Letter to Matt Hancock

Dear Matt

       I sympathise with the government’s need to balance the aim of  getting deaths and serious illness from CV 19 down, and to allow recovery of the business activity from the economic disaster of lock down.

        Now that we see cases of CV 19 rising again, with the danger that it will get back into the vulnerable community and cause more suffering and death, can we learn some of the lessons of the first time round?

       I take away from the experience of March and April that it is particularly important to protect the elderly vulnerable to keep the death rate down. Shouldn’t we now stop all visits to Care Homes, and ask people to contact friends and relative by phone, or on line video calls which the staff can help the residents set up?

      Shouldn’t there be a strong regime to test staff in care homes in case they catch the virus without symptoms, to further safeguard residents?  I am glad you are helping the sector with proper protective clothing and stressing the need for strict hygiene regimes.

       We also saw hospitals as centres of spreading the virus. Can we this time identify isolation hospitals or sections of hospitals that can be fenced off against the virus to handle all CV 19 cases, allowing the bulk of the NHS to proceed with the many other life threatening conditions that need treatment without the threat of cross infection?

       The vulnerable in the community should be reminded that their voluntary protection from the virus requires them to  be very careful about social contacts. Friends, neighbours, relatives and local Social Services should be encouraged to offer safe distance social contact and support with on line orders to see them through a further need to observe distance from others who may carry the virus.

      The main emphasis of policy should be on protecting those  most at risk, as we now know the pattern of risk factors making it more likely someone will get a dangerous version of this disease.

        It would also be good to have an up date from your medical advisers on best and preferred courses of treatment, now that much more is known about the nature of the disease and the efficacy of various drugs and treatments.

Yours

John

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359 Comments

  1. Peter Wood
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Two people turn up to the testing station asking for a test, there is only one test left available at the station that day.
    First person looks perfectly well, no temperature and no sniff or coughs.. Second person has a bit of a temperature, feels bad and coughs and sneezes.
    There is only one test available, which person do you test?

    Answers on a post card to the Sec. of Health.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      Apparently sneezing isn’t a symptom of Covid 19.

      The main symptom of Covid 19 is to show absolutely no symptoms and to feel 101% fit.

      • steve
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

        “The main symptom of Covid 19 is to show absolutely no symptoms and to feel 101% fit.”

        If you were 101% fit and had Cov 19 you’d be A-SYMPTOMATIC, not symptomatic.

        • Hope
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          I presume the dullard Hancock has a memory that stretches back to March when there are photos of him the PM and chief medical officer in Downing Street not social distancing, or the photo of him in parliament breaking the rules he created. Perhaps he could tell us why he did not snitch on himself for breaking the rules? Or Johnson, Johnson’s family, Cummings etc. or is it just for the little people? Sack the idiot.

          • Hope
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            Oh, they all caught the disease as well! The three national leads! Yet somehow they think they can warn us and tell us what to do i.e. This is not a request Hancock who broke the rules and caught the disease!

            JR, we cannot afford- mortality rate, economically, liberty or democracy- this stupidity of your govt. any longer.

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        The authorities keep telling us that the old, overweight and diabetic are at severe risk. I’m definitely all 3. The govt really will have to shoot me to get my house for another new family that has been blocked from deportation.

      • Ignoramus
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        A major symptom is loss of sense of smell.

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Lockdown Sceptics has asked an award-winning investigative journalist, David Rose, to investigate the high death toll in Britain’s care homes. Did 20,000+ elderly people really die of COVID-19 between March and July or were many of them just collateral lockdown damage?

        With lots of care homes short-staffed because employees were self-isolating at home, and with relatives and partners unable to visit to check up on their loved ones because of restrictions, how many elderly residents died of neglect, not Covid? How many succumbed to other conditions, untreated because they weren’t able to access hospitals or their local GP?

        After doctors were told by care home managers that the cause of death of a deceased resident was “novel coronavirus”, how many bothered to check before signing the death certificate? The risk of doctors misdiagnosing the cause of death is particularly high, given that various safeguards to minimise the risk of that happening were suspended in March.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          The deaths in care homes very likely were caused by covid19, but if so then the virus was not brought in by visitors as John perhaps suggests, but almost entirely by infected patients being sent back into them.

          Everyone knows this.

          • Fred H
            Posted September 21, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            correct. But the NHS are still doing their level best to avoid that conclusion. Then to make matters worse some agency workers who were asymptomatic moved on to other homes.

      • NickC
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Stephen, I’ve had covid19, or at least I had a virus which produced symptoms identical to covid19 – because my test result (mid May) was negative.

        I talked to both a GP and a senior hospital pharmacist involved in testing, who said that it was common to get a negative result from the swab test (about 30% false negatives) because the infection was always in the chest but frequently not in the throat.

        My ENT were entirely free, and I did not sneeze once. But believe me, the disease was very unpleasant.

    • steve
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      Peter

      You can’t blame the Health Secretary for such scenario. It is not his fault that stupid, selfish, ignorant people abuse the test facilities.

      These are the same people who empty supermarket shelves, don’t think about anyone else and bin most of the food they hogged.

      • John E
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        At the first sniffle people are prevented from working and children are denied education. They are told to get tested or lose their income and jobs for two weeks.There are no tests so those responsible blame the “mad” people who have been told to get tested.

        I suppose we gave up on government ministers accepting responsibility for their failures a while back. But calling people mad when their behaviour is an entirely rational result of the government instructions isn’t going to go down well.

        • a-tracy
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          Well perhaps Mr Hancock should prioritise those people you have identified workers who have logged on and got a SSP number for their employer from the system as they are then logged and their employer able to claim back the SSP for them (the only type of sick pay an employer can claim back from the government all over sick pay is covered by the employer), and children who are of school age and would otherwise miss two weeks education.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          John E

          “there are no tests”

          Wrong

          There are 25,000 tests available a day, the reason for any so called delay, is that 1,000,000 people a day are requesting them.
          I wonder how many of those 1,000,000 really are in need and are showing actual covid symptoms ?

          • Alan Jutson
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            oops

            250,000 tests day.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Remember playing “Blind Man’s Bluff”?
          One person was blindfolded and then spun round.
          The spinning was to DISORIENTATE him.
          Then the blindfolded one has to catch the others as they dodge about calling to him.
          He can’t tell where he is or who or where they are.
          Where are we??

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          That is not true (about the sniffle). Sneezing and a runny nose are not symptoms and a cough that brings up flem is also not a symptom.

          Colds and coughs are not a reason to self isolate or seek a test.

          If the fearful public can get that into their heads then there are enough tests.

          • Fred H
            Posted September 21, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            but with a cold and cough you should avoid others.

      • Mark B
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        I agree with your last paragraph but the Health Minister has advisors who he consults. But a wiser man would make damned sure that those he consulted did not have a history of getting every prediction and policy wrong and were recognised as leaders in their field and not some Uni-grad with good connections.

        • mark
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

          Yup…..

          • Hope
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

            Four years to prepare after Cygnus showed the NHS and associated bodies not up to the task! South Korea were ready to go after scare from SARS. There is no excuse for this gross incompetence. As for Rees-Morgan, what an absolute tossed to make such stupid remarks in parliament when his govt of ten years should have prepared exactly for this type of pandemic! Why does he think there are local risk registers for every type of considered emergency?What does he think public services train, write and test for such emergencies to prepare local risk registers as a guide under Civil Contingencies Act? Foot and mouth, Bird flu, nuclear accidents, contamination from hazardous materials etc etc. I wait with interest for Rees-Moggs apology and resignation speech for making utter idiot comments. He ought to know as Hinkley is not that far from him! Exercises regularly conducted so it is able to get its license!

        • John Hatfield
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          Or have connections with financial interests.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          +1: well, even just a sentient man…

      • Andy
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Indeed. Did you notice that there is an overlap in places affected by a new outbreak, and places which voted for Brexit.

        Ironic.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear. It seems you do not understand the meaning of the word ‘ironic’.

        • Zorro
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

          Irony? Or are you insinuating some divine punishment by your EU god. Either way – very sick way of looking at things.

          zorro

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          Oh you mean the UK?

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          Irony would have been to have voted for Brexit to avoid a pandemic.

          You mean karma, and wishing ill on people you disagree with is not a great look.

        • NickC
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          Andy, You mean like London?

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        Steve, I agree with you this is just the latest media and opposition party driven run on a limited stock run, just the same as what they did with toilet rolls, hand gel, masks, even liquid soap – if all the news started banging on every hour on the hour that the UK was running out of bread there’d be no bread and queues for bread would suddenly appear. Our media have caused even more of this travelling miles for a test nonsense telling everyone you can trick the system and put in another postcode.

        We need to decide who needs a test priority, if someone is put out of work and isn’t covered by full sick pay then to me they should get a priority if their desire for a test is get back to earning money to stop them starving. I am beginning to wonder if we really should charge for tests. I’ve been told in Italy they are charging from 20 euros to 80 euros a good money spinner!

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        They have had a great chance to “save lives” and they have flunked it. Hydroxychloroquine saved live but they won’t use it.

        The tests have been done. People all over the world have recovered from Covid 19 with the proper dosage of the above drug. Why can’t the British have the chance to recover?

        Prescribe hydroxychloroquine – use the right dosage with zinc and zithromax if needed- Save Lives – stop the NHS being overwhelmed.

        Let’s get back to work and worrying about cases, tests, distancing, masks, and stop unnecessary deaths NOW!

        • Hope
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          I understand it has to be taken at early stages of catching. Different drugs at different stages of the disease prove to be more successful. These fools used it too late when people were going on ventilators! Then tried to claim it did not work. Unbelievable. You wonder if this was more about smearing Trump!

        • NickC
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Stephen, Too many people have Trump Derangement Syndrome so they’d rather die than take hydroxychloroquine.

          • Hope
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            And the Lancet and others had to back track from their stupid comments.

    • Stred
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      In fact, the personal who is feeling well could be the more dangerous because, if he is infected, he could be s super spreader. Half of those with Covid do not realise they are infectious and this will not matter until they infect someone older or with other vulnerability. Then these will be told to stay at home until they recover or become so ill that it is too late to head off the disease using HCQ and zinc and these patients will be badly affected or die.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Best we all just stay home then, forever.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      I would give the second one of those saliva-based tests, with results inside 30 minutes, at a cost of just $5 – and, if it proves positive – order him/her into immediate self-isolation. But hey, that’s because I care about the public purse.

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Unfortunately the govt don’t bother about the “public purse”. Foreign Aid that goes into the leader’s pockets, HS2, Putting a never ending flood of freeloaders into hotels, etc etc. They do not live in the world they create for the rest of us.

        • glen cullen
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          Agree – the disconnect continues

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        The UK has had six months to get this message on testing right for goodness sakes. Our governments worse problem is lack of communication just look at Trumps Kayleigh right now, she is very impressive.

        I hear if Germany can do the job and test everyone that needs it in hours then why can’t we? Why can’t you go to see an appointed person at one GP surgery per 20,000 people and pay £5 for a test (actually how much does it cost the government per test?). If this is genuinely about losing the right to work or go to school I honestly don’t think people will mind paying for a low cost test but it has to be next day result.

        What is the purpose of the test right now? The people tracked by the government and told they cant work even if they are well are they prioritised? Surely they should be.
        If someone tests positive and is unwell what happens to them next? Do they start being offered any treatment? Are they told to take more sun or Vit D even?
        Is track and trace working or not? How many people do we employ To do this? They were in the news whinging they were being paid to do nothing recently is this still the case? If so there are teachers on the news saying they are too scared to return to the classroom – well re-purpose them into track and trace from their homes they are intelligent degree level workers you’re paying anyway, its not difficult to track and trace is it! Then use the otherwise T&T wage you’ve saved to put a grad teacher in their place. Stop these silly news reports – you can’t force a teacher with per-existing conditions into the workplace but they should want to do their duty for the Country and safeguard their own health and others.

        Does the CV19+ person go into say a hotel for isolation for seven days? Or do they just return home and we hope they aren’t seeing anyone? Those that live in big families do we accommodate them elsewhere?

        It all seems a complete and utter mis-direction what is being achieved?
        All we hear from the media is negative, negative, negative, pointless run on testing facilities and I get really cross seeing well people whinging about not getting a test when they aren’t even in jobs, we can’t all have a test this week because we want one, the end. If you’re genuinely worried about it lock yourself down for a fortnight, don’t go out your bedroom, keep family contact to an absolute minimum and never meet anyone in your family without a mask and at 2m.

        Your government John doesn’t have its finger in the dam wall, those people rushing off abroad doesn’t give a monkeys about other people, they won’t isolate they don’t see themselves as a problem, those having friends stay that are from still highly infectious countries they don’t give a monkeys but they’ll be on the news the first ones moaning if their area is locked down, you are punishing the many for the selfish actions of a few.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      the one with coughs and sneezes has a cold or seasonal allergy. Also ask if they have children at school!
      Ask why did the other one want a test? If been in contact test this person!

    • Peter
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      I received the offer of a self test by post, as did friends I know. We did not seek out a postal test. The offer was unsolicited.

      There are instructions on how to take a swab around the tonsils and nose and seal the swab appropriately. A courier then collects the package for analysis and in due course I hear the results.

      No queueing. It sounds very good to me. So one positive post among the negatives.

      I am not a medic and I do hear stories of false results- but you could get that anyway by visiting a testing centre.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      What a waste of a postcard 😉

  2. Adam
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    The first step of medical help is not to make the patient worse. Mixing infected people up spreads risk.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Being swabbed by someone who’s been swabbing a large number of people previously seems a good way to catch it.

      Most infections are probably passed by the testers.

      • steve
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        @Stephen Priest

        Very true !

      • NickC
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Stephen, They’ve already thought of that! At the test centre I went to it was all self swabbing – no handling by the test station personnel at all.

    • steve
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Adam

      “The first step of medical help is not to make the patient worse.”

      Usually the first step is to palm the patient off with a bottle of amoxycillin, or hold them for several hours at the back of the self-induced morbid obesity queue.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        Indeed except the first step with the NHS is to deter them from even seeing a GP or going to casualty if possible.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

          yep ensure the surgery telephone wait queue is endless, a few cut-offs, a rather curt answered response. ‘What do you want? Is it urgent enough to bother a Dr? You missed the window to get a phone call – try again later. He/she /it might ring sometime today – if not try again tomorrow’.

          A medical robot computer system asking about symptoms is the future – preferably introduced tomorrow!

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Indeed they have your money already so “customers” are just a nusance to be deterred as far as possible.

            Just heard Dame Louise Casey on the BBC right up the moronic BBC street. “Small government is not what you need in a pandemic” she said!

            Sure dear – what we need is more civil servants “working” from home, doing very little of value or positive harm. Great plan to recover and repay all that government borrowing and create real jobs. How can anyone be so thick? Does she really think that?

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        Doctors rarely give antibiotics now.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 21, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          or ones that will not cure resistant UTI.

  3. Stephen Priest
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    CARL HENEGHAN and TOM JEFFERSON have written in the Mail and Telegraph this morning

    The only ‘circuit break’ in the pandemic we need now is from this cycle of bad data and bad science, say CARL HENEGHAN and TOM JEFFERSON (Daily Mail)

    ‘Anyone with healthcare experience knows the return to schools leads to a rise in the common cold’
    Underpinning the chaos is a fundamental misunderstanding of the effects of seasonal viral pathogens
    CARL HENEGHAN & TOM JEFFERSON – Telegraph

    ******************************************************
    Peru has been on strict military lockdown since March but has the highest death rate in the world. Lockdowns don’t work

    • Mark B
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Nigl
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      It is a point of view. My question is do they have to answer to the public if the number of deaths increases to whatever an unacceptable number is?

      No. So easy to spout this stuff without the responsibility.

      They maybe correct but I know whatever the government does either way they will be blamed by a relentless doom loving press supported by so called experts across the health system that hate Boris and will do anything to attack him.

    • acorn
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      SP, you really should educate yourself on what has actually happened in Peru and the reasons for the spread they have found. It is not as simple as “Lockdowns don’t work.” Have a read of: Coronavirus: What’s happening in Peru? By Pierina Pighi Bel and Jake Horton BBC Reality Check Published 9 July.

      • acorn
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        BTW. Peru’s “death rate” (sum of deaths / sum of tested cases to date) is 4.14%. The UK is 10.81%, the third worst behind Yemen and Italy. The global average is 3.1%. But, a correlation with the % of population tested and population density, has yet to be proven.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Victoria’s new ‘Stalinist’ legislation goes against all civil liberties – unlimited detention

      Sky News Australia

      DON’T THINK IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE

    • mark
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Yup!

  4. agricola
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Yes I would go along with all of that. It would seem to be basic common sense based on experience.

    The Home Office need to constantly remind our police force that they need to bare down on all rave activity by the ignorant young. Demos, marches and other disruptive activities should be banned or descended upon should they irresponsibly occur. Any group activity allowed for no other reason than. political correctness should be banned. PC, ignorance, and anarchy are the achilles heel of our continued fight against this virus.

    • steve
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      agricola

      “The Home Office need to constantly remind our police force that they need to bare down on all rave activity by the ignorant young. Demos”

      Indeed. I think when there is a rave the army should be sent there – lock down the offenders right where they are on the spot. No outdoor clothing no toilets no shelter – keep them there like that for two weeks.

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Well that extreme action would certainly stop them, would you give them a tent?

        • steve
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          a-tracey

          No I wouldn’t give them a tent…….just lock them down and isolate them on the spot where they’ve been caught breaking the law. No going home for two weeks, no food, no shelter…nothing but the clothes they have on. Stand in the middle of a field for two weeks…don’t like it ? not fair?….should have thought about that before putting the lives of others at risk.

          Or maybe if it was a Labour government they’d be doing as they’re told in the first place.

          Selfish cretins.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Ravers, BLM and ER are exempt from Covid. It’s only the law abiding that have to follow guidance under the threat of incarceration.
        No reply from John about our local print shop doing leaflets for lockdown on October 11th.
        Very smart this virus as it can operate on different days.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          Yes the Government has extraordinary agreements with this virus..it will not infect of you are travelling to, from or are at work. But go to care for your old Mum – you kill her!

        • Iain Moore
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          Yes BLM and XR are exempt from Covid laws. The difference in policing is quite stark. Tear down a statue and the police will watch, burn the Union flag on the Cenotaph, no problem, but stage a demo to protect statues is met with fully tooled up police , and a two week prison sentence for a man taking a leak. The anti masks demo is also met with heavy handed policing and £10,000 fine handed out. Yesterday there was another anti masks demo, and again met with heavy handed policing, with the police charging into the crowd crash hats and all, several people hurt. Today a BLM protest closes Oxford street, and the police stand and watch.

          You do wonder what is the heck going on, are the authorities and police intent on making enemies of the majority?

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            They despise us. They don’t think we present any danger to them.

    • beresford
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      The trouble with a total ban on protest is that it gives the Establishment carte blanche to do whatever they want. Beware your wishes….

      • steve
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        Beresford

        Agreed, but for now I do as ordered by the Prime Minister.

        The man is under the kind of pressure that would break most of us, so I have respect for him.

  5. Stephen Priest
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    No Prime Minster as ever looked so worn out and clueless. He looks like a hostage to the SAGE people. Every Prime Minister has crises to deal with but he has blown this out of all proportion.

    When Covid 19 took off in Italy, and Lombardy, I soon discovered that the deaths there were no worse that season flu there a couple of years earlier.

    Did Boris Johnson know this? Did he bother to find out?

    • agricola
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      You might look a bit off colour were you carrying the same level of workload and responsibility. You naturally have all the answers until the proverbial hits the fan. Cut him a bit of slack and don’t misjudge his style, he is a lot brighter than you give credit for.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Agricola

        Agreed, I think given his workload he has never properly recovered from his bout of covid.
        Could not even get away for a short holiday without some idiot reporting where he was to the press.

        Sad fact is when he was ill and not present, most of his senior ministers failed to step up to the mark.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          his reasoning took a significant whack (word of the day).
          Perhaps amongst other long-Covid presentations – dull thinking is another?

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          Good job we had Cummings riding shotgun.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            +1 else we would have lost Brexit by now. Boris is a wreck and he was not to clever in peak health!

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        No I don’t give him any slack. I did that in the early days but that was a mistake.

        I can’t earn any money because of all his knee jerk COVID measures and I am currently living of hard earned savings. Huge numbers of businesses across Britain will be in the same ditch.

        Even day we wake up and yet more draconian measure are announced. Now it’s £10,ooo fine for leaving you house if you are supposed to be self isolation, even though you are not ill. Covid related deaths account for less that 2% of all death currently in the UK.

        We go from Eat Out to Help to Out to Stay In and Kill the Economy.

        I am sure when he resigns he’ll be eyeing up those eye watering speaking engagement fees, but we won’t have the same luxury

        • Jim Whitehead
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          +1

        • steve
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          Stephen Priest

          Have you not thought that perhaps your predicament might also be due to the huge numbers of stupid, ignorant selfish people who refuse to do as they’re told – because it’s a tory PM in charge.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

            Well the Tory PM got sick – was he One of the ‘stupid, ignorant selfish people who refuses to do as they are told?’

          • NickC
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

            Steve, Are you locking down for influenza? No? Well you should be by your logic, because ongoing deaths from flu and pneumonia exceed deaths from covid19 and have done since mid June.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

          +1

      • Caterpillar
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        I have also shifted my opinion. I think the PM chose a weak cabinet and hence much more has fallen back on him, evidenced by the PM’s heroic but misplaced efforts to work through his own period of infection. He has been well meaning but he chose and kept his cabinet.

    • Gramp
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      You may well be right about the numbers in Italy but they locked down unlike the flu a few years earlier, and still, as we all know had a great loss of life. Now does this suggest lockdowns work or not ? I am sure that they must have a huge effect of at least delaying the perhaps inevitable spread.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      The death rates in Lombardy’s cities were eight times normal.

    • Andy
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      It is completely untrue to say Lombardy was like seasonal flu. Doctors there have us a warning of what was coming and we ignored it.

      It really does not help with so many truth twisters around.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I remember TV scenes of ICUs, and other wards, full of people on ventilators. And army trucks waiting to carry off the dead. That wasn’t normal.

  6. davews
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Will Matt Hancock become open and tell us how many of the current crop of cases are false positives and how many are really ill. We should not be going into panic mode for little sniffles and people who drive 200 miles, or even 5 miles, are most certainly not ill.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      How does anyone know they have a false positive test.?

      Get another test, and if that is negative it could also be a false negative !

      Some people have the virus, but show no symptoms at all, ever we are informed, and there is the real problem, they continue to spread it !

      • Fred H
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        just getting a test is a major accomplishment for the millions who go shopping, travel to work, visit a pub/restaurant once in a blue moon.
        You know – normal living.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Some people have the virus, but show no symptoms at all, ever we are informed, and there is the real problem, they continue to spread it !

        ….
        do you also believe in flying pigs?

      • Caterpillar
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        There is a report to SAGE on June 3rd that says quality assessments of PCR for other RNA viruses in the literature from 2004 to 2019 reported a median false positive rate of 2.3% (IQR 0.8% to 4.0%).

        Therein recommendations (1) and (2) from their report were

        1) An External Quality Assessment (EQA) must be carried out for the UK National COVID-19 RT-PCR testing programme. This would introduce known positive and known negative samples into the testing programme. Samples would be submitted blindly, to ensure they follow an identical
        process as operational samples. This would provide a national estimate for the operational false
        positive and false negative rates. This could be carried out quickly, and at relatively low cost.
        2) A continual rolling EQA (a low volume of blind samples submitted every day) should be used to monitor performance of labs across the UK COVID-19 RT-PCR testing network. Labs with higher false positive and false negative rates would be alerted, and could improve their performance.

        I do not believe we have heard from Mr Hancock that this in place. Importantly recommendation (2) implies that the false positive rate could be different depending on operational issues, and we know that there have been operational issue.

        It is absolutely frighteningly (other words beginning with f are available) shocking that Hancock does not have this at his fingertips.

        Decisions are being made and we don’t even know if the false positive rates are changing.

    • Peter R
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      I get the impression that Matt Hancock thinks that because the false positive rate is below 1% it can be ignored. i.e. that if 10,000 are tested an R of 1 would give 100 positives of which only 1 would be false. However, my understanding of the statistics is that the false positive rate (currently 0.8%) should be applied to the whole sample, so giving 80. In other words out of those 100 positives 80 would be false.
      Surely our current policy can’t be based on such a fundamental misunderstanding. Someone please tell me I am wrong.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        You are absolutely correct, and no-one including our kind host seems to care. Why, Sir John? Please reassure us

      • Richard
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink
      • Ignoramus
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Having seen Hancock being interviewed by Julia hartley- Brewer two days ago it was clear he did not know what “false positive” means in actual numeric terms. Thwre were other numerical questions he was asked and was unable to ask. Generalisations were frequent.

        Absolutely appalling given his position.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          His views are positively false.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Sadly you are correct. And of those who are ill, what % are seriously ill? Minuscule numbers.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        What can you expect from people who celebrate the millennium at the end of the year 1999? You are not born 1, you turn 1 at the end of the 1st year, 100 at the end of … 1,000 at the end of the year 1,000.
        Hugely embarrassing – and these people speak of ‘progress!’

  7. steve
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I sometimes wonder if this is eventually going to be sorted by simple choice:

    a) Choking the virus by full national lockdown

    b) Live with it just like common flu and let it burn itself out.

    Until they develop a vaccine it might come down to such choice.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Or, as a long list have countries have done, for practical purposes, wipe it out.

      This requires comprehensive availability of and wearing of masks where proper, hindrance-free testing, and sufficient effort to trace effectively all contacts of the infected and to ensure that all required conscientiously isolate, along with other restrictions as necessary.

      Everything that would be needed to implement that has been by dismantled over forty years of mainly Tory rule however, and undermined by the cynical public attitudes promoted by their media, as we see in many comments here.

      • jerry
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        @MiC; Masks do not stop transmissions, they simply reduce them, otherwise please do explain how any front-line NHS staff caught Civid-19 at work?! Also in some countries it was already the social norm for people to wear masks even before Civid-19, yet those countries have also suffered this pandemic.

      • Philip P.
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        Martin, where is that list?

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          He’s thinking hard about that question. I guess he’ll come up with New Zealand. A place with a tiny population a thousand miles from anywhere else that closed its borders.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

            And is proposing to isolate infected people for life!

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Around twenty three years of the past forty have been Blairist.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        So why aren’t Germany wiping it out then Martin ? They have a better testing system and a much better health service than us, so why aren’t they ? Answer: because it is impossible.

      • steve
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        MiC

        “Everything that would be needed to implement that has been by dismantled over forty years of mainly Tory”

        …and not the fact that Blair pimped-off everything he could get his hands on ?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Steve I’ve said this all along. We can’t carry on the way we are. BTW does anyone know what’s going on in China regarding Covid now?

      • Fred H
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        (grin) only the leaders who use the military to suppress any possibility of media/ the population finding out. Martin could tell you about the propaganda.

      • jerry
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        @FUS; “We can’t carry on the way we are.”

        Indeed we can not carry on as we are, we need to change how we do leisure, work and health care, at least until we find a vaccine – until then we think and act in the same ways as we did when TB was rife in the country.

        • steve
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          Jerry

          +1

          But personally I think Gov’t should go down the route of lifting all restrictions, classify the virus as common flu, and accept there will be losses.

          I also think there should be monitored cameras in all toilet facilities (exempting cubicles and urinals) anyone failing to sanitise their hands should be apprehended and given on the spot fine.

          Similarly for all shops and business premises – people who don’t use hand sanitiser provided, don’t get in.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Choice B

      • glen cullen
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        The Spanish Flu disappeared all by itself after 12 months in the USA

        • hefner
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          … and around 675,000 deaths in the USA. So still about 475,000 more to go to be as brilliantly handled as the 1918-19 Spanish Flu.
          DJT has to work a bit more on it, unfortunately there might be some spoilers like CDC or Dr Fauci to prevent him from reaching this ginormous success.

          • jerry
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

            @hefner; “DJT has to work a bit more on it, unfortunately there might be some spoilers”

            Indeed, and not forgetting an election on Nov. 3rd, which on current polling, suggests he might have run out of time – I hope the recent trip by our FCO team was productive when it came to their meeting with the Democrat’s….

          • NickC
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            Hefner, DJT does not control everything. In fact many areas including big cities are in Democrat hands. And they have been just as badly hit as areas run by Republicans, but usually with a harsher lockdown and consequently worse economic damage.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Choice (b), it’s the only choice.
      (a) doesn’t work.
      A study will have an ‘n’ number, the number of people involved in the test, some with the condition, some without, equal or near equal numbers of the cohorts.
      With Covid 19 we have an ‘n’ number in the millions, and worldwide, not the usual 20, 50, 100 subjects, maybe even 1,000 subjects.
      Where is the ‘significant difference’ in results from this enormous study?
      There isn’t a significant difference that can be demonstrated, in my opinion.
      Consequently, only Choice (b) makes sense.
      Coercion and threats (to individuals and to our whole way of life) on ‘no significant difference’ is iniquitous.

      • Jim Whitehead
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        I lost a wonderful friend during lockdown. She was dependent on support which was, of course, denied because of lockdown. She died in hospital. without a single visit from a friend or family. Covid was not the cause of death, and she was nowhere near the vulnerable age bracket.
        I hate to reflect on it, a ghastly result of the actions of a singularly foolish British Government.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

          We have had evil governments before, Heath, May, but you are right, this one is ‘singularly foolish’.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          How upsetting for you. I fear there are tens of thousands – maybe a lot more, living with early but advancing cancers they don’t know are going to kill them – many quite possible to avoid with NHS intervention. We have to get used to the idea of talking to a receptionist not a GP trained to detect when to refer, and in the knowledge two-thirds of referrals are not being acted on.
          Third world arrived in March and is now the situation clarified.

        • M Davis
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Not that it will make any difference to your dear friend, Jim but, my thoughts and I’m sure a lot more people here will be with you at this time.

  8. Nigl
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Ps. What happens if we get the infection rate down and then the cycle is repeated? How many cycles will the government impose, further and further trashing large parts of the economy before we have to accept it becomes a ‘normal’ part of life (and death)

    How many extra people have died through not having their cancer treatments, for instance, because you have effectively shut down parts of the NHS.

    Your testing system continues to be a shambles, how did Baroness Harding get the job with no experience, no competitive selection process and having a questionable track record elsewhere. The public has zero confidence in her or the system and your continuous announcements of large targets and then not hitting them is not helping.

    You continue to fail to give the public data about how and where people are contracting COVID nor regional figures that should be informing more localised lockdowns rather than the ham fisted national threat that the public increasingly resents having conformed to your requirements, now for 6 months, only to be back to square one.

    Sweden seems to have been successful without the draconian curtailment of their freedom, why are we not learning from them?

    Michael Gove once famously said the public have had enough of experts. Why are he and you now totally in their pockets. Because of course it allows you to try and shift the blame. You haven’t, when will you be doing the honourable thing, the government clearly thinks it is unaccountable. You moving on would prove to the voters , it isn’t.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      The UK never got down its infections to anything remotely like the low levels in countries where, even then, they did not relax the controls to the extent that this country did, such as New Zealand, Japan, etc..

      You fell for the hogwash.

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        And other Countries lied about getting the levels down, don’t do the same amount of testing as the UK, hid their figures to re-open their tourist seasons.

        Over the months listening to you i wonder if the UK decided to completely lock down for two weeks say the school half term holiday and the week before in October you’d be satisfied. That would be a total lock, no airplanes, boats, dingies, coming in or out, no one working, no one in schools, only the smallest number in hospital and those workers asked to work on patients living in and not mixing with anyone, would you be satisfied then Martin?

        Then what you reopen up the airports and within a week thousands pour into the UK with the virus ready to reinfect everyone!

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        An obesity crisis, an age crisis, an immigration crisis and an international transport hub to boot.

        There are no comparisons to be made with Japan or New Zealand.

        And who is to blame for their very grave economic and life losses despite having been exemplars of pandemic actions ?

      • Fred H
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        it is tragic – the sheep in NZ really missed seeing the occasional human being.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        Japan has does the lowest amount of testing per population than any developed country by far. 14,000 per million (same as Ghana) compared with UK’s 314,000 per million. So it’s no surprise they had apparently low levels of infections. If they’d done no testing they’d have had none. So, tell me again about hogwash ?

      • steve
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        MiC

        Some countries have far more population recognising the importance of personal hygiene, which is why they don’t need to lock down.

      • Ignoramus
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Worth pointing out that, because of a forthcoming election, the NZ government is obliged to produce all its economic data. It has revealed that they expect a deficit to last at least 15 years.

      • Philip P.
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Japan never had a lockdown anyway.

        Why not go back back to Brexit? You seem out of your depth on this issue.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          😂😂+1 he has mastered the Anti-Brexit lines and has no more room in his head.

    • jerry
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      @Nigl; If we want to get off this roundabout we need to learn to live with this virus, change how we work and play, it really is that simple.

      There is no reason why our health service/industry could not carry out treatments etc as before, but it would need dedicated Covid isolation hospitals and testing to be prioritised better, let’s face it, most people who are demanding a test do not need to be tested, they simply need to self-isolate for at least 14, if their symptoms get worse or do not clear up then call NHS111 or the emergency service, with proper funded and easily accessible SSP for all, including those currently exempt. Sorry to say this would have been all very obvious stuff to those who worked in and ran the NHS & DHSS before the 1980s, the tax payer gets what they pay for…

      With regards Sweden, they have a vastly higher death rate when population demographics are considered, stop reading just the headline figure!

  9. Stred
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    The only way to avoid cross infections in hospitals and care homes is to have strict separation of staff and areas. Sky news went to the new hospital at Naples to show how their highly competent director had managed this. Unfortunately, the NHS has not managed to achieve anything like this during the epidemic or before. The sending into care homes of infected elderly patients showed the degree of incompetence and callousness of the management.

    These managers are now playing ‘whack a mole’ when dealing with the inevitable second wave of infections after the efforts to restart the economy. However, the shutting down of the local economy by forcing healthy younger people to isolate at home is unlikely to be effective. This virus is uniquely sneaky in that over half of non vulnerable people don’t have symptoms and are unaware of the disease and probably don’t much care whether they have covid or a cold. The people who do care are the vulnerable and their friends and relatives.

    The efforts should be concentrated on these vulnerable people by making it possible to isolate, providing accommodation where they have to share with highly infectious spreaders. Or perhaps isolate the spreaders by keeping them in pubs enjoying the atmosphere permanently at their own cost.

    It would be a good idea, having spent billions on the Nightingale hospitals and seen how the army and private consultants could act so quickly, to actually staff, equip and use them as isolation centres, allowing the rest of the NHS to provide a safe service to other patients. But will the Soviet style organisation do so, or will it continue in the same incompetent way with asymptomatic staff and dirty wards , fronted by incompetent ministers wearing their NHS badge and saying that everything it does is fantastic. It certainly is a fantasy.

    • jerry
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      @Stred; “Unfortunately, the NHS DHSC and their agencies, such as PHE has not managed to achieve anything like this during the epidemic or before.”

      There, corrected that for you….

  10. kenneth
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be an idea to isolate individual households (including some care homes) rather than large groups of unaffected people?

    We once painted a large “X” on a property where there were suspected cases. This immediately halted any movement through the door and meant that food supplies could be temporarily delivered to the affected home.

    This is more easily policed and would allow the rest of the community to carry on with their lives and their work.

    Sound draconian? Compared to the almost totalitarian solutions being touted, I think it is sensible.

    I am prepared to be shot down as I am no expert, but it’s just a thought.

    • jerry
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      @Kenneth; “We once painted a large “X” on a property where there were suspected cases.”

      Except those who are asymptomatic, and those who return a fails negative test, can still be highly infectious.

      “easily policed and would allow the rest of the community to carry on with their lives and their work.”

      Welcome to the new normal (for now anyway), most but not all can carry on with their lives and their work, but only if we all do so in Covid secure ways, if we do not, and it will only take a relatively few ‘refuseniks’, we are all once again looking down the wrong end of a loaded shotgun towards a full and perhaps even harsher lock-down than before with the associated economic damage.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      For goodness sake!
      Don’t give them any more mad ideas.
      The clueless ones have already trawled relentlessly through history for all their crackpot theories.

      • jerry
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        @Everhopeful; “The clueless ones have already trawled relentlessly”

        Indeed, they were protesting in Trafalgar Square only yesterday…

        • Everhopeful
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately the sane have no power.
          That lies with the very strange and malevolent crew which supports some demonstrations and proscribes others!
          It is obvious where you stand.

          • jerry
            Posted September 21, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

            @Everhopeful; Oh dear, your knees do jerk… Sounds like you have no idea what the “The clueless ones” were actually protesting about on Saturday.

  11. Everhopeful
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    From an excellent article by Daniel Hannan.

    “When you are proposing measures that destroy lives and livelihoods, throw people out of work, wreck children’s education, drive up deaths from cancer and suicide and remove our basic freedoms, the onus is on you to prove your case.”

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      He has still never proven his case for leaving the European Union, and all the evidence is that there never was one, quite the reverse.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

        Er..no Martin.
        Today we are talking about Covid.
        Oh..or is “the virus” and “Remain” one and the same thing?
        As in stupid lefties thinking it a good idea to destroy capitalism by overreaction to the common cold?
        Well..there’s a thought!
        A bit of a “cat out of the bag” moment! Freudian slip.
        Have another decaf and calm down.

      • agricola
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        So 17.4 million voters were as biased as you and your left wing cronies. Lets have “All your evidence that no case for leaving existed”, rather than your unsubstantiated throw away meaningless sentences.

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Martin in Cardiff

        Instead of worshipping daily at the altar of the E.U. try standing upright for once and give your knees a welcome rest.

      • steve
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        MiC

        “He has still never proven his case for leaving the European Union”

        I take it you refer to Boris. He doesn’t have to prove any case, just do as he’s told by the majority who voted to leave.

        “and all the evidence is that there never was one, quite the reverse.”

        On the contrary, the majority who voted to leave is case enough. But we understand that as a left winger you obviously think democracy works by minority rule.

        So I have one question for you: who exactly do you think you are ?

        • DavidJ
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

          ++

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        What was the case for joining? Ken Clarke said we must be impoverished and fund their fisheries and allow them free access to destroy that eco-system ‘so they could compete with us’.
        So nothing less than delivering the U.K. trussed like an ‘oven ready’ chicken would be ‘fair’.

      • DavidJ
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        Same old tune Martin…

  12. jerry
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    So the old and vulnerable have to suffer ‘house arrest’ just because the young want to go and have a “Pie and a pint”, to put it politely…

    It is being widely reported that the current outbreak in the Bolton area has largely been caused by one person refusing to quarantine after a holiday abroad choosing rather to go on a pub-crawl, yes the person should have remained at home but had the pubs not been open there would have been no pub-craw.

    By their very nature pubs, and on premiss consumption food out-lets, can not be Covid secure, even those with outdoor seating because factors such as the direction and strength of the wind can cause spittle to travel further than the current 2m separation guidance.

    Why can’t people make do with off-licence, take-out and home delivery?

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Jerry

      Agreed, alcohol in brains out, an old fashioned saying, but true for so many.

      Proper social distancing in pubs is clearly not working, and as for the rule of six, afraid that is far too many when it is six individuals all from different households, who then as individuals mix with another five later in the day, and the day after. at the end of the week one individual could have been in contact with a hundred different people etc etc.

      It could even be called the compound rate of interest of infection, but then many people we are informed do not understand mathematics.

    • agricola
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      That person you highlight in Bolton typifies the irresponsibility of a minority. If you can identify him ask why the Chief Constable of Bolton has not acted on your evidence.

      • jerry
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        @agricola; “the irresponsibility of a minority”

        Indeed, but it only takes a handful of like-minded idiots to cause a regional outbreak, never mind however many otherwise sensible people unknowingly spread the virus further, either having been infected at work in one town but visiting hospitality venues in another.

        Not all risks can be removed, not without a full China style lock-down, but with the current R# we MUST again remove unnecessary risk were mitigation can not be sensibly used, otherwise we will end up having to close areas of necessary risk, offices, factories, shops and perhaps even education and ‘Rule of Six’ complainant family visits.

  13. Newmania
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Some people tried to push us all back onto trains and , disgracefully attacked the teaching unions when they tried to protect their staff , calling the teachers traitors.
    Some people must be feeling extremely stupid and may well wish to behave in a less irresponsible manner in the future .

    Do you know anyone who fits that description Sir John ?

    • Richard1
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      The performance of many teachers in the state sector – not all – has been a disgrace. Many did nothing through lockdown to provide education or even contact their pupils. Likewise the shameful efforts by teaching unions to put every obstacle in the way of a return to school. Thankfully they seem to have failed.

      • jerry
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        @Richard1; Many children also flunk their expensive private school education…

  14. Sea Warrior
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I had contemplated visiting a 90-year old relative in hospital yesterday. With three ‘co-morbidities’, she won’t be lasting much more than a year or two. Had I gone, I would have had to go alone (tick), to wear a mask (tick) and to use the customary hand-gel before and after (tick). But that’s pretty much the totality of the barriers preventing me depositing COVID in the ward. I couldn’t help but feel that that’s not enough protection for one of the ‘vulnerable’, so cancelled the visit and now hope that the NHS will send her in the direction of her home as quickly as possible. She’ll be safer there. If the COVID situation really is as bad as Johnson and Hancock would have us believe, we can expect a high death-toll amongst our old and sick. The public won’t forgive the government if that happens – again.
    P.S. I think that the ‘Whack a Mole’ strategy is the right one for now. I’m not sure that an economy-destroying ‘circuit breaker’ is warranted. But the key to getting ‘Whack a Mole’ to work, is to keep every community informed as to what their particular ‘R’ is, to determine the community-specific transmission mechanism(s), to place local mayors as the public face of the counter-measures, to use extensive LOCAL public health advertising, and to lift restrictions as quickly as possible. Knowing the extent of a problem, and knowing what needs to be done, most people will respond well to good leadership. Any sea warrior knows that.

  15. Everhopeful
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    How does anyone know that there is a rise in infections?
    The tests are said to be inaccurate, giving false positives.
    And a rise in testing obviously leads to a rise in supposed “cases”.
    Have deaths gone up?
    Not from what I have read.
    Our host speaks more robustly to unknown but concerned commenters than he does to a man who is destroying ( for what reason??) the very fabric of our existence.

    If there actually is a “surge” in cases then MASKS are the X factor.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      A few days ago I walked past a lady in the supermarket. Both of us masked. I suddenly smelled her perfume/body spray. . . If the particles of that can get through I assume the airborne virus can.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely!

  16. Mike Wroe
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    If 10,000 are tested , 90 will test positive, but of the 90, 10 are real positives, 80 false positives. (See the evidence from Mike Yeadon discussed in Lockdown Sceptics today). You could be fined £10,000 if you test positive and don’t self isolate, even though you are far more likely not to have it. Consequences include. 1. A lot of people won’t have the test, even if they have symptoms, and risk a fine. 2. A lot of people will have a very good defence for refusing to pay a fine. (“Prove I actually had COVID when the test was taken.”)

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      £1ok fine. That would help to pay a few illegals hotels bills for a month. And Priti has had another plane flight of them blocked. The plan to totally destroy this country is in full flow.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      If you are out of work and totally unable to pay the £10,000 why would that stop you, you know you’ll get this fine written off and you’ll never pay a 1p.

  17. Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I fear that all this hooha about testing is a purple herring.

    At best it doesn’t prove anything more than the person didn’t seem to be infected at that point in time…
    Also – the infected numbers do not equate to deaths or illness – so WHAT IS THE POINT…!
    The vast majority of people who test positive do not get any problems…. so by all means let’s take extra care of those vulnerable if they test positive…. BUT what we should be asking is how people can test positive and yet suffer no ill effects — WHEN are we going to see some logical research in that area.

    So, find out why some people just shrug off the virus — analyse their systems, and find out what makes them stronger so that everyone can do the same — THIS is hardly rocket science!

    A lot more needs to be made of preventitive methods, taking certain supplements, like zinc can fight the virus — Why isn’t this being rammed down our throats instead of all the bad news and scare stories?

    • jerry
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      @ Bryan Harris; “the infected numbers do not equate to deaths or illness – so WHAT IS THE POINT…!”

      Someone who test positive for a virus are still ill, its just they might be asymptomatic Testing does not stop someone becoming infected, it (hopefully) stops them infecting others, assuming they do the right thing and self isolate – THAT IS THE POINT!

      “So, find out why some people just shrug off the [Covid-19] virus — analyse their systems, and find out what makes them stronger so that everyone can do the same — THIS is hardly rocket science!”

      What the hell do you think the worlds scientific community has been doing for the last 6+ months – its called virology and immunology.

      Trouble being, nature is all to often far clever than man thinks he is. For example HIV has been around at least 40 years now, in that time Man has learnt what the virus is, how it can be prevented, why some people -even though exposed- do not catch the virus, but what we have not yet done is find a cure, nor vaccine

      By comparison, rocket science is far easier, in 40 years Man not only invented the rocket and space flight but set foot on the moon and fond ways to live in space!

      “taking certain supplements, like zinc can fight the virus”

      Care to cite the medical paper that claims that by simply ingesting Zinc prevents/cures Covid-19, any more than any healthy, balanced, diet prevents colds and flu. Sounds like you’ve been spending to much time with ducks, you’re meant to feed them, not allow the quacks to feed you…

      • Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        @Jerry

        Fantastic — I see you are not at all affected by the way the MSM presents news on what’s going on with CV — You would seem to swallow everything they throw at you.
        Never mind that you miss the points I was making – just stick with the BBC line and you might just outlive CV

        You surely cannot be blind to the fact that some people outlive a CV infection and often have no symptoms — THE question you, and everyone like you that believe so heartily in the so far pathetic measures put in place, should be asking is WHY

        • jerry
          Posted September 21, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

          @Bryan Harris; I do not blindly accept whatever the MSM say, unlike you, dismissing what you dislike and lording what you do, often as a fact rather than mere opinion.

          I do ask “WHY”, but what I refuse to do is be like you and so many who upload comment to this site, pre-load every question so the only possible answer(s) fits their politics.

          You question if I have noticed how Covid-19 can infect two similar people, in one it will put them in to ICU (or 6ft under) and the other is back playing sport having had no more than a couple of days in bed (if that) with what they thought was just a cold – did you not bother read my analogy with regards research into HIV/AIDS?

          As an engineer I look to the science of an issue, not the hype, if I wanted to do the latter I would have had a career in marketing…

          • Posted September 22, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

            As an ‘engineer’ you still appear to follow the establishment view…. I’m asking for the government to operate outside the closed box of that establishment view, and come up with real solutions that don’t destroy the economy.

            Shouldn’t engineers be looking ‘outside the box’?

            Check out the studies for yourself on how supplements can help, and open up your thinking – Our host deletes most links these days.

            As someone once said, ‘ there is none so ignorant as those that dismiss something out of hand without knowing anything about it’ … Or similar words

  18. Cheshire Girl
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I dont think the vulnerable need to be reminded. Most of them have been doing what is required. The ones who need to be reminded (not that they even care) are those who go to raves and large gatherings. There was a rally in Trafalgar Square just yesterday, despite pleas not to gather in large groups. Doubtless there will be more large gatherings like this. One does despair sometimes, both at the behaviour of these people, and the inability of the Government to do anything about it.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      I know – its almost beyond belief. And Boris’ water cannons sold off for scrap.

    • Bill B.
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Cheshire Girl: Masses of people on the beaches weekend 21st May, after lockdown supposedly ended. Result – no increase in infections reported. Same again on the beaches in June and July. BLM demos, same story.

      ‘Infections’ are rising because of the huge rise in testing over the summer, and therefore in false positives, which is recognised by the ONS and other authorities as a big problem with the PCR test.

      It helps if you keep up.

  19. John E
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    We desperately need new leadership. The current crew have failed and are unable to admit it. It seems they are determined to repeat the same errors over and over until we get a vaccine or the virus fizzles out by itself.
    I don’t believe that any of the containment measures being taken by the government are actually doing any good.Clearly they have harmful effects on people’s livelihoods. As you have said many times decisions must balance many aspects.

    It’s impossible for people to follow the guidelines. At the first sniffle children are sent home from school for two weeks or until they get a negative test. But there are no tests because all these “mad” parents are trying to get their children tested. It’s not the parents who are the mad ones.

    I can’t remember hearing a single coherent sentence from the Prime Minister as to what the government strategy is. The country has been amazingly patient – so far.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      “The current crew have failed and are unable to admit it.”
      I have – sadly and unfortunately – come to the conclusion they are doing exactly what they set out to do. Destroy England /UK. Anyone in a RIB can turn up and stay at our expense. And our govt does nothing but hand our taxes over to keep them in better conditions than the people who were born and bred here, worked, and paid taxes for their whole lives. Definitely NOT the actions of a party that cares about us, but more about those turning up.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      +1,
      and history will mock the efforts of those who thought it made sense to attempt to corral a virus by a muzzle and regimental distancing.
      Totalitarian states have found it impossible to corral subversive thoughts by draconian measures. A virus will always find borders and barriers as permeable to viruses and ideas.

  20. Sea Warrior
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    If a high temperature is one the three main symptoms of COVID, why isn’t IR technology being deployed more widely to detect the infectious?

    • hefner
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      These temperature scanners are in place in most UK airports according to reports from the airline-related industry.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        I hope that’s the case – but I have yet to see any images of them in use. (I’ll research further.) But city centres and rail termini are other obvious locations for the technology.

    • Ex-Tory
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      I have it on good authority that these temperature scanners are only accurate to within 2 degrees.

  21. John E
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I see Baroness Harding being touted as the new head of the NHS. That would be the most spectacular example of someone failing upwards.
    Don’t bother investing in hospitals – just tell the patients they are mad. I think Cummings is seeing how far he has to push people before he gets a revolution.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      breathtakingly bizarre… Dido to run the free world.

  22. Christine
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The more tests done the more cases will be found and the greater chance of a lockdown. The public will soon learn that to avoid restrictions they are better off not getting tested. Expect the number of cases to drop significantly in the next few weeks as this fact dawns on people. The Government would be far better advising people to take vitamins to strengthen their immune system and asking the vulnerable and elderly to self isolate.

  23. Everhopeful
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    If you want to stem infection ( when there is one),
    You CLOSE YOUR BORDERS IMMEDIATELY.
    You open the ready and waiting ISOLATION WARDS and take THE SICK there.
    Then the healthy get on with keeping the essentials going.
    So funny that the govt. didn’t take any of these SENSIBLE ideas from our ancestors…just the mad ones..like masks and imprisonment and the notion of a “Typhoid Mary”. The cabinet probably reads “The Last Man” as a nice little bedtime novel.
    One thing we probably should take from history.
    Nail a sign above our doors “ Lord have mercy upon us.”
    We need it..and not because of Covid.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      A hermetic seal around the infected, the infecting, the vulnerable is not possible unless we recommission Gruinard Island for quarantine.
      This respiratory disease will find its own level regardless of government vanities.

  24. Chris Dark
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The man is happily working with cherry-picked stats. Cases…what is a “case”? Many testing positive are not infectious. Thus “rising cases” include rising false positives. Hardly an excuse for lockdown, but we can’t let facts get in the way of the agenda.
    I think the “vulnerable” have had a gutsfull of isolation. Stuck at home, no friends, or walled up in a care home behind glass panels. Many might prefer actual death to a living hell. There are treatments available already, I agree, why aren’t we using them? The vulnerable can’t imprison themselves forever. Similarly, those of us who are in good health need to live life too; we don’t suddenly become frail when we hit 65. Hancock needs to be firmly put down, lockdown doesn’t work, neither do masks. Listen to the real experts like Heneghan, then we might make progress.

    • Enigma
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Well said Chris Dark

  25. Sakara Gold
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    The most sensible suggestion that I’ve heard is to re-open the Nightingale centres as quarantine hospitals and so designate whole floors/areas of our large, centralised hospitals.

    It would also help if all NHS staff were tested daily at the END of their shift so they can be notified BEFORE they start the next one if they have tested positive. Especially those in management positions, with kids in school and partners travelling to work on public transport, working in the hospitality industry etc who are ideally placed to become NHS superspreaders

    The privately run test and trace system is an absolute disaster, as a result we now have the “second wave”. Once again the scientific “experts” are contradicting each other. The PM does not understand the issues, except the need to placate his political enemies on the 1922 committee.

    Anyway nobody self-isolates anymore, they are following Dominic Cummings example and going shopping in Durham. In any case you have to travel 200 miles to get a test first.

    I’ve had enough of the Hancock and Harding show. They should both accept their failure and resign.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      ‘Especially those in management positions’.
      Ideally they should stay away and not communicate with the staff at all.
      Do you really think with current failings etc could arrange for all staff at end of shift to be tested, evaluated, informed and track and trace working to stop others possibly infected.

      Amazing! look at all those pigs in formation flying.

    • JohnE
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      There has never been any staffing for the Nightingale hospitals.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        So why waste money building them?

  26. JayGee
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    It would be a great mistake to stop all visits to care homes, and it would cause huge damage to the residents’ mental health. They’ve been through enough over the last 6 months and should not be tortured in the way you are suggesting. If you suggest stopping visits to residents, your next ssuggestion may be to stop care workers from visiting too.

    Yes, of course there should be testing of staff, but the current testing system is a complete mess. BaronessHarding should be isolated from it as soon as possubke. She’s clearly not up to the job.

    One of the main issues that needs to be addressed is the fact that care home staff often work in more than one care home in any given day, and also in the community visiting people in their own homes, so they could easily be transmitting the virus all over the place. Many also work for agencies or the ‘bank’, so may never have a fixed schedule in any care setting. They also live a life outside the care home, popping into pubs for a ‘pie and a pint’ too. That’s what needs sorting out.

    Utilise the Nightingale hospitals for the treatment of people with Covid who need hospitalisation. Use them as test centres too.

    Do not torture care home residents.

    • SM
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      JayGee – thanks for a bit of reality! It’s bad enough to be living in a care home and know that the only way out of it is feet-first, but to be denied the presence of people who care about you is absolutely wrong – why would you want to be kept alive at all?

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      The only way you can check what’s happening in care homes is for close relative to visit. Even there is a lot of thinsg that go wrong.

  27. Everhopeful
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I asked the pharmacist who did my flu and pneumonia jabs (£70) if he was going to do them from 6 feet away.
    “Not possible” he muttered through his mask!

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Everhopeful. Why did you pay £70 when GP’s are doing them now? I had mine a week ago and my husband has his on Friday.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Long story of awful treatment from surgery.
        At the mo people reckon it is impossible to get any appt. and surgery says it has no vaccine!!
        Dr has now b*ggered off apparently.
        So….
        I thought it better to go to chemist.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

          Everhopeful that is really bad.

  28. Alan Jutson
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I am amazed how many people still try to compare infection rates on one day, with deaths on the same day, do they not understand that deaths run at about a six week time lag to testing figures, and hospital admissions at about three weeks.

    Likewise when the virus testing figures go down, that time lag is still consistent, so deaths and hospital admissions would be still rising.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Good grief

      Just viewed Marr on Sunday and he did not seem to understand there is a time lag between being tested positive and deaths.
      Matt Hancock had to explain this to him !

      Likewise 225,000 people tested yesterday, but about 1,000,000 people a day are now requesting tests, no wonder there is a shortage, as we have at present a capacity for 250,000 tests a day, more than anyone else in Europe.

      But still people complain, when it’s them that’s spreading the virus, not the Government.

    • Mark
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      You exaggerate the lags. It’s about 8-10 days from infection to hospitalisation of a serious case, and about 3 weeks from infection to death. However we do need to account for the rising volume of testing that gave us a rsising number of positives, with initially a high proportion of them simply being false positives. It is only in very recent days that the rate of positives has risen above the background. I may see if I can provide an illustrative chart.

      The maps still show highly concentrated outbreaks rather than a general spread, with the wide lockdown areas motivated by ideas of social equality of suffering rather than epidemuc spread.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (The group containing Prof Carl Heneghan) does not make this mistake. In that group’s work a lognormal distribution is used to model the infection-to-death distribution this is used to extract the behaviour of the infection fatality ratio overtime.

      Solid work based on evidence from a centre that appears to question the Govt’s response.

  29. BJC
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    How many times do the government think they should “follow the science” and lock down UK plc to accommodate a virus that we know we must live with and around until we have a vaccine?

    Is it the role of government to cocoon us from risk, or to propose measures that allow us to protect ourselves, if we choose? The reintroduction of draconian measures has the whiff of a controlled response to threats from public sector unions, rather than necessity.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      BJC quite correct. Here in Shropshire we have very low numbers of infection. There are other counties with low numbers too. It’s insane that we all have to shut down. I am leading a near normal life here. I go shopping, walk the dog and socialise with a few people. I am careful if I eat out but I am still able to enjoy my life. Planning any kind of break in the UK is a nightmare as we don’t know if lockdown is coming in. I’ve already had to cancel one break and it looks like I will be cancelling another one in October if lockdown comes in. We all have to take responsibility for our own lives and be careful but we don’t need to be told to stay in like hermits.

  30. Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Your tone is restrained and pleading. My guess is, what you can’t say is “pull your socks up and stop and have the gumption to take a balanced view, rather than the ‘one life lost is too many’ oversimplification”.

    Let the vulnerable isolate if they want to, and for the rest of us it’s KBO, as Winston used to phrase it.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      +1
      Concluding sentence covers it all.
      At this stage there is no cure beyond what nature has ordained. Prosperity is important for advances in medicine but so also is good evolving clinical practice through good observation and a keen mind.
      Let everyone make their own choices of how to live.
      I am 74.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      +1

  31. Lifelogic
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    You make exactly the right points JR but all this was surely perfectly obvious even at the time of the last peak. I still do not think this second wave will be that significant. So long as the measures you suggest are taken. Over the last two weeks Covid deaths are only about 15 per day. Only just over 1% of total deaths.

    From mid June 2020 onward overall deaths have only been about the same as the 5 year historic average for this time of year form the ONS figures. No new general lockdown is needed it would do more harm than good.

    I see that Cameron in his Iain Dale book interview says HS2 is the right thing to do. How on earth can he think that? It is clearly a huge waste of public money as is clear to anyone who can think and add up. Post Covid it makes even less sense. Meanwhile the appalling London Mayor is putting in 24 hour bus lanes to raise £130 X millions in fines and block London’s main roads. A shame this dreadful Mayor has no real opposition. Why too are black taxis allowed to use bus lanes they are less efficient than private cars as they often have no passengers and need a professional driver.

    £ billions of road space wasted with largely empty bus lanes.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      L/L This closure of road lanes for vehicles in favour of bikes is going on everywhere. The traffic situation in Worthing is dire because the dual lane road out of the town centre has been made a single road for cars and one for bikes. Insane or what? Half the time the cycle lane is empty while drivers queue for an eternity to get out. What half wit thought this up?

      • Stred
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        Grant Shapps.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      The question I would like an answer to from from the two PPE Oxon graduates (Matt Hancock and Dido Harding) is what is actually the false positive rate for your testing and how have you determined this exactly?

      How many of the circa 200,000 tests each day are false positives. The last few days show just over 4,000 new cases of these are 1,000 false positives or 3,000 or 3,500? Why are they not giving these figures?

      The false positive are of several types too. People with no trace of the virus at all, people who have recovered but have tiny traces left and contaminated samples. I do not imagine the test system is particularly well run given the haste and people running it. So these are likely to be far higher than the normal rates.

    • JohnE
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Quite right. I drove across London along the Marylebone Road last week as both the M25 and North Circular had long delays. That was a mistake. I would have done better to sit on the M25 car park for an hour while they cleared the problem.
      They couldn’t do any more to make the road past the stations at Kings Cross, St. Pancras, and Euston impassable to cars without completely closing it. The signs saying “Ring Road” drew a hollow laugh from me.
      I did think they were trying to force me south into the congestion zone.

      • Peter R
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        I drove (rode?) from the Monument out to West London late this afternoon. From Kings Cross to Great Portland St was total gridlock. The buses and taxis couldn’t even get to the bus lanes. Even on my motor scooter it was hard work to get through. And the new cycle lanes? – I saw 3 cycles in 30 min plus half a dozen electric scooters on the pavement.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I see that Cameron in his Iain Dale book interview says HS2

      He’s comes from a political generation that thinks if you say something’s the right thing to do then it must be. I have never heard proper explanation for why it’s the right thing to do.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        The right thing to do is ignore the Wahun virus, keep calm and carry on. That’s what I’m doing,

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      L/L,

      I am pro (much of) HS2 and pro public transport, yet I am also in despair. In my part of the country buses are now struggling to navigate narrow roads with new (largely unused) cycle lanes (with nasty orange and white eyesore bollards) not to mention new one way restrictions. It appears that neither car nor public transport is wanted … and oh the e-scooter trials.

  32. Richard1
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Sir ‘forensic’ Starmer and his team are showing themselves to be a row of empty suits. There is no opposition or scrutiny at all from them over the inane lockdown policy though increasing numbers of distinguished gushed scientists are pointing out its futility. And evidence from around the world now shows clearly that lockdown does nothing to prevent the virus and nor does lifting it increase it. I guess it will be back to 80s – sensible opposition to bad policy will have to come from the Conservative backbenches.

    • rose
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      He is keeping his head down until Brexit and the Pandemic are spent, hoping he can then cruise to power for nothing, on the back of unprecedented Conservative unpopularity.

      • rose
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        But he did come to life on the subject of his vegetarianism. Having lost the farmers’ vote, one hopes, by saying he is vegetarian for the sake of the body and the Planet, he then went on to vex the vegetarians by salivating at the thought of a bacon sandwich.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      +1
      Even the mantra of ‘protect the vulnerable’ seems to be given a status of being unarguable.
      We are dealing with a virus which is already at large worldwide. There are no proven ways of dealing with such a virus.
      Even a cut finger, if bandaged or sticking plaster is applied, heals by a natural process at which we can only observe and wonder.
      Nursing and improving treatment regimes will reduce the critical numbers but nature will have her way.

  33. MPC
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    You say the main emphasis of policy should be on protecting those at most risk. It’s a shame that you don’t say the main emphasis should be doing that and living with the virus by restoring our freedoms as far as possible so that the economy is not further damaged. To most people the absence of government strategy is more alarming than the virus itself now.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Agreed.
      Recognition of the limitations of ‘protecting the vulnerable’ needs to be acknowledged so that sensible measures can be considered. Evaluation of ‘lockdown’, whether for a building, a city, or a nation, does not inspire much confidence. Sometimes we have to accept that this advanced world of ours has not yet rendered obsolete the word ‘Futility”.
      Scrap the mask and distancing edicts and let the fit, the free and the vulnerable exercise their own free choices.

  34. Mark B
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The main emphasis of policy should be on protecting those most at risk . . .

    And that what we should have been doing, plus stopping all those entering the country from infected areas right from the beginning. But it is too late now so we all must suffer evermore draconian measures to hide the aforementioned incompetency of this government.

    • ChrisS
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      I regret the lack of an early clampdown but no government from any of the major UK parties would have done as you suggest.

      Labour and the Libdems would have been shouting from the rooftops had Boris clamped down and immediately banned travellers from abroad coming to the UK.

      Don’t forget, all the other parties support Freedom of Movement from the EU and bringing in many more economic migrants as well as genuine refugees.

      We can learn no lessons from them.

  35. Jeff12
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    What we have is an epidemic of false positives with no deaths. That will change as more people die in winter so more deaths can be blamed on the alleged virus. In a real viral outbreak more positive tests with less deaths would be regarded as the population gaining immunity just as Boris once claimed to want. Of course this is not a real pandemic because less people have died this year than normal and those that have have, in very large numbers, died for lack of normal care or from suicide brought on by lockdown. The current hyping of the next lockdown has nothing to do with health and everything to do with agendas just as the global warming BS is. This is a war against the people and I hope more and more people see that and realise who is the enemy.

    • Clive
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      +1.

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Jeff12

      I agree with you! The inaccurate figures are being used to justify further restrictions. Why, what exactly what is the end agenda?

      I know it has something to do with a global agenda but even the WEF website is a bit vague as to what they intend doing to achieve their aims….which seem focused round green issues, diversity, equality, ani-racism. What is their endgame ….it’s unclear?

      • an idea
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you! The inaccurate figures are being used to justify further restrictions. Why, what exactly what is the end agenda?

        ….
        a global population of 500 million.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      +1 agree

  36. Iain Moore
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    We have the PCR test cycles , where Professor Heneghan says it shouldn’t be done any more than 24 times , but Test and Trace is rumoured to be doing it many more times than that, up to 45 times.

    There is also said to be no standardised threshold above which you are deemed infectious , or not , as it’s not a matter of yes you have it no you don’t as the Covid RNA lingers in the system, reportedly 78 days after people have had it.

    This along with vagaries of the test suggest this could mean the test is less than 50% accurate. Is the Government really going to close down the country on something that has the accuracy of a coin toss?

    But we also have the problem, which has been there right from the beginning, of the Government’s secrecy on the data of Covid infections. They come up with generalised regional stuff, which is not good to anybody. They do this because either they don’t know, or because they are cowards, where they don’t want to lockdown a street, borough or parish as they don’t want to stigmatise communities so they lockdown regions.

    Of the recent restrictions in the NE Northumberland I gather has little or no Covid, it has been included as a sacrificial area, a buffer zone , because the Government and authorities can’t be bothered to properly police the areas which do have it .

    Here in the SW we never had much Covid in the first wave, and I doubt there will be much in the second wave either, as such I am not going to tolerate another lockdown because of the vagaries of the test, the cowardliness of the Government or because we are deemed expendable for bureaucratic niceties.

    PS We have been all wearing face masks , yet now got another Covid spike, so proof they don’t work, can we all go back to being normal again, rather than being a bunch of herded sheep?

  37. glen cullen
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Hancocks management style and communicating ability reminds me of a school headmaster in the 1950s…..and not that of a cabinet minister

    Every time I hear him I expect to get ‘lines’

  38. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Ive tried to Google what is happening in China right now regarding Covid but there is no information. All I could find were reports dating May 2020. Very strange.

    • Sakara Gold
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      The Chinese government expelled all the US journalists in March this year, followed by Australian, Taiwanese and UK. This was because their governments were supporting an independent enquiry into the origins of the Chinese plague virus in Wuhan. This obvious over-reaction speaks volumes about how sensitive the CCP is to any suggestion that their virus escaped from a lab

      The occasional snippet does get out. The Health Commission of Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu province of China, released a report lat week confirming an outbreak of a infectious bacterial disease Brucellosis – this has been reported in the Asian press (Hindustan Times). Except it’s probably not brucellosis, its their virus.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for that information Dakar.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      totally predictable. fedup you really must keep up.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        God you are pompous at times Fred. I’m sureally not everyone is familiar with what is happening in China. Thank you Dakar for not being a pompous upstart.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 21, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          fedup .. . I do humbly apologise. Meant joking – usually that expression is. I honestly imagined you were aware that China does sort of ‘ manage news’. As for being a pompous upstart.? If meant for me – now who has a sense of humour failure. I’m sorry.

  39. Caterpillar
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Dear Prime Minister,

    1. Please consider Mr Hancock’sposition.

    2. http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2020/09/18/negotiating-with-the-eu/#comment-1154983

  40. formula57
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Whilst ” It would also be good to have an up date from your medical advisers on best and preferred courses of treatment…” that should be complemented urgently by knowledge from other countries, especially those where early treatment with ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine has been proven effective

  41. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I hear that Boris and mad Matt are increasing their punishments to a terror level. There is no way I am going to get a test now if I feel unwell. I would normally stay at home if I felt ill.

    They can’t cure me if I have covid and treatments are hit and miss.

    I’m not going to risk draconian punishment which will seriously affect my health.

  42. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I see that there is an increase in hospital admissions. Are they all going into isolation units – fever hospitals of old? Would I be forgiven if I thought not?

  43. Andy
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Dear Matt

    You have ended up with an unusually hard job – and it is beyond you. Please resign and take the other incompetents with you, particularly Gavin.

    We also learn Boris is unhappy at how poorly he is paid. Apparently £150,000 is not enough to support all of his children. Take him with you when you go too. He is also useless.

    Give Rishi a go. He is the only one with any credibility left.

    Even better, that Nicola lass from Scotland take over. She has demonstrated more leadership skills than all of you put together. Let her run the country. After all, she couldn’t possibly be any worse.

    Love

    Andy

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Andy you obviously haven’t seen Sturgeon s dire record regarding education, police, fire and taxation then. Alex Salmond is yet to tear her to pieces.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Yesterday you said Blair was a great PM
      Today you want Sturgeon to be PM saying she couldn’t be worse.

      Is there no end to your comedy?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Mr Sunak has no credibility, his policies have been unethical and have not supported readjustment of the economy. He was willing to sell out when Mr Javid was not. Mr Hancock and Mr Sunak need to go.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      One small problem – and one you keep running into. Whereas Boris and his colleagues get a lot of votes and so MPs, candidates you like such as the Scottish separatist lady do not. A pity for you, but good for the rest of us, that we live in a democracy.

    • ChrisS
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Andy, you constantly amaze me.

      Sturgeon can’t even run Scotland competently let alone a nation ten times the size !

      You need look no further than the Scottish deficit ( £10bn a year and climbing ), the Scottish health service, worse than England despite her spending £2,000 a head more money than in England, and the disaster that is Scottish education.

      We can learn no lessons from the SNP.

    • rose
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Mrs Sturgeon presides over tumbling educational standards. Education used to be Scotland’s strong suit. Health has taken a headlong dive under Mrs Sturgeon too. Scottish nursing homes have the highest death rate from the coronavirus of all the nursing homes in Europe. When Mr Hancock directed hospitals to test patients before moving them to other institutions, Mrs Sturgeon delayed introducing the measure by ten days. You had better ask her why but perhaps it was something to do with her dangerous policy of differentiation. Testing there is minimal and PPE in short supply. Then there are the records she and her husband haven’t been keeping, and their tyrannical ways. Even the separatists are turning against them.

      The mad media build her up in order to damage the Union and hence Brexit and the PM. Funny priorities, but there you are. They seem to be yours too.

      • rose
        Posted September 21, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        Giving evidence before the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs, the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, revealed how Mrs Sturgeon uses the Pandemic to break the Union and damage the Government.

        The example he gave was her attendance at meetings with him when he briefs her about what the Government is thinking of doing and what the scientific evidence is etc. It is expected that she will reciprocate with her ideas and information so the policy can be co-ordinated across the Kingdom for the sake of simplicity.

        Recently, when the Government came up with its rule of six, she never said a word. Instead, she beetled back to Scotland and announced something different – Scottish children were to be exempted. He was confining himself to Scotland so he didn’t mention Mr Drakeford but I think we can deduce from his behaviour that he colludes with Mrs Sturgeon in the same low trick.

  44. Know-Dice
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    £10,000 stick, where is the carrot?

    Who is going to take a test if that is the potential outcome?

    • DennisA
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      That may be the desired result. If less people take the test, then the testing system will not be under such pressure. The added bonus is that the number of infections will decline.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        great idea…..stop testing – – – no infections proven- – -within a week we can be back at work, hugging and kissing, going to the pub again.

        Problem solved.

  45. glen cullen
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Matt Hancock says today on Sky we’re at a tipping point

    Sunday deaths 27 infection 4422
    Saturday deaths 27 infection 4322
    Friday deaths 21 infection 3395
    Thursday deaths 20 infection 3991
    Wednesday deaths 27 infection 3105
    Tuesday deaths 9 infection 2619
    Monday deaths 5 infection 3330

    Not quite a tipping point – nothing has changed this past week ?

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Update
      Sunday deaths 18 infestion 3899

    • Fred H
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      It is a sort of tipping point- he has now assumed power without being PM that would never have been countenanced in previous UK Governments.
      What will he dream up next?

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      They are all following a script you muppets.

  46. Dave Andrews
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    A colleague in the shielding group has contracted a cold from his son, brought home from school. That doesn’t give me much confidence in the hygiene measures implemented in schools. If they don’t prevent flu and cold, they won’t prevent CV19.
    The rest of us who have continued to go to work all through the pandemic haven’t suffered any viral infection at all, let alone passed it one to another.

    • Sharon
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Dave Andrews

      With all the Covid measures people are still catching flu from somewhere and more of those people are dying than of Covid!!

      Rather proves the point doesn’t it? Whatever measures you put in place… colds, flu, Covid, Chicken Pox…you can’t totally prevent it.

      So all this lockdown cr@p is just that – a total waste of time!

      • Jim Whitehead
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        +1 !!!

    • Fred H
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Hundreds of thousands of parents now have colds as a result of children returning to school. Dido didn’t imagine that might happen – after all it never has, has it?
      I realise my short term memory might be getting wobbly – but I am convinced this happens every year.
      So a few hundred idiots allowed back into the country from boozing holidays are probably doing pub crawls as I write.
      Is this Government ever going to wake up – or are all brain affected by Covid?

  47. Caterpillar
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    There is no positive association between lockdowns and ‘success’.

    Countries that have ‘succeeded’ seem to have fallen into at least one of the following characteristics

    1. Avoided large number of multiple entries of virus (closed borders and good fortune)
    2. Underlying immunity (more closely related earlier viruses)
    3. Specific country characteristics (young/healthy population, young not interacting with old, single cultural identity, distribution of population).
    4. Possibly climate factors

    Countries that have ‘failed’ seem to have fallen into at least one of the following characteristics

    1. Multiple entries of virus
    2. Less underlying immunity
    3. Infection into long term care homes and/or hospitals
    4. Higher risk population

    As commented here http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2020/09/16/saving-lives-and-livelihoods-the-policy-dilemma/#comment-1154301 (worth reading the Pybus et al paper mentioned therein, particularly figures 5 and 6) hindsight indicates that U.K. would have had to shut borders on about 23rd February (it did not have until 19th March as N.Z. had, N.Z. did not close to its own citizens / residents), several of Sir John’s readers commented on 29th Feb that borders should close e.g. https://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2020/02/29/coronavirus/#comment-1092075. It is interesting to go back and review the discussion of the 29th Feb including Sir John himself questioning whether flights should be banned.

    Having not closed the borders it does seem that: protect the vulnerable and a stable light touch is a more sustainable route (Sweden appear to have had the second part correct) than on/off.

  48. Lester Cynic Beedell
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    When is the constant cycle of imposing lockdowns going to end?
    Beat the virus….. the virus isn’t going anywhere, we will have to learn to live and die with it for the foreseeable future, most of the people who have died had pre-existing health problems.

    TalkRadio’s Julia Hartley- Brewer invited Matt Hancock onto her show and asked him how many healthy people under, I think it was 60 had died from the virus since February and he didn’t know, she informed him that it was 307 but he wouldn’t accept her figures, wouldn’t you think that having been invited on the show to answer specific questions that he would have equipped himself with some answers?

    He didn’t answer any of her questions and just blustered , shambolic !
    Article in the current issue of the Spectator…. where’s Boris… good question?

  49. gyges
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    ” Now that we see cases of CV 19 rising again, [I am concerned that these cases may not be due to CV19 but seasonal sniffs, colds and other forms of influenza. My concern is due to the lack of a _validated_ testing regime. I understand at the heart of the regime is a PCR cycle where different assays have different numbers of PCR cycles. I also understand that the majority of the assays have a large PCR cycle number resulting in a huge amount of false positives. Can you ensure that there is a standard validate assay available for all to use as a top priority.]”

    [ps do you have that fiver you owe me?]

  50. a-tracy
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    If Boris doesn’t step up soon then if he worked with me I’d suggest he took a period of parental leave because we need a strong leader right now and he’s not showing the public he’s at the helm.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      +1 spot on

    • Fred H
      Posted September 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      he missed the boat – let alone not at the helm!

  51. ChrisS
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The most important question missing from your letter is about acquired immunity.

    We must be told what scientists have discovered from checking people who have had the virus. If they have not been actively researching acquired immunity, why not ?

    Whatever the answer, why are we being kept in the dark about this ?

  52. BOF
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    PS As there is now abundant evidence from around the world that lockdowns do NOT work, what evidence can you provide to prove they DO work.

    Kindly present this ‘evidence’ to Parliament before you utterly destruct the economy of our country, plus yet more lives and livelihoods.

    I see thee NHS is once again emptying wards for your alleged 2nd wave. As there was no justification for this in March and April, how can you justify it now?

    Why are you still taking advice from scientists who have been wrong about all their predictions, and not only on this occasion but several times before, yet ignore those who have been correct?

  53. RichardP
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I think it is shame you didn’t ask him to define his understanding of the False Positive Rate. Listening to his interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer on TalkRadio the other day, he seems to be saying that the FPR applies to the results and not to the whole test which makes a BIG difference.

    For example if you test a sample of 100,000 people in which there are 100 people who actually have the disease, an FPR of 1% will produce 1000 false positive results plus the 100 who are actually ill giving a result of 1100 positive tests, assuming no false negatives. The test could therefore increase the reported infection rate by a factor of 10.

    Doing it the Matt Hancock way, you say 1% of the 1100 positive test results is 11 therefore we have 999 positive tests, an almost irrelevant discrepancy.

    We need to clarify what the FPR means and we need an independent audit of the test results. Preferably this should be done before the country is shutdown again and the economy irretrievably trashed.

    • RichardP
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Apologies for a slight numerical error, it seems I can’t add up either!

      The total positive tests for the Matt Hancock method of FPR calculation should have been (1100-11) which of course is 1089 and not 999.

      This error doesn’t detract from the massive difference between the two calculations.

  54. Mary M.
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    “Repeal the Coronavirus Act 2020”.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Now!

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Sharon
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Mary M

      I agree this should happen, but with the false positives, misreading of figures, fear mongering still going – there’s too many excuses for why this won’t happen.

      This government (or a higher authority giving orders?) has created a situation – I can’t see any way back from. It’s so sad….just when we should be feeling pleased that Brexit is on the final chapter, and we could start work to put this country back together again. That was going to be a big enough task in itself but now…who knows?

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      urgently!

  55. DOMINIC
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Betray your neighbour to the authorities. Snitch on your friends and families to the authorities. Create suspicion. Create the idea that you are always being watched and that a knock on the door is always possible should you refuse to submit to State imposition

    This is the country created by BOTH Tory and Labour working together. Don’t assume these two dirty political entities are the Anti-thesis of one another. They sing from the same authoritarian, woke, offence and condemn culture to impose on the majority

    Johnson, Starmer, Hancock with his party badge in full view.

    Why oh why does the majority vote for these two appalling parties that have betrayed themselves, their histories, their principles, our freedoms and our people?

    The Marxist Tory–Labour combo have succeed. I now genuinely feel fearful and infected by Marxist poison

  56. Andy
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I see that Barclays has decided that British expats in the EU can no longer have credit cards.

    Their cards are being cancelled and their accounts are being closed.

    They will be given time to pay off their bills though.

    This is thanks to Brexit.

    Another win.

    Still, it is funny reading the complaints of Brexit voting ex-pats who didn’t seem to realise what their vote meant.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      I suspect that most of those affected will have voted Remain. But I find it difficult to understand why on earth such actions by the banks are necessary. Perhaps the banks, the EU and the UK government should ask themselves why something so easy is made so difficult – by your beloved EU, it seems. I have served abroad twice: in non-EU USA and in non-EU Norway. On both occasions I had local bank accounts and local credit cards, while also maintaining a UK bank account and credit cards. At the risk of sounding like a meerkat, ‘Simples’.

      • Andy
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        But what you did not have was British credit card without a British residential address. And that is what Barclays are stopping. So ‘expats’ who spend a handful of months in Spain are fine if they spend the rest of the year in their UK homes. This is okay for rich people.

        But for expats who only live in Spain their British cards are now going. This is because Brexit has taken away the bank’s security.

        Isn’t it amazing how the EU rules you all hate actually helped to make life easier for many? I can imagine your surprise when you suddenly need to start filling in forms and paying for visa waivers just for a weekend away in France. Or your shock when your driving licence doesn’t work in Italy. Or your outage when you get a customs bill for the package you order from Amazon, Luxembourg. Best of all, most of you don’t realise this stuff is going to happen and that you are not going to like it when it does.

        • Sea Warrior
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          You know full well that the EU has NO PLANS to impose visa requirements on British citizens holidaying in France – so kindly stop spreading the lie.

          • glen cullen
            Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            +1 correct

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          The money laundering laws prohibit anyone without an address in the country from having a bank account. By extension a credit card.
          If you live in a foreign country, why would you want British citizenship, a British bank account, a British credit card?

  57. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    You might also ask him on what basis he thinks a 10pm curfew will do anything at all – where’s the evidence ?

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      +1

  58. Richard Jenkins
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    If you are going to write to Matt Hancock, please ask him to clarify his understanding of the false positive rate (FPR) of COVID19 tests. In his interview last week with Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio, he stated that the selectivity of the test being used was 99%, that is, an FPR of 1%. However, he then seemed to say that this meant that of all positive test results, only 1% of the positive test results were false. Perhaps he misspoke or expressed himself badly, but if he meant what he seemed to say, it is an egregious misunderstanding of the process of diagnostic testing.

    FPR is the percentage of false positives in the entire population being tested. So if, as Hancock says, the FPR is 1% (he suggested that it might be lower, but he could not remember how much lower), then of the daily 200,000 tests now being carried out in Pillars 1 and 2, 2000 of the positive results will be false. This is a significant fact in the context of interpreting the test results.

    As I say, please ask Mr Hancock to clarify his understanding of the false positive rate. It is the single most important factor in the management of the COVID19 outbreak in this country.

  59. Ian @Barkham
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    It is now about time Government took note, they, just as no one else has the faintest idea how to tackle Corvid 19. The arbitrary powers they have grabbed make no sense as they cant tackle anything in close on 99% of the situations. They can only cause misery and hard ship for the majority.

    This WOKE Metroland Socialist Government (Sorry for all the metaphors, but it is the only way to describe them) wants ultimate control over innocent lives, seemingly on a power ego trip. What the fail to take on board they community they are trying to talk to, just don’t care and will do there own thing. A £10K fine on someone that doesn’t work or care is meaningless.

    The greater majority of us know the situation, know how to get on with life safely and are able to make a difference – we heard the warnings. Shouting and threatening us on a one size fits all just discredits this Government. We don’t need laws we know want needs to be done. Amusingly their Metro Socialists’ audience who governments pays attention to, just doesn’t care period. Punishing everyone in a one size fits all in this childish fashion is just plain silly.

    We have to live with Corvid 19, so let us get on with doing this. There is no magic cure, a vaccine doesn’t cure or stop Corvid, it will just reduce some of the symptoms. That is the problem, the Government has sold a vaccine as if it will cure, when in reality we just have to learn to live with it, they are delaying the day when its an individual responsibility to adjust and get on.

  60. rose
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Mr Hancock said a very true thing when he let slip that as an economist he well understood that if you have something free, demand will very soon outstrip supply. Isn’t the real problem with testing what it always is, that our health service is free at the point of use where no-one else’s in the world is? So we can have a bigger capacity for testing than anyone else and still demand outstrips supply. This is not the fault of Lady Harding, and if she were a Labour or Liberal life peeress I very much doubt people would be ganging up on her as the scapegoat.

  61. agricola
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Well now we have it from Ben Bradley conservative MP for Mansfield. On the lines of George Orwell and 1984 all MPs will take part in re-education classes because someone somewhere has been allowed to assume they are all racist to varying degrees. They call it “Unconcious Bias Training. If anything was designed to awaken bias in me this would be it. Who is the wet leaf in government that dreamt this up. Who allows this virus to infect Parliament where partiality (bias) is the norm. Essential to arrive at a workable policy for anything. No doubt this UBT is now rife in the real world of modern day UK.

    Is our host aware of it, have you attended part one and are you intent on taking part in subsequent brain washing sessions. We who are paying for it have every right to hear about it from you and your attitude to it. Never mind Covid this is the most dangerous and horrifying news I have heard to date.

    • agricola
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I see that some in government are intent on selling off the family ARM silver. Not the short sighted brexit future I signed up for, nor does it bode well for a sovereign UK. What is the point of a silicon triangle if it’s content belongs to somebody else.

      • Ian@Barkham
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        +1 Second chance to correct a big, big mistake, but are the listening

    • beresford
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Also being reported that they are considering dropping the word ‘Empire’ from the OBE and MBE in the name of ‘inclusivity’. How can this nonsense continue in the teeth of the opposition of the majority of the British public, we were never consulted.

    • Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I think all parts of the civil service are doing this.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • rose
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      If it is Parliament inflicting this horrid practice on MPs then I would guess it is not the Government behind it but the committee on which the Speaker and others sit.

  62. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    A neighbour works in a local care home. She is tested every week.

    It is obviously important to protect vulnerable people – like some people in care homes – from the virus. For the rest of us, we need to protect ourselves and each other. So, yes to social distancing where practical, to wearing masks where it is not practical, to hand sanitizers and general cleaning etc., but NO to schools closing and lockdowns.

  63. Sharon Jagger
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The idea of stopping care home visiting sounds cruel to me. Perhaps the elderly in question, where possible might be asked their opinion?

    My daughter-in-law’s mum is a very vulnerable person. She decided a month or two ago that she would take her chances with COVID. She decided that cuddling her grandchildren, going out to lunch and social distancing with friends was preferable to climbing the walls with depression at home. She took personal responsibility for herself which so many elderly in care homes are being denied.

    I think the biggest issue at stake is the utterly flawed pcr test. There are other independent scientists who are pulling their hair out looking on at the antics of the government’s terrible data recording. Matt Hancock isn’t even quoting from the government data board correctly.

    Why will no-one listen to other opinions? We all know Neil Ferguson has interests in keeping the virus going because Gates is part funding his department and we all know Gates wants to make money on a vaccine. But Ferguson is not a one man band, why does no-one seem to have any critical thinking or the courage to act?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      +1
      Why is Parliament allowing all this to happen?

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      What you said is exactly right. We used to visit our elderly relatives care homes just to make sure they were treating them well.

      Every day there was a new problem. So we dread to think what would have happen if we didn’t go.

  64. Stephen Priest
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Sent to WHO and Matt Hancock and Boris by my wife
    Hydroxychloroquine efficacy proved yet you allow people to die as you do not tell the world to use this readily available medicine AT THE CORRECT PRESCRIPTION RATE.
    People who have published incorrect trials with incorrect dosages which have poisoned the recipients should be put on trial as they have killed thousands of people because of political bias.
    New tests have shown that it reduces mortality. Doctors in Switzerland use it and it has reduced the death rate of their citizens. There is plenty of evidence going right back to march, but because Donald Trump suggested its use, the left wing media has done everything to stop it.
    When will the WHO actually help to reduce the covid deaths by recommending GPs should be able to prescribe these medicines to their patients at the first sign of covid? Apparently people are still dying of Covid – currently Israel and Spain. What are you going to do about it?
    Vaccines are being rushed through when their efficacy is unknown and untested, yet a drug which has been around for years is pushed aside due to political bias.
    2020/08/28/covid19-breaking-news-august-28-2020-new-belgian-large-cohort-study-shows-hydroxychloroquine-significantly-reduces-mortality
    I am sure your researchers will be able to find more tests and testimonials to show the medicine works especially with zinc and zithromax if given early at the correct dosage. WORLD HEALTH – Please live up to your name.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Sir John,

      Please allow this link

      https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.106144

      it is to the Catteau et al paper that Stephen Priest refers. It is electronically published now with open access (at least currently), its official publication date will be October.

      Reply This site does not offer medical advice

      • Caterpillar
        Posted September 21, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Reply noted.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Stephen Priest,

      I guess Mr Hancock and Mr Johnson may not be aware of the interplay of protocol development (observational studies and sharing by an international community of doctors) and ‘science’ (double blind trials). Treatment protocols are developed (often off-label and in combination) after a drug has been licensed for a specific use. Moreover observational studies of such protocols can guide future ‘science’. As you indicate the interesting observational studies are low dose, short-period on patients without the underlying conditions associated with the the risks of high dose hydoxychloroquine; under such situations the observational studies are positive.

      As an aside, I think the Australian prophylaxis investigation for high risk health workers has two months to run. Hopefully there will be sufficient data to inform the prophylactic use.

    • Backofanenvelope
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure you know the answer – TDS!

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      As reported by Delores Cahill (leading EU prof of medicine, some months ago on the Delingpole podcasts.)

      (Plus vits A, D and C.)

      It was demonised by the Leftist media and intelligentsia once Trump endorsed it. That’s why we don’t have it.

  65. William Long
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I find it incredible that some of this still needs saying, particularly the need for isolation of Covid-19 from the rest of the Hospital system, but the last thing the NHS seems to want to do is to make itself available to the non-Covid-19 sick.

    • Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      If a nation’s health service does not serve all of its nationals then is it really a National Health Service ?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        No.
        It has proved to be a form of theft and redistribution.
        Shame on our mendacious politicians.

      • rose
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        If the NHS is stuffed full of Labour activists, does it really want the Government to be seen to succeed?

      • Fred H
        Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Postcode lottery is a kind term for a Health Service Farce.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      +1

  66. Mike Stanley
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I might suggest that you recommend to Matt Hancock that he reads an article by Dr Mike Yeadon regarding the subject of false positives which seem to suggest that Mr Hancock has totally misunderstood how the test results relate to actual cases or is relying on innumerate advisers:

    Allow me to explain the impact of a false positive rate of 0.8% on Pillar 2. We return to our 10,000 people who’ve volunteered to get tested, and the expected ten with virus (0.1% prevalence or 1:1000) have been identified by the PCR test. But now we’ve to calculate how many false positives are to accompanying them. The shocking answer is 80. 80 is 0.8% of 10,000. That’s how many false positives you’d get every time you were to use a Pillar 2 test on a group of that size.

    The effect of this is, in this example, where 10,000 people have been tested in Pillar 2, could be summarised in a headline like this: “90 new cases were identified today” (10 real positive cases and 80 false positives). But we know this is wildly incorrect. Unknown to the poor technician, there were in this example, only 10 real cases. 80 did not even have a piece of viral RNA in their sample. They are really false positives.

    I’m going to explain how bad this is another way, back to diagnostics. If you’d submitted to a test and it was positive, you’d expect the doctor to tell you that you had a disease, whatever it was testing for. Usually, though, they’ll answer a slightly different question: “If the patient is positive in this test, what is the probability they have the disease?” Typically, for a good diagnostic test, the doctor will be able to say something like 95% and you and they can live with that. You might take a different, confirmatory test, if the result was very serious, like cancer. But in our Pillar 2 example, what is the probability a person testing positive in Pillar 2 actually has COVID-19? The awful answer is 11% (10 divided by 80 + 10). The test exaggerates the number of covid-19 cases by almost ten-fold (90 divided by 10). Scared yet? That daily picture they show you, with the ‘cases’ climbing up on the right-hand side? Its horribly exaggerated. Its not a mistake, as I shall show.

    Earlier in the summer, the ONS showed the virus prevalence was a little lower, 1 in 2000 or 0.05%. That doesn’t sound much of a difference, but it is. Now the Pillar 2 test will find half as many real cases from our notional 10,000 volunteers, so 5 real cases. But the flaw in the test means it will still find 80 false positives (0.8% of 10,000). So its even worse. The headline would be “85 new cases identified today”. But now the probability a person testing positive has the virus is an absurdly low 6% (5 divided by 80 + 5). Earlier in the summer, this same test exaggerated the number of COVID-19 cases by 17-fold (85 divided by 5). Its so easy to generate an apparently large epidemic this way. Just ignore the problem of false positives. Pretend its zero. But it is never zero.

    This test is fatally flawed and MUST immediately be withdrawn and never used again in this setting unless shown to be fixed. The examples I gave are very close to what is actually happening every day as you read this.

    The full article is available at:
    https://lockdownsceptics.org/lies-damned-lies-and-health-statistics-the-deadly-danger-of-false-positives/

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Richard
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      As Dr Yeadon (former VP, Allergy and Respiratory Research Head with Pfizer Global R&D) says: “I was frankly astonished to realise [PCR is] sometimes used in population screening for diseases – astonished because it is a very exacting technique, prone to invisible errors and it’s quite a tall order to get reliable information out of it, especially because of the prodigious amounts of amplification involved in attempting to pick up a strand of viral genetic code. The test cannot distinguish between a living virus and a short strand of RNA from a virus which broke into pieces weeks or months ago.
      I believe I have identified a serious, really a fatal flaw in the PCR test used in what is called by the UK Government the Pillar 2 screening – that is, testing many people out in their communities. I’m going to go through this with care and in detail because I’m a scientist and dislike where this investigation takes me.”

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      +1 thanks you for the work – hope someone in government gets to read and understand

    • Barbara
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Vital reading for everybody

    • Mark B
      Posted September 21, 2020 at 4:16 am | Permalink

      +1

      Sir John. Your site is brilliant because of people like this. Why is it no one in parliament are asking these questions?

      • glen cullen
        Posted September 21, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        why isn’t the media asking

        • Fred H
          Posted September 21, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          they have achieved objectives?

      • Stred
        Posted September 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        This important question of the false positive rate resulting in numbers of cases ten times as high as the true cases was totally ignored in the briefing by the two chief government scientists on Monday.

  67. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Writing as one of the elderly vulnerable, let me make a few things clear. It is mainly up to me to protect myself. If the Government gives me instructions in order to protect others that is one thing. If it gives me instructions – rather than advice – in order to protect myself, it is out of order. That would be an unacceptable interference in my liberty; calculations of risk are my business, not that of Government.

    Some people say that the Government has a right to boss me around because it – on behalf of taxpayers – would have to finance a ventilator and healthcare to keep me alive. They are forgetting that I didn’t ask for or approve of health care being free at the point of consumption. It’s a system that doesn’t work, never has worked and never will work.

    It’s manifestly obvious that this country needs to spend more on health care but is unwilling to pay more in taxation. Modest charges – e.g. £20 per GDP visit, £30 per non-emergency use of A&E, £150 per annum for being a hospital in patient – would lead to people looking after themselves a bit better. Payment by credit or debit card would eliminate the need for security measures. Hospital Trusts and GP surgeries could set up charities for financing the poor.

    And why has the Secretary of State for Health still not published rates of transmission of the COVID-19 virus at religious gatherings and in public transport carriages? He must be able to make fairly reliable estimates. The sort of statement I want is “The R number is between 1.1 and 1.4 and religious gatherings and public transport carriages account for a quarter of it”.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      +1 Well said

    • MG
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Well said

    • Fred H
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      and surely track and trace etc provide some insight into who and how it was transmitted?
      Publish and shame.
      If it is mostly pub – then close them again for 2 weeks, if home gatherings become alternatives then ban alcohol sales. If transport (my son has to use London trains 3 days a week) clearly with large numbers not masked, up close and personal – then police travel.
      How else does the science informing the weak in Downing St ever imagine we can control this pandemic?
      Foreign holidays MUST stop. Return flights cancelled.
      GET IT DONE, Boris.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 21, 2020 at 4:08 am | Permalink

      A lovely post from a good person. Thank you 🙂

  68. Martin C
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    AND require foods to be supplemented with vitamin D . . .

  69. John Hatfield
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    You suggestions are far too sensible for this pathetic government John.

  70. DennisA
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    The surge is not in cases but in testing. These positive tests with minor or no illness, strongly suggest that there is greater natural immunity in the population than is given credence. The virus is not spreading, it is now being found by testing where it already is and has been.

    The RT-PCR test is not Covid specific, the ONS do not know the the true rate of positivity and specificity of the test. It is known there are many false positives, but they don’t report the numbers.

    ‘The National Clinical Director of the Scottish Government has labelled the COVID-19 coronavirus test “a bit rubbish” due to the fact it provides a positive result even if the person is no longer infectious.

    “It is positive if it finds live virus or remnants of dead virus. It can’t tell the difference.”’

    European Centre for Disease Control, ECDC: “Detection of viral RNA by PCR does not equate with infectivity, unless infectious virus particles have been confirmed through virus isolation and cultured from the particular samples.”

    The general public are given the impression that the magical R number is a gold standard tool for measuring disease progress. It isn’t.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk#how-are-r-and-growth-rates-estimated:
    “Estimates of the growth rates and R are currently updated on a weekly basis. However, they are not the only important measures of the epidemic. Both should be considered alongside other measures of the spread of disease, such as the number of new cases of the disease identified during a specified time period (incidence), and the proportion of the population with the disease at a given point in time (prevalence).”

    But they don’t know the prevalence rate.
    “To calculate the prevalence rate, we would need an accurate understanding of the swab test’s sensitivity (true-positive rate) and specificity (true-negative rate)”

    The R number is a modelling construct, reliant on assumptions, guess work and data fitting. As a result of wrongly classifying single positive tests as “cases”, the R number will increase.

    The lockdown policies cannot continue until a vaccine comes onstream, the virus will not be eliminated, any more than we have eliminated the flu virus, but we can live with it if natural immunity is allowed to take place and the evidence is already there to show that it is happening.

  71. Stephen Glasse
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard not to despair at the prospect of another national lockdown especially with the concomitant decimation of jobs, businesses, education, and lives. This is made worse by the fact that today’s Mail o. Sunday indicates that the health secretary either cannot read or is deliberately misrepresenting his own figures. Mr Hancock claims hospitalizations (which in March were circa 2500 per day) are doubling “every 7 or 8 days”. Yet the figures are: August 24 (41) 31 (52) September 7 (84) 14 (172)!!! I don’t need to tell you that 52 is not double 41 nor is 84 twice 52!
    Indeed if you take the figures from the BEGINNING of August there is no discernable trajectory: August 1(50) 8(78) 15(38) 22(25) 29(52) September 5(94) 12(143)!!! So why is the government panicking people and further eroding civil liberties? Why is Jacob Rees-Mogg going along with this? David Davis? Rishi Sunak? Hague? Etc

    • Original Chris
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      SG, this is the huge question: why are other MPs going along with this? Who is speaking out effectively about the power grab and removal of our freedoms and rights? Noone, apparently, and Bernard Jenkins is reported as saying that the government has the right policies but just needs the army to effect and enforce them. Really, Sir Bernard? Do you realise that what you seem to suggest is cementing the power of the Left over our society, using the police to aggressively impose flawed policies which have not been debated in Parliament but have been slipped through in S Instruments at night. Dictators? Police state?

    • Mark B
      Posted September 21, 2020 at 4:04 am | Permalink

      I can only think that it is done to save the Tory party.

      • MG
        Posted September 21, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        One suspects the only way the Conservative party is going to stay in power after this appalling mess is by force and/or the abandonment of elections.

  72. TooleyStu
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    SJR,

    Project FEAR:
    Fear is not real.
    It is created in your own mind.
    Do not misunderstand me, Danger is real.
    But Fear… that is a product of your own imagination.

    UK numbers – CV19(84) = 614/1,000,000 fatal = 0.061 % .. or..
    SURVIVE RATE = 99.94%

    The numbers do not stack up…
    Which is why ‘they’ have switched to ‘test numbers’..

    This has nothing to do with Health and Safety,
    It has everything to do with Power and Control.

    And Fear is the currency of Control.

    Best regards, as always,
    Tooley Stu.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 21, 2020 at 3:59 am | Permalink

      I was my local getting a few basics, and two men were having an argument. One was demanding that the other should be wearing a muzzle and that staff should be enforcing it. Quite surreal. People have totally lost it.

  73. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Surely somebody lives in Uxbridge and South Ruislip? Attend a surgery with your MP for the love of God, then self-isolate a day after Cabinet. If we could get the whole Cabinet stuck in their bedrooms for a fortnight, we might solve the problem.

  74. James Bertram
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Very disappointing, Sir John.
    (I have not read the other comments yet, but I expect many will say the same.)
    You state: ‘Now that we see cases of CV 19 rising again, with the danger that it will get back into the vulnerable community and cause more suffering and death, can we learn some of the lessons of the first time round?’
    Some of the lessons that should have been learnt (and clearly have not been learnt yet):
    – The number of deaths attributed to Covid are highly inflated (in the US, the CDC has said only 6% of their registered deaths are without co-morbidities). If likewise only 6% in the UK, then only about 2500 people in the UK have died ‘of’ Covid. – (the other 94% is largely propaganda to control the people, instil fear, and used to justify a catastrophic policy decision).
    – Currently there are 13 flu deaths to one Covid death in the UK. The flu rates are similar to most years – therefore the Government interventions have had no effect whatsoever on flu, and thus no effect on Covid either. Flu is more deadly than Covid.
    – the large number of deaths in care homes from ‘with’ Covid is because these vulnerable people were close to death anyway, had many co-morbidities, and had not died previously (as there had been a weak flu season in winter 2019/20).
    – Of those who were likely to have died in care homes, most died in the first six weeks. There are far less vulnerable people in care homes now now; and those who survived are likely to be immune.
    – a rising number of wrongly-named ‘cases’ does not translate into a rising number of hospitalisations or death. Currently Covid deaths are less than 1% of all daily deaths. THE VIRUS IS OVER, for goodness sake.
    – we have learnt to treat more serious cases better, so those hospitalised have a higher survival rate.

    Given the above, your statement: ‘ Shouldn’t we now stop all visits to Care Homes, and ask people to contact friends and relative by phone, or on line video calls which the staff can help the residents set up?’ is not only ill-informed, it is barbaric.

    Many of the deaths in care homes were not from disease but from loneliness and giving up the will to live. Too, you wish to prevent families looking after their loved ones at a time when companionship is most needed. This not only condemns the elderly to a long and miserable death, but it may well cause deep psychological damage and guilt in the family who are separated from their loved ones. This is the most appalling and inhumane intervention possible. I really do not know what you are thinking of!

    I’m sorry, but you should be ashamed. We do not need any more ludicrous Government intervention – they have done far too much harm already – and I would like to see some of them now facing criminal charges for their actions.

  75. Norman
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    End-of-life incarceration for nursing home residents, then? Sorry, Sir John, I do not agree. I suggest a more measured policy. It isn’t right to subject residents to this – they have rights, too, albeit limited by infirmity.
    I was routinely visiting my sister over 100 miles away every weekend, staying overnight in a hotel. Even though she had Covid and uneventfully recovered , I’ve no longer been allowed to visit for the foreseeable future – except when she was admitted hospital to be treated for other conditions! Yes, I had to don PPE, and avoid very close contact, but I’m sure my presence over some 3 weeks aided her recovery. Maintaining morale, as well as medical advocacy for the vulnerable is absolutely vital. She’s now back in the nursing home, wondering when, if ever, she’ll be allowed to see me again in this world.

  76. ian
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I see there will be a vote next week in parliament on whether to extend the C19 Act of 2020 or not, which way will you be voting john and if it is repealed will the people be able to see interviews from doctor and nurses working from hospitals, after all the people are paying their wages and a list of drugs and treatments that might be useful for the people to take as a prevention against the virus or to limit its effect.

  77. Anonymous
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Hancock,

    Has an estimate been made of deaths caused by lockdown ? Missed appointments for other serious illnesses, deaths by suicide and deaths by the poverty that lockdown has and will cause ?

    Have comparisons been made (weighted by age) between death by COVID 19 and death by avoiding COVID 19 and if not then why not ?

    Also …

    Has a cost/benefit analysis been made for loss of liberties, loss of quality of life and the great marches made by the Left (in the guise of BLM, zero carbonistas and the Labour party economics we have been landed with) in overturning the huge majority your party were given specifically to avert exactly this ?

    And will you be doing anything (anything at all) to avert the blame that is being heaped upon you because of a crisis caused by the lies told by the CCP.

    How long are you prepared to let capitalism bear the brunt of the criticism which was something (yet again) of the Communist’s doing ? And is humanity (yet again) to endure killings in the millions once Communism is sold to the general population as the solution to something that was created by Communism in the first place ? Because this is the way your government is going !

  78. Anna Morris
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    What with local lockdowns, useless track and tracing system, £10K fines, will it all lead to mass mutiny by the population?!

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      What with local lockdowns, useless track and tracing system, £10K fines, will it all lead to mass mutiny by the population?!


      yes, it leads to the abolishment of the global political class.

    • DavidJ
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      It needs to or our freedom is lost.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 21, 2020 at 3:54 am | Permalink

      That is what they want.

      • na
        Posted September 22, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        That is what they want.


        Hitchens says we are now in the hot phase of tyranny and our duty is all forms of peaceful protest.

  79. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Good evening John .The problem is getting others to perform and always has been . There are so many awkward people out there wanting to be negative and put a spanner in the works to prove they are right, that all have to pay .

    Isn’t it now strange that we now are the elderly . We look at those old people and see them as vulnerable. Many more of our age group need to keep in tip top health.

    I keep reading on google that Brexiteer John Redwood tears into people .why do they exaggerate . A disagreement isn’t tearing into another! Ah well jazz on radio 3 to keep cool !

  80. UKQanon
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    It is all about CONTROL and the globalist MSM which includes the left wing EU funded
    BBC have done an excellent job. Reading the comments on this blog shows the majority, not all, have been duped. Wake up people.
    As I have mentioned here many times “News is not what happens, It is what a fairly small group of people DECIDE is news”
    It will all be over on November 4th.

    • DavidJ
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Indeed; too many are sleep walking into disaster and I don’t mean the virus.

  81. M Davis
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Don’t expect anyone to listen!

  82. Rods
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Where Covid-19 mainly affects the over 65s with one or more comorbidities, I agree with your suggestions in protecting the vulnerable with the following caveats:

    I’ve been reading about the accuracy of the RT-PCR tests & draw you attention to the following: Firstly from an ONS report on false +/-ves where they state:
    “While we do not know the true sensitivity and specificity of the test because COVID-19 is a new virus, our data and related studies provide an indication of what these are likely to be.”

    Section 5 they go into more detail with the following:

    “Test sensitivity measures how often the test correctly identifies those who have the virus, so a test with high sensitivity will not have many false-negative results. Studies suggest that sensitivity may be somewhere between 85% and 98%.”

    “Even if all these positives were false, specificity would still be 99.96%.”

    As testing is increased & the prevalence of the virus decreases then 0.04% will increasingly be false +ves. Now say you went ahead with Operation Moonshot & tested everybody every week then 67m * 0.04% = 26800 false +ves a week creating a false casedemic.

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/methodologies/covid19infectionsurveypilotmethodsandfurtherinformation

    The second issue is from the report Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine, Oxford on what PCR +ves actually mean: If the virus has been detected in a person they go into useful detail on why this gives no indication if the person is infectious.

    https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/pcr-positives-what-do-they-mean/

    These two points alone show that more & more people could be unnecessarily quarantined where they have had the virus at some point, but are long past the point when they were infectious.

    At the beginning of the pandemic I can understand the Government acting cautiously where Chinese data suggested a 3% mortality rate, but this has now been lowered to the high end of normal Influenza in the 0.2-0.6% range which we don’t lockdown for. I understand that every death for friends & family is a sad personal tragedy but there has to be a balance, so life can continue for the majority of people.

    I hope the Government will think long & hard at the further damage that will be done to this country, if they lockdown again, in terms of additional non-Covid-19 illnesses & deaths where people aren’t getting treated & also long term disruption due to increasing business shutdowns & the resultant failures & the associated job losses. Currently the mortality rate is very low (a measure of infection rates in its own right) in relation to the number of PCR confirmed Covid-19 cases.

  83. DavidJ
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Matt Hancock and others in government would be well advised to watch the videos of/by Judy Mikovits including her treatment for speaking out. Hopefully they may still be found on the web.

  84. Blazes
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    When you guys are ready you might think about joining the ROI- as a young nation we are striving ahead- have lots of know how and full of potential.

  85. Richard
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    A good letter Sir John, although isolating the elderly in Care Homes has undoubtedly cased many deaths. Lockdown Sceptics today gives an example:
    “In one case… an elderly lady in reasonable health was locked in her room for many hours each day in a care home on the south coast, refused all visitors, deprived of contact with other residents, and eventually went on hunger strike, refusing even to drink water. She died in the most wretched circumstances which were only indirectly a product of the virus – and yet, her death certificate reportedly claims she had Covid.”

    Even Dr Fauci has now endorsed Vitamins D & C. I have seen no-one argue against Zinc (or Quercetin from eg onions, apples). How are these more dangerous than using social isolation, a recognised method of torture?

  86. Shane
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    If you want to know about freedom and taking back control you only have to read the Irish Proclamation of Independence from one hundreds years ago.. it’s all there.. it Starts Irishmen and Irishwomen.. every Englishman should look.. can say no more

  87. ken
    Posted September 21, 2020 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    Look up Statutory Instrument 973 that speaks about retaining DNS from tests. Actual government legislation that comes into force on 1st October.

  88. NigelE
    Posted September 21, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Why do you bother writting to Hancock, Sir John? Does he ever reply?

    Get him in a corner and make your points. You may judge whether you should wear a mask and keep 2m apart.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 21, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      I urge caution Sir John. Beware the insane, unpredictable behaviour common.

  89. Posted September 21, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Fine weather in the Channel. Mass migration is the main policy of this government, from as far away culturally and morally as possible.

  • 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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