danger is “essential”.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      You have the Parliament which you always craved.

      That is, the absolute epitome of a Tory Rubber Stamping Agency, stuffed with eager-to-please newcomers and a majority of eighty.

      You will get whatever the Government wants.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        which is what happens during almost every Government…..next!

      • Hope
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        JR, you ought to include specifically to your constituents that the wrecking of the economy is not an inanimate or inevitable consequence of the Chinese virus but a deliberate choice of the Tory Govt. despite your letter you have not made it clear the Tory Govt.mfwiledmto act on your suggestion to stop the nation house arrest and allow people back to work.

        Neither did you mention how many countries are now protesting and rioting to be free and it is liberty that should prevail on an individual choice, like, Sweden and Holland, after Govt provides advice. It is not the job of a Govt. in a free society to place all its citizens under arrest and punish their failure to do so while its PM, girlfriend, minister and chief of police deliberately break the law/rules they set and enforce upon everyone else.

        It has also been evident that the chief medical officers and chief scientific officers have given contradictory advice, made a 180 degree U-turn and have been influenced/corrupted by cabinet to give test(s) to them and family above those to save the lives of the population. The PM and his girlfriend failing to learn the lesson after he caught the disease for breaking the rules he set at the outset. You do you not make that clear?

        Allowing 105,000 per week and more at the outset to arrive from Chinese virus hotspots going against all the advice and rules they preach to the nation, making them look utter idiots, and condemned/criticised by other experts around the world.

        The Public must never forget that the recession is the goctmfault and choosing in its response to the Chinese virus. It is not the Chinese virus that is wrecking the economy but people, ministers choosing to take this particular course.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Still sore that Labour lost Martin.
        It really is time to get over it.
        I put up with 15 dreadful years of Blair and Brown.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          The slowly revealed result of that silly, election-gimmick vote in 2016 is going to be woeful, as if the country needed any more problems just now.

          It is only correct that the Tories, who caused the whole débacle, own it one hundred percent.

          You can’t blame the opposition MPs in Parliament any more.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

            As I said, you are still unable to come to realise that there is an elected government with an 80 seat majority.
            Corbynism was rejected.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

        Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Have you noticed that everyone is now talking about PPE and the lockdown situation…..no one is actually talking about covid-19 and its spread across the UK

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Are too many news reporters living in London and seem to be just covering the main City hospitals problems, rather than good work going on all around the Country. For example, I read that the two hospitals in Staffordshire, the Royal Stoke and Stafford Co.Hosp had a thankfully low number of deaths and 150 current inpatients with covid 19 with 24 on ventilators in the two hospitals with 500 empty beds, and 190 recoveries at the Royal Stoke.

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          You see thats excellent news….news worthy on BBC and SKY….news like that should be reported more to cheer up the nation

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        GC

        The Anticapitalists Socialist have done their job very well, especially when its the NHS which is responsible for ordering its own supplies.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Yep! Because it’s not spreading. All my medical contacts up north say ‘the surge never arrived’. Most are gardening because the normal work of the NHS has also been ‘locked down’.

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          Your assessment concurs with mine

    • Peter Wood
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Mark B,

      Do you, as I do, sometimes think this is just a social management experiment, to find out how we all react? We have been/are sorely tested; from inexperienced/condescending ministers with little knowledge of their brief, to excessive policing action, to effective house arrest and loss of employment, all when our infection rate is worse than Sweden’s. It makes no sense; is this really about something else?

      • Mark B
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Right from the start I have been very sceptical about the whole thing. This is why I raise the point concerning the laws that the government gained and whether or not they will relinquish them. That will be the true test.

        • Ed Hirst
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          I am afraid that these measures may never be relaxed, they tick so many progressive boxes.
          All but essential travel banned – good for the environment.
          Shopping for essentials only – the authorities can now micromanage our diet and domestic priorities.
          All social activity banned – prevents those pesky old populists from meeting together and complaining about the government.
          Economy crashing? Fine, allows the 0.1% to continue picking up distressed assets at bargain prices.
          Why should the government fear the electorate now? Just keep postponing the elections!

          • Caterpillar
            Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

            Yep, paranoia or reality,

            Turn in your neighbours, don’t get within 2 metres where you could whisper, all communication virtual where it can be monitored.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        So just about every country on Earth has just decided in the last few weeks to try the same “experiment” have they?

        Are you completely incapable of conceiving anything beyond these shores?

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          Maybe one dictator looked at what the neighbouring dictator was doing and thought I’ll have some of that

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        I’m thinking that the British people want to be on a ‘fully paid holiday’. That’s why the lockdown is working so well. In general the British are tired, exhausted even, unsmiling and hard pushed by the results of Feminism (nobody to do the unpaid work of raising families, looking after the community and home) and outrageously high taxes, which drives both halves of couples to go out to earn half a wage each.
        Let’s hope they are well rested, vital and on their toes for the battle to come.

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          But only the public servants are on holiday

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Mark

      The police have been fine around here. In fact visible patrolling is most reassuring and seems to have the yobs on the back foot.

      Patrolling works !

      • Mark B
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        But you did not need a government lock down to do it.

        • Fred H
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          their offices are too small at 2m distancing – hence send them outside.

    • zorro
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, we have a defacto police state with the Coronavirus Bill. Limited freedom of expression, no gatherings of two or more, six feet apart, mask pushing, follow the rules/instructions rather than the law, over the top police enforcement. Dissenters can be sectioned to a mental hospital on the say-so of one doctor, the police can arrest you on suspicion of having COVID 19, whether it can be tested or proved.

      A shocking state of affairs and it must be repealed as soon as possible. Yet again we see how predictive programming is deep in the psyche of this nation. All these Nightingale hospitals void of patients. It reminds me of the Olympic opening ceremony in 2012. I always wondered why on earth that was included. If you review it and look at some of the sublimable imaging, I think that I know now….

      Yet again, Sweden has shown how to go about this sensibly. People talk about alleged ‘with’ or ‘of’COVID 19 deaths, but what about all the other deaths which are being caused because of the lockdown?

      Links below – nothing to worry about JR BBC/Spectator… https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52361519

      https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-swedish-experiment-looks-like-it-s-paying-off

      zorro

      • zorro
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Opposition is also rising in USA, and interestingly, in the US, there are five states – Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota – that never issued orders for residents to stay at home. So far, these states have suffered from COVID among the least of all in the US.

        As I have said this is a political/economic crisis using a hyped medical situation to create police state conditions to condition the people on how to obey. Andy et al can say all they like but not until the fascist state restrictions are lifted and individual liberty restored.

        zorro

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      Police behaviour deteriorated long ago. Remember Operation Yewtree?

  2. Mick
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Off a very important topic and on to another
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1271445/brexit-news-eu-talks-coronavirus-boris-johnson-michel-barnier-extension-spt
    I see that talks resume today after a bit of suspension, let’s hope they are constructive and all these remoaners asking for a extension to the transition, correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that it was built into our law that we leave on the 31 December 2020 so the only way to get a extension is for another law to be passed by Parliament

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Now is an excellent time to leave the EU. With trade volumes reduced there will be no extra shock to the economy.
      , not that I ever thought that there would be.
      We need to be fleet of foot at rebuilding our economy without the damaging EU bureaucracy stifling us.
      Any extension will destroy the Tory party.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        ..and the country.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Well, you could try to blame utter and total economic devastation on the epidemic, yes.

        However, when people started comparing this country’s predicament with others’ relative indemnity, they’d probably rightly wonder about what this one did differently.

      • zorro
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        and so it should be destroyed if BB caves in…

        zorro

      • Margaret Howard
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        “will be no extra shock to the economy.
        , not that I ever thought that there would be.”

        Hmm – are you sure? EU membership turned us from the ‘sick man of Europe’ into the world’s 5th largest economy.

        Hope you don’t put any confidence into Trump’s America. It’s not looking too good there.

        United we stand, divided we fall.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          Margaret loves the “sick man of Europe” phrase.
          Actually there were nations where the standard of living was still much lower than the UK

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          1970 6th biggest economy in the world

          1975 6th biggest economy in the world

          1980 7th biggest economy in the world

          We have merely swapped places with the French agrarian economy Maggie – hardly cause to stay in

          • Margaret Howard
            Posted April 22, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

            Narrow Shoulders

            “We have merely swapped places with the French agrarian economy Maggie – hardly cause to stay in”

            “Agriculture is an important sector of France’s economy: 3.8% of the active population is employed in agriculture, whereas the total agri-food industry made up 4.2% of French GDP in 2005”

            Hardly an ‘agrarian economy’.

            As for your dates regarding our place in world economy, in 1970 the world looked very different with neither China nor India anywhere near the top nations. Which were the other 5 nations ahead of us?

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted April 22, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            With your reference to China and India overtaking us (I don’t think India has yet btw) you are implying that others not in the EU have grown relatively in the 40 year period while we haven’t.

            The US has certainly become relatively much larger than us during the 40 year period so maybe the EU is not the panacea you are determined it to be.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      I suggest the talks are extended on 2 conditions: 1) the U.K. doesn’t have to pay any extra money to the EU (or vice versa of course); and 2) the U.K. is free to continue to negotiate and implement trade deals with other countries.

      So long as we guarantee not to undermine the single market by making sure no-one in the U.K. eg re-exports cheap New Zealand lamb to France, that could provide a good basis for a deal which keeps everybody happy.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        They need the money! They will do everything they can to stall. However, this is the best time to leave, if imports reduce from the EU so be it, we are managing on much less now and we are having to become more self-sufficient. More people will need jobs in the UK and desimated regions will have empty factories to fill.

        Large store landlords will need to repurpose the stores and become like department stores letting out smaller units inside a large store to small entrepreneurs offering to put a pay here bank on each floor to process the payments. they’re not going to be able to give the rent holidays people want and if these big retailers keep bouncing and expect everyone to take the hit on their profits for them they’re kidding themselves and will be looking around for alternative sales space without taking on too much risk and too long a rental term.

      • Peter Wood
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        R1,

        No, extending the time available simply invites Parkinson’s law.

        We must leave on time, and indicate, as we have, no possibility of delay.

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Those who are conditioned and believe in the world group conspiracy theories might concluded that it was already factored into the plan

      Like why the petrol pump price hasn’t changed much considering world markets, those wearing tin foil hats might conclude its to keep the VAT revenue high or that the oil produces are in fact agents of spectre

      • Mark B
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Yes, I was wondering that too 😉

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Yep – you know about Q-anon on Twitter? Trump stands as a giant over the deep state whose money and power are derived from fleecing the majority. When I spoke about the Bilderberg Group I was called a Conspiracy Theorist until I got a ruling against Kenneth Clarke QC from the Standards and Privileges Committee on the grounds that he had not declared ‘gifts’ from the Group – 1993 in Greece when they discussed the implementation of the Single Currency. I have the hand amended letter from Clarke denying that accusation as conspiracy theory 😂😂

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        The pump price hasn’t changed much due to UK government tax policy. Fuel duty is 58p/litre, with VAT changed on top.

        At the current price of 108p, 18p is VAT and 58p is fuel duty (76p total going to the government in tax), leaving 32p for the price of crude and the cost of extraction, refining, distribution and sale.

        When it was 138p, 23p was VAT and still 58p in fuel duty (81p total going to the government), leaving 57p for the price of crude and the cost of extraction, refining, distribution and sale.

        It’s not the oil producers keeping the price of a litre high. Their take (along with all the other parts of the supply chain to the forecourt) has almost halved, while the UK government’s is hardly touched.

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          agree

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      The Times published a letter on Saturday saying that the statesmanlike thing for Boris to do is to extend the extension for a further five years so that voters could reconsider at the next election. They never give up. The only way to stop them is to leave at the end of the year whatever the position with an FTA, the economy is starting from zero anyway so there is literally nothing to lose by doing this.

      • Andy
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Leaving on WTO won’t stop us. You fail to understand that we will never stop. We will campaign until we rejoin the EU and we will keep campaigning to make sure you lot never undermine us again.

        You have all failed to understand the important bit. You all voted leave because you thought leaving would make the UK a better and richer country. It hasn’t and it won’t. And when you have demonstrably failed to deliver what you promised, younger people – who overwhelmingly rejected Brexit anyway – will simply undo it. And you will not have the numbers to stop them. We have time and demographics on our side.
        You do not.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Currently the Conservatives are riding high in the polls.
          We means you and a few.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          What you fail to understand, young Andy, is that we are the ones who have never stopped for 60 years – yes the fight to remain out was along one, but that pretty soon there will be no European Union, no African Union. You are going to have to go over to the Continent and persuade the Italians to give up their country to German Europe – again – and afternoon this experience it could be that you greatest task will be to persuade Germans to set up their Empire again! 😂😂

  3. cynic
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    And a big thankyou to you Sir john for all your work towards a successful outcome to this crisis.

  4. oldtimer
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    It is reported there is disagreement in government about the date the lockdown should be eased. It is claimed that any decision “is guided by the science.” This is obvious nonsense. The scientists do not know. They are guessing. That was evident from replies to questions at yesterday’s No 10 briefing. If they do not know answers to questions now, three months on, then they certainly did not know the answers at the outset when we were told of the risk of 500,000 deaths in the UK alone.

    There is also silence on the results of the testing programme being conducted by Portion Down/Welcome Trust, which we were told would be shared with the public. Why?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Indeed “The Science” and scientists are just providing cover for the politicians to hide behind.

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Every sector of government and its associated qangos and agencies are currently digging their respective trenches like mad and getting ready to toss back that rather hot potato of who’s to blame

    • BOF
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      The scientists are guessing. They base the guesses on computer models. Guesswork in, guesswork out.

      • Mark
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Or, as I saw someone note:

        Garbage in, Gospel out.

        Climate modelling a speciality…

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 22, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

          Indeed modelling the virus spread is a doddle compared to all the variables involved in climate for 100 years time! I assume the climate models allowed for this pandemic the reduction in energy and aircraft use and population reductions! If not they are clearly all now wrong!

          Also I ASSUME THE climate soothsayers HAVE ALSO ALLOWED FOR that massive volcanic eruption- due 12th Jan 2029 at 2.56.04 AM GMT in Iceland not to forget the wide spread use of fusion electrical energy from ABOUT 2034 onwards and that genetic modification of plants that enables them to capture 30% of the suns energy and turn it directly into oil in 2054!

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Not entirely. Much of the management of these pandemics is based on the lessons learnt from how Spanish flu was handled in the USA. Different states and cities were allowed to make their own decisions with regards to lockdowns (or not) and the records of the decisions taken and the death rates in each city are well recorded to be analysed and compared.

        For example, Philadelphia decided against a lockdown and instead held a parade, resulting in far higher death rates than many other cities. St. Louis had a lockdown and ended up having to implement a second one after easing it too early and seeing a second spike in death rates.

        The models may be models and the only facts in the current pandemic are those we have from looking back, but the science of looking at responses and their effects on death rates has been well studied over many years, and it is those lessons which have informed the responses to all modern day pandemics.

    • Andy
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      This is easy really.

      Iain Duncan Smith and David Davis have both called for the lockdown to end.

      Their abysmal records in government suggest we should do precisely the opposite of what they say.

      When Mr Duncan Smith calls for the lockdown to continue we know it’s time to end it.

      • Martin R
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        A truly idiotic comment that could only have come from A or MinC.

      • Brexiteer
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        You still here?

    • oldtimer
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Porton Down not Portion Down. Misguided, automated spelling correction strikes again.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        our portions are not down – getting fat.

      • Old Way
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Don’t worry about it, spelling, typed words on here and elsewhere, change automatically in the typing and in the sending and receiving. It is progress modern

    • Reaction Harry
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      You ask why there is silence on Porton Down testing. Is the reason for suppressing facts that the current crisis needs capable managers rather than capable politicians, and poor managers seek to hide poor performance by obfuscation and suppressing uncomfortable facts? Unfortunately, political careers tend to benefit more from presentation skills than managerial competence, spin more than delivery.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Serious question – why do you believe anything about the crisis that is reported in the national newspapers ?

      If the MSM journalists were competent they would ask your interesting question about testing at the press conference and the experts would no doubt update us. But as they plainly aren’t competent they won’t.

      • oldtimer
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        My assumption is that much (most/all?) reporting is to establish, reinforce or reflect a narrative. If the story interests me enough I will look at alternative points of view and/or go back to original documentation to try to reach my own conclusions. So far as C-19 is concerned there is not much to go on. Different journalists could have teased out more/better answers than those we have had so far.

        Apart from the outcome of the Porton Down/Wellcombe Trusts studies they could usefully ask for the infection/death rate comparisons to be represented in a format that was actually comparable – such as the rate per million of population. That no one has bothered to do so beggars belief.

  5. DOMINIC
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Ever greater levels of State dependency encouraged by the State itself will eventually bankrupt the UK. Turn to the State is now the new mantra giving the political State huge power and influence over how we live our lives. Thatcher encouraged people to create a separate space apart from the State, independent of one another. She truly understood that the State can be both a source of assistance when needed and a source of oppression when it becomes a vested interest in itself. We have reached the the latter

    Protests are now breaking out around the free world by those who recognise the political State and their constituents are abusing this crisis to further their own political and financial ends

    I just hope that the British people are able to see the political exploitation of this crisis and punish those parties including the Tory party for their cynical attempts to reset the State-person relationship that benefits the State and damages the person

    Don’t bombard us with propaganda nor ask us to clap. Please halt the WW2 analogies, it’s become overtly disturbing

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    I have been chasing one major UK bank for about two weeks for forms to apply for the virus business interruption loans. Just had an email yesterday saying they cannot do this yet as they are still awaiting clarifications from government over the scheme!

    What a complete joke the bank and government are. These loans are needed now not in months time.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      In the meantime the opening hours for Banks have reduced to joke levels, Barclays in Wokingham open 6 hours per week, so if you actually do need to go to the bank, you will probably stand in a line !
      Most of them now open just 4 hours a day.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        If you ring, email them or fill in their on-line forms you get nowhere either in my experience.

      • Stred
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Presumably, the tax payer is now paying for the banks to layoff their staff and do nothing, just when they are needed to offer the loans to prevent redundancies and bankruptcies. Don’t we just love them.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      My sleeplessness is over good people falling through the gaps. At last the BBC is now reporting on business owners who cannot get loans as the banks prevaricate. Hours and hours on the phone.

      Perhaps a national round of applause for them every week. At least key workers have regular income.

      My wife was furloughed yesterday and her boss is using his businesses’ savings – many are not so well established.

      Effectively the government has confiscated businesses and “Sunak saves 1 million jobs” as the The Sun says yesterday is not quite correct – he’s just delayed them from appearing in the unemployment stats.

      Furlough money has caused a shortage of people who would have been glad to work in the fields, fresh air, exercise and purpose in these maddening times (the habitually unemployed were never going to do this – not much has changed for them.)

      ***It would be good for mental health if furloughed workers could be allowed to work on farms and very good for the nation. And so what if they top up lost earnings***

      This has really struck at the heart of entrepreneurial and get-up-and-go Britain.

      Trust that the rewards for effort will not be confiscated is key to any healthy society.

  7. Sharon Jagger
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I agree with much that you say, Mr Redwood, but with regards to elderly and vulnerable people staying at home indefinitely, while in theory is an admirable idea, in practice is a horrifying idea to many. A 90 year old gentleman called LBC at the weekend following the suggestion that the elderly stay in lockdown until next autumn. He lives on his own, has his shopping delivered, phones his granddaughter daily, but has no other technology. His comment was that life would not be worth living!

    The idea of keeping over 70s locked away is totally unrealistic and cruel, in the long term.

    Off topic – I read this morning that thousands of PPE equipment is being sold abroad because offers of these to the government have been repeatedly ignored! However, one company has managed to supply the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust by sidestepping the governments procurement process.You couldn’t make it up could you?

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Ps – * Government, read Government agencies!

      • jerry
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        @Sharon Jagger; “The idea of keeping over 70s locked away is totally unrealistic and cruel, in the long term.”

        So is those over 70 suffering CV19, a painful, distressing death sentence!

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          There are lots of ‘painful distressing death sentences’ and old people take their chances. Nobody suggested closing the country down for AIDS which is more contagious, more vicious and 30 years later, no vaccine. So far 1,600 U.K. deaths because of CV19 according to the Govt.!

        • Al
          Posted April 22, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

          “So is those over 70 suffering CV19, a painful, distressing death sentence!” – jerry

          As they are adults, surely that should be their own decision to make.

          The facilities should be available to allow all those in the vulnerable groups who wish to, to self-isolate, but otherwise they should be able to make an informed decision based on where they live and the degree of exposure that they will receive.

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        Its time abolish all qangos and re-assess there need in a post covid19 UK

        The government should half the salaries of agencies/qangos…job for the boys

        Lets face it these agencies/qangos have been tested and found wanting

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      David Neiper from Alfreton has done the same. He has dealt directly with East Midlands hospitals and is delivering reusable gowns.
      It was on BBC local news last night.
      Same story, no response from PHE so he went to local management.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Purchasing and acquisition is not in PHE’s remit.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          Wrong.
          Public Health England spend many hundreds of millions on purchases and aquisitions.

    • Abendrot
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      It becomes clearer by the day that the agencies of the NHS, PHE and the civil service are far from competent when it comes to caring for the nation’s health. What on earth is going on? The Government appears to be losing this battle against what appears to be an obdurate and inflexible bureaucracy.

      Slightly further off topic – we’ve heard bellicose criticisms from the MSM that the Government were behind because they changed strategy from herd immunity to lockdown following panic from the MSM after doom laden messages from SAGE, in particular the prognostications of Professor Ferguson, whose previous risk assessments have been massively awry. It now looks, Sweden, for example, that herd immunity with protection of the elderly and infirm as a priority, was the way to go all along. Well done the MSM, you’ve destroyed millions of jobs. And 0/10 for the Government who caved in because it was what everyone else, almost, was doing. I expected something better from this Government; alas, I was mistaken.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      PPE.

      I read that that sold abroad had been imported from China and was probably rejected because it could not be trusted in use.

      An opportunist who probably bought bog roll in bulk too !

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Ultimately if over-70s decide not to stay in lockdown there’s not a thing the government can do about it. I’ve seen people I know are over 70 out shopping – maintaining all the social distancing protocols that the rest of us do. Ultimately they know the risk and it is their own decision, and as we have hospital capacity I can’t see a problem with it.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Well, Roy, the frightening thing is that government could say if an over 70 doesn’t stay on lockdown they won’t hospitalise them if they catch it because the ventilator and other healthcare on offer in the hospital isn’t working effectively on that age group.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        I am happy to opt-out of the NHS so they DONT need to treat me under any circumstances. In fact I will pay for that opt-out.

        • sok
          Posted April 22, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          I think it is impertinent that we try to tell our seniors how to behave. We have gone wrong somewhere down the line. Peter, 50 yrs

    • L Jones
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Ms Jagger – re incarceration of the over 70s. I should think travel companies would have some thoughts on this! Considering that it is generally people who have saved for years to spend on their retirement after 70, in many cases – cruises/visits to far-away families/world-wide travel/posh hotels – then the tourist industry would suffer hugely.
      The tapestry of our lives isn’t only made up of people under the age of 70. Those of that age (and much older these days) are leading a full and very active life, contributing to families’ welfare, and generally playing a full part in the well-being of our country. Most don’t need to be told whether or not they’re ”at risk”. This patronising attitude to ”the elderly” is beyond contempt.

  8. Dave Andrews
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I don’t think we should be in despair about the time taken to find a coronavirus vaccine. Doctors will gain experience of treating patients and learn effective ways to relieve symptoms, allowing the patient to recover by themselves. We’ve heard recently of this technique of proning, which seems to have made improvements. Other techniques will come to light as time goes on, and the prognosis for comparable patients will be better in a few month’s time than it is now.
    There seems to be a link between obesity and poor response to the virus, so shouldn’t the government be encouraging general fitness?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Indeed many lives can be extended significantly just by getting people’s weight down to normal BMI levels (just by eating and drinking alcohol far less and some gentle exercise).

      Not just reductions in the coronavirus deaths but also in cardiovascular, diabetes type II complications, blood pressure, strokes, certain cancers, haemorrhage etc. Also fewer knee, hip, back, foot, ankle and back problems too – as rather less forces and pressures on these joints too.

      The saving of quality life years from this alone would far exceed the reduction in QLYs from this virus. It cost less than nothing to do and you feel better too.

      • John Lodge
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, starting with most of the NHS staff!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      But an early vaccine that works would be very nice indeed to have and we may well get one!

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        An early vaccine means cutting corners (they usually take 10-15 years to produce and one hasn’t been found for AIDS yet.)

        Are you seriously suggesting we inject 99% of the healthy population who are at low risk with something untested and rushed through ?

        Will this vaccine be forced upon us ?

        • Stred
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          No.

      • Stred
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        It was a pleasure to hear Prof Sarah Gilbert on Marr answering questions informatively and without any hesitation or deflection. It was uplifting and educational in contrast to the appalling non answers given in the ministerial briefings. particularly by Alex Sharma, who must be the worst. He should be kept off the and sent home before he attracts any more ridicule.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          Stred

          Absolutely Agreed, and Marr did not interrupt once either.

          Perhaps he has learn’t something as well, if you ask an intelligent and sensible Question, then you need to listen to the whole answer.

          • Stred
            Posted April 22, 2020 at 3:31 am | Permalink

            Alan. Prof Gilbert was hoping to get backing for vaccine production in the UK. As we will need massive numbers and at the moment we have to buy from abroad, I hope she gets her wish.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I am very grateful to hear that people are working their socks off, all over the world to try and find a vaccine. I am betting that they are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to do so.

      Along with our fantastic Emergency Services, they are the heroes, and I do hope they are recognised for their priceless contribution to our wellbeing.

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Its really a waste of time the only treatment for a virus is paracetamol and 2 weeks in bed……a vaccine is years off

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      But they need the PPE to do get close enough to do this.

      This country can’t make any.

      And why is that ?

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Alas the government will never say or do anything that is politically incorrect.

        They’d sooner lock us all up than tell people to lose weight. They’d sooner lock us all up than close borders.

        We are being ruled and destroyed by political correctness.

        The slogan by now should be “Stay at home. Save lives. Save the NHS. Lose weight.”

        Obesity was already killing the NHS. Even they admitted it being their #1 killer.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          And drugs! A very expensive vaccine is no doubt on the horizon to top up the coffers of pharma. Beware! I will go to jail before submitting to a vaccine.

        • Margaret Howard
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          Anonymous

          “The slogan by now should be “Stay at home. Save lives. Save the NHS. Lose weight.”

          So what advice would you give regarding the disproportionate death rate of ethnic minority NHS workers?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            It is largely not true. If you compare with people in similar (usually city areas are harder hit), living in simlarly conditions with similar jobs you will surely find it is about the same rate (BAME or not BAME). You have to compare like with like.

            There is however a huge 2:1 discrimination against men (Bame or otherwise).

          • Edward2
            Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            Same slogan
            Are you claiming they are different?
            Gosh.

          • Anonymous
            Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            I’d prefer those NHS workers not to be treating patients who could have avoided being put in their care by the simple act of losing weight.

            Fewr patients = less risk

            Obesity is an avoidable burden on NHS workers at the best of tmes.

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        We have no PPE because there wasn’t a production policy and all government(s) closed ‘Remploy’ for cheaper products made in turkey, china and burma

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          An appaling oversight in the dire pandemic planning incompetence.

    • John E
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Yes I have seen doctors comment that they are seeing it more as a vascular disease than a respiratory one. Hence the problems associated with hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, but a much lower incidence than had been expected of problems for asthma patients.
      This is a very good time to lose weight and get some exercise.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        on our all too frequent trips to hospitals/ surgeries in the last several years we have been amazed how many fat people work there. Not a few pounds but stones!

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        I do not believe that obesity is a huge factor in the Northern Italian and Chinese deaths so there must be something else at play.

        Obese people tend to have many other issues so the obvious one may not be the one to focus on.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    It seems that the excess deaths in week 15 are about 10,000 (from the graph they seem not to have quoted the exact figure as they did for week 14 for some political reasons ones assumes). Probably a similar figure for week 16. So that is about 26,000 excess deaths in just three weeks almost certainly due to the virus. Perhaps even higher as deaths from other sources than Covid have probably declined slightly (due to cancelation of other operations). It is usual to see a decline in deaths (when operations are cancelled – when doctors strike for example for this reason and an increase when they resume working).

    • SM
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      You have no idea, LL, how many ‘excess’ deaths are ‘almost certainly’ due to the virus, just as you have no idea about the actual risk of using ventilators.

      Until all the data is collected, correlated and analysed – which surely is unlikely to happen this year – causes and effects can only be assumed. I find it noteworthy that the medical and epidemiological experts seem to divide into roughly two categories: one believes the skies are still likely to fall in on the world unless all human activity is put on hold for months, and the other (many from Oxford) who seem to be more optimistic.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Often depends on where their funding comes from.
        Politics is like that now! Oh actually probably always were…read contemporary views ( 1700s) on first roll outs of smallpox vacs.
        Opinions are bought.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Well what else do you thing caused the excess deaths families murdering each other? Road deaths will have gone down too I suspect. If you look at the current death figures in hospitals of about 16500 plus about 7000 more outside hospitals then 24,500 it agrees very well with the excess deaths over the weekly average in last few weeks plus about 8000 more in the week yet to be published.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Well if you get to the point where you are going to die without full medical ventilation it is surely better than not having it? Italian figures suggest 50% survived full ventilation. But clearly it depends on the cohort that get it and at what point.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          Italian figures suggest 50% survived full ventilation.

          No they don’t the figure is at best 14% according to the consultant interviewed on 5live on Sunday night

    • jerry
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      @LL; Oh dear, and you were doing so well until your last sentence, forgetting that deaths in such circumstances just move, there being a spike weeks, months later.

      As for the discrepancies in the weekly deaths due to CV19 stats, I think you’ll find the over all (rolling) count has not changed, just a revision as to when some deaths occurred, remember the purpose of these stats is more than just a body count.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Of course these deaths are just brought forwards by the operation and complications and will occur later instead if the operation is delayed. Surely this goes without saying. We will all die after all.

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        In order for the implications of the statistics to be made clearer, it would be useful to have a revised table of infections and fatalities based on the date of occurrence, rather than the date of reporting.

        That may not assist in helping to make decision of today’s (this minute’s) course of action, but it would help to retrospectively show which actions did in fact have an impact (and which did not) on the rate of infection and fatality.

    • Hope
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      LL,

      As a person of science, and govt false claims to be led by science, it is clear to us laymen that the figures and false claims by Govt and the “expert” propaganda panel are absolute rot.

      The graph figures are so flawed to be meaningless. The figures represent died with Chinese virus not from it. Care homes and residential houses not counted the same and death certificates issued without seeing person, diagnose by phone if you like- hardly reliable.

      The appointment of the PPE czar a total recognition Hancock, PHE and NHS England resoundingly failed in their preparedness not “international exemplar!”

      I think the propaganda panel has reached new levels of conceit and utter contempt for the public. They all praise each other and answer questions as if the media and public are dim wits! The PHE official yesterday spectacularly bad- you do not need a hypothesis to know allowing hundreds of thousands people from virus hotspots spreads the disease, how does she think it got here in the first place! How does she explain Taiwan , South Korea, Australia and New Zealand compared to her and the UK record? At what point will the govt show leadership and dispatch PHE as a failed organisation?

      • Hope
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        Again, another layer and at more cost to the taxpayer as a Govt PR stunt to make it look like they are doing something more!

        Like Mark B I want a written promise all Acts that curtail our liberty freedoms are fully got rid of without caveat or qualification including May’s Snooper charter.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      They did quote the exact figure but you chose to ignore it for some political reasons one assumes. 7996.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        That figure does not seem to be in a government release that I saw. And the graph suggest slightly more than that. Where did you get that figure from?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      At the start of this lockdown Andrew Lilico wrote that the Govt. ‘were obviously not telling us the real numbers in order to avoid frightening us, but that they would not take this unprecedented action for a mere few hundred thousand deaths. The REAL expectation must be way worse than that’.
      He has stayed indoors ever since as far as I can make out. Like you he is trying to justify his actions by bumping up the death figures, but there is no way anybody can bump the death numbers up to a figure that justifies this lockdown and destruction of companies and jobs. So I can hardly be bothered to tell you that the Govt itself admits that deaths due to the Coronavirus in the U.K. are around 1,600. If the hospitals had been half organized the deaths would have been reduced even from that because most contagion has taken place in hospitals (as usual). Even if the numbers were 160,000 it would not have justified what will follow. The impoverishment of the U.K. for generations – because to hide their stupidity, of course, the Deep State (which includes poor Boris) will pass the debt to future generations.

  10. Alan Jutson
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Very sensible views JR, see you do not need to be an expert Scientist or medical professional to come up with a workable scheme, you just need some common sense.

    Outside workers to start first, doors to be kept open in all shops to allow fresh air circulation.

    Younger people to start first etc etc

    Most older people in the at risk group (over 60) should have enough common sense to realise that keeping at home as much as possible will reduce the risk of catching it.

    Whilst all this is going on, the Government need a robust reporting system back to them about hospital admissions and deaths, remaining at daily but gradually extending until it is weekly, just to monitor the situation, just in case controls need to be tightened.

    • Tom Rogers
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Do you actually believe everything the government says or are you a robot or have you been brainwashed in some sort of secret and sinister military experiment we need to know about?

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Do not think so Tom.

        Just using the commons sense that has got me through life not too badly so far.

        Your solution is exactly what ?

  11. Sakara Gold
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The figures that purport to show there have been less admissions to hospital for Chinese plague virus patients are once again clearly being “spun” by the government. Hospitals are reducing the number of admissions to reflect the non-availability of PPE that protects their staff and in an attempt to reduce the spread of noscomial infections. There are less fatalities as a result. This is not something the government can claim credit for.

    I would like to see a piece from you that covers three aspects of the UK epidemic that are not being discussed in the media:-

    1) Why is the Chinese plague virus killing such a large proportion of men? If you search for information on this, in some hospitals in London up to 80% of the fatalities are male. This is exactly what would be wanted from a bioengineered weapon targeted at soldiers – along with the hyper-infectivity, the up to 14 day lag before symptoms appear allowing a large R0 of up to 7.5 and the modest fatality rate of about 15% of those hospitalised. Coupled with the obfuscation and denial by the Chinese regime in January (backed up by the WHO) this observation is highly suspicious.

    2) Why is the proportion of BAME patients so large? This group makes up about 15% of the general population but in some Birminham and London hospitals including the ExCel Nightingale, the proportion of people getting admitted and put on a ventilator is 60% BAME. Why so? Is this group especially susceptible to the virus or are they being preferentially selected over elderly white victims in care homes for e.g.?

    3) Who was responsible for the decision in February to stop testing people exposed to confirmed cases, ending the quarantine procedure and then advising the public to “shelter in place”. Was this decision taken because of the lack of test kits and reagents? Or was it because closing the borders and isolating people exposed was deemed to be too disruptive to the economy?

    We need answers to these questions. As the number of “confirmed” fatalities approaches 20,000 those responsible must be held accountable before they are allowed to make things even worse.

    • Stred
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      We also need to know what happened to the tests for the sample of the whole population that was being produced by the Porton Down experts over a week ago. Reports from the USA are that very few antibodies are being found despite the theory that many more people have had the disease than the official number from testing. Why are we not being told?

    • Mark
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      The populations of London and Birmingham have much larger proportions of BAME people than 15%. Given that infection rates in major cities are much higher than elsewhere, it is the setting rather than the fact of being BAME that probably dominates. Offsetting that is that the proportion of elderly who are BAME is much lower than in the general population (13% of “whites” are over 70, but only 4.5% of “blacks”, 3.5% of “Asians”, 1.9% of “Mixed” and 2.9% of “others” according to ONS data) – but that really needs to be studied on a geographic basis.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      The answer to 2) is fairly obvious. BAME people are concentrated in cities where viral spread is greatest. (There is also the issue of lacking vitamin D)

      The proportion of BAME people in London probably takes them to somewhere near 60% of the local population.

      Living in a city does not necessarily mean a person is deprived. I was offered a large salary to move to London recently but couldn’t do so because I could not afford the house prices.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      I don’t follow your logic as COVID-19 appears to be far more lethal to people who would fail an army medical.

  12. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    John, how many times do you have to have it explained?

    Are you blind to what Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, S. Korea, Germany, Greece, and many other countries are doing?

    The WHO advice that they are following is absolutely not to “live with the virus”.

    It is to suppress it to such an extent, that the few sporadic cases can be quarantined, and contacts traced and isolated.

    THAT is the only sane plan available for now.

    It is the intention of most European Countries too, but like the UK, Italy some others have a lot of catching up to do. However, I trust that they will succeed.

    Reply Test and track is a policy of living with the virus. We all want to get case numbers down. After a strong clampdown you need to be careful about what next as it can easily flare up again. Many people with it do not go for a test

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Thank you John – yes, Test and Track is “a” policy, but so is living with large numbers of fatalities every month, with a damped-down but nonetheless endemic disease.

      Which is your government’s?

      Reply Many govts inc UK tried track and test but it did not control the disease

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        No, they did not do it nearly systematically or intensively enough, nor combined it with exhaustive isolation.

        The UK hardly even began before abandoning it.

        • Fred H
          Posted April 22, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          Martin I think you know UK couldn’t do testing and knew it wasn’t fool-proof, so decided to give it up.

          • Fred H
            Posted April 22, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

            they could have course enabled hundreds of Labs, but that would show up NHS and PHE shortcomings, now coming to see the light of day.

      • forthurst
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply. Track and Trace has worked and is working but in first world countries only meaning they have first world government and a first world civil service.

        The idea of cohabiting with a disease like COV-19 is completely preposterous: it will end in far more deaths and far more economic damage as well as many milli0ns of peoples lives made a misery totally unnecessariy. There is only one sane way to proceed and that is to have the ambition to eliminate this disease completely. It may be necessary to replace the senior civil servant in the DHSC as he’s clearly incapable of sorting out the PPE issue even. The Head of the Civil Service needs to go as well as he is obviously out of his depth also.

        Why do we hear all this talk about how many tests the government will do as if this is some panacea in itself? It is no more sensible than interviewing a thousand people at random to find the perpetrator of a crime. Contacts need to be traced and quarantined. People entering the country need to quarantined. People who are under quarantine need to be monitored and penalised for breaches. Areas of high incidence need to totally locked down until their infection rate has been brought under control.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          Thank you, Forthurst.

          It is something, that some people across the political spectrum can at least look around the world, and understand what determined and intelligent application of simple, logical methods can achieve.

          There is no reason why what they have done cannot be done here too.

          Starting at a disadvantage, Italy and such countries are now unrolling such programmes, and are set to leave the UK standing too unless things change.

          The alternative is beyond preposterous. It would be an historic outrage and disgrace.

    • zorro
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Can you supress or vaccinate against the common cold virus?

      zorro

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Has anyone ever tried?

        • Edward2
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          Yes for decades.

        • hefner
          Posted April 23, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          MiC, see ‘Why we can’t cure the common cold’ Guardian long read 6 October 2017.

  13. formula57
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    “They are afraid that an early relaxation would allow the virus to spread more rapidly again…” – fair enough although that fear will always be with us.

    Is the Government on top of preserving law and order, food and energy supplies and internet operation? (Was it before?!)

  14. Iain Moore
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    In the last few No10 press conferences the Government has left off the SW region from their infection charts, one must presume it’s because there are so few cases in the SW it doesn’t show up. We have a lockdown being perpetrated on the country based on what is best for London and other metropolitan centers. Time to liberate Wessex?

    • rose
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      I notice the South West is flat and low and has been all along. Northern Ireland likewise. But these two parts of the country are always neglected. Education, transport, health money go to other parts of the country. The South West is not the North, you see, not even Gloucester which is very deprived indeed. Somerset has less spent on its education than any other part of the country. It isn’t multinational London, you see.

  15. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Another dire press briefing performance.

    Not necessarily connected but the UK as a whole and in government and bureaucracy everywhere at all levels here is the problem that secrecy is an endemic disease. People are not entitled to know anything.

    That is why questions are never properly answered, sensible explanations are never given, fear of breaking some stupid rule or regulation holds everyone back.

    And oovering of backsides is becoming an art form everywhere.

    • zorro
      Posted April 22, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      They thought they were clever, they have sowed a seed and will now reap the whirlwind….

      zorro

  16. Irene
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    For the record: Boris Johnson allegedly sent a letter to 66 million people in the UK telling them to stay home. Reports indicated a cost of £5.7 million for this. I never received said letter. Was that yet another promise that was never kept? BTW, I’m not bothered about not having received it. It’s the squandering of £5.7 million that concerns me.

    Are your ‘Dear Constituent’ letters sent to constituents? If so, how? And what is the cosr? Who pays that cost?

    Or are they simply a literary device?

    Reply They are electronic letters posted on this site which I personally pay for. They can be sent on as emails to those interested.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Absolutely, and I also thought that No 10 was a bit of an infection“hot spot”…what with the PM and others being so poorly. So assuming those in govt were truly clued up on the WHO’s take on all this they would have know that there is no “settled science”😂 on whether and for how long this virus can persist on post!!
      I was graced with said missive and of course got out my disinfectant spray and hand rub immediately!!

    • Irene
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply
      So, as I thought, they’re not real. How do your constituents know about these letters if they don’t follow your blog? The cost of running this website can’t be much.

      The figures released today by the ONS are alarming. Truly shocking – although not unexpected. They really do call into question the validity and usefulness of the daily No 10 briefings. Do MPs need and want to continue to treat us all like idiots? Don’t you think we can handle the truth? It’s almost as though Covid-19 in the community and in care homes was somehow or other erased from the agenda by our leaders, hoping that we wouldn’t notice how we are all being manipulated. A daily dose of manipulation won’t keep Covid-19 away. It’s here and it’s here to stay.

      Reply My letters are real and published, and widely circulated.

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Is that what MPs get an extra £10 000 for?

  17. Andy
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I would like to pay credit to the government.

    The New Zealand government.

    It has played an absolute blinder in this crisis.

    The message was simple ‘we go hard and we go early. Italy only had 100 cases once.’

    Minimal deaths, a relatively short lockdown and the country brought together.

    Even Ardern’s biggest critics recognise she has done a staggeringly good job.

    She is an absolutely fabulous leader. We should hire her and get her to run our country.

    She’d certainly be a huge improvement. Mind you so would anyone, except Trump.

    • Stred
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      N.Z didn’t have the EU with its open border policy and our civil service following EU and WHO advice to allow flights and other transport to the Alps and Italian hot spots. They also didn’t have psychological gurus in the cabinet office telling them that the public wouldn’t be able to cope with a lockdown too early and that herd immunity was a good idea. Today we read that only 3% of the population has been found with antibodies and consequently herd immunity is a long way off.

      • Stred
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        From the US and WHO.. Re Guardian

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      Absolutely agree with your comments, but do remember she had the advantage and facts of knowing that a lot of other countries did not act early enough, because New Zealand was late and behind the curve in getting its first case.

      Having said that, she learn’t the lesson quickly, and acted fast.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Bit easier when you have a nation of just 4.8 million people with a density of just 46 people per square mile.
      Ranked 166th in the world in terms population density.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        How about China with 1.4 billion then? Or Greece, for that matter?

        • Edward2
          Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          Well we know you fall for every communist dictatorship press release from China.
          Greece..huge land mass, hundreds of low population islands.
          Just a few cities with high density.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      It’s two remote islands thousands of miles away from anywhere and has 3m people.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 22, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        and the time difference ?- about 30 years.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      The government which really deserves credit is Taiwan’s. Not only have they dealt with the Wuhan virus exceptionally well, despite being very close to China, they warned the WHO about it in December. But because the WHO is under huge and malign influence from China, as Trump has rightly observed, and is run by an Ethiopian Marxist, it didn’t take any notice or do anything g about it.

    • Ex-Tory
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Not only that, but she and her fellow ministers have taken a 20% pay cut “to show solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus outbreak”.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        That is indeed laudable.

    • SM
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      And we are all certain that it has nothing to do with the fact that N Zealand has a population half the size of Greater London spread over a couple of islands with one heck of a lot of sea isolating them from the rest of the world?

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Ah. New Zealand.

      A land the size of England with the population size of London.

      How is it going Chez Andy ? I’d have expected informative news about working from home or furloughing staff from you – along with some linguistic flourishes in your postings since you run a translation business.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        The population of London is around 9 million the population of New Zealand under 5 million?

        Plus I doubt New Zealand had anything like the returning half-term holiday makers from Lombardy and Spain and France who were all two weeks further into this infectious stage than we were without telling us the outbreak was getting out of control or even there! Then we had a massive football match in Liverpool with 1000s of fans from the most infected region of Spain turn up.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous,

        I think you meant half of London.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Yes, she is superb, as is Angela Merkel, a qualified scientist in a relevant field.

  18. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Germany we are told has a low rate of death but a high incidence of ventilators.

    I learned recently that those on ventilators have about a 5% chance of survival.

    That almost certainly means that 95% of those on ventilators here will become part of the mortality statistics in due course. Has Germany got thousands on ventilators that it is keeping alive or are they successfully treating people or is their population not suffering from the lung damage that China, America, Spain Italy and us are experiencing.

    The approach could be vital in finding a way out of lockdown as Germany’s mortality rate and hospital use seems to be within normal operating levels and so can be absorbed into normal life. If however they just have thousands in comas on ventilators then that does not help.

  19. M Hopkins
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I don’t think we should be placing such emphasis on vaccines. Vaccines against respiratory viruses are problematic and previous attempts have shown to produce a heightened immune response that can be lethal. Currently animal studies are being bypassed in the rush to produce a vaccine. The key to fighting viruses is a healthy immune system. If 80% of our microbiome is beneficial it keeps the 20% in check. A bad diet, lack of exercise, poor sleep and stress all damage our immune system. This lockdown is making things worse, not better. People have had the rug pulled from under them and they are being fed a daily diet of frightening news, increasing stress levels. Vitamin D from sunshine is essential for fighting viruses and yet we are told to stay indoors. Forget the vaccines and concentrate on running a health campaign instead. 99% of people who get the virus do not need medical intervention. Obesity is a major risk factor.

    • R.T.G.
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      @ M Hopkins
      “The key to fighting viruses is a healthy immune system.”

      You might find the abstract of this 2015 paper interesting:

      Fever and the thermal regulation of immunity: the immune system feels the heat.
      Sharon S. Evans, Elizabeth A. Repasky, and Daniel T. Fisher
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4786079/

      It is not always appreciated that ‘a fever’, ie what used to be called ‘running a temperature’, is a perfectly normal immune response to assist the immune system in defeating viruses and bacteria, as these tend to be heat sensitive.

      However, this paper, to put it simply, goes further in suggesting that the temperature rise itself also systemically ‘boosts’ the immune system.

      Unfortunately for us, but not for those engaged in selling over-the-counter cold remedies, we have become conditioned to using these to lower our temperature at the first sign of a cold. For most colds this is not a problem, and makes us feel more comfortable, even if it could be argued the cold lasts a bit longer, but I would respectfully suggest that with this particular virus we need, as you state, our immune systems to be working optimally.

      Thus, perhaps, a moderate temperature rise in an otherwise fit and healthy person is to be welcomed rather than reversed at first call?

      • forthurst
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Calicitriol, a form of vitamin D, is essential to the functioning of T- cells, the engines of the immune system. The English people did not evolve a white skin as an act of supremacy but rather to increase vitamin D levels whilst living in higher latitudes, also necessitating clothes wearing, there again, not for proclaiming a greater degree of civilisation but to keep warm. Clearly BAME people are maladapted to our climate and women are less likely to be deficient in Vit D than men since they tend to bare their arms and lower legs.

  20. clive
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John .
    As we are now hopefully turning the corner regarding this dreadful C 19 disease I can not help think the government missed opportunities to encourage a more healthier way of life.
    As a vast majority of the general public are over weight ,obese ,or suffer from diabetes , more should have been made of getting fit and eating a proper diet to help boost the immune system . All it would have needed is a gentle reminder after the Governments now tiresome mantra .Something like ,the best way of keeping C19 at bay is . Eat healthy , stay fit , help your body fight back .
    When you have the attention of the masses, use it constructively and in a positive manner, this in turn creates a good out come .
    Benefits the NHS and all .

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      The NHS carries a heavy load – lighten it by losing weight

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Instead we have people griping about joggers on here.

      Lockdown is going to see a fair few people lacking fitness and vitamin D and putting on weight into obesity levels.

      The very last thing the NHS needs.

  21. Caterpillar
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    “afraid that an early relaxation would allow the virus to spread more rapidly”

    When the Govt is not acting on its absolute power, it does appear to act on its own generated fear and not rational decisions based on data, science and economics.

    Where are the antibody test results from Porton Down? (what do the cross-sectional results say on prevalence, what do the longitudinal results say on potential immunity?)
    What are the rolling model forecasts for the epidemic and where is the model published?
    Where is the cost-benefit calculation of lockdown (lives vs. lives, life years vs. life years, quality life years vs quality life years)?
    Where are the ‘adult’ forecasts of PPE?
    What is happening with nosocomial infection?
    Does the lockdown help NHS normalise for other care or hinder due to fear?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      I should clarify, the nosocomial data is potentially crucial beyond the safety of workers; if we are through peak in community transmission the question must be asked if NHS-related infection could be pumping/extending the epidemic and so prolonging lockdown.

      (I feel bad at asking this and repeating the above questions but without them there cannot be confidence/trust in the decisions).

  22. Sea Warrior
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    ‘We should continue to give strong advice to at risk groups to stay at home …’ Yesterday, I travelled to Kent to give some support to some elderly relatives who are ‘locked-down’ and face months of isolation. Perhaps the political class could explain to me why an aunt and uncle aren’t allowed to travel in their car to a local golf-course and play a round? This absurdity was also touched on by an interviewee on R4’s Today Programme who mentioned that someone wanting to play even a SOLITARY round of golf can’t do that in America today.

    • ChrisS
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      The closure of golf courses and tennis courts cannot be justified on social distancing grounds. It is perfectly possible to play a round of golf with up to three others and maintain 2m social distancing at all times. The gentleman from the USA also said that the owners of small shops were rightly miffed at the fact that they have to stay closed down yet Walmart and other large stores remain open. In the UK the big supermarkets and their smaller local shops are able to sell the full range of goods they normally stock, not just “essential” items.

      What is the difference between any small shop that has to stay closed and a Tesco Local that is allowed to remain open and can sell the same goods ? The small individual shop owner is just as able to restrict the number of shoppers allowed inside the store as Tesco.

      The closure of Council-owned tennis courts is even more ridiculous, after all, there is a net between the players and they rarely come anywhere near that barrier !

      I fly Radio Control planes and my club, in Maidenhead, has been advised that it has to remain closed. We fly from the corner of an enormous field owned by a local farmer and there is no need to ever get close to another member. Even the tables at which we prepare our models for flight are well over 2m apart !

      These restrictions on all sorts of leisure activities are impossible to justify.

  23. formula57
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    A “Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience” has been written by Harvard University’s Center [sic] for Ethics that describes itself as the first comprehensive operational roadmap for mobilizing and reopening the U.S. economy. Perhaps of interest to our policy-makers?

    Its recommended approach (mobilize and transition), between continued lock-down and letting Covid-19 run its course, envisages first using lock-down time to create a widespread testing capability, opting for localized treatment, and reactivating parts of the economy once knowledge is obtained about who is infected and who is not, most particularly who might have Covid-19 immunity.

    Those immune can be deployed on the front-line of service provision to the public, including being deployed in contact tracing and testing.

    The mobilize and transition approach calls for the whole of society to be engaged and so form part of the solution. People might be comfortable with engagement if they were aware they would be regularly tested and might welcome release from idleness.

  24. Iain Moore
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The number of times we have heard of PPE supplies here which have been sold abroad because the Government failed to respond to offers has gone beyond a joke. Whether it’s because of bureaucratic inertia or the restrictive practices/racket of NHS approved supplier list something needs to be done. Is Matt Hancock too light weight to put the fear of god into these people?

    • Stred
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      In the ITV interview with an MP and presumably junior government minister or assistant, when confronted with this incredible statement that UK firms are selling the proper PPE to the EU because the government is not responding to offers, he suggested that the firms contact the cabinet office. Yesterday, one of the highly paid NHS chiefs on the daily presentation of answers to not too difficult questions replied that they are spending a lot of time talking with the behavioural scientists or the nudge squad about how the herd will behave if the lockdown is lifted. It’s not surprising that they don’t have enough time to find out that the proper PPE is available here as well as China and Turkey.
      The chart for deaths has now peaked from the start about 6-7 weeks ago and id reducing just along the predicted line which ends in 13 weeks. By the time they get the right equipment, tests and treatments following trials, ot may all be over.

    • rose
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Isn’t there something odd about the latest story of the unanswered Cabinet Office email from the Birmingham supplier? Odd in the context of 24,000 NHS administrators whose emails on PPE haven’t been leaked?

    • SM
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Surely the first individuals to be putting the fear of god into NHS bureaucrats, if necessary, are Duncan Sielby CEO of Public Health England, and even more Simon Stevens, CEO of the NHS – when are the MSM going to question them?

  25. agricola
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    It strikes me that in this crisis we are learning and reacting on the hoof because the potential problems caused by an epidemic have not been thought through at government or senior NHS management level.

    Take PPE as an example. When was it decided that most PPE should be one shift disposable. Having decided on such a policy why was a large buffer stock not considered essential. Had it been decided then it would have been fed into at one end and issued to users at the other. Were there an epidemic demand you would have time to ramp up the production. Is PPE bought on a national basis or an individual hospital trust basis. Is all PPE designed, manufactured, and sourced under the auspices of ISO 9000. If not, why not. Under ISO 9000 there would be no question of government or the end user having to inspect incoming goods before use, except in very exceptional circumstances.

    This pandemic has brought into question the way in which NHS procurement functions and the quality of those who supposedly oversee its functioning. For sure it needs to be put under the microscope by purchasing professionals once the crisis is over as we cannot afford a repetition of the chaos that currently ensues.

    • agricola
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      You may not like what I tell you and avoid moderation lest others agree. Yet you agree by admission under John E at 09.56 that there is a problem. I think there is now enough hard evidence that there is a problem and a fundamental problem in the way in which the NHS conducts its purchasing function.

  26. bill brown
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Very good blog thank you very much

  27. Fred H
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Sir John, Speaker has urged MPs to ‘stay at home’ so will you heed his advice? Unless you really ‘must’ attend for some reason, I think we would all prefer you continued your wise counsel from home. If the ears in Government are willing to listen they will listen over the internet as easily as face to face. Stay safe.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Yes, I agree.
      Keep safe.
      I am somewhat sceptical about the whole thing but would not take risks.

  28. Ian terry
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    As with nearly all situations in life especially a political one you never win arguements or elections the other side just loses them.

    With all the changes over the years to the NHS great faith is placed upon it by people like yourself that great importance is according to yesterday’s entry ” considerable management skill in the operating parts of the NHS at local level. Clinical Commissioning Groups with senior management to aquire and provide health services locally.

    From the position sadly of being a too frequent visitor to my local NHS for treatment as I tried to explain in my response yesterday (still in moderation 24 hours later) the ultimate strength and survival of the service does not lie with senior or executive management it relies solely on the front line of nurses and their support staff in all the different departments linked to their particular specialist ward. It is they that see the waste and the pain and the grief of treatments and esential support not being provided right first time. You do not need layer upon layer of management. Empower and train your front line staff to be the decision makers regarding supplies and what is best for the patients. They are the people walking the talk everyday of their working lives. They joined to nurse the sick not spending hours on adminisatration.

    We will never agree over this but one thing I think we might find a level playing field is the change big change is needed. Every consultant and GP I have worked with and interviewed on this all agree but they know nothing will happen.

    I have decided to get a life again and keep away from sites such as this because at the end of the day I and even you for that matter can change nothing . The organisation and system will and does not allow it.

  29. Everhopeful
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Apparently an initiative to eradicate polio in countries where it is still rife has suffered a setback due to a proliferation of vaccine caused polio.
    The initiative has now had to stop altogether because of Covid 19 barring close contact (you’d think a few masks would sort that!)..although because of the effects of the vaccines it was already faltering.
    Thinking of that I wonder if recent flu vacs could impact on COVID19 testing ( ie a false positive result)?
    Wonder if there are any studies?

  30. Everhopeful
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Is Mr Ferguson still telling the govt what to do?

  31. BOF
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John,

    As one of your bloggers remarked yesterday, the NHS has taken over the private health sector, only to all but shut it down as they are now prevented from doing all the operations and treatments they would normally do. Many specialists must be seriously underemployed.

    In addition, the NHS itself is not doing all its normal operations and treatments with many hospitals around the country very quiet.

    Surely it is not in the interests of hospitals or patients for this to continue. Not only will this lead to a great deal of additional harm to patients, some may even die, but the backlog will lead to mayhem in the NHS when they finally get back to normal.

    • Mark
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Today’s figures for weekly deaths published by the ONS once again indicate significant and rising excess mortality from non-virus causes. The consequences of denying treatment for these has to be a factor in government plans. They need to listen to other medical voices than epidemiologists to understand the consequences in oncology, cardiovascular conditions, hepatology, etc.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      ….which begs the further question “If Private Healthcare companies are not willing or able to provide the cover for which people are paying a subscription, then surely, those subscriptions should be frozen – refunded even – until those services are re-available once again”.

  32. Ian Pennell
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood

    A timely analysis of where we are at. There are positive signs that we are over the worst, in terms of new cases and of death rates. However, easing the Lock-down restrictions risks the virus spreading again and we have a second wave of infection. All of this implies a need for restrictions for the next year- and until a successful vaccine is available..

    Consequent upon that is a big need to increase investment into testing, tracing and isolating so that only those with infection have to be isolated- whilst the rest of the population returns to work. In parallel with that, massive investment into 5G needs to happen so that more people can work from home, more AI on production lines in factories- to reduce numbers of people who have to travel and physically attend work.

    In addition, so that hotels and other retail outlets can open without spreading infection there needs to be investment in how artificial intelligence can be utilised to serve customers, cook food, clean – as much as possible.

    All of this will require money- No, the Markets won’t let the country borrow what is needed to keep the Economy afloat during Lock-down (s) to keep Public Services going and fund vital investments to improve infrastructure when revenues to the Treasury collapse through the floor during the inevitable Deep Recession. Not without imposing crippling Debt-servicing costs- the Markets won’t lend the money needed. So printing the £ Trillion (s) needed but buying Gold/ Platinum (Securities) to back it up is the only realistic way of getting through this Crisis without the need for Riot-inducing Austerity to Balance the Books at the end of it all!

    Have you spoken to the Chancellor about a Gold-Security buying, Money-Printing Scheme yet- it really is the only way this country will get through this Crisis without ending up with National Bankruptcy on the one hand or nasty Stagflation on the other after the end of the Coronavirus Crisis? Conservative Electoral fortunes depend on the right policies!

    All the best to you and your family at this time.

    Ian Pennell

  33. ChrisS
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Being in one of the vulnerable groups, at least 80% of whom are already retired and 92% are over 60, I can see no alternative other than for us to stay in some form of isolation until a vaccine can be developed that is proven to be effective.

    It would be nothing like as restrictive as some would imagine : We can still go out walking, biking, or for a drive in the car. We can go shopping, especially if everyone is wearing a mask. We could also go on some kinds of holiday, but obviously not a cruise !

    I am now convinced that for our economy and those under 60 and in good health, the cure is a great deal worse than the illness. The mortality risk for this large majority of the population is so low that they should all be encouraged to return to work.

    The only possible reason for not resuming economic activity would be the risk of the NHS becoming overwhelmed with cases needing hospitalisation. Yet the figures seem to show that very few otherwise healthy people under 60 need the most invasive of hospital treatment so would this be a problem ? I don’t think so. If it was to prove difficult, spending even more in the NHS in the short term to handle the spike in cases would be very much cheaper than continuing with the lockdown.

  34. Iago
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    From the Telegraph I believe via Conservative Woman:

    “The government’s lockdown is deliberately inducing a severe recession, but already some of the support for small businesses announced by the Chancellor is reportedly being prevented by EU rules on state aid from reaching their intended beneficiaries, needlessly exacerbating their difficulties.”

    Hah, just as I have thought! The Joint Committee of the Withdrawal Treaty, whose actions or decisions our dear government is not allowed (by the treaty) to criticise or even to refer to.

    • Mark
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      In his interview with the FT, Macron openly admitted that he was ignoring the rules on state aid. It’s just another example of where the EU is not fit for purpose, unable to adapt.

  35. John E
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you mentioned dentists. I have unfortunately developed a painful tooth abcess which is being temporarily treated with antibiotics.

    The dentist who I spoke to me over the phone told me that there are no Urgent Dental Care centres operating in the Wokingham area. They are trying to set one up but they are unable to source the necessary PPE and have no idea when they will be able to get it. Even the centres that are open are having to juggle scarce PPE supplies between themselves to keep operating.

    I have read the list of conditions that qualify for urgent treatment – things have to get fairly grotesque before a patient can get treated even when the Urgent Care clinics open.

    Reply Yes, this is a big problem. I am asking Ministers to relax more and the help with PPE supply where needed.

    • Mark
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      There is also a need to ensure that dentists survive financially: many of them are unprotected by the self employment rules that cut out at £50,000, and may not have limitless savings to pay outgoings etc.

      • John E
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes indeed. I would happily pay for private treatment but none of the private practices are being allowed to operate.

  36. Mike Wilson
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Whilst I think the endless media sniping at the government is not necessarily helpful – I begin to feel, Mr. Redwood, that your government lacks basic competence. I read today that companies are manufacturing PPE in this country and exporting it – because they have contacted the government and had no reply!!! One would like to think of this as being ‘unbelievable’ yet, sadly, one finds it all too believable. Why isn’t the government doing as Blair suggested yesterday – and appointing one minister and one senior businessman to oversee each area that needs dealing with.

  37. APL
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    JR: “The government has decided to continue the lock down for another three weeks. ”

    Did you hear the question put to Dr Deborah Birx at the White house presser?

    Quote: Given that we now have studies showing prevalence of Covid-19 fifty times the reported case rate this means the fatality rate is much lower than reported, and in fact similar to the seasonal flu, isn’t it? Unquote.

    Similar to the seasonal flu.

    What a monumental and expensive con.

  38. Fred H
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    For your eyes only.
    Sir John,
    Our Dentists sent this out, 24th March. an excellent message.

    To all the patients of Bean Oak Dental Care,
    Firstly, I trust you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well during this difficult time.
    I am emailing you regarding the actions we have decided are necessary to take in light of government direction and growing scientific evidence regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and its risk of transmission to both patients and staff. We have had no choice but to implement the following actions:
    Cancelling all routine dentistry until further notice
    Only treating patients presenting genuine dental emergencies: ie swelling, acute pain, dry socket, trauma, etc. This might not include a number of problems that are not causing acute pain and problems, and only on the basis that the patient does not present symptoms of Covid-19, and/or any member of their household. This includes anyone in self-isolation (these patients will be directed to contact 111 for further treatment).
    As it stands, I have asked all my team to stay at home until further notice. I will be handling calls to the practice, provide telephone and triage advice and providing limited treatment to those presenting with ABSOLUTE dental urgency. This service will depend on our ability to treat patients, based on the scientific evidence provided. If we are unable to see patients, you will be directed to the relevant service provider. If treatment is needed outside of hours we provide, please call 111.

    Given the heightened risk posed to everyone at this time I believe these actions will protect as many of our patients as possible, whilst still providing an urgent dental service for those that really need it.
    Good luck to all of you, and when it is possible to provide a normal service again, we will let you know as soon as possible.
    Take Care.
    ZAKI ANWAR
    Owner, Bean Oak Dental Care

  39. Ian @Barkham
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Is a death certificate that mentions coronavirus without a test for it and without an autopsy to show it, a death from it, or is it a guess. Yet each day with verbatim this type of logic is used to define a truism. In Government speak ‘we are following the science’. There is no evidence in fact there is no truth it is becoming just spin.

    People’s patience will soon start to evaporate as it is becoming clearer by the day we are being fed proper gander to feed vanity and egos.

    But what if in the background there was real evidence, real science – then Government will be the ones held responsible for trying to pull wool over our eyes, responsible for the resultant needless deaths.

  40. Iain Moore
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Parliament is going to use Zoom for its online debates, Zoom is a Chinese company. with its staff located in China, it has been (claims an oversight and stopped doing it) routing international meetings through Chinese servers, and its encryption leaves a digital footprint which can be tracked.

    Is there no limit to the British establishments Kowtowing?

    • Richard1
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Parliament is televised so I guess we shouldn’t worry too much about the Chinese listening in as they could just watch it on TV. But it is a bit concerning that the cabinet seems to be using zoom as well.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 22, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Government meetings via Chinese teleconferencing…Brilliant!
      Whatever next ? – will Xi Jinping suddenly appear in a window sat with a translator by mistake.

  41. Stred
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    There is pressure to open schools because of the unequal effect of closure on poorer pupils who are apparently without internet learning. Government scientists are saying that there is no clear evidence that schools cause the spread of infection. Well, there wouldn’t be for a virus which only affects older people and leaves schoolchildren symptom free would there because we haven’t had one before.
    We know personally of two cases where older members of a family became seriously ill after the lockdown and the return of their children to the home. The ministry is trying hard to open schools first but firms producing rather than spending are not even being thought about.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Schools should ask people to donate cleared down old laptops and put on the basic learning software and get them collected by the pupils on their daily exercise.

  42. ian
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Glad I retired early last year, as for people going back to work most won’t want to go back till they see the HOC full of MPs and the Lords full, to them that will be a sign of safety and as for furlough scheme when it ends that when the job loses will mount up and double.

  43. JoolsB
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    From what we’re hearing Boris is frit about relaxing lockdown and the doves are winning so can’t seeing us coming out of of lockdown in three weeks time or even three months. But then the politicians along with the public sector won’t see any difference in their incomes, all guaranteed 100% by the taxpayer. Unlike many in the private sector and the self employed who might get chucked a few crumbs sometime in June if they’re lucky.

    Yep, we’re definitely all this together alright!

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      I think we’ll start coming out from 10th May.

    • DOMINIC
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Vote Tory, get Labour. Vote Labour, get Labour. Zero choice. Large state, high taxes, smash the private sector, smash personal freedoms, unleash cultural Marxism on decent people

      thanks Tory party for betraying the moral majority that doesn’t LIVE IN LONDON

      • Fred H
        Posted April 22, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Dominic – – when did UK politics look so bereft of policies and leadership?

  44. Graham Wheatley
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    The very first thing to do – to prevent small & family businesses from going bust – is to reopen ALL shops.

    The Home Secretary has given ‘advice’ to the Police, that shops can sell any stock that they have. That is all well and good for those shops that are dealing in some type of food product, cleaning product, or pharmaceuticals, but what about the others?

    For example (to name but two) – “The Range” or “Poundland” sell cleaning products and so may stay open. They also stock (for the sake of further example) stationery products and clothing and so may legitimately sell those too. But a specialist stationers or clothing shop may NOT stay open and so their business suffers – probably irrepairably. Providing an 80% ‘salary’ up to £2500 per month, is also all well and good – in the short term, but does nothing for a the small business owner in terms of security for their future.

    (I discount the likes of Richard Branson – who incidentally should not receive a penny piece in government assistance. His personal fortune is something over £4 billion. Stick your hand in your own pocket ‘Dickie’ and use that to help the people that helped you to make your fortune!).

    We must allow ALL shops to RE-OPEN, but they must ensure they employ measures to adhere to the distancing guidelines, as per those in force at Supermarket chains.

    • sok
      Posted April 22, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      The more I see the less I understand. Nurses and med staff in hospitals [without ppe] not social distancing, police ditto. am I missing something?

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted April 22, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Nope.
        That’s one of the many, many examples that spectacularly fail the logic-test, and in so doing makes the measures questionable in terms of their true purpose.

        Some of them smack of having NOTHING to do with ‘containment’, and everything to do with getting people to do as they are told (“…if you know what’s good for you”, from one police officer!). Furthermore, “do as you are told, and don’t question it”.

  45. Margaret Howard
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I had to ring my repeat prescription telephone line this morning and had to listen to a long preamble about the corona virus. If I understood it correctly I was advised to self isolate for 7 days if I had any of the corona virus symptoms and only ring 111 if I was unable to manage on my own.

    So how many thousands of people are there in the UK who have the infection but are not registered with any government agency?

    • Edward2
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Who knows indeed Margaret.

    • rose
      Posted April 21, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Probably not nearly as many as one would hope – if there is any immunity to be gained from the horrid experience, which we don’t yet know.

  46. Jocelyne Perks
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    ‘It is unfortunate there may be no early arrival of a vaccine’
    So far no vaccine have been found against known coronavirus or HIV. So if it is the only thing on offer, good luck! With Neil Fergusson in the Imperial College London, God help us!
    Why not talking about treatments? Some are already in place and effective even if only at experimental levels.

    1

  47. Richard
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I note that the latest Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC) audit of patients with Covid-19 in UK intensive or critical care units (excluding Scotland, paediatric & neonatal intensive care units) reports on pages 14 & 16 that up to 4pm on 16 April only 1499 people have died of Covid-19 in these ICUs. https://www.icnarc.org/Our-Audit/Audits/Cmp/Reports

    The mortality data to 10 April/ week 15 indicates that almost 90% of the cumulative Covid-19 deaths occurred in hospital. https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/tracking-mortality-over-time/

    But why would most critically ill ‘Covid-19’ patients die without being moved to an ICU, unless they already had significant health issues and were by that time on palliative care only?

  48. Richard
    Posted April 21, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    The above CEBM analysis also shows that unusually large numbers of non-Covid deaths have been occurring outside hospital (at home, elsewhere & in care homes) since 31 March.
    Most deaths in care homes are not caused by the virus directly (and I don’t accept they are understated, given the distortion in the system pro Covid-19 reporting http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2020/04/11/clean-up-the-data/#comment-1105217 )

    Brendan O’Neill at Spiked highlighted a reported 60% (100,000 weekly) drop in UK hospital admissions.

    All this suggests that the Lockdown & media hysteria is what is killing many people.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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