The new UK Government-announced lock-down is putting people’s lives at risk, according to a leading epidemiologist. Indeed, Dr Sucharit Bhakdi, an infectious medicine specialist, says the UK response is ‘Grotesque, absurd and very dangerous.’
The softly-spoken Professor Bhakdi is one of the most highly cited medical research scientists in Germany.
P.S. Thursday: Email your MP from this link; you have to click on their name twice to reach their email address. Witness to your MP using the material here. Note we say people should take obvious health precautions, and those at risk can remain in isolation. But the general economy must now return to normal, especially with Imperial College now downgrading their mortality prediction by a factor of 12.5. (See below).
Meanwhile, Mail on Sunday journalist Peter Hitchens is emerging as one of the few, beside ourselves, trying to hold the Government to account, asking them challenging questions about liberty and the economy, and being vilified for it. OK, ok, some others are Off-Guardian, Swiss Propaganda Research, Rob Slane’s Blogmire and Craig Murray.
The House of Commons, the BBC, ITV, Sky, the mainstream media are all sycophantically following the Government line, or even calling for ‘stronger’ measures. No-one is saying ‘hang on a moment!’ They have all, to quote Dr Bhakdi, been ‘spooked’.
Labour, of course love the idea of a universal wage. It is part of their socialist utopia. They also want the Government to micro-manage our lives. What excuse do the journalists have? We shall try to inject some clarity, remembering the source of all wisdom is fear of God, not fear of a virus:
Prov 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
The Bible says:
1Tim 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Your prayer for those in power will be better informed by being aware of the respected professor’s analysis.
Bad advice from Imperial College
Christian Voice continues to say the Government is over-reacting to Covid-19 and should simply advocate isolating anyone frail or with a susceptible medical condition. We remember the ‘figures’ upon which they have made their decisions depend on the information the experts put into the model in the first place.
We also advocate widespread available testing, as per South Korea.
In fact Mr Hitchens quotes a leading vet, Dick Sibley, who remembers the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak. His ‘heart sank’ when he learned Imperial College were advising the Government.
Their advice in 2001, he says, led to ‘the unnecessary slaughter of millions of healthy cattle and sheep’. Their bad advice was eventually ‘overruled by the then Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King.’
The Imperial prophecy of doom led to the Government imposing this week’s extraordinary shutdown. They said without such rules the disease could claim up to 250,000 lives. The salient words are ‘could’ and ‘up to’. It all depends on their initial assumptions. As the geeks say: ‘Garbage in, garbage out’.
Astonishingly, Covid-19 was downgraded from being classified as a High Consequence Infectious Disease in the UK last Thursday, 19th March. This, according to the Government’s own webpage, was mainly because the public health bodies in the UK concluded: ‘more information is available about mortality rates (low overall).’
I’m struggling to understand this. Our public health bodies decided Covid-19 was no longer a HCID. Four days later the nation was plunged into lock-down over it. That never happened over bird flu or SARS which remain HCID’s. Why the power-grab and why the moves to destroy the self-employed sector?
P.S. (Thursday AM). In addition, Neil Ferguson at Imperial College has now downgraded his advice. It won’t be 250,000 deaths, it will 20,000 in the worst case or ‘substantially lower.’ Hospitals are right now ‘within capacity’ to cope. And this just nine days after the doom scenario which led to the lock-down. He is not back-tracking on the lock-down, however. Instead he is calling for “large scale testing and contact tracing” to ‘bring an end to the lockdown’.
This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the end of Spanish Flu. The epidemic raged from January 1918 to December 1920. That’s three full years of misery as the First World War was ending and people trying to put their lives back in order. The Great War left 22 million dead. Spanish Flu killed perhaps one quarter to a third of the world’s population, perhaps 50 million.
But the Daily Express reveals Spanish Flu hit the young hardest. Those in their twenties and thirties were most at risk of dying. That is the complete opposite to Covid-19, which attacks those with respiratory issues, compromised immune systems, diabetes, obesity and coronary diseases.
Less advanced medical care and poorer nutrition may have contributed to the death toll from Spanish Flu.
Gassed last night
One haunting parallel with the First World War itself has been going through my mind. It’s the second verse of a song (Bombed last night) displaying typically dour squaddies’ gallows humour:
Gassed last night, and gassed the night before
Going to get gassed tonight;
If we never get gassed anymore
When we’re gassed, we’re sick as we can be
For Phosgene and Mustard Gas is much too much for me.
They’re warning us, they’re warning us,
One respirator for the four of us
Thank your lucky stars that three of us can run,
So one of us can use it all alone.
‘One respirator for the four of us’ just about sums up the current apparent predicament of the NHS.
People need to earn
Construction workers have now been allowed to work, so long as they maintain a two metre social distance from each other, according to reports and despite railing from ITV’s Piers Morgan, who seems oblivious that ordinary people need to earn money to house themselves and put food on their table. Indeed, if only ‘essential work’ should go on, how ‘essential’ is the work of an over-paid TV loud-mouth?
The Government have already announced they will cover 80% of the wages of those who would otherwise be laid off. They are now working on how to extend that to the self-employed. Questions to the Prime Minister in Parliament today were all about how people could be ‘supported’ by the Government. Not one asked whether it might be better to get people back into work, or even ask where the money is coming from.
But this money will have to come from taxation or borrowing. How much better to have urged us all to take simple proper precautions, isolated those at real risk, rolled out testing, and encouraged the rest of us to keep calm and carry on?
Work: the gift of God
Let us just remind ourselves we are not being ‘materialistic’. We are not putting money before lives, as if it were a binary choice. Firstly, being in work is generally an indicator of better health. Secondly, and above all, Almighty God takes pleasure in men enjoying the fruits of their honest labour:
Eccl 3:13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
So ‘Love thy neighbour’ does not just mean ‘slavishly support the Government and take their word for it’. We are to be prophetic, and depriving a man or woman of their means of livelihood is an oppression of the poor and their rights:
Mal 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
Keep the Tube running!
The one bright spot this morning has been Health Secretary Matt Hancock expressing amazement at the partial closures of the London Underground. We criticised those days ago. He urged Transport for London to run a full service.
But even then, astonishingly, the Independent reports he was castigated as ‘irresponsible’ by the rail worker’s union who echoed Labour’s socialist utopianism in calling for everyone to go home and the Government to pay them:
‘The general secretary of the RMT transport union Mick Cash said: “At a time when we are trying to encourage people to stay away from the Tube so we can concentrate on moving essential workers the government call to reinstate a full service is grossly irresponsible as it suggests it’s business as usual.
‘”The real problem is this government’s refusal to give any wage support to casualised workers who will receive no income if they don’t travel and go to work”.’
Inept text message
The Government sent an inept text message to millions of mobile subscribers from ‘UKAGov’ yesterday. It caused no end of people to wonder ‘How does the Government know my mobile number?’ In fact they persuaded the mobile operators to sent it to all their subscribers. HMG didn’t actually know your number at all, it just looked that way, as this news report explains.
The message told subscribers to ‘stay at home’ and directed them to its website: gov.uk/coronavirus for exceptions. Then it repeated and amplified the direction:
‘Stay at home.
‘Protect the NHS.
Protect the NHS
It is curious that ‘Protect the NHS’ was in there, because actually, fear of the NHS being ‘overwhelmed’ is what is driving the Government panic. But, excuse me, how long have the Conservatives been in office? How long have they had to make sure the NHS is properly resourced, or to explain to us that it never can be? When did coronavirus first start in China? When did it become apparent there would a need for extra ventilators? It is really that difficult to set up field hospitals and pop-up wards in Excel Centre if Imperial College are correct? How many people are they expecting will need beds? For that matter, how many extra beds end up occupied in our annual flu episodes?
Bloomberg reports how well Japan is coping with Covid-19. But it also says:
‘Should Japan see a jump, it may be better suited than many peers to handle the surge. It has about 13 hospital beds per 1,000 people, the highest among Group of Seven nations and more than triple the rate for Italy, the U.S., U.K. and Canada, according to World Bank data.’
Germany has a current low death rate associated with Covid-19. We should note that Germany has 29.2 critical care beds per 100,000 people. Italy has 12.5 while the UK has just 6.6, according to wired.co.uk.
South Korea, on the other hand, is well on the way to beating the virus through widespread testing, as the Guardian reports.
Aghast at Italy
Governments around the world are aghast at what has happened in Italy, where cases continued to rise despite a draconian ‘lock-down’. The curve was easily outstripping China’s experience. Then again, as Dr Bhakdi explains, northern Italy is heavily polluted, with many people facing respiratory challenges already.
Cases and deaths are increasing more slowly now in Italy. But once again, recorded deaths are high compared with recorded cases, indicating that many more people are simply contracting the virus and recovering.
In addition, off-guardian reports, 99.2% of deaths in Italy had pre-existing conditions. Many were already at death’s door. We also hear twice as many elderly men have died in Italy as women. Women fight coronaviruses better than men.
Lack of Testing in the UK
At this time of writing figures stood at 422 deaths in the UK, a daily rise of 87, and 8,077 cases, a rise of 1,427. 135 people have ‘recovered’. Note that the figures for those ‘recovered’ only refer to people who have attended hospital and been discharged. In stark contrast to South Korea, the UK is only testing those who have shown up in hospital with symptoms.
No-one else who has been exposed to the virus is included. That means all who shrugged it off without symptoms, or had symptoms at home and recovered after a few days do not make the UK, or the Italian, figures. An epidemiologist on the BBC on Monday admitted the total number of cases in the UK would be well into the tens, even hundreds, of thousands, because so many cases are not being recorded.
In the UK, it isn’t even possible for a key NHS worker to know if they actually have the virus. They are not allowed to be tested. They have to go home and self-isolate for seven days regardless.
Excess winter deaths
So far to date there have been 422 deaths in the UK. How many people do you think die in the UK every day in ‘normal circumstances’?
The figures from the Office of National Statistics show there were 541,589 deaths in England and Wales in 2018. That’s just over ten thousand a week and just under 1500 per day.
Furthermore, ONS reveals what it calls ‘excess winter deaths’. These occur between December and March. In winter 2018-19 they stood at 23,200. The previous year, 2017-18, there were 47,410 excess winter deaths in England and Wales.
Respiratory diseases were the biggest single cause (circa 45%), with pneumonia leading. They were followed by circulatory diseases (20%+) and then by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (19%+). And yet, somehow, even with 47,410 excess deaths, around 1900 per day, the NHS coped in 2017-18. There was no field ward set up in a leisure centre.
Exact cause of death
In fact, Professor Bhakdi points out that winter excess deaths were either brought on by influenza or by various coronaviruses already circulating. However, the actual written-down ’cause of death’ is what actually killed the poor people. That would be a heart attack, or pneumonia. So to write ‘Covid-19’ as a cause of death of someone who actually died of pneumonia could be somewhat convenient.
Vox.com reports that the heat wave of 2003 killed at least 30,000 people in Europe. A Twitter user suggested 4,000 of those deaths occurred in Italy ‘from a simple heatwave’. He urged a sense of proportion when we look at Covid-19 figures, sad as every death is. And let us remember the reality. We shall all go that way, and that is why faith in Jesus Christ together with his forgiveness, is so important:
Job 30:23 For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Coronavirus here ‘since January’
Meanwhile, an Oxford University study claims coronavirus could already have infected half the British population. It might have been spreading in the UK since January, says Dr Sunetra Gupta. Modelling by Oxford’s Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease group suggests Covid-19 first reached the UK by mid-January.
Dr Gupta is Professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford. If the learned professor is right, the true size of the outbreak is likely to be closer to the 400,000 mark. It is very possible that half the population has already been exposed to Covid-19.
Widespread testing is needed to assess the theory, said Dr Gupta. ‘We need immediately to begin large-scale serological surveys – antibody testing – to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now,’ she said.
The Daily Mail reports: ‘The Oxford university research offers a contrasting view on the disease to the study that is informing government policy. It was carried out by experts at Imperial College London.
‘”I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,’ Professor Gupta told the Financial Times”.’ That is a devastating put-down.
Negative Health Outcomes
And as Dr Bhakdi says in his video, plunging people into poverty has negative health outcomes down the line. that is what makes the current UK approach ‘dangerous’ in his view. On top of that, seeing family and friends, going out, are the things which make life worth living. This particularly applies to the elderly, but affects us all.
In this view, those who went out in the park or up on Snowdonia last weekend were not irresponsible. They were not not ‘idiots’ or ‘morons’, pace Piers Morgan. They were following government advice to take exercise and they were trying to keep some semblance of normality going.
Prince Charles has symptoms
The BBC reports that the Prince of Wales has now tested positive for coronavirus.
‘Prince Charles, 71, is displaying mild symptoms “but otherwise remains in good health”, a (Clarence House) spokesman said, adding that the Duchess of Cornwall, 72, has been tested but does not have the virus.’
A Clarence House statement read: “In accordance with government and medical advice, the prince and the duchess are now self-isolating at home in Scotland.
“The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire, where they met the criteria required for testing.
“It is not possible to ascertain from whom the prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks.”
Charles and Camilla are now self-isolating at Balmoral. We pray for HRH as we pray for protection for all the Royal Family and Her Majesty’s Government. Once again, his experience demonstrates that for the overwhelming majority, Covid-19 carries mild symptoms. It also shows how widespread the virus is, reveals the limited extent of testing in the UK and shows that carrying on is really not that difficult. And now HRH will be immune.
Pray for Government
So pray for our leaders to find the wisdom and humility to row back on their shutdown and get the population back to work.
They have invested a lot in the original dire Imperial College predictions. It would be tempting for them to hope the predictions come true to justify the measures they have taken. However, I.C. have now downgraded them (Thursday 26th) and we can only pray this sparks the end of the lock-down.
It is beginning to look as if the field hospital in Excel Centre will never be used. That will be a cause for rejoicing, and yet, it cost taxpayers’ money to erect in the first place.
If the scare fizzles out, there could be some very upset people out there, outraged that the UK Government impoverished them for no reason at all.
We had better start praying against disorder, because the stability of society itself could be at risk.
Jer 29:7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.