Has lock down worked?

On 23 rd  March the UK was put into lockdown to reduce the number of Covid 19 cases, to reduce pressure on the NHS and to limit the deaths from the disease.

As the proposers of the policy thought, admissions to hospital with severe forms of the disease peaked 9 days later at 3121 cases on April 2nd. Peak use of NHS ventilator beds was hit a week later on April 10, which was also the day of peak deaths. I have taken these figures from the latest Downing Street briefing graphs. The method of counting has changed over the period, increasing the number of deaths recorded as time passed.

This implies limiting contact was the way to slow the progress of the virus, and did lead to an important reduction in serious cases and deaths. So far so good.

What does need more examination is why it has taken so long to secure faster and more dramatic declines in serious cases and deaths after success in changing the trend in early April. You would have expected the figures to come down quite quickly to low levels. After all we are advised that a person with the disease is clear after seven days, and a person getting it before symptoms show should be clear in 14 days. Thus we would expect a sharp fall off after the  14 day point from lockdown.

As we enter the test and trace era, it would be good to hear from the medical and scientific advisers why they think the diseases has lingered at relatively high levels for so long during lock down. Are all the cases now concentrated amongst the small proportion of the population that go to  a physical place of work? Are hospitals and care homes now a  main source of spreading the disease? Or is the disease somehow still spreading – at a slower rate – through the population that are staying at home? If so, how is it being transmitted?

These become important issues so that we know who to isolate and consider what other measures to take in the Test and Trace phase. Do we need better infection control in those health and care settings that do get the disease? Are there issues with deliveries to households? What more can be done to rid items and surfaces of the disease? Has the UK investigated the use of UV light machines to destroy the virus on surfaces? I will pursue these questions with the government.

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298 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    In answer to the question posed by the headline, one has to ask; “What was the goal ?”

    The goal was “To save OUR NHS” !”. This was based on the concern that the NHS would be flooded with patients needing ventilators and such like simply overwhelming it. Did this happen ? Well no ! In fact, the only things that seemed to be overwhelmed by the whole event were the government, the media and, as a result of those two, the population. A potential crisis had arisen and, whilst calmer, saniner heads would have dealt with it quickly and effectively our lot switched to rabbits caught in headlights to, headless chickens, and then, to preening dandy’s then, to cowardly custards hiding behind the WHO and the science / experts.

    As someone who has patiently waited over 40 years (plus 4 years on from the vote) to actually Leave the EU, and return to being a sovereign nation once more, I truly despair at our future prospects. If you, the political class, do not want power, why do you seek it ? Power confers great responsibility and, if you are not up to the task, may I offer you and alternative – Direct Democracy. Give us the power over OUR lives !

    • SM
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      Mark, what you appear to be advocating is anarchy (apologies if I have misread you).

      Offhand, I can think of no human societies, be they ever so small, that function without rules, which may start as ‘customs’. Then as the size of the tribe or the community increases, most of its members want to see the rules enforced, and then …you get good/bad leaders, and good/bad rule setters, and ensuing power struggles. I don’t need to go on, do I?

      • dixie
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Switzerland has direct democracy.

      • na
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        John wrote an article about this being an essay on world governance. That is exactly what it was. Only the President of Tanzania showed any indepedant thought and reason.

        • Graham Wheatley
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:36 am | Permalink

          I’m chucking out all my Mangos and bananas – they show positive for CV19 !

      • Mark B
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 3:38 am | Permalink

        When I refer to Direct Democracy I am of course thinking of Switzerland.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Your priorities show you to be, in my opinion, completely and utterly unhinged.

      We have, recent revised estimates say, sixty-four thousand dead in just a couple of months, whereas total civilian casualties in over five long years of WWII were seventy-seven thousand, a mere fraction of the present annual rate.

      And yet you care more about little rings of stars on car number plates and about the colour of a piece of cardboard.

      Of course the lockdown has been better than nothing – the only Tory alternative at the time.

      Deaths per day are down from over a thousand to a couple of hundred on average, but these figures do not seem any more reliable even as time passes.

      Some people seem not to want them to be.

      I am utterly ashamed to share my nationality with people like you.

      • steve
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        MiC

        “I am utterly ashamed to share my nationality with people like you.”

        …..at least he has a nationality.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          most of the time he appears ashamed of his nationality regularly saying everybody does ‘it’ better.

      • NickC
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Martin, People have died of covid19. Other people have died with covid19. Which of the 64,000 death certificates you have examined shows the former, and how many show the latter? Or don’t you bother with inconvenient evidence?

      • matthu
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        WWII claimed mostly young men and women in the prime of their lives, in addition to the many thousands of aged who died of diseases such as influenza, TB and pneumonia.

        Covid-19 has claimed mostly the aged (who would otherwise have been living out their last few months in a nursing home) as well as other vulnerable people who had been suffering from serious diseases or obesity. Many of the thousands of aged who would have died of diseases such as influenza, TB and pneumonia or complications caused by diabetes have been added into the figures for Covid-19.

        So the figures are hardly comparable at all. (Unless you are a remainer trying hard to make a political point about Brexit, of course, and then almost anything goes.)

      • ed2
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Martin, the bottom line is political leaders across the world were just handed a script, presumably from the WHO (with EU influence) just telling them what their national policy is on vaccinations etc and they all just read that script. I think the people deserve to know we have national leaders PRETENDING to govern us when really they are just following globalist script.

      • Adrian Ambroz
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        The loudest advocates of collectivism are the least likely to practise it. And when they had the chance after ’45 rather than travel to the “promised land”, they stayed in Blighty. Many to work in undermining the country like Burgess, Maclean, Blunt, Cairncross & Philby. And we have their equivalents today still busily working away trying to undermine this countries leaders trying to break the shackles on our road to freedom with their cries & wailings of doom like we constantly hear on this site.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      What happened to the 750’000 volunteers offering their help?

      Also – a friend closed her one-woman business, took a short refresher course to be an agency carer again. She told me that all 15 on the course passed, 9 have been given placements in local hospitals. She and the other 5 haven’t, yet are not getting any money but are “tied” to the agency after finding out that if they want to leave it – they have to pay £500 – – to leave !!

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        How very EU.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        It would require work on the part of Tory politicians to appoint people to organise them, and to think about how to brief them.

        People like Johnson don’t do work.

        • NickC
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

          Martin, The top down direction you desire did not work in the USSR, and it doesn’t work here either.

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Are they paying her a retainer? If not then I don’t see how they can hold her to a zero hour contract if they have no work for her. The rules on zero hours are that people can take other work if you have none to provide.

    • Christine
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      The WHO has been a total disgrace. From their initial complicit behaviour in covering up aspects of the virus, like human to human transmission, their delay in announcing a pandemic, to this week where they have acted on a scientific study printed in the Lancet and stopped the trial of the malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. Trump is right to stop funding the WHO until an investigation is carried out. Also the Lancet, a once greatly respected paper who printed a now debunked study on hydroxychloroquine. This drug has been in use for over 70 years with no major side effects. Seems to me that because it’s cheap some people want to promote more expensive alternatives. Hundreds of doctors and scientists have signed a letter of complaint to the editor of the Lancet. Where are our investigative journalists? Why aren’t they all over this story?

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Agree Mark B but government allowed themselves to be constantly whipped and bossed around by our media.

      First the media started a run on toilet rolls and stampedes to supermarkets ensued these supermarkets then became full of locked down fearful public without masks increasing spreading! The supermarkets got a handle on this after 10 days of hysteria whipped up by the news media.

      2) Next we had ventilator storm – we didn’t have enough, we’re all going to die if we go into hospital, stop going into hospital they’re the place you’ll catch the disease because they have no…

      3) ppe, the NHS started to buy up all the ppe because their logistics and distribution arm couldn’t cope and they had missing stock, deliveries were being held up in France and by other suppliers and every rolling news reporter covered this crisis which lead to…

      4) care homes and care givers without ppe because the media once again told us we were out of hand gel, you couldn’t get masks, more panic buying ensued leading to less for the private care homes to buy…

      ‘Look over there..” seems to have lead government rather than government leading on the front foot – Boris must take back total control now that he is fitter or appoint someone with more authority, experience and respect from the general public than Raab and Hancock because they just seem to allow the media to bully them.

    • jerry
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; Wrong! The goal was to SAVE LIVES.

      “This was based on the concern that the NHS would be flooded with patients needing ventilators and such like simply overwhelming it. Did this happen ? Well no !”

      Indeed, because of the lockdown, prove otherwise!

      Those un(der) used Nightingale Hospitals are a sign of success, not of a planning failure.

      “Direct Democracy. Give us the power over OUR lives !”

      That is what we’ve had, many chose to carry on working, others chose to isolate for the good of others (even though they or their loved ones are not in any vulnerable group).

      If you want to go into a office with the CV19 virus quite possibly freely circulating that is your choice, just do not expect others to do so under instruction of their bosses or, worse, govt diktat.

      You and others object to the economic cost of the lockdown, but allowing the virus to simply let rip also has economic costs, quite likely just as severe, but also longer lasting due to the knock-on effect of loosing skilled staff and the like.

    • NickC
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, Like you, and a number of others on here (all Leave supporters), I was sceptical about lockdown. It does seem that the more Remain a person was the more inclined they were to shriek in panic for an ever more draconian lockdown.

      The figures seem to be indicating that the lockdown was superfluous and RNHS would not have been overwhelmed.

      Of course we could not have known that back on 23rd March, but it is clear that the government was panicked by Prof Fergusson’s dire predictions, the Italian experience, the MSM hysteria, and the useless NHS management. But the lockdown should have been lifted sooner and faster once the roll-over became apparent, whilst keeping an eye on any resurgence of the disease.

      • acorn
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Back awhile there emerged a strong correlation between leave voters and climate-change deniers. To that observation can now be added “lock-down” deniers.

        Denial-ism is described in Psychology as defence mechanism, in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          Witness here the unmoving faith of the left and its own political beliefs.
          Anyone who dares to hols a contrary opinion to their religion is called a denier.
          Attempts to close down debate is a common feature of their religion

          Heretics unbelievers.
          Off to the gulags with you.

        • NickC
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          Acorn, I know no one who denies the climate, or who denies the lockdown.

          I don’t know anyone who denies that CO2 is a non-condensing “greenhouse” gas. Or who denies that we inject CO2 into the atmosphere. Or who denies that there has been minor warming in the last 150 years.

          I do not know anyone who denies that covid19 is a serious and sometimes deadly disease. I do not know anyone who thinks the government should have done nothing. I do know people – and I’m one – notes that other countries have avoided full UK style lockdowns. And that therefore so could we.

          What is psychologically true is there are people – and you are one of them – who lies about other’s beliefs in order to safely put them away in a box, thereby (you hope) protecting your own.

        • jerry
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          @acorn; Well much the same can be said of anyone who suffers from knee-jerks when ever their capacity to think through issues is overloaded. Unthinking Europhiles and climate alarmists are no different, they suffer the same Psychological as defence mechanisms -reaching for either simplistic or herd solutions.

          BTW, one is doubting climate change, just what is causing it, and if it is actually a problem or not.

        • matthu
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          By a ‘denier’, I suppose you mean someone who denies that your level of alarmism is necessarily appropriate and that your policy prescription is necessarily the right one?

          The only connection I can see between someone in favour of climate change policies and someone in favour of extended lockdown is that they both seem to think that the best treatment involves destroying the economy.

        • formula57
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          @ acorn – And should we make anything at all of the strong correlation between those summoning-up disingenuous amateur psychology and those with no worthwhile point to make?

        • Mark B
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 3:43 am | Permalink

          acorn

          There are goats and there are sheep. There are even some lemmings ;).

          Which are you ?

          I ask because, those that are of a type tend to show certain characteristics. Those that can think for themselves and act in their interests, and those that rely on others to tell them what to do.

          Simple really.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Since it is mainly Leave voters who are dying – the old – it is an indication of the moral stature of those who called for effective measures, not of “panic”.

        Lockdown was the only thing on offer. The Government had given up on the other, probably more crucial stuff such as TTT, and the mass use of face masks in crowded public spaces.

        They couldn’t even get them for front line medical staff.

        • NickC
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          Martin, The lockdown has also caused extra deaths, as well as serious extra ongoing health problems. You frequently supported Andy as he gloated about elderly Brexit voters dying off. You claim you chided him for it, but I can find no evidence of your doing so at all, never mind matching your frequent admiration.

          As for the economy you seem to revel in its destruction, when previously you complained that we were only growing at 2% “because of Brexit”.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          On the 5th May the government reported that only 1 in 4 workers were furloughed, lockdown always allowed workers who couldn’t work at home to go to work as long as they could physically distance themselves (2m) from co-workers and used lots of good hygiene such as hand washing, regularly cleaning toilets, workstations, hand gel provisions etc.

          We are told today the government had no choice but to end TTT because our Public health system could only do five per day! There will be an investigation into why Germany’s insurance private health system could cope and we couldn’t, we have paid these agencies of the State that we’re forced to use to be prepared.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          “They” meaning PHE and the NHS presumably.
          Given hundreds of billions a year between them and the responsibility to plan and provide and procurement for epidemics.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Mark most MPs did ‘not want power’ – just the status and salary, thus they were Remainers almost to a man. The solution is to return MPs of JR’s calibre who can live up to being British MPs. The greatest honour you can have according the the late, great EP.
      We will do that, it has taken 47 years of destruction to debase Parliament precisely so that the population reject it. It will take a while for us to replace unworthy MPs, but we will do it, that is our job in this the greatest democracy on earth. Look what it has overcome!

  2. JavelinHete
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Since the start of the pandemic I have said the ONLY sensible strategy was to protect the vulnerable as much as possible and to keep the economy going as much as possible.

    Boris wants to be a wartime PM which led him to use the Nudge Unit propaganda to put the country on a war footing and shutdown the economy. The Nudge Unit is dangerous because propaganda works and should only be used in times of war. The Nudge Unit website bi.team clearly says it’s propaganda works better when people are less educated. So we see a lot of complex pronouncements but nothing about the actual virus mechanics, nothing about viral biology or epidemiology. Nothing to think or reason with. Historians will show the Government deliberately kept the people ignorant and distracted by banging pots on a Thursday night and being paid to sit at home. The word “sheeple” could not be more appropriate.

    The big problem with a monolithic clumsy lockdown rather than a bi-directional lockdown is that any extra deaths of vulnerable people, such as care homes will be criticised and any extra deaths because of the economic collapse will be criticised.

    GDP to collapse by as much as one third. Millions of people to lose their jobs. Tax to drop by one third, Car and airplane production to stop, banking and financial services to drop by a third. Pubs and restaurants to shut by one third. The greatest economic collapse in history.

    Now the tide has gone out it also exposes the massive down side of previous policies that were never mandated by the voters. Mass immigration means much higher levels of unemployment, criticism of Government and cultural strife. Mass outsourcing of jobs will mean higher blame on corporations and demands for on shoring. Mass outsourcing of manufacturing, medicine, PPE and supply chains means the country is and will be dangerously exposed. Ridiculously, our military uniforms are produced in a country we could be at war with.

    Even worse. Yes it gets worse. The number of future deaths will rise. My guess is 35k extra deaths per year over the next decade. Dwarfing the covid deaths.

    Despair – suicide, alcohol, drugs, estimate – 5k per year

    Prevention – cancer, chronic disease – estimate 20k per year

    Economic healthcare – rare diseases, expensive treatment – 10k per year

    Ironically a Labour Government might survive this because their voters want monolithic Government solutions. The Conservatives have now made an existential and catastrophic error of judgement and I can see no way that history can justify their continued existence.

    I would have resigned from the Government at the start of the crisis as I could clearly see the consequences of poor strategic judgment.

    • jerry
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      @Javelin; “Even worse. Yes it gets worse. The number of future deaths will rise. My guess is 35k extra deaths per year over the next decade”

      By your logic, by 1955, the UK should have all died or topped themselves during 6 years of WW2 and the 10 years that followed, grow a spine man, never mind a clue!

      Funny how those who grew up during the war, and the baby-boomer generation, have accepted and adapted to either Brexit & now the Lock-down far better than the generations that followed, perhaps we simply have a more rounded perspective on things…

      • Ed M
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        I think we need to bring back National Service.

        Even just for 3 months, to get young men wearing uniform, getting up early, learning self-discipline, responsibility, and so on – and also the camaraderie and fun.

        • Ed M
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

          We also need to do more to support up-and-coming writers / artists / poets / composers etc. And the connection between this and patriotism.

          And more to support Prince Charles’ ideas for more classical architecture. The problem in building – and town planning – isn’t so much lack of money but lack of imagination / education in the arts.

          There is strong evidence that businesses are attracted to set up in beautiful, interesting locations – Berlin is a great example of this. And people are happy to move to Berlin and bring their families up there. It’s got a ‘cool’ vibe – compared to say Frankfurt which is considered ‘boring’ and some / many people will avoid working there if they can unless they’re paid a lot more.

          Strong arts also has positive effect on entrepreneurship in business – lots of evidence to show this.

        • Ed M
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          (Liberal) Sweden has re-introduced (limited) conscription – so asking to bring back National Service (in some shape or form) in the UK is not completely fantastical.

          Military service still compulsory in Switzerland.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      7% of the population infected: 64,000 dead.

      Let the virus run wild, and infect say 70%….

      640,000 dead.

      That’s what you want.

      • NickC
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Arguing in favour of the full UK style lockdown, as you do, is a valid position. Not necessarily right, but valid.

        Arguing against the UK lockdown because of other factors (increased suicides; loss of detection and treatment for other diseases; earlier other deaths; poverty due to the economic hit; mental health problems; etc) is equally valid.

        Your characterisation of the second argument as simply wanting “640,000 dead” (or whatever is your death figure de jour) is pathetic, juvenile, and disgusting. Grow up and make your argument without ascribing fake views to the other side. If you can.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

          I’m only repeating WHO figures.

          Can you name a more authoritative public health body?

          • Edward2
            Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            PHE.

      • matthu
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        What proportion of people under 60, who have been infected, have ended up dying? Stop being an alarmist!

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

        Yet in countries where lockdown has been largely ignored or happened at a much relaxed form the exponential figures you state haven’t happened.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Sweden doesn’t have a lockdown but has a lower death rate than us.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          Not per million.

          And Sweden is full of Swedish people.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            Completely wrong as usual Martin

            Sweden deaths per million, 418.93

            UK deaths per million 569.07

            source Statista

          • Fred H
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            oh no it is not ……ever taken a taxi in Sweden? In fact other scandinavians are common in Sweden. Brits and Germans like it too.
            Your wild guesses as usual.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      The difference between “wartime PM Boris” and a real one – the real one fought off the invasion – wartime PM Boris is sending boats out to fetch them in then punish them with 3 bedroom houses, benefits. NHS and their kids schooling. That’ll teach them to come here.

    • NickC
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Javelin, Well said. Your point about the extra deaths caused by the lockdown itself is well made. It might make the Remains/authoritarians wailing that those sceptical of lockdown “didn’t care about people dying” think again. But I won’t hold my breath.

    • percy openshaw
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Bravo. You have vented my anger and described my concerns. My opinion of the PM was already low at the start of this crisis, thanks to his many appalling misjudgements – HS2, Huawei and IR35 to name but three – but now it has gone through the floor. The autumn, when it comes, risks bringing not only bad weather but some sort of economic meltdown, with all the social risks that involves. And because the government has not addressed the scandalous priorities of the police, pursuing people for “hate speech” rather than violent crime, I tremble at the prospect which darkens before us. Already, America has massive riots and looting; in this country, a fisherman in his seventies was stoned to death by louts. And what will be their punishment? What will deter others? And if they get poorer, what will they not do? The world is topsy turvy and a superficial entertainer is not the right man for the top job – especially given that his mistakes are a large part of the problem.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid you are right..
      The number of people who would be alive today were it not for CV19, excluding the vulnerable, e.g in care homes, who we actually pushed into the front line, is trivial. Each death tragic but THE NUMBER trivial (before the mischievous start yelling). What LL calls ‘excess deaths’ ie because of the handling of this episode, will cost, in the fullness of time, in my opinion, a million British deaths.
      Sad that people like Philip Davies, who accepted May’s WA ‘as there was no alternative possible’ now attack Dom Cummings because he would rather forfeit Clean Brexit than be proven wrong. Very disappointing!
      I can state categorically that I will never donate to, work for or vote for the Tory Party again unless I have a PM and a candidate of the calibre of JR on offer. It is going to take a team of JRs to dig the UK out of this Tory Grave. We now can no longer afford; socialism (especially in the Conservative Party), the BBC, the NHS, the UN, the EU, the Commonwealth, foreign aid, ‘asylum’ seekers aka economic migrants; feminism, ‘positive’ racial discrimination, green crap, HS2, Huawei and rafts of other superfluous nonsense.
      Unless the politicians develop the capacity to comprehend this, I fear they will truly experience Britain at war, and the worst kind – civil war. God help minority groups if the politicians continue to engineer that disaster. I keep warning people that the British are like the Zulus, very very slow to anger, but once annoyed, it’s not over until they win.
      However, it could be that there is no other means of reversing the disgraceful antics of the majority exercising our Sovereignty to thwart us for 47 years. It might be unavoidable and in retrospect, worth it. I will not live to see that day.

  3. oldtimer
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Good questions. Choice and presentation of data has improved, eventually providing 7 day rolling averages of deaths caused by C-19, but still has significant gaps. There is still no analysis of deaths by age group. This would reveal that the vast majority were over 60. My assumption is that this omission is deliberate. Why? Meanwhile the economy and, probably, millions of jobs have been trashed. There needs to be a hard nosed look at how public health is to be managed going forward in a way consistent with the preservation of economic health. You cannot have the first without the second.

    • Jon Reade
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink
      • Richard
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        That link shows the UK recorded its worst day for deaths on April 8th. So subtracting the widely used estimated average of ~21 days shows that UK infections peaked ~18th March and new infections were already decreasing when Lock-down started.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 3:47 am | Permalink

        Jon

        Many thanks.

        So we shut the economy down to save a few hundred people rather than the thousands we were led to believe.

        Someone somewhere needs to be held to account ?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Mainly over 80 I think.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      As an aside old-timer I am younger than 60 but do not regard 60 as old and someone whose time has come.

      In our rush to be clinical about choices we do need to remember that many 60, 70 and 80 year olds can have 40, 30 or 20 years of enjoyable retirement ahead of them.

      Those with serious health issues which might otherwise have curtailed their existence we can be slightly clinical about but otherwise healthy, slightly overweight pensioners we should not dismiss lightly. My mother is one and I relish her continued existence.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Deaths by age group can be found on the ONS website. In the week ending 15th May, there were 3,810 deaths involving Covid-19. 90% of these deaths were people of pensionable age and more than 25% in the over 90s age bracket.
      The low risk working age group have been told to stay at home so healthcare and care homes can go about their business with insufficient infection control.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Oh, that’s all right then.

    • Christine
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      This data is collected by the ONS. It is available on gov.uk website here:

      https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending15may2020

      You can download the excel spreadsheets if interested.

      You are right that the vast majority of deaths are over the age of 60.

      I’ve been tracking the number of deaths this year compared to the previous five year average and up to a fortnight ago we have 49,138 excess deaths this year.

    • Mark
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Data are available from the ONS on the age structure. I’ve charted here for males

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/9KFS7/1/

      and for females here:

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/En1ZO/1/

      Bear in mind that there are not so many deaths in the more recent weeks, and there were very few initially. You may find this chart of the death numbers useful to put that into context:

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/s0Am1/1/

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe that the lockdown has made an iota of difference.
    By 23rd March probably a large proportion of the population had been infected. Subsequently letting millions land at UK airports without quarantine didn’t help.
    Now from June 8the we are expected to quarantine for 2 weeks after travelling overseas. This is the biggest act of economic vandalism in history.
    Wee are now in the face saving phase.
    Get Britain working again and stop this stupid game of paying people to sunbathe.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      This is what happens when you put a narcissist in charge. “It’s all about me !”

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      It certainly has made some difference in slowing the spread and lowering the peak. This is rather clear from the figures but time to get back to work with sensible precautions.

    • Old person
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Taking the figures from the worldometer web site:

      Enter lock down
      23 March additional active cases 967, deaths 54

      About to leave lock down
      29 May additional active cases 2095, deaths 324

      No one can have any confidence in the numbers delivered or the reasons rubber stamped on death certificates.

      Is it safe to leave lock down? The crematoria capacity has been upgraded from 30,000 to 90,000.

      The economy has been trashed – it will not bounce back quickly. The pensions Ponzi schemes will fall apart.

      And, the inevitable Public Inquiry will take the usual route.
      One year to find the right Judge, the remit will be strictly limited, and after 4-5 years a report, of many thousands of pages, will be published a week after the government’s selective summary has been leaked to the press.

      I despair.

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Old person we are doing so much more testing now the number of cases will be higher, the original death figures were only recording deaths in hospitals not deaths outside of hospitals.

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

          we are only doing slightly more tests – capacity gets increased but not actual testing – due to most capacity centralisation.

        • Old person
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          Throughout the delivery of numbers, a defined methodology of presenting the data has been lacking.
          On 23 March, the total number of tests was not reported. An estimate working back from when the total tests were first reported gives the number of tests that day as 4403. Most of these tests would be on symptomatic patients expecting a positive result – new active cases was 967 (21.96%).
          On 29 May, 125607 tests were performed with new active cases of 2095 (1.67%) – a higher number of these tests on key workers in brief or no contact with symptomatic patients.
          Interpretation of the data with moving goalposts is near impossible. Meanwhile, those 2095 new active cases have been contagious in the last 2-14 days.
          And note, the total number of tests on 30 May was reported to be the same as 29 May. Why?
          Now that the government has lost last weeks Judicial Review, all the SAGE group reports are now available for analysis.

    • Stred
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Tests so far carried out have shown that a small proportion of the population has been infected. In the highest peak London area it is thought to be only 20%, leaving 80% to be potentially infected on crowded public transport and from health workers who have a higher incidence. Perhaps 10% of the population of London are vulnerable to the disease. This could easily go very wrong unless the tracking works.

      The point about the incoming serious cases peaking ten days after lockdown ties in with the information on the progress of the illness which is that it either gives up or goes for the patients after ten days and the unlucky ones die a week later. Boris was an ideal Guinea pig for this theory. And don’t forget that a week before lockdown we were told to distance and stop going to the boozer but some people ignored this and the warning of lockdown then followed. There are many comments saying that the lockdown has not worked at all because the death rate levelled off two weeks after it started and then reduced slowly. This is unlikely.

      The slow rate of reduction is more likely to be due to the slow rate of reduction of hospital infections and the disastrous dumping of older patients into care homes. The next disaster in the making is the failure to isolate the smaller numbers in the hospitals, the closing of the Nightingale and the lack of treatment for other patients with life threatening diseases.

    • NickC
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg, It was indeed crazy for the government to lock down the country but fail to lock down our borders.

      • steve
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Nick C

        REMAIN = SAGE, perhaps ?

        Means, Motive, Opportunity.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          Yep; ironic that there is not a sage amongst them!

    • steve
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      “I don’t believe that the lockdown has made an iota of difference.”

      I tend to agree, but then consider the noise the lefties would have made if there wasn’t one.

      Personally the only difference it has made to me is I have to drive further to acquire essential supplies, thus increased fuel costs etc, as I refuse to stand in a queue behind selfish people who are either wanting non essential items or ‘I’m alright Jack – buying’

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, but you believe that soggy chips are caused by the fat not being hot enough.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        caused by fat – – not using oil.

  5. Anthony Pollock
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Very well said. The cost of the lock down is very high and was supposed to be very short term. Without the answers you are asking the confidence in the Government’s approach is undermined, for any thinking person, since it does not make sense. We have now moved, thanks to the BBC and other media commentators, into a new version of project fear, which leads to semi permanent knockdown due to fear of getting the Covid-19 without knowing how we might contract it or how to protect ourselves. Keep up the good work John.

    • Nigl
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      At last, apart from updates on potential vaccines, the most important questions. How where and why are people still getting infected if they have been adhering to the guidance/rules? Every one with it should gave been asked, how and where do you think got it?

      It seems this should move the government strategy from a shotgun approach, (mass inertia) to a rifle shot (localised) and enable the public to make better informed decisions.

      I know people who have been catching up with their friends (but no hugs etc) for weeks to no ill effect, stopping people going to beauty spots, a lot easier to avoid contact than in a supermarket aisle, if essential shops were ok why couldn’t the rest stay open/pubs if they applied the same distancing rules?

      You have also created people too petrified to go out. You need to start sounding an all clear siren’

      Just crazy crazy crazy.

  6. agricola
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    It is for analysis and history to judge. It was considered our best shot at the time, so lets not be judgemental until time allows.

    • Adam
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Agricola:

      History will provide the best assessment and knowledge of what should have been done for most effect. However, it is likely to be helpful to maintain on-going assessment in the quest to seek nearer-perfect actions earlier, however well any Govt might be doing currently.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      The proofs are already available. Johnson is a great salesman, no judgement. He has proven that over decades. Voted for Mays treachery.

  7. Sakara Gold
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Overwhelmingly, the evidence shows that the source of the infections are the hospitals themselves.

    This is inevitable as they are not operated as quarantine hospitals which are able to isolate those infected; numerous sources are still reporting shortages of PPE; the test kits used are too slow and highly inaccurate and un-tested infected persons are still superspreading the virus on their way to work before they show symptoms, in their families etc.

    Patients who have received a false negative test result are still being discharged into care homes.

    For three months the public have not been able to identify the “hot spots” and so avoid them because the details are a state secret – this unbelievable incompetence is clearly so those responsible can avoid the blame for the tragic 65,000 fatalities.

    The government has not been helped by inconsistent and contradictory scientific advice from the likes of Neil Ferguson, who repeatedly put his foot in his mouth, Chitty and Valence (“herd” immunity theory) and ministers who do not understand the epidemiological science.

    Clearly, if we are not to emulate the USA and manage to kill 100,000 persons we need to change our strategy to contain and then eradicate this awful virus. The current crop of ministers, quangocrats, scientists and “advisors” have had their chance and demonstrably failed. Johnson should show leadership, remove them all and bring in some fresh thinking.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Pity we can’t emulate the USA, per million deaths they beat us hands down. Ferguson did not ‘put his foot in his mouth’ he lied in his teeth and obviously did not believe what he was saying because he did not practise what he preached. He played the PM for a fool.

  8. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    No
    As a method for stopping the spread of a virus it has simply had the effect of delaying deaths to those susceptible to it.
    The virus has to touch us all before it is no longer a threat, and that will not happen in a lockdown.
    There cannot be a repeat of this method otherwise there won’t be much left to come back to – the economic costs of a prolonged lockdown are far worse even than allowing the virus to run it’s course.
    Lockdown has brought out the worst in far too many authoritarian figures who now want to turn our world into a regimented, over-regulated and totally controlled society, under their dictatorship –
    We cannot allow then to take over.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      It has certainly been an authoritarian, client state dream.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      +1

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The justification for lock down was that the NHS would be overwhelmed and people would die for lack of treatment. If as the government claim they have plenty of spare capacity then we should get back to work as soon as possible. I suspect far more people especially in places like London are now immune or were always not vulnerable looking at the decling figures strongly suggest this.

    In reality nearly half of the Covid deaths have been people who did not even make it to any hospital (or were even, in an act of gross negligence, discharged to nursing homes infecting others). Many who did get to hospital have received little but tea, sympathy and an oxygen mask anyway and either survived or did not. Meanwhile the NHS has cancelled most of normal activity in other areas .

    Can we have some real figures and what treatments patients actually got at the NHS and the numbers and survival rates. What is the explanation as to why UK death per positive case are about five times those of Germany. What are their hosptials (and nursing homes) doing that the NHS is not doing? Five times more deaths per cas is a huge disparity, even if there are different reporting systems and other factors.

  10. Old Albion
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I suspect the continuing high infection level is only within certain demographics, who have not been following the lockdown rules.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      But confirming that would be useful.

      If it is true then lockdown worked.

      If it is not true then how is the virus spreading.

      If I had responsibility for sorting this out I would want that information daily

      • miami.mode
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        Agreed NS. Around 8,000 new infections reported every day and no indication of who, how, or where, unless they have some information but are keeping it secret.

        How on earth can they decide a way forward if they have no idea of what is happening?

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I think we know this won’t be allowed as it will be deemed descriminatory.

      Nothing like PC to keep the truth from people.

  11. Sharon Jagger
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    This is a rather mysterious virus. I know of a corridor of 19 dementia patients in a care home who were recently tested and it was found that eight of those elderly people were positive but asymptomatic!

    I am a little sceptical of the reliability of the figures. I know of a number of people whose family member died of a condition or old age…but then we’re shocked to see ‘corona virus, question mark’ on the death certificate. This strikes as ridiculous, you might as well add all manner of things the person may have had! And of course if the words ‘Corona virus’ was on the certificate even if that’s only a possibility – that person will no doubt be added to the list of Covid deaths!

    I think that a re-count and the actual date of death ought to be done to get a more accurate picture, but it won’t be of course.

    • Mark
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      The ONS data clearly reveal that deaths have been reallocated to the virus after they were first recorded. I looked at the original attributions compared with those for the week 20 data release. While obviously there were more deaths recorded in later data as late death reports trickle in, it is odd to see reductions or only very small increases in non-virus deaths. Unfortunately, I can’t extend the analysis back further into the peak, because the ONS haven’t produced the data.

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/7FQKZ/1/

      More recently, deaths overall have returned to only just a bit above normal, but there are many fewer than might be expected for non-virus deaths. That may imply an element of over-allocation to the virus.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      Someone has farked-up, made a knee-jerk reaction and all but bankrupted the country. In order to save face, and their rear end, this has to be bigged-up to make it look as bad as possible.

      I note from BBC reports recently that they are continually stating figures for people having died WITH CV19, ratherrthan having died FROM CV19.

      The truth will only out, when the data is OBJECTIVELY examined and compared to the historical figures for all-cause mortality. I am certain that it will show a major dip in virtually all other areas, as CV19 is now the convenient catch-all.

  12. DOMINIC
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    For a once proud free-market, small State libertarian your embrace of authoritarian, large state interference in our every waking moment is the evidence I need to confirm that the entire British class is set against the values and ideals of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan

    In all of this you have never once composed an article focusing on the ever increasing powers of the political State, the attacks on freedom of expression and movement, the appalling social conditioning and use of propaganda by parasitic State organisations loyal to Labour

    This entire episode has been deliberately used to expose the British people to further controls and restrictions.

    The CV-19 issue has been weaponised by your government, filth Labour and the British political State. This class of power players have the freedom and privacy of us all in their sights

    Hong Kong? It’s already arrived in the UK

    Reply I have continuously made the case to ease restrictions to get people back to work

    • Mark B
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 4:05 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      That is not what Dominic is talking about, Sir John. He is talking about the extra powers the government granted itself without proper parliamentary control. Now as we emerge from our bunkers can we expect you and others to demand that those powers be rescinded and appealed ?

      Reply Yes

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    The answer to your question John depends upon what the Government regards as success.

    If it was to beat the virus as quickly as possible at all costs, with the lowest numbers being affected, then the lockdown was introduced too late and too soft.
    Importing the virus through our airports for so long was the biggest disaster which in my view screwed the calculations.
    The second largest mistake was the lack of testing before patients were admitted to nursing homes.
    If the idea was to save the NHS and avoid a military type style of lockdown, and instead impose a softer lockdown over a longer period, then it has done its job and worked reasonably well so far, but by this very action, the very nature the virus, and human nature wishing contact, it will last longer and more people will be infected as the lockdown is released further.
    It is human nature for most people to want human contact so any measures taken to restrict such would only work on a voluntary basis for a reasonably short period, the government I think understood this and got this right, that period is different for different people, and whilst variable to all, is now starting to get many people frustrated, hence the gradual breakdown and the real risk in my view of high levels of infection for many months to come.

    We are advised by the experts, who have carried out sample tests, that at the moment there are approximately 8,000 new infections a day, this is far too many in my view to soften the approach to lockdown if you want the virus to be eradicated quickly.

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    I think partly the answer to the slower decline than theory might suggest is care homes, the hospital death rate came down faster than the care home rate and so infections will have too. The failure to protect care homes properly was an error – one also made by other large EU countries (except Germany maybe) and USA.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Fully half of Any Questions last night was spent discussing Cummings and his innocuous (and damage free) drive to Durham (for the clear needs of his son). Surely this item been done to death very many times over by now.

    David Lammy, Tim Farron and the Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes all competing with their pathetic, idiotic & nausious unpleasantness. Lammy as usual winning in this contest – he has great talant in the nausious unpleasantness department and indeed in pushing the evil politics of envy and identity.

    Do these three realise how revolting they make themselves appear. Even the dire Theresa (9% & 5th place) May now trying to get her rubber blade in the Cummings back.

    At least the chairman (Chris Mason) does seem to be rather brighter than the usual daft lefty BBC presenters. Though he does still seem to be rather a BBC think, PC, climate alarmist, lefty. Perhaps he will grow out of it soon. He is bright enough to do so.

  16. Jess
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Considering that the reporting of covid deaths has been grossly exaggerated it is impossible to rely on any statistics produced. The virus is by any reasonable measure so mild that it’s actual death rate is below flu and therefore any track and trace measures are clearly not designed to protect us at all. This means they can only be to control us. I hope that enough people can see the reality to ensure that this appalling idea fails utterly.

  17. Andy
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    This is pretty obvious.

    We locked down far, far too late.

    The Cummings / Johnson government knew best.

    Britain was better than those ghastly foreigners. We would show Italy how to do it.

    They locked down. We washed our hand and sang happy birthday.

    We still went to the pub. Cheltenham went ahead. Champions League too. Schools stayed opened. The virus spread.

    60,000+ dead, a scandal in nursing homes, testing failure, PPE debacle and the worst recession in 300 years later this is where we are.

    I do not have much time for this government but its failure on Covid has been beyond epic.

    Isn’t it strange that where there are self proclaimed populists in government – US, UK, Brazil – Covid has hit hardest? It’s almost as if blustering buffoons do not make good leaders.

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Andy, The EU was harder hit than the USA.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      We should have locked down people coming in to the U.K. from highly infected Italy, Spain and France and those off cruise ships for sure, they should have all been banned from public transport and taxis without driver shields, they should have been told they would be fined if they left home for two weeks on their return.

      Our lockdown was midnight on Friday 20th March for most businesses where people congregate, earlier in the week people had been advised not to use these venues can’t you remember the big hoo-haa because these businesses didn’t have many people coming through the door from the previous weekend and they wanted the government to close them down because they thought they could claim on their insurance. This was less than a week after France. Not all of Germany closed down the week earlier.

      The failure of our health system has been epic I agree, people locked down for ten weeks now for an illness that is supposed to extinguish in 14 days? All these good people on lockdown who has been spreading it?

      The US hasn’t been hit hardest? You can’t compare 51 States in the USA with much smaller Countries.

  18. Everhopeful
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Since we HAVE all been incarcerated ( or apparently the govt BELIEVES we have) it is impossible to tell whether the coronavirus would have spread more or not.
    The tentacles of liberalism have very much reduced hygiene in the NHS, it is true, so the hospitals may well be hotbeds of every infection under the sun…not just the pet cv.
    What I dare say will come to light however will be the number of deaths caused by all other diseases and mental health issues. For the length of our imprisonment we have been deprived of all medical care! (And those deaths will be totally quantifiable). All in the name ( allegedly) of saving us!!
    Or was it in the name of saving our run down “Health” system?
    Or just saving money?

  19. John E
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    The best analogy is with a fire. It blazes quickly but the embers take a long time to fully extinguish.
    In most parts of the country Covid is now mostly a nosocomial infection, being spread in hospitals and care homes. This is due to lack of PPE, lack of testing, and poor adherence to self isolation by health workers. Community care workers are also causing spread in the community by visiting multiple patients in each shift, acting as a vector to spread the condition from infected to non-infected elderly patients. I think this is well known in government but isn’t being talked about because it’s a bit awkward.

    Next time you have the opportunity I would ask the Health Secretary how he is tackling this.

    Did you ever get answers to your previous questions?

  20. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Clearly the cost of fighting this virus has been massive, and will continue to be so for a long time yet, given the suggested current infection rates.
    Clearly someone has now done a calculation as to what an elderly human life is worth (I did say this would eventually need to be done a couple of months ago) and a decision has probably now been made with that in mind.

    Given the government has decided on softening the lockdown and allowing more circulation of people, It is now up to those who are at much greater risk to carry on with their own self imposed style of lockdown and chosen method of isolation for very many more months longer.

    You simply have to do the numbers, the original infection rate was a multiple of 3 it is now at about 0.8 and at the moment we are still running, according to the experts, at 8,000 new infections a day (at this lower rate), so a real reduction to sensible levels, and/or to get down into the hundreds per day, will take very many, many, many more months.

    Had we started the lockdown two weeks earlier, then we would could have probably saved many more lives, saved tens of thousands from infection, and got over this rather quicker than we will now, as we would have then saved the multiple of 3.0 escalating for 14 days.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially when you have historical figures to hand.
    For any Government to enforce a lockdown of any sort is an extremely serious matter, so it is perfectly understandable that our Government delayed a little in order to try and confirm matters, before making such a decision.
    The fact that we are a very densely populated country did not help us with regards to infection spread.

    We really do need to beat this virus whilst we still have good weather, otherwise it will be more difficult in Winter, when people will not want to queue outside in the rain.

  21. Will Jones
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    To know whether lockdowns work you need to look at more than one country otherwise it could just be coincidence. Data from other countries does not support the claim for lockdowns as there is no consistency in their effect. The fact that infections continued weeks after lockdown here and the death toll was far higher than predicted under lockdown conditions is further proof they don’t work.

    • Stred
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Unless you take account of the lack of infection tracing and prevention in hospitals, public transport and the deliberate transfer of patients infected in hospitals to care homes and the lack of care for other patients. Other countries have different standards, dates of lockdown and treatment, including the use of hydroxychloroquine.

    • James Bertram
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Will – I really appreciate your articles on the Conservative Woman site – keep batting away to get the truth out there – lockdown and social distancing are not supported by the actual medical evidence but based on imperfect and false theory.
      Other good information can be found on Unherd, Spiked and Lockdown.sceptics.org websites.
      Many highly respected scientists have found their evidence and opinions suppressed by the mainstream media, the relentless government propaganda, and the censorship by the BigTech companies – Youtube, Facebook, twitter, etcetera (and one has to wonder what bargain has been struck between these tech companies and governments for them to agree on such censorship of objective medical evidence).
      Sir John, you could not write ‘limiting contact was the way to slow the progress of the virus, and did lead to an important reduction in serious cases and deaths’ if you had read any of the work of the many scientists who have had their voices suppressed (see the recommended websites above for their opinions). It was only the very vulnerable and the very old that needed to limit contact.
      There has been a shocking suspension of civil liberties, the instant creation of a police state, the deliberate trashing of the global economy from which millions in the Third World will die as a result, and an incompetent medical handling of this pandemic – this Government has been a disaster.

  22. Peter
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Making a prediction that vast numbers will die without lockdown means the person making the forecast can always claim success if the number who die of Covid is much lower. No reputation damage – which is important to both academics and politicians.

    Neil Ferguson has form with big numbers, as in the foot and mouth disease in 2001 when millions of cattle were slaughtered.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:52 am | Permalink

      “….when millions of cattle were slaughtered NEEDLESSLY”.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        which led to numerous farming suicides…

  23. Nigl
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Off topic I see Mrs May has written to her constituents agreeing with their anger that Dominic Cummings had broken the spirit of the rules. Presumably she wants people to feel that also about the many people in her area that have also done the same?

    She might like to reflect on the far wider anger felt about a topic of far greater national importance, her dissembling, secretive approach ultimately looking to sell out to the EU.

    Cummings was the architect of her downfall. Hell hath no fury etc!

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      The fact that she has criticised DC makes it essential, in my view, that he does NOT go. If you took every single decision she made and did the polar opposite, the result would be somewhere about right.
      What is it about these people, Heseltine, May, Major et al, that they must daily remind us of their gross incompetence?

  24. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Given that ONS is still recording 8,000 cases per day I would say that lockdown has not worked and we will see a second peak.

    As this was inevitable (I do not see how other countries that have opened up again have avoided increased transmission it does not make sense) then the lock down was unnecessary. Advice to socially distance and work from home if possible would have sufficed.

  25. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    As we enter the test and trace era, it would be good to hear from the medical and scientific advisers why they think the diseases has lingered at relatively high levels for so long during lock down. Are all the cases now concentrated amongst the small proportion of the population that go to a physical place of work? Are hospitals and care homes now a main source of spreading the disease? Or is the disease somehow still spreading – at a slower rate – through the population that are staying at home? If so, how is it being transmitted?

    And why isn’t this information already in the public domain? This and the public transport conundrum are the keys to letting people protect themselves

  26. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Indeed, many questions still unanswered due to poor figures and analysis.

    A proper lockdown should have cured the problem in 3-4 weeks. Leaks, though were:

    1 importing people by plane and boat to add to the numbers
    2 not sealing off hospital and care workers and their patients/residents from the remaining 95% for a month. We could have paid for silver service hotels for all of them, kept our hotel business going and kept many more people in work elsewhere.
    3 Useless supply chain adequacy in protective equipment.

  27. Roger Phillips
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    If there is one thing these rules have proved it is that devolved power does not work and the people of Wales deserve the right to have a say by way of a referendum. Many are not in support of Labour dominated Government in Cardiff yet we have no say on this matter.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Too true! The initial referendum was very very tight and won on late produced boxes of ‘postal ballots’ which we were not able to scrutinise.

      The Scots might want to get rid of their costly ‘assembly’ too, especially if the rebate was calculated.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      You have a vote.

      Stop being so silly.

  28. Johnny Dubb
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Sir John. The dates of March 23 & April 2 do not match the theory of lockdown being effective. Peak infections must have occurred before the March date. Millions of people have worked throughout and yet there are no reports of them dropping like flies, especially supermarket workers. The handwashing and hygiene campaign was excellent, but then panic took over. Any fool would have sealed off care homes. Well, almost any fool. The adults are all safely hidden on the back benches. Norway has said lockdown was a mistake. Let’s not detail again the needless deaths from undetected and untreated illnesses. NHS is supposed to protect us, not the other way round. A self induced finance and health disaster. Anyway, great news about Nissan! Sad for the Spanish workers though. Thanks for the blog.

  29. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile T May complaining about Cummings “not biding by the spirit of the guidance”. You couldn’t make it up from the person who spent 3 years ignoring the guidance of voters in June 2016.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      No, she didn’t.

      She ignored the ridiculous claims of the lunatic fringe amongst them, as to for what all seventeen million had voted.

      That’s completely different, but maybe not to you.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Martin, Yes, she did ignore both the spirit and the letter of the Referendum.

        We were offered only Leave or the Cameron re-negotiation. And Leave made it repeatedly clear (ad nauseam) that Leave meant abrogating the EU treaties and not going back.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        Seems the voters didn’t agree with you and Teresa in the last election.
        Providing Boris with a huge 80 seat majority with the inspired “get Brexit done” headline.

  30. Wil Pretty
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    A politician would not want any data to be published prior to announcing a policy, otherwise one of their opponents would advise the obvious requirement and then they would have to announce something different.

  31. Thames Trader
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    The point made by JR about finding out just how people are contracting the virus is key. The authorities should be investigating as a priority and publicising the result. It’s vital to prevent transmission of the virus and this can only reasonably be done when we know how and where it’s being transmitted.

  32. Dunc.
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    If lockdown worked , why do other countries with different strategies all have the same bell shaped infection curve ?
    Was the health service ever in any danger of being overrun?
    Its well established that imposing stricter restrictions early in an epidemic than are necessary to prevent a health system being overwhelmed is likely to have little impact on the proportion of the population that is eventually infected, in the absence of a vaccine becoming available before restrictions are relaxed.
    All the media nonsense about stopping the virus shows how badly informed most people are, you cant stop the virus without a vaccine , only manage it. Unless of course you want to isolate the country and have lock down for ever.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Your opening words are something I’ve noticed in the huge amount of statistics raining down on us.
      Not only have other countries with different strategies all have a similar bell shaped infection curve but that curve has been seen in previous viral infection epidemics in the past.
      The Imperial Uni computer models seem to be more based on the maths rules of expoentiality than the history of the bell curve graph.

  33. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    John, we only had a partial lock down.. When you compare the way many of the general public behaved during lock down then it’s not surprising that the disease has spread. You only have to look at how they did it on the continent to realise that we were never going to get on top of this virus as efficiently as many other countries. Our police were like kindergarten carers with the softly, softly approach when they should have been allowed to behave like policemen and keep order and people off the streets. In Italy they had to have written permission to go to the supermarket. Here, people were still going everyday. I only live in a small cul-de-sac and yet it was obvious people were still mixing from different homes. We didn’t shut our borders when other countries did. We are an island for goodness sake. We could have done a lot better and been out of this by now. I did think at the beginning that we would cope with this a lot better than we have but am now inclined to agree with many others that it has been one big major cock up and Johnson has gone down in my estimation. Why tell people that 6 people from 2 families can mix on Monday when it’s already happening and will happen this weekend before the weather breaks on Monday? We still have a high number of deaths and yet we are being able to meet up but have quarantine. It’s madness especially when countries are opening their borders but not to Brits.

    When is your government going to address to the nation their intentions regarding illegal immigrants coming over from France? We have heard very little from ministers. Kent county council must despair. Money spent on looking after all these people is money not spent on locals.

  34. beresford
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    In all the plans for re-opening the economy I see no intention of restoring the mobility of the many people without a private car. We have been forgotten. Why can’t we use a train for leisure purposes on weekends or evenings without having our collars felt? The anomaly will be particularly ludicrous if the Government backs down on its quarantine plans for air travellers, so you can freely travel from Birmingham to Wuahan but not from Birmingham to London.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      There is no greater disaster than depending on the Government for anything at all. Maybe we should set up private, local car pools or ‘lift clubs’?

  35. Fred H
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Testing by the private Labs (as evidenced by the one I know ) would have revealed just how significant the infection at GP staff and the first Care Home included. But instead of watching how smart the Germans had been doing that, we had to be different, being stubborn British.
    Almost every aspect of this tragedy has been badly advised, recommended by ‘experts’ , and staged managed(badly) facing the baying wolves of BBC, SKY and print Media.
    We have not achieved the aims, but have crippled the economy and given the population fear, anxiety, depression and very often a 3 month holiday in the sun.
    We have largely ignored all the other life-threatening medical conditions and focussed all efforts at the heroic care given in ICU.
    The Government has tried to cover all the failings with inarticulate scientists, throwing inaccurate and late stats at graphs which further ‘blind’ the public.

    The report card makes a horror story of the mismanagement of the challenge faced.
    Care Home deaths >10,000 as a result of clearing out patients from hospital to make way for fitter, younger people simply added to the toll, which could have been avoided by testing.

    The total inadequacy of the RISK preparation and headless chickens of PPE supply further added to the shambles.
    In any other political situation but health the Government should have resigned.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Sir John – -I’m losing confidence in you. Why hold back this post?
      There have been too many to be a coincidence.

      What troubles you so much? If the last line then you are not in reality – blinded by misplaced loyalty.

      I suppose you won’t be able to include this either, so much for unbiased.

  36. Kevin
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I think that the litany of “lockdown” restrictions is undermining the clarity of the (various) governments’ instructions. Perhaps this situation could be alleviated, at least with regard to the hosting of barbecues, if Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Sturgeon and whoever else could literally sing from the same sheet something like the following:

    “You can bring Pearl, she’s a darn nice girl, but don’t bring Lulu!”

  37. villaking
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Sir John, lockdown has most certainly not worked. You may know that Professor Carl Henegan at the the centre for evidence based medicine analysed Covid deaths based on date of death per death certificates rather than date the death was reported. The peak was on April 8th. Given the WHO states there are between 19 and 61 days between infection and death, it is impossible that the lockdown and declining deaths are correlated. As with all such viruses, it was already in decline and will continue so with or without further infringement on personal liberty. This helps explain why countries with limited or no lockdown such as Sweden or Japan have lower death rates than those with brutal lockdowns such as Belgium. It helps explain why the study that Cuomo commissioned in NY found that two thirds of Covid hospital admissions were people who had obeyed the rules and stayed in. Lockdown can not be scientifically justified and is an horrendous infringement of our rights. Indeed the rise in excess deaths now is probably caused by the lockdown with delayed hospital procedures etc. Please pressure your party leader to end this absurdity, he has already wrecked our economy for a generation

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      +1

    • NickC
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Villaking, I have been making the same point – that the death rate rolled over for those infected before lockdown – for some time. That’s what the figures indicate. Unfortunately the Remain contingent on here is fixated on more lockdown.

  38. glen cullen
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I do wonder if we had treated the covid-19 virus like the annual flu virus and didn’t have a lockdown, would the death related numbers be higher or lower ?

  39. JavelinHete
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    It’s not true that we don’t learn from recessions. The EU leaders have realised once the ECB debt gets above €3 trillion the EU will be “too big to fail”

    Problem-Solution or Solution-Problem

  40. Richard1
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The evidence seems to be that lock-down has not worked, although given the screaming and hollering especially from the left, and the fact that it was adopted first by China and then by Italy I think there was little political choice at the time. In the first place death rates peaked, and started to fall, before lock-down could have come into full effect. In the second place there was a very good control case of the cruise ship – full of old and therefore vulnerable people – which showed that herd immunity was achieved at c. 20% of that highly confined population and that the death rate amongst the infected was c 1%. The WHO was trumpeting much higher numbers for both.

    It is also clear that the deaths have been hugely concentrated in all countries on people with co-morbidities – ie they were highly likely to die in the very near future anyway and therefore died with, but in many (probably most) cases, not of the Wuhan virus.

    A calm and rational analysis of the data will not be possible for a year or so, especially with huge segments of the media and obviously all of the political left desperate to pin blame On Boris, Brexit and now Dominic Cummings.

    What seems to be the case is the govt – and not only our govt – were forced into a corner by woefully inadequate but highly alarmist modelling done by certain scientists. The less alarmist scientists were ignored. Let the lesson for the future be to insist on a rigorous red team – blue team public scrutiny of any scientific models which are used as a basis for policy in any area, with full access to assumptions, source codes etc, especially for other scientists who are sceptical of an alarmist conclusion and of calls for extreme measures with damaging economic consequences.

  41. Pat
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Peak deaths in London occurred in 4 April. Peak deaths outside London occurred in 12 April. The Lockdown was applied at the same time everywhere. Therefore the timing of peak deaths had nothing to do with the lockdown. May I suggest that the disease spreads more rapidly in crowded places like London and more slowly in less crowded places, and starts to decline once a certain percentage has recovered – which would happen quicker in more crowded places.
    Whether the NHS has been meaningfully saved is a moot point. Certainly it has not been overwhelmed, but since treatment for all but Covid seems to have ceased, we have effectively done without a health service for two months.
    I would suggest that the obsession with diagnosing every Covid death has resulted in fewer and fewer being missed, thus those dying with this coronavirus are all identified as such, whereas those dying of other coronaviruses would be simply diagnosed by the general term pneumonia. Hence the relatively gentle decline of the disease.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Pat

      Many people who worked in London stopped going into the city and worked at home way before the lockdown, given that many workers live some way out of London those who caught it were also hospitalised near to their homes in the commuter locations out of London, hence the short lag behind London.

  42. glen cullen
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The media and government hype – deaths
    2014 – annual flu …44,000
    2020 – covid-19 …38,161

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      And no one has died of flu this year. Hmmm…..

    • hefner
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      I hope you can see the ridicule in comparing the 44,000 deaths by flu over a period of 12 months and the 38,000 Covid19-related deaths over three months, don’t you? If not, what about taking an evening class in statistics?

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        The figures are from winter excess deaths 2014/15 therefore a quarter of a year period i.e 3 months.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        I thought we were nearly 5 months in from January but call me old fashioned.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          With approx 210 days to go in 2020 and allowing for the kind of reductions in deaths Spain and Italy and others are already seeing
          (Friday 29th May Spain recorded 2 deaths) we could end the year in the UK with c 50,000 deaths or even less.
          So statistically not far off annual figures for flu.
          But I’m sure you will lend your mighty IQ to the possible outcomes.

  43. matthu
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    It seems clear to many that far more people have been infected in the population at large than government cares to acknowledge. This is evident from testing that has emerged from other countries.

    Why else does the UK government try to prevent people from having themselves tested – at their own expense and even when reliable tests, developed by reputable international pharmaceutical companies are widely available – unless they exhibit severe symptoms?

    Why else redact dissenting portions of scientific advice unless they are trying to suppress evidence and argument that contradicts lockdown?

    If we accept that the virus is much more widely spread than was initially being modelled, then it is both less containable and less dangerous to the majority of the population. And that makes the government’s continuing policy of quarantining large sections of otherwise perfectly healthy individuals indefensible. And it certainly makes the whole idea of track and trace much more expensive and less acceptable to a liberal society.

    • matthu
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi John

      Is there really something so objectionable about my post above that you hesitate to publish it?

  44. BetterTimes
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Are there issues with deliveries to households?

    Having to “shield” we have (an over the top?) clean/quarantine regime for incoming deliveries.

    Not sure if we are the only people doing this, but reading how long CV can exist on surfaces, we feel it is needed. Although a real chore!
    Any views on this Sir John?

    • gregory martin
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      I believe that you may be correct to be cautious in that respect. The delivered orders are “picked” instore from shelf stock which has of course been available for selection and rejection by the general public at large. In my view, greater security would result from “clean picking” from seperate warehoused stock. Perhaps one nominated store in each district, not otherwise trading.
      It would be of interest to learn of actual, rather than theoretical sources of live virus. To that end, spot checking and swabbing of surfaces within stores, upon public facilities and transport by ,say, Environmental Health departments with published results as is done for catering establishments, would focus attention upon actual risks, if they are substantiated.

  45. ukretired123
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I agree with some here who have noted that the MSM have blown the CV19 into a new Brexit on steroids project fear and fallen over themselves competing to be outspoken twitter-storm troop leaders, even praising NS for her handling of this for lords sakes!

    They have tried many comparisons between all sorts of things but fail to notice we are all human, never perfect, full of paradoxes and contradictions as is the human (normal) condition and modus operandi. The Age of Unreasonableness is truly upon us leading to much froth and indignation after many have been brought up to believe “You can be whatever you want to be” and are used to flicking a finger to get instant results for our short time-span attention conditioned modern lifestyles.

    Having been lulled into thinking “Easy Street” exists this is a fine opportunity for the realisation that everything has to be earned and is based on hard work regardless. Instead of having to watch MSM thrashing around for the next gossip and guff we have found it best to use this golden time for getting things done in our lives that are more useful and healthier!

  46. APL
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    JR: “https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8370921/Coronavirus-R-rate-low-0-5-outside-hospitals.html”

    No!

    And it’s worse than that. Because due to the fear and dread spread about by government (words left out ed)the BBC, instead of informing the population they have terrorised us.

    The terror operation of the BBC, hand in hand with the incompetent spineless Politicians and worse than useless NHS have between them not only infected more people than was necessary, but have ruined our economy too.

    As a Nation, we did not deserve this.

  47. M Hopkins
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Lockdown has worked spectacularly well throughout the globe destroying economies, but has not worked for Covid19 according to the many highly experienced and qualified medical and scientific advisers like Prof Knut Wittkowski and Prof Dolores Cahill to name but two, if you are fortunate to catch them on YouTube before they are censored and taken down. It certainly did not reduce our death rate and there was a much better way – quarantine the sick and not the healthy and protect the vulnerable.

  48. Original Chris
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I think this J P Morgan study answers your question:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8347635/Lockdowns-failed-alter-course-pandemic-JP-Morgan-study-claims.html

    Lockdowns failed to alter the course of pandemic and are now destroying millions of livelihoods worldwide, JP Morgan study claims
    • JP Morgan research said infection rates had fallen since lockdowns were eased
    • It suggested the virus ‘has its own dynamics’ which are ‘unrelated’ to lockdowns
    • Report said they were imposed with little thought of ‘economic devastation’

    ……………..Author Marko Kolanovic, a trained physicist and a strategist for JP Morgan, said governments had been spooked by ‘flawed scientific papers’ into imposing lockdowns which were ‘inefficient or late’ and had little effect.

    ‘Unlike rigorous testing of new drugs, lockdowns were administered with little consideration that they might not only cause economic devastation but potentially more deaths than Covid-19 itself,’ he claimed…”

  49. zorro
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    JR – no, it hasn’t and the government knows it hadn’t and knew it wouldn’t. They knew that COVID 19 was no longer an HCID before their ‘lockdown’

    This isn’t stupidity.

    Government advisors were telling the government that by the middle of March, Covid-19 was not as dangerous as first thought and the Infection Rate (R) had reduced to less than 1. The infection was in decline and did not present the medical risk initially feared, neither to individuals nor to the NHS.

    But how this was relayed to the public was as we heard from the PM when he gave his partial lockdown speech on 20th March and the full lockdown on the 23rd March

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-51980664/uk-pm-boris-johnson-announces-closure-of-pub-bars-and-restaurants

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52012432
    ….

    What Government Advisors Were Advising Government;

    “As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) in the UK.”

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid

    ….

    On 01/04, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) published a paper advising the government on “Easing restrictions on activity and social distancing: comments and suggestions from SPI-B [1 April 2020]”

    “We are aware that modelling colleagues estimate that the changes already in place have probably reduced R to below 1. There is evidence that these behavioural changes began to appear in mid-March and steadily improved over time.” (01/04)

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884013/28-easing-restrictions-on-activity-and-social-distancing-comments-suggestions-spi-b-01042020.pdf

    https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response
    ….

    What the Dear Leader was telling Parliament on 11/05

    “Every day, dedicated doctors, nurses, social care workers, Army medics and more have risked their own lives in the service of others. They have helped to cut the reproduction rate from between 2.6 and 2.8 in April to between 0.5 and 0.9 today.”

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-05-11/debates/D92692B5-165B-4ACB-BC97-4C3F25D726EE/Covid-19Strategy

    He must be held to account.

    zorro

    • everyone knows
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      He must be held to account.

      zorro

      >
      By who? The media and opposition are insane.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        The people! The currency in a democracy is votes!

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 1:01 am | Permalink

      Don Diego!,

      If ‘R’ is up again and there is a danger of a 2nd wave,………. why was the London Nightingale Hospital decommissioned? That’s not logical.

      Either someone is lying, or they are incompetent in having recommended that happen.
      Either way they are in a hole. And apparently, still digging.

    • stred
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      https://thecritic.co.uk/the-lockdowns-founding-myth/
      This article explains, with dates and statements, how the government followed the scientific opinion from the herd immunity idea to the U turn when the news from Italy hit the fan. The same scientist who explained herd immunity is now telling us that lifting the lockdown too early will cost lives.
      If anything, the government did not question the advice enough and they acted reasonably quickly as the advice changed. The care home debacle is another story, again based on the scientific advice.

  50. Stred
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    SJR made these points well on LBC and unless we get an answer and some action on the questions some MPs need to kick up about it. As Jsvelin says, we are not getting information on the questions and instead are being managed by the nudgers, who have got their behavioural psychological bunkum wrong so far. Firstly the chief guru thought that the herd would not be able to tolerate a Chinese style lockdown and, as informed by one of the many public health chiefs during the presentation, they consult with the nudgers all the time. It turned out that the British were the most compliant in the world except for the Scandinavians. The professor who weighed in against Cummings and Boris is a behavioural psychologist and sits on the Sage committee. The delay in locking down was supported by these gurus initially and may have been one of the reasons for the eventual high death rate. Sage could possibly be even more sage if they got rid of behavioural experts.

  51. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John–I wonder if I am alone in only having a secondary, indirect, interest at best in what’s going on in a lot of the rest of the World. Looks to me as if the BBC reckons it can summarise other countries’ positions so it looks more as if they have a clue what’s going on. The coverage of the UK itself is also very poor in my opinion. Why is there not more prominence given simply to the number of daily deaths, which never, at least not on the BBC online News, seems easy to find in a consistent position. And I for one think that the News is plenty bad enough as it is without making it seem as bad as possible. Thus, instead of saying that yesterday’s deaths were X and the day before’s Y we are first told about the not immediately relevant total deaths. Worse, they emphasize that total deaths have “risen” by Z , which is hardly a surprise given that the total is a cumulative. This cumulative if it has to be given any prominence at all, not sure why, should be a bare figure tagged on the end with minimal unnecessary drama.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Postscript–I thought that maybe I had got mixed up with the World Service, if that still exists, but I checked and No.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Also not a recovery figure for the U.K. – because that’s good news and conflicts with the BBC agenda of depressing the hell out of the British people.

  52. Ed M
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Lock-down, so far, is certainly working in Australia (a bit less then half population of UK with two large cities), and to a strong degree, too, in Germany, Denmark, South Korea, Hong Kong, and other places.

    The efficient lock-down has given the Australians more time to figure out this virus and how best to proceed to protect the economy (don’t forget, part of protecting the economy is also reducing the amount of fear that people have to go out to work and buy things). In the end, this strategy might not work. But there is – who knows – a 50:50% chance it will – and if it does, it will hugely benefit their economy as well as sense their sense of national self-identity compared to countries such as France, UK, Italy and Spain (and national self-identity can have repercussions on the economy as well).

    • Ed M
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Buying time and trying to figure out a problem is always far more advisable than rushing into something, and taking a gamble (sure, gambles can pay off, but generally-speaking buying time and trying to figure out a problem first is rationally-speaking the much safer option to take. This is the option the Australians and others took.

      • Ed M
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        And let’s not forget, successful people in business are not gamblers. They take risks but risks based on as much problem-solving as possible. I strongly believe most successful people in businesses would have gone for the Australia option.

      • Ed M
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        My 50:50% comment is in correct. Overall, I think the Australia option was more like 90% the best option to take, considering we didn’t know anything about this virus (and still struggling although we know a bit more) and need to buy time to figure things out more.

        And if an economy is spirally out of control, because of lock-down, a country always has the option of ending the lock-down (whatever the health results) but if a country is spiralling out of control with health problems, it’s far more difficult to end the lock-down (as people will be scared about going back to work, buying stuff).

  53. Richard1
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Off topic it was good to see one of the shrillest of project fear’s referendum lies debunked with nissan’s announcement that it is keeping its Sunderland plant open even though it’s closing one in the EU, the opposite of the effect predicted by Remain’s project fear. It was such alarmism which caused many people to be part of the losing 48%. Great to see our fears were misplaced, and looking forward to acknowledgements and apologies etc from those who promulgated them. A pity about the Spanish plant of course.

    • Andy
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      It comes to something when the best news you have about Brexit is that Nissan isn’t closing its plant here yet. It is not actually creating any more jobs here, it has demanded further efficiencies from staff here and it says Europe is no longer a focus for its business – but the jobs are still here. For now. It’s not good news. It is just not yet really bad news.. Your Brexit is the gift which keeps giving.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Time for your medication Andy. Do have a lie down.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        You told us it would close due to brexit.
        Many many times.
        Stop wriggling and apologies.
        Another Project Fear claim bites the dust

      • Zorro
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        What does it say about the EU then???

        zorro

      • NickC
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Andy, But it does show your predictions were wrong. Again.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Not the best news at all. The best news is the potential freedoms it gives over trade and regulatory policy and insulation from the increasingly apparent costs of eurozone integration.

        But it is a piece of good news – and it’s significance is that you and others like you forecast the precise opposite, so misleading many of those people who ended up part of the losing 48%. Imagine what the result would have been if we hadn’t had these sort of lies and scaremongering.

      • Martyn G
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        This is how the UK has benefited from your beloved EU membership, with UK manufacturing and commercial assets removed from the UK – with the agreement of the UK Parliament – using EU grants and loans or, as some might say, bribery – some of which undoubtedly came from UK payments to the EU.
        With a EU grant the Cadbury factory to moved to Poland 2011.
        With a EU grant Ford moved its Transit production to Turkey 2013.
        With a EU grant Jaguar Land Rover (owned by Tata) has recently agreed to build a new plant in Slovakia.
        With a EU grant Peugeot closed its Ryton plant and moved production to Slovakia.
        With a EU grant the British Army’s new Ajax fighting vehicles to be built in Spain using Swedish steel at the request of the EU to support jobs in Spain, rather than in Wales.
        With a EU grant Dyson has moved manufacturing to Malaysia.
        With a EU grant Crown Closures, Bournemouth (Was Metal Box), moved to Poland with loss of 1200 jobs.
        With a EU grant much of M&S manufacturing moved to the Far East.
        With a EU grant Hornby and all toys and models have removed from the UK, together with their UK patents.
        With a EU grant Gillette moved to Eastern Europe.
        With a EU grant Texas Instruments Greenock moved to Germany.
        With a EU grant Indesit at Bodelwyddan Wales moved to Europe.
        With EU funding, Sekisui Alveo has announced that its production at its Merthyr Tydfil Industrial will relocate production to the Netherlands.
        With EU backing, Hoover Merthyr factory moved out of UK to Czech Republic and the Far East by Italian company Candy.
        With an EU bank loan, ICI has been integrated into Holland’s AkzoNobel and within days of the merger, several factories in the UK were closed, losing 3,500 jobs.
        With an EU loan, Boots was sold to Italians Stefano Pessina based in Switzerland.
        With the aid of EU ‘regeneration grants’, JDS Uniphase run by two Dutch men bought up several companies in the UK resulting in UK job losses and closures.
        And;
        UK airports are owned by a Spanish company.
        Scottish Power is owned by a Spanish company.
        Most London buses are run by Spanish and German companies.
        The Mini cars that Cameron stood in front of as an example of British engineering are built by BMW (many of them in Holland and Austria).
        Cameron’s campaign bus was made in Germany even though we have Plaxton, Optare, Bluebird, Dennis etc., in the UK who could have done so.
        The bicycle displayed by the ‘Greens’ was made in the Far East, not by Raleigh UK, who have said that they are probably now going to move to the Netherlands.
        39% of British invention patents have been passed to foreign companies, many of them in the EU.
        The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to be built by French company EDF, part owned by the French government, using cheap Chinese steel that has catastrophically failed in other nuclear installations. Now EDF say the costs will be double or more and it will be very late even if it does come online.
        Swindon was once our producer of rail locomotives and rolling stock. Now it’s Bombardier in Derby and due to their huge losses in the aviation market we could see the end of the British railways manufacturing, even though Bombardier had EU grants to keep Derby operational, they promptly diverted the money to their loss-making aviation side in Canada.
        And you still say that leave was a bad idea?

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          We invented and funded Graphene, the new wonder metal…..what hsappened to that

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        It’s a trend Andy. This just one example. Have you noticed your EU kow-towing to China? Another disaster we can avoid thanks to the brave 52% who ignored your terrorism.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

          Lynn

          You mean under our system where 17m have been able to dictate the future of the other 53m.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            You are being silly again.
            We have some simple rules for elections.
            You have to be over 18
            A UK citizen.
            And voting is voluntary.

  54. William Long
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    A major difficulty in answering these good questions must be the apparently huge number of people who have had the disease without displaying symptoms, but in all probability are infectious. Until we have got effective antibody testing in place I cannot see that any measures can really work.

  55. Anonymous
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I calculated this morning that 0.06% of our population have died of/with CV-19 – 90% of those were old and already seriously ill. Of those younger most were ill too. This is not to make light of the tragedy but the Left are only too willing to go heavy on it to make all the political capital they can.

    We are now a fully fledged socialist state replete with our new rainbow flag.

    The Coronavirus Update website this morning shows

    Sweden (no lockdown) 431 deaths per million

    UK (with lockdown) 562 deaths per million

    This disease has its own dynamic. Without a vaccine ALL nations are going to have to suffer the death tally that the disease was going to visit no matter how well they’ve dealt with the first wave.

    The BBC is still insistant on reporting the USA’s deaths (why), it still refuses to report them per million (316 – about equal to the EU’s the last time I looked) and still insists on ignoring its size and political/demographic differences between states. A fairer comparison would not be between the USA and Germany but between the USA and the EU.

    Even if you ignore the deaths being caused by our economic suicide it is by no means certain that lockdown has worked.

    Australia and New Zealand as good examples of how to deal with a pandemic ? Well. So long as they stay isolated. So who is to blame for the economic catastrophe that has befallen them ? But daring to even ask that question gets you punished by tariff.

    The worst thing about lockdown is that we have shown ourselves to be weak and vulnerable. What is the point of the Western defence budgets if we show ourselves to be so helpless ?

    We are particularly vulnerable to biological and cyber attack. And now it looks like we’re facing a drought. I hope those ration books are being prepared !

  56. rose
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    The BBC told us this morning that protest is forbidden during the curfew. They sounded disapproving of this and wondered if this particular prohibition would soon be lifted. How come then, that the intimidation has been allowed to continue outside the Cummings’s house? I hope someone will get to the bottom of this.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      It’s terrorism of an innocent man. Disgraceful and happening because the ‘elitists’ like Maitlis (or is that mate-less) are days away from losing the battle of their useless lives.

  57. Zorro
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    This ‘event’ is slowly being wound down but with continual fear porn being generated by the BBC to keep people in fear of a “deadly serious disease spreading widely in the population” even though the government marked it over two months ago as no longer being a HCID…..

    Jr, please along with other readers, tell me what you think about the advice given on this link entitled “ Social Distancing – A practical guide to how to socialise now” from a doctor. I never thought that I would live to read such nonsense bearing in mind the real facts about this disease!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52848793

    It is complete and utter mind control!

    zorro

  58. Freeborn John
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    To say if lockdown worked one has to be clear what the objective of lockdown is; either preventing the NHS being overwhelmed or as the most important means of eliminating the virus completely. If the former it has worked but with no vaccine in sight a second rise after the summer is likely.

    The lockdown has reduced the transmission rate from about 3 to approximately 0.85. Other factors like washing hands and wearing masks and the increasing number of recovered can also to reduce the transmission rate but only in a marginal way. Easing lockdown very likely means a transmission rate over 1 and a return to exponential growth in cases.

    We do need a tracing App. It will trace not just possible new infections but also where those infections are happening. These spots where the virus spreads can then be given special treatment or closed off.

    Ultimately without a vaccine there is no way until herd immunity is achieved with 65-70% of the population recovered. By stretching out the infections over time with lockdown we also create more time for the virus to evolve into different strains. There is no answer other than continued lockdown and ultimately either vaccine or herd immunity. We can be smarter about lockdown limiting it to the over 50s where the death rate starts to climb.

    In the meantime we should be thankful for the Internet and the possibilities to work productively while isolating in ways that would have been impossible at any other time in human history.

  59. NickC
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    JR said: “This [“23rd March the UK was put into lockdown”] implies limiting contact was the way to slow the progress of the virus, and did lead to an important reduction in serious cases and deaths”.

    A bit misleading. “Limiting contact” prior to the lockdown may (but only may) have reduced cases and deaths. But quite clearly by your own figures the lockdown itself did not.

    You say correctly that peak deaths occurred on 10th April. But this was only 18 days (less than 3 weeks) after lockdown started (23rd March). Since the progression of the disease to a fatality is typically 4 – 6 weeks, it follows that the death rate was diminishing for patients infected before the lockdown even started.

    That means the lockdown was no more efficacious than the previous pre-lockdown precautions. And probably worse – due to deaths caused by the lockdown.

    You then ask “how is [the coronavirus] being transmitted?” Well, I stayed at home, did not go to work, hospital, surgery or care home, and had no visitors. Yet I have had it. So I must have caught it either during food shopping or by contact on the food packets, or by contact on letters delivered to the door.

    Interestingly, my illness conformed to the symptoms, but my drive through test (arranged within 3 hours, despite MSM squawks) was negative. Both a doctor and a pharmacist pointed out that negative tests resulted where the infection was in the chest but not the throat. This apparently even happens in hospitals with professional test takers. Corollary: many more people have been infected than the tests indicate.

    • Zorro
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      You make some good points which are confirmed by Oxford based experts too…. https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/covid-19-death-data-in-england-update-29th-may/

      which clearly show that peak deaths in hospital was 08/04…. There is no evidence that “lockdown” had positive effect but plenty of evidence that it has contributed to a large increase in non-Covid 19 excess deaths!!

      zorro

    • Stred
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      I have had a cough and felt that i may have somehow caught covid, despite being extremely careful and not going inside shops. It always disappeared within days and my Mrs, who is a medical scientist, thinks that I picked up a bacterial infection while doing plumbing jobs or cooking.
      Where is the evidence that the infection takes 4-6/weeks to death?

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Stred, One of my children is a GP. The better half of another of my children is a frontline hospital pharmacist who conducts covid tests. I am guided by them.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      I think the lockdown has ‘worked’. If you look at the new infections about a week or more beyond March 23rd they did tend to flatten out whereas in between the new infections were increasing quite rapidly; at the time ‘new infections’ represented people having been carted off to hospital and given a test, therefore quite indicative of how the epidemic was progressing at that time.

      In your own case, you were clearly abiding by the three Cs as advocated by the Japanese government, namely, to avoid as far as possible: closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings. Unfortunately, in your need for essential sustenance, you crossed the path of a superspreader. What the Japanese had determined was that Covid-19 is spread in clusters by superspreaders and that the majority of people who get the disease do not spread it themselves. They deduced that each cluster which might have included yourself and several others in a visit to the supermarket might itself have contained another potential superspreader who went on to generate their own clusters. The Japanese knowledge of how the epidemic was spread arose from a careful examination of the case of the Diamond Princess cruise ship which lead to them appointing a network of contract tracers (in January) to track down and quarantine the superspreaders in particular. The confluence of a compliant population, a government of individuals which did not spend three years learning nothing of value, then declaring themselves generalists who were up to any task but who instead knew that solving problems required understanding them first, has led in Japan to a comparatively mild outbreak without the great inconvenience inflicted on us who have also had the very worst epidemic.

      What JR is complaining of is that the lockdown has cramped the superspreaders’ style but has done nothing to eliminate them which is why we still have a very large number of new infections every single day.

  60. samm
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    https://conservativewoman.co.uk/norway-leads-the-way-out-of-lockdown/
    NORWAY has become the first country to break ranks with the lockdown zealot consensus, releasing an official government report declaring lockdown to be unnecessary to end the coronavirus epidemic. Here’s a key excerpt:

    ‘It looks as if the effective reproduction rate had already dropped to around 1.1 when the most comprehensive measures were implemented on March 12, and that there would not be much to push it down below 1 . . . We have seen in retrospect that the infection was on its way down.’

    The director of the country’s public health agency, Camilla Stoltenberg, has been admirably candid about what this means: ‘Our assessment now, and I find that there is a broad consensus in relation to the reopening, was that one could probably achieve the same effect – and avoid part of the unfortunate repercussions – by not closing. But, instead, staying open with precautions to stop the spread.’

    She adds this is important so that lockdowns are not used in future if infections rise again or there is a second wave in the winter.

    • Stred
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      They didn’t have to deal with a British or French population who in a large part of London and Paris, ignored the request to keep separated and went out to enjoy the sun and drink.

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Stred, “Enjoying” the sun was probably the best thing they could have done.

  61. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Why is the infection still spreading, perhaps one of the answers is the suggestion by the Scientists that 70% of people who have tested positive for the virus have had no symptoms, and so are not aware they should be self isolating and not staying in circulation.

    The other reason is people are simply telling lies about self isolation, and many are not social distancing at all, plenty of evidence of this on social media. Unfortunately it will be the vulnerable who will eventually pay the price.

  62. samm
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I suspect there are many factors regarding the UK stats
    One is the fact that we are working on the assumption that the virus is only spread through human contact when tehre is evidence that it is carried thoughtout the world on aerosols carried in air currents, over which we have no control. (How did viruses move around the world pre air travel?!)
    Secondly, it seems that deaths ar repoted of people dying with the virus as well as of the virus. So we need to look at total deaths and compare with previous years.
    Thirdly. Sweden which did not lockdown has lower death rate per capital than we do but its economy is not so destroyed
    Fourthly the disastrous stragey of immediate ventilation that results in death bu the NHS
    Fifthy the NHS has not used strategies that have been shown to cure in other countries such as hydroxychloroquine and zinc
    This draws into question the government’s advisers (and their conflicts of interests -‘we can not be let to go back to normal until the vaccine is ready to save us’) who need to be held accountable for the UK’s disastrous death rate.

  63. herumm
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Close the lid on the toilet before flushing.
    Care homes could have accompanied visits and are especially vunerable one would think.

  64. MeSET
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Has lock down worked? There is no scientific evidence of it. There was no scientific evidence pointing it might work in the first place.

    In that some activities may coincide with another attributable statistical outcome is not evidence either in science proper nor law-mindset let alone the vague but arguably more trustworthy commonsense.

    • Zorro
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Correlation is not causation as we say in the analytical world!

      zorro

  65. Helen Smith
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    You may also wonder why peaks have occurred at different ids in different parts of the country too, all leaks should have happened at the same time, albeit to different degrees with London’s peak far higher than the sparsely populated West Country.

    I would dearly love to know how it is the rate hasn’t fallen to really low levels, it did however take a while to do so in Italy and Spain so maybe it will suddenly happen, let’s hope so.

    Can I add my voice of support for Mr Cummings please. I feel his test drive was a sensible approach after being ill, most of the thing he was accused of, visiting his parents, the second trip north, attending his uncle’s funeral didn’t happen, and as for the suggestions he should have put his child into care or asked his neighbours for help, I think we can see why he didn’t!

    • Helen Smith
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      For goodness sake, I should have proof read that! For ids insert time, for leaks, peaks and thing, things.

    • Zorro
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/dominic-cummings-barnard-castle-eyesight-police-peter-fahy-a4450241.html

      He was extremely foolish to “test his eyesight” by doing that!

      zorro

      • NickC
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        Zorro, Well I think I would have tried a short drive first to confirm I had recovered properly.

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Helen Smith

      ” I feel his test drive was a sensible approach after being ill, ”

      When he was worried about his eyesight with his wife and small son in the car?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        It was to test if he was OK to drive nearly 5 times that distance the next day in order to return to his job.
        After being seriously ill.
        I feel it was a sensible decision.

        But I expect you and the media hounds think it was OK for the SNP leader to drive from London to Skye and back during lockdown?
        He is said to have returned because he said his internet connection wasn’t great.

    • Stred
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Just read the Spectator leader where they say that the aggrieved population who are annoyed with Cummings would have needed a lawyer to use the exemptions themselves. Cobblers. We just read the rules and listened to the deputy medical officer when we needed to decide what to do after lockdown was announced. The state of journalist’s minds has to be questioned.

    • M Davis
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      If I was in the same boat as Mr Cummings, with a four year old, I would have done the same thing. There is no way I would have allowed strangers to look after my child. Children that young need to be with family.

    • Mark
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      You may be interested in my map of when the peak in new cases occurred by Local Authority. It is based on the PHE data for daily new cases, and smooths using a 7 day centred average to overcome the problem of less reporting at weekends.

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/ak5qX/1/

      The earliest peak was in Richmond on Thames. Most of the peaks do cluster around early dates. In lower population density areas where there were fewer cases they were often more spread out and sporadic, rather than having a sharp peak – and often outbreaks in care homes seem to have defined a local peak.

  66. Peter Parsons
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Most of the population isn’t staying at home, though. Most households are staying mostly at home.

    Even discounting those who have chosen to either ignore or create their own interpretations of the guidelines, most households are interacting with others in some form or another, just not as much, for example, in supermarkets which, while they are limiting customers inside and providing social distancing measures while you wait to enter, once you are inside, it can be a real free-for-all, with one way systems and other measures simply ignored and not enforced. Every household still needs to obtain food and the delivery capabilities are not set up to cope with supplying anything more than a small minority of customers, so most people still need to go in person, and there is a chance that, while doing so, you may encounter someone who is infectious but asymptomatic.

    • Stred
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      How many shoppers handle the goods and the surfaces checking out and then touch their faces and don’t clean the car controls?

  67. mancunius
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    “Are hospitals and care homes now a main source of spreading the disease? ”

    Surely there can be little doubt of that.

  68. MeSET
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    They say in vaccine research as they should, that even the most simple experiment to prove its alleged aspiration must be conducted accordance with what they as scientists is a consensus between scientific opinion, of a set-number of identical experiments which have the same outcome.
    Unfortunately with lockdown of 66 million moving parts which cannot be proven nor expected in that each at all times behaves in an identical manner, and that it is a one-off experiment and cannot be compared with any other test results of lockdown or and not-lockdown conducted at the identical moments in time and place, then my word has Science ever been taught in schools and higher education? Who ARE these experts? Experts in what? Astrology?
    Ones heart cries for such failure of basic education in our country and roars like an English dragon we have a government.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      I think even Astrology is too difficult for them.

  69. Dee
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    All this conjecture is all well and good but one simple question answers it all:
    If our Government did right in listening to Ferguson whos past is littered with very, very, very, false prognosticationes and predictions.
    Then why is the UK the worst hit Country pro rata in the WORLD?
    Sweden basically took no action to fight COVID_19 and though they have figures on a par with other Scandinavian Countries, they did NOT cost millions of jobs and 1000s of businesses as has been the price paid in the UK and beyond.
    I would not blame the Gov if it wasn’t for the fact they did not check Ferguson and SAGE’s past history, a remiss we will all pay for.

    • RobB
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Please compare Belgium and Andorra.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Sweden’s figures aren’t on a par with the other Scandinavian countries – and that’s why Swedes won’t be finding it easy to travel to them in the near future.

    • Stred
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Sweden has far worse deaths pet head than the other Scandinavian countries. They also used voluntary measures to avoid crowds and distance. Their gdp has reduced. The government needs to out information because this tripe is spreading like a virus.

  70. Dystopian nightmare
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    The evidence is ‘lockdown’ has been the biggest political mistake in political history and you politicians will be very lucky to be picking up your pensions as we are very close to abolishing the entire concept, forever.

  71. ed2
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I am entitled to my view and my view from studying the statistics is the Lockdown killed more people than the alleged virus.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      It might do in the end but I think not.

      I certainly do not think it has killed many people as yet – perhaps a tiny handful.

      • Zorro
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Nonsense – look at the excess non-Covid deaths on ONS even with the ridiculous COVID associated death or death with COVID. They are rather more than a handful! The number of missed appointments and treatment isa disgrace!

        zorro

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      It’s a silly view.

      • MeSET
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Carnage speaks otherwise.
        Deadened voices to the wise
        Wetten appetite for no more
        Welded wedded ideas to the doré!

  72. ed2
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    In fact I would go as far as saying (as there was no evidence of even an epidemic on the ONS stats before the week the lockdown started), is the entire thing was a self fulfilling prophecy caused almost 100% by the lockdown.

    A monumental disaster.

    • Zorro
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      +1 particularly if you look at Oct – Dec 2019

      zorro

  73. Edward2
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    If you look at deaths per 100,000 population you see Sweden in 8th place with seven EU nations above it.
    Sweden had very little lockdown and was predicted by WHO modelling to have had many times more cases and deaths.

    Also African nations and Middle East nations have had very much less deaths than predicted by WHO computer modelling.
    Some very crowded nations have had very few cases at all.
    Honk Kong and Palestine for example.
    There must many other things affecting the disparate and puzzling figures.

    • Zorro
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Indeed – look at India!

      zorro

  74. na
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Do not EVER try and pull a stunt like this off again!

    >
    Not you John, the others.

  75. glen cullen
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Merseyside Police have published a notice on ‘’facebook’’ that they are ready to fine people £100 for breaking the social distancing 2 meter rule

    I’ve ask them to correct their notice as the Police do not have any warrant to fine people against Public Health England (PHE) guidance

    The Police can’t be allowed to make up laws

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      No, it seems that it is for judges to make up, distort, invent or rewrite the laws. As we see with the Supreme Court. It is amazing how far you can stretch anti-discrimination laws or the right to a family life!

      • Eh?
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Which judges are you writing about? We haven’t any judges in the UK

  76. steve
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I dont trust SAGE. We don’t know their identities, why are they secret ?

    Why did they advise the Government to ALLOW the virus to continue getting in via the airports?

    For all we know this anonymous SAGE lot could have geopolitical affiliations. Who would it suit for the UK economy to be in ruins ?

    I say dump the ‘scientists’ and go for common sense, stop the lockdown nonsense and have very high penalties for anyone not adhering to high standards of personal hygiene. No one should need to be asked to wash their hands after visiting the WC and shouldn’t need to be taught how to cough or sneeze without firing it into someone else’s face.

    • hefner
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      The list has been published by the Government and is available at
      manchestereveningnews.co.uk in an item published on 04/05/2020 by Helen Carter “List of SAGE committee members published by Government”.

      • steve
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        hefner

        Was unaware of that, thanks.

    • Stred
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      The identies of Sage are not secret and can easily be looked up. Checking on some of them reveals that some are communists or green lefties and some are ex big pharma. They are probably all remainers because almost all university staff think that the EU is the source of dosh. They are also worried about the state of the remuneration of their universities because they have come to rely on fat fees changed to mainly Chinese and Arabic students, who have seen that the scientific advisors in the UK have made something of a horlicks of the epidemic so far and there is a huge shortfall of income for next year, just when the vice chancellors have bought masses of student accommodation on something like a pfi deal.

      • Red October
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        “communists or green lefties ” Is this true? No really, it it true some are communists?

  77. Jeremy Havard
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    What a pity the BBC did not expend a similar amount of energy and airtime exposing the crimes if Jimmy Saville.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 5:11 am | Permalink

      They colluded with Saville. The BBC really must go.

  78. Lifelogic
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I see that the gender reporting rules have been suspended during the pandemic. Let us hope this expensive and pointless lunacy form Theresa May is never restarted.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:23 am | Permalink

      Gender pay reporting rules that is.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Rules, red tape, and the attendant litigation risk, which is always multiplied by new rules, will greatly inhibit the services provided, whether Doctor, dentist, café owner, Theatre manager, etc. Many will choose to fold.
      Keep beating your drum, LL, someone has to.
      The biggest release will be of lawyers and compensation claimants.
      Is it true that approx. 20% of NHS budget is held in reserve for compensation claims?

  79. steve
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Lockdown, hmm….

    Cant see how it can be justified when allowing thousands to enter via airports and without compulsory quarantine, as the situation was.

    Also allowing the french to continue dumping their problem across the English Channel.

    • Average IQ
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      It is still hard to believe the experts never had General Science as a subject from age 11 and Sturgeon not knowing about persons able to have the virus without having symptoms so she must have missed out on General Science lessons too and, a normal lifetime’s casual reading evidenced in an interview she had on Sophie on Sunday today.
      Going forward in Scotland, First Ladies or First Gentlemen(sic) must have the ability and practice of reading widely, plus having attended taught classes of General Science from 11-15 years of age and satisfactory assessment of G.Science comprehension. No equivalent GCE required, just a general normal smattering of Science

  80. UK Qanon
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Has the lockdown worked.
    NO – why Quarantine healthy people? Do not forget that should one jump out of an aeroplane without a parachute the death would be attributed to Covid-19.
    From day one I said this whole episode is/was a False Flag.

    • Max Mcdoughnut
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      “why Quarantine healthy people?” Well they are now seeking like fury to find perfectly healthy people to prove by disproving they are healthy…they did not quarantine healthy people, but they are too late, it only proves they are unhealthy now, not when lockdown started. Lockdown actually made them unhealthy.
      A waste of time and money whatever they are trying to prove. 40000 dead.

      • UK Qanon
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        How do you know 40,000 dead from CV?? Was it on the News. Remember, News is not what happens but what a fairly small group of people( establishment globalists)decide is news. Who owns the media – do your research.

  81. David Brown
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    It occurs to me the one size fits all lock down has worked up to a point. I think its difficult to compare with other countries primarily because of population density v land mass and population of BME. Science and Medics now know a lot more about this virus, and I suspect Hospital death rates are down because Doctors and specialists understand the virus much better and patient care especially in intensive care units is more focused. An example is I understand that Doctors now move the patient on to their stomach when using a respirator because evidently it works better.
    The total daily death rate sad though any death is appears to be stable.
    Reports suggest that BME groups are prone to the virus and to-date there is no real evidence why. We can speculate its extended family, social cultural gathering etc.
    WE know the groups most at risk eg older people and those with a health condition inc obesity and some BME groups.
    We also need to factor in the encouraging news about drug trials – not a cure but a good means of preventing death
    Knowing this information it occurs to me the lock down can be removed as the above groups can be focused on.
    My personal opinion is that people over 70 years old should be very cautious and stay local. I would include every one inc Politicians and Lords let them continue with virtual cam.
    ( Actually my view is any one 70 and above should be excluded from Politics it should be a younger persons role only)

    • MeSET
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      “Reports suggest that BME groups are prone to the virus and to-date there is no real evidence why” No evidence why, today. There was during the last 50 years and more. I am studying the phenomenon.

  82. Will in Hampshire
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    You can explain the pattern of viral transmission reasonably well if you assume that the majority of the population didn’t lock themselves down quite as much as the regulations require. I think most people except the elderly have been carrying on their day-to-day business and socialising outside their homes to a greater extent than they would admit publicly, and to a greater extent than allowed by the regulations. As a result the virus has continued to spread albeit at a much reduced rate.

  83. Ex-Tory
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I see that some 18 weeks after it first met the minutes of the Sage meetings have suddenly been published because “openness and transparency around this disease is a social imperative, which is why it’s important that we don’t wait to publish minutes and evidence”.

    Of course, the fact that papers for a judicial review demanding publication was served on the government 3 days ago has nothing to do with this U turn.

  84. Mark
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to answer the questions from the data we have with certainty. But it helps to look at the data on deaths from the ONS:

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/s0Am1/1/

    It seems clear that the first effect of the measures was to provoke a rise in non-virus deaths as hospitals were emptied in anticipation of some virus Armageddon, much of it occurring in homes and care homes, where treatment was not available. It is interesting to note that we are now supposedly seeing fewer non-virus deaths than might be expected normally, presumably because some of them were accelerated. It is also clear that care homes were mostly virus free to begin with, but now account for a highly disproportionate number of deaths. There are 9 million over 70s in the UK, and about 450,000 in care homes, which have moved up to 40-45% of the deaths before counting those moved from care home to hospital before dying. This chart shows the rising share of care home deaths:

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/uxeh3/1/

    Lockdown has failed to protect care home residents. Infections were introduced by those returning from hospital, as well as by staff who did not isolate adequately. We have no real data in public domain on nosocomial infection, beyond some on NHS staff.

    As to the wider question of infections, the King’s College symptom tracker suggests that they peaked on 1st April at 2.13 million people being infected and reporting symptoms (but we must allow that it takes several days for symptoms to show and they then last – in severe cases a further 2-3 weeks), and fell quite sharply thereafter to 1.16 million a week later, halving again by 18th April. It’s unclear what the situation might have been much before that, and there is no clarity about those who remained largely asymptomatic. It would have been nice to have had some earlier data.

    https://covid.joinzoe.com/data

    There have been statistical studies comparing the course of the UK epidemic against no-lockdown Sweden that conclude that the lockdown had very little effect, and the simple social distancing measures adopted in Sweden were sufficient to prevent wider spread. Certainly it calls into question the alarmist Ferguson projections on which lockdown was based.

    Another increasingly niggling factor is that epidemic modelling did not take account of the possibility of a level of natural immunity, assuming that the whole population was susceptible to infection. Several studies suggest that previous exposure to some coronaviruses may offer some immunity, and that T-cells may have more fighting capacity that assumed even without such exposure – at least in some people. Such immunities do change the epidemiological calculations on spread and herd immunity. We need more study of these questions by those who are disinterested in the answers.

  85. ChrisS
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s very clear that we are not being properly informed about the real degree of difficulty over the virus problem.

    Your point about the sources of infection is very important. I suspect that the highest number of cases are concentrated around hospitals and care homes and the risk almost anywhere in the open air is negligible. The scientists must know exactly what is happening but this info is not being shared with the public. What are they attempting to hide ?
    In short we are being taken for fools.

    As I have said here before, there is a huge difference in risk between areas where the number of cases are low (eg, Dorset at 92/100,000) and Gatehead (489/100,000). Add in population density to the equation, and the risk in rural areas must be dramatically lower. I suspect the difference in overall risk of catching the virus is probably between 1/10th and 1/50th, in the safest, rural areas compared with others. Yet all areas are being treated the same. This is ridiculous.

  86. Mark
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Readers may like an update of where we are with recent numbers of new cases. Here are my maps for GB:

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/jUER6/2/

    and England in more detail:

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

    as of yesterday. Definitely progress in most areas compared with previously.

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

  87. jerry
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Well having just read reports on the the content of the No.10 daily briefing, regarding track and trace, two points jump out;

    There is still no secure verification that the track & trace call is genuine, sorry Professor Van-Tam, scammers can be very convincing, yes a trained medical professional may well be able to detect a scam but will those who can be persuaded to hand over bank account details or move money to a “secure account”, never mind those who need to read the back of a paracetamol pack each time?

    Second, if the T&T system is so critical, is it actually to early to ease the lockdown? Or is it -as has been reported in the MSM- that the R# in the wider community is actually at or even perhaps below R0.5. Only the inclusion of, as our host asks, highly infectious locations, such as care homes, hospital and other very unavoidably close-contact workplaces giving a number closer to R1.

    • jerry
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      So the Sunday briefing comes and goes, despite the MSM highlighting this issue, once again nothing to indicate the govt is putting in place any secure verification for T&T calls.

      Sorry but what do these clowns not understand, the very first person called by T&T will then have the knowledge to spoof another call, and that risk increases with ever call made by T&T officials -it is a similar equation to the CV19 R#, the more people contacted the more people have the knowledge to spoof calls… Then of course there is the risk of real rouge T&T contact tracers, they have the knowledge and training to make very convincing calls!

      If the HMRC (govt Gateway) can use a verification number system then why not T&T, the contact tracer giving the person instructed to self isolate the number that can then be checked either by a automated phone system or via a secure website – details of both being widely and freely publicised by the govt. to prevent Phishing attempts.

      Questions need to be asked, ‘on the floor’ of the house at the earliest (Sir John, my own MP can not do so as he is a Minister).

  88. herumm
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Looked for worldwide toilet proprieties/hygiene controls and something very interesting to read on
    This…
    “Lifting the lid on toilet plume aerosol”
    At the end says information made available to WHO.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      does anybody know whether contact on a toilet seat with your ‘infected’ nether regions is as contagious as hands or coughing near the seat?
      Gentlemen are requested to lift the lid, possibly leaving females to lower it!
      Might be a serious issue?

  89. GAME OVER
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    We have a lot of national leaders pretending to be national leaders when they are just puppets of some globalist government or infallible consensus.

    I am calling on all the UK puppets to resign. We know you are just following a script and taking orders. No one voted for that.

  90. CCCP
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    If politicians are not small govt Christians they are the problem and we would be better off being governed by AI

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

      Imagine if the code for AI was created by Ferguson ….

    • jerry
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      @CCCP; “If politicians are not small govt Christians they are the problem and we would be better off being governed by AI

      There, corrected that for you!

      What has religion got to do with this, in fact religion has been the cause of more wars and strife than anything else, the individual should be free to worship who ever they like but it should have no place in Govt.

      Many already believe that the UK is governed by AI, or at least spreadsheets….

  91. Richard
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Sherelle Jacobs this week: “The lack of evidence lockdowns actually worked is a world scandal. There is still not a shred of real proof that the planet’s reckless stay-at-home experiment made any difference… In Britain, infections may have peaked a week before lockdown, according to Prof Carl Heneghan of Oxford University[*]…

    Peak dates across Europe also seem to confound the official theory… A University of the East Anglia study says that Europe’s “stay-at-home policies” were not effective.
    A JP Morgan investigation suggests the virus “likely has its own dynamics … unrelated to often inconsistent lockdown measures”.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/05/28/lack-evidence-lockdowns-actually-worked-world-scandal/ [* See http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2020/05/06/three-tests-to-relax-lockdown/#comment-1113412%5D

    And “The Norwegian public health authority has published a report with a striking conclusion: the virus was never spreading as fast as had been feared – and was already on the way out when lockdown was ordered”. Camilla Stoltenberg, director of Norway’s public health agency, now believes that locking down her country was pointless. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/norway-health-chief-lockdown-was-not-needed-to-tame-covid

    • Richard
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink
    • jerry
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      @Richard; [quoting from a URL] “The lack of evidence lockdowns actually worked is a world scandal … In Britain, infections may have peaked a week before lockdown, according to Prof Carl Heneghan of Oxford University…”

      Oh the irony, arguing that there is no evidence that the lockdown works but then offering no evidence (I think the phase might be weasel words) whilst suggesting peak infection was a week before the lockdown started…

      Of course peak will occur before official lockdown, that is the point of a lockdown, to stops reinfections, the point the deniers miss is that many people and many companies where already started to implement a lockdows strategy, moving people out of offices into home working, shutting down production processes etc. before their countries official lockdown started.

  92. Caterpillar
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Based on the at least 7% of population have had CV19 then we know (in England at least) that about 2.3% of cases have been hospitalised and some remain hospitalised. It looks that about 25 to 35% of those who are hospitalised die with CV19. So to answer the specific question whether flattening curve to keep NHS England so much inside capacity and Nightingales largely unused we would need to know how those numbers would have changed without lockdown. To make an appraisal the associated number of QALYs needs to be compared with those lost due to other NHS treatments forgone.
    Is the lockdown as a whole successful? In terms of lives it would be necessary to estimate the total saved including any future cases that have been delayed, associate the average numbers of life years lost (has this been given in the case of the deaths to date?) and compare this to the expected effect of the recession (probability) 1 and increased national debt. Based on the effect of the GFC one really doubts it has been successful. It remains shocking that the Govt did not offer a reasonable worst case of the economic effect to compare with the reasonable worst case of the epidemic.
    Of course detrimental effects of the fear signalled by (and hence reactions to) a panic lockdown also need careful investigation.
    Was the lockdown necessary to bring down effective R / to flatten the curve? This needs an appraisal of the effects of the other interventions and also a question of whether they could have been done better (communication on how to wash hands was very poor, only statutory sick pay was offered for isolating, financial and other support to low incomes working in multiple care homes was not forthcoming, was guidance given on hygiene and desk arrangements in offices and schools …)?
    The above (particularly the economics together with Sunak’s and the BoE’s behaviour) and much more needs to be looked at but for now I guess the important observations are that
    2.3% of CV19 cases need hospitalisation (or have been hospitalised for something else and been infected) which is lower than initial estimates (the average time spent in hospital will also now be known, about 8 days I think, so capacity can be fully planned)
    the additional risk of dying in the year if infected with CV19 is low for under 60s and very low if much younger or with no underlying condition (self-calculation based on released data) (how to use this information should be considered)
    resource focus on protecting vulnerable (e.g. in care homes) and those with whom they come in contact than on ‘protecting the NHS’ can now be optimised (within a reopened economy).

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      “It remains shocking that the Govt did not offer a reasonable worst case of the economic effect to compare with the reasonable worst case of the epidemic.”

      I think Boris knew this instinctively and tried to go for targeted lockdown in the initial stages. He was bounced into total lockdown by a hysterical media.

      No epidemiologist’s assessment that I saw ever mentioned a comparison with deaths owing to a depressed economy but it seems we may as well have voted for one to run the country and to make all of our decisions.

      Incidentally, Neil Fergusson nor Dominic Cummings believed in the lockdown themselves.

      Forget public transport as a means of fighting climate change. These modes of transport are now redundant and going broke at a fast rate. So why are we still building HS2 ???

      • Caterpillar
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        Even not crammed in, public transport allows more people to travel than cars do (people per metre of road or track). HS2 remains needed; if people are to walk more and the economy to recover then the model of connected, innovative, vertical cities becomes more relevant. The one thing that Sunak has shown is how cheap HS2 is – in one month alone he added half the total cost of HS2 to borrowing, he has added much more since.

        On the other hand, one could argue for a Houston like model of increasing to much more tarmac and suburban sprawl to allow a car based population to spread out. Or England could reduce its official population by about 15 million to get back to the level of the early 1970s – though the plan seems to be to run England as low income per capita and expand population.

        It looks to me like three choices-
        1) interconnected vertical cities (Hs2, public transport ‘good’)
        2) increased roads and suburban sprawl (tarmac and cars ‘good’)
        3) reduce England population by 20 to 40%.

  93. Caterpillar
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I think up until the lockdown the PM had remained a PM of rationality, realism and hope. This ‘BoJo’ was in stark contrast to the culture that had spread through the U.K. (at least England) over the past 30 years i.e. one of irrational emotion, pessimism and fear. Sadly at and post lockdown the P.M. seems to have fallen into the negative culture. I think the former P.M. needs to reappear, shake up the cabinet (lose at least Hancock, Sunak and Patel) and get moving again – wir schaffen das.

  94. Yossarion
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Needed a maximum travel distance from home as suggested before, some of the pictures of West Country buty spots is a time bomb waiting to go off.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Beauty spots are not “a time bomb waiting to go off”. This way of describing possibly slightly increased probabilities has become de rigeuer the past several decades. I appreciated the childish irrationality of this recently when it was reported that charities “feared a deluge of donations” – well let’s hope they have the courage to cope. It is time we stopped with this Hancockesque approach.

  95. Richard
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Fraser Nelson reported on 9th April: “Work is being done to add it all up and produce a figure for “avoidable deaths” that could, in the long-term, be caused by lockdown. I’m told the early attempts have produced a figure of 150,000, far greater than those expected to die of Covid.
    This is, of course, a model… But estimates of lockdown victims are being shared among those in government who worry about the social damage now underway: the domestic violence, the depression, even suicides accompanying the mass bankruptcies.” https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/04/09/boris-worried-lockdown-has-gone-far-can-end/

    Plenty of criticism above of the BBC’s role in exaggerated scare stories that terrified most of the British Public. So it is nice to see the BBC at last restore some balance with what looks like a very well researched article on all the deaths that are currently being caused by the global Lockdown. If ever one article made the case for immediately adopting Sweden’s policies, this is it: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200528-why-most-covid-19-deaths-wont-be-from-the-virus

  96. Ian Wilson
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    You are asking precisely the right questions. There are increasing indications the severity of the lockdown may have been a catastrophic blunder based on one non-peer-reviewed model now known to be deeply flawed. I hope you will support Steve Baker’s move to prevent policy ever again being enacted based on a single model.

    It looks as though Boris and the Conservative party (which I have supported in the absence of credible alternative) will go down in history as the first to wreck the economy twice over – once via the lockdown and again persisting with zero carbon.

    • miami.mode
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Whilst you are correct in relating to a one-model policy, Ian, you have to bear in mind that we followed Italy and Spain in adopting a lockdown policy and if we had followed the Swedish model there would undoubtedly have been many accusations as the toll of deaths rose.

  97. ed2
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Steve Baker’s move to prevent policy ever again being enacted based on a single model.

    >
    On any model, we can never do this again.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

      +1 – especially the green-crap-model!

  98. ed2
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    you quarantine the sick not the healhy. Lets see Steve and other MPs get sensible about this.

    • James Morley
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Listen to Professor Jonathon Van -Tam on the Government daily briefing, he is much clearer than the BBC News correspondents who are much more interested in the Politics than the Pandemic. The rate of decline of the infection is slow because the Current rate of infection transmission (R) is close to 1 (I.e. between 0.7 & 0.9) whereas in April it was about 3. The rate of decline of infection is therefore much slower than the initial rise. Perhaps your question was really, why is / was R so close to 1. There is or has been a major contribution from Hospitals and Care Homes but beyond that know one seems to know. The Governments PR is excellent.

  99. Spartacus
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    We have all seen photos of lower class looking people on a beach being harassed by the police over social distancing rules who are the main opponents of social distancing policy, and its main victims are families crowded in tiny houses in Barnsley/Chorley/etc..

    But unlike the middle classes sitting in their large gardens sipping Chablis these lower classes *do not have a voice.*

    And even the shopping obsession is still being fulfilled by a no doubt massive boost in online shopping.

    So on the contrary, not only are the middle and upper classes who dominate politics, academia and the media, not interested in resisting the lockdown, rather they are the ones who are most convinced and in most fear therefore that they might die of this over-hyped virus (or their parents might, let’s bear in mind), and so I am sure are thoroughly delighted and approving that the rabble/masses have been locked up for *their* protection.

    Interestingly also, Boris Johnson’s latest lockdown relaxation measures, allowing groups of six persons to gather outdoors as long as social distancing is carried out amongst non-household members, gives the green light to garden parties.

    So who needs the pub any more, apart from the poor and old who live in houses or flats without gardens, or ones overlooked by unpleasant or downright nuisance neighbours, so they would prefer not to be in them even if available?

    The pubs are mostly a lower class obsession, and I’m sure a lot of middle class people would like to see them shut permanently as in “prohibition” days, and a lot of those are *medical advisers*, already long trying to outlaw “cheap supermarket booze” to price alcohol out of the hands of the lower classes.

    But when all most of the middle/upper classes care about is the right to enjoy their wealth and go shopping, and they are breaking the social lockdown rules almost at will anyway, by living in places the police won’t generally go, so won’t notice them, they are not really being forbidden from doing anything much they want to do.

    Then there’s no real belief – unlike PH and others think – that these measures will last.

    So PH and we who do care about the denial of freedom, are really left with the fact nobody *who matters* much cares whether the lockdown was scientifically justified or not.

    Only the economic aftermath is going to change this, and even then, only if it hits the middle/upper classes hard.

    Or a successful court case, *which I would suggest is the only possible way these scientific arguments can ever be properly heard, and the legality of the lockdown measures itself questioned.*

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Spartacus,

      You are correct the one thing that social distancing (i.e.physical distancing) shows up is the social distance between groups in U.K.

      Where this originates from or relates to income the Conservative Government and Mr Sunak have nastily insisted on maintaining the status quo – preferential proportionate support to chosen groups (furloughed or self employed). Support was not targetted to stopping the virus (e.g. More for multi job low paid workers in care homes, more for those self-isolating on sick pay before lockdown) nor was it equitable such as a UBI – surely a party that really believed those who already had more/less income got there on merit, would believe they could repeat the same in a post lockdown world, but no Mr Sunak’s policy is one of lock-in the status quo during lockdown – Mr Sunak is all too happy to be a judge of an individual’s worthiness, his lockdown policies are vile (as well as economically dubious).

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Spartacus well most of the working/lower middle class people I know are working and have been throughout this lockdown! I know lots of workers such as hairdressers that want to get back to work but aren’t being allowed until July.

      I also know people with higher incomes who’ve been furloughed (pay made up to full pay!) who want this lockdown to continue until at least September and don’t want to get back to work, they’re better off with no commute and work related costs living happily on furlough in this glorious weather, paid for doing nothing whilst working class mugs are still working flat out for no more pay, and now they get the added bonus of being paid to go to the beach, I wonder how many teachers will be sat in parks and on beaches with their children and the children of others but say it’s not safe to mix. Then we’ll be the ones with the extra taxes to pay for their six months off.

  100. ed2
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    The idea of the ‘lockdown’ and the awful phrase ‘social distancing’ first appeared anywhere in the thesis of a 14-year-old middle school girl with some help from her dad in 2006. Her paper was used by the Bush administration along with non medical computer modelers to change US policy (and thus world policy as we all just fell in line).

    The next time the phrase ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ appeared anywhere was in the 2011 film called Contagion (which had as consultants the same people who created the 2006 Bush policy).

    What is interesting to note is what appears to be the entire medical establishment in 2006 opposed both the Lockdown idea and Social Distancing and fought against it, but for some reason, the Bush administration went with the computer modellers and Laura, the 14 year old school girl whose name appears on the paper.

    You can read about it here
    https://www.aier.org/article/the-2006-origins-of-the-lockdown-idea/

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      What a show-stopper that article is!
      Wonder why it isn’t cited more often?
      It’s certainly all of a piece with the quality of reasoning offered so far from on high.
      Follow the science? LOL.
      Robinson Crusoe had it right, until Friday.

      • everyone knows
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Follow the science? LOL.

        >
        Exactly lol
        Who do they think they are kidding?

    • hefner
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      ed2, Thanks a lot for the reference to the AIER paper. The AIER website is also very interesting. Some of its other papers are remarkable.

  101. Yes I'm elite
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    More freedom. Football, more footy,from Boris the lower middle class jumped up Johney wallah. No Polo we see. no, he and his minions wish to curry favour with his proles,at the best of times idle drunken give-me-mores. He needs racking on an other whining trolley.

  102. Love the Irish
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    “Senior Conservative MPs are urging Boris Johnson to consider changing the 2m social distancing rule to 1.5m, amid fears for the hospitality sector.” hahahaha

    Reminds me of an Irish pal of mine when drinking in pubs was legal. It was case of British troops being sent to a nasty hotspot of great violence somewhere in the world and the government sent only 200 soldiers. He said with his Irish twang “You know, …they should have sent more soldiers, perhaps 202 or 205”

  103. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    It can’t hurt to separate patients infected with Coronavirus from hospital patients with other ailments. Why is it, therefore, that after going to all the time and trouble to build the Nightingale hospitals, we have put them into mothballs and not transferred the Coronavirus patients to them.

    If it’s a question of staff shortages, we need a detailed report on progress towards recruiting more doctors and nurses – a major manifesto promise – and whether we need to offer a pay rise in order to recruit and retain.

    If there is no money available, we can find it by a 20% pay cut in the salaries of underused or ineffective public sector workers – civil servants, teachers, MPs, judges, quangos, regulators etc. etc. Just so that we’re all in this together.

  104. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Why is the UK one of the few countries not to publish an estimate of the number of recovered Coronavirus patients?

  105. Anonymous
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    No. It hasn’t worked.

    Japan and Sweden have done better than us without.

    New Zealand will have to remain stringently isolated until a vaccine is found – that’s to say even the best pandemic responses come with a vicious price.

    What did New Zealand do to deserve that then ?

    Who needs to answer questions about that then ?

    Why do innocent nations get punished with tariffs when they dare to even ask for questions to be asked about COVID- 19 ?

    • Frances Truscott
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Japanese patients with covid symptoms couldn’t find hospitals to treat them. So one doubts their counting.

  106. CCCP
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Why a disastrous social distancing policy of 2m when the WHO website itself says 1m is their official advice? A 1m rule would have enabled us to effectively continue almost as normal, with no seriously problematic and overt lockdown, no closure of businesses or even pubs.

    What is this really about?

  107. na
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink
    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 4:06 am | Permalink

      Absolutely devastating to anybody who claims ‘the science is settled’ (Greta). The point being that the science is never settled and even Einstein’s science is constantly questioned, stress tested in the light of new knowledge.
      I’m afraid Ferguson has done for Imperial College. It’s a worldwide joke now! Must lose its funding.

      • hefner
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        ‘Must lose its funding’ (Imperial College’s)?
        or his funding (Prof.Ferguson’s)?
        With clear thinking comes clear writing (and vice versa)?

  108. Stephen G Speakman
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    The lock down is rapidly turning our economic landscape into a desert and for the hospitality industry partial easing of restrictions will continue to make matters worse where few customers can be admitted resulting in further malign costs upon establishments.
    From the decrepitude of our wilting economy will come many negative consequences including a hike in the death toll from suicides,untreated illness and long term lack of exercise.
    The government are anyway not adept at an efficient lock down and in many ways fail miserably.They have now day upon day failed to disperse massed and closely packed crowds in the ‘black lives matter’ riots and another small but significant issue is failing to ‘distance’ in Imperial (feet) as well as Napoleonic metric–huge numbers have no clue as to what a metre is (often spelling it like a gas ‘meter’) whereas most people young and old in the UK know their height in feet and inches.
    Government urgently need to take their foot off the ‘carotid artery’ which feeds the economy-get out of the way!- and let the nation get on the move again.

  • 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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