You would never know from the government’s messages – from the daily press conferences to the barrage of ‘stay at home, save lives’ public information – that the peak of deaths in the UK, so critical in influencing views over exiting lockdown, happened weeks ago. Twenty-three days ago in London, on April 4, and 19 days ago, on April 8, for the country as a whole, to be precise.
The public, the majority of whom, according to a recent opinion poll, want restaurants, offices, shopping centres and schools to re-open ‘as soon as new infections decrease’, have been kept in ignorance of this.
Or they were until Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM), doing what is apparently beyond government, which is to allocate the deaths reported each day to the actual day of death so that an accurate picture can be presented, shared this information. It raises the question of whether it would change how the public feel about the lockdown and ending it.
The mind begins to boggle at the disinformation and misinformation being fed to the public by an unquestioning or complicit media, with their reporting of ‘daily’ cases and deaths as though they were conveying accurate up-to-date information on the status of the outbreak.
The CEBM data suggests that infections peaked on March 18 and that new infections have been dropping for well over a month now, since before the lockdown even began. When will the public be made aware of this fact? It is surely the government’s duty to be truthful, and keeping us in the dark for the sake of sustaining a narrative of fear to keep everyone compliant with extreme stay-at-home measures is an abdication of that duty.
If nothing else, the CEBM’s research casts the government’s senior scientists’ lack of judgement and apparent inability to track and monitor the epidemic in an extremely poor light.
One day after the April 8 peak we find Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, telling the public that the peak was still two weeks away and deaths would continue rising until then.
Knowing now that the peak occurred on April 8, does this not undermine the government’s view that a lockdown was necessary to bring the epidemic under control, and completely destroy any justification for its extension? If we accept the widely quoted average of 21 days between infection and death, peak infection in the UK occurred on March 18 and in London on March 14 – the latter a full ten days before lockdown – how can lockdown be credited with bringing infections down?
This is the question serious journalists must put to Boris Johnson on his return to work. On what grounds can he now possibly justify further lockdown and how can he, or we, possibly have confidence in his chief scientific advisers and medical officers? Advisers such as Professor Neil Ferguson, lead author of the Imperial College London report, who was at it again yesterday reiterating his doomsday predictions of 100,000 dead if lockdown is loosened even for those at low risk.
In fact, lockdowns are being lifted around the world as the truth about Covid-19 becomes evident. Time for the UK government to come clean with the public, and the UK to join in the relaxation of restrictions.