UPDATED: Boris leaves Nicola isolated on vaccine passports

According to the Sunday Times (£), Boris Johnson may be about to ditch his controversial plans for vaccine passports in England to access nightclubs and other large indoor venues.

On Tuesday, the prime minister will announce plans to try to keep Covid under control over the winter. He will say that he has abandoned the proposed compulsory certification scheme, which would have forced venues to check people’s vaccine status.

Johnson tore up the proposals after scientists said vaccinations would be an effective first line of defence against a winter wave of the pandemic. But the move also represents a significant concession to Tory backbench rebels who had complained that enforcing vaccine passports would create a group of second-class citizens.

Liberal Democrats opposed the idea on principle on civil liberties grounds and also on practical grounds. The hospitality industry was raging about having to enforce them, it was going to be nigh on impossible to get one if you had had one vaccination in England and another in Scotland and it wouldn’t have been effective anyway given the spread of the Delta variant amongst double vaccinated people.

Alistair Carmichael described them as a “counterproductive illiberal gimmick” in an article for Politics Home to tie in with his urgent question on the issue:

Would you trust this government – this Prime Minister – with personal data of this sort?

We have never been a “papers please society” and if that is to change then at the very least we must be allowed to debate that change.

Once we cede the principle that it is acceptable for the government to regulate in this way not just where we can go and those with whom we can go then we will be at the top of a steep and slippery slope.

As history repeatedly shows us, when people give more powers to government to regulate their lives, governments are never swift to hand them back.

As an aside, when he asked his Urgent Question in Parliament, he had one of the lines of the year:

It was clear from the discussions in Parliament on Wednesday that Boris was going to have a hard time getting these through, even with a majority of 80. So we are denied the theatre of a Commons vote where the Scottish Tories would be whipped to vote in favour of what they had voted against at Holyrood and the SNP would have to squirm at taking the same position as the Tories, although I would suspect that they would have chickened out of the vote on the grounds that it was England only.

So this means that Nicola Sturgeon is isolated. Hospitality venues in Scotland are going to have to implement an unworkable, illiberal system at their own cost when many of them are already in a pretty fragile state after a year of insufficient support. And I wonder if we’ll see people from Glasgow and Edinburgh nipping to the clubs of Newcastle and Carlisle because they can.

It’s interesting that she only got her plans through Holyrood with the support of her new not-a-coalition partners, the Greens. Here’s what their leader Patrick Harvie had to say on the subject in April:

I might have some sympathy with his predicament given some of the things we had to vote for in the Westminster coalition, and Patrick was, of course, full of empathy for us at the time. Not.

I have really enjoyed seeing Alistair and Alex Cole-Hamilton make passionate liberal arguments on this. The pair of them have been all over the media all week. And we’ve had several polls put us in double figures on Westminster voting intention.

UPDATE: After Sajid Javid confirmed on the Andrew Marr Show that the Government was ditching these things, Alistair Carmichael demanded that the Coronavirus Act, which is due for renewal at the end of this month, be scrapped. Liberal Democrats voted against its renewal in September 2020 and March 2021.

This is a victory for the Liberal Democrats and all those campaigners who stood up for our civil liberties against these deeply illiberal and unworkable plans.
“The Conservatives have needlessly sown confusion among businesses for months by threatening to introduce Covid passports, and will not be forgiven for it.
“After this inevitable U-turn, the Conservatives must now see sense and scrap the unnecessary and draconian Coronavirus Act altogether.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said that we would continue to campaign against them in Scotland:

This is a triumph for privacy campaigners and my Liberal Democrat colleagues in Westminster.

“It’s sad to see that the Conservative government in Westminster has more concern for medical privacy than the SNP-Green coalition in Scotland does.

“The solution to the current crisis is vaccinations and a functioning contact tracing system, not Covid ID cards. You shouldn’t have to share your private medical information with someone who is not your clinician.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats will campaign for these illiberal and intrusive ID cards to be abolished here in Scotland.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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69 Comments

  • Brad Barrows 12th Sep '21 - 11:14am

    Interesting to see that Boris is willing to change course in the face of backbench pressure but I don’t believe that Nicola will be influenced by his decision – indeed, she relishes the opportunity to argue that Scotland benefits from having a government that is able to take different decisions to suit the needs of the country. If, as I suspect, most voters support vaccine passports, she will be representing majority opinion by taking this action.

    My personal view on this matter is that If people choose to exclude themselves from certain venues and events because they are not willing to get vaccinated, that is their choice. I am not interested in them moaning about the consequences of the choices they make – I am more interested in the welfare of people who are placed at greater risk due to people not getting vaccinated.

  • What extraordinary illiberal lot are the Liberals these days. I’m not talking about the MPs just about the actual members.

    `Interesting to see that Boris is willing to change course in the face of backbench pressure but I don’t believe that Nicola will be influenced by his decision – indeed, she relishes the opportunity to argue that Scotland benefits from having a government that is able to take different decisions to suit the needs of the country. If, as I suspect, most voters support vaccine passports, she will be representing majority opinion by taking this action.`

    So what? First, it’s not as if she’s been a fantastic steward of Scottish pandemic policy if you look at outcomes. She’s not actually good at anything apart from blowing her own trumpet. Followed by a dog whistle.

    Since when have the Lib Dems done things solely because `the majority want it`?

    `My personal view on this matter is that If people choose to exclude themselves from certain venues and events because they are not willing to get vaccinated, that is their choice. I am not interested in them moaning about the consequences of the choices they make – I am more interested in the welfare of people who are placed at greater risk due to people not getting vaccinated.`

    Younger people have sacrificed enough. Paying through the nose for Zoom lessons at Uni; needlessly closing schools; cutting of social networks; hospitality closures.

    After 18 months of restrictions and a largely successful vaccine rollout if people including the well-protected older people exclude themselves from nightclubs that’s up to them. Less dad dancing maybe the result!

    I am not interested in the moaning of these people – I am now more interested in older people cutting the slack, doing what they need to keep safe, in what has been shown over the last couple of months of nightclubs opening no risk at all.

    Let’s have no more of this health extremism over particular policies designed to placate the fevered imaginations of the older sets. We have to live with the virus? Life is about risk – nightclubs are virtually no risk at all.

  • It is so good to see the spirit of ” we are all in this together ” still survives in our levelling up global Britain, Oh Joy!!!

  • Helen Dudden 12th Sep '21 - 12:48pm

    No more nightclubs for me then.
    I hope you will watch the ITV. Programme this evening on squalor and Housing Associations, I can assure you it’s worth the truth of how modern, our country isn’t. I’ve just been supporting those who have the serious problem of cladding and even some households totally covered in an external coating of plastic sheeting.
    How long this secret has been kept is a good question.
    One more less well known is cancer patients and the continued struggle to access treatment for serious illness, let alone anything else.

  • Brad Barrows 12th Sep '21 - 1:12pm

    @Denis Clay
    I think you will find that Scotland has a higher rate of both first and second vaccines than the UK as a whole, and prior to schools returning in August the rate of virus in S Outland was well below UK average. We are now seeing much higher rates of virus in the community as it spreads rapidly between the teenage up to 30 age group of whom around a quarter are unvaccinated. This spread is then taken home and older and vulnerable people are becoming ill, with almost 1000 now in hospital, and a number in intensive care. I do not think it is particularly ‘liberal’ to prioritise the rights of young people who will not get vaccinated over the lives of those in our society who are at greater risk as a consequence of their choices. Should Liberal Democrats also oppose the compulsory wearing of seat belts? Liberal does not mean libertarian.

  • Denis Clay 12th Sep ’21 – 11:43am……….. nightclubs are virtually no risk at all…….

    Obviously not! The whole idea that the unvaccinated could become dangerously ill by strenuosly interacting (to say nothing about spontaneous kissing, hugging, etc.) in an overcrowded, poorly ventilated indoor space is clearly preposterous…

    Strange, how on a LibDEm site, the headline “Nicola stands firm as Boris wavers’ didn’t seem more appropriate than ‘Boris leaves Nicola isolated on vaccine passports..

  • You do know people die. The people that will be dying through covid will have probably died from other means. In fact the death from Covid was a year later than people that died from other causes.

    Interestingly Sweden seems to have the equivalent of about 6 deaths from Covid here a day.

    You also know that the vaccinated (of whom I am one) can spread the virus as much as the unvaccinated? So what you’re suggesting is yet another mini-lockdown. Make sure the young have no fun. I can sit in my ivory tower protected at gold plated levels.

    You, who have to go out to work, or have to suffer the consequences just have to shut up and put up with it.

    You realise the young for a long time were warned about `killing granny`? They didn’t have physical contact with their older relatives for 18 months anyway. Why are you asking younger people to deal with your lack of a doctor considered high risk health plan? They have the rest of their lives to lead.

    Given that we also have ‘flu how long do you want this to go on for? Years? What about ‘flu (as I had in 2018/19) that killed many thousands?

    I’m afraid you’re asking Government to do something it cannot – because you daren’t face up to the fact that this thing came the despotic Chinese Communist Party. Projecting your fears and controls onto the young is despicable. The Government can only provide vaccines and advice. Everything else is theatre. A means of controlling the innocent with the black gloved hand of the Chinese policeman on your shoulder `Kill Julia – not me!`

  • Brad Barrows 12th Sep '21 - 3:16pm

    @Denis Clay
    Please be more reasoned with your arguments – use of hyperbole is counter-productive. (Eg, while it is the case that vaccinated people can still get and spread the virus, they are likely to spread less ‘viral load’ than if they had been unvaccinated.)

    The majority of young people are not being restricted or denied fun by vaccination passports – just the selfish minority who refuse to do something that protects themselves while also protecting wider society. You may think their concerns should trump those who face early death due to their selfishness – I disagree.

  • Selfish! Stop kneeling in fear and start either living or not putting restriction on the rest of us. I don’t want to go to nightclubs (and let’s be honest with this lying government it’d end up in pubs).

    It’s not up to young people to protect you anymore. It’s up to you to protect yourself.

    You should be thankful you have someone like Alistair Carmichael to show a bit of leadership. I would like him to be your leader.

  • Dennis Clay, et al…

    Reading your posts I wonder what was all the ‘fuss’ about before vaccines became available? Then those hospital wards full of seriously ill patients were largely the elderly..
    However, the current situation is that Covid rates are highest among those under 24 (nightclubs, festivals) and lowest in adults aged 70 years and over.
    Hospital admission rates in those under 25 are higher than back in January whilst those over 65 are 6 to 8 times lower…It isn’t ‘protect granny’ it’s ‘protect grandsons and grandaughters’..
    As for this thing came (from) the despotic Chinese Communist Party; it came despite the despotic Chinese Communist Party..It was due to the mistaken ancient belief that everything is either edible and/or medicinal..

  • Nonconformistradical 12th Sep '21 - 3:59pm

    @Denis Clay

    Comparing two countries with very different populations and population distributions isn’t always a reliable or safe comparison.

    I note from the Johns Hopkins data on the Worldometers site that while Sweden has fewwer deaths per 1 million of population that the UK it has more cases per 1 million of population.

    Also I share Brad Barrows’s concern about use of hyperbole.

    Quoting Brad Barrows
    “The majority of young people are not being restricted or denied fun by vaccination passports”

    Exactly. I can’t see what is such a big deal about having the vaccination and having some proof of that if you want to go to a nightclub. If you do catch the virus chances are you’ll be less badly affected if you’ve been vaccinated and hence less likely to need expensive health care or die.

    And on the point about kids and fun – I wonder how much fun kids had during WW2….

  • John Marriott 12th Sep '21 - 7:12pm

    You only needed to look at the House of Commons at last week’s PMQs to see what the Tories think about mask wearing, for example. I counted just one MP wearing one, namely former PM, Theresa May (mind you, she is a diabetic). On the other side, things were very different.

    So, when it comes to other precautions, such as Vaccine passports, is it any surprise that the government has changed its mind. On the other hand, given the Lib Dems’ view of them, I suppose the move should be welcomed. As I am well past the age of clubbing I guess it’s neither here nor there. I can’t say I’m looking forward to seeing the level of Covid cases in a few months time. I just hope that I’m being too pessimistic.

  • Jayne Mansfield 12th Sep '21 - 7:45pm

    The argument is now academic.

    Tory backbenchers have forced another U turn as far as vaccine passports for nightclubs and other venues are concerned. and the party has an 80 seat majority.

    @ Denis Clay,
    Who needs a Liberal Democrat Party when one has a Tory party making the same arguments using liberalism as a rationale.

    Nightclub bouncers can refuse admission if a person is deemed inebriated, dressed inappropriately, and for any other rules that are operating by the management, but vaccine passports are, by your reckoning, as in the case of the Tory rebels, discriminatory. and put restrictions on people like yourself.

    Good personal choice not going to nightclubs may I say. When some of my former colleagues of a certain age ( late 30’s , 40’s and fifties were regulars, it was apparently called ‘Grab a Granny’ night’, by the younger clientele.

  • What a weak Government and opposition parties that we have.

    There is nothing Liberal about putting personal freedoms and liberties above, and, to the expense of the health of the nation as a whole and especially the most vulnerable people in society.
    There are millions of people who are awaiting urgent treatment, living either in debilitating pain or life threatening conditions. It is going to take years to get through this backlog and many lives will be lost unnecessarily if covid is allowed to spiral again and filling up hospital beds with covid patients, chewing up vital resources and making some surgeries to risky if hospitals are breeding grounds for covid again.

    I do not recognise this party at all, if it is going to put peoples “personal freedoms” above public health essentially make sick and disabled people suffer far more than they have already.

    We have a Westminster Government and a Scottish Government who seem hellbent on flip flopping on policy as long as it is the opposite of what the other government is doing. And we have Westminster Opposition parties who will appose, for apposing sake, just so they can see a Government defeat, no matter what the cost to public and society.

    Very sad indeed

  • Denis Clay 12th Sep ’21 – 2:14pm:
    Interestingly Sweden seems to have the equivalent of about 6 deaths from Covid here a day.

    Sweden reports by date of death so there is a large undercount in the previous day’s figure as reported by aggregator sites such as Worldometers.

    ‘Why do COVID-19 deaths in Sweden’s official data always appear to decrease?’ [November 2020]:
    https://ourworldindata.org/covid-sweden-death-reporting

    The official data for deaths in Sweden is presented by date of death by Folkhälsomyndigheten, the Swedish Public Health Agency. This matters because it can take many days until all deaths for a particular day are reported in Sweden.

    In practice this means that Sweden might today only report 10 deaths for yesterday, but once reporting is complete the death count for that same day might increase to 40. […]

    It is important to know these differences when studying the official data from Sweden, and even more when comparing it with other countries.

    Sweden has performed poorly compared to its Nordic neighbours…

    ‘Tracking covid-19 excess deaths across countries’ [10th. September 2021]:
    https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/coronavirus-excess-deaths-tracker

    Countries in northern Europe have generally experienced much lower mortality rates throughout the pandemic. Some Nordic nations have experienced almost no excess deaths at all. The exception is Sweden, which imposed some of the continent’s least restrictive social-distancing measures during the first wave.

    Nordic countries fortify many foods with vitamin D so cases, hospitalisations, and deaths are likely to be lower than in the UK where vitamin D deficiency is rife.

    ‘Sweden to expand mandatory vitamin D fortification’ [May 2015]:
    https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2015/05/28/Sweden-to-expand-mandatory-vitamin-D-fortification

    The Swedish National Food Agency (NFA) has proposed an extension of the products subject to mandatory vitamin D fortification.

    Finland: the vitamin D pioneer:
    https://www.iadsa.org/mind-the-gap/english/finland

    How fortification and supplementation has transformed the health of a nation

  • Lorenzo Cherin 12th Sep '21 - 10:14pm

    Jayne, Denis

    Unfair to compare the Liberal Democrats as a party, with Conservatives, we are on here, individuals, there is no one party state attitude, and the Labour party in Scotland, UK, are opposed to passports for clubs! there are many of us here, me, Matt, Martin, expats, David Raw, John Marriot, all of us in different ways having been dramatically against the libertarian Tory approach, and whatever the views for and against passports for clubs, we are all for staunch, and ongoing action against Covid.

    I would remind those here who utilise this site, this site is for mainstream views, expressed in a way commensurate with making progress. It’s not an area for denigrating individuals, this party, or a philosophy that is as much about individual, social, responsibility, as it is individual, social, liberty!

  • Two things finally saw off vaccine passports in England:

    1) The demographics of the unvaccinated see here https://mobile.twitter.com/FraserNelson/status/1437142775594639369

    VP’s would for example disproportionately exclude more BAME people which we would not tolerate.

    2) Protection of other people is temporary and not durable because antibodies fade over time as Professor Gupta explains eloquently (as always):

    https://mobile.twitter.com/SkyNews/status/1435863766210600962

  • Cannot agree with or accept the party’s position on vaccine passports, masks etc, it is not Liberalism it is gross Illiberalism. Not surprising we remain in the electoral wilderness.

  • When buying alcohol/tobacco those who appear under 18 (no matter their real age) are required to show proof of age..
    Until 2007 the legal age to buy cigarettes was 16 Perhaps those determined to protect ‘personal freedom’ might take up that disgraceful discriminatory legislation change; after all, they are only harming themselves and should have that right..

  • Peter Martin 13th Sep '21 - 10:11am

    @ Marco,

    Do you mean the same Prof Gupta who confidently told us all that “covid 19 was on its way out” in May last year?

    https://unherd.com/2020/05/oxford-doubles-down-sunetra-gupta-interview/

    “VP’s would for example disproportionately exclude more BAME people ”

    Why would they? Is there some discrimination policy with regard to the offering of vaccines going on that we don’t know about?

    As far as I know the virus doesn’t make any allowances for the ethnicity of those infected and neither should we.

  • @Peter Martin

    You beat me to it.

    Why anyone would hold in regard anything to what Professor Gupta has to say on the matter is beyond me.

    This is the same person who said back in May last year that the UK had already reached herd immunity as far more people had already had covid-19 than realised and called for a large scale study into levels of antibodies in the community and she claimed the rest would be protected from previous infections of other corona-viruses. When those studies were proven she was wrong, she then flipped and said the tests were not

    Had we have followed her advice and allowed the virus to rip back then, we would have seen a health system collapse entirely, we would have seen far more non-covid deaths as well, the economy would have collapsed even more than what it did and I can only imagine what would have happened to society were we have to seen deaths on those sorts of scales with no public health system at all to treat sick and dying and patients.

    The UK would not have tolerated scenes like in India where people were dying in hospital car parks on a one in one out basis, which would have been entirely plausible had we have followed the GBD idea’s

    Professor gupta even admitted that her objection to lockdowns in the UK was because she feared that it would be copied by other countries whose economies could not afford it but would feel that they had no choice but to copy countries like the UK.

    “My motivation for getting into this debate is precisely what you mention, that it seemed to me a terrifying prospect that lockdown might be implemented in places like India, or in Sub Saharan Africa, where asking someone to stay at home for months is not feasible. The cost is just too high.”

  • Peter Martin 13th Sep '21 - 10:51am

    Lib Dems might want to get out and talk to the electorate a little more. The consensus of opinion amongst an an-hoc ‘focus group’ that I put together from some regulars in my local pub was that those choosing to be unvaccinated were a pain in the neck and a threat to the rest of us.

    Most were opposed to treating them for free in the NHS if they did get sick unless there was a valid medical reason for them to have remained unvaccinated. There were just a couple of us, no doubt considered namby-pamby liberals by the rest, who argued that this was a step too far.

    There was unanimous opinion from the group of ten that we didn’t want to have to sit next to unvaccinated adults in a cinema, theatre or at a football match etc and that Covid passports were the only way to prevent that.

  • James Fowler 13th Sep '21 - 11:29am

    ‘Ad-hoc focus groups in my pub’. Come on, minister. Many years ago I recall an LD meeting where members approached our MP to complain about a new housing development AND the shortage of homes for their children locally… in the course of the same conversation. COVID passports are obvious a great idea… until they stop me doing something that I like doing. Lockdown has been full of utterly self-serving and depressing stories along these lines.

  • Peter Martin 13th Sep '21 - 11:53am

    @ James,

    Probably we are all torn on the housing question to some extent. We want to protect the environment at the same time as we want better housing for all.

    There’s no such conflict with Covid passports. They wouldn’t “stop us from doing anything”. Providing we have the jabs to qualify of course.

    I’m not presenting my group as being necessarily representative of the population as a whole. But I would suggest you do your own research. Just ask a few people at random what they think of those who refuse to have a vaccine. Is it there own look out if they then get sick and should they be treated for free on the NHS if they do.

    Please let me know if your group is any more ‘liberal’ than mine!

  • @ Peter Martin

    We don’t base our policies on focus groups we base them on what we believe is the right thing to do and then make the case to the public.

    The point about discrimination is obvious enough, vaccine passports would disproportionately exclude from public places people who are from BAME backgrounds, from the poorest 20% and under 30’s as they are the least likely to have had the vaccine.

    If we disregarded the views of any scientist who has ever said anything incorrect or had their views mischaracterised we would not listen to any of them. Prof Gupta said that the * pandemic * was on the way not that * Covid * was on the way out. She has consistently said that Covid will become endemic and is here to stay.

  • The NHS was never over-stretched. It’s a fallacy of the left that we needed the regressive lockdowns that hit the newly unemployed, the single householders and those that relied on social networks outside their own family.

    It’s just another way of playing the Tories game – when the opposition parties should have embraced the Swedish model or something akin to it.

    This pandemic has been nothing but a way of shoring up power for the 1%, the marxist left. A reckoning is coming.

  • Nonconformistradical 13th Sep '21 - 3:20pm

    @Marco
    “vaccine passports would disproportionately exclude from public places people who are from BAME backgrounds, from the poorest 20% and under 30’s as they are the least likely to have had the vaccine.”

    Then aren’t the issues resulting in those groups of people being least likely to have been vaccinated the issues which should be addressed? Is it particularly difficult for some people in these groups to get the vaccine? If so then what are the reasons and how can they be addressed so most of these people can be vaccinated without difficulty?

    But at the end of the day if some people to whom the vaccine is available choose not to be vaccinated then it doesn’t seem a grave matter if they can’t gain admittance to nightclubs. And I’m guessing those with good medical reasons for not being vaccinated might be wary of going to crowded places like nightclubs anyway.

  • Marco 13th Sep ’21 – 2:53pm………….The point about discrimination is obvious enough, vaccine passports would disproportionately exclude from public places people who are from BAME backgrounds, from the poorest 20% and under 30’s as they are the least likely to have had the vaccine…………

    Public Places??? I thought it was nightclubs festivals, theatres, etc. None of which could be described as public places

  • @Marco

    “Prof Gupta said that the * pandemic * was on the way not that * Covid * was on the way out. She has consistently said that Covid will become endemic and is here to stay”

    Nice attempted spin there.

    Nobody is disputing that scientists and epidemiologists were clear from the start when they said that covid would eventually become endemic and was with us to stay.
    That is not what is in contention here.. Professor Gupta was saying back in May 2000 that the UK “ALREADY” had reached herd immunity and there was no need for lockdowns. Clearly she was wrong and surely you can not even dispute the fact that she was wrong on so many occasions and thank goodness no country followed her or the Great Barringtons advice.
    And as I pointed out earlier, her motivation against lockdowns in the UK and Europe was because she did not want to see other countries like India or South Africa feeling that they had to follow suit as it would be detrimental to the very poor in those countries.

    As I pointed out to you before on this topic, the GBD was nonsense, it offered no qualified research or suggestions on how it would work in principle of “throwing a ring of steel” around the vulnerable, you yourself said said that was because the GBD was not country specific.
    Now since we know that professor Gupta’s motivation for this was because of her concerns of what could happen to the poor in countries like India and SA were they to follow suit, it shows even more what nonsense this paper was.

    Why should a country like the UK, not impose restrictions and lockdowns in order to protect national health in a pandemic emergency, just because other countries around the world can not afford to follow suit and might feel pressured to do so?

    Furthermore, I would argue that countries like the UK, it was and is imperative that we get covid under control and protect public health in order to protect the economy in the longer term. Other countries in poorer nations who are reliant on aid from richer countries needs a healthy UK and other G7 countries to be healthy, because less money for them results in less foreign aid.

    Had we have taken the advice of the likes of Professor Gupta our public health system would have been shattered for many years along with our economy, which would have been not only bad for us, but catastrophic for countries that rely on foreign aid

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Sep '21 - 5:04pm

    Marco, Matt

    I dispute the supposed facts, if to not accept covid as endemic, is too do that!

    New Zealand writ large would have meant that none of these varients would likely have ever emerged. Thus vaccines would fully do what they are meant to, give immunity. Thus as with tb, polio, small pox, the whole thing would disappear in months, maybe years, but sooner than is because the world, was so keen to put nightclubs, concerts, pubs, sports, before and ahead, of human life.

  • @Lorenzo

    I agree with you entirely that Covid had not needed to become endemic and had we have acted earlier to stamp down on the virus, closed borders and locked down properly in the first place, then there was a good chance we would have stamped out the virus and as you said, we would not have had all these variants that became more resistant to vaccines etc.
    But unfortunately, we and other countries did not do that, we put tourism amongst other things above public health and we have now ended up in the situation that we are in where covid is now endemic and nothing can change that now 🙁

    I believe these actions or inactions, whatever way you wish to look at it, will end up costing economies and public health as a whole, far more more in the longer term than what it would have, had we have stomped down on this from the very start.

    I just hope lessons have been learnt for when the next virus that comes along, but I fear they have not and we will walk into exactly the same sort of disasters all over again next time round.

  • @expats
    Vaccine passports don’t exclude anyone from anything – the people choosing not to get themselves vaccinated is what will exclude them.

  • @ Matt

    I seem to recall you relaying the predictions of scientists such as Professor Ferguson that the lifting of restrictions on “Freedom Day” would by now have led to 200,000 cases per day rather than the actual amount of 30,000 odd so do you acknowledge those scientists are now discredited?

    Btw herd immunity is not the point when the virus is eradicated it is the point where R<1 so you can go in and out of herd immunity which brings me on to

    @ Martin “the evidence thus far predicts that infection with SARS-CoV-2 induces long-term immunity in most individuals.”

    Absolutely, however antibodies fade after a period of time therefore people can get reinfected and pass the virus on to others. It is T-cell immunity that provides lifelong protection against severe disease for most people.

  • @ Lorenzo

    I believe that zero COVID is impossible because there are important differences compared to smallpox. With smallpox there is no animal reservoir and it transmits more slowly.

    The New Zealand approach is surely now discredited, whilst the rest of the world moves on they go into lockdown over 1 case. They need to make more progress with their vaccine roll out then open up and accept that COVID will spread.

    @NCFR

    I think that one of the reasons for the low uptake in some groups is due to mistrust in the authorities. However stigma and coercion won’t work, addressing people’s concerns might.

  • @Marco –
    “The point about discrimination is obvious enough, vaccine passports would disproportionately exclude from public places people who are from BAME backgrounds, from the poorest 20% and under 30’s as they are the least likely to have had the vaccine.”

    So vaccine passports exclude those who choose to exclude themselves and then claim they are being discriminated against?

  • Jason Conner 13th Sep '21 - 8:10pm

    I agree Brad Barrows, this is a triumph for libertarianism, liberalism is not about harming others by exercising individual rights at all costs when health is sacrosanct and Nicola as usual gets it right. What a fantastic UK wide PM she would make.

  • David Garlick 13th Sep '21 - 8:11pm

    @dennisclay. Yes we do die but we have never adopted Boris’s ‘devil take the hindmost’ approach when peoples lives depended on it. Older and vunerable people will continue to be cautious ans all we ask is that others do the same. Not going to a night club is not the end of the world. Going to a nightclub and returning with covid may not kill you, I hope not, but the more the desease is spread the more people will die and that risk could be reduced if not avoided byr hands, face, space. Nightclubs are merely a smoke screen for the ‘don’t tell me what to do’ brigade.

  • @ Caron, “So this means that Nicola Sturgeon is isolated.”

    There is such a thing as ‘Splendid Isolation’, and as someone who is not an SNP voter, I think Ms Sturgeon is correct on this. This matter is more important than playing party politics.

    I’d also like transparency on why the UK government has cut off its contract to manufacture vaccine in Livingston. When it comes to matters of trust, I give Johnson 0%.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Sep '21 - 10:02pm

    Matt

    I agree with every bit of this! we are as often of the similar view and same attitude on the virus !

    Marco

    I disagree with every bit of that! New zealand are far away from discrediting their solution. They even have dealt with Delta variant! They are a model of what could be!

    It is me, Matt, et al in favour of more restrictions, actions,. ages ago and now, who, knowing that to limit small and unimportant so called liberties, can gain us, and each other, the far greater freedoms, namely life, and its preservation, and within closed or strict limits, on borders, public spaces, venues, basic income, help for business, get back to normality with less, far, less indeed, loss of lives and more unity of purpose!

  • @Marco

    ” seem to recall you relaying the predictions of scientists such as Professor Ferguson that the lifting of restrictions on “Freedom Day” would by now have led to 200,000 cases per day rather than the actual amount of 30,000 odd so do you acknowledge those scientists are now discredited?”

    I am so pleased you asked me this and i have been waiting for the opportunity to address it, especially since the news papers have been making the same false claims.

    Yes Indeed professor Ferguson did make predictions of 100,000 daily infections a day along with 1000 hospital admissions a day and 100 deaths a day, and, he was right. We very quickly saw 100 deaths a day, in fact it surpassed that and we also saw 1000 hospital admissions a day. https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare
    AHHH but I hear you saying, daily cases are at 30,000 a day and not 100,000 like he said…..
    Think about it Marco, the case numbers started to come down coincided with the schools breaking up for half term, therefore, less testing in schools . People did not want to have their holidays interrupted and forced into isolation and ruining their plans, therefore they did not come forward for testing. That fact is borne out by the ONS and Oxford University that carries out random testing in the community and found levels as follows In England alone
    23rd July – 741,700 people within the community population in England had COVID-19 1 in 75
    30th July 856,200 or 1 in 65
    6th August 722,300 1 in 75
    13th August 726,700 1 in 75
    20th August 698,100 1 in 80 People
    27th August 756,900 1 in 70
    3rd September 766,100 1 in 70
    10th September 754,600 1 in 70

    So by time you factor in Wales, Scotland and NI, Yes we are at 100,000 cases a day when you look at the infection surveys carried out in the community, rather than relying on the figures for those who do come forward for actual testing, track and trace.

    It would be pretty scary for the Vaccine efficacy if what you’re saying is correct and that based on 30,000 infections a day, that is equating to 1000 hospital admissions and 100 deaths wouldn’t you think.

    So to answer your question again, no I do not think Professor Ferguson was discredited, his modelling showed exactly where we were going to be with daily hospital admissions and deaths, sadly we actually went passed them.

    Now, where were we on Professor Gupta, you never responded to that question

  • Peter Martin 14th Sep '21 - 9:02am

    @ Marco,

    Covid was on its way out or just the pandemic? It’s a matter of semantics that wasn’t appreciated by whoever headlined the Gupta article of last May. It was a stupid comment to make. Of course it is quite possible, even likely. for anyone to get the numbers wrong when making forecasts. That’s not at all the same thing.

    You’re on better ground when saying the Kiwis have painted themselves into a corner and have become a hermit kingdom. The purpose of the lockdowns was to allow time for a vaccine to be developed, minimise the death toll and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed while that was happening . The scientists have certainly done their bit. So the availability of the vaccine changes the situation, as it should, but not in NZ. They are stuck in a dead-end.

    While there is no real case for generalised lockdowns there is a case for some restrictions to continue. It is only reasonable that they should be fewer for those who have taken the trouble to have had the vaccine. There’s no cost involved in being vaccinated so there is no excuse of lack of money for not doing so. It’s a typically paternalist Lib Dem approach to not make criticisms where criticisms are in order especially when there is some socioeconomic factor associated.

    Most working class people of limited means have managed to do the right thing and they wouldn’t be at all in agreement that the rest of us need to be inconvenienced, or worse, unnecessarily by the anti-social behaviour of others.

  • @DavidGarlick absolutely laughable you think that Johnson did a `devil take the hindmost` solution. It was rather the opposite.

    My view is that the people that died of Covid would have died from something else. Governments can’t stop people dying. This is not meant to be heartless – just a fact.

    What we’ve done as a society is to protect one group of people near the end of their lives at the cost of young peoples education. social networks, mental health, jobs and businesses. But who gives an f about them when you’ve got votes to chase.

    Notice Sweden’s recent figures. They took sensible restrictions (not CCP ones) didn’t lockdown, didn’t close schools and decided that natural immunity crowned vaccinations however useful they are.

    To me this whole vaccine disunity is based around rewarding people `who do the right thing` whether or not that reward makes any sense at all.

    Interestingly those who have worked throughout this period (supermarkets, call centres etc) don’t seem to get a look in. Lib Dem policy as judged by what I see here from grassroots members seem to be biased towards the retired, comfortably off and working from home middle class.

  • Denis [email protected] Yes it is a fact that we will all die in the end, you included, but your attitude and the present governments ‘ is and was heartless and I believe that the majority of young people will feel the same. The treatment of older people in care homes at the onset of the pandemic was deplorable in a supposed civilised country, whatever way you try to dress it up.

  • Denis Clay 14th Sep ’21 – 9:29am:
    My view is that the people that died of Covid would have died from something else.

    Eventually, but their average Years of Life Lost (YLL) is more than a decade…

    ‘COVID-19 – exploring the implications of long-term condition type and extent of multimorbidity on years of life lost: a modelling study [version 3; peer review: 3 approved]’ [1st. March 2021]:
    https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/articles/5-75

    Abstract

    Background: COVID-19 is responsible for increasing deaths globally. As most people dying with COVID-19 are older with underlying long-term conditions (LTCs), some speculate that YLL are low. We aim to estimate YLL attributable to COVID-19, before and after adjustment for number/type of LTCs, using the limited data available early in the pandemic. […]

    Results: Using the standard WHO life tables, YLL per COVID-19 death was 14 for men and 12 for women. After adjustment for number and type of LTCs, the mean YLL was slightly lower, but remained high (11.6 and 9.4 years for men and women, respectively). The number and type of LTCs led to wide variability in the estimated YLL at a given age (e.g. at ≥80 years, YLL was >10 years for people with 0 LTCs, and <3 years for people with ≥6).

    Conclusions: Deaths from COVID-19 represent a substantial burden in terms of per-person YLL, more than a decade, even after adjusting for the typical number and type of LTCs found in people dying of COVID-19.

  • Peter Martin 14th Sep '21 - 1:09pm

    @ Denis Clay,

    “My view is that the people that died of Covid would have died from something else.”

    Didn’t Dr Harold Shipman make a similar claim re his 200+ victims? If they hadn’t died from an overdose of opiates they would probably have died from something else in the near future.

  • I despise these arguments that these people would have died of something else anyway.
    Not only is that incorrect as far to say that just because someone has COPD or Diabetes or a heart condition, does not mean that they were about to die anyway, people can live productive lives for many years with these conditions due to advanced in treatments, Covid changed all that.

    And on top of that, it entirely ignores the fact that all these people who are vulnerable who become infected with covid and sadly need hospital treatment or are unfortunately going to die are entitled to that care or a dignified and as comfortable death as possible, which of course takes NHS Resources, What is the argument against? That because these people have these comorbidities and are likely going to die, we should not treat them and allow them to die at home suffering?

    When hospitals are overrun with covid patients in ICU, that results in more elective surgery having to be cancelled due to safety, when hospitals are overrun with covid it makes carrying out some elective surgeries more dangerous due to the risk of catching covid in hospital whilst in recovery. It is as simple as that.

    I can not for the life of me understand why those apposed to any covid restrictions fail to see or even acknowledge it, it cannot be put down to ignorance because they have been given the facts time and time again, so I can only conclude that they have more selfish reasons for their views

  • I despise people that pretend that someone who died at 82 instead of the average age of 81 and then proceed to guilt trip people as if they are some mengelist person instead of understanding that things changed. A virus was sent over by the malign incompetence of the CCP.

    Again there is a choice to be made. Do we look at reality and lock things down in which case creating havoc with the lives of younger cohorts – suicides, businesses, mental health. What about the lives lost by those younger who would have lost early cancer diagnoses due to the political mood of the country engendered by the LibLabCon.

    This is where the Lib Dems are failing. They failed to be brave enough to ask for the Swedish model (done by Social Democrats), ask for risk benefit analyses.

    We are heading for a terrible society if the grassroots lib dem mindset is going to guide big picture policy. It won’t be one of taking some risks and looking at all angles – it’ll be a safetyist authoritarian world one in which President Xi can’t believe his luck!

    There’s a lot of safetyist ideologues in the Lib Dems. I will be asking very close questions of LD candidates at all elections in future.

  • @Denis Clay

    “What about the lives lost by those younger who would have lost early cancer diagnoses ”

    Did you bother to even read my post or are you choosing to ignore certain points for which you have no answer.

    Having Cancer and the treatment for cancer actually puts you at extreme risk if catching covid. Cancer treatment is gruelling on the body and you are prone to infections.
    Having Cancer surgery and the recovery puts you at extreme risk if catching ANY infection.
    Therefore having large amounts of covid in the community and transmission in hospital settings puts cancer patients who are vulnerable at extreme risk.
    So come on clever clogs, you seem to have all the answers, and you make out as if you care about these cancer patients and other patients living with non covid diseases.
    How do they navigate society with large amounts of covid and receive treatment safely at the same time???

  • Phil Beesley 14th Sep '21 - 2:54pm

    Denis Clay: “A virus was sent over by the malign incompetence of the CCP.”

    I suggest that the above statement is unhelpful. It implies intent by the CCP or negligence or some conspiracy, at the same time that Chinese “police” were dragging people from their homes and denying the extent of the pandemic. We simply don’t know how the virus arose in China, and Chinese political culture means it will be hard to find out.

    I am not informed enough to criticise the Italian authorities when Covid-19 exploded in their country, but I feel qualified to have a go at our Prime Minister for poo-pooing it and ignoring his professional advisors.

    In the case of Sweden, we should note that there is no continuous Swedish model of behaviour during the pandemic. During the initial libertarian model, after which infections and hospitalisations dwarfed neighbouring countries, Swedish beauticians and pub owners stayed open whilst older and vulnerable people died. The second Swedish model locked down a bit more, but Swedish exceptionalism remained awkward in that more Swedes die.

  • Phil Beesley 14th Sep '21 - 3:12pm

    Peter Martin: “Didn’t Dr Harold Shipman make a similar claim re his 200+ victims? If they hadn’t died from an overdose of opiates they would probably have died from something else in the near future.”

    Shipman denied everything, as I recall. The suggestion that his victims would have died shortly by natural causes, as most do we all, is contradicted by him killing healthy adults and children. It may have been newspaper reports which created the idea of “dignified” but foreshortened death. Shipman’s victims weren’t necessarily old folks on their way out, and, likewise, many Covid deaths represent people who just cause the wrong sickness at the wrong time.

  • @Denis Clay

    I probably should have also pointed out that in my comment I made the point “I despise these arguments” which is obviously entirely different to your response of ” I despise people” which I think tells us a lot about the person we are interacting with here.

    Although its not my place to question someone’s political persuasions, one does wonder how that person could identify themselves as Liberal or a Liberal Democrat

  • Jayne mansfield 14th Sep '21 - 4:41pm

    @ Matt,
    I admire your perseverance and evidence based approach.

    Well done you. Please keep it up.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Sep '21 - 5:11pm

    Matt is The man!!!!

  • @ Matt

    There was an increase in cases in June/July before “freedom day”. There is a time lag between cases and deaths therefore an increase in deaths in August will have been due to cases rising before 19th July.

    It is clear that Professor Ferguson was basing his prediction on the John Hopkins method (the official one) which indicated 44671 cases on 18th Aug and 33947 on 13th Sept. He was not basing his prediction on community surveys.

    Furthermore school holidays are a predictable event so why did Ferguson not factor that into his modelling? In any case a large proportion of cases are in hospitals and care homes so not affected by holidays.

    So valiant effort but ultimately clutching at straws.

  • @Marco

    Absolute nonsense

    Do you actually read the sage and spim reports when they are released??

    They contain modelling carried out by several researchers including Oxford, Imperial, Warwick to name just a couple, this is then complied to give several scenarios / forecasts including best case, worse case and those in the middle.
    Professor Ferguson and his team provide modelling for Imperial.
    A sage / spim report is then compiled as advice for the Government with these range of forecasts.
    The predictions for 100,000 cases a day, 1000 hospital admissions and 100 deaths fell within the mid range of forecasts.
    Of course, the papers always like to jump on the worse case scenario as they did Yesterday with the latest Sage reports which have stated that we are just 2 and half doubling times away from seeing hospital admissions on par with January and 6000 admissions a day. Even though Sage has said that this scenario is unlikely.

    But don’t let facts get in your way hey Marco.

    When you going to face facts and admit professor gupta got it entirely wrong and thank goodness we did not take their advice

  • @Marco

    “Furthermore school holidays are a predictable event so why did Ferguson not factor that into his modelling? In any case a large proportion of cases are in hospitals and care homes so not affected by holidays.”

    There was a significant drop in testing once schools broke up as can be seen on the Daily Covid dashboard, why this was not foreseen I could not say as it should have been obvious that testing was going to fall when school children were not being tested twice a week. Nobody is arguing that scientists get it right all the time Marco.

    They also did not foresee that people would be more reluctant to come forward during school holidays as they did not want to be forced into isolation and scupper holiday plans.

    The daily infection figures that we are given are never a good indication on the current state of the pandemic, due to the fact that there are so many Asymptomatic cases with people not even realising they have covid and of course there are many who do have symptoms who decide not to get to tested for a number of reasons.

    That is why the random sampling in the community is so important as it gives the Government a better indication of where things are actually at in the community and it is on these figures that modellers make their forecasts.
    These random samples are only taken in “homes” and so does not include Hospital, Care homes and other Institutional settings”

    Marco, if you are so passionate about this subject, might I suggest instead of relying on information from the likes of the Daily Mail, Twitter and Facebook, you actually read the sage / spim / ONS reports when they come out, instead of relying on inaccurate and sensationalist headlines from DM and social media 🙂

  • Peter Martin 15th Sep '21 - 12:17pm

    @ Marco,

    “In any case a large proportion of cases are in hospitals and care homes so not affected by holidays.”

    This is obviously not true. During term time, children will be more likely to have picked up an infection from others in their school and so be carrying it, often asymptomatically, and spreading the virus in the community. The more the virus is in the community the more likely it is to end up in a hospital or care home.

    So no marks for that particular comment, I’m afraid!

  • Marco

    If you take the latest sage reports for example. The papers are only reporting the worse case scenario in the reports of 7000 hospital admissions a day, giving the impression that this is Professor Fergusons predictions.
    That is not what the latest report says at all and indeed sage have said this is the least likely scenario.

    What the report has done is looked at modelling on 3 scenarios on what would happen if R. was at 1.1 another one for 1.5 and another one for R=2 which sage have said is highly unlikely and they predict a trajectory of somewhere between the 1.1 and 1.5

    The report states that there is evidence from world data of waning immunity from the jabs though it does not put an exact figure on this.
    Therefore it is reasonable to assume it is on that basis that the Government has decided to go ahead with the Booster jabs.

    Currently there are 7000 in hospital with coronavirus and 1000 on mechanical ventilation, which may not seem a lot , around 6% of hospital capacity?? but it does not take many doublings times for those to then reach figures that we saw last Winter. And you have to remember that the NHS always runs at near full capacity, even a hospital running at 90% is regarded as full capacity as you always have to have some spare capacity for Accidents and Emergencies.
    And we have a serious back log of people who have had operations delayed over the last 18 months because of covid and the NHS must be able to start to make some headway into those numbers.
    So whilst people may carry on and say that there are only 7k people in hospital with covid, those are patients that are taking up resources in ICU and acute medicine meaning less elective surgery taking place.

    So when you bother to take the time to actually read the reports *instead of relying on sensationalist headlines* that are only interested in reporting worse case scenarios in order to try and discredit the scientists. You can actually get a better picture of what is going on and understanding why the Government is doing what it is doing for example with the Booster campaign. ……

  • Some people are against the Boosters whilst many other countries are even yet to even start vaccinating their people in significant numbers. But when the UK government looks at the global data of any waning immunity and the trajectory this could cause on UK Hospital admissions. It is obvious why they have come to the decision to vaccinate younger people and give boosters, as we need to keep hospital admissions down and get through those back logs.
    That is also why the Government needs to keep measures in its back pocket ready for introduction i.e vaccine passports and mandatory mask use
    *even though I still believe these should be mandated now*

  • @ Matt “absolute nonsense” – that would have been accurate had you put a : after it!

    It may be that you have a brilliant argument that I haven’t understood but more likely is that I am on solid ground when I say that Professor Ferguson’s forecasts have consistently been grossly exaggerated and the public are now questioning his other claims such as what would have happened if the government hadn’t locked down.

    The reason he gets it wrong is that he doesn’t factor in immunity or seasonality unlike Prof Gupta who understands these fundamental scientific concepts. You would expect cases to rise in autumn/winter but that wasn’t what he predicted.

  • @Lorenzo & Jayne, many thanks appreciated 🙂

    @Marco

    “It may be that you have a brilliant argument that I haven’t understood”

    I’m pretty sure you understand exactly what I am saying Marco, you just chose to ignore it.
    I am aware that I have dreadful punctuation and I am not the most articulate person going, however, as long as people get the crux of what I am saying that is the main thing and I am pretty sure that the majority of people reading the threads know where I am coming from and the points I am trying to make….

    “more likely is that I am on solid ground when I say that Professor Ferguson’s forecasts have consistently been grossly exaggerated and the public are now questioning his other claims such as what would have happened if the government hadn’t locked down.”
    You might believe you are on solid ground Marco, but from where I am sitting Marco it looks increasingly slippy, your failure to answer a single question put to you shows that.
    As I have pointed out to you, the only person / people who have exaggerated professor Fergusons Forecast, are those who report on them. As I explained to you, modellers provide a “range” of forecasts from best to worse case scenario with a confidence level for each scenario. All the media are ever interested in reporting is the worse case scenario even though the report states that this is the most “unlikely”, but hey that does not make good headlines does it.
    As I have already shown you previously, The forecasts were for 100,000 daily infections, which the ONS figures shows we were hitting very close to that, 1000 hospital admissions a day, which was hit quicker than anticipated and 100 deaths a day, which was sadly breeched also. So how was he wrong??????
    Which of the public are you referring to when you say they are “questioning claims such as what would have happened if the government hadn’t locked down” The anti Vaxers, the anti-lockdowners, the covid deniers? I think you will find they are and always have been in the very small minority and no matter what hard facts and data they are presented with, these close minded people will not accept anything until they or a loved one is lying sadly in a hospital bed. The rest of the public I would suggest are sensible enough to have seen what has gone on in other countries who refused to lock down or implement mitigation measures and it is not exactly difficult to see what would have happened if we had followed suit……

  • @Marco
    “The reason he gets it wrong is that he doesn’t factor in immunity or seasonality unlike Prof Gupta who understands these fundamental scientific concepts”
    lol, you still not going to admit that Professor Gupta was wrong then in May 2000 when she said the UK already reached herd immunity. Did we have herd immunity in May 2000 Marco? Or October 2000 or in January 2001?? I am interested in your learned opinion.

    Btw Marco, if there is a point I make that you don’t understand, you only have to ask me and I will gladly try to clarify it for you, there is no need for rudeness.
    As I said in previous comment, I am aware that I struggle with punctuation and I struggle to articulate myself at times. It’s not helped by the fact that I take pretty strong sedatives that at times make it difficult for me to formulate my words, let alone put them to print, but I try my best.

    Clearly this is a topic of conversation that is important to me as covid has so many branches to it that affects several areas of politics that are very important to me, Public health, Disability and equality. I will always stand up for those most passionately and I will always put up arguments against people like yourself who take a differing view on covid and the danger it poses to those things I held dear

  • Marco 15th Sep ’21 – 8:10pm:
    …more likely is that I am on solid ground when I say that Professor Ferguson’s forecasts have consistently been grossly exaggerated and the public are now questioning his other claims such as what would have happened if the government hadn’t locked down.

    They are not forecasts. They are projections from a computer model. The worse case scenarios, as reported in the press, are predicated on nothing being done to mitigate transmission. Such a scenario is described by Ferguson et al as “unlikely”. Here, for example, is an extract from Report 9 which informed the government’s decision to impose the first lockdown in March 2020…

    ‘Report 9: Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand’ [16th. March 2020]:
    https://www.imperial.ac.uk/mrc-global-infectious-disease-analysis/covid-19/report-9-impact-of-npis-on-covid-19/

    Results

    In the (unlikely) absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behaviour, we would expect a peak in mortality (daily deaths) to occur after approximately 3 months (Figure 1A). In such scenarios, given an estimated R0 of 2.4, we predict 81% of the GB and US populations would be infected over the course of the epidemic. […]

    In total, in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in GB and 2.2 million in the US, not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality.

    Even if the government hadn’t used the Coronavirus Act 2020 to impose a lockdown, people’s behaviour would have dramatically changed just as it did in Sweden. So, Ferguson et al’s worse case projection was indeed “unlikely”. We can’t know if such projections were “grossly exaggerated” as the specified scenario didn’t occur – government, businesses and the public all took mitigating action.

  • @Jeff

    Thank you for posting that.

    The right wing media and people like Marco have done all that they can to try and discredit the Scientists and members of sage as presenting their worse case scenarios as forecasts for the UK, which of course is total nonsense and as you say, the worse case scenario is based on no mitigation measures being imposed. This kind of behaviour is dangerous in my view and needs challenging at every opportunity and I believe the media have a lot to answer for in whipping up discontent in a minority of people who are easily mislead and in some instances have cost lives.

    The worse case scenario that was presented by Professor Feguson at the start of the pandemic was entirely plausible if NO mitigation measures were put in place, in fact you could argue that they would have been worse as they did not take into account a collapsing health system and non covid deaths.
    With a population of 67 Million and 81% becoming infected with covid by allowing the virus to rip as suggested by the GBD and a Fatality Rate of 1% would have resulted in around 500,000 deaths or even if you reduce the fatality rate to 0.5% it is still 250,000 deaths over the course of the pandemic.
    But of course, this modelling did not include what would happen to the public health system had it been faced with these kind of numbers and the amount of non-covid deaths.
    We can all see how much the NHS struggled even with mitigation measures and how overall public health has been affected, cancelled operations and delayed diagnoses etc, it is bad enough now and is unimaginable what it would have been like with no measures.

    With no mitigation measures and collapsed health system, the public would have indeed put themselves into lock down. But then there would have been NO Furlough schemes, No government support for businesses etc, the economy would have well and truly collapsed along with the health system and would have been far more damaging in the longer term.

    But hey, the right wing media and people like Marco will never acknowledge the facts, they will continue to pedal their misinformation and instead try to discredit the models and the scientists, and for what, what is the motivation? that is the scary thought

  • @ Matt

    I wasn’t criticising your punctuation I was just trying to be funny by saying if you put a colon after absolute nonsense it would have referred to your own comment.

    Anyway, I am rather fed up of the smears that people with my views on Covid are somehow extreme whereas we are ordinary people with mainstream opinions generally. The “motivation” is that we are concerned that many of the measures are ineffective, based on fear and have led to collateral damage to mental health, social cohesion and the diagnosis of non-covid illnesses.

    It is dispiriting that so many “liberals” have taken a hardline position on this and reacted to lockdown scepticism in bad faith.

  • @Marco

    I am yet to read any kind of plan from yourself, on how the UK Government should have treated Covid from the outset, which protected public health and the health of the economy.
    The only thing I know from your posts, is that you have been against each and every mitigation measure put in place from the start * way before we had vaccines or if we would even ever get them* . In other words to allow the virus to rip through the country and reach herd immunity through natural infection. Was that your preference for how we should of reacted?
    If so, what is your assumptions on the no of deaths we could have seen?
    What this would mean for long term public health as whole and the ability to diagnose and treat non covid patients
    What effects this would have had on social behaviours
    And finally, what this would have done to the economy

    I have my opinions clearly on what I believe would have happened had we have taken this course of action and I have spouted them on here often, but I am yet to see you give an opinion or counter argument and you have only protested about measures that have been put in place on the basis that they are “ineffective” without even providing any evidence of your claims.

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