Letter to the Health Secretary

Dear Matt

         Thank you for your tireless work to bring down the death rate and slow the spread of this nasty disease.    You have asked MPs to share ideas and concerns with you as you battle the virus. You have always rightly stressed that you will take advice from medics and scientists and be guided by their professional expertise. In your position you have access to the best advice the country can offer,  to various strands of  academic work on the nature and behaviour of the disease, to the experiences of doctors dealing with seriously ill patients and to pharmaceutical companies seeking drugs and a vaccine.

           There are various opinions coming from medics and scientists as they seek to understand and treat this new disease. Your medical and scientific advisers have to draw together the strands and make judgements about what is best advice.  I think it would help the public understanding and support for the policy if you could set out more information about current professional thinking in the following important areas.

  1. Treatments for Covid 19. Several existing drugs have been proposed as alleviating symptoms or shortening time to recovery. The UK is I believe undertaking trials of these drugs to see which if any works. Can we have a progress report?
  2. Understanding the serious forms of the disease. Is it correct that whilst some die of a pneumonia like disease of the lungs, some die from excessive blood clotting and others from attacks on various organs of the body?  If so, what different treatments are  being used to combat the different versions of the disease?
  3. Given the way the disease spreads in hospital and care home settings, why do we not move to identifying some hospitals as isolation hospitals specialising in Covid 19 and free others for non Covid patients?
  4. You place great emphasis on R or the transmission rate, and are now supplying  calculations of this rate by region. Does the UK yet  have random sampled test results of the population as a whole ,as this over time would presumably give the most accurate view of the transmission rate. When we will we have a sufficient time series of such data to be more accurate over R which is often currently expressed as a wide range.
  5. Face masks are regarded as an important part of protective clothing for nurses and doctors treating Covid 19 patients. We all agree they should have them and supplying them is the priority. Both voluntary and commercial effort could make other masks for people going into social and work settings to offer some protection against spreading a disease they may not know  they have. Is guidance going to be modified, subject of course to the overriding priority of supplies of surgical grade masks for those nursing and treating  Covid patients?
  6. What do your advisers think about the use of Vitamin D to strengthen people’s defences against the virus?

Yours

John

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308 Comments

  1. Pete
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Many forms of the disease? Don’t you mean many different diseases like pneumonia which is what they are actually dying from just like every year?
    Face masks are only used by medical staff to prevent infection entering into open wounds or during surgery. They do not , and never can, stop germs or a virus being inhaled by the wearer. There are loads of videos online with doctors telling us that, though probably not on You Tube now because of the massive censorship of truth.
    Why not ask how the NHS decides that someone has covid when the virus has not been isolated and the test gives 80% false positives?
    You could also ask why every death is categorised as covid given those facts.

    • jerry
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      @Pete; No, he means many forms of the diseases, or are you suggesting those with pneumonia, organ failure and/or thrombosis etc. are also catching CV19… Perhaps you could link to the research that suggest this?

      It is quite possible for a infection, be it a virus or some other, to present its-self in one or another form (even multiple forms), that doesn’t mean there are different strains of the same infection, just that individual bodies react in different ways to the same infection.

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Even if people were to be encouraged to wear face masks I think there would need some guidance on how to wear them. I’m sick of hearing that phrase, but in this case I think it necessary.

      So many people wearing masks push them under their chins or have their nose exposed, which surely defeats the purpose of why they are being worn?

      • rose
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        The worst culprits are the “doctors” and “nurses” in the anti government propaganda films on Sky and the BBC.

      • acorn
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Sharon, our local capitalist retailers’ cartel, is selling four face masks for twenty quid. It’s the Neoliberal “free market” in action you understand.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

          Then others will come into the market and undercut these excessive profits.
          Short term.
          Long term prices will fall back.

          • acorn
            Posted May 19, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            Which bit of the word “cartel” did you not understand?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            Only currently a cartel.

            Anyone is free to make face masks if they think they can do so and make a profit.

            Why don’t you set yourself up to make them?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

            And a quick search on line I see I can now get 10 face masks for £5.99 delivered.

            The benefits of free market capitalism.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          acorn, plenty of people are coming into the market place with washable masks with filters, as the stalls fill up and peak demand falls the prices will drop.

    • Hope
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      JR, totally lame questions of no or little value. Governor of anew York now says 66% of hospitalised people stayed at home without infection from transport etc. He has the courage to admit the lockdown DIDNOT spot the spread of the Chinese virus.

      Will your govt ever admit it made a massive mistake and is now engaged in carrying on the sham to avoid blame? How many generations will pay taxes for this? Furlough needs to end now. Many who are not part of any bail out, give away scheme will still be expected to pay! Local authorities must be rubbing their nads as they did in 2010 when your lot were happy to give the, money hand over fist for no reform.

      We still read the ludicrous jobs being advertised by the NHS, why no question to Hancock to stop them. The last one a climate change officer at £44 k in Yorkshire. Name and shame them.

      • Hope
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        I should add JR, presumably you would ask how his planning, exercises and preparations has worked out compared to reality?

        All countries neighbouring China performing much better than the UK because of planning and preparation from previous diseases like SARS and Mers, why was the UK planning and preparation not along the same lines.

        No border controls whatsoever have been made from the outset, except those on a cruise ship. Which is a contradiction in itself.

        We read on one day last week 17 flights arrived in an hour from New York at Heathrow without testing, tracing or any form of check, do your experts have any credibility? Bearing in mind 130 countries, including many in the EU, introduced border controls, checks and tests and were far more successful than the UK?

        Do you think it is time you realised you are not up to the job and resign before you are pushed?

      • Original Chris
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Re your comment “We still read the ludicrous jobs being advertised by the NHS, why no question to Hancock to stop them. The last one a climate change officer at £44 k in Yorkshire. Name and shame them.”

        A climate change officer, Hope? What gross stupidity is that, and wilful waste of our money. Thank you for pointing this out. Sir John if we have a PM who is so devoted to global warming agenda that he allows this sort of nonsense, what hope is there for us? It is a scandalous waste of money, and the apparent determination of this government, Boris in particular, to fulfil the zero carbon requirements will result in bankruptcy and real hardship for the people of this country. The Left will have got their way, and all courtesy of a Conservative government.

    • Monty
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      “Face masks are only used by medical staff to prevent infection entering into open wounds or during surgery. They do not , and never can, stop germs or a virus being inhaled by the wearer.”

      Sorry but there’s something mighty strange about that. How come this mask membrane blocks virus in one direction yet it’s impossible to block it in the other direction?

      • Otto
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Monty – yes I’ve been thinking that for months – pity there’s no explanation here yet. Obviously JR doesn’t know either.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          and make-your-own-from-a-t-shirt certainly ain’t gonna work!

        • rose
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          When I asked Boots for masks back in the winter I was told there were none and none were coming in. Then we were told by the NHS not to get them and not wear them. I immediately concluded from these two things that there was a world shortage and the NHS wanted all masks for its staff.

          They have since more than hinted that that is the case.

        • Original Chris
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          Listen to Dr Fauci on face masks….

      • steve
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Monty

        “How come this mask membrane blocks virus in one direction yet it’s impossible to block it in the other direction?”

        The answer to that is simple: Face masks reduce the velocity of matter being ejected by the wearer i.e during coughing. Therefore the virus doesn’t spread as far. It’s more a case of stopping the wearer from spreading the virus, than protecting the wearer.

        • Otto
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          Steve – that doesn’t answer the query. Surely if someone coughs on you within 2 metres then the mask should protect if it protects from ejections from a mouth.

        • M Brandreth- Jones
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

          Not so simple Steve. Yes.. expiration against a semi permeable membrane has more force due to the proximity of the mask and the speed with which it impacts against it , so the virus does not spread as far however, the same force from the surrounding air and the relative ease during inspiration causes less external impact and therefore less filteration through that same semi permeable membrane.

        • Monty
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          Thank you Steve for your response. I am inclined to think it is actually the transmission of droplets, of a range of sizes, that is being blocked or reduced.
          My own tests of my home made design show significant droplet blocking through the non-woven filter layer regardless of direction, and the addition of an outer water resistant shield layer adds to this. I get a good seal around the face, and the mask can be worn for about 30 minutes before I have to get isolated and take a breather. You have to get used to the way it billows in and out as you breathe. Machine washable and tumble dryable.
          We the public aren’t helpless, or hopeless. There’s a lot we can do for ourselves.

          • Stred
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

            There are receptors in the eyes that can be infected by the virus. At least large glasses should be worn on the tube. It’s the second best place to catch it after NHS hospitals.

          • M Brandreth- Jones
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            Sadly Monty some are helpless. Many are bludgeoned into feeling silly by various factions and cannot cope with their own ideas of protective wear.
            Unfortunately there are postings of people who have thrown used masks and gloves on floors and supermarket trolleys .

    • Original Chris
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      You are right, Pete, and there is a very revealing interview with none other than Dr Anthony Fauci on the limited usefulness of face masks.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted May 18, 2020 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      look up the work led by Trisha Greenhalgh on face masks for the public, the evidence is there, and not at all what you are suggesting.

  2. Nigl
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    The algorithms that provided the death rates are being seriously challenged. What are you going to say to the public to give them confidence that you ensured they were robust, after all you based your whole policy on them and they appear to be wildly inaccurate.

    Yes why not isolate to a nightingale hospital that seem to have been set up at vast expense and are not being used?

    What progress/how close are we to an instant ‘litmus paper/sniffer dog’ test to tell if a person is infected/infectious which could be widely available and allotment people to get into events/pubs/restos/planes etc or not? Is one practicable?

    Finally although not yet through this crisis it has raised serious questions about the purchasing efficuency of the whole if the NHS fulfilment budget, not just PPE where it seems to have been found wanting. What assurances can you give the public that a robust review will be undertaken and the necessary improvements implemented?

    • Nigl
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      Sorry ‘allow’ people

      • Hope
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        It also raises the point that private companies need to be part of the mix to bring efficiencies with themrotten NHS. Without private companies and army the NHS and quango bodies were totally inadequate to deal with this virus. Inept planning, logistics, procurement etc. All failed. All catch up by other bodies. NHS has an army of bureaucrats, middle and senior managers who could not, and demonstrated unable to, manage a whelk stall.

        Successive health secretaries totally failed the nation including Hancock. He does not deserve praise but condemnation for failing our country before and during this episode, not a request but an instruction little up jump pompous dick.

    • rose
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it unfair to denounce the lack of PPE when the Chinese had bought up the whole world’s supply in January and what we had stored was rejected as out of date? Even German doctors are having to buy their own PPE at the moment. Yes, the methodical Germans are short too, even though they make the stuff, but you won’t hear that on the BBC or Sky.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    All good questions. I too cannot understand why Covid patients were not kept in or taken to Covid dedicated/specialist/isolation hospitals.

    I would also like to know more details on what treatment people are actually getting in hospitals. how many get just get sympathy and an oxygen mask before dying, how many need (or get) full ventilation, kidney replacement treatments, ECMO, blood thinners or other such treatments.

    The other big question is why about half of the 60,000 who have died did not even get to a hospital before dying? Also why so much of normal activity has had to be suspended if as Matt Hancock claims the NHS is coping well.

    Also did we ever have staffing for these Nightinggale Hospitals or were they just a PR stunt, distraction and a waste of time and money?

    • Stred
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      Did the Nightingale hospitals have enough ppe for the staff brought out of retirement to enable them to work safely?

      • Fred H
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        no they didn’t.

    • jerry
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      @LL; Might it have something to do with the fact that the NHS did not, and still does not, actually have isolation hospitals to take CV19 patients, and no those temporary Nightingale hospitals are not suitable isolation hospitals, they are far to near or actually within mass conurbation areas, we need something like the old TB sanatoriums, and the staff should be paid a premium, being expected to live in suitable accommodation on site – certainly for the duration of a epidemic/pandemic.

      As for treatments, if kidney failure is common, might those with serious CV19 effects also need to be routinely placed on dialysis whilst also receiving oxygen or ventilation – does the govt also need to put dialysis machines on their shopping list alongside ventilators along with building some isolation hospitals?

      As for your last paragraphs, the reasons are simple, the electorate and govt’s put tax cuts before State infrastructure building projects.

      Yes such infrastructure would likely have been little used or stood in a mothballed state, but ready at a few days notice, along with the extra medical staff in the form of reservists akin to the TA, but who wants such infrastructure and retained manpower when one can have tax cuts?!

      • Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Tax cuts! What tax cuts? We have a marginal tax rate of over 90% making the ‘raising of taxes’ an empty threat. Why the Chancellor threatens any possible recovery in this why I can only surmise! Is he trying to fool the markets? He’s not fooling us.

        • jerry
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 4:57 am | Permalink

          @Lynn Atkinson; “Tax cuts! What tax cuts?”

          If there have been no real world tax cuts here in the UK since 1979 what has the revenue been spent on, considering real world cuts have been made across the board to both public infrastructure and employee spending by successive govts? Not forgetting also that ‘state aid’ support for our nationalised industries also ended with their privatisations.

          Your comment, if true, reinforces my point, thanks!

          • a-tracy
            Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            The prices of a lot of goods have come down since 1979 giving ‘real savings’, the government doesn’t always buy wisely and wastes too much on the wrong equipment that seems to be left in store racks rather than used on a rolling basis to protect patients and residents in nursing settings from MRSA and previous Covid illnesses I’m starting to wonder why ppe isn’t used more in ICU every day anyway. ICU staff shouldn’t work more than 10 hours. If we have move trainees from degrees that have no work at the end of them to medical degrees then it should be done.

      • Stred
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        The Nightingale is well away from housing and well situated for isolation of Covid. The equipment and staff could be transferred from the hospitals treating only 20% of the maximum.

        • jerry
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 5:20 am | Permalink

          @Stred; It would help if you said which of the many “Nightingale” styled hospitals you were referring to?!

          All the CV19 temporary hospitals are in or very close to built up conurbations, neither of which ideal are for a permanent isolations hospitals; for example, the ExCel is in London Docklands, the Millennium Stadium in in the centre of Cardiff, the SEC is in the centre of Glasgow. The NEC whilst to the east of Birmingham is on the edge of the greater Birmingham conurbation.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        ….. before State infrastructure building projects.
        If you remember Misters Blair & Brown thought up a nice little ruse to boast about the amount of NHS hospitals & schools they were going to build but get off the books with PFI. Although introduced by Major they prolifigated under Blair & Brown. An initial £13bn of private sector-funded investment in new hospitals is ending up costing the NHS in England a staggering £80bn by the time all contracts come to an end in 2050.The 109 contracts still active are costing the trusts involved a combined £2.15bn to service in 2020-21, rising to £2.5bn in 2030. That could buy a few PPE.
        And Blair & Brown are not around to take the blame after a note was left with with a letter saying “Dear chief secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left”, which will be heaped onto Johnson & his government for lack of “investment”.
        The original ideals when the NHS (still a health service or Covid-19 only service?) began have been truly peverted by providers and users, with some thinking they can fly in from all corners of the globe & get “free” health care & providers turning a blind eye by not wanting to know where they come from, saying “We’re not passport control”..

    • Mark
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Why not discuss the 175,000+ who have died from one cause or another since the beginning of March?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 18, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        That number and more would probably have died of COVID 19 if not for the lock down.

        Remember that.

  4. Brigham
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    One of the things that hasn’t been mentioned is, what work is being done on the thymus gland. It is an integral part of the immune system and it can deal with viruses. Unfortunately it disappears during the late teens and ends up as a piece of fat. It would seem to me to be the reason children get covid19 so mildly. There is probably some work being done on this, but I don’t see anything about it in the news.

    • jerry
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      @Brigham; I doubt it has been overlooked, even more so when it seems some children are getting CV19 and in a very serious form (just not the same form as adults have), were the immune system appears to over-react – that just might be down to their more active thymus gland?

    • forthurst
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Many years ago I raised the issue of the thymus gland in the context of Infectious Mononucleosis which produces an asymptomatic illness in children, but a symptomatic illness after puberty, without even a glimmer of interest from the medical profession. Since reading about Covid-19, it occurred to me also that it was behaving very much like the Epstein-Barr virus and because it produces asymptomatic illness in children might be almost impossible to eradicate without a vaccine and would become part of the standard repertoire of childhood infections which adults could catch at their peril. In Infectious Mononucleosis, the disease in adults is caused by the response of the mature immune system.

      I agree, immunologists need to understand what is the specific function of the thymus gland and why it is dispensed with as part of the process of maturation. Is it simply a case that in days of yore, there was no evolutionary benefit in maintaining the thymus into adulthood because it had done its work of fighting all childhood illnesses by then, or that it would treat a foetus as a new foreign body to be attacked? Clearly children are a lot better at overcoming Covd-19 than adults and researchers need to find out why rather than simply putting it the textbooks as a factoid to be reproduced at examination.

    • rose
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Some people have suggested children and adults under 35 aren’t suffering from the Wuhan virus because, despite their being the unhealthiest generation ever, with their intake of junk food, drugs, drink, and little exercise, they have all been vaccinated with MMR. Interesting when you hear it explained by doctors, which I’m afraid I can’t do here.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Brigham,

      Over 20 years ago research looked at suppressing androgens to (partially) reverse puberty, consequently to up T-cell production in HIV patients.

  5. Javelin
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Given obesity is a major cause of death is the Government going to recommend a maximum calorie intake and a minimum level of exercise?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      You do not need to count calories just weight yourself each morning and get you BMI into the normal range. It is perfectly simple to lose a pound a day if you just much eat less. If it is not going down you are still eating (or drinking alcohol) rather too much.

      Perhaps charge patients who self inflict medical conditions through food, smoking, alcohol then expect other to pay for them.

      Indeed let’s charge all the patients who can afford to pay.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        cigarettes and alcohol are already taxed. Those who indulge are already paying.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          Indeed but better if they are charged as they use medical services too. Indeed everyone should be if they can afford to pay. Might give them less money to buy more cigarettes, alcohol and drugs next week and concentrate the mind.

    • matthu
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Governments have for years been recommending a maximum calories intake and a minimum level of exercise. This has been the cause of our obesity. Too much sugar in our diet, too little exercise!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Well too much in and too little exercise out. Just like a car that you do not use much but keep filling it up with more and more fuel. It just gets heavier.

        All carbs bread, rice, pulses, potatoes, root veg, porridge etc. even wholemeal and brown version ones ……. are rapidly turned to into sugars (in just a few minutes) so the emphasis just on sugar (and the sugar tax) is a bit silly.

        Just eat less if you need to lose weight.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

          Yes. Just eat foods with low amounts of carbs and eat healthy fats. Avocado butter eggs nuts etc. You don’t feel hungry and you lose weight quickly.

    • jerry
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      @Javelin; Obesity is a symptom not a cause.

      To recommend a maximum calorie intake and a minimum level of exercise would have to be work specific, those who actually still do real work would likely never need to take any extra exercise and would need a far higher calorie intake than say those who work in offices (manicuring their spreadsheets and magic money trees…), this was all known about during WW2 were those engaged in highly physical work got extra rations to those working in shops and offices.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Calories in…calories out. Get the balance right and no obesity.
      Would be helpful if oh-so-obsessive food labelling showed CLEARLY on the FRONT of the packet how many calories contained in EACH PACKET. ( not each 100g or each 30g or each serving) but exactly how many calories are in each packet.

      • Otto
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Too much salt appears to be a problem but can we buy unsalted potato crisps? Aldi had some but almost never are available. Tesco only sells the salted kind.

        I wonder why this is – it is thought people wouldn’t buy them? Perhaps the manufacturers think no one keeps salt at home if they want it.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          It possibly stems from when people were allowed to drink alcohol in pubs. Nuts and crisps sold in said pubs ( and I guess clubs ) were salted to make the punters thirsty!
          Smith Crisps of the 1950s were very good…unsalted with a little blue twist of paper containing salt…if you wanted it.
          Most were chucked away.
          Case against salt re hypertension is based on epidemiologic studies….so maybe take advice with a pinch of salt! Everything in moderation.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 18, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            Stick to the pickled eggs perhaps!

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      PC has advanced to the stage where it is preferable to let people die, rather than telling them they’re fat.
      Obesity is the cause of many diseases before coronavirus was added to the list, and already overwhelming the NHS.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        perhaps every McD should have on a new container ‘ to counter the weight you will put on, you need to jog 5 miles, or not eat anything else for a day.’

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          And a special litter tax. Not seeing McD litter everywhere has been one bonus of lockdown.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        My Grandmother told the story of a surgeon who at first sight of his overweight patient ( probably 10 stone in those days…not 20) roared across the consulting room,
        “Lose weight Mother or no operation for you!”.
        So she did!!
        Simple.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        It’s not this meaningless term “PC” preventing it.

        It is populists, who rage against some imaginary “nanny state”.

        There is no nanny state. The streets contain thousands of homeless, sleeping rough, many ex-military among them.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      thank you for printing my comments on Friday John.

      Javelin. Even if the government gave advise on calorie intake people would take no notice. There is plenty of information out there now and look at the results.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Read it 😉

        A rather good post, but you should have left out the bit about how certain meats are slaughtered and the reasons why. 😉

        The growing of crops for fuel is what caused the Arab Spring. Food costs were rising as there was less to eat. Simple supply and demand. Clearly they have not learned anything.

        • Mark B
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          PS Keep posting. Don’t give up 🙂

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      I would favour a cut in National Insurance contributions for those who can be bothered to keep their BMI inside healthy limits.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        I would favour a pay as you go health system.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Javelin, I honestly believe most people know what weight they should be, how many calories they should eat each day, what type of food and drink is better for them, how much basic exercise they should take. There are regular lessons provided to children at school and sent home to their parents and 5 a day campaigns on the tv. People just like, really like the wrong food. Walking and jogging especially alone, although free can be boring if you live in an uninspiring suburban town, just square low cost housing estate after housing estate with bushes overgrown in the pavement and pot holes in the pavement, craters really, with no thought of walks, decent cycling routes with nice views planned in, our nearest park doesn’t even have a sign up at its entrance and looks like a scary, overgrown back alley. We have unattractive buildings, rubbish everywhere, just basically a grass park with lots of dog poo left everywhere and dogs off the leash barking at your heels.

      Take Government dictate too far though and you get like the German state who I read yesterday said that when they have their vaccine ready in December 2020 hopefully you don’t have to have it but if you don’t and you catch Covid the Medical insurance won’t cover your treatment.

    • John E
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      There is already a lot of public health guidance about and focus on obesity. This is one of those “Why did no one tell us” questions where the more honest position would be to reflect on why we failed to listen when we were told.
      e.g.
      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-obesity-and-the-food-environment/health-matters-obesity-and-the-food-environment–2

  6. Sakara Gold
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    I doubt he knows what vitamin D is. Just sack him – he may be photogenic, but he’s useless.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Photogenic Matt Hancock? I think you must be getting confused.

    • BW
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Don’t you just love useful constructive criticism

    • zorro
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Photogenic..???

      zorro

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Photogenic? Don’t you mean Rishi?

  7. Andy
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Dear Health Secretary,

    35,000 dead.

    The worst recession in three centuries.

    A national scandal in our care homes.

    A continued failure to test.

    The debacle over PPE.

    The government has failed.

    Who is to blame – you, Gove, Cummings or Johnson?

    Love,

    Andy

    • Stred
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      Who is to blame? The NHS or Public Health England or both?

      • forthurst
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        As both institutions are funded by public money, then it is the government that is to blame. PHE was created by the Tories in 2013: what a panacea that proved to be.

        The majority of politicians and civil servants are unqualified insofar as their tertiary educations consisted of Arts degrees qualifying them to teach or perhaps practice law only; as such they are totally out of their depth when confronted with an issue where the bad guy is too small to drop bombs on or lock up for thoughtcrime.

        Some countries which did not adopt the Western tradition of teaching Classics and calling its graduates ‘educated’, then supplementing that with teaching anything else of no relevance to the modern world, likewise, have been able to constrain the impact of Covi-19 with the single-minded application of science. It is no co-incidence that those countries which were never successfully colonised by the West, maintaining their own cultures , failed to adopt the concept of the ‘generalist’ whose degree course, itself, was irrelevant to his competence to perform in any capacity. Such a country is South Korea, which, no doubt, would have been very happy to tell the Tory Party how to do their job of dealing with Covid-19.

        It was Tony Blair, of course, who flooded the civil service including healthcare with even more Arts graduates who, in the main, are left wing because they are guided by emotion rather than science and logic.
        Most of these people are an obstruction to good governance and need to be cleared out because they can no longer be afforded.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          That is odd logic.
          The Government sets up and funds a quango of experts and gives them a specific brief.
          They give them over a billion a year and freedom to organise themselves.
          They go on to employ thousands of experts on good salaries.
          Yet when they fail in a crisis you think the blame lies only with the Gov.

          • forthurst
            Posted May 18, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

            The government used taxpayers money to create monopolistic monolithic institutions, mandated by laws that they enacted, that have failed to live up to taxpayers expectations. As there are better models that work such as that in Germany, the government cannot pass the buck.

            The NHS is unreformable because it is a misconception of how to deliver medical care.
            Have you noticed how Germany has handled Covid-19 far better than Hancock and his NHS in every way?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 18, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            It seems when PHE and the NHS do well they get all the praise but when they do badly the blame is placed on the Government.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          forthurst.
          “The government sets it up funded with public money then it is” ‘only’ “the government to blame when anything goes wrong?”.
          Not really, it is both of them, one for taking money and not doing the job properly and the government for not holding them to account they are supposed to do annual checkups.
          People are much more likely to blame private enterprises that provide services to the government and then they expect heads to roll and contracts to be removed, yet when it’s public sector quango operations no-one is accountable?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      The recovery will be faster than most people think I suspect. Especially if we get sensible smaller government, a bonfire of red tape, freedom and choice, lower simpler rational taxes and cheap reliable energy. Over to you Boris, Cummings, Sunak – Perhaps just four years to the next election and these policies take time to work. So better start them right now.

      • Andy
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps. If you are lucky.

        I suspect it is more likely that this will be a very long and very hard recession. Lots of the furloughed jobs have in reality already gone.

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          This government will continue to fund furlough as I suspect the impending unemployment figures will be horrendous

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Actually over 60,000 extra (accelerated) deaths due to covid19 so far.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Andy

      As usual, very thoughtful, detailed, and constructive comments !

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Who’s to blame, Andy?
      35000 deaths – China
      The worst recession in 3 centuries? Imperial College and others modelling hundreds of thousands of deaths. Plus the media for stirring up terror
      Scandal in Care homes? The NHS for their policy of expelling people from hospital, ie the heros you clap every Thursday
      The debacle over PPE? China for stripping the world of product and our friends in Germany, France and Luxembourg for refusing to supply raw materials
      The government has failed. Has it? The last time I looked they were hale and hearty and getting on with things amid circumstances that are very difficult for every nation on earth.
      Stop politicising it all, Andy

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        Oh and the continued failure to test? Luxembourg again for refusing to make essential chemicals available to everyone except, you got it, Germany

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Jiminyjim

        “The government has failed. Has it? The last time I looked they were hale and hearty and getting on with things….”

        A government of second raters lead by a buffoon.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          Who would you like in charge?
          Caroline Lucas?
          Ed Davey?
          Or Kier?

    • matthu
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      And only 151 dead in Greece, if you believe the numbers.

      • Mark
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Very low death tolls in most of its neighbours too. Here’s a global map of deaths rates:

        https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/95LCA/1/

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        They had good numbers when they joined the EURO

        • bill brown
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 2:26 am | Permalink

          Glen Cullen

          they had falsified their numbers wen they joined the EURO

          • Fred H
            Posted May 18, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

            Yep – – the EU averted their gaze when the stats for some applicants were provided, else they would not have been allowed to join.

          • glen cullen
            Posted May 18, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

            I was being a little bit sarcastic

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Johnson – for failing to close the airports and ports to passengers in the early stages, allowing the disease to be distributed all over the country, and then arrogantly stating that the NHS was well prepared for the emergency, when events have clearly shown that it wasn’t.

    • jerry
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      @@Andy; I think you need to try hunting down the true blame elsewhere, not make scapegoats out of those you name, yes they may well have made poor decision since July 2019 [1], or since CV19 was known to have crossed to the human population, but the real issues here in the UK was the failure of the DHSC to adequately fund/plan for such a flu type epidemic back in 2016 – and before – tell me Andy, how many isolation type hospitals, with fully equipped high dependency ICUs, did the govts of Blair and Brown build?

      [1] even since July 2018 in the case of Mr Hancock, when he became SoS at DHSC

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 18, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        jerry, which hospitals outside of the one discussed in London ran out of high dependency ICU units, if the elderly people sent back to care homes and then required high dependency ICU beds were they left without treatment or did they get transported back into ICU? Would there have been beds in ICU for them?

    • matthu
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      If the government had embarked on wide-scale, immensely costly testing before UK-approved, reliable home-testing was available, would that have been a success in your eyes?

      If thousands of people had died as a result of too much reliance being placed on a testing scheme that the government could not be wholly confident was producing accurate results, would that have been a success in your eyes?

      The main reason numbers are so high, relative to the rest of the EU, is that our highly partisan media have continually pressurised the government to increase the estimate of the number of deaths (which have almost certainly not been properly accounted for – because doctors have been discouraged from entering old age care homes and the requirements for certifying deaths have been considerably relaxed during the crisis) and the same has not happened in countries like Germany or Greece (or China).

      I wonder why excess deaths (over and above the average) were so relatively high in December, and nobody noticed. Was it because the media were so fixated on preventing Brexit, by any chance?

      • jerry
        Posted May 18, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

        @matthu; I agree with you with regards mass testing, it has become a political buzz-phrase for the left, sounds good but is of little use. There’s no way a country the size of the UK could test enough people, frequently enough, to make the results any better than selected testing.

        Regarding the death toll, there is also an equally highly partisan section of influence that has tried to down play the number of CV19 deaths here in the UK -and in the EU, we see this in how some people keep trotting out the nonsense that those with underlying health issues would have died anyway. Just because someone had, for example, diabetes or was obese in Nov. 2019 did not mean they were going to die 6 months later.

        As for above average deaths in Dec. 2019, with the re-examinations of autopsy specimens, it is now accepted that CV19 was in (at least parts of) Europe by then – epidemics are not like light bulbs, more like a building fire, they take time to build to a critical mass – hence why the R# is so important when suppressing them.

        • anon
          Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:15 am | Permalink

          Scientists would use sampling techniques to give you data that was reliable.

          The virus was in the UK earlier than thought likely pre-December

          Target limited resources to where they drive the Ro down.

          Bring in the private sector to do this. Testing and quaranting of those infective at home or elsewhere if agreed, with furloug etc. Voluntary testing of course by the private sector.

    • ukretired123
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Sad, pathetic and unhelpful as usual – no love of mankind Andy pandy.

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        ukretired123

        Andy pandy? That childish name calling belongs to the kindergarden.

        • ukretired123
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          Agree with you 100%

        • Edward2
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          Tell the trolls on here.
          I agree.

    • IanT
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Is the Labour run NHS doing any better in Wales Andy? Or the SNP managed NHS in Scotland? How many tests (in total) have been carried out in Wales and Scotland? How many deaths in Care Homes (per 100k population) have there been compared to England? They seem to have even worse problems then England.

      So who is to blame for that then? Surely it cannot be the Labour or SNP administrations that own devolved health care can it? No – surely not, lets just criticise the Government for everything instead, that would be much more convenient, albeit deceitful

    • Adam
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Andy:

      Proposing solutions would be more efficient than claiming blameworthiness.

      • Andy
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Harsh, isn’t it?

        But I’m afraid that’s how government works. You never get credit for anything good. You always get blamed for everything bad.

        This is what us ‘globalists’, ‘liberal elite’ have had to put up with for decades. This Tory Brexit government had better get used to it too. There is lots more blame coming your way.

        Incidentally, I said to lockdown almost a month before we did. I said not to stop testing and tracing. I said to guarantee all jobs, businesses and mortgages. I said to quarantine arrivals. And I said all this in March while Boris Johnson was telling you to wash your hands.

        Countries which did what I suggest have fewer dead people and have already reopened. Turns out I was right.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          Yet we locked down at a similar time to many other nations and before other nations.
          And Sweden and others like Belarus went their own way.

          • bill brown
            Posted May 18, 2020 at 2:25 am | Permalink

            Edward2
            We locked down too late and Boris, was unfortunately too optimistic for a while and yes we are paying the price, whatever way you calculate it, very sad outcome

          • Edward2
            Posted May 18, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            Virtually the same time as Germany did.
            Sweden took a different approach with partial lockdown long after that.
            There are other examples if you want them.

            There are many other factors affecting the numbers in each nation.
            Date of lockdown is just one of them.

          • anon
            Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:19 am | Permalink

            Heathrow! Direct flight paths to Wuhan , Italy etc

        • Jiminyjim
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          Andy, breathtaking arrogance and a loathing of the country you live in is a particularly unattractive combination

        • Adam
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          Opinions vary. Some are valid; perhaps even yours.

        • ukretired123
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

          If you are so clever please tell us how you discovered the vaccine to CV19 ahead of the world.
          Crystal balls would sell well too!

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      A straightforward and precise letter that should clearly identify those responsible for government policy of covid-19 event

      I welcome clear questions because they produce clear answers

      The fact that the blame-game has started suggests the covid-19 problems are over

    • Newmania
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Yes and complete failure to explain why it is vital that we shout at our friends across the street when out children will be climbing all over each other at school. Official advice says give up on distancing while ministers claim they are being cautious citing mysterious science we are not privy to.
      It seems to me that basically they decided long ago that herd immunity was the only route and the only variation to that was to manage NHS resources . So now they decide who will die .
      Teachers and families with young children are ..clearly relatively expendable…. thanks for that.

      On the plus side
      1` I am delighted to see the growing unpopularity of the government and the emergence, at long last, of a sensible alternative.
      2 We get to laugh at the Part who cancelled Sure Start shedding crocodile tears about the difficulties faced by vulnerable children ( who have actually been at school anyway )

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Vulnerable children have not all been at school, either that or Channel 4 news were reporting incorrect information about school meals for vulnerable children and them starving at home. We were told 1500 child schools had about 26 children attending, let’s see the Registers.

        There were more nursery hours paid for. When will British parents ever start being held responsible for their own lack of child care and the parent taught how to better prepare their children.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Must be Brexit Andy. You blame that on everything. Anyway its the oldies that are dying so you should be happy.

      • Newmania
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Not entirely fanciful .The exceptional speed with which we are being forced to face dangerous environments is due to the Nations level of debt which was exacerbated by Brexit ( post referendum) . The Conservative Party is well aware of how volatile the public mood is, and when they inflict further unemployment high food prices and recession on us things could get nasty.
        They retain the support of the old … who do nothing and take no risks .

        • Cheshire Girl
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          Newmania.

          The ‘old’ took their risks many years ago. Something that is often forgotten.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          “the old” apparently voted to leave the EU @new.

          You have constantly bleated on here that is a rather large risk so which is it? No risks by the old or great risk?

      • Andy
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        I don’t want anyone to die.

        Arguing that pensioners shouldn’t get huge state handouts isn’t the same as arguing for them to be dead.

        • Ex-Tory
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Where do I get these huge state handouts?

          • Fred H
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            share the secret with me too, please!

        • graham1946
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          No they don’t and yes it is.

        • Andy
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          LIST OF STATE HANDOUTS YOU ARE ENTITLED TO:
          State pension
          Income support
          Personal independence payment
          Housing support
          Winter fuel payment
          Bus pass
          TV licence

          LIST OF STATE HANDOUTS I GET
          List ends

          • a-tracy
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            A bus pass isn’t much use to people outside of the major Cities. My parents have never had one or any of the top up benefits you talk of, they are living as a couple on less than the Tax Allowance and you say the ‘all’ have handouts!

            The tv licence for over 75s has been cut by the BBC.

            The State pension is very low for most working class retirees Andy and you have been constantly writing ill of the elderly on here, I have pulled you up many times for discriminatory language.

            There are plenty of benefits your age group get even if you personally earn to much money to get any of them so don’t be crass.

          • Fred H
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            Many of us do not have the items on your list.
            you:-
            Education (hmmm).
            Free Education for children
            NHS ?
            NHS (becoming a father?)
            Family allowances?
            unemployment benefit?
            Income support
            Job seeker’s allowance
            Accrual for state pension

          • Cliff. Wokingham
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            I thought you said you have school age children…. Don’t you get child benefit for them?
            Income support is not for pensioners. You cannot start PIP when already a pensioner.
            The free TV license is ending soon.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

            Pension us funded by many years of National insurance contributions from every week worked.
            Few retired get all the benefits you list unless they are in need and very poor.
            TV licence is over 75 only.
            Your hatred if older citizens is sad and one day Andy it will be you.
            Society needs to look after those in need.
            The poor, the unemployed, the sick, the old.

          • Not eligible
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

            Andy,you yourself are entitled to more benefits than that .

          • anon
            Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:32 am | Permalink

            All means tested > £8k to £16k savings likely you will get very little to zero help.
            State pension depends on NI credits. Problems if you have been been too disabled to claim them for a period without work as it precludes you from other help. Unless you have no savings.

            Yes – you may be allowed a free TV license to be indoctrinated by the BBC & lamestreammedia.

            Yes- Bus pass big deal.

            Yes- PIP but incredibly invasive, lengthy process & difficult to claim and tiresome for those with real problems. Disgraceful really.

            WE should have a UBI.

            BY the way Andy. Do some research.

        • Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Andy sweet of you, however reality is that everybody will die and that state pensions are not ‘free handouts’ but paid for rights. Oh – and there is no Santa Clause – sorry to disabuse you.

        • ukretired123
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          Andy “I don’t want to die” …
          But you are happy for old folks to die off as you see them as a burden on your ego.

          You don’t think straight with the big J for jealousy.
          Jealousy is one of the deadly sins.
          Basic stuff you know.
          Stay young at heart and don’t let your heart get pickled…

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        “Must be Brexit Andy. You blame that on everything”

        In a way yes it is. After all it is former Brexiteers who are now running the country.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          Most running the country are remainers.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      plus –
      Any chance of an admission that things have not gone very well?

      Big questions about the senior appointments in the NHS, fit for purpose or should be sacked?

      Regional NHS structure, plus PHE, plus Ministry of Health – -who does what, or who doesn’t do!

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Did you just mention an organisational chart including roles and responsibilities, I’d like to see that ?

        • Fred H
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          it would take months or years to get to the bottom of how someone ever thought it could work.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Andy,

      The Govt, supportive opposition parties and media are all responsible for switching off the economy with devastatingly tragic future impact on lives, quality life years and life expectancy. All are to blame. Obviously Johnson is specifically responsible for capturing the Treasury by the engineered removal of Javid and insistence on shared advisors between No 10 and No 11, clearly limiting the economic balance in the decision taken. Much greater damage is and will occur due to lockdown than the virus itself even with the apparent failures to protect care homes and to use the full capacity of the NHS. Sadly some left wing media and commentators, often in their habit to criticise President Trump, kept stating that – life expectancy increases in recessions, just look at the historic data – they never wished to recognise that in those cases they were looking at demand side recessions, essentially business cycle, though sometimes large. They refused to recognise that what was on the agenda was stopping resources producing the needs and wants of society.

      Specifically Mr Sunak and the BoE have increased the risk of total collapse. This is very real and for some reason completely ignored. Mr Sunak has extended emergency measures to last at least 6 months ensuring that productive resources do not get reallocated hence preventing the economy readjusting. The BoE is about to purchase riskier assets and may even go to negative rates. The risk of total economic collapse due to Mr Sunak and the BoE is real and becoming more real all the time. Unfortunately the opposition parties, unions and media are not out there arguing for an immediate end of lockdown to reduce the chance of total meltdown. They all seem to be reacting politically without ethical care for consequence; the behaviour seems too stupid to be just stupidity. Those that are more able to survive the economic catastrophe brought on by the Govt, BoE and egged on further by the opposition will be the wealthy; the poor and low income will definitely suffer from the recession and may suffer catastrophically from collapse. This shouldn’t be played as a political game to garner votes at the cost of lives, the opposition, unions and media need to be telling Johnson, Sunak and Hancock that they are wrong and lockdown must be ended immediately to save lives. In no way should July be allowed to be spun as early unwinding, it is not early. Everything should be unlocked immediately and Sunak’s absurd policies stopped (though potentially replaced with a UBI). The BoE also needs to avoid the next planned destructive round of QE and shouldn’t even discuss negative rates (the BoE will undoubtedly claim it has learned from the Swiss expt – obviously this is untrue, if there were any learning Haldane wouldn’t even have mentioned negative rates).

    • rose
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      The majority Johnson administration is younger than the Wuhan virus. The already established PHE, NHE, and NHS are all independent of government. As autonomous as the BBC. As with the BBC, the Government can appoint the chairman of PHE, but that is it. The nursing homes, some private some council run, are under the jurisdiction of councils. If any of these bodies had stockpiled PPE it would be being thrown away now as out of date. This was in fact the first confected scandal: that the PPE was out of date. Presumably stockpiled after Cygnus. It is not the job of government manage procurement, nor is it the job of the army. How shaming it must be for those 26,000 managers to be baled out by the severely truncated armed forces.

      Old people in nursing homes often want to go back rather than stay in hospital where they may be uncomfortable and risk acquiring another infection. But this year 40% fewer of them have gone back to nursing homes from hospital than usual. Why is that?

      The national scandal you speak of, you don’t specify. The first May administration tried to address the whole matter of care but was all but brought down by the electorate over that. The second, minority May administration was impotent to do anything. The minority Johnson administration was a prisoner of the Traitors’ Parliament, the majority Cameron administration was cut short after a year, the Coalition was hamstrung by the inherited Blair/Brown mess, which takes us back to the 13 years of uninterrupted majority government by those two gentlemen. They had a chance to reform the NHS and the nursing homes. Just as they had a chance to provide for energy, transport, food security, defence, and tackle pollution. They blew all these opportunities, preferring instead to wage 4 wars, vandalise the constitution, establish the Supreme Court, undermine the monarchy, break up the Union, sell the gold at the bottom of the market, and sign the Lisbon Treaty.

      If you want to blame people here for the effects of the Wuhan virus, pick the right people.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      The Chinese Communist Party

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      China is to blame if you want to play that game.

    • Donna Walker
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      The answer is Public Health England and Imperial College.

      • Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        and the Govt which abdicated to them. Boris remains sick, it’s cruel to leave him battling like this. I think even Starmer is sorry for him. If there is any humanity left, let Boris step down to recouperate!

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    It is worrying to hear how weak people can still be even weeks after “recovering” from the virus.

    I see that BBC favourite and failed President Mr Obama has popped his head up to attack Trump and push identity politics. This should help Trump significantly, he is still the favourite.

    Trump should be elected just for his sensible stance of Global Warming and Energy.

    Boris needs to get real on this too and soon. The UK cannot afford this idiotic expensive energy religion any longer.

    • Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      The BBC never lets an opportunity to denigrate Trump escape it.

      Actually I’d have more confidence in Trump getting our country back up and running again than Boris.

      As for our ludicrous energy policy, I’ve just switched energy provider in an effort to reduce my outgoings, but won’t save much. If only we dropped all the greenwash virtue signalling, then that would really make a difference.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        I note that no energy providers have reduced their prices yet. Despite low industrial appetite for energy forcing wholesale rates down

    • rose
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Obama let Russia and China do exactly what they liked for eight long years. Not content with that, he even paid Iran to terrorise the Near and Middle East. All his chickens are coming home to roost. He should keep his head down.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      They should listen to the USA on Chinese involvement in power and 5g. The Chinese are ruthless.

      • Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        +1 the British have no concept of ruthless. I fear they will only learn the hard way.

  9. Cheshire Girl
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Good questions. I hope you get the answers you seek.

    I feel a lot of sympathy for Matt Hancock and the Government in general. They were thrown in at the deep end with a previously unknown virus. I think they are doing their very best to cope with the situation they find themselves in. I don’t think any Government could have done much more.

    Where they ‘might’ have made a mistake in the early days of the virus, was letting lots of flights land in the UK from all over the world without any health checks. I have no experience in these matters, and this is just my observation.

  10. Mark B
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Good morning. And what another lovely morning it is 🙂

    Two questions I would like to ask.

    1) What lessons, real ones, have you learnt from all this ?

    2) What reforms will you propose for the NHS (England only) and PHE to prevent the shortcomings we have witnessed ?

    Yours

    Mark B

  11. Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Hasn’t this been a failing of every government “you have access to the best advice the country can offer” They rely too heavily on the existing group of ‘experts’ and civil servants, that make up the ‘establishment’, that form their own view and provide that limited view as solutions.
    Parliament is bound to accept this establishment approach to life – But the establishment view lacks innovation and stops the creation of alternate solutions.
    Sometimes it appears that government is sat in an ivory tower, but it’s not necessarily the government at fault if everything doesn’t run smoothly – The problem is how decision making has evolved, and it’s not always appropriate. Government have to rely on others with experience to help them work things out – BUT when that help comes from a source that has fixed ideas, then real solutions will never happen. At a time like this, the ability to think outside the box can work miracles.

  12. DOMINIC
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    This isn’t a medical or public health issue, this is a political issue. To portray it as a public health issue is deeply disingenuous

    The issue itself has exposed the true and changed nature of the Tory party. It’s been an education to watch them on their knees as they desperately try and manage the stinging attacks from Labour’s activist hordes. It reveals a party so damaged, so bereft and so utterly lost that they have become bag carriers for the public sector, socialist
    unions

    The British State and I include the socialist shadow State in that, has one primary function, the protection and promotion of its own vested interest. All else is of zero significance.

    The catastrophe imposed upon the private sector is mere collateral damage in the British State’s pursuit of total control and domination of our lives

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      It certainly seems that the militant left has won.

      I cannot see why anyone would want to run a business in Britain now. The Tories have surely crushed entrepreneurialism in the UK.

      Everyone wants a state, NHS job now – or fully paid up welfare circa £50k gross.

  13. agricola
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    You ask a lot of a minister who is neither a medic or a scientist. If you are really asking the questions of his advisors you will no doubt get a range of opinions and a few don’t knows. If you got considered answers would you understand them. We are very much in a trial and error situation for the moment, but I sense that the medics and pharmaceutical industry are moving towards the answers we all want. One Californian laboratory is claiming that it can stop Covid 19 dead in petri dish and is moving towards human trials. Lets hope the efficacy of what they are proposing has no adverse effects on the patient beyond dealing with the virus. Their shares have doubled overnight apparently. A laboratory in Oxford is working on a vaccine. Various existing drugs have been suggested as alleviators. We also have reliable tests to show who has had it, who is carrying it unknown, and who has caught it. Not to overlook sniffer dogs that can be taught to recognise its presence.

    The big political/ moral question that needs answering after pharmaceutical answers are found, is who will gain access to them at reasonable cost. Imagine that the answer is in California. Will it be licensed equably around the World or will it be seen as an earner beyond normal commercial criteria. China will of course steal it as they do everything else, but will the World be allowed to benefit from wherever the solution arises.

  14. matthu
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I think it is important for government advisors to put a confidence interval about their estimated value of R. When they describe R as inching up or down, I ca’t help the feeling they are simply trying to tweak the level of fear in the population in order to bring about the effect they want.

    If you can control the people’s perception of the crisis, you can control their behaviour.

    Just listened to a very recent interview “Andrew Bridgen MP talks about corruption within govt/media 15.5.20” by Anna Brees (ex-BBC presenter and journalist).

    Andrew Bridgen is the MP who was recently bullied on GMB by Piers Morgan. Has also had numerous memorable guest appearances with the previous Speaker of the House. Still standing, still fighting! Wonderful stuff! Well worth a listen.

  15. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I can only think that they are still using the established hospitals as an experimental testing ground for a whole range of new Covid treatments, as the staff, laboratories and pharmacies have a huge and wide knowledge of all sorts of treatments/ drugs

    The Nightingale type wards are perhaps rather more simple established treatment centres with rather more basic equipment, which begs the question why not use the Nightingale hospitals as day treatment Centres if they are not going to be used for Covid 19 and get the waiting list down for elective surgery.
    No overnight patients needed.

    Simple operating theatres could be used for all sorts of day care, like cataracts, glue ear, trigger finger, ingrowing toe nails, Skin Cancer mole removal etc etc.

    Seems crazy to just mothball them, unless of course the NHS lacks the right staff .

    Cannot think of any other reason as it seems to make sense to try and quarantine Covid patients

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    CNN has apparently convened a panel including Greta Thunberg to advise on the county on Covid-19. I assume Donald Duck and Micky Mouse will be asked shortly to also contribute their great expertise in this area.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      thinking of Donald Duck – – we’ve heard too much from quacks already……boom boom.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      country not county.

    • Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Or they could ask Hancock – with his great expertise …

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Hancock is a bit of a PPE dope, but it is far from an an easy job. He is getting much of the blame for the incompetent others (civil service, pandemic planning, NHS, LEAs and social services. He is trying his best and his heart is in the right place. Surely he is preferable to Jonathan Ashworth – (Politics and Philosophy at Durham).

        • Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          Surely Ashworth is not the alternative, he is a Labour politician. This Tory Govt is in place for 4 more years. Their challenge is to ensure a John Bull is here in 4 more weeks!

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      That’ll work out well. She knows nothing about Climate Change and presumably even less about medical stuff.

  17. DennisA
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Why did the NHS knowingly send elderly Covid-19 patients into care homes, thus seeding them with the virus?

    Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home – Version 1 Published 2 April 2020

    “Helping to move patients who no longer require acute care into the most appropriate setting will help to save thousands of lives. We thank you for your continued actions to support the implementation of the hospital discharge guidance COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Service Requirements.

    As part of the national effort, the care sector also plays a vital role in accepting patients as they are discharged from hospital – both because recuperation is better in non-acute settings, and because hospitals need to have enough beds to treat acutely sick patients. Residents may also be admitted to a care home from a home setting.

    Some of these patients may have COVID-19, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.
    All of these patients can be safely cared for in a care home if this guidance is followed. “

    • Stred
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Care homes where testing was refused and staff untrained in the necessary infection control were not supplied with ppe because the hospitals kept what there was for NHS staff.

  18. Javelin
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The brainless covid-2 virus has brutally torn down the extreme globalist zeitgeist of today’s liberal thinkers. Complete inability to produce PPE or drugs or vaccines or healthcare workers has exposed the once powerful UK as nothing but a tortoise on its back with its left hopelessly thrashing in the air.

    This disaster was as much to make profits for a few rich corporate directors at the cost of the public health as it was about a virus.

    A word of warning the next time it will be military equipment, communications technology or banking software that we will fail to produce.

    As the virus displayed – extreme globalism has caused the biggest fall in GDP in history simply to fatten the pockets of a few corporate directors. It’s a no brainier.

    • Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes if we sort ourselves out we may thank God for this virus, the least worst thing that could have happened. It’s a shot across the bows. The U.K. has no money to waste, and if there is ‘debt forgiveness’ ‘funding’ it has to be of ourselves. We need fewer people, and we need them all working. We are on the cusp. Are we going to fall for good or are we going to revert to the systems that made us a competent nation capable of helping others? We all have everything on this wheel. And it’s spinning.

  19. DOMINIC
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Covid-19. The issue that finally exposed the British governing class in all their gruesome, egotistical, snotty-nosed, stuck-up, dictatorial, clueless and patronising glory. Ferguson’s forecast of 500k dead is the evidence the public need to expose the utter sham of what we are seeing. The use of blantat lies to incite fear to justify oppression.

    More worrying for the future of this nation is that the Tories have been exposed for what they have become. Johnson’s screeching turn leftwards legitimises rancid Labour and that should concern us all, deeply.

    I thought Johnson would invoke Thatcher’s spirit and move forward on that basis. How naive of me. How wrong can we be. He’s picked up the baton from May and is sprinting in the same authoritarian direction in the most public of fashions. His majority has given him a once in a lifetime opportunity to crush Labour and their allies across the State and he’s refused to do so. Indeed he’s protecting them from harm. What a travesty.

    His politicisation of the role of the NHS to expand social conditioning and the use of social distancing to reset the nature of human interaction is utterly abhorrent.

    Nose in trough politics and all singing from the same authoritarian hymn sheet

    • Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Johnson was never a Thatcherite, hardly a Tory. I warned against him. But he was the only option acceptable to the May Remainer Parliament who presented us with the leadership shortlist.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Dominic – It really isn’t just this country, you know.

  20. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    In line with your point 3, why are the Nightingale hospitals not being used as isolation hospitals for COVID-19 patients? If it’s a question of staff numbers, why not boost the recruitment and retention of nurses by giving them a pay rise? The Conservative Party does have a major manifesto commitment to boost the number of nurses. You have to will the means as well as the end.

    • Stred
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Has the Nightingale been closed and underused because there were not enough staff, particularly surgeons and they were older retired medics who would have been vulnerable to the disease using insufficient protection? In other countries full suits and helmets with virus filters are used and supply staff are isolated in separate areas.

  21. Jess
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire

    • Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      And Ferguson got the Govt to swallow his absurdities, then they attacked all the sick in the U.K. and denied them treatment unless they had the ‘popular’ disease.

  22. Lifelogic
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Dithering officials hold back industry and innovation says Matt Ridley in the Sunday Telegraph today.

    He is quite right the damage done by this is immense. Hardly a day goes by when I am not distracted, delayed or pointlessly inconveniences by quangos, bonkers red tape and the many various tentacles of the largely parasitic state sector. Fools like Hammond and Osborne endless complain about low productivity in the UK but fail to realise that the bloated, suffocating, green crap pushing and inept state sector is the main cause of it. Their absurdly high, idiotic and hugely over complex tax system for example.

  23. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    On a related topic, Sir John has suggested that international comparisons should be based on deaths per million population. I have found a web site http://www.statistics.com that give this statistic for more than 100 countries. I give the figures for the worst 24 plus China. The pecking order (worst first) is:

    Belgium (774.2)
    Spain
    Italy
    UK (499.12)
    France
    Sweden (339.78)
    Netherlands
    Ireland
    USA (256.76)
    Switzerland
    Canada
    Equador
    Germany (94.79)
    Denmark
    Iran
    Austria
    Peru
    Brazil
    Panama
    Romania
    Moldova
    Finland
    Slovenia
    Turkey (48.01)
    China (3.33)

    COVID-19 deaths per million are given in brackets for selected countries.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I think you would find the top ones are there because their elderly got exposed, for one reason or another.

    • rose
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Even this is misleading as, for example, Belgium counts deaths as we do, over conscientiously. They count every death – in hospital, in nursing homes, at home; and not content with that, attribute every death possible to the Wuhan virus. So they are all deaths with, not deaths from; and all deaths suspected with, too. We are the only two countries doing this. What the others are doing varies.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      The UK has actually has over 60k of deaths not just the 35K or so the government claim. This adjusted would put us top. But the comparison is very simplistic we are not all at the same point in the infection, age profile, population density etc.

      • Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Better hunker down for a very long lockdown then. You see the figures you bandy about are what has terrified the population, and they will refuse to emerge even when they are ‘allowed’ to do so. This is what is going to stymie the recovery. No customers means that there is no point in opening shops. I can’t get 4 builders to turn up, social distanced, to move a metal roof. Boris has managed to terrify them, and they believe that the plague must be bad because no PM would shut the whole country otherwise. See if you and the BBC can move the death rate over 100,000 so Ferguson can claim he was right after all and can be reinstated as the main advisor for the next crisis. Game set and match to the socialists and One World Govt nutters in that case.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

          Just a fact. We are largely over it now we should just get back to work but taking reasonable precautions where we can. I suspect a larger number than they think has had it or is not susceptible to it perhaps even 50% of the population already looking at how figures are dropping especially in London.

    • Mark
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I charted it here:

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/95LCA/1/

      It’s very striking to observe the vast swathes of the world where there have been very few deaths. Of course, there are big questions about the reliability of probably all the statistics, but the overall picture is fairly clear.

    • Jocelyne Perks
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
      • gregory martin
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        These statistics are caused to be unreliable and inaccurate because it is not known what the correct figure for the current population of the United Kingdom is. Successive Governments have admitted that they do not know . They have not chosen to pursue accuracy through any of the possible methods. Census, electoral roll, National insurance, National Health useage data etc etc. It simply does not add up.

  24. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    John, please ask why a stroke patient has been put into a hospital where they are treating Covid19 and now has the virus herself. She has been in hospital for over 6 weeks and has had no visits from her family so can only have contracted the virus in the hospital. Why aren’t the Nightingale hospital being reserved for this and then the original hospital be used for normal problems? They may not be able to treat as many due to shortages of staff but at least those with other problems could be treated safely. Thank you.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      I read your post from Friday. Very good 🙂

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        Tx Mark.

    • Stred
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      This question was asked a few weeks ago in the daily presentation. The NHS chief answered that the Nightingale was not suitable for normal NHS patients. He actually didn’t think about the possibility of using it for Covid isolation and cleaning up the hospitals for normal use. Many patients with other diseases have been infected in the hospitals and they are the main causes of R.

  25. Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Government guidance is not at all positive about face masks in the workplace, clearly sees them as ineffective and an infection risk.

    Where on earth are the antibody surveys? It’s mid May and we haven’t even got the results for one.

  26. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Forensic

  27. Adam
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Define the UK population as being in 1 of 7 groups, and allow only the same group to be allowed out of lockdown on the same day. That would allow each to be protected from 85% of other people. Groups could be defined according to the number of their home address.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      I’d fit in several possibles:- over 70? overweight (a little) ? existing medical ailments(sadly)? grumpy old man (certainly)? Brexiteer? long-lost Tory voter?
      English?

      Full house, I think.

  28. John E
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    When will all NHS services and private providers be open again to treat non Covid conditions?
    What measures will he put in place to tackle the backlog of pain and illness that has been neglected while he has “protected”the NHS?

  29. ChrisS
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    The questions you have asked are the same ones that doubtless many of us posting here have been asking for the last few weeks.

    In particular, to get patients confident enough to be prepared to go to hospital for other potentially serious conditions, nominating certain ones for Virus patients is the obvious solution. It’s not as if the NHS is exactly bursting at the seams with patients, given that less than 20% of critical care beds are currently occupied with Covic cases.

    Last Saturday night, the waiting time at Poole Hospital A&E was just 7 minutes ! A Dorset ambulance crew told me themselves that they have been sitting through the night, waiting for calls. Far from being overwhelmed, I suspect that NHS hospitals have never been quieter.

    As I have posted here before, with the number of virus patients per 100,000 of population varying hugely – between 65 and 489 across the country – it’s crazy that the same lockdown should apply everywhere. Why is the Government insisting that every county/council/region be treated the same ?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      But probably virtually zero RTAs, no drunks falling over, very few fights – one or two domestics over who didn’t buy some more booze etc….plus of course those who won’t go near a hospital for months.

  30. ukretired123
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Interesting to see the SAS veteran who called for everyone to get together and support each other given that the EU has proved itself incapable of helping outside of Brussels the countries like Italy and Spain who have been worst affected.

    “What’s the point of the EU?” he concludes.

    Some folks are still living in the last century and have never experienced a crisis nor ever worked in the real world as professionals. Blaming is for amateurs – professionals focus on solving problems. All hands on deck is required and those who blame just add flames to the fire being detractors.

  31. BetterTimesAhead
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    All good questions Sir John that require answers.

    Also, when will the UK publish Recovery statistics, in the same way all Countries do?

  32. John E
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you ask that last question about Vitamin D. I’m puzzled that more attention is not being given to the growing evidence of its importance.
    I can only assume this is because no drug companies will fund its inclusion in trials because they cannot make any money from it. Therefore we need the Health Secretary to commit to publicly funded research with support from people like the Wellcome Trust.

    • zorro
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      The evidence has been there from the start but has been studiously ignored by the MSM until now. I have kept a large number of relevant scientific links since the start of the crisis.

      zorro

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      this generation spend the least time outdoors than any previous.
      end of…

      and now advice is to stay indoors for months, or even a year !

    • SM
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Actually, it’s been well known for decades that the elderly, in particular, do not get sufficient Vit D in Northern Europe because of the lack of sunshine, and because as you age, your body does not extract enough Vit D from your diet to stave off pain and depression.

      It baffles me that in this age of instantly-available information, individuals do not take time to to read up and act on matters like this – relying on pressurised GPs to suggest such measures is, as I know, pointless.

      • Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Black skin has an SPF of 500. They are denied vitamin D in our intermittent watery sunshine.

    • Mark
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      I suppose there is a risk of a run on supplies. Getting out in the sun helps too.

  33. dixie
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Good questions, especially 2 in the light of the observations from Kings College Hospital.

    On 5, the on-going voluntary effort to manufacture face visors free of charge to front line workers was banned last week by the government.

    The government’s only acknowledgement of this voluntary stop gap effort to provide visors in the face of PHE’s failure to supply is not to ensure sufficient production and supply but to frighten individuals with threats of legal action unless they become certified. This will cost £3k+ per individual and considering these people were doing it at their own cost anyway will mean such activity ceases.

    Clearly members of the government and civil service have been acutely embarrassed by such a can-do attitude and must crush it at all costs.

    • anon
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 1:02 am | Permalink

      That is explosive if true. Get it with the source to the papers & also for the public enquiry and prosecutions.

  34. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Did we miss a trick by not using the Nightingales more for the elderly? No, I’m not proposing an answer.

  35. Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Some very pertinent questions there as we’ve come to expect from Sir John Redwood.
    I hope that Matt Hancock’s response will not be the usual load of evasive waffling platitudes that we so often hear from career politicians.

  36. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Can you send a letter to Priti Patel asking why she appears to have done nothing about stopping the Border Farce from ferrying those from Calais to the UK and a life on our taxes? – shortly followed by their families to do the same?

    • rose
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Get rid of the Human Rights Act, the ECHR, and the Geneva Convention on refugees. Expel the rapacious human rights lawyers – and then you might be able to criticise her. You haven’t a leg to stand on at the moment.

    • steve
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      bigneil

      You don’t need a letter to said lady. The evidence is out there – spineless unpatriotic government scared to stand up to Macron.

    • BW
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely

  37. Christine
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    A great set of questions John and shows you have been reading our posts over the last few months. I doubt ministers and the experts advising Government have the bandwidth to study how this virus is being tackled around the world.

    To add to your questions:

    1. Treatments – Antiviral drugs with zinc but only given in the early stages are showing promising results. However, we need to be wary of some very flawed studies coming out of the USA where scientists are promoting expensive drugs over much cheaper alternatives.

    2. Understanding the disease. Blood clots are a major issue with this disease and blood thinners an important treatment. We need to start carrying out autopsies to understand the way this virus is damaging the body. We need to treat it like AIDS where doctors now treat the diseases rather than the virus.

    3. Isolation Hospitals – Given the low numbers now in hospital this makes sense and will allow most hospitals to recommence normal service. To allow this daily testing of both patients and staff needs to be in place.

    4. Transmission rate – A study is being done by DHSC and the ONS. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-begins-large-scale-virus-infection-and-antibody-test-study

    5. Face masks – These should be mandatory for people on public transport and in shops. They have been proven to reduce viral load, which is important to avoid complications.

    6. Vitamin D – Darker skinned people living in colder climates have issues absorbing enough vitamin D into their bodies. Maybe low levels make this group more susceptible to complications from the virus. Weakened immune systems maybe one of the reasons why some populations fare better than others. It would be interesting for scientists to carry out a study into this. People should be encouraged to take vitamins including D3, C, zinc and Quercetin. Also encourage a good night’s sleep to increase melatonin.

  38. rose
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    These are the questions the Leader of the Opposition should be asking. It is extraordinary that he is being praised for what he is actually doing – nitpicking and hairsplitting over who said what in which bureaucratic body in the past, and getting the detail wrong when he has had all week to prepare his questions with his team of researchers.

    • rose
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      The next confected scandal may be the looming shortage of plastic screens.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        and in a year or two – – thousands will be dumped at refuse tips.

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        You mean those re-usable and washable plastic screens

  39. Edwardm
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Again, good sense from JR.
    Why Covid patients were not confined to a few hospitals (why not use the Nightingale hospitals ?) and freeing up the rest for other things, seemed a bad decision.

    So for most people needing treatment (for serious or painful conditions), the NHS has decided that it will delay treatment, but also it has stopped one going elsewhere, as it has taken over private hospitals which are now idle. I say this from my own current experience for an urgent need. I am not pleased.

  40. Man of Kent
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    All nationalised industries have the same core principle ; they are there for the benefit of those working in them.
    We have seen it in mining , steel , car making and telecommunications where radical changes and privatisation have produced more responsive industries .

    It is not at all surprising that the two nationalised industries causing the most grief at present are the NHS and state education.

    They each need an overhaul to make them responsive to patients and children’s needs .

    Why close down all private hospitals during Covid ?
    To stop competition in non- Covid cases ?
    If the NHS cannot do both then at least relieve private hospitals from their obligations now !

  41. Ex-Tory
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I suppose if the minutes of the Sage meetings were published, the answers to these questions would be in the public domain without you having to ask them.

    • rose
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Do you want the minutes of all COBR meetings published, and the Cabinet, and all the sub committees of the Cabinet, or just one COBR sub committee? If the latter, why?

      • Ex-Tory
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Only one Cobra sub-commttee: Sage, because this is such an unprecedented interference with our liberties that we should know what’s being said at these meetings: it’s our lives, liberty and livelihoods which are at stake. Despite the many things we don’t know about the virus, we can be reasonably confident that it can’t read English. We are not fighting a human enemy, so there is no justification for secrecy. It will be interesting to see whether or not the courts order publication.

        • rose
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

          The human enemy is the very large and powerful body of people who are using the Wuhan virus to bring down the Government. As we near the June deadline for notification of seeking an extension, their attacks are getting more virulent. They have finally affected public opinion after a relentless onslaught, and repetition of untruths which rarely get challenged. They never seem to ask the intelligent and constructive questions you see here, as their object is not to improve the situation but to undermine public confidence in the Government. I don’t see any merit in feeding this crocodile.

  42. a-tracy
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Could we also be told what additional factors have added to the risk of diabetics dying from or with CV19, is it age, type 1 or 2, bmi, blood sugar measurement.

    If tests can now be done in the post, why can’t you send the appropriate number of tests to each care home for staff and residents and get them all done this week? A colleague said they were very easy to do, very fast results so that you have a measure by the end of May?

    Is it true that people can help themselves with Vid D, Zinc, Vit C supplements, brushing their teeth more often and when they leave and return from home,

    Is the medical profession expecting children to physically distance by 1m or 3ft when returning to school and playing with friends and if yes for how long?

    Where are the 4,000 to 5,000 new cases per day coming from? You MUST tell us this if you want people to go back to school and work, are you hiding this because it’s people coming in by air and not quarantining, people that were following rules would have returned weeks ago but we’re seeing planes returning all the time into Manchester. How are people still catching it? Somebody somewhere isn’t doing what they were advised and we are all being punished for this now.

  43. George Brooks.
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Six excellent questions but Hancock is not the man to stand up and answer them.

    One squirms when he answers, or tries to answer questions at the daily briefings and displays an unbelievable degree of muddled thinking. He frequently tries to answer a technical question which he should have passed to one of his advisors and when he does, they have to straighten out and explain what he has tried to say.

    When will a No 10 PR advisor tell him to stop prefacing every reply to a question with ”that’s a veeery goooode question”. Then in fairness his first answer is usually not too bad but he prattles on and tries to give a slightly different answer bringing in other oblique points which confuses what he first said.

    Conversely, to all that, his record of achievement working in tandem with other government departments throughout this pandemic has been incredible and he has set himself some eye-watering targets and hit them. Recruiting 18,000 ”tracers” by May 31 is the latest and as of today he has siugned up over 17,000 with two weeks to go.

    On a related topic, the tracing app under test on the Isle of Wight has hit a problem, insomuch it does not work with earlier models of mobile phone. This is a hurdle that Google would have foreseen and the NHS developers have missed. So cut your losses now and either bin the app and go manual or pass it to Google to re-write. Don’t let the NHS team try and modify or re-write it as you will be wasting tax payers money.

  44. DOMINIC
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    The Marxist NUT and Unite have Johnson and the Cabinet by the short and curlies and that means union power is now absolute translating into indoctrination, waste, more politics, more indoctrination of children. higher taxes

    Vote Tory, get Marxist-McCluskey appeasement

    Len is now the most powerful politician in the UK with Johnson lagging way behind. This crap wouldn’t be happening with a neo-Thatcherite as leader

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      To be fair the Government and media did a very good job of scaring the bejeesus out of everyone – including those at low risk, which the majority of teachers are.

      I note that my next-door neighbours (both state school teachers) spend an inordinate amount of time playing with their kids in the garden. Aren’t they supposed to be putting in full days in on-line lessons ?

      There are reports that private schools have been doing just that – strict full day’s on-line for their pupils with marked homework.

  45. Javelin
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Why did you listen to Prof Ferguson who has got so many other diseases wrong by two orders of magnitude?

    His code has been sanitised by microsoft consultants and still has errors such as floating point rounding and multithreaded race conditions causing different answers for the same inputs every time you run it or run it on different machines.

    Even before the pandemic I posted that the science clearly showed you should protect the vunerable with a lot of benefits and let the healthy get on with helping the economy.

    Just as predicted the comments sections in the Daily Mail and Telegraph are now turning on the Conservatives very harshly.

    Having predicted both the correct response to the virus and the public backlash (and Brexit and Trump) I also standby my predictions this will finish off this Conservative Government and I predict a Reform Party being brought into power.

    • Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      +1. I’m sorry to say that I agree. God knows we have given the Tories opportunity. What is left of the party, with a few obvious exceptions, are simply incapable. They would not recognize capitalism if it got up and hit them in the face.

  46. Steve Reay
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Can sir John cover the topic of how in his opinion the coronavirus debt will be paid for, maybe he can ask us our opinion and we can suggest ideas.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      print it do not borrow it.

      • Steve Reay
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Personally I believe we should agree to have a coronavirus global debt julbilee . Every country agrees to cancel the debt as a result of coronavirus and just go back to previous debt levels,Japan has done it before.

        • Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          Can that party include individuals? It’s the wealth creators who are out cold. If they are deprived of what little liquidity there is, it will be just like the Easter Islanders cutting down the last tree to make an effigy rather than a raft.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      It will be paid for largely by the 80%+ who work in the private sector as usual. How else? They will do it far more quickly if the bloated state gets off their backs, deregulates, slims down hugely, cancels idiocies like HS2, abandons the net zero carbon religion, culls all the soft loans for worthless degrees, goes for easy hire and fire, stops distorting the energy market towards expensive renewables and get people back to work asap.

    • Ian Pennell
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      @ Steve Reay

      I can tell you now that it is not going to all come from the Bank of England printing money to stimulate the Economy. Inflation will kick in and the Credit Ratings Agencies will downgrade Britain’s credit-worthiness. We will not be able, as a country, be able to borrow our way out of this Great Coronavirus Recession.

      The Bank of England will have to Print Money to forestall the mother of all recessions, but use it to buy up shares in Gold and Platinum (i.e. something of tangible value to back up Sterling).

      When it all goes wrong- and it will- Interest Rates will have to be jacked up to contain the Inflation. That will cause renewed Recession just when the Government would not be able to borrow to support the Economy.

      Boris Johnson does not want Austerity- but he will be forced into it one way or the other: My take is that he will go for Tax hikes so he can keep his new Northern Voters sweet with lots of Spending. Anyone with more than £50,000 in the bank may check their bank-statement one day and get a huge shock. However, he might not have much other choice in the matter.

      • Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        The Govt, the biggest debtor, desperately needs inflation. Impossible to raise interest rates, there will be mass bankruptcies. We might be facing stagflation again. ‘Keep its northern voters sweet’ 😂😂. The north has subsidised the south for generations and has been impoverished. Now the south is in the same boat.

        • Ian Pennell
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

          @ Lynn Atkinson

          The high Inflation that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Government is likely to allow will also push up Interest Rates on the costs of servicing the larger National Debt. This is because the Government’s International Creditors will factor in the debasement of Sterling and will demand a higher return to compensate for the loss in real-terms gain through lending to the Government.

          To some extent the Government will get more revenues through fiscal creep -caused by the high Inflation. However this will likely be more than swallowed up by much higher Debt servicing costs- especially if the Bank of England has to raise Interest Rates to curtail the Inflation. That -in turn- will bring about renewed Recession and further falls in Government revenues.

          In short, Boris Johnson’s Government could be in a very bad predicament post Coronavirus- with the Conservatives’ reputation for Economic Competence (and competence in much else) shot to pieces á lá Black Wednesday!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      How will it be paid for? Just picture the old war poster with the slogan ‘Your country needs YOU’ or look in the mirror. You will be paying for this.

  47. Not Bob
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Why do we keep following W.H.O. advice ? Here is the reason the W.H.O was set up –

    ” To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family tradition, national patriotism, and religious dogmas.”

    Dr George Brock Chisholm, first Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) from 1948 to 195

    • Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      +1 and another 1,000 illegal immigrants to destroy British homogeneity.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 18, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        What “homogeneity”?

        Amongst white Anglo-Saxons, the European Unionists and the xenophobes often absolutely detest each other.

        That alone is a bigger divide than between different ethnic backgrounds.

        There are other schisms, and so there is nothing for anyone to destroy in that regard.

        Thank the populists.

  48. Caterpillar
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Hancock,
    To Sir John’s questions please add:
    (1) Are any of the drugs being considered as prophylactics, particularly to protect workers at risk of higher viral loads?
    (2) Have case fatality rates improved during the course of the epidemic? Why, why not, how much?
    (3) Please release the data specifically separating out community transmission cases of Covid19 from those caught in hospitals (patients and workers) and care homes. Deaths in England and Wales hospitals with Covid19 peaked on 7th/8th April, suggesting community transmission peaked 1 to 3 weeks earlier than this. Please confirm when community transmitted cases peaked and the evidence for this.
    (4) (a) Based on antibody tests what proportion of the England and Wales population are estimated to have had Covid 19? Please release this by age group so that it can be combined with NHS deaths data to give an improved estimation of risk.
    (b) Ongoing studies are being carried out to estimate the current number of the population infected with Covid 19 e.g. 27th April to 10th May 0.27% infected unadjusted point estimate, but this data is not as informative as it could be (e.g. for back fitting to models) without releasing an estimate on the mean time over which an infected person will test positive – is this known?
    (c) The ongoing studies indicate that prevalence in children under lockdown is no higher than in adults but it in no way gives any estimation of relative risks between adult-adult, adult-child, child-child transmission. What is known about these relative risks?
    (6) (a) What do advisors think about the use of supplements in general to strengthen defences? (There are at least 8 supplement suggestions for 3 or 4 reasons.) Please do not give the standard answer to eat a balanced diet, this can be a longer term adjustment particularly when people’s life habits have been put under strain, supermarkets’ offers have ben stopped and cheaper outdoor markets closed.

    Additional questions to those of Sir John:-

    (7) The recent paper in ‘Cell’ by Grifoni et al (accepted 7th May 2020, pre-proof available online) observed that “CD4+ T cell responses were detected in 40-60% of unexposed individuals. This may be reflective of some degree of crossreactive, preexisting immunity to SARSCoV-2 in some, but not all, individuals.” What are the epidemiological implications of this finding? What are the dangers of ongoing social distancing and travel checks restricting such gains in community immunity for any future diseases?
    (8) What is the evidence on antiseptic gargling, and is the Japanese preference for a different active ingredient in antiseptic mouthwashes relevant?
    (9) Will there be any studies to investigate whether intradermal infection with live virus has lower risk of pulmonary infection than tracheal viral infection?
    (10) Please release estimates of the influence on quality adjusted life years due to the economic lockdown.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      And one developing positive –

      (11) Now that the number of PCR-swab tests is increasing, what is the strategy to use these to fullest benefit (in terms of economic value per increase in R) in coming out of lockdown? What other tests will be used alongside these?

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        You seriously expect someone in this government is capable of organising that?!

  49. a-tracy
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Can you now do a letter to the Education Minister.

    Don’t even try to re-open school, the narrative that ‘the Tories will kill your kids’ has got too much traction. Ask teachers to take their four of their six weeks holiday in June. Go back in July for 3 weeks then close for a further two weeks, go back in August as they do in Scotland, no-one is going anywhere this August anyway and teachers can take their total break early.

    Furlough is stopping for most people in August anyway.

    If you want key workers children child minding then set this up separate with volunteer educators on full pay for the role.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Or … show some rationality, open schools, stop playing politics.

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Head teachers have started playing politics, I have heard the messages of fear spread to parents who now don’t want to put their children at ‘high risk’.

        So give the teachers the choice, you are going back at some point and the risk will be there, better children catch it in the summer with a viral break than when the weather turns in Autumn, so teachers take your summer holiday in two parts starting from June have 3-4 weeks holiday back for three weeks, break holiday for 3 weeks back mid-August.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Random catering for people playing politics gives false legitimacy and sets false precedents. There has been more than enough unfair, unjustified and futile behaviour by the Government.

          Going back to normality when risk is low is rational, there is no need to complicate it.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but yet again the Government is truly rubbish at presenting its case , they have the data on nurseries of NHS staff , where you might think the Covid transmission risk is high, but found no transmission within the nurseries. This info got dribbled out by others, when it should have been front a center of their argument to start schooling for young children. They also have the data regarding the Covid risk to young children, where it is almost irrelevant, but they haven’t presented that data. They also could have pointed out that those with young children are themselves in their 20’s or 30’s another low risk group, so even if the children catch it, the effect on their parents would be small, but no this seems to be another state secret.

      Throughout this whole epidemic the Government’s presentation has been brilliant at shooting itself in the foot, no that is a but mild, more like shooting its self in the head.

      PS the Government is also losing the argument about being too late going into lockdown, the difference between us and Germany going into the lockdown was one week, but their don’t point this out, allowing the idea to get around it was months.

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely Iain, rubbish and I quite liked the Education Minister but he let the teachers union take the upper hand. They’ve been tweeting photos of young children in icu with this form of covid19.

        It wasn’t even a week later than Germany it was 5 days midnight Friday 20th March and even then London was emptying from Wednesday when Sturgeon let the cat out of the bag.

      • rose
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Very good points.

  50. na
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    All covid 9 deaths are caused by something else, this is the biggest political hoax in human history.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Something else? You are not very specific.

    • steve
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      @na

      Makes you wonder.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Suh as what, conspiracy-theorist?

      • rose
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Co-morbidities.

      • DavidJ
        Posted May 18, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

        Conspiracy theory or conspiracy fact? Government relies on a gullible public which is of the view “they wouldn’t do that would they?” based on their own moral compass.
        The fact is that governments have and will indulge in whatever is necessary to promote their agenda and are in hock to such as the UN which plans a huge reduction in world population.

  51. cornishstu
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    There is quite a bit of info online from doctors and studies re vitamin D3. It would seem that the recommended daily allowance is set to prevent rickets which responds to fairly low levels, however for immune support considerably higher doses are required 5000iu + up to a max of 10000iu. Someone with fair skin outside with their face and arms bare would produce these levels on a sunny summer day fairly quickly in UK. My interest in this is somewhat self-centred, carelessly loosing my spleen in my teens, I have sought ways to give my immune system a boost whilst avoiding the snake oil salesmen.

    • cornishstu
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Just to add, the older you get the less you are able to produce D3, a 70-year old will produce 75% less than a 20-year-old, in addition if you are overweight it can reduce the amount in your blood by 50% as it is readily absorbed into fat tissue.

  52. Trevor
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Vitamin D is the big elephant in the room in all of this.

    There are loads of medical papers going back decades showing just how important Vit D is to the immune system and its ability to deal with a virus invasion. All are available to read by simple searches on the internet.

    They tell us all we need to know about deficiencies that are particularly prevalent in people with darker skins, fatter people, and people that don’t or can’t get out into the sun very much. In fact the very groups that we seem surprised to find show a greater death rate than average.

    Do the NHS get it? No
    The advice on their website is pitifully poor.

    I have an elderly relative who has bone marrow cancer which means she has to go into hospital every 3 weeks or so for a blood transfusion. She has been doing this for the last 5-6 years and the big issue for her has been tiredness as her blood degenerates.

    A new lady consultant has just taken over her case and was appalled to find that her D3 level was at 15 which is very deficient. She immmediately put her on a booster dose of 1000mg D3 daily and now 7 weeks later her level stands at 79. She tells me that she now has enough energy to do things that she had given up on altogether.

    She also now has a fighting chance to beat the virus if she does happen to contract it whereas she previously would have been toast.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      I mentioned this here a couple of months ago. The Left prefer to ignore it and foment race rioting. (They also tell us that people living in London are poor when they were telling us the exact opposite during the election – the N/S divide)

      A chap called Dr John Campbell was onto CV-19 long before it became news. He is very popular with medics and med studentsl and spotted the correlation with vitamin D and BAME groups.

      I wish he’d been our Government’s adviser. He’s called everything right so far.

  53. Pat
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t have put it as well myself!

  54. Iain Gill
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Re “Treatments for Covid 19” I have only seen Fauci name one as a success in proper double bling trials so far. I trust him. There is no excuse for the NHS not using this drug until better things are developed. The UK “undertaking trials” is a joke when proper double blind trials have already taken place, we do not have time for this.

    Re 2, yes and its even more complex than that.

    Re 3, no test is 100% accurate, so trying to separate into clean no CV and with CV sites and zones is doomed to limited success.

    Re 4, kinda spoilt by the large numbers coming into the country in little boats into Dover and disappearing into the countryside, etc.

    Re 5, yep they need to increase supply of masks before they announce more people need to wear them. Taiwan is rationing masks to the whole population, probably the correct approach.

    Re 6, people not getting enough sunlight (being told to stay indoors a lot) to make Vitamin D naturally should be taking Vitamin D anyways for reasons unrelated to Covid. Indeed the NHS should get this sorted as a priority, as Vitamin D deficiency is another knock on impact of all this which could easily be prevented.

    David Starkeys recent contribution to the new culture forum youtube channel are well worth a read, as this sychophancy to NHS is getting ridiculous.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Re 3.
      Swabs taken properly, reagents used of best quality, detecting the virus and checking carefully will prove or disprove its presence almost 100%. You are going into human failure with that last 0.05%
      PHE, I believe were initially presiding over misunderstood sample taking, inferior equipment, inexperienced testers, questionable reagents…..so false negatives, and false positives were resulting.
      The test of course is only valid on the day it is taken — thereafter all change is possible.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        Simply wrong.

        Dangerously wrong.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          whats wrong – please itemise? Dangerous? To whom? Correctly taken testing, or accepting as I do, that currently NHS testing is not good enough.

  55. William Long
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    All these are very sensible questions, to which it would be useful to have answers. This is particularly true regarding the Isolation Hospital one. There is nothing new in the idea; in the not so distant past isolation in a dedicated hospital was the norm for all infectious diseases for which there was no known cure, just such as Covid-19.
    It is a pity the press cannot ask useful questions like this at the daily briefing. I am so bored with their point scoring moaning that l have pretty well given up watching.

    • Stred
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Matt Ridley makes the point that the Chinese put Covid patients into isolation hospitals and avoided infecting other patients. At the moment the main source of R is the NHS.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        it is certainly true that circa 20% of serious CV cases caught the virus while inside the NHS for something unrelated to CV. this exposes the wider lack of hygiene in the NHS more than anything, I know its not fashionable to knock the priesthood of the NHS but come on where there are 6 traps, 6 urinals, 3 wash basins and 1 hand dryer in a typical NHS gents then they are actively designed to have insufficient capacity for hand washing. touching the top of the hand gel dispenser plungers in hospitals is a proven contamination point, the gel dispensers rather than helping prevent contamination are making it worse. and so much more. other countries less top down systems are doing far better than the NHS.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

          plenty of ward hand basins are simply too small for adult male hands to fit under the tap for hand washing too… and one basin per 6 beds or so. stuff like this could easily be fixed quickly by installing bigger basins as an emergency measure.

  56. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I take Vit D, Vit C ,zinc ,magnesium , calcium etc every day . These can be purchased in combination medications, but this was prior to Covid-19, Vit D as sunlight is a superior way of the body manufacturing D, but as your Oxford chums will tell you( and not because we observe?) the exposure in the UK is limited.

    I am naturally against incidence, spread and deaths being transposed into ‘R. or spread ratio as intellectualising in hindsight is not beneficial .

    I am grateful to all the lab staff and specialists attempting to find out more about corona virus though. I don’t think that we are being conned in any way. It is bizarre to suggest the whole world is suffering due to some who have it in for mankind, but as with everything there are some who will use this problem for their own benefit.

    I am originally state trained and was taught and I believe that every individual is as important as the next and no priority should be given to anyone in particular excepting the priority of the seriousness and progression of the disease itself.We can only observe what will happen next .

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      why do you think you need to add all that? Is your diet rather unusual?
      Vegan?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Most older people have some degree of deficiency in some or all of these, due to declining absorption efficiency with age, Fred

      • M Brandreth- Jones
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        The post was concerned with Vit D and can be found in compound medication over the counter.I will add what is sensible and is moderated. Your take on what you think is relevant is your concern.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

          It is our concern when you start your entry as if promoting the supplements. I’d like to have an insight as to why, thats all? Do you accept a normal varied diet provides sufficient of those susbstances and does not require extra? So, in effect you are wishing to overdose on them?

  57. Ed M
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The UK has to get the economy back up and running and kids back to school as soon as poss. But let’s become the leaders now in testing and tracing so that we can implement the most effective social distancing at work and school anywhere in the world – and then sell our technology to others.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      not even a faint chance. Total amateurs so far.

  58. Ian Pennell
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood,

    It is not inconceivable that by this time next year- just in time for local Council elections- that Labour will be 25% ahead in the polls as voters punish Boris Johnson’s government for Incompetence and Chaos in dealing with Covid 19. Britain now has one of the highest death-rates per million people in the World. There is also the slow roll out of testing, tracking and tracing and elderly residents in Care homes have been dropping dead in their thousands- much more than usual and not all directly attributed to Coronavirus.

    There is likely to be a Second wave with so many people out in the parks, not observing social distancing, and so many commuters packed like sardines on the Tube in London: More than 50,000 Covid-19 related deaths would be an abject humiliation of this country!

    Then there is the Economy. If there is a collapse in Sterling and the Gilt markets go cold on Britain we will be up the creek without a paddle! If the Government ends up “forced” into deep Cuts and Tax rises- and ten million folk end up on the dole- on top of everything else there will be nothing the Conservatives could do to avoid a brutal defeat at the next Election in 2024!

    So you must get together with your other Conservative colleagues to make Boris Johnson shape up (and shape his Cabinet up- perhaps by replacing some of the no-hopers with seasoned folk who know what they are doing). You cannot let a situation in which Kier Starmer wipes the floor with Boris Johnson in PMQ’s continue week after week.
    Secondly, you must insist on Economic policies that forestall the Economic Disaster coming down the track- like:

    1) The Bank of England continues its money-printing but buys Gold/ Platinum Securities with it.
    2) A Wealth Tax on high-value property (which is less damaging than other forms of taxation) to get the Budget Deficit back from the dangerous 15% it is projected to be in 2020-21.
    3) A Tax Amnesty Programme covering all taxes lasting six months would raise £100 billions (based on the success of local Tax Amnesties in the USA in the past).
    4) Slash Foreign Aid and Green subsidies.
    5) A 40% Tariff on Chinese imports to make them pay for some of the cost of letting Covid-19 decimate economies across the World.

    There is, in short, a need for an Alan Sugar type influence at the heart of Government before it becomes “Too Late” for the Conservative Party!

    Regards,

    Ian Pennell

    • rose
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      Starmer doesn’t wipe the floor with the PM. Just listen to what he says and what the PM says, rather than what the media say. The media are pretending to be bowled over by him because they are bored and because they want to bring down the Government to reverse Brexit.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 18, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      How does a tax amnesty work?

  59. Sebastian fairweathe
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Dear john, have sent you an email re your letter in which you may find something of interest. I also sent a pdf attachment with further notes on vitamin-d which looks promising bw Sebastian

  60. Otto
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Too much salt appears to be a problem but can we buy unsalted potato crisps? Aldi had some but almost never are available. Tesco only sells the salted kind.

    I wonder why this is – it is thought people wouldn’t buy them? Perhaps the manufacturers think no one keeps salt at home if they want it.

  61. acorn
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Life is becoming somewhat embarrassing for Thatcher legacy Alt-Right Brexiteer politicians (the original ERG 62 in particular). I look forward to seeing how JR is going to wriggle out of this one.

    “Britain’s leading free-market thinktanks, which backed Margaret Thatcher’s tax-cutting and privatisation agenda and sanctioned the last 10 years of austerity, have lent their support to the government’s plans for unprecedented and sustained increases in public spending.

    In a shift of stance that will give Rishi Sunak political clearance to ramp up UK debts to levels not seen in peacetime, the Adam Smith Institute, the Centre for Policy Studies, the Institute of Economic Affairs and Policy Exchange said they endorsed public spending increases to confront the coronavirus outbreak and state-funded investment to boost the recovery.” (@phillipinman)

    Meanwhile, the Bookies are offering 12/5 on Boris extending Brexit by the 01/07/2020 deadline. Is it worth going large on this one? What say you Leavers?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      what about a double? Boris to extend and him losing the next GE?
      OR:
      Boris to be replaced in this Parliament, and Starmer to win the next GE?

    • Posted May 17, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      I would advise you, but nobody else, to put your house on the WA being extended! We lived off the Thatcher created wealth for 30 years. We were compelled to enforce Austerity being under the EU thumb at the time.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      And your alternative strategy is what exactly?

  62. Mark
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I have updated my map of coronavirus cases in England over the past 7 days with today’s data:

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/YIgji/2/

    It’s looking to be an improved picture. I also did a chart comparing the changes with the previous one – naturally, areas where things are improving are shades of blue, and where they are deteriorating they are shades of red.

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/jMm3A/1/

  63. Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Sir John in addition to the tax cuts you have proposed, which I fully support, please urge an ‘amnesty’ on CGT. Many of us hold assets which we can’t deploy and can’t sell to somebody who could deploy them. As Aliens have CGT calculated from last April it’s only fair that natives enjoy the same rate. In fact it’s indefensible to legislate against native British people in their own homeland, in favour of aliens.

  64. TLC
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Dear John,
    Thank you for continuing to ask questions on our behalf (constituents or not!)

    I can’t answer any of your questions but I can attempt some.
    Question 3: The Nightingale hospitals (and equivalent ) could work as Covid centres (covid +ve) and free the rest of the NHS (covid -ve)
    Question 4: R number continues to be a red herring. The only valid number left (in this statistical madness!) is the death per population! That remains 0.00 sometthing!!!!!!!!!
    Question 5: Whilst a face mask could prevent spreading of infectious droplets we need to consider what our bodies are design to do. Everything we are supposed to breathe out, it is (by the very nature of the mask) coming-at least in part- back in: causing an oxigen depletion at the very minimum.
    Question 6: Vit D has invariably shown to be a positive influence on health when naturally produced by exposure to sunlight.
    Vit D, as a supplement, has a mixed review. Vit K co-role needs to be investigated further (especially Vit K2)

    Question 7: Children don’ t appear to pass on Covid-19… TB (tuberculosis) is not spread by young children because of the lack of their lung capacity to ‘ cough it up’…Is it the same for Covid? Some say Aye!

    Question 8:Vaccine are vital in saving lives but some are notoriusly difficult to develop: like HIV, ebola, SARS-CoV or MERS. The Corona viruses vaccines trialled tend to elicit an hyper response from the host immune system.
    Thankfully we moved on from developing vaccines on chick embryos but what are the current tissues used? Are they ‘corona virus’ free?

    Your Cordially,
    TLC

  65. Ed M
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,

    Effective testing and tracing with social distancing tech, apps and sensible regulations seems to be the way to proceed so we can get our economy back to normal as soon as possible (and thermal testing at airports and perhaps masks in crowded indoor spaces but not outdoors).

    Please can you focus minds on this. Thank you.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted May 18, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Not sure if we should really be pre-occupied with physical distancing, as far as I know Germany say 1.5m, Austria 1m…

      It’s just as important to regularly wash hands and sanitize all surfaces, door handles, Oyster check in/out pads etc. This is going to be really important in schools and needs to be done constantly, not just once a day.

      Masks should probably be worn whilst on public transport and in shops and those stacking shelves should also be wearing masks and probably also gloves….even if they are only touching packaged foods.

  66. MeSET
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    It is D3 which comes via sunlight but it can be got from foods. EGG YOKES . You know the food which has gone up in price to crazy amounts and is rationed to ‘help us’

    Silesia, Poland. Coalminers have been hit by the virus badly. Before jumping to the conclusion they lacked the sunshine which gives vitamin D3, they like everyone else eat lots of eggs which taste better than sunlight.

    The Health Service should quit, in general, advocating dieting unless they are going to contain the human being in hospital and ensure that is all they eat.
    By the way, DID OLD PEOPLE IN HOSPITAL OR CARE HOMES HAVE A NHS DIET OR THEIR OWN??????????????
    This must be investigated as a priority and it will never be seen as factor if left to NHS nor blamed if guilty .

    • MeSET
      Posted May 18, 2020 at 12:12 am | Permalink

      Lest it be said I advocate a NHS diet for anyone, no. I see little evidence the NHS in their publicity for dieting are anything but irresponsible and probably reduce life expectancy, child performance in education, and in some cases reduction of old people’s longevity. American sugar contains sucrose not fructose and cannot be labelled “Sugar” unless it contains only sucrose. It is fructose which may cause problems in absorbing certain vitamins which if not D3 act in ‘cooperation’ with D3
      The NHS speaks generally and is generally a nuisance in food advice. Each person is an individual and such a principle is not merely a religious mantra it is a truth and the Truth.

    • M Brandreth- Jones
      Posted May 18, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      The deaths of those old people in hospital were not directly related to their nutrition in hospitals but rather the ageing process, perhaps their nutrition , and ability to fight off the pathogen many months prior to this. When there is nothing else to help sufferers , the last stage will be a ventilator and the success of these due to the prior progress of the disease is limited.
      Eat more fruit with natural fructose doesn’t chime with malabsorption of D3 .. D3 and calcium in the bowel interact so levels can be at a satisfactory level. I take regular blood samples of Vit D levels ( a test which is expensive and the CCG have warned against sampling) and have attended many lectures by oxford Dons on the subject but tissue repair mainly relies on Vit C. I would add that normal levels of all nutrients should be a general guide.

  67. beresford
    Posted May 18, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The best news for the British people is that in the end our lot are not going to determine things. If bars and schools and transport are re-opening around the world and it doesn’t result in Armageddon after four weeks then there will be an irresistible outcry to end lockdown. Wasn’t the purpose of lockdown to delay and flatten the virus peak until the summer months rather than a futile attempt to prevent people from getting the virus altogether? Let those who are at excessive risk remain locked down if they wish (with some state support) and let the rest of us get back to our lives.

  68. sam
    Posted May 18, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Concerning vitamin D
    In the UK between October and April the sun is not strong enough for us to be able to make vit D from sun exposure
    We can store vit D for about 3 months after which our levels plummet
    So after Christmas is when we are most vulnerable to infectious diseases and is why we get flu in the winter not the summer generally.
    Of course this is assuming that peeople get back outside in the summer to replenish their levels. However certain groups like residents in care homes are deficient all year round
    Everyone in the UK should supplement vit D3 during the winter to keep healthy.
    The cure for TB used to be found in sanitoriums in the mountains in Switzerland precisely for this reason.
    People with darker skins are particularly vulnerable living in northern climes as they are not designed to be able to absorb much from the weak northern hemisphere sun. This is why they are more at risk
    If the medical profession knew anything about the basics they would be advising everyone of this and testing vit D levels of those at risk. However the medical profession follows drug based medicine where the only solution to any disease is a drug or a vaccine and who profits from this? Not the patients.

  69. ed2
    Posted May 18, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The Media should stop calling the Oxford Vaccine a Covid 19 vaccine or even a coronavirus vaccine, it is not. It is a vaccine from a totally different virus that mimics the alleged protein spike of CV19.

  70. ed2
    Posted May 18, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Boris Johnson: Global overpopulation is the real issue

    FacebookTwitterPrint
    By Boris Johnson | 25 October 2007

    >
    No Boris, over consumption, is the problem not over population.

  71. John Hatch
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Recent press articles suggest that the Covid-19 virus kills people via “silent hypoxia” – a sharp drop in oxygen saturation of which the victim is unaware.

    It does this by suddenly causing a lot of small blood clots in the lungs. This impedes the flow of blood and oxygen, and the level of oxygen saturation drops.

    Starving vital organs – such as the heart, kidneys, liver and brain – of sufficient oxygen quickly causes them severe and irreparable damage. It is this that kills the victim.

    Everyone at risk needs a pulse-oximeter that measures oxygen saturation. If this falls significantly (say below 90% for most people), ring 999 IMMEDIATELY and call for an ambulance. It appears that prompt oxygen therapy can protect the vital organs while the body prepares its defences.

    Obviously, a hospital can also treat the blood clots.

    The current NHS advice that victims should stay at home and see what happens is astonishing. If silent hypoxia occurs, what will happen is that the victim will suffer damage to vital organs and die sooner or not much later.

    I suffer from COPD and routinely use a pulse-oximeter. I have also been on long-term oxygen therapy for the last 6 months, and have an oxygen generator. Whilst I am thus especially vulnerable to Covid-19, I comfort myself that the NHS seems to have already provided me with emergency treatment if I should need it.

  72. ed2
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Covid 19 is an exosome
    that is why anti toxic drugs are working but never did before for the flu

  • 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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