Coronavirus lockdown “useless, grotesque, collective suicide” – World-renowned virologist

A world-renowned expert in medical microbiology, Professor Sucharit Bhakdi, has said that blaming the new coronavirus alone for deaths is ‘wrong’ and ‘dangerously misleading’. There are other more important factors at play, he says, notably pre-existing health conditions and poor air quality in Chinese and northern Italian cities.

In the interview, Professor Bhakdi condemns the extreme and costly measures being taken around the world as ‘grotesque’, ‘useless’, ‘self-destructive’ and a ‘collective suicide’ that will shorten the lifespan of the elderly and should not be accepted by society.

His comments come as it emerges that the overall number of deaths in Europe during the outbreak so far, including in Italy, is no higher than usual for this time of year. In fact, it is lower.

One reason for this is likely to be the extra care we are all taking not to spread bugs. Another is because it has been a very mild flu season this winter in which fewer than normal have died.

Why then does the novel Wuhan coronavirus appear to be so deadly, so much worse than the seasonal flu epidemics that kill an estimated 650,000 people globally each year?

First of all, because of how closely we’re following it. We have been monitoring the outbreak since it began, attempting to keep count of the numbers infected and those who have died. If we gave the same focused attention to every flu outbreak the story of its spread and death toll would be similarly terrifying. An estimated 36 million Americans caught flu this winter and 22,000 died including 144 children. Imagine if we followed that contagion and counted up the thousands of fatalities as they occurred – the panic would be the same.

Secondly, the mild flu season this year has meant many of those who would usually have succumbed earlier are perishing now. This is particularly true in Italy, where the population is considerably older than average. There is also the point mentioned by Professor Bhakdi that deaths are being attributed to coronavirus that should better be attributed to the pre-existing medical conditions that 99 per cent of victims in Italy have. They are deaths with Covid-19 rather than necessarily from Covid-19, in other words – a point stressed by the President of the Italian Civil Protection Service.  In fact, according to Professor Walter Ricciardi, scientific adviser to the Italian health minister, ‘only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus.’ Then there is the poor air quality in northern Italy and Wuhan that the professor mentions, with northern Italy having the worst smog in Europe.

Third, the frightening scenes in Italy of a health system flooded by people in need of intensive care have spooked the world. However, it’s not the first time in recent years Italy’s health system has been overwhelmed by a viral epidemic. According to a report in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, during the flu wave in 2017-18 the health care system collapsed as it postponed operations, called nurses back from holiday and ran out of blood donations. There is also the question of how much the lockdown in Italy is accelerating the death of the vulnerable, since 90 per cent of coronavirus-linked deaths there occur outside of intensive care units, mostly in the home – 99 per cent of them with serious underlying conditions.

Fourth, the scientific models predicting a huge number of deaths have pushed even initially reluctant governments towards extreme action. The report from Imperial College, for instance, on which the recent UK escalation is based, predicts that ‘if the UK did nothing, 81 per cent of people would be infected and 510,000 would die from coronavirus by August’.

But such models are notoriously unreliable. Consider how in 2005 the WHO predicted 150 million deaths from avian flu that never materialised because the virus was nowhere near as deadly as scientists assumed. They then did the same thing with swine flu in 2009.

The same mistake appears to be happening with coronavirus. Consider, for instance, that all 3,700 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship were exposed to the virus, yet only 17 per cent contracted it, nowhere near the 81 per cent predicted by the model. Furthermore, in South Korea new cases have dropped off rather than expanded exponentially, in China they have almost disappeared, and Japan has announced it is to lift its state of emergency, leaving people wondering what happened to the expected explosion.

The costs of extreme social distancing are immense, both economically and socially. How long then until governments heed the words of virologists like Professor Bhakdi, that such measures are self-destructive and useless? Or epidemiologists like Professor John Ioannidis of Stanford University, who has said there is insufficient medical data for the extreme action being taken, and no reason to think the new coronavirus is any more dangerous than some of the normal coronaviruses that go round, even for older people?

How long till governments and their advisers recognise that no more people are dying during this outbreak than would normally die at this time of year? For all our sakes, let us hope it is sooner rather than later and we can get back to normal before too much harm is done.

UPDATE

The BBC report that Imperial College’s prediction of 500,000 deaths includes those who would die anyway:

‘The figures for coronavirus are eye-watering. But what is not clear – because the modellers did not map this – is to what extent the deaths would have happened without coronavirus.

Of course, this will never truly be known until the pandemic is over, which is why modelling is very difficult and needs caveats.

But given that the old and frail are the most vulnerable, would these people be dying anyway?

Every year more than 500,000 people die in England and Wales: factor in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the figure tops 600,000.

The coronavirus deaths will not be on top of this. Many would be within this “normal” number of expected deaths. In short, they would have died anyway.

It was a point conceded by Sir Patrick at a press conference on Thursday when he said there would be “some overlap” between coronavirus deaths and expected deaths – he just did not know how much of an overlap.’

15 thoughts on “Coronavirus lockdown “useless, grotesque, collective suicide” – World-renowned virologist

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  1. Most of us are laymen when it comes to Covid-19. While that obviously limits what we can say with confidence, it does give us the freedom publicly to ask the questions and apply the kind of stark common sense observations that health experts and politicians are not free to do. The health care world is notoriously rigid (amounting to a kind of groupthink) in its attitudes and approach to the way things must be done. There are good reasons for this: real lives are at stake, mistakes end careers, fear of litigation is ever present.

    There is also a hierarchy in the system atop which sit consultants and technical experts who are beyond challenge from the lower orders. As we all know, it takes a very brave nurse or junior doctor to blow the whistle on unacceptable situations on the ward, or even to offer an opinion on how things could be improved. We the patients, or prospective patients, of NHS professionals have been traditionally viewed as having little to offer in terms of well informed comment – and don’t they let us know it with varying degrees of subtlety! But we usually take it on the chin because it’s in our best interest to keep quiet and receive treatment.

    However, while no one doubts they’re doing their best, the glaring error of judgement regarding the necessity and urgency of testing (both for information and to spot and isolate carriers of the virus so that they don’t unknowingly pass it on) and the sudden changes of policy suggest there is a lack of ruthless objectivity both in government and those health professionals who are advising government. Because we British are generally calm and law abiding, we’re following instructions with good grace (mostly!). But we’re also being subject to an almost viciously unbalanced diet of alarmist reporting and comment in the MSM to terrorise us into accepting what we’re being told. To challenge any of this requires either that you are a natural member of the awkward squad or that you have very well founded reasons for making your case. Many will detect a lack of clear thinking and hard nosed organisation about some of what is being done but not yet feel confident in saying so.

    Unfortunately human distress has little bearing on the course of a pandemic. If we want to take effective action we must pay attention to numbers rather than tears. That’s really hard. But in the current case, taking a proportionate and logical look at the numbers probably reveals far more cause for calm efficiency than anything we currently read in the press. And that poses serious questions about the economic gamble that we are taking so lightly.

    Without serious testing going on here in the UK (yet) we have very little to go on. But if an exponential rise in known infections (and deaths) happens over the coming weeks, we have to assume that there will be a corresponding exponential growth in immunity across the population (in people who have been infected and recovered or hardly troubled at all by symptoms). Every death and every survived infection applies its own downward pressure on contagion (because herd immunity is inched upwards). Each day brings us closer to the summer where infections are likely to be fewer or less severe. Each day brings us closer to better and more numerous tests, closer to a vaccine which is at least partially effective. Each day of sensible social distancing and careful personal hygiene will take a bit more pressure off the peak demand which may far outstrip what hospitals are capable of meeting. As we approach a peak of infections the news will be all bad; that’s the time when we have to hold our nerve. Then over a glad few days and weeks the numbers will start to flatten out and then decrease. That event is logically certain – and it can’t come soon enough.

    Time and events may prove me to be hopelessly wrong. But if I’m roughly on the right track, I suspect that what could turn out to be most serious about this pandemic will be the self imposed economic destruction rather than a sad but not catastrophic blip in the nation’s mortality figures for a year or two.

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  2. Good to get some careful assessment of the situation but I can’t see why our dysfunctional liberal elites would ramp up the virus problem gratuitously, the economic hit will be vast and there is no obvious ideological motive. I’m influenced a bit as our vicar is ill with the virus and his son, a young man, is in hospital in an induced coma and on ventilation. Could this virus be more unpredictably vicious, killing younger people normally untouched by the usual flu’s? On the other hand it would be good to know how many will die because their cancer etc op has been postponed.

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    1. No obvious motive? I’m not saying this is all just a huge conspiracy, and while this article makes some good points and invites us to look a little deeper, I think there is an OBVIOUS element to this that coincides with the liberal agenda… CONTROL

      They’re always wanting more and more control over a nation, not just more and more taxes. They also are ALWAYS wanting to buy votes with tax dollars -and what are we seeing now? Promises of handouts for people to stay home and not to work.

      That is 100% aligned with the liberal agenda. Higher taxes, fewer rights, more control. ALL of this aligns with the liberal agenda. To me that seems incredibly clear.

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  3. How about you taking the problem seriously. God is trying to tell you something but instead of listening, you blame the so-called liberals. Some things are more important than money. Human life is an example.

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  4. Ok, so we have a few factions – Bill Gates & his cronies- the western governments shutting down and going into financial tailspin (which could be linked to cronies)- the push to give power over humanity to Big Pharma- the naturalists and religious- the scientists who have opposing viewpoints (also some could be affected by cronies) oh and the Illuminati!
    Then you have the people who just want to know WTF is the truth.
    In nature, the fittest are meant to survive, humans have fought this concept, but in truth, it should be this way. Death is horrible for those left but it is a fact that none of us escape. I think we need to go back to work, carry on with commonsense (which is uncommon today) . Fact is, if this is not going to be eradicated worldwide, this will become a normal flu bug and will continue to happen so what is the point in destroying civilisation as we know it? Carry on, be smart, might mean masks and gloves for months, but absolutely no point in closing down and bankruptcy. Isn’t that what we should be doing? And absolutely not killing your pets!!!!

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    1. In Italy we have read the same points of view around the end of February (please look for the posts written by virologist Maria Rita Gismondi). At the moment we are facing the spreading of the virus in the Alpine regions which do not have pollution as stated in the article. It would be interesting to hear from Professor Bhakdi how he would explain that in cities like Bergamo, from an average of 60 deaths per month in the past years, we have now 110 per day. How would he explain that coffins have to be taken to sorrounding cities and churches are used to store coffins because mourges are full? Let me also add a fact: according to OECD, Italy’s indicators of health status and quality of care remain among the best in the EU. We have the second highest numbers of elderly population after Japan. I find this article very inaccurate and filled with prejudice. Good luck to those who believe in this theories.

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  5. Latest theory… Virus will force online US presidential election and since Net controlled by anti-Trump forces, he will lose to Biden, who will have chosen Hilary as running mate and then Biden will have serious health issues and step down, making Hilary prez.

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  6. PLEASE BE PATIENT WE HAVE A PROBLEM! Help us improve the service of health care to the nations of the world and stay at home. Trust WHO and what they are suggesting right now. This too shall pass and you will be able to grow your shares again on the stock market! Have faith.

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    1. I have no shares in any market. Your assumption is ironic in that it indicates the close-mindedness and lack of preparedness that has made people ask what became of the highly coordinated global plan to be led by WHO in the event of another pandemic after SARS and H1N1. The response by intl, national & regional authorities has been confused and contradictory, refusing to give clear answers about shortages that were supposedly addressed after half million deaths from H1N1.

      The media has done little than to ignore history and genuine information in favor of pursing strictly political agendas.
      If we are to make assumptions, should I assume too much time and money was instead spent on luxury conferences attended by health racket bureaucrats and paid for by taxpayers, but achieved nothing useful?

      Like

  7. The world has not suffered a financial armageddon. The global economies are strong and resilient and will bounce back in a short time. When the time to reflect is on us the masses will pat themselves on back for dodging this bullet called corona virus. At the same time others with a small measure of common sense will realize how overinflated the response to the virus was. The truly intelligent will learn a great deal from this event and spend their efforts going forward preparing for a real threat.

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  8. Never mind the social and economic costs… suicide will probably (sadly) result in more deaths than cased by Covid 19 and the World economies will no doubt be affected negatively worse than the GFC, which will cause even more PAIN! It’s all part of the MSM-backed UN global Agenda

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  9. great article and reality check. with 60 million people dying every year why is the media so obsessed with this flu which is no where near as dangerous than the standard flu. Why don’t they talk about all the babies being aborted daily worldwide or what about the thousands of christians that die worldwide daily.

    Like

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