Death rates and methods of control

There are a number of emails and comment around claiming the UK and the US have the highest death rates. They often go on to blame their two governments which  they do not like and argue there should have been an earlier and tougher lockdown.

The authors should check their facts. We need to look at deaths per million, not at the absolute level, as of course larger countries are likely to record more deaths than smaller countries. On the published figures Belgium has experienced the highest death rate so far, followed by Spain, and then the U.K. The US is considerably lower, below France and Italy which are a little below the U.K.

There are differences in how the figures are compiled. The UK has gone out of its way to maximise deaths attributed to CV 19 by including care home and community deaths when other countries concentrated on hospital deaths. The U.K. has also recorded many care home and community deaths as CV 19 when no test was taken to see if the patient had it, and when it may have been other serious medical conditions they suffered from that killed them.

The Uk death rate is worrying , as are the rates of most European countries. In the USA the worst figures have been recorded in New York where a Democrat Mayor enforced a tough lock down early. It may be that very large cities like NY and London are particularly prone to virus spreading, so the absence of such huge cities in countries like Germany that have done a lot better may be part of the reason.

Sweden adopted social distancing but no lock down. Her figures are better than Belgium , France, Italy and Spain who went for a full lock down.

Now UK government officials claim they can test 200,000 people a day and have recruited a lot of trackers it is important every new case is followed up on notification to understand why and how it has been transmitted. There is no simple identity between tough and long lockdowns and low death rates on the numbers we have seen.

We also need evidence from the experts on which health systems have achieved the best recovery rates for patients and which treatment does most to lower the death rates in serious cases. There has been no full statement at U.K. government news conferences about recovery rates from intensive care and which treatments have worked best.There has been the recent adoption of an existing anti viral drug as a helpful treatment after initial resistance to the idea that current drugs could help, whilst we are told some other approved drugs are being tested on CV 19 patients. How did Germany and the USA achieve lower death rates?

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    One aspect which needs more study is of those recovered. Can you become re-infected/infectious (if so, what use a vaccine?) after recovery, when your system has anti-bodies?

    If recovered, can we easily, and get results rapidly, test for ant-bodies? As the proportion of the population that has recovered increases they should be allowed normal lifestyles with no requirement to contacted by your possible infection chasers.

    Airlines and other transportation services, and possibly places where close proximity is natural could use a database of such people. As the recovered population grows so could the effort to find and lock-down be inversely reduced.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      The Government have done a Ratner on public transport. People are now so terrified they are too scared to use it – on top of this they have made driving a car a lot more difficult with ‘temporary’ cycle lanes and wider paths.

      Neither the railways, buses nor airlines can survive this.

      No one is going to admit that we went too far. No one is going to release us from social distancing and do what we should have done in the first place: isolate the extremely vulnerable, and then give them a choice if they want to take the chance.

      There is also nothing from the government about obesity. It was already a drain on the NHS and certainly is now that CV19 likes it. Losing weight should be a priority now but gyms are closed and 50% of the population has put on weight in lockdown.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        “Went too far”?

        What on Earth do you mean?

        Spain has recorded ZERO deaths in the past twenty-four hours from covid19.

        That is what effective action looks like.

        They are absolutely correct to close their borders to people from the highly dangerous, infection-blasted UK, as are a growing number of countries.

        You can forget your holidays there this year at least.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      John is correct that the deaths-per-million figures are what indicate a person’s risk over the epidemic in a given country, but that risk is *retrospective*.

      Yes, there is a top and a bottom of the league table too, and the UK is near to the top, with countries like New Zealand, Greece, and China at the bottom. But the difference between top and bottom is of whole ORDERS, that is, the Chinese rate, reportedly, is a whole three hundred times lower than the UK’s. So again, what matters is whether a country is among the best or the worst, not the fact that some may be a bit worse still.

      But most important of all are the figures as to the effectiveness of the measures taken in each country.

      Right now, Spain has recorded just FOUR deaths on Saturday, and Italy’s are generally down to daily two-digit numbers.

      Spain has just announced that its borders will be closed to the British until our figures are similar, and has been joined by Greece and by Cyprus.

      That is only good sense on their parts.

      When some of the British find that they cannot go on their usual holidays, when the rest of the world can, then they might finally ask why not.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        You look at figures but do not account for different timescales.
        Nor explain why some nations have had a total of under 100 deaths.
        Nor explain why some nations who have not lockdowned as others have still have similar figures.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          Why should I?

          It doesn’t change the key observable fact, that the UK is among the worst few, with scores of times more fatalities-per-million than the best few.

          Spain recorded no deaths at all during the past twenty-four hours from covid19.

          That is the change in position which the UK also requires to restart its economy.

          The confidence of many millions depends upon it.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            Well further analysis might improve your myopic view.
            Just trying to blame Boris isnt giving you or us any deep appreciation of what is happening globally.
            I note you have refused to even consider any reasons for the observable differences I raised.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        You blame the householder for not having enough fire extinguishers and not the arsonist.

        The fact is that 0.06% of our population has died with/of CV19 and 90% of those were very sick already.

        You fail to mention that the UK is very good at keeping very sick people alive for a long while, including morbid obesity – something which China does not do.

        Average life expectancy in China 76.4 compared to our 81.16, and the obesity epidemic all owing to the success of our welfare and health system and making us much more exposed to COVID-19 which we did not cause.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink


          Timing is everything. Italy begged the UK not to waste precious time and the government did EXACTLY that.

          And when your house is ablaze, you want an effective fire service to arrive, not a clown car, with jokers slinging buckets of feathers.

          And you also make sure that the fire is fully out, before you start bothering about which feral kid was playing with matches around the place.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            Have got a link to when Italy begged the UK not to waste precious time. and what they said?
            Interested to learn.

          • a-tracy
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Did Italy beg us to do that after they realised they’d infected so many Brits on their half term ski holidays! Do you have evidence they told us they were in crisis and Brits shouldn’t go there before the half-term at the end of February?

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Peter, I also think it would be useful to do isolated studies, especially on the workforce that can’t work at the moment such as long distance flight crews who were frequently flying the most infected routes. Taxi drivers from and to the airports and airport staff on the most infected routes baggage handling and person meeting.

    • beresford
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Also it is said that the severity of your illness is related to the initial dosage of the virus, which is increased by prolonged exposure indoors. Does this mean that we want people to be casually exposed so they have a minor illness and are then immune for the next eight months or so? And there is a body of medical opinion which says that oxygen masks are the best treatment for the seriously ill whereas forced ventilation kills or injures the patient.

  2. Ian Wragg
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Track and trace. Very Orwellian.
    PHE wants to keep the data for 20 years. What could possibly go wrong.
    Switch off your blue tooth and remain invisible. Don’t let big brother follow you.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Yes – Simon Carter Explains how efficient they are:

      · 16h
      So,my wife’s virus test has come back negative,which is surprising as the tests were never picked up to be processed………wierd.🤯

      The beating heart of our nation 😂😂😂

    • Adam
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Some folk are more fearful of a short-lived fiction author’s imagination than a virus that kills them.

    • margaret howard
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      Remain invisible? This country has the highest number of security cameras in the world and you are followed as soon as you leave your front door. Too late – big brother is here.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Quite – turn on phone and have to stay indoors for 14 days for a passing interaction. No thanks

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      You may find the track and trace app will be modified to automatically switch your Bluetooth back on.
      As for tracking – your car reg on the ANPR system
      Your car through the EU demanded “Automotive assist” – apparently CANNOT be turned off or else the engine won’t run
      Your mobile through the phone masts.
      Your payments on your debit/credit card
      Withdrawals on your bank card
      And the most cctv cameras per person on the planet. Facial recognition coming soon to a lamppost near you.

      But remember – -it’s all for your own good. Or so they tell us.

    • IanT
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely – if PHE want that data they should just ask Google or Facebook for it!


      • glen cullen
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        or ask University of East Anglia to produce some data

        • Fred H
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          HA HA (cynically).

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    The most worrying thing is why the NHS and UK system has deaths (per tested positive case) that are about 5 times higher than Germany. What are the NHS hospitals and other parts of the system doing so wrong? What have NHS hostitals got to learn from Germany on treatments that ensure this far higher survival rates? 5 time higher is a very large difference.

    You say:- “The UK has gone out of its way to maximise deaths attributed to CV 19 by including care home and community deaths” except that the government are reporting only 38,489 deaths. This when we know the excess death figure over the past three months is circa 70,000. Indeed it could even be a little higher as other cause deaths (road accidents, complications from operations ….) should have declined.

    These 70,000 deaths are almost certainly caused by (or at least accelerated by Covid19).

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Germany doesn’t count a CV19 death unless there is a positive test result for it.

      The NHS is the envy of the world, you know. Don’t criticise it.

    • oldtimer
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Germany operates a decentralised based, I think, on the former kingdoms and principalities that existed before Bismarck forged them into Germany in the late 19thC. This fact, coupled with a pharma industry which included established, world class testing companies and a Chancellor with more than a passing understanding of scientific issues (she has a PhD) probably helped. It resulted in a few anomalies. One golf course had to shorten the length of one hole, which passed through an adjacent province, because of different social distancing rules. Perhaps there is a farm or two on the England/Scotland border with a similar predicament?

    • Nigl
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Spot on first paragraph. A key element in any successful business is looking at the ‘opposition’ /benchmarking against them and then looking to match.better them,

      Do you honestly think the NHS has that culture especially when it might challenge the whole centralised public sector only ethos?

      I did some work with a large DHSS office back in the day. It had massive staff issues. (Crap, closed, unapproachable directional management that I could have told them on day one)

      However the senior management wanted to start a new era, be open, listening etc so I did a staff attitude survey. The results were so bad that instead of using them positively, demonstrate to the staff they were capable of taking criticism and changing for the better, they hid them, did nothing compounding the problem.

      I suspect the NHS executive management would be the same.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      … caused by or accelerated by the NHS!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Excess deaths include those attributable to the lockdown rather than covid – missed cancer treatments, strokes etc.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 2:59 am | Permalink

        These will not be very many and will probably be outweighed by the deaths saved due to cancelled operations. When doctors and surgeons strike death rates usually fall (at least in the short term).

    • Stred
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Even the excess deaths in the home and care homes that have not been recorded as due to Covid will be indirectly due to the epidemic and lack of treatment for other diseases. The ONS gave some of these as certified as flu with pneumonia with other diseases. It is often the case that flu is the trigger for someone dying early, but it’s still recorded as death due to a flu epidemic.
      There was a report that Sage had noticed that many of the infections had originated in hospitals but, having read as much of the now published minutes, I can’t find it amongst the numerous pages of insignificant waffle. Perhaps they don’t want to go there.

    • dixie
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      You never cite your sources nor show your workings so why should you be taken seriously? With your continual moaning, complaining and doom mongering you are in danger of being viewed as much of a troll as Martin of Cardiff and Andy.

      Or is it that you just crib from the Guardian then add a bit?

      • Stred
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        The charts produced by Mark on this blog are based on the ONS figures and show very clearly the excess deaths and where they occurred. By clicking on the columns you will find the exact figures. The totals rise above the average for to time of year and the scale of the epidemic is clear. The numbers have nothing to do with politics.

        • dixie
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          @Stred My comment was addressed to LL who claims to have a strong scientific and mathematical background, nurtured in Cambridge and superior to the vast majority of government.

          He offers extensive political commentary in this blog on all sorts of subjects frequently claiming authority from this background yet never cites sources nor how he arrives at his numbers. In subjects I know a bit about he exaggerates and is frequently wrong, I want to know if he is doing the same here.

          • Stred
            Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            The figures that LL uses with respect to the excess deaths seem to tie up with the charts of ONS numbers put on by Mark.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      I wonder too, LL.

      A couple of years ago my elderly mother-in-law became unwell, was admitted to hospital, and after a few weeks she died.

      I researched her symptoms and found that they tallied with deficiencies of certain elements and vitamins, although she did have other health problems too.

      Her death was recorded as due to organ failure.

      I read that those deficiencies – for which no tests were done – are very common indeed in the elderly.

      We have never been sure as to why exactly she died, because she did not have any diagnosed condition which would have been fatal within that period, but no one at the hospital seemed to be that interested.

      Then we have the fact of miscarriages owing to hypothyroidism. This is a common cause of the problem, and yet a woman has to suffer these repeatedly before the simple check for the condition is done. I would have thought that in any civilised country the test would be offered to all pregnant women.

      I get a feeling that the culture in German healthcare may be rather different.

      • SM
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Testing for thyroid problems is not ‘simple’, MiC; a single test often gives a false negative or positive – I write from family experience.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          So do I.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Good to see you liking the German system of national health care. 5
        Part free, part insurance, part private.
        Seems to work better than the NHS.
        Is this a system you want in the UK?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 3:02 am | Permalink

          Well I certainly do not want a virtual state monopoly NHS which has some of the worst outcomes or any similarly developed nation.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

          If it were organised by principled people, as the Germans have in government, then I’m sure that it would be fine.

          But so would the NHS.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            Better tell your Labour Party then Martin as they have no policies to reform the NHS along German lines.

      • M Brandreth- Jones
        Posted June 3, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        I routinely check all patients for thyroid function tests . It is an easy test and can be checked by routine blood checks and symptoms and history every few months . Children born to mums with undiagnosed hypothyroidism can suffer themselves with dwarfism and other physical / mental symptoms, however a part of the problem is getting the patients in for routine checks .A trip to the health centre could reveal a sub clinical hypothyroidism and could be checked prior to pregnancy and thyroxine increased throughout pregnancy.
        The trouble with many and particularly those who opt for private treatment is that they wait until something has gone wrong and then often it is too late.

    • Richard1
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Germany has a far more decentralised system, and got many private labs involved in testing. As I understand it in the U.K. the labs for testing are all state owned and private sector / independent support was repeatedly spurned. Probably it would have counted as ‘privatisation of the NHS’. We need to choose. we can have a good health system like Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, or a (virtually) 100% state owned and controlled one. Both doesn’t seem to work. Don’t hold your breath.

      • Andy
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        There are plenty of private labs in the UK – and very good ones too. They offered help but the government failed to take them up on it until April, far too late. This is another failure of the Johnson government. Add it to the list. (It’s a long list).

        • Edward2
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          It wasn’t the Government it was a PHE policy decision.
          They had to be told to use private labs later by the Government.
          Get your facts right Andy.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Your first sentence is spot on.

    • Nigl
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Ps Raab in his meaningless number spouting on Marr yesterday justified our poor testing regime compared with other countries because they had more experience of previous pandemics. That should have given the NHS the information to get our systems ready if they had been proactive/outward looking, Ha!

      Equally he justified the current unavailability (failure?) of the app because they were ensuring that got it right. Haven’t the successful countries got theirs working and didn’t South Korea offer theirs to us?

      Marr’s questioning was pathetic. Denis Healey once famously said that being attacked by Geoffrey Howe was like being savaged by a dead sheep. Marr is continuing that tradition.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 3:05 am | Permalink

        So Minister what would you like to say next sir? I will not ask anything difficult or you might not come on next time.

        If I were interviewing Nigel Farage, UKIP or the Referendum Party or a climate realist it would however be rather different.

  4. Brian Cowling
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Why isn’t China included in your final question?

    Population 1.43bn. Coronavirus deaths 4634 deaths. (Ref:

    Seems like they know how to do it!

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      3 deaths per million of population.


    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Same reason they dropped China from the daily update charts – no-one believes the numbers.

    • dixie
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Why do you believe what the CCP tells you?

      One of my strongest memories is a video during their lockdown of an older woman wailing in the street that she could not afford a face mask before being bundled into the back of a van by a couple of young men.

      All is not what it seems.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        and why would they say they are testing all 10m population in Wuhan?
        Disturbance to economy?
        Maybe they have lost sight of where it is in their endeavour to look squeaky clean and know they had better ‘really’ get on top of it instead of ‘saying’ they had.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Not only that, but they had a National Day Of Mourning for those victims, Brian.

      With over a hundred thousand, the US’s Trump played golf, on the other hand.

      Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Do you still believe everything Communist China tells you Martin?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

          No, not everything by a long way.

          But what evidence do you have for your fanciful claims, as against WHO’s and other observers’ in China?

          • Edward2
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            Good article online Sky News today.
            “Leaked WHO files show China delayed releasing important information ”
            Have a read Martin.

    • Peter Ryder
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      and you believe the figures reported by China are honest and accurate??

    • Richard1
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      The gullibility of so many in the West, mainly but not only on the political left, to CCP propaganda is extraordinary.

      • ed2
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        My friend speaks Mandarin and she tells me the Chinese regime our outrageously despicable.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Yes, there may be window dressing.

        But if China had the same mortality as the UK, then there would be MILLIONS of dead there.

        Where is your evidence of those deaths?

        You have none whatsoever, do you?

        • Edward2
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          You cannot have evidence.
          Communist China is a closed society with the media owned by the State.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

            No, it isn’t a closed society.

            My daughter recently spent a year there teaching English.

            North Korea is, on the other hand.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            Amazed you think that.
            You are watched and followed using mobile phone technology everywhere you go.

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          China does kill millions more of its people than we do.

          Its life expectancy is 76.4 compared to our 81.16 years. And we were fighting an obesity epidemic when CV19 hit.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

            Where is your evidence that it has a continuing, uncontrolled epidemic, like the US, UK, Russia and Brazil have?

          • Edward2
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

            Anonymous never claimed that Martin
            Have another read through.

    • mickc
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Well, they certainly know how to make up figures… These may be correct, but how would we know?

    • Peter Cousins
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      They know how to control the data!!

    • jerry
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      @Brian Cowling; Or China simply has a more compliant society that does as it is told, if told to remain inside their homes, told to download a tracking app, that is what they all do…

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        In other words, the Chinese people are capable of taking serious matters seriously, and of behaving responsibly.

        And you comment as if that were a bad thing.

        They have saved millions of lives, of those whom they greatly respect – the elderly – but by no means exclusively those people’s.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          You remind me of those that made positive comments about the USSR in the sixties and seventies.

        • Fred H
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          taking serious matters seriously …… like intellectual property right.?

        • jerry
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          @MiC; “Chinese people are capable of taking serious matters seriously, and of behaving responsibly.”

          No Martin, just that they do as they are instructed – good OR bad, they do not argue with the State machine.

          “you comment as if that were a bad thing.”

          It is when compliance is due to blind faith or obedience to an ideology (political or social), without any understanding.

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          The figures don’t stack up.

          Their average age 76.4 compared to our 81.16

          And it’s a pity they allowed the movement of millions over the Chinese New Year when they well knew it was person to person.

          • jerry
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

            @Anonymous; ” it’s a pity they allowed the movement of millions over the Chinese New Year “

            I think that is being a tad unfair, transmission method was not clear when millions travelled home for CNY, it was still believed transmission was via products being sold in ‘wet markets’ (that is why they were closed), by the time it was realised infection was person-to-person the authorities did prevent millions of people travelling back to work after CNY.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Brian, is this the so honest China who tried to keep the virus and its make up secret from the rest of the World, and who arrested a doctor/scientist who published it, along with many others.

      Dream on if you can trust anything from the Chinese Government.

      • Brian Cowling
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:20 am | Permalink

        Alan Jutson, you might not have detected the sarcasm in my post.

        I do not trust the Chinese Communist Party nor their willing followers. What they are up to elsewhere is under-reported.

        I would like to see a united-world inquiry to best determine the origin of the virus and hold to account those found responsible for unleashing it upon the planet – seizing their assets to defray the costs (although I know that nothing can compensate for the deaths) if they won’t pay up.

        I fear China for numerous reasons.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

          Apologies Brian, no I did not detect the sarcasm in your original posting.

          I agree there should be some sort of world investigation, although I think any co-operation from China may be rather wishful thinking.

    Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    The infection, reinfection and mortality rates for CV-19 have become almost incidental. The political exploitation of this human event is now of far greater significance and should be studied by all VOTERS when they come to place their cross in four years time

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      There is no reinfection rate. It is zero. There hasn’t been a single case of anyone catching the infection twice, the one report of this in Korea turned out to be due to faulty tests.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    The BBC in particular likes to report the USA’s death figure for some reason. It refuses to report them ‘per million’ which would put them in a much less severe perspective and about the same as the EU.

    It is quite clear that this is anti Trump.

    • BeebTax
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink


    • Man of Kent
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Our Government did the same as the BBC at daily press conferences until recently ;
      Presumably to show we were not too bad compared with the USA run by the ghastly Trump .
      Now the numbers show we are near the worst in the inter national demerit league we have gone away from these comparisons to wait for the great inquiry results .

      If we are to learn anything we must be honest with ourselves and identify our failings .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      The BBC reporters manual must (one assumes) say something like:-

      Good news is reported thus:- despite Trump, Cummings, Boris and the Climate Change (delete as applicable) ……………… Bad news to be reported:- Due to Trump, Cummings, Boris and Climate Change (delete as applicable) ……………. Always focus on the politics of envy, fairness, equality and identity politics and be insufferably PC at every turn. Always remember everthing bad is extreme right. Even people like the insufferable, deluded socialist Theresa May should be described by the BBC as right wing. Oh and always remember tenants always good & landlords are always evil or at least unscrupulous!

      The BBC reporters are, almost without exception, deluded, left wing, Guardian reading, liberal art graduates with little grasp of science, competitive business, economics, engineering, logic or reality. They are almost all seriously overpaid relative to ability (both genders). Can you still legally say both genders?

      • Andy
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        You can legally say what you like. I’m afraid your BBC rant is untrue.

        Brexit backer Robbie Gibb ran BBC politics during the referendum and then went off to run Tory comms in Number 10.

        Craig Oliver did something similar.

        Andrew Neill literally runs right wing newspapers. John Humphreys was a Brexiteer. Nick Robinson was involved with the Conservative Party.

        The objection Brexiteers have to the BBC is that you don’t like scrutiny. This is understandable because as soon as your views are scrutinised they pretty much fall apart.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          Yes Andy – the European Union will one day have an over-arching public service broadcaster.

          That would have relegated the BBC, and destroyed it as a propaganda weapon of the British Establishment.

          That would have been unthinkable.

          That is why Farage appeared more than any other politician during the referendum campaign, I think.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          You struggle to dig up 5 poor examples.
          And three of your examples dont even work for the BBC.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        LL – – but apart from that last para…. they are the sort of people you’d share a desert island with ( for about 5 minutes before starting to swim).

    • Richard1
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      There has just been an hilarious interview on the Today Programme where a righteous Nick Robinson is told in no uncertain terms by a black American pastor that far from being anti-Black, President Trump has presided over record levels of black employment and business performance and that much of the protests are being stirred up by criminal elements of the radical left. It’s worth a listen (08.10 or so today).

      • R.T.G.
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink


        Yes, NR was going full foam-fleck while he was being firmly put back in his box by the Pastor.

        Incidentally, the BBC don’t ever seem to have time to quote President Trump’s full tweet, so, in the interests of non-partisan journalism, here it is:

        “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

        • R.T.G.
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          Please press ‘view’ in the violation notice box.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        It’s just another chance for the media to have a bash at Trump. Until Covid arrived he was making a brilliant job of unemployment numbers and the economy. No wonder he is so pissed off with China. They have ruined so much in the world.

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      People aren’t as thick as the media like to think they are.

    • mickc
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      The BBC, and indeed most of the British MSM, love to report any unpleasant event in the USA, despite those events not impacting on the UK at all.

      The MSM has a political agenda, and hate that the internet has provided other means of accessing “news” and information.

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        I’m dreading switching on Channel 4 News tonight, where self righteous Cathy Newman, Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru Murfy give their opinion on events in the USA.
        They will have sympathetic reporters on site, giving an un-impartial view of events, complete with interviews with Protesters. All this, while cars and businesses are being burned, and shops completely looted.
        Of course, they think its all justified, in order to get ‘justice’.

        • margaret howard
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          Cheshire Girl

          There is no need to switch it on then. There are plenty of other news channels that might be more to your taste.

          We are regulars of Channel 4 simply because they allow events to develop rather than just a few sentences leaving many details unrecorded.

          And their new Washington correspondent Siobhan Kennedy is an excellent reporter delivering her news with great clarity and authority.

          • M Brandreth- Jones
            Posted June 3, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

            Krish is great, Jon Snow is OK when he doesn’t get tongue tied , He has a florid way of writing and has been involved with so many things and people but he seems to look down on many and openly states that TV presenters are in a higher class than most which immediately puts me off anyone. Cathy Newman is just there . Her fact checks never seemed to add up.

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          When it happened under Obama it was the police’s fault. Now it happens under Trump it’s Trump’s fault.

  7. Nigl
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    If we had a an inquisitive press, science based rather than the political know nothing gotcha mob asking informed questions we would not need to do so.

    Similarly if the ministers and their advisers knew something about the real world.

    Like all governments they are addicted to large numbers thinking this will impress the voters by showing the big effort being put in. Unfortunate that’s rubbish because we know it is mainly about the numbers not how they are making a difference. Testing is a means to an end. I wonder if they have any clue where that end is or even the journey to it.As you rightly point out we remain in the dark on the important points.

    Which means that ……………… a great phrase for your ministers to give the explanations we want and Which means that? A great question for Journalists to probe the allegedly fact based but to often ‘closed’ statements made the government.

    • Andy
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      We do have an inquisitive press. And people who think like you are currently calling them ScumMedia on social media because they are daring to do their job – asking difficult questions of those in power.

      Perhaps you should all direct your anger at those in power who can’t or won’t answer the questions.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Good to hear you support the Daily Mail and Sun for a change Andy. Well said.

      • Nigl
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Only one flaw in your rant. I do not use social media nor have I ever used the word scum.

        Never assume. For you the first three letters are the relevant ones.

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        The only person introducing the phrase “ScumMedia” is YOU Andy.
        They are not asking difficult questions, they are all asking the same questions not the ones we want answering.

        • Andy
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          What do you want asking? They actually don’t all ask the same questions – but they frequently don’t get answers.

          • a-tracy
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

            Where are the new patients in the last week from? Have they come in from abroad in the last month? Were they on lockdown for the last ten weeks? If working what jobs were they doing? How many of them are front line care workers/nursing staff? What actual age are they?

            They are only a few in number, put these tracers on these cases immediately, have all these patients contacts been out on lockdown.

            Let’s focus on new cases, test, track, trace and inform us so that we know what to avoid, let us know what lead to their infection.

          • a-tracy
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

            I could answer some of the questions they keep asking Andy. All of these repeated piling on Dominic Cummings when lots of politicians and their spads left London the day before, many using public transport putting those workers at risk and taking the virus back to remote locations – which is never mentioned (it’s total hypocrisy) .

            He did not break the social distance rules whatsoever, he was well when he drove up and didn’t stop, there is no alternative evidence to prove he did (and there would be by now). He had a valid reason to put his family in a place where family care was available at low risk for an autistic child should his wife get worse and he get too ill, and to get their shopping done and provide safe outdoor space.

            2. Look at on the 10th April I linked it yesterday, they wrote “But none of the laws in force in any part of the UK address the use of cars or vehicles at all and do not forbid members of the public from using their cars to “go for a drive” or travel to a location by car to exercise.” they’d been locked up for a fortnight, they’ve not been to the shops likes most people excuse for a nice drive out, they hadn’t just popped to B&Q – they kept to themselves. The end.

      • forthurst
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        So when did the msm question government on the ” why and how [Covid-19] has been transmitted” as posed by JR? Only those countries which have addressed this and come up with the answer have been able to limit its spread without a total lockdown. The answer is that it is being spread by superspreaders creating clusters of infection who therefore should be the targets for tracing; doing 200,000 random tests a day will not cut the mustard: it’s unintelligent, ineffectual and wasteful and merely extends the misery for all.

    • Something's happened
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      “if the ministers and their advisers knew something about the real world.”

      They have lived worthy and educated lives. Worryingly, and in my opinion you must start to be afraid, they appear to have genuinely forgotten large parts of those experiences.

      “If we had a an inquisitive press, science based..”

      Journalists do their duty. Many will have been taught sound scientific procedure and absorbed it. They must know that if they ask a science based question with a follow up they will make the answerer sound like a pre-schoolchild. It would not be cricket nor career advancing for journalists merely wishing to earn their daily bread.

  8. Roger Phillips
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    How can any of the figures be correct when people that have died from perfectly natural causes have had Covid attributed as cause on death certificates? There have been thousands of such cases with family members expressing disgust on social media.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      The NHS reminds me of a memorable phrase complied by Pik Botha ‘it’s like looking for a black cat in a dark room blindfolded’. They have absolutely no idea how many people have had the virus, are naturally immune, developed immunity, recovered or, most damning of all, died from it. The don’t even know how many people died with it!

      But the client socialists have displayed that we have a cabinet full of mugs.

      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      It’s about politics mate, not death rates. Haven’t you realised that yet?

      • glen cullen
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Its always only been about politics

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      The excess deaths figure is a reasonable indication and there are plenty.

      It would be interesting to see these excess deaths broken down by age to get a fuller picture of risk

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Yes, it would indeed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      If they died with Covid it almost certainly accelerated their death (though clearly people (especially the elderly) very often die of a combination of causes.

    • Abendrot
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Hi Roger,

      There was a good article about that by a doctor on the Spectator recently. Two facts stand out to me: only one doctor now needed for valid certification and does not have to be present. It’s not hard to imagine why Covid 19 has become the main cause of death in care homes. I believe there are also bad feelings about GPs from care home staff in view of the formers’ reluctance to go near a care home.

  9. John E
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Let’s see:

    Germany responded very early on to the need to get more PPE. Mrs Merkel is a diligent scientist. She managed things calmly and rationally with honest and straightforward communication to the people.

    Here the PM is scientifically ignorant and lazy. He failed to attend the COBRA meetings. He was distracted by Brexit and his personal life. No action was taken on PPE for months. He went round shaking hands with victims thinking he was Princess Diana in a HIV ward. Then he went into a blind panic. And then he came down with the disease himself and nearly died.

    Does that help explain the apparent mystery of the different outcomes?

    • margaret howard
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      John E

      Perfect summing up.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      PPE wasnt a job for the PM.
      PHE and the NHS employ tens of thousands of administrative staff.
      Many on salaries of over £100,000 per annum.
      Preparing for a pandemic was number one priority for the UK Government in their risk assessments.
      Do you not feel one or two of these well paid experts might have managed things a bit better?

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    A study suggest it will take 20 years to close the gender pay gap – as reported yesterday.

    How do they imaging it will close I wonder? Women clearly earn less because they choose different subject to study, take different work life choices, tend to work part time more, commute less and are more likely to take career breaks. In fact women without children already earn more. Women on average compete in different ways. Men are more likely to seek higher salaries and seems happier on average to make the sacrifices needed.

    So are they going to ban free choice for women or are they going to have even more appalling laws forcing companies to actively discriminate against men? Are they going to introduce laws forcing football fans to pay more and watch more women’s football. Perhaps forcing more women to study Physics, Engineering, Maths or Computer Science or to work on oil rigs/dust bin lorries/building sites etc. or forcing them to commute more and thus have to hire nannies to pick the kids up?

    Or perhaps they have some sinister genetic engineering to gender neutralise brains and freedom choice planned? Perhaps they can outline their plans?

  11. Javelin
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I think the best way to know the death rate is to compare the death rates to the average of the past 5 years. It’s a simple measure and as the deaths have occurred away from the flu season it will be relatively accurate.

    The downside of using this figure in the long term is that it will also include deaths from despair, drugs, delay and missed new drug development. But for 3-6 months it’s going to be a reasonable benchmark.

    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink


    Huawei. I am no longer seeing this company advertising its products on my television. I wonder why this is? Does this PM intend to perform a volte face on Huawei under pressure from Trump?

    Yes, identity politics propaganda now masquerades as product advertising as the State spreads its political poison using advertising agencies as conduits of social conditioning but we expect this from governments that no longer treat people as human beings more sheep to be herded.

    I suspect Departmental orders have been issued to halt all Huawei product advertising on UK television and other UK based media conduits

  13. rick hamilton
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    The ‘worldometers’ website ranks every country in order of cases reported (out of 6.27m worldwide) and shows deaths per million.

    Worst of all in Europe is San Marino with 1,238 followed by Belgium with 817, Spain 580, UK 567, Italy 553, France 441 and Sweden 435. The USA has 321 and Germany 103.

    It is striking that Asia/ Pacific countries with no shortage of big cities have vastly lower figures including Japan 7, S.Korea 5, Singapore 4, Australia 4, NZ 4 and Taiwan less than one.

    Also some countries which might be expected to have runaway infection due to vast and crowded populations and weak health care are reported to be very low: India 4 and Nigeria one. Whether these are anywhere near accurate remains to be seen.

    What is it about the European lifestyle, or health systems, or government reactions to the crisis, that makes their death rates so high ?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      Nigerian median age is about 15. Approx 2.75% of its population is over 65. In UK nearly 20% of population is over 65.

    • Mark
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 2:37 am | Permalink

      If you click on the arrows at the tops of the columns you can sort on any of the data. Click again if it gives you the reverse order from the one that interests you.

  14. Adam
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The UK Govt may be doing as well as any can in circumstances prevailing each day. Apparent aspects of stark high or low current performance may change when assessed much later with the advantage of better knowledge of causes and effects.

    Modern communications and need for survival exert strong force every moment, helping force behaviour toward shorter, safer paths worldwide. Only the fittest will survive to opine in reflection.

  15. Bryan Harris
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    There is still confusion over these figures – By including deaths ‘With CV’ rather than just taking proven ‘by CV’ it makes the deaths look worse, and is one reason so many people ‘freak out’.
    We should study German methods for recovery – I’ve been told they are more open to natural solutions/remedies, and don’t always use drugs in the same way the UK does.
    We should now be investigating ways to enhance the general health of people to help throw off effects of the virus, so that those in authority do not insist on another destructive lockdown.
    From what I’ve heard, the tests for CV are vague and inconclusive, and TBH rather pointless, except that some want them to justify introducing harsh controls on our movements.

  16. Ian @Barkham
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    The UK daily briefing by PHE, while seemingly calm, authoritative and factual, is in fact feeding the media frenzy for the half truths that sell the story. Simply because there is no actual meaningful context to the PHE pronouncements. Because the death figures are not in context with all the issues it is not possible to frame and informed decision as how to really stay safe – other than permanent lock-down. Then it is not PHE that is having to pick up the ‘tab’

    It is easy to reason that their aim has been to protect the NHS. Not in the cuddly sense of those employed at the front end, but their own management of the massive over-bearing non-performing entity.

    NHI I am sure was an excellent idea, but the NHS or more correctly its management structure in an absolute failure.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      correction – ‘an’ informed

  17. Jess
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    The UK has gone out of it’s way to maximise covid deaths by attributing just about every death to it whether or not it had any actual effect on the victim. The reason the death rate here is worrying is because it shows just how easy it is to falsify figures to suit an agenda.

  18. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Germany has a much lower death rate than comparable large EU countries partly because their health service is better in various ways. Their lockdown was around the same time as UK and of similar severity, their infection numbers are not much different (they gave up test and trace early on too). It could be they shielded the care homes and vulnerable better, I don’t know, but even so their death rate is strikingly low. I don’t hear any Germans saying they envy the NHS so we should stop that “envy of the world” piece of British exceptionalism now.

  19. Mark B
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I argue that there is strong correlation between the number of deaths and population density. Cases on the West and East coasts of America were higher than those in the centre which lends weight to my argument. As such, I think it is highly misleading to use numbers to justify or condemn. What I think we should be doing is learning from the experience and be prepared to act sooner. To not learn and prepare would be the greatest of all crimes. And one of the first lesson would be to not listen to people who have an appalling track record of predicting things and who will not be affected by the policies they espouse.

    Finally. When will parliament repeal all those extra powers the government gave itself ? I ask as, both I and others who care about freedom and democracy would like to know ?

    • robert lewy
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      I think you are absolutely correct about population density as being an important factor in comparing countries performance dealing with Covid19.

      I am surprised that no other person on this blog has even mentioned the word.

      The problem in comparing countries using death and population numbers together with population density is that one needs data breaking the information down with countries. The reason being that in a country with low population density such as Sweden ( 23 per Km squared) this does not mean that the country does not contain areas of high pop density such as Stockholm, To make a reasonably meaningful calculation one would need to weight each region deaths and population numbers by its own pop density.

      In the absence of such data a simpler approach is to postulate a factor by which death rates per million pop is associated with population density.

      When you see that San Marino has a population density of 568 per suare km you can understand why they have the highest number of deaths per million capita.

      I have made comparisons for about 20 countries and the results seem to suggest that population density cannot be ignored.

  20. Sakara Gold
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Your argument amounts to sophistry. The absolute number of deaths has been constantly manipulated at the press conferences since the begining and the ONS figure of excess deaths is closer to the truth.

    The absolute number represents people who have lost their lives. Citizens of this country, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters – real people, which everybody seems to forget.

    It cannot be denied that the government, while hiding behind the “scientific advice” chestnut, has made a number of serious errors in its management of the pandemic, as has been documented here and elsewhere, including the overseas press, Sky News and the BBC. Even the test kits themselves are suspect. When obvious and stupid mistakes are made, you have to expect bloggers here and in our press (of whatever political persuasion) to hold the government to account, and thank you for allowing us to do so.

    We may actually be ending the lockdown too early, a number of members of the government’s SAGE concur, the Ro number is very close to 1 and we may have exceeded it in a number of the “hotspots” of which I gather Wokingham has several. Stay safe everybody.

  21. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Closed their borders.
    More space for people (USA)
    Better protection and better organised (Germany)

  22. Dunc.
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    As 91% of Covid deaths had an underlying health condition, many of those dying will have had Covid-19 yet not died from it.

  23. Sharon Jagger
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    There is a piece in the Spectator about the inaccuracies of the certifying of deaths!

    And I too have heard of and mentioned here that people had died of xx but had “Covid-19 question mark” also on the death certificate.

    Surely, that’s almost fraudulent?

    • na
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 4:50 am | Permalink

      Sharon…they are rigging the numbers everywhere in the world to make it look far worse.

  24. The Prangwizard
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    ITV this morning -Good Morning Britain- is suggesting strongly that the governments of Britain USA and Brazil delayed action and the countries are suffering more because their leaders are of the same ideologies and consequently took wrong decisions. It goes further than open debate. Both presenters are also campaigning again to have Mr Cummings removed having missed out being on screen last week.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the leading lights on screen and off feel no restraint on their views and will promote their subversive and revolutionary agenda. It is not just the BBC which is subversive.

    • Mark
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 2:44 am | Permalink

      It seems to me that if Mr Cummings had actually committed a breach of the lockdown and been fined by the police there would have been no impact on the public view of lockdown – so long as the press never became aware of it. It has been precisely the press and TV reporting that has been inaccurate, with stories invented as a joke being published as real, and the hysterical whipping up of public opinion by journalists and TV anchors as acts of propaganda that has undermined the public perception.

  25. Alan Jutson
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Certainly would be interesting to know the answer to your questions JR, but at the moment there is only supposition.

    Could the fact that Mrs Merkel has a degree in science mean she perhaps asked the right/different questions, and understood the responses better, could it be that Germanyand USA put out testing to all of its commercial laboratories immediately, and thus expanded it rapidly from day one make a difference, unlike Health England who tried to keep it in house.

    Perhaps the madness of panic buying early on in the outbreak stage could have contributed, when thousands of people crammed into supermarkets to strip the shelves of almost everything, with no social distancing or masks, could have made a contribution to really escalate the early infection rates.

    Social distancing certainly appears to be one of the key factors in prevention, particularly when in enclosed spaces. Thus houses of multiple occupation or multi generational households could certainly be more at risk of getting the virus, as it only needs one person to become infected, to put all occupants at serious risk.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Something wrong with the content of my posting John ?

  26. Richard1
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Indeed. The US far from being a disaster is in fact comparable to Germany which is much praised. At no point either in the US or the U.K. have the health services been overwhelmed in the way confidently predicted by many leftists.

    Meanwhile there is ever more evidence that lockdown has not achieved anything. The latest to come up with conclusion is the Norwegian state epidemiologist. I don’t think our govt had any choice but to impose it given that’s what was happening elsewhere in Europe and given the shrieking and hollering in the press, especially from the left, and the much publicised bunkum model of prof Ferguson (whose own behaviour showed he didn’t believe it himself).

    Almost all deaths from around the world are people with co-morbidities and it is clear that many people have died with but not necessarily of Wuhan virus.

    Time to lift the lock down and get back to work.

  27. steadyeddie
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    ‘Comparaisons are odious’ – the key issue is why (according to The SundayTimes last week) the government ignored the scientific advice in early March and did not enforce a lockdown one- two weeks earlier, as many other countries did.

  28. agricola
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    We are into statistics and lies, we compare Medoc with Cava, all rather pointless until everything is measured by common criteria. Statistics should be there to arrive at solutions, but sadly those with an axe to grind pick and mix them to reach the solution that suits their political stance. Apart from the irrelevant trolls, you must post Covid- 19 , deal with Troll HQ that calls itself the BBC. They are a political organisation, force funded by the population, that is long overdue for dismantling.

  29. Richard1
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Off topic, June 4 marks the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre by the Chinese communist party. The individuals who ordered and presided over this appalling crime are no longer in power but the system which did so remains.

    At a time when our eyes are opened to the malignant nature of the Chinese regime, I think it would be good if June 4 was marked around the world now and in future years. Perhaps a thoughtful piece from our host on dealing with China in the future, we have not heard his views on this I think?

  30. Irene
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Sir Patrick Vallance said to the Select Committee at the beginning of March words to the effect that “it would be a ‘good outcome’ if 20,000 or fewer people died due to the virus” in the UK . That was when there were fewer than 2,000 death in total in the UK from CV. That is the point at which the statistics should have been sharpened.

    To include name, age, location of living, occupation, ethnicity, income, circumstances of living (leafy part of country; large estate with private garden; or 10th floor 3-bedroom apartment shared with 5 other family members in tower block in deprived part of country; no garden, not even a balcony in some cases), pre-existing medical conditions; existing medication regime; etc etc etc.

    For those living in care homes, add onto the gathered stats detail of why they moved into care in the first place; quality of care in that care home – or lack of it – as per CQC reports; last seen by GP and for what reason; plus details of how care staff are recruited and where they work, in addition to the care home in question.

    They are the facts that should have been collected from the very beginning.

    The UK government was shamed into including deaths in care homes and in the community when the astonishing number of deaths of those needing care came to be revealed. Not to mention the excess deaths in care homes. It’s as if government have failed to realise that people living in care homes are living now in their only home, just as I am living in my only home.

    And why we abandoned testing so early on in the pandemic. Honest reasons – I’m sick and tired of fudge. Political fudge, that is, and that’s what we are fed at each and every Daily Briefing from Number 10.

    “UK government officials claim they can test 200,000 people a day ” you write. That is not true – the government has fudged it by saying ‘tests conducted’, and that does not mean ‘people tested’.

    • Irene
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      I should have apologised for the length of my contribution to the debate. Blame it on lockdown.

      • Irene
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        You approve my apology – but you haven’t approved my original comment. May I ask why?

  31. SM
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    With reference to your last paragraph, John, about which treatments have worked best. I believe it will take a lengthy period to correlate data and then get health systems across the world to share their outcomes with researchers.

    The MSM, the Twitterati and far too many politicians make instant judgements which lead to public delusions and then disillusion. Medical science is a developing procedure, and solutions which are thought to be 100% effective or accurate in one generation can turn out to be very or partially wrong when subject to further research.

  32. Caterpillar
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink


    Yes contribution to death rates by age, underlying health condition, socio-economic class compared across cities and nations needs to be undertaken. Disentangling luck, initial characteristics of the population, decisions made, implementation of decisions and health system constraints/flexibility on those decisions needs to be carried out with both care and urgency. The implications may be very broad, or none at all.

  33. a-tracy
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Sturgeon indicated yesterday that Scotland is virtually recording every aged death as caused by Covid19 and believes the RUK is undeclaring! It is no wonder our figures are so high compared to other nations in Europe we’re diagnosing deaths with Covid19 as from Covid19 without testing.

    Care Home owners were telling people not to visit care homes from Wednesday 11th March. They were calling on bureacracy to be cut to allow patients in hospital to be transferred to them to free up hospital beds. Halpern on the Scientific advisory group said the government was considering a policy of cocooning those most vulnerable until herd immunity had been achieved.

    My question is: When Germany identified early their primary case at the end of January 2020 (a Shangai business visitor to a factory in Bavaria, patient 0 who had parents from Wuhan they’d visited), that individual spread the virus to 16 people by the end of two weeks, one taking it to Spain was this information shared to the EU and what advice did they give out? Were our government informed? Were flights into the EU banned from Wuhan and China? Did the government know before the school half term the size of the outbreak in the Ski holiday resort areas and Tenerife?

    • Mark
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      Here are the figures for Scotland:

      I think they are pretty shocking, particularly for care homes. Bear in mind that Scotland’s population is about 5.6 million, or 10% of England’s. Plenty of excess deaths for non-virus causes too.

      Compare England and Wales (by date of occurrence)

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

        Can’t see it Mark the chart is locked.

      • Stred
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        Datawrapper is preventing viewing the first chart. The second shows that the total death rate has now reduced to the seasonal average. Is this right,?

  34. villaking
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Sir John, there is no evidence anywhere that lockdowns are effective in reducing coronavius deaths. The incompetence of this government was not in failing to lockdown early, it was in listening to only one hysterical set of scientists and panicking on March 23rd. The excess deaths in this period are above trend (although not unprecedented) because of the failure to protect care homes and it is also highly likely people are dying now due to avoiding hospital treatment having been terrorized by the government. Our quality of life will be massively damaged because of the economic destruction this has brought.

    • James Bertram
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Well said, Villaking.

      Interestingly, you’ll find that even the scientists were not recommending the extreme solution of ‘lockdown’, even with their extreme predictions of death rates. Lockdown was entirely due to political panic by our government. There is a good article on this on the lockdown website on 31st May ‘Was the government really following the science?’:

      ‘Now that the Government has released the minutes of the SAGE meetings in the period leading up to the lockdown announcement on March 23rd – this was on Friday as a direct result of Simon Dolan’s lawsuit – we can get closer to answering this question.

      The former barrister Paul Chaplin has gone through the minutes in a lengthy blog post and concluded that placing the entire country under virtual house arrest was a political decision and not “based on the science”. His analysis is compelling.

      Chaplin finds plenty of evidence in the minutes that various different containment measures were discussed by SAGE, but at no point before March 23rd did the group recommend the quarantining of the whole population…..’

      The Norwegian Prime Minister has apologised for her lockdown policy. (This is in the article following the one above):

      ‘Last Wednesday night, Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg went on television to make a confession: she had panicked at the start of the pandemic. Most of the tough measures imposed in Norway’s lockdown were steps too far, she admitted. “Was it necessary to close schools?” she asked. “Perhaps not.”

      She isn’t the first Norwegian official to acknowledge that the lockdown wasn’t necessary. On May 5th, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) published a briefing note reporting that when the lockdown was imposed on March 12th Norway’s R number had already fallen to 1.1. It slipped under 1 on March 19th.

      “Our assessment now… is that we could possibly have achieved the same effects and avoided some of the unfortunate impacts by not locking down, but by instead keeping open but with infection control measures,” Camilla Stoltenberg, NIPH’s Director General said in a TV interview earlier this month….’

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      I agree, but not just “Our quality of life will be massively damaged because of the economic destruction this has brought” actual years of life will be massively damaged. How the Government got things so wrong with its “protect the NHS” strategy, rather than protect lives over a medium term, remains to be investigated. A very serious inquiry is needed.

  35. Edward2
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Off topic but an interesting poll result from YouGov:-

    Ten point lead for the Conservatives
    One point higher than the 2019 election.

    CON 45% +1
    LAB 35% -3%

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Labour’s Problem really is not so much the Conservatives as the SNP. For some reason their handling of Covid – as bad or worse than England – has resulted in their leader being even more trusted and popular.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      A lot of silly Tory MPs will realise they have been played by the left and Remainers into betraying Dominic, can’t see it helping their career prospects to be seen to be so weak and willing to throw someone to the wolves.

    • Mick
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      And when Sir Kier finally comes out of his bunker and starts slating the Tory’s for there Brexit negotiations the Tory’s lead will go up even further

      • Andy
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Doubtful. Starmer is being smart. He has not said much about Cummings. He has not said much about Brexit since his leadership win. He is going to let Johnson own the blame – which seems an eminently sensible strategy to me. It is also likely to lead to Brexit being undone more quickly.

        The irony being that you lot are really not going to like the reality of Brexit when it finally hits you. Which it will.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          Actually you are right.
          Starmer hasn’t said much at all.
          He is someone who just wants the Leader of the Party job but has no real idea what he wants to do with it.
          Stay quietly as leader seems to be his big idea.

    • acorn
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      “Stupid is as stupid does” said Forrest Gump. A person’s lack of intelligence may be judged by their [voting] actions.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Yet again acorn your disdain for people who hapen to hold different views to you, can be seen.
        This is why the polls are as they are.

        Please carry on with your insults
        Every pronouncement from you just takes votes away from the parties on the left.

  36. Lifelogic
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    This is surely what journalists and government should be questioning rather than someone’s irrelevant drive to Durham:-

    Deaths as a percentage of tested positive cases:-

    UK 14%
    Ireland 6.5%
    Germany 4.7%
    Singapore 0.07%

    Had we had achieved Singapore’s rate we would have had just 180 deaths in the UK rather than 38,500 (and this is only the officially reported as Covid deaths the real figure dying of, or deaths accelerated by, Covid is about 70,000 in the UK currently going off excess death figures which is the best measure).

    What are PHE the NHS and all the various health Quangos doing so very, very wrong?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Other than dumping infected (and infecting) patients from hospitals back into unprepared carehomes that is?

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink


      Perhaps because we were initially perhaps only testing people in hospital who already had the virus, when the testing was simply completed simply to confirm it.

      Very few tests done outside of the NHS confines, and in the general population, so we never really had a clue what percentage of the population in general were affected.

      We still really do not have a clue, other than the suggested calculation of 8,000 new cases per day

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Clearly there are differences in reporting but these are very large differences indeed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      I hope the NHS, PHE and all the other health care arms of the state sector can learn very quickly indeed, before another 20,000 or so die.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      The significance of those figures is truly extraordinary.

      However, if you perform a large number of tests, when your infection rate is low, then even if the proportion of false positives is relatively small, it can mean that the majority – perhaps a large one – of your positive results are false. Think about that for a moment.

      I think that those conditions applied in Singapore. Tests have since improved.

    • Royston White
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Where have you obtained the number of deaths, that are so at odds with the official number? If you sincerely believe that your number is correct, then surely you should be able to produce your source and until that is proven, then it must be treated as unsubstantiated nonsense.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Easy. They are counting every death as if it’s COVID caused. We have maximised the number, whereas Germany and others have minimised the number.
      If you speak to those who know, the Pathologists, both active and retired, they will tell you that we deliberately in cold blood stopped doing the number of autopsies we were doing before the emergence of COVID. Add to that reducing the expert medical input into death certificates, and you will see why most Pathologists will tell you that maybe as many as half our COVID deaths have been incorrectly attributed.
      The balance of our deaths over Germany can be explained by the existence of London – over three times the size of Germany’s largest city; the fact that Heathrow is Europe’s biggest hub; the fact that our BAME population is the highest in Europe and other factors like population density etc.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        and in the middle of it all – – largest attended horse racing for 4 consecutive days, a TABLE-TOP Premier football match and the natural preoccupation of Brits to caress or push and shove at the bar in a pub!

    • Brit
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink


    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      No, follow the science. It could (is likely?) to be that we are testing only more serious cases, who are therefore more likely to die.

      Death as a % of citizens of that age is more interesting, and one we haven’t heard a peep of.

    • davies
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      What is Singapore doing that is different to everyone else?

      How does the German treatment approach differentiate to the UK?

  37. DennisA
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Most countries publish recovery rates. It seems no-one has recovered in the UK.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Cannot see much point in recovery rates. At what point do you say they have recovered?

      Anyway you just take number of cases minus the number in hospital minus the number who have sadly died – this surely gives you a good figure for those recovered!

    • Know-Dice
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      If you really don’t accurately know how many have had Covid-19 then you can’t give accurate recovery rates…

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Govt being transparent again

  38. oldwulf
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    At a very early stage, the NHS withdrew its service from many non-covid patients. It also effectively prevented certain private hospitals from performing non-covid health care.

    I would therefore be interested to learn of the number of deaths which may be attributed to this withdrawal of care, particularly where the patient was not diagnosed for covid, or was diagnosed covid negative.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      I believe you’re being to kind, I understand half the hospital wards where empty and others closed

  39. TooleyStu
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Simple Question.

    We are putting the world on hold..
    Until we find a vaccine for a virus with a 99.95% survival rate.

    Best regards, as ever,
    Tooley Stu

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Simply to make it easier to shield the over-90s. If that was the objective, then it’s failed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Well the survival rate in the UK is 86% or those infected (if you believe government figures for Covid deaths and Covid cases). Even if 10 times the number have actually been infected (without being tested) survival is only 98.6%.

      We are likely to end up with deaths of about 100,000 deaths from the 66+ million population or 0.15% of the population. But yes get us all back to work now please.

      • TooleyStu
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        We only Know 2 numbers,
        Fatal Number, Population number. Divide one into other, then x 100 to make a percent, then -100 to make survive percent.
        UK = 560/million.. (560\1000000) x 100 % = 99.94 % survived.
        Disregard the testing numbers.. you would be more accurate with a Roulette wheel and a Pebble.
        Kary Banks Mullis invented the RT-PCR test, and won a Nobel for it.
        His words ‘Do not use for diagnosis’.
        Recent figures are.. 81% False positive.
        The Anti-body test is not much better, I am afraid.
        Corona virus covers about 7 Human ailments, from Common Cold to Sars and Mers. Currently, according to the latest data, they have yet to isolate the CV19(84) virus and replicate the disease.
        (They have yet to isolate HIV, another story, admitted in court in Germany by Robert Koch Institute, Dr Lanka vs K.Krafeld, Dortmund, Germany, Jan 15 2001)

        Tooley Stu.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      That’s a good question. Isolate people who have the virus but everyone else should just go on as normal.

    • Ed M
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      One of the jobs of government is to control fear (whether that fear is rational or not).

      Even lots of Conservative voters are fearful of catching the virus.

      So the government has to react to this fear thing as well – by doing the best it can to reduce this fear – above all in order to protect the economy.

      (In other words, no point getting angry about it – we just have to deal with it)

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Meanwhile Spain records ZERO deaths in the past twenty-four hours form covid19.

        Do you EVER look beyond these shores?

        • Edward2
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          Different time scale to other nations.
          Ours is rapidly coming down in the UK

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            It *was* coming down. Seems rather stuck at the moment.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            Look at the overall curve of the graph.
            It is coming down.

        • Ed M
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          ‘Spain records ZERO deaths in the past twenty-four hours form covid19.

          Do you EVER look beyond these shores?’

          – I love Spain and the Spanish! I worked there for a year and go there often on holiday.

          But I still think the UK is the best / the British are the best!


          • Ed M
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            Viva Inglaterra!

            (Long live England)

        • Ed M
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink


          The fact is there are far too many people knocking this country left, right and centre (it’s so easy to knock).

          We all know the UK has problems (like all countries). But ultimately we have to have a vision for how this country can be great (in best sense of the word). Let’s please have more vision and less knocking. And more working together to make this country great (in best sense of the word).

          I might be wrong but you seem to spend your time knocking (if not Covid, something else).

          I don’t agree with everything Sir John or others here say (and often challenge). But one thing I have learned is that they have been more right about a lot of things than I previously thought.

          So please be more creative (vision), unitive and then when you do challenge, people will take you more seriously / treat you with more respect (not forgetting 95% of people don’t mind being challenged but they don’t like being harangued the whole time).

        • Ed M
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          I don’t want to get too serious but it’s thanks to this blog that I went on a small journey of discovery about the word ‘patriotism’. I always knew being loyal to one’s country was vaguely a good thing but I never realised that patriotism (love of country) is actually a virtue (like love of family). This journey led me to Rouen where the great patriot St Joan of Arc was burnt on a stake.

          To me, Patriotism is now something beautiful like a Faberge Egg. This does NOT mean we don’t challenge what is wrong. But always challenge with an ultimate vision (the Faberge Egg!) and trying to be ultimately unitive. Yes, we have to help the materially poor (but above all, by helping them get up on their own feet and be independent and depend more on their families than the state when things go wrong). But we also have to help the spiritually poor as well (by basically trying to get on with everyone, supporting the arts that enriches people, supporting education and charities that support people who are alone / feel lonely and things like that).

          • Ed M
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            Also, I don’t want to virtue signal either, but when I write this, it helps me focus myself on something I would otherwise not have thought about at all. This blog has helped me to focus on the virtue of Patriotism – and that is a very important virtue not to be sniffed at (as i used to from one degree to another – although I’ve always vaguely believed in being loyal to one’s country – but now I really believe it and with a concrete vision of this as opposed to something vague).

          • M Brandreth- Jones
            Posted June 6, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            Ed M.. This is enlightenment ( and not the movement) Putting care into existence as opposed to the perfunctory knocking down of our own roots has been the destruction of us so far. We don’t need to glory in bad deeds done by ourselves as the GB but rather we can learn from past experiences and learn that people and positive emotions matter. It is all too easy to join in negative anger to vent our frustrations , but with the right attitude that golden egg could produce the best of the best.

  40. acorn
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    My preferred metric for easing lock-down is the number of new cases reported in the last 14 days divided by the population, as a percentage. Assuming that testing labs are keeping up with diagnosing new cases; which is dependent on the number of testing labs per population a country has. The UK is currently at 0.051% which some medics reckon is too high to unlock.

    Brazil is at 0.125%; USA 0.092%; Russia 0.085. Spain 0.017; France 0.014; Italy 0.012 and Germany 0.008%. These numbers are based on ECDC from a third party, I have not tested them.

    • acorn
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      In the Deaths per 100 K population stakes, the UK is currently running third.

      Belgium 82.9
      Spain 58.1
      United_Kingdom 57.9
      Italy 55.3
      Sweden 43.2
      France 43
      Netherlands 34.6
      Ireland 34
      Luxembourg 18.1
      Portugal 13.7
      Germany 10.3
      Denmark 9.9
      Austria 7.6

      Belgium you can understand as it is the administrative centre of the EU; lots of people coming and going. Likewise little Luxembourg has a population that near doubles in the daytime. A crowed of Spaniards by their very nature, are never likely to be found two metres apart for any reason.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        And Sweden didn’t lockdown like all the others.

  41. Sharon Jagger
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I’ve found the article in the Spectator- it’s written by Dr John Lee, a histopathologist. He describes how, because of the sloppy way the deaths are recorded, with only one doctor now required to sign a death certificate ( who may never have even met the patient); care home providers making a statement of death; and a video link consultation 4 weeks prior to death being considered sufficient…..

    Dr Lee’s conclusion is that in a pandemic such as this where records need to be as accurate as possible – to help us learn as much as possible about the disease; we really do not have any idea of anything for sure. There are still so many unanswered questions because of the unreliability of the death records as to be a national disgrace!

  42. Swallowtails!
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    “officials claim they can test 200,000 people a day and have recruited a lot of trackers it is important every new case is followed up”

    The person who came up with this has never been butterfly catching as a child.

    66 million butterflies are all released at once in a field the size of the UK and Mr Plonker goes off with his butterfly net , pen, writing pad, and cheese and pickled onion sandwiches for lunchtime and we get a very silly picture indeed and an even more silly Mr Plonker.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      And such is the nonsense.
      Love your comment!

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      I can’t even get the app on my phone

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      did it work in the Isle of Wright ?

  43. Christine
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    The biggest mistake was to allow the transfer of hospital patients to nursing homes. We know from the control of outbreaks of foot and mouth that the first thing to put in place is a ban on movements of animals. Unfortunately, in their panic to clear hospital beds a bad decision was taken. It would have been better to requisition hotels where convalescing patients could have been kept separate and quarantined for two weeks. Let’s hope lessons have been learned for future outbreaks.

    In New York the Governor, Andrew Cuomo, actually signed an executive order forcing nursing homes to take elderly patients from the hospitals. Unfortunately, both Trump and Boris are set up as the fall guys for political reasons.

    This is one time where an enquiry into what went well and what went badly needs to be carried out. We urgently need to understand best practise for any future wave. This enquiry must be independent of politicians apart from them giving evidence.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      but they had to save the NHS at all cost, including tranferring the elderly to care homes regardless

      • Fred H
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        No different to NHS moving ‘recovered’ patients out to Care Homes ASAP after any operation. Sad fact is they prefer any death to be on other premises.
        Some will accuse me of blasphemy.

  44. Everhopeful
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Having allowed MSM ( no doubt on higher instruction) to terrify the nation with alarming death figures, people must now be persuaded that it is ok to go out.

    With the first virus/disease in history that apparently escapes all understanding it is a big ask. How is your dentist more safe today than yesterday? For all we know the little old virus might lurk in pots of strawberry jam!

    So today schools were opening? Oh no!! Even in a “Conservative” area it is down to individual school choice. And parental? So why is a children’s uber noisy party ( with guests) safer than school, pray?? Ah..virus loves tarmac and lunch boxes? I thought that education was supposed to be important enough to fine parents for keeping kids away??

    It strikes me that this is all very much like trying to invent a board game. The rules, on paper, seem fine until you actually try to put them into practice.

    What an appalling mess!

  45. Freeborn John
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Boris Johnson needs to be preparing now for the June EU Summit if he is to avoid
    a Theresa May style ambush as at her Salzburg summit. The EU is very likely to insist on extension with anything else he proposes rejected in the same way that they rejected Chequers at Salzburg. Johnson can only avoid this if he successfully faces down the EU himself insisting that pointless talks will end in June unless the EU agrees to change its negotiating mandate in all the areas of disagreement.

    It is worrying that nobody in the U.K. government seems prepared to tell the EU that they have to change the mandate they set Barnier or talks end and final preparations for trading on WTO terms commence. The EU will see that as weakness and a sign that the U.K. will climb down if driven into a corner. They will then go into mantra mode endlessly repeating “extension”.

    • Will in Hampshire
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      I am pretty sure that the Member States are perfectly content with M. Barnier sticking to the current mandate. Why do you think they wouldn’t be? After all, they wrote it. It’s plausible that the French might be worried about fishing, but it’s small fry (apologies) and can be compensated for somehow.

      At this point I’ll add that I don’t need to be told about how much they sell to the UK today. Most of that will continue to be sold under WTO terms, at slightly higher prices to UK consumers. The rest can be shipped to other markets.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

      Why would Boris attend an EU summit? We are no longer a member.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        he should send an apology reading ‘Friends – sorry to miss it, but am busy clearing my desk’.

  46. Everhopeful
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    An elderly relative, who is susceptible to bronchitis, stays indoors on the first news of winter ‘flu.
    She does not want to be carted off to hospital with pneumonia. (No one does …such is the fear of our “health” system).
    That is how it should be…PERSONAL CHOICE.
    NOT laws to lock us in!!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Agree, once we endured the hospitals would not be overwhelmed which we FoF successfully.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      I have to say your comment is daft. If you had someone with Ebola living next door to you, you believe they should be free to wander around and give it to you! Yeah, right.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Well..I’m in good company. Lord Sumption says similar.
        You prefer to have no choice?
        Headed into a pen?

        • Everhopeful
          Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          HERDED even.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      And if she exercises her PERSONAL CHOICE and contracts the virus and gets pneumonia I assume she will expect the rest of us to pay for her treatment?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        You pay for a great deal more than that!
        But this you pay for with your liberty?

  47. Peter Parsons
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Why no comparison of Sweden with the other Scandanavian countries?

    Sweden – 435 deaths per million
    Denmark – 99 deaths per million
    Finland – 57 deaths per million
    Norway – 44 deaths per million
    Iceland – 29 deaths per million

    • Edward2
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      That’s a very partial presentation of statistics.
      Look at the figures above from acorn.
      Sweden 5th place
      4 EU members above them.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        It’s a comparison of similar, neighbouring countries.

        Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, has given a radio interview in which he “acknowledged that the country has had too many deaths from Covid-19 and should have done more to curb the spread of the virus.” and that there was “quite obviously a potential for improvement in what we have done” in Sweden.

        Asked whether too many people in Sweden had died, he replied: “Yes, absolutely.”

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      I think that you have answered your own question with those figures, Peter.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Looks like a good argument that population density and the proportion of the total population that lives in a few big cities has a big effect on the figures.
        And the ability to lock down external borders.

  48. Lionel
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    So the global lockdown has proved viral contagion is a myth?

  49. Not Bob
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    So has no one twigged yet that the Chinese govt and every other govt want as many Covid 19 (alleged) deaths as possible? … back in the late 90s the head of the FBI was warning politicians need higher body counts to push through their agendas, rigging the figures is preferable.

    We have overwhelming evidence that govts all over the world are doing their best to make it look like something that was never a pandemic, is a pandemic. Why?

    • Fred H
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Great for determining how to exercise control of the people, what works, what doesn’t.

  50. Newmania
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Many States in the US have a very low infection rate due to their remoteness … Compare New York , 400,000 cases with West Virginia with 2000. So, to judge America, at this stage by its cases per head is clearly fantastically kind as well as irrelevant .
    The UK has registered 59,537 surplus deaths l since the week ending March 20, indicating that the virus has directly or indirectly killed 891 people per million.. That was a higher rate of death than in any country for which reliable data exist. (Spain made a revision increasing its death rate to 921 per million…and onto this straw Sir John Redwood clutches )
    Overall it looks as if the UK`s performance is about as bad as it could be . With budget deficit now predicted to reach 17% of GDP, Britain has :the world’s second highest coronavirus death rate and the worst resulting economic collapse
    Stop inventing excuses no-one believes and do something useful. Anything

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Yes, those countries which reacted hard and fast to the virus have had far shorter lockdowns, and have suffered markedly less economic damage.

      There is no choice for the UK.

      It MUST catch up with the best.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink


        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

          Fine, Lynn.

          If you are happy with this virus waging permanent attrition against us as we age, and with our being quarantined or barred by the responsible world from now, on then that’s for you.

          However, I certainly won’t be going to pubs, restaurants etc. when they open unless this country does, whatever reckless right wingers say.

          And there are many millions like us. The economy is also stuffed until it does, therefore.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            Are you therefore in favour of locking down our borders?

    • Edward2
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      It doesn’t indicate 891 people have been killed by the virus at all.
      It is only those who have been affected by the virus and have been tested that can be counted.

      I realise you are doing your best to plame fault on Boris but your efforts are rather poor.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      It wasn’t a good idea becoming a service economy. And all that outsourcing of manufacturing doesn’t look so cheap now, does it !

      This is what happens when you rely on a bunch of talking-head arts graduates in the City for your bread and butter. A real crisis comes along and they bleat for someone to do something.

      Useless in a crisis. Utterly useless.

      THIS is the difference between us and Germany.

  51. ed2
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    It is not possible to draw any conclusions from any of the figures anywhere in the world.

    1. They are all putting with Covid or from Covid (we do not know)
    2. The Covid test kits test for an immune response (we do not even have proof its a virus)
    3. The WHO approved test labs have no independent oversight. When tested by skeptical countries fruit and goats were allegedly testing positive.
    4. Even the pro lockdown fact check sites and the government’s own figures seem to show between 30-50% of deaths were caused by the lockdown.

  52. na
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    In the US medicare pay them 18000 dollars for every Covid 19 diagnosis.

    Hospitals have a choice to make, lay off doctors or diagnose as many as possible with CV19.

  53. Ed M
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    The problem here ultimately isn’t governments (all governments have made mistakes and got things right as well) – but Covid!

    We have to put differences between us and UNITE as a country to deal with this virus as efficiently as possible.

    And terrible as Covid is, it also has its benefits – bringing people together, people being nicer to each other than unusual, giving the atmosphere some time to breathe again etc.

    So even Covid doesn’t have to be the terrible thing it can be when it strikes people – but ultimately we all have to die anyway, the thing is to be as best prepared as we can be and to treat those around us with respect and love (soft and tough love) and look after the vulnerable and the dying.

    God bless this great country – The UK – and its great people (even though we’re all flawed from one degree to another).

    • Ed M
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      And we all have to unite together ultimately for the young. So that they don’t have to inherit a decimated economy and huge debt.

      Let’s please focus on the young before ourselves and our differences (I am a Conservative by the way, I meant differences between Tories and Labour and Lib Dems and other differences between people: Social Background / Geographical Area / Pro or anti EU etc).

  54. everyone knows
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    The very fact globalist collectivist govts all over the world are trying to make this worse than it is (to push police state political agendas) should alert people that this is not really about a virus but about something else.

    Has it really taken the political Right thing long to work this out and formulate a political response?: Or do we have to play along with Left wing tyrannical globalist conspiracies forever? Trump needs some advice and help. Is any coming from Con MPs? Not the Left wing globalist sort?

  55. na
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    The very fact globalist collectivist govts all over the world are trying to make this worse than it is (to push police state political agendas) should alert people that this is not really about a virus but about something else.

    Has it really taken the political Right this long to work this out and formulate a political response?: Or do we have to play along with Left wing tyrannical globalist conspiracies forever? Trump needs some advice and help. Is any coming from Con MPs? Not the Left wing globalist sort?

  56. na
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    We don’t want Boris talking to Trump, we want Redwood talking to Trump.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      better still ME TO TALKING TO BORIS.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:22 am | Permalink

        😂😂 – just the once!

      • Fred H
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        and explain what he should be doing FREE.

  57. Caterpillar
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    The other factor of potential importance the could be looked at quite quickly is the number of initial sources. It is know that the UK had multiple near parallel entries into the community prior to community transmission being picked up. From the number of strains without one becoming dominant Belgium looks the same. In contrast, I think Germany had the flag of the early Munich cluster. It would be interesting to know this variation across countries.

  58. na
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    our death figures are so high as we are to be a vaccine test nation, watch and see.

  59. Freeborn John
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    There are rumours that Irish EU Commisisioner Phil Hogan is planning to run for director-general of the World Trade Organization. The UK needs to strongly oppose this or we will find the EU pulling the WTO strings to impede UK trade in the future.

    • mancunius
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I too found that most disturbing, given that EU Commissioners are obliged to permanently defend the EU’s interests even after they leave the EC.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink


  60. BillM
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    All “Government figures” from here and everywhere must be suspect because the bodies are not examined post mortem. The figures should be described as “suspected of dying of Corona virus” as no proof of cause of death is shown.
    According to Professor of Pathology, John Lee, ALL deaths in Care Homes are now attributed to Convid 19.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      They might as well report ‘ Heart stopped’

    • Stred
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      That is not the case. He says that not enough are properly investigated by s coroner. Only a proportion of deaths in care homes are being recorded as due to Covid. Because they don’t test, it’s guesswork but all of the excess deaths coincide with the Covid epidemic.

  61. Jim Whitehouse
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    The site I have kinked below conveniently maintains graphs of death rate. Particularly with the log scale, it is remarkable how similar many countries appear. Germany and South Korea are clear outliers and, from what I have read, they have no more idea why than we do. One German medical expert joked that it was probably because they cook everything in pork fat.

    • It's in the stars
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 3:21 am | Permalink

      Could be Chance too.
      It was Chance I met and married my ex-wife. I have given up gambling and keep myself to myself..

      • Fred H
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        not enough of us realise what a high-stakes gamble it is when we nonchalantly wander into the voting booth.
        Many also lose any short term memory as to what they voted for, and what they subsequently got!

  62. forthurst
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Germany has a far better health system than ours not being centralised and run by Arts graduates as well as being much better funded; however, it would be churlish to suggest that wholly explains the disparity in outcomes. The most likely explanation is that unlike in Germany the Arts graduates running healthcare here did nor realise very early on the paramount importance of procuring sufficient PPE such that Covid-19 patients did not infect healthcare workers and they in turn did not infect the most vulnerable patients in their care who were most likely to succumb to infection.

    On January 22nd the Arts graduates from the DHSC reported to SAGE that “diagnostic testing capacity in Wuhan is overwhelmed”; but “The UK currently has good centralised diagnostic capacity for [Covid-19 testing] – and is days away from a specific test, which is scalable across the UK in a few weeks.” However, on February 18, “Currently PHE can only cope with five new cases [of Covid-19] a week – requiring isolation of 800 contacts”. Consequently, “priorities will shift during a potential outbreak from containment and isolation on to delay and, finally, to case management.” …and of course lockdown.
    PHE is responsible for tracking and tracing and the NHS has insisted on its exclusive role of testing because the Arts graduates running the NHS did not want the scientists running independent laboratories to perform testing. Arts graduates created PHE separate from the NHS for reasons only comprehensible to Arts graduates

    The lockdown was a panic measure; however, with no alternative, the lockdown in Wuhan and then Hubei prevented further spread within China. As JR queried recently our lockdown, also a panic measure, does not seem to have reduced the infection rate commensurate with the inconvenience inflicted. Furthermore, with infections still running close to 2000 a day, it seems somewhat premature to be lifting it whilst the capacity to track and trace effectively has yet to be proven and given that Arts graduates are running this as well, may never be.

  63. Ignoramus
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    In this week’s Spectator Dr John Lee, a retired Professor of Pathology shows how badly the Corvid 19 statistics were collected and ends up writing:

    “One of the unappreciated tragedies of this epidemic so far is the huge lost opportunity to understand Covid-19 better. We like to beat ourselves up for having the worst Covid death toll in Europe — but we will never know, because we decided not to count properly. In a country that has always prided itself on the quality of its facts and “gures, the missing Covid-19 data is a national scandal.”

    • Oh why, how?
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 3:13 am | Permalink

      Broadly speaking , yes. The Chief Medical Officer on TV declared from the onset he/we were not going to bother with regional and ethnic data collection on Virus detections as an important.
      How he contracted the virus himself as he must have had maximum protection and not being hands on with patients and the most educated in matters-virus is something to find out about, later.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      This country ‘prides itself’ on too many things. It is time we realised just how inadequate most things are here. The Empire is long gone.

  64. John E
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    A sombre detail for those that think this is nothing out of the ordinary. The M&S online store is out of stock of black ties.

    • mancunius
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just looked – silk, rich textured, black, £25 online at M&S – in stock.
      M&S know why people who buy black ties need one urgently, so they’re not going to bother stocking up on them in the lower prices available in the other colours intended to lure the (very) few men who still wear ties.
      I had exactly the the same online problem a year ago, and had to go instore, where black ties were available at lower prices.
      More innocently (as other colours are also out of stock) it might just be that their supply lines are affected.

  65. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    When did it become compulsory for everyone on the box to say how sad and sorry they are about this death or those deaths?

    Why doesn’t every news bulletin start with; ‘We are sorry to report that 1597 people died yesterday. On the other hand 2000 births took place and net immigration yesterday was 821. So, 1597 out and 2821 in. Phew.’

    • Starting
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 3:03 am | Permalink

      It would be admirable if they began “We failed!”

  66. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    My friend works in a care home and the 5 patients they took in from hospitals all had Covid. Up until then they were Covid free. Another friend has contracted Cvoid in hospital after a stroke.

  67. John McDonald
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    History will record that Governments failed to close their borders ( to people) not soon enough due to pressure from the Airlines. Also China did not spell out the seriousness of the virus and the WHO agreed with them. Secondly internal regional isolation was not implement soon enough ( to people not to goods). The economy had a greater value than individuals lives. The sad thing is that if we had taken action at the end of January 2020, more lives would have been saved and the economy not so badly damaged.
    By luck or God, which ever you prefer, we have had the hottest spring on record and this is having a major impact on reducing the virus’s ability to spread due to exposure to UV and heat, and the production of our vitamin D 🙂 And now to show we are just as good as other countries we will rush out of lock down when in truth we are two to three weeks behind everyone else.

  68. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Off topic. Reservoirs are down and hose pipe bans are being mentioned. Wouldn’t the money being spent on HS2 be better spent on a national grid for water with more reservoirs? Just a thought.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      We would already have more reservoirs if not for the privatisation of water.

      It is not profitable to maintain spare capacity. Many have been filled in and sold for development land.

      They also hold back flood water.

      The areas so threatened with the bans are often the very same as suffered the earlier catastrophic flooding.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        EU Water Directive Martin.
        Have a read.

        • hefner
          Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          Given that you appear to know so much about EU directives, could you please point out in which document and paragraph it prevents individual countries to build new reservoirs. Thanks a lot in advance.

          PS: to help you please do not forget considering the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC, revised 2013/39/EU), the EU Water Initiative and the so-called EUWI+. Or maybe the older Drinking Water Directive (1998/83/EC).

          PPS: and as I am a good guy, I will tell you of the EU ‘frowning‘ when Spain was planning in 2002 to transfer huge amounts of water from the Ebro river to the South East of Spain with the potential building of 120 (mini-)dams. There was a very internal large opposition to that project in Spain and the intervention of the EU was limited to essentially corroborate the arguments of the opponents to the project. The project was killed not by the EU but by the Spanish Government in 2004.

          So, Edward2, what do you say?

          • Fred H
            Posted June 2, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            2004? – – it’s water under the bridge.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 3, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

            I say the EU policy on water as stated in the EU Water Directive which the UK followed led to hardly any new reservoirs being built not privatisation as Martin tried to claim..

            And I fail to to see what relevance Spanish policy is to what the UK did.

      • M Brandreth- Jones
        Posted June 6, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        As my son comments they keep building more house relying on water and decrease the reserved capacity of water. We think these people are

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      It is very difficult and downright impossible in many cases to get anything done here. We need more water storage but the Nimbys the conservationists naturalists and every man and his mad dog are given a disproprtionate right to air their objections. Then the bureaucrats ensure they have years to consider such. Nothing is decided.

  69. Les Wies
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Statistics can be analysed, manipulated, and argued over as much as you like, but there is one indisputable factor that accounts for for much of this sickness and death – and not just from C-19; and that is the shockingly poor state of health of the populations of western countries in particular. Recent research shows that only around 12% (!) have optimal metabolic health. By age 55, 50% have one or more comorbidities; by 75, 90% have one or more, with 40% having 2 or more. Most of this is due to poor lifestyle habits. Eg only 5% of breast cancer risk is due to genetic factors, ditto for dementia/AD, etc. The best thing this govt. can do is to get the NHS to be a health service, rather than the disease management service it has become.

  70. mancunius
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, you ask about the lower German death rates. About a month ago, a leading German specialist pointed out that the first wave of infections in Germany had come from an outbreak in the Alps. The skiing holidaymakers tended to be younger, generally fitter and among the covid-infected the average age of death was 49 – i.e. shockingly low, but that was because the cases were relatively few. The Germans have a public/private health research, monitoring and testing regime, which was immediately activated. (PHE/NHS might have done the same after the 2018 simulation exercise, but did not.) However, Germany too made the same mistake its care homes as did Britain: poor planning for cross-infection, protection against peripatetic care staff, and liaison with hospitals.

    Tracking is much less difficult in Germany, due to the legally obligatory local registration of residence (and vehicle) combined with the universal ID-card for German nationals. So the German local, fiscal and border authorities know who is in the country and where they are (and where their secondary homes are). It’s not 100% foolproof, it depends on civic solidarity and co-operation, but it is helpful in an epidemic like this one.
    In Britain we’d need more regional/local devolution, and a different calibre of LA staff to run such a system, even if Joe Public could be persuaded to co-operate.

    • MeSET
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 1:58 am | Permalink

      Good! We have taken as a given though, that testing by the Germans was a decisive factor simply because of what may be just a common coincidence of testing and death rate.

      If such analysis , simple, and such a procedure as testing, simple, then we would have conquered viruses years ago.
      There are more to viruses and human lives, scattered so intricately and intertwined with time, place, food, water, Chance, bodily form in all aspects, work, available health care and none that we should not be so clever to think we have missed he obvious.
      To me. The ones who did not get the virus at all are the most important beings in Earth and not their opposite numbers we seek out for compassion sake..
      Look to the negative!!!! The positive is too complicated and simultaneously too simple for such a cunning device as the virus. It comes after thousands of years of development by Nature’s brutal hand. So deceptively simple. So tiny. Almost nothing. Find the no-thing. Fly… through… spaces.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:14 am | Permalink

      Did the Germans have the same control in their immigration ghettoes? Or did they,like the French, exempt the no go areas from the lockdown?
      I will NEVER accept the Continental system of informing the authoritarian authorities of every visit to Windermere. I would rather get Covid.

  71. APL
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    JR: “They often go on to blame their two governments which they do not like ”

    The government is to blame for wrecking untold and unnecessary damage to the economy. MP are to blame for letting the government do it, then going off on holiday.

    You as a group, ought to be ashamed.

    I can’t make up my mind if it was sheer bovine stupidity or negligence. What do you think?

  72. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    And of course there is a flow of carriers who choose to go to different parts of the world in preference to others.

  73. Nigl
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Apparently reporting on testing has been stopped to ensure consistency across all ‘pillars’. You would have thought that would have been a fundamental requirement from the start.

    Why don’t they ever get it right first time?

      Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      ‘They’re’ acting politically not clinically.

      I struggle to understand why the British people cannot see what this nation’s become and how damaged the British political class has become.

      We are governed by elected and unelected poison (activism of the progressive left) and acting to achieve political aims is the only driving force

      • Caterpillar
        Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        I struggle too. It would be interesting to read whether Sir John at least partially agrees with your appraisal and if so reasons he would give.

        Trivial guesses – uniformity of education, identity politics, no national identity/culture, seeking a cause/purpose, fear of everything (need to be saved / no hope), no individual security (hence no time to think whilst struggling to survive) …

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      … Or the 10th time …
      Rejoice! The private sector is tested every day by the public (the market). If it does not please them it ceases to exist.
      For the first time the state sector is being tested under the spotlight. We can all see it failing! This is GREAT NEWS. Ammunition for our new order with smaller and more efficient state sector and loads of British people released into the real ‘creative’ sector – we create wealth upon which everyone exists. No need for ‘immigrants’ either with this pool of ex-civil servants available to pick fruit.

  74. David Brown
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR,
    We disagree on some topics that I don’t need to repeat here as its not the subject for today.
    On this particular topic you have outlined I totally agree with you. We can all speculate however its the basic facts that you have asked for before further comment.
    I did write a short time ago that I felt the total death rates should be set against the total number of recovery rates. Every death is tragedy for the family and we accept this, however I feel we can and should give thanks to the high recovery rates that far exceed the death rates.
    I cannot recall seeing any statistics for the number of people who have recovered from Covid 19. All I seem to see on the BBC is total numbers dead and that number is fixed in my head.

    • Viewer
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      I started watching the BBC again, only until the pain is too great for human flesh to bear. One needs to see the devil and not just talk about him behind his back.

  75. ChrisS
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    From the Guardian 1st June 2020

    The average number of cases of Covid 19 per 100,000 of population has increased slightly since Mid May.

    The average is now 265/100,000 people across The United Kingdom

    The highest incidence of the virus is in Rhondda Cynon Taf with 679.2 per 1000,000
    Closely followed by Merthyr Tydfil with 666.3 and Dundee city at 596

    The lowest is in Na h-Eileanan Siar with just 22.5
    The previous lowest, Rutland, now stands in 6th lowest place at 88.2

    The average across the UK is now 284.2 cases per 100,000 of population.
    In Wokingham it is now 265
    In my own council area, Dorset, it is just 96.9 cases, the 8th lowest in the Kingdom.

    Once again these figures very clearly demonstrate that it makes no sense at all for there to be an identical lockdown policy across England.

    Welsh politicians, in particular, appear to be playing with fire by allowing unlimited fraternisation when six of the worst affected Council areas are in the Principality :

    Rhondda Cynon Taf
    Merthyr Tydfil
    Vale of Glamorgan

    • Fred H
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      they should ban the Male Voice Choirs.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 2, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        oh…and all that hugging and grasping of nether regions on the rugby field.

  76. Trav
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    “The U.K. has also recorded many care home and community deaths as CV 19 when no
    test was taken to see if the patient had it, and when it may have been other serious
    medical conditions they suffered from that killed them”.

    Why would they do that, why make the death figures inflated from CV 19? It doesn’t make sense.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps it is better than looking like other causes due to care such as G.P. visits being decreased?

    • Mark
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 3:02 am | Permalink

      The sense is that the virus is an unimpeachable cause of death. Failure to provide care for a treatable condition is potentially grounds for a lawsuit.

  77. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    What a joke. Panorama is reporting that Trump dud not shut down airports and travel from Europe soon enough. Shouldn’t they be reporting from the uk?

  78. everyone knows
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink
    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      The UK Govt needs to publish its IFR numbers for CV19 and flu by age (and health condition) and perhaps alongside mortality rate by age to give a fair comparison. We can guestimate CV19 ( but Govt advisers should now have sufficient data to give pretty darn accurate estimates/upper bounds.

    • Richard
      Posted June 2, 2020 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      The CDC has provided two calculations that when combined put the overall death rate for COVID-19 at 0.26%.

      Switz Policy Research say “the median value of Covid19 lethality (IFR) is about 0.2% and thus in the range of a strong influenza”.

      But the key point is that the vulnerable population is known. Harvard Professor Martin Kulldorff: “If exposed to Covid-19, people aged in their 70s have roughly twice the mortality of those in their 60s, 10 times the mortality of those in their 50s, 40 times that of those in their 40s, 100 times that of those in their 30s, and 300 times that of those in their 20s. The over-70s have a mortality that is more than 3,000 times higher than children have”

  79. Richard
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    On “which treatment does most to lower the death rates in serious cases”:

    120 doctors & research-scientists wrote an open letter re the chloroquine/ hydroxychloroquine study in the Lancet that led to hospitals removing HCQ from their treatment protocols:

    And 25 Brazilian scientists and academics critisised a seperate Brazilian trial:
    “The Manaus’ study with chloroquine (CQ) performed here in Brazil and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) [1], is emblematic to this discussion of “science”. Scientists there used, the manuscript reveals, lethal doses in debilitated patients, many in severe conditions and with comorbidities. The profiles of the groups do not seem to have been “randomized”, since a clear “preference” in the HIGH DOSE group for risk factors is noted. Chloroquine, which is more toxic than HCQ, was used, and it seems that they even made “childish mistakes” in simple stoichiometric calculations, doubling the dosage with the error…”

    Whereas this study reports: “Two candidate medications have been widely discussed: remdesivir, and hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin. Remdesivir has shown mild effectiveness in hospitalized inpatients, but no trials have been registered in outpatients. Hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin has been widely misrepresented in both clinical reports and public media, and outpatient trials results are not expected until September. Early outpatient illness is very different than later hospitalized florid disease and the treatments differ. Evidence about use of hydroxychloroquine alone, or of hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin in inpatients, is irrelevant concerning efficacy of the pair in early high-risk outpatient disease. Five studies, including two controlled clinical trials, have demonstrated significant major outpatient treatment efficacy. Hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin has been used as standard-of-care in more than 300,000 older adults with multicomorbidities, with estimated proportion diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmias attributable to the medications 47/100,000 users, of which estimated mortality is 9/100,000 users…”

  80. Richard
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    There is also a good general discussion on treatments for Covid19 in the comments here:

  81. TooleyStu
    Posted June 2, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Excellent comments from all posters, to be applauded.
    Yet again, the ‘man in the street’ has a better perception than our duly elected representatives … (SJR excluded, he seems to be one of the aware)
    I have recently met up with Company Directors, Accountants, Engineers, Deep sea divers and Airline Pilots.
    All these professions require a degree of ‘data crunching’, be it balance sheets or oxygen levels or navigation or trigonometry. All real world number crunchers.
    Every one (without exception) looks on.. in amazement.. at the Pantomime that has unfolded in front of us over the last few months.
    Tooley Stu

  82. Irene
    Posted June 2, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Today I am able to understand why you would not allow my earlier comment to pass your moderation. It all becomes clear.

  83. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    The best measure of failure to control the pandemic is estimated number of years of life lost per million or per 100,000 of population. On that basis, UK and Italy, with lots of elderly fatalities, don’t look too bad.

  84. stred
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Table 2 shows that excess deaths in England peaked on 12.4.20 and then continued to fall much less than in comparable countries with even stricter lockdowns.France peaked a week before and then reduced to low levels.
    What is the NHS doing that these other countries did not do? Almost all countries mismanaged the care home isolation but still brought overall numbers down. Why are low skilled and skilled workers more at risk from non-Covid and care workers still not all being tested and isolated while twice as likely to die of Covid caused symptoms?

  85. APL
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Retraction: “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis”— Lancet

    • ed2
      Posted June 5, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Retraction: “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis”— Lancet

      They refused to send them the data. Every single trick is an argument of authority.

  • 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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