Government’s Pandemic Plan was Based on Flawed Assumptions, According to Healthcare Professionals
Covid19 Assembly, an anti-lockdown lobby group, has written a damning letter signed by 133 doctors, nurses and paramedics challenging the thinking behind the Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis. The signatories list 10 fundamentally flawed assumptions, starting with the failure to carry out any sort of cost-benefit analysis of the lockdown policy before deciding to implement it.
The Letter states:
1. No attempt to measure the harms of lockdown policies
The evidence of disastrous effects of lockdowns on the physical and mental health of the population is there for all to see. The harms are massive, widespread, and long lasting. In particular, the psychological impact on a generation of developing children could be lifelong.
It is for this reason that lockdown policies were never part of any pandemic preparedness plans prior to 2020. In fact, they were expressly not recommended in WHO documents, even for severe respiratory viral pathogens and for that matter neither were border closures, face coverings, and testing of asymptomatic individuals. There has been such an inexplicable absence of consideration of the harms caused by lockdown policy it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that this is willful avoidance.
The introduction of such policies was never accompanied by any sort of risk/benefit analysis. As bad as that is, it is even worse that after the event when plenty of data became available by which the harms could be measured, only perfunctory attention to this aspect of pandemic planning has been afforded. Eminent professionals have repeatedly called for discourse on these health impacts in press-conferences but have been universally ignored. What is so odd, is that the policies being pursued before mid-March 2020 (self-isolation of the ill and protection of the vulnerable, while otherwise society continued close to normality) were balanced, sensible and reflected the approach established by consensus prior to 2020. No cogent reason was given then for the abrupt change of direction from mid-March 2020 and strikingly none has been put forward at any time since.
It goes on to highlight
3. The exaggerated nature of the threat
Policy appears to have been directed at systematic exaggeration of the number of deaths which can be attributed to COVID. Testing was designed to find every possible ‘case’ rather than focusing on clinically diagnosed infections and the resulting exaggerated case numbers fed through to the death data with large numbers of people dying ‘with COVID’ and not ‘of COVID’ where the disease was the underlying cause of death.
The policy of publishing a daily death figure meant the figure was based entirely on the PCR test result with no input from treating clinicians. By including all deaths within a time period after a positive test, incidental deaths, with but not due to COVID, were not excluded thereby exaggerating the nature of the threat. Moreover, in headlines reporting the number of deaths, a categorisation by age was not included. The average age of a COVID-labelled death is 81 for men and 84 for women, higher than the average life expectancy when these people were born. This is a highly relevant fact in assessing the societal impact of the pandemic. Death in old age is a natural phenomenon. It cannot be said that a disease primarily affecting the elderly is the same as one which affects all ages, and yet the government’s messaging appears designed to make the public think that everyone is at equal risk.
Doctors were asked to complete death certificates in the knowledge that the deceased’s death had already been recorded as a COVID death by the Government. Since it would be virtually impossible to find evidence categorically ruling out COVID as a contributory factor to death, once recorded as a “COVID death” by the government, it was inevitable that it would be included as a cause on the death certificate. Diagnosing the cause of death is always difficult and the reduction in post mortems will have inevitably resulted in increased inaccuracy. The fact that deaths due to non-COVID causes actually moved into a substantial deficit (compared to average) as COVID-labelled deaths rose (and this was reversed as COVID-labelled deaths fell) is striking evidence of over-attribution of deaths to COVID.
The overall all-cause mortality rate from 2015-2019 was unusually low and yet these figures have been used to compare to 2020 and 2021 mortality figures which has made the increased mortality appear unprecedented. Comparisons with data from earlier years would have demonstrated that the 2020 mortality rate was exceeded in every year prior to 2003 and is unexceptional as a result.
Even now COVID cases and deaths continue to be added to the existing total without proper rigour such that overall totals grow ever larger and exaggerate the threat. No effort has been made to count totals in each winter season separately which is standard practice for every other disease. You have continued to adopt high-frequency advertising through publishing and broadcast media outlets to add to the impact of “fear messaging”. The cost of this has not been widely published, but government procurement websites reveal it to be immense – hundreds of millions of pounds.
The media and government rhetoric is now moving onto the idea that “Long Covid” is going to cause major morbidity in all age groups including children, without having a discussion of the normality of postviral fatigue which lasts upwards of 6 months. This adds to the public fear of the disease, encouraging vaccination amongst those who are highly unlikely to suffer any adverse effects from COVID.
It gets better, later in the letter they state the following
4. Active suppression of discussion of early treatment using protocols being successfully deployed elsewhere.
The harm caused by COVID and our response to it should have meant that advances in prophylaxis and therapeutics for COVID were embraced. However, evidence on successful treatments has been ignored or even actively suppressed. For example, a study in Oxford published in February 2021 demonstrated that inhaled Budesonide could reduce hospitalisations by 90% in low risk patients and a publication in April 2021 showed that recovery was faster for high risk patients too. However, this important intervention has not been promoted.
Dr. Tess Lawrie, of the Evidence Based Medical Consultancy in Bath, presented a thorough analysis of the prophylactic and therapeutic benefits of Ivermectin to the government in January 2021. More than 24 randomised trials with 3,400 people have demonstrated a 79-91% reduction in infections and a 27-81% reduction in deaths with Ivermectin. Many doctors are understandably cautious about possible over-interpretation of the available data for the drugs mentioned above and other treatments, although it is to be noted that no such caution seems to have been applied in relation to the treatment of data around the government’s interventions (eg the effectiveness of lockdowns or masks) when used in support of the government’s agenda.
Whatever one’s view on the merits of these repurposed drugs, it is totally unacceptable that doctors who have attempted to merely open discussion about the potential benefits of early treatments for COVID have been heavily and inexplicably censored. Knowing that early treatments which could reduce the risk of requiring hospitalisation might be available would alter the entire view held by many professionals and lay people alike about the threat posed by COVID, and therefore the risk / benefit ratio for vaccination, especially in younger groups.
5. Inappropriate and unethical use of behavioural science to generate unwarranted fear.
Propagation of a deliberate fear narrative (confirmed through publicly accessible government documentation) has been disproportionate, harmful and counterproductive. We request that it should cease forthwith. To give just one example, the government’s face covering policies seem to have been driven by behavioural psychology advice in relation to generating a level of fear necessary for compliance with other policies. Those policies do not appear to have been driven by reason of infection control, because there is no robust evidence showing that wearing a face covering (particularly cloth or standard surgical masks) is effective against transmission of airborne respiratory pathogens such as SARS-Cov-2. Several high profile institutions and individuals are aware of this and have advocated against face coverings during this pandemic only inexplicably to reverse their advice on the basis of no scientific justification of which we are aware. On the other hand there is plenty of evidence suggesting that mask wearing can cause multiple harms, both physical and mental. This has been particularly distressing for the nation’s school children who have been encouraged by government policy and their schools to wear masks for long periods at school.
Finally, the use of face coverings is highly symbolic and thus counterproductive in making people feel safe. Prolonged wearing risks becoming an ingrained safety behaviour, actually preventing people from getting back to normal because they erroneously attribute their safety to the act of mask wearing rather than to the remote risk, for the vast majority of healthy people under 70 years old, of catching the virus and becoming seriously unwell with COVID.
6. Misunderstanding of the ubiquitous nature of mutations of newly emergent viruses.
The mutation of any novel virus into newer strains – especially when under selection pressure from abnormal restrictions on mixing and vaccination – is normal, unavoidable and not something to be concerned about. Hundreds of thousands of mutations of the original Wuhan strain have already been identified. Chasing down every new emergent variant is counterproductive, harmful and totally unnecessary and there is no convincing evidence that any newly identified variant is any more deadly than the original strain. Mutant strains appear simultaneously in different countries (by way of ‘convergent evolution’) and the closing of national borders in attempts to prevent variants travelling from one country to another serves no significant infection control purpose and should be abandoned.
7. Misunderstanding of asymptomatic spread and its use to promote public compliance with restrictions.
It is well-established that asymptomatic spread has never been a major driver of a respiratory disease pandemic and we object to your constant messaging implying this, which should cease forthwith. Never before have we perverted the centuries-old practice of isolating the ill by instead isolating the healthy. Repeated mandates to healthy, asymptomatic people to self-isolate, especially school children, serves no useful purpose and has only contributed to the widespread harms of such policies. In the vast majority of cases healthy people are healthy and cannot transmit the virus and only sick people with symptoms should be isolated.
The government’s claim that one in three people could have the virus has been shown to be mutually inconsistent with the ONS data on prevalence of disease in society, and the sole effect of this messaging appears to have been to generate fear and promote compliance with government restrictions. The government’s messaging to ‘act as if you have the virus’ has also been unnecessarily fear-inducing given that healthy people are extremely unlikely to transmit the virus to others.
The PCR test, widely used to determine the existence of ‘cases’, is now indisputably acknowledged to be unable reliably to detect infectiousness. The test cannot discriminate between those in whom the presence of fragments of genetic material partially matching the virus is either incidental (perhaps because of past infection), or is representative of active infection, or is indicative of infectiousness. Yet, it has been used almost universally without qualification or clinical diagnosis to justify lockdown policies and to quarantine millions of people needlessly at enormous cost to health and well-being and to the country’s economy.
Countries that have removed community restrictions have seen no negative consequences which can be attributed to the easing. Empirical data from many countries demonstrates that the rise and fall in infections is seasonal and not due to restrictions or face coverings. The reason for reduced impact of each successive wave is that: (1) most people have some level of immunity either through prior immunity or immunity acquired through exposure; (2) as is usual with emergent new viruses, mutation of the virus towards strains causing milder disease appears to have occurred. Vaccination may also contribute to this although its durability and level of protection against variants is unclear.
Later in the document the point out:
10. Over-reliance on modeling while ignoring real-world data
Throughout the pandemic, decisions seem to have been taken utilising unvalidated models produced by groups who have what can only be described as a woeful track record, massively overestimating the impact of several previous pandemics. The decision-making teams appear to have very little clinical input and, as far as is ascertainable, no clinical immunology expertise. Moreover, the assumptions underlying the modeling have never been adjusted to take into account real-world observations in the UK and other countries. It is an astonishing admission that, when asked whether collateral harms had been considered by SAGE, the answer given was that it was not in their remit – they were simply asked to minimise COVID impact. That might be forgivable if some other advisory group was constantly studying the harms side of the ledger, yet this seems not to have been the case.
They go on to conclude:
The UK’s approach to COVID has palpably failed. In the apparent desire to protect one vulnerable group – the elderly – the implemented policies have caused widespread collateral and disproportionate harm to many other vulnerable groups, especially children. Moreover your policies have failed in any event to prevent the UK from notching up one of the highest reported death rates from COVID in the world.
Now, despite very high vaccination rates and the currently very low COVID death and hospitalisation rates, policy continues to be aimed at maintaining a population handicapped by extreme fear with restrictions on everyday life prolonging and deepening the policy-derived harms. To give just one example, NHS waiting lists now stand at 5.1m officially, with – according to the previous Health Secretary – a likely further 7m who will require treatment not yet presented. This is unacceptable and must be addressed urgently.
In short, there needs to be a sea change within the Government which must now pay proper attention to those esteemed experts outside its inner circle who are sounding these alarms. As those involved with healthcare, we are committed to our oath to “first do no harm”, and we can no longer stand by in silence observing policies which have imposed a series of supposed “cures” which are in fact far worse than the disease they are supposed to address.
See the full letter here: https://www.covid19assembly.org/doctors-open-letter/
The authors of this letter aren't conspiracy theorists, they're top doctors who have skillfully identified what government advisors have been doing, the willful destruction of society under the pretence of safety. But the question still remains as to 'why?'