The hard questions that must be asked about forecasts, numbers, data and treatments

I am reproducing this article which was published earlier today on ConservativeHome:

Throughout this pandemic, I have been dismayed by the poor data and the misleading forecasts produced by some of the official advisers to the government.

On Saturday evening, like many people, I was left trying to read graphs purporting to give the reasons to justify a major curtailment of personal and business freedom, only to be unable to see the varying scales, the sources of the data or the relevant dates. There were as often glaring omissions. Why, for example, are we never given up to date figures of bed occupancies for the NHS either nationally or regionally?

Over the last six months, we have been shown some gloomy forecasts that proved wrong, regular changes in the way figures like the numbers of deaths are computed, misleading international comparisons with countries that compile data differently and a refusal by the advisers to engage in public with legitimate professional concerns of other medical and scientific experts who take a different view.

We hear a stupid mantra that we must follow the science. There is no single agreed scientific view of this disease because it is new and talented scientists and medics are wrestling to understand it and to work out how best to treat it. There are healthy disagreements between them as they seek better knowledge.

It is the worst kind of talking down to tell us there is one perfect settled scientific view which leads to one simple policy prescription of lock down. When I asked about the forecast of four thousand future daily deaths and the huge range in estimates for both deaths and cases into December, there was no convincing answer. The truth is that the government advisers do not know how many cases or deaths there will be next week or month. It turns out the 4000 forecast was based on out of date data, and the forecast build up towards 4000 has already been shown to produce figures that were far too high.

I fully accept that for a minority this is a dangerous and potentially lethal disease. For most, it is at worst a flu-like illness; for others, there are no symptoms at all. I am seeking changes to the way that the government responds to the pandemic. I wish them to do all that a government can to save lives, and to help the vulnerable find the protection they need and want from the disease.

I also wish to see the Government avoid measures which do substantial damage to jobs and livelihoods. As we saw, the last national lockdown was unable to stop the virus spreading again come the autumn. The Government’s own advisers who think the lockdown itself brought down case numbers and deaths substantially accept that a tough national lockdown does not solve the problem. They recommend continuing with various lockdown measures as long as we have no cure or preventative vaccine. Others think the virus had peaked at the point where the lockdown was imposed, and maybe the weather and other factors played a part in its temporary demise.

I am urging the government to work closely with medics and pharmaceutical researchers to identify more treatments to cut the death rates. There are various steroids, anti-virals, clot busters and antibody treatments that have now been found to help, or may emerge from trials as useful additions to treatment.

Health professionals have also now discovered using non invasive ways of administering extra oxygen are often best. There are also issues about whether Vitamin D and zinc supplements can help. I have urged more emphasis on qualified people seeking new ways of treating and preventing. There is much medical and pharmaceutical talent in the UK, and it may well make more breakthroughs, as it did with the introduction of steroid treatment.

I have urged better data. The basis of defining a death has been changed several times during the pandemic, and there are issues about whether Covid-19 deaths have been overstated whilst understating other lung infections and serious co morbidities in the mainly elderly people dying. In the early stages, the authorities boosted death numbers from Covid-19 by directing its inclusion on a death certificate even if there was no confirmatory test for its presence, based on reported symptoms.

There was also a wish to ascribe all deaths to Covid-19 where it was present, even though the elderly person concerned may have died from one or more of several other bad conditions they had. Some of the most common tests for the disease may also report false positives, which needs to be taken into account when examining figures for deaths and cases. The latest forecasts for cases and deaths take the form of very wide ranges where the upper figure is three times the lower figure, making them meaningless as planning forecasts.

There is an absence of reliable public data on hospital bed occupancy, which seems to be the main worry of NHS management and the scientific advisers. We must not close the economy down to save the NHS if it can now cope thanks to the building of the Nightingales, to greatly expanded intensive care facilities and recruitment of many more staff. Why are we not using some hospitals as isolation hospitals specialising in Covid-19, and leaving the rest of the system free of the disease to reassure patients needing many other treatments?

What we do know is a lockdown is very damaging to jobs and business. The first national lock down took around a quarter off our national income and output – an unprecedented fall. We cannot afford to do that again, as government rightly spent a fortune on subsidising public services and private sector employment to cushion the blow.

I am pressing for substantial changes to lockdown plans. I see no need to close outdoor sports facilities. I think a range of specialist retailers should stay open with suitable measures to cut risks of infection spreading. Pubs and restaurants should be allowed to sell drink as well as food for take away. Government should work with business and offer help to improve air extraction so more can function safely indoors.

I do support the schools staying open as this is important to the development and future prospects of children and teenagers. This disease is usually very mild in young people. I have urged the resumption of non Covid-19 work by the NHS as Ministers seek, as many more people die of causes other than Covid-19 every day.

In order to reduce the spread of the virus everyone needs to reduce the number of social contacts they have in enclosed spaces with poor air. This requires buy-in by the public. There is no agreed set of laws and controls on our everyday movements that will guarantee success. Government needs to persuade people to reduce social contacts rather than try to find a set of laws they can enforce against the wishes of a significant minority. It could also help by assisting more people and businesses to live with the virus for all the time we have no cures and vaccines.

Can we have more UV sanitising systems deployed in public places? Can we have more assistance to adapt air systems in commercial premises to extract dirty air promptly to make them safer? Can we have some better understanding from government that we need all the small businesses that serve us, and they are the ones that are in danger of being hounded out of work by clumsy generalised lockdowns.

We can adapt our lives to living with the virus by many small steps of a practical nature. This battle cannot be won by taking too many liberties away, and lecturing people to stop their social and business lives. My constituents want the government to work with them to help protect the vulnerable and make normal life safer for the rest. There is no silver bullet or single answer. We all need to help, and that requires a general spirit of collaboration, tolerance and commonsense.

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112 Comments

  1. ian
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    You are capitulating to the devil and his horsemen.

    • sam
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      exactly but I head that Mr Redwood will vote against further lockdowns and I hope many of his colleagues also unless the Tory plan, along with The great Reset of the WEF is to totally destroy private business leaving only state controlled enterprise ie communism?
      To destroy millions of jobs does not equate to 40,000 odd deaths from a bad flu virus.
      The Emperor has no clothes.

  2. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Have already made a comment at 10.40am to your Dear Constituent posting so will not repeat it.

    It concerns the suggested NHS Trace App, its range, and the suggestion/fact that it can pick up signals through walls and other barriers, which could lead to thousands of people being told to isolate incorrectly, because their neighbours have tested positive..

  3. Poor but happy
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Most people can see who is ok.
    Harper seems ok.
    It’s in the eyes.
    You dont need to write so many words.
    You just need to stand up with confidence that
    Most people can detect honesty.
    Be confident in yourself.
    Stay cool. Relax. Be confident.
    Its a shock realising that the world is not as we thought
    You need to be strong and very cool.

  4. Edward2
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou Sir John for another excellent article.

    I would encourage everyone to check out LBC radio and the debate between a SAGE scientist and LBC presenter Maajid Nawaz which took place on the 31st October
    2020.
    It has a headline of “Maajid Nawaz corners epidemiologist over cost of second lockdown”

  5. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    This is a fairly earnest attempt at blame-shifting, I think.

    Quality evidence has been available from around the world, and channelled by WHO if nothing else.

    Plenty of countries are not in this dire mess, but all that John does is to invent abstruse reasons why his party’s government should pay little attention to them.

    • DennisA
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      There is indeed quality evidence from around the world, but unless it has the UNoWHO stamp, it is derided and dismissed. The media ignores clear evidence from a whole army of doctors and scientists who disagree with SAGE and the government.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        WHO say ‘don’t lockdown’.

    • steve
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      MiC

      Have to agree, again.

      Agreeing with left wing people is worrying, perhaps I am unwell or have somehow woken up in a parallel universe.

    • Philip P.
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense. The article is very moderate and doesn’t blame anyone. It suggests we need a rethink, and a more intelligent way of dealing with the situation than what’s been advised by the mathematical modellers and their fellow ‘experts’. They’ve now admitted they don’t take into account the economy, i.e. people’s livelihoods. Just listening to them, not to a wider range of expertise, is no way to run a country. That is where Johnson has failed.

  6. ian
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Liverpool going into an Army lockdown for test and trace which is now mandatory, and so will be house arrest.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      I can’t really see the British army forcing people to have a Covid test.
      I actually think it’s a method of getting everyone’s DNA.

      • steve
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        “I actually think it’s a method of getting everyone’s DNA.”

        I have to admit the thought did cross my mind, if that is the motive we’re being coerced into very, very dangerous territory and we’re in trouble.

        Sinister forces + global DNA data could potentially equal genetic targeting. With something like that I’d prefer to resort to mistrust and suspicion rather than blind faith.

        Perhaps gov’t should be apprehended and interrogated to establish what the hell exactly they’ve got themselves, and the rest of us involved with.

        • Hope
          Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          Ian, you would think this would be a slam dunk to capture illegal immigrants who disappeared from four star hotels and escaped deportation. Yet 250,000 lost to May and 56,000 lost to Rudd claimed the Home Office.

          Their DNA would give a clue to where they came from. That is if anyone is actually trying.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          Under what law can they force a test?

          We are not a totalitarian state yet.

          • Fred H
            Posted November 4, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            but almost there!

        • sam
          Posted November 4, 2020 at 12:29 am | Permalink

          perhaps this?
          https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/9253/pdf/
          Written evidence from Dr Lisa Forsberg*, Dr Isra Black**, Dr Thomas Douglas*, Dr Jonathan Pugh* (COV0220)
          Compulsory vaccination for Covid-19 and human rights law

    • DennisA
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      In common with North Korea, people in Wales are not allowed to leave the country. Or even cross the road, in the Welsh-English border towns.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Whats not to like?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted November 4, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Nice one, Fred 😆

    • sam
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 12:29 am | Permalink

      the iron curtain has descended

  7. Dave
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    What did Churchill say? ‘Lies, damn lies, and statistics.’

    Nothing changes.

    • hefner
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      … except that Churchill never said that. It might have been Mark Twain, Sir Charles Dilke, Benjamin Disraeli, … or Baron Bramwell before those.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        i’ve said it quite a few times….

  8. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    It’s becoming clear just what an utter shambles this government’s response to the epidemic is.

    Even in the matter of PPE for front line clinical staff, it’s acquisition is in the hands of the multi-layered, shell company model, often with opaque structures, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands – and we all know why – involving intermediary companies, all taking their cut.

    Surprise, surprise, £45 million has gone missing, which should have bought millions of masks, but but which have never arrived, and now one company is taking action in California for fraud.

    So the UK cannot even get such essentials for front line workers.

    Little wonder then, that such effort was put into discrediting the public wearing of masks, in order to stifle demand for them.

    This is pretty outrageous. In all countries which have done well, the widespread public wearing of masks has been absolutely central.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      No criticism of the role of the NHS and Public Health England in this I notice.
      Tens of thousands of well paid administrative staff who have the actual job to manage these issues.
      PS
      WTO who you praise endlessly say masks are of marginal benefit in their Interim Guiance document 29th January 2020.

      • hefner
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I thought that good science was able to be questioned. Isn’t 29/01/2020 quite early in the pandemic. Isn’t possible that some other practitioners outside WHO found otherwise later on? Or are you considering experts’ comments only when they go the way of your biases?

        • Edward2
          Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          Hef,
          Your desire to troll me makes you burp a quick reply that has no relationship to what I said.
          Point One,
          Martin tries to place the blame on the Conservatives at every opportunity.
          The procurement of PPE, which was his main complaint, is the role of PHE.
          Not Boris.

          Point two
          Martin has been consistently claiming the WHO advice should be followed.
          He claimed masks were “absolutely central”
          WHO do not agree.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          @hef Edward was answering Marty’s accusation that the gowns and masks weren’t available early in the response at which time the WHO guidance was still in place.

          The WHO guidance changed around the same time that we were all told to start covering up.

        • bill brown
          Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          Hefner

          Edward 2 criticises everybody about their biases but always forgets his own, with little factual evidence to cover his arguments or sources.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 4, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

            Read my reply to your pal Hefner.
            My post is factual.

            Prove me wrong then bill.

    • steve
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      MiC

      “It’s becoming clear just what an utter shambles this government’s response to the epidemic is.”

      Have to agree. For whatever reason, their response isn’t working.

      My own view is that for some sinister intent this situation has been artificially changed from syndemic to pandemic. I tend to share sentiment with Lord Jonathan Sumption on this, it has the hallmarks of some kind of coup for authoritarian control.

      I certainly don’t trust that SAGE lot….people whom nobody had ever heard of until this so-called crisis. Something is seriously amiss and Boris is implicated, right up to his neck.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      We’re not wearing PPE masks though, we’re wearing cloth face coverings that we can make ourselves, so a decision whether the public has to wear face coverings or not has absolutely zero impact on the availability of medical grade masks. So I don’t see what your point is.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        No, most people are buying PPE.

        Reread and try harder.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 4, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          No we are not! Who says no masks, no lockdowns.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      it’s acquisition

      I seem to recall you mistakenly attempted to correct someone’s grammar recently.

      The possessive pronoun ‘its’ has no apostrophe.

    • Ed M
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      Most countries in the West are struggling, not just the UK.
      This is ultimately a scientific (/ medical) problem to be solved – not a political one.
      True, countries in Asia doing better, but they were more prepared because of similar viruses in recent years.

      • Ed M
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        Can UK government not set up some special reward scheme (I don’t know what – be creative) to whichever scientist or group of scientists in the UK find an efficient scientific / medical solution to the virus.

        If a scientist here cracks it, it wouldn’t just help our people (and people across the world) but be huge kudos to the UK.

  9. ChrisS
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    This is very well considered and sensible contribution to the debate.

    The experiences in recent weeks in the North of England have shown that a significant proportion of the population in those areas are not following basic guidelines or the legal constraints that have been imposed locally. The results are there for all to see and everyone in England is now suffering the consequences of the bad behaviour of a significant minority.

    At least there are now some signs that the local measures may slowly be starting to have an effect. Not before time.

    The message has to be that the government can do very little unless the people follow the rules. Sadly, in many instances, this is falling on deaf ears and may well result in even more draconian measures being necessary.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      There is no problem in the north if England. Look at the deaths. Normal.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and new “cases” (by sample date) are now declining.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Well..let’s think now.
        Normal deaths.
        But northern SMEs are considered to be “less productive” than those in the south. So did they deserve to be punished as Carney said?
        That virus, you know, is uber, uber clever.
        Can sniff out a wobbly SME at 6’.
        The govt. is busily storing up the grapes of wrath I’d say.

      • bill brown
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson

        IS this your usual contributions no actual evidence to back it up, as the figures I have seen from NHS England actually contradicts your statement on the North of England.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 4, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          So what evidence have you seen Bull? Why did you not just present it to contradict what I had said?

    • sam
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      a positive PCR test does not indicate that the person is ill. The PCR test looks for dead bits of viral strands and was never meant to be a diagnostic tool. It cannot distinguish between different types of coronaviruses of which one is the common cold. This is why hardly anyone is dying. People are getting paid to have tests. These positive tests are then the excuse to keep us locked down.

  10. Polly
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Tolerance is obviously desirable so long as everyone is tolerant.

    But when some individuals are intolerant, for others to be tolerant becomes a serious weakness.

    Polly

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      It’s called ‘surrender’ or ‘submission’.

  11. DennisA
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    An excellent summary and an accurate description of “the science”. I have presented similar arguments to my own Conservative MP. He tends not to reply.

  12. The Prangwizard
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Government has decided England must have national instructions. It is of course a blunt instrument and whichever rules it decides upon will be criticised. If rules are imposed on our artificial regions or by county boundaries anomalies and resentments will still exist worsened by tiering systems.

    What merit is there therefore within national instructions to have local discretionary relaxations? As an example a particular small town or village may have perfectly safe surrundings for games to take place and cases in the area may be low. A local town may be similarly able to keep a swimming pool open. Why not let the local authority decide if such activities can go ahead, setting out numbers whi can attend etc?

  13. Caterpillar
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    So the two experts under MP questions claim one thing, and minutes later Carl Heneghan tweets graph to contrary.

    https://twitter.com/carlheneghan/status/1323640799712694273/photo/1

    This appears a little too serious to be ignored.

    Data really needs to be clarified and torn apart before tomorrows vote.

  14. J Bush
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    With regard to “forecasts, numbers, data and treatments” NHS whistleblowers are starting to come out of the woodwork and providing real NHS data, which flatly contracts what Valance, Whitty and Sage are claiming.

    My local hospital has lots of empty waiting rooms and the car park, which is usually overflowing, is half empty. Outpatient appointments are not happening. There are an increasing number of members of the public reporting the same thing.

  15. steve
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    It isn’t pandemic, it’s syndemic, Shield the vulnerable and let the rest of us get on with our lives and supporting the economy.

    Also re-educate those of poor personal hygiene, shaming if necessary. CCTV in washrooms should put the spotlight on those who don’t wash their hands etc.

    Make spitting a criminal offence, and make a criminal offence of assault to cough on someone else.

    Common sense, personal hygiene, and consideration for others is not dependent on data.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Steve I am amazed at the number of people who do not use the hand sanitizer provided at the entrance of shops and in particular Supermarkets. They should not be allowed entry without doing so.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted November 4, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        |Dear fedup–However, the sanitisers I get asked to use are probably useless because they (historically) mention bacteria (of no relevance whatsoever) and even then only say the “sanitiser” “helps”. So far as I am concerned if it doesn’t say it kills viruses it’s not worth using. A well-known superstore sells the good stuff on its shelves but puts the cheap probably useless stuff at the entrance.

  16. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Very common sense view of it, and you seem to be losing patience with the idiots and headless chickens.
    Our impression from out here is that there is a mix of arts graduates, lesser experienced miscellaneous individuals who know something about property development or IT, and so-called scientists who are being tied in knots by various public sector individuals.
    Motives I am sure are mixed – get rid of Johnson, get rid of the Tories, outflank Labour as NHS buddies, suck up to the MSM.. anything except taking a balanced non-partisan position for 99.9% of the population.

    Most people will come out of this wanting a fresh start with fresh faces and a new party.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it gives no confidence when the graph axes were hidden – these people can’t even read an x-y graph! The scientists involved should at least have road tested the monitors they were presenting. Perhaps, like the data, it was half baked.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        I thought that was my telly.

      • Original Chris
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        It comes back to this point yet again: they think we are stupid and can be fooled. What contempt they hold us in.

        However, it is Johnson who has appeared very foolish, being “seduced” by that team of modellers and their graphs and doom laden predictions.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 4, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Boris said ‘ I can’t fool the masses with that load of nonsense – give me convincing graphs that illustrate the doom!’
        And so a few amateur excel graphers chucked some stuff together in a hurry while he delayed and delayed.

  17. Iain Gill
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    well said john

  18. forthurst
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    In the week up to Oct 21, 97% of contacts of Covid-19 positive cases were contacted by local health protection teams, whereas the corresponding figure for those contacted by the government’s all-purpose czarina with a PPE degree was 58.1%. Isn’t it time to focus test and trace exclusively on local-based tracing so we can ditch excuses about people not picking up their phones etc and get control of this epidemic.

  19. Martyn G
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Sir J, you say “We can adapt our lives to living with the virus by many small steps of a practical nature”. Exactly so – I shall soon be 80 and have no intention of becoming a prisoner in my own house and dependant on others for support.
    I shall be taking every sensible, practical step to avoid the virus but beyond that, I shall live my own life as best I can for the years left to me. After all, eventually we all must die.

  20. agricola
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    A combination of this piece, Dear Constituent, and the piece I submitted that did get moderated a day late would seem to hold the answers to a more life and cost effective way forward. I feel genuinely sympathetic towards Boris, having to thread his way through the maze of conflicting views further exacerbated by a bevy of fireside generals in the media. The extreme doom mongers do seem to be supported by some of the evidence coming out of Liverpool. Perhaps when the Army have done their job of testing everyone in Liverpool and the result is clear, government should gather at Chequers for two or three days soonest and reassess where we are, and how we should head forward. There are many factors involved in Covid and they are being added to as time passes so I think our approach should be flexible and responsive rather than blanket lockdown one size fits all.

  21. Bryan Harris
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    That ought to prompt a plan-B or indeed a plan-C out of the government… IF NOT then they are not trying…!

    Why do the ‘experts’ keep telling us that we should follow Europe in having a total lockdown, when we have a different strain of the virus — Something they fail to mention, and surely needs consideration in the grand scheme of things.

    There are many scientific investigations being done that do not get accepted because they are not published anywhere, because the medical establishment won’t allow any initiative or contrary views being published that the medical establishment don’t want aired. This is one reason we are not seeing real solutions. KNOWLEDGE IS BEING SUPPRESSED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT.

  22. Andy
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    We have known since the time of the ancient Greeks that the Earth is a sphere. It’s been hundreds of years since man first travelled all around it. It’s been decades since spacecraft have flown in orbit around it and satellites have taken pictures of it. And yet some people still insist the Earth is flat. It isn’t.

    Science is not always right. Forecasts are not always correct (they are forecasts after all) but this notion that the science must always be wrong or the forecasts must be incorrect just because you choose not to believe them is deeply unhelpful. In any case you almost never have any evidence for your opinions beyond your deeply misguided belief that you are never wrong.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      The ‘scientists’ are careful to say the data they are presenting is not a ‘prediction’ ie ‘forecast’ – so what is it?

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

        Looking right and left before crossing a road does not mean that you will not be killed.

        A plane might crash on you.

        However, that does not make looking before crossing pointless.

        To the infantile absolutists who make up the covid19 precaution sceptics, it very much does though.

  23. Malcolm White
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Dear John,
    I agree with you.
    I am totally sick of so-called independent experts. I am not able to recall a single instance where they have actually been close to being on the money. They were wrong about the ERM, the euro, the financial crash, the effect of the referendum, Brexit outcomes and now Covid-19.
    The one thing that remains clear, is that they will still have jobs at the end of this no matter how it turns out. None of them will be sacked because their predictions didn’t come to pass. They’ll probably get a gong of some sort and a fat pension.Whereas those in the private sector will have to shoulder the burden and take the losses.
    It’s my opinion that the nanny state should take a step back and let individuals start taking responsibility for their actions and welfare across the board.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      You should have read what the learned people actually said, instead of the gross caricatures of their words which were endlessly parroted by the Leave campaigns and by other right wing dissemblers.

      E.g. Remain campaigns: “The UK’s exit from the European Union contributes nothing to the stability of peace around the world”

      Leave campaigns: “Remain claim that leaving will bring WWIII”

      • Edward2
        Posted November 4, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Still obsessed by the referendum Martin.

  24. Original Chris
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    The poor data has been compounded by the misuse of that data. With the modelling, the “rubbish in, rubbish out” warning fits perfectly.

  25. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Two out of three tests are re tests.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      shhh……the mad scientists don’t want to tell you that.

  26. Richard
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    The data on the ONS up to October 16th.
    Respiratory Deaths in the UK for Weeks 36-42 (September until Mid October):
    2019 – 7813
    2018 – 7413
    2017 – 7947
    2016 – 7532
    2015 – 7623
    2015-19 Average (mean) – 7665.6
    2020 – 6418.
    Therefore 2020 is 16% down on the 5 year average.

  27. Barbara
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    A very fair letter.

    There is another hard auestion which must be asked, too – why are doctors presenting ‘evidence’ of how to get round human rights objections to C19 vaccines being made mandatory?

    https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/9253/pdf/

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Because some doctors want government to get round the Human Rights objections to compulsory vaccination, maybe?

      But the Right want rid of the Human Rights Act anyway, so why should they care?

  28. Heavensent
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    What a whinge- why don’t you get together with like minded in the House irrespective of party affiliations and seek to make the necessary change. Just look at all of the changes that are already happening- tonight the buffoon Trump will be dumped then next week we’ll know the detail of the new agreement with the EU- and following that before the end of the month scientists with Pfizer Pharma in Cork will have produced the much needed vaccination- It’s all looking good- so just do your job only do it in the House instead of laying it on the public

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      So Trump with the numbers to win as soon as the rep state gives up and calls the 4 results. No deal with the EU and no vaccine.
      Are you the Angel with whom we are wrestling?

  29. Mark B
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Sir John, but they are not listening.

  30. Margaret bj
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Of course the last sentence is the key. Individual responsibility doesn’t match a general understanding of cross infection.The older Nurse has an ongoing awareness of preventing viral transmission.As one of these dinosaurs we were.lectured from day 1 of our training and practiced prevention daily.It seems that many in the.medical/Nursing professions do not concentrate on these basics…ITU staff excepted.If we as medically qualified professionals all but in a Nursing perspective were not actually undermined by people like yourself who like to omit the knowledge and input of a whole profession we wouldn’t have these who keep telling us that science degrees are all and shout be centered on.zIt may offend some that Florence Nightingale was upper middle class and didn’t get a first at Oxford but the science based prevention of infection was initiated by this woman. Lab staff enjoy do the work are not registered medical practitioners who you seem to laud above all others.

    • M Brandreth- Jones
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Do you realise that we have Nurse prescribing ,assessing response of drugs , taking appropriate action , have far more cases to reflect on than the newly qualified RMP( To you Dr which is the grace and favour title for the RMP) We have been suggesting many things for years and trying out drugs , monitoring response in different situations and these politicians totally ignore our input which if listened to could have prevented many disasters. The snob value of your comments totally undermines much scientific / medical work done by Nurses.
      A medical director this morning on the BBC, to top it all said that Nurses were there just to make the patient comfortable. Those who join those inflated arrogant snobs should actually shadow the real Nurse and learn something.

  31. Christine
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    John, please watch the latest video by Dr Chris Martenson THE UGLY TRUTH: Your health isn’t their priority and ask our Government why drugs that have been proved by clinical data to reduce the effects of COVID are not being administered to those testing positive, they must be administered early to work? It’s got so bad that if Dr Chris even mentions one drug, that has been safely used for over 70 years, his videos are removed by YouTube.

    Something just isn’t right and we need someone in authority to stand up and ask the relevant questions that our media is failing to do.

    Thank you for all you are doing to highlight the lack of data we are being provided with.

  32. steve
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    JR

    “There was also a wish to ascribe all deaths to Covid-19 where it was present”

    Indeed ! Such policy is good for creating fear.

  33. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    R = 1; sure the lockdown will be abandoned?

  34. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I have to say that on this issue, Mr. Redwood, yours is a sole, sane voice in an ocean of lunatics and/or idiots. Keep it up. I just wish your views got more exposure in our bloody annoying and partisan media. Of course, the BBC is the worst, but the rest are not much better.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      But hanging back from declaring the Boss and mates need removing!

  35. RichardP
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Whilst we are considering the excesses of this authoritarian government, has anyone else seen this analysis of the legality of compulsory vaccination?

    https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/9253/html/

    Should we be worried?

  36. BOF
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    The government and advisors have been wrong from day one. You should simply oppose them.

  37. ukretired123
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Examples of small businesses desperation:
    On Saturday afternoon a chimney sweep asks if it ok to come before 5pm before Boris declared Thursday Lockdown V2.
    On Monday a hairdresser had no appointments left before LDV2 but is willing to start 0630 am on Wednesday.
    Also a trip booked 3 weeks ago to the local recycling centre 15 miles away for Thursday is uncertain and maybe any of green light, Amber or Red just before a long winter closedown.
    Just when business ramps up for the Christmas the floor is taken from under feet.
    Black Friday established in USA to indicate when business go into the profit from red losses should be postponed by many years if truth be known.
    Uncertainty kills business as well as people.
    Prayer to your maker as spirituality and religion is destined to come back into fashion surely?

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Number of new cases and deaths in UK per day (7-day moving averages)
    Date Cases Deaths
    16/10 17649 122
    23/10 21926 182
    30/10 22739 265

    The rate of increase of cases is already declining rapidly. It will probably be only a short time before it peaks. The number of deaths is a lagging indicator, which will peak after the number of cases, maybe by about a month (we should check back to the first wave and see what the lag was then).

    So it looks like this second lockdown is unnecessary. Instead, we should ban sine all those activities that have a high transmission rate and no economic value (house to house visits, visits to care homes, religious services/ceremonies) and let everything else go ahead with suitable social spacing and masks.

    Don’t follow “the science”. Follow the data, making sure that we know it all. The more data that we know about transmission, the more accurately mathematical models can be calibrates and the narrower the range of forecasts can be.

    Am I the only person that believes the public finances are in a disastrous state and that we need to do something about it?

  39. Helen Smith
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    100% on isolation hospitals, it’s how we dealt with TB in days of yore. Please vote against this madness tomorrow and get Whitty and Vallance behind bars where they can do no more damage

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      You want to imprison people for doing their jobs?

  40. Richard
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    But on the bright side, at least 2020 was the year when the heroic WHO were able to crush those pesky type A & B influenza viruses everywhere on earth…
    https://apps.who.int/flumart/Default?ReportNo=6

  41. Anonymous
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Many old people are going to give up on life in the isolation of lockdown. I went to listen to them today. They are so depresses.

  42. David Magauran
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Listening this afternoons select committee I was totally unimpressed by the two ‘experts’. They did not understand why their predictions of upwards of 4000 deaths should have received so much prominence in the MSM. Do they live in their own bubble or are they just not telling the truth? Secondly, they seem to have farmed out the modelling to a number of ‘organisations’ but they are not aware how the models handle the data. I do not believe they have a grip on what the information they are being presented with, they just regurgitate it to the PM who has nor any background in quizzing the data being presented. The proposed lockdown is going to be a disaster for innumerable people. Unfortunately I believe the proposal will get passed by Parliament as most MPs will also be unable to understand the formulation of the package.

  43. Anonymous
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I held the hand of all my grandparents and parents as they died and this was the most important thing in world to them

  44. Anonymous
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Esther McVey is voting no

  45. Fred H
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Sir John you present a clear argument for refuting the Government & scientist advisers backed proposal for Lockdown. A damning list and clarification of the inaccurate and possibly wilful misreading of events portrayed with out of context and time graphs that a secondary Year 7 pupil would giggle at!
    Reject the Government proposal on Lockdown and send them away to reconsider their poor attempt at subterfuge.

  46. Tim Underwood
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Ok

    The PM has to make life and death decision everyday, even if he does not see the results of his decisions in real time he has to decide on policy. It is his job.

    He is worried ! He wants to do the best.

    Clearly, but Covid19 is not a moral decision but a decision of competence.

    What to do ?

    Mid Oct the Office of Nation Statistics (ONS) his own Government ON HIS WEB SITE said 6% of deaths in the week had CD19 on the paperwork.

    As a graduate of Greek history he might not follow mathematics so let me explain PM. That means of the 10,000 people who died in that week in the UK only 600 had CD19 on their death certificate.

    You PM are worried about the 600 but do not care about the 9,400. Really ?

    You PM are worried the 600 may grow ! But PM what about the 9,400 ?

    Your lock down policy will certainly increase the 9,400 number

    Your policy of lockdowns destroys the economy and lives of the 94%.

    Will the lockdown change the 600 number ?

    Good luck with that PM.

    Tim

  47. rose
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Every cloud has a silver lining: it is being said in America that our misfortune is flipping the youth vote to Trump. They don’t want to be shut down.

  48. Simeon
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Credit where it’s due, you are slowly moving towards a sensible view of this, but you are still some way off. On the one hand, you seem to recognise that the virus is essentially analogous to a nasty, but not brutal, strain of flu, but on the other, you stop short of calling for a full de-escalation of state interference, as you want to retain ‘suitable measures’. Your position is confused, seemingly because you want to be constructively critical.

    Constructive criticism in the correct context is valuable, but surely you must see that we are long past that point with these people, by whom I mean your party’s leadership (necessarily reflective of the wider party), and their colleagues in the establishment. Mitigating the more obvious and immediate consequences of this government’s actions is not going to resolve the fundamental problem, the consequences of which are truly dire. Keeping outdoor sporting facilities open, whilst welcome, doesn’t address the larger issue of a hamstrung economy and curtailed liberties implemented by an interfering government. You need to do much more, as I have said and, no doubt, will continue to say!

  49. Richard
    Posted November 4, 2020 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    A rather perplexing anomally is the large number of people who claim on social meia that their home PCR test kit in fact tested eg the pavement; tap water; nothing sent back unused; or that they couldn’t wait in a testing centre.
    Toby Young says that he receives “about a dozen emails like this every day” like this one: https://lockdownsceptics.org/2020/11/02/latest-news-181/#nhs-test-and-invent

    It is statistically implausible that they are all untrue. And zero doubled 30+ times is still zero, so this is another systemic failure to the PCR test, additional to the unadjusted false positives.

    Something truly is very rotten in the PCR testing system.

    • Richard
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      that their home PCR test kit in fact tested positive eg the pavement…

  50. factsandfigures
    Posted November 4, 2020 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    Sir, thank you so much for your sensible take on this subject. Personally, I was in two minds in spring. However, I have become ever more suspicious due to the suppression of critical voices by the media and tec companies. As for statistics, all I would like to ask for is: positive test results/tests administered; furthermore actual state of positive results (no symptoms, mild symptoms, hospitalisation, ICU; finally, indicate the ratio for people without known risk factors like obesity, diabetes, asthma.

  51. No Longer Anonymous
    Posted November 4, 2020 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/13100584/mps-second-lockdown-economic-impact/

    The Sun today (widest circulation paper still.)

    MPs don’t have the evidence to support a second lock down and the biggest paper in the UK knows it. The only way the government will get away with this is by shutting down the free press.

    They have to shut down the free press or they will be made accountable.

    The BBC does nothing but show lock down supporters, however reluctant they may be.

  52. MikeP
    Posted November 4, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Sir John, you ask all the right questions, you really do, and many of these have been in the minds of voters for months. It seems likely that Labour and the SNP MPs will see the Government bill go through irrespective of so many matters requiring further clarification. That’s a worry as they haven’t got the answers that you are searching for. The Select Committee session yesterday showed Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance at their most stretched for facts, figures and plausible answers.
    Do you intend to vote against the Bill today?

    Reply Yes

  53. BillM
    Posted November 4, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    The Government’s “science” is the science of cowboy tradesmen. When are they going to become professionals?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 4, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      This government are only in office thanks to the votes of actual cowboy tradesmen, taken from Farage’s shower on a list of broken undertakings.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 4, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        What total nonsense.
        The biggest election success for decades.
        A huge 80 seat majority.
        Labour with its worst election result since the 1930s
        You need to come to terms with results of elections.

  54. Simon Coleman
    Posted November 4, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes, all this is true. The content and presentation of the ‘official’ data has been shocking and, yes, the refusal of the gov’t advisers to debate with independent disease experts shows that they fear professional scrutiny. All the fraud would be exposed quickly if the mainstream media asked a few obvious questions but it now has to be accepted that they have been bought by the Great Reset globalists. There are plenty of facts but the challenge for those on the side of truth is how to get them through the wall of lies.

  55. Chris Grainger
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Excellent piece, finally we have political leadership on this subject. Let’s hope the Cabinet are reading this.

  56. Ian Shilling
    Posted November 6, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Vitamin D, C and Zinc are vital for a healthy immune system.
    Multiple clinical studies show that Vitamin D deficiency is widespread, especially among the elderly and the obese, and that Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid by around 80%.
    https://lockdownsceptics.org/2020/11/06/latest-news-185/#vitamin-d-did-a-prescribing-ban-in-care-homes-contribute-to-fatalities

    Zinc prevents viral replication within cells but needs help to get into cells with zinc ionophores for which there are several cheap, safe and effective options.

    There are multiple cheap and very effective treatments and preventions which the NHS has been banned from using by the government and NICE.

    I have compiled a list of effective treatments and preventions, together with a large range of other relative info on Lockdowns, wildly inaccurate PCR tests, Herd Immunity, Infection Fatality Rates and “Computer Model” predictions in here:
    https://ian56.blogspot.com/2020/09/everything-we-know-about-covid-campaign.html

  • 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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