Monday, January 03, 2022

UK: My model has got it right on the Covid pandemic; and it tells me we don't need a new lockdown

By Philip Thomas, a Visiting Academic Professor at the University of Bristol

That alarm bells are ringing loudly in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant is no secret in Whitehall.

Civil servants are reportedly drawing up urgent plans for further restrictions and yesterday's emergency Cabinet meeting was perhaps a sign of things to come.

So far, ministers are resisting further Covid curbs, though Boris Johnson made clear that a clampdown was being held in 'reserve'.

Throughout the pandemic, ministers have frequently insisted that they 'follow the science' in their decision-making.

And a key ingredient of the mounting pressure for action being demanded in some quarters can be found in the guidance produced by the members of the consistently doom-laden Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), whose oft-criticised modelling has been central in the development of official policy over the past two years.


Their latest document is typically grim, with its claim that there could be 6,000 deaths a day in a new Covid wave, more than three times higher than the peak daily toll last January (when we didn't have mass vaccination) and equating to 180,000 deaths a month, more than we've seen the entire pandemic.

Despite these arguably hysterical numbers leading bulletins, Sage does concede that this represents their 'worst-case scenario' if the Government sticks to Plan B and imposes no further measures.

Yet even with that caveat, we should all be deeply concerned about Sage's modelling.

Doubts about the reliability of Sage's figures are hardly new, but scepticism will have only been increased following the remarkable Twitter exchange between Fraser Nelson, the editor of the Spectator magazine, and Professor Graham Medley, chair of Sage's modelling committee, over the weekend.

Puzzled by the gap between the reassuring reports from South Africa and Sage's dark forebodings, Nelson asked Medley how the group's conclusion was reached.

If, as the South Africans think, Omicron is mild and there is no need for lockdown, why didn't Sage include this scenario 'given that this is a very plausible option that changes outlook massively', asked Nelson. Simple enough.

But then came Medley's telling reply: 'Decision-makers are generally only interested in situations where decisions have to be made.'

Does Sage exclusively model bad outcomes that require further restrictions and omit more welcome outcomes for which no action would be required, even if such scenarios are just as likely to occur, Nelson wondered?

Then came the hammer blow: 'We generally model what we are asked to model,' Medley replied.

It was an extraordinary exchange and hardly how most people expect scientific advice to be provided.

In reaching its decisions, surely the Government needs to know the likelihood of all scenarios rather than just an outline of the worst possible cases?

Those who advocate a return to lockdown to halt the transmissibility of Omicron, for instance, ignore the wider impact of such a drastic measure on the economy, the backlog of other NHS treatments, mental health, domestic abuse and education.

The latest Government figures, published this month, show Britain's GDP is still 0.8 per cent lower than it was before the pandemic.

Without a strong economic rebound, it's probable that more people will be killed by the financial consequences of lockdown restrictions than ever died with Covid.

Even the more limited restrictions of Plan B are having a devastating effect on the hospitality trade, the travel industry and the entertainment sector.

Once again there is a clamour for the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to produce a rescue package out of thin air to tide businesses over this fraught winter, even though he has already spent more than £400 billion of taxpayers' money on support programmes, with debts that will saddle future generations to the tune of £2.2 trillion.

We have, of course, known about Omicron for less than a month and it would certainly be foolish to be too dismissive of its potential impact.

But nevertheless, a counter-weight must be offered against Sage's gloom. I can do that through the mathematical model I developed at Bristol University (the Predictor Corrector Covid Filter, or PCCF) which has proved a highly accurate forecaster of the progress of the pandemic.

Early in the new year, active Omicron infections may reach two and a half million, which added to the slowly declining Delta infections will generate a combined total peak of 3.5 million cases.

But while that number sounds huge, it does not necessarily spell the disaster that Sage has outlined.


I predict that Omicron's rise will be very fast — as seen already in London — but that will equate to a decline at almost the same speed, so that active infections are likely to be below where we are now in a month's time, and set to fade away as we move into spring.

That outlook is backed up by evidence from South Africa, who are a month ahead of us, where the National Institute of Communicable Diseases estimates that the fatality ratio (the percentage of those infected dying) is less than half the level it was for the Delta wave last winter, and more than four times lower for the particularly vulnerable 70 to 79-year-olds.

The relative mildness of the new strain is confirmed not only by the fact that hospital stays are much shorter for Omicron patients — around three days as opposed to 11 for Delta patients — but also that fewer such patients need oxygen or intensive care when in hospital.

That does not mean we will have it easy. The PCCF model indicates that deaths will certainly rise above the current level of 100 per day.

But even so, they are unlikely to go beyond 500 a day in England. This total, of course, represents a very significant number of individual tragedies, but is far below the daily peak of over 1,800 UK-wide deaths last January.


In the same vein, according to the PCCF, hospitalisations may reach around 3,000 per day, higher than the current rate of 800 but still below January's peak of 4,100 — a number that was achieved during a full national lockdown, and which was considered not to have overwhelmed the NHS.

Indeed, my modelling predicts numbers will remain manageable without the introduction of any further Covid curbs.

As I say, we cannot be complacent, but nor should we fall into despair or panic. I see no justification for further restrictions, let alone another lockdown, whatever Sage propounds.

The Government is right to see the booster programme as our main defence, just as we should also put our trust in the good sense and self-restraint of the British people.

Those who are vulnerable or risk-averse are already adjusting their behaviour without the need for more bureaucratic edicts. We all want to have a good Christmas, after all.

We must remember, too, that an uptick in respiratory deaths and hospitalisations is normal for winter.

Give in to the doom-mongers yet again, and we risk being trapped in a relentless cycle of authoritarian controls.

Normality beckons if the Government continues to hold its nerve, keep to the pragmatic path and refuse to be bullied into fearful measures by modelling that is predicated on exaggerated fears.


Compilation of nurse whistleblowers

The world has been embroiled in the most devastating public health crisis in more than a century. COVID-19 has disrupted the entire world.

It has been a catastrophe. However, the deadliness of COVID-19 has been made exponentially worse by terrible policies. Medical bureaucrats have lied and misled so often, they’ve lost the trust of the people they were entrusted to protect. These policies are even killing people.

Lockdowns have created a global catastrophe aside from what the virus caused. An entire generation of children has been harmed by unnecessary school closures. Even a vaccine critical to saving the lives of the elderly and immune compromised has been abused.

Nurses have been on the COVID frontline since day one. They have seen it all firsthand. These dedicated healthcare professionals have been heroes. However, they have consistently reported some harsh realities that mainstream media ignore.

A recent video compilation from nurses worldwide sheds a disturbing light on the potential adverse side effects caused by the COVID vaccine. Like anything which goes contrary to the bureaucratic narrative, these concerns are being buried.

However, Gateway Pundit compiled a series of video interviews with nurses from around the world. Every one of these healthcare professionals spoke candidly. Many have either quit or gotten fired. What they openly share is shocking.

One former nurse from Canada reported watching elderly patients being held down against their will and vaccinated. She witnessed full-term miscarriages within days of getting a COVID shot. Nurses reported elderly patients showing up sick with COVID days after getting vaccinated.

Other nurses shared about how people were never tested for COVID, despite showing profound symptoms, until after they died. Many nurses nearly came to tears during their testimony. In addition, some bemoaned how hospital administrators harassed them over vaccine mandates.

Paramedics and other healthcare workers also shared alarming concerns towards vaccine mandates and the safeness of the COVID vaccine itself. RN Collette Martin answered questions from Louisiana State Representative - Health and Welfare Committee chair Larry Bagley.

The 17-year veteran RN strongly cautioned against the COVID vaccine for children. She also stressed that adult reactions to COVID vaccine side effects are being ignored. However, she admonished medical professionals for ignoring these dangers arising in vaccinated children.

These dangers far outweigh any advantages. Children are now more prone to dying from vaccine complications than they are from COVID. Martin continued to express her concern about what is an obvious cover-up of vaccine related dangers.

She insisted that thousands of patient deaths are a direct result of the COVID vaccine, not the virus. Martin insisted that an alarming percentage of these deaths are not being reported to the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS).

She indicated that many of her fellow nurses do not even know what VAERS is. Medical bureaucrats informed her that the VAERS database is a poor determiner of vaccine side effects. Like many in her field, Martin wanted to know why.

These complicit medical bureaucrats had no viable answer. Another healthcare worker from a U.S. hospital stressed that the numbers of COVID vaccine-related deaths on VAERS has doubled within the last nine months. These are the ones being reported.

This shocking revelation is even more disturbing when we consider reports that a huge bulk of vaccine-related deaths is not being reported. The more we hear from these brave healthcare professionals, the more frightening are the conclusions.

A virus leaked out of a virology lab in Wuhan, China. This lab received funding, deviously funneled through U.S. channels, using taxpayer money. The lab was practicing dangerous gain-of-function research on deadly coronaviruses. Safety protocols at the lab were horrific.

It is a scam. It is criminal. We’re barely one year from the official release of the COVID vaccines. Thousands have died from the shot already. As years pass, how many more health crises will be experienced




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