Quite simply, because “Plan 2020” has failed, and is doomed to continue to do so through 2021.
Over the last few weeks and months it has become increasingly clear that the UK government believes various forms and severities of lockdown are their only option for dealing with Covid-19,
– “Plan 2020”, has appeared to be… to enforce lock downs and mini lock downs across the UK, until the appearance of a fully tested, highly effective, and widely taken up vaccine.
On the morning of Sunday 11th October, Matt Hancock tweeted this
“Our strategy is to suppress Coronavirus whilst protecting education & the economy until a vaccine can keep us safe.”
– effectively ending all doubt.
Sounds reasonable you might think. There are a number of problems with this approach however.
Viruses mutate/change. Regularly, and sometimes quite significantly. It’s the reason why ‘flu vaccines have never come close to eliminating ‘flu. Every year they have to altered, and their efficacy ranges between 40 and 60%
‘Flu has never been eliminated. It’s never “gone away”. Covid-19 will be no different. We have to learn to live with it.
In order to learn to live with Covid-19 and return to anything like the lives we lived prior to 2020, we need not just reasonably effective vaccines, but also to accept that some people will still get very ill and some will die from it.
Even a country like the UK can not hope to vaccinate the vast majority of the population every year, possibly more than once a year if the virus mutates rapidly and existing ones cease to work, as may well happen. These mutations could happen anywhere in the world.
It would obviously be greatly preferable if the numbers of people getting seriously ill and dying was as low as possible, effective treatments are therefore also crucial.
Ideally these should be treatments that can prevent the disease progressing to a serious condition, rather than ones which need to be given once people have been taken so seriously ill they are hospitalised.
Even better would be drugs being found to be effective in preventing Covid-19 from making someone seriously ill, which are both cheap, and already available/being manufactured.
You would think that governments would be desperate to find drugs of this nature, and throw the same kind of money and effort at finding them, as they have spent on developing vaccines.
Yet not only do they not do this, the only real interest they appear to show in early stage drug treatments, is in spending huge amounts of money trying to discredit existing research.
Hydroxychloroquin has never been widely tested as an early stage treatment, despite extremely promising results from small trials:
– “Conclusion: Despite its small sample size, our survey shows that hydroxychloroquine treatment is significantly associated with viral load reduction/disappearance in COVID-19 patients and its effect is reinforced by azithromycin.”
If you saw these results, wouldn’t you allocate huge resources to evaluating the use of HCQ and AZM in the early state treatment of Covid-19?
Rather than do this, a few governments set up trials treating seriously ill patients in hospital with the drugs, using them as a “late stage” treatment, when the virus had already seriously damaged various organs of the patients involved,
– and used the findings to claim that HCQ and AMZ was “useless” in treating Covid-19.
They appear to have deliberately set the trials up to fail. Deliberately not used the drugs when they have been shown to be effective the virus progressing, in early stage treatment, perhaps first five days of infection/symptoms,
– and used them solely on people who were already very ill in hospital.
Again, why would you do this?
Two possible reasons come to mind
i) Donald Trump promoted HCQ, most politicians and journalists wanted him to be wrong.
ii) If cheap drugs exist which can be taken on first symptoms presenting, and will prevent Covid-19 from progressing into a serious illness, in almost all cases,
– governments and the big pharmaceutical companies will have wasted tens of billions of pounds developing, mostly very expensive vaccines, which are extremely difficult to manufacture and distribute.
So instead we remain in an apparently endless series of lockdowns, which are “working”, in terms of preventing the spread of the virus, less and less.
Whether this is because people are not observing them as thoroughly, or the latest mutation of the virus is much more transmissible, or a combination of both, is largely irrelevant. We clearly can not go on like this.
It’s possible to keep businesses afloat for a few weeks, or even months, by borrowing money, and then rapidly doling it out (with very few checks, “a fraudsters paradise”)
– but the amounts involved are huge, and this extra mountain of debt will have to be paid back. (If there is an economy left with people working in it, that you can tax “post Covid”).
Clearly no Western nation can afford to carry on in this manner for a whole year, or even potentially, for several more years.
Lockdowns serve only to delay. They buy you time, nothing else, but the “cost” of this time, is astronomic, in terms of jobs, public physical and mental health, and economies.
We have a government which throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has slavishly adhered to the ever-fluctuating WHO advice of the time.
– Dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s Special Envoy on Covid-19, stated the following (in an interview for the Spectator, with Andrew Neil)
“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, to protect your health workers who are exhausted”.
Contrast this against the stated purpose of lockdowns in the UK, to “control the virus”, “to flatten the curve”.
So will UK government now listen to the WHO and stop using lockdowns to attempt to control the spread of Covid-19?
Of course it won’t.
The Prime Minister was challenged to comment on the above statement by Dr Nabarro in the Houses of Commons, bizarrely he replied “yes I fully agree”,
– he “fully agreed”, that lockdown restrictions should not be used simply to attempt to control virus spread, having just outlined how he intended to… use lockdown restrictions to attempt to control virus spread over the coming weeks and months.
You couldn’t make it up.
At the beginning of January the WHO put out a notice saying that the number of CT cycles required to detect the virus in PCR tests should be disclosed, and where positive tests are returned from weak samples, where no symptoms were present in the patient, further testing should be performed, or a different type of test used.
Essentially admitting that the PCR test returns a lot of false positives, that it tends to indicate that someone “has the virus”, when in actual fact they have a very small trace of it in their body, possibly from an infection many months previously.
Using a single positive result to indicate someone has the virus and is infectious, needs to be isolated etc, is therefore not advisable.
Has our “we’re following the science”, usually very keen to follow WHO guidelines government, adopted this advice. No. Will it? No.
The UK government likes using a single PCR test because without any question the results returned, as we use it currently, make the number of “cases” in the population seem considerably larger than they really are.
It helps build up fear. And the higher the levels of fear in the population, the more likely it is to comply fully with the increasingly restrictive laws the government has introduced. “For its own good”.
Various strains of ‘flu have killed tens of thousands of people in past decades in the UK, famously Hong Kong ‘flu killed around 80,000 here, 1969/70.
Less infectious, Hong Kong ‘flu in theory would have been a lot easier to “control” using lockdowns of some kind. But we didn’t try do this, no one even suggested it.
We have never before tried to forcibly isolate people and destroyed our economy in order to try to save the lives of the many thousands who typically die from ‘flu every year.
So why is the UK government, along with many others around the world, attempting to “control the uncontrollable”, at massive cost to economies, and to each and every one of us?
Yes more people are dying than from ‘flu, but largely I would suggest because they simply have no other plan. No “Plan 2021”.
Yes Covid-19 is more infectious than ‘flu, and if left untreated, it kills more of the very elderly and unwell than ‘flu does.
But is it worth the cost of what we are doing to ourselves, our country, the economy, our children, our humanity, is it worth losing a lot of what makes us human, and some of the best things about being alive?
I suggest a mountain of evidence is building which points to one answer. “No”.
Boris Johnson and his government intend to plough on with longer and more severe lockdowns, hoping they suddenly start to have some effect, and just worry about the costs later.
The enormous cost in terms of lives, due to missed cancer scans, heart disease etc, the massive rises in unemployment, the destruction of the economy, the “cost list’ is endless.
I further suggest that very obviously Plan 2020 hasn’t worked up to this point, and there is no reason to suspect it will almost “magically “ begin to work over the coming months.
I believe there are two big reasons why Plan 2020 was doomed to fail, why we now need to quickly change course in 2021:
i) Lockdowns serve only to delay. They are not sustainable over a long period either economically, or retaining popular consent/compliance.
Resistance is mounting, resentment is growing.
ii) “Test Trace and Isolate” will never work efficiently in the UK.
Why not? Because we have a large number of people here who will resist it. Between one and three million people are in the country illegally, most will not voluntarily comply.
Millions speak very little English, it will be incredibly difficult to get this group to comply.
Millions more people will not comply because they suspect the data they provide will be misused, or the financial implications of isolating, should they be traced and testing shows positive for the virus, will be too hard to bear.
Some estimates of the number of people who are self isolating when told to do so, are as low as 15%.
Our politicians are operating on the basis that a combination of lockdowns, test trace and isolate, and at some point in the near future, vaccines/treatments,
– will enable us to return to “a life a worth living”.
A life worth living is something which an increasing number of people no longer feel they have.
Not just the elderly, imprisoned in Care Homes, deprived of social interaction, seeing their family members,
– young people, believing they have no prospect of any kind of decent future, are starting to take their own lives.
I suggest the evidence is clear, it would be the height of folly to rely on lockdowns, vaccines, effective treatments, or “Test Trace & Isolate” to get us out of the mess we are in.
Plan 2020, at least in the short term, quite possibly also “the medium and long”, was doomed to fail.
We must change course, we have to move to a new “Plan 2021”, a “Plan 2021” based around the Great Barrington Declaration, as recently signed by something like 20,000 scientists and medics from across the globe.
Essentially this Declaration states that the most vulnerable in society should continue to be protected, where they wish to be,
– while the rest of society is provided with the opportunity to return to something resembling “normal life”.
Not “new normal”. “Old normal”. Life as it was in 2019.
Proponents of Plan 2020 claimed that this would quite simply be impossible. We now have vaccines, but we also have to think differently.
A viable Plan 2021 needs some “out of the box thinking”, implementing it won’t be easy, or pain free,
– but it can be done, given the above, Plan 2020 was always guaranteed to fail, we can not afford to simply repeat it in 2021.
So how can the principles of the Great Barrington Declaration be implemented “in the real world” ?
My alternative plan, “Plan 2021” looks like this:
My “Plan 2021” outlines how we can achieve the herd immunity we need to enable us to return to normal life, as rapidly and safely as possible, the majority of us not have to keep being locked up, separated from our loved ones, living lonely, solitary lives,
– whilst better protecting the most vulnerable in our society, and at the same time quickly getting our economy fully back up and running.