Miri AF

Massive missives and more

GUEST POST: OPEN LETTER FROM JOANNE ALLMAN TO ALL MPs AHEAD OF 04//11/2020 PARLIAMENTARY VOTE ON SECOND "LOCKDOWN"

Dear Members of Parliament,


I am writing to express my outrage at Saturday’s announcement of an impending second national lockdown, and to urge you to do everything in your power to prevent this from becoming a ruinous reality.


The two main justifications given for the lockdown are the rising number of ‘cases’, and computer models predicting mass hospitalisations and deaths. Please note that there has been no significant excess mortality in the UK since May.


‘Cases’

Recorded ‘cases’ are simply positive results from the PCR test, and may include a large number of people who are completely asymptomatic and either do not become ill at all, or develop only mild symptoms. Across the UK there has been a massive expansion in testing, and the recent increase in cases is likely at least in part to be caused by the increase in the number of tests carried out.


Furthermore, there is growing evidence to suggest that the PCR test is not a reliable means of diagnosing COVID-19. In their guide to the PCR test, Public Health England admits that: “RT-PCR...is not able to distinguish whether infectious virus is present." This confirms the findings of a recent study by Professors Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson from the Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine:


“A true positive in PCR does not always mean that the person presents any danger to society…It is highly likely that [tests of asymptomatic individuals] are detecting viral RNA in patients where the virus is no longer capable of infecting.”


What’s more, the PCR test is known to produce a large number of false positive results when community prevalence is relatively low, as it is now. According to the Office of National Statistics, around 1 in 100 people in England, or 1% of the population, was estimated to have COVID-19 in the week from 17 to 23 October. The false positive rate (FPR) of the PCR test is estimated at between 0.8% and 4.0% (of all tests carried out, not just the positive results).

If we take the lowest estimated value for the FPR of 0.8%, this means that if 100,000 people are tested, there will be 800 false positive results, compared with 1,000 true positives. This means that if you receive a positive result, it is 55.56% likely that you have COVID-19.

If we take the highest estimated value for the FPR of 4.0%, this means that if 100,000 people are tested, there will be 4,000 false positive results, compared with 1,000 true positives. This means that if you receive a positive result, it is just 20% likely that you have COVID-19.


The PCR test is being used as the basis for the official statistics for current cases, hospitalisations and deaths, and as data to generate computer modelled forecasts.

Would you agree that the unreliability of the PCR test and its susceptibility to false positive results cast serious doubt on the official figures and the predictions for hospital and intensive care admissions and deaths, as well as the basis for lockdowns?


Computer models

Computer models are only as good as the input data, which for COVID-19 include the PCR test results. In light of the evidence of the unreliability of the PCR test, the saying ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’ seems appropriate in this case.


Furthermore, computer modelling has a poor track record in forecasting the effect of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The modelling predicted a death toll of 96,000 in Sweden, compared with a current total of fewer than 6,000 deaths.


Other notable computer modelling failures include:


  • A 2005 forecast of up to 200 million deaths from bird flu. 440 people died worldwide.

  • In 2009 a government estimate of a ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ was 65,000 UK deaths from swine flu, compared with an actual total of 457.

  • In 2002 the computer modelled ‘worst case scenario’ for exposure to BSE in beef was up to 50,000 deaths, rising to 150,000 if BSE entered the sheep population. To date, total deaths number 178.


Moreover, the modelling for COVID-19, which had a strong influence on the government’s decision to impose the first national lockdown, was criticised by experts such as John Ioannidis, Professor in Disease Prevention at Stanford University, who said that: “…some of the major assumptions and estimates that are built in the calculations seem to be substantially inflated.”


Would you agree that, given the historical inaccuracy of computer modelling for infectious disease, it should not be used as the basis for measures such as lockdowns, with their catastrophic consequences for society and the economy?


Many distinguished UK doctors and scientists, such as Professors Sunetra Gupta, Carl Heneghan and Karol Sikora, and Dr Michael Yeadon, among others, have argued that lockdown measures are wholly disproportionate to the threat from COVID-19. Thousands of scientists and health care professionals in countries all over the world have also expressed the view that lockdown measures are not justified. However, the Government appears to disregard any scientific evidence which contradicts that which is provided by their own selected advisors, one of whom, Sir Patrick Vallance, has a potential conflict of interest, as it has recently been revealed that he has a significant shareholding with GlaxoSmithKline, one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine contenders.


It is not at all clear how many of the approximately 46,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 were caused directly by the virus, or by comorbidities, as the majority of people who died of or with COVID-19 were over the age of 75 with serious health conditions. There has been a lower COVID-19 death rate in Sweden, where no lockdown was imposed.


Lockdowns of entire populations, which remove fundamental rights from citizens, are unprecedented in the history of mankind. What’s more, there is no evidence that they are effective in reducing the number of deaths from viral infections. On the other hand, it is clear that they can cause significant harm, both to people’s health and to the economy.


Damage to health
The lockdown measures will have far-reaching and long-term effects on people's health and well-being. An official government report estimates that over 200,000 people will die as a result of lockdown, a figure that dwarfs the number of COVID-19-related deaths. Lockdowns will lead to increases in deaths from postponed and cancelled treatments, stress-related illnesses, mental health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, suicides and domestic abuse. Many care home residents have already died as a direct result of the policy of transferring infected patients into care homes (which represents state-sponsored manslaughter, in my view), and many more are likely to die from loneliness and depression, because of the stringent restrictions on family visits. In driving millions of people into isolation, the lockdown is enforcing living conditions which are unnatural for human beings, and which will likely cause enormous misery, suffering and premature death.


Damage to the economy
The crashing of the economy caused by the lockdown measures will have a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods for years, if not decades, to come. It is likely that thousands of small businesses will be destroyed, and millions of jobs will be lost. Mass unemployment will have dire consequences for people's health, as well as their wealth. The link between poverty and poor health outcomes and premature mortality is well known. Our children and grandchildren will have to pay for the egregious lockdowns in myriad ways, quite possibly for the whole of their lives—which may well be significantly shorter than their parents'.


Would you agree that the lockdown ‘cure’ is far worse than the disease?

There is evidence that the lockdowns are not only immensely destructive, they may also be illegal. The renowned, highly respected former supreme court judge Lord Jonathan Sumption gave a lecture last week in which he contended that the government's reliance on the Public Health Act 1984 to impose lockdowns is "inconsistent with the principle of legality".


Section 45C(1) of Part IIA of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, as amended in 2008, authorises the Secretary of State to make regulations 'for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection or contamination in England and Wales.'


According to Lord Sumption:


"That sounds very wide, but the problem about it is that the power is couched in wholly general terms. It is a basic constitutional principle that general words are not to be read as authorising the infringement of fundamental rights...


"Fundamental rights cannot be overridden by general or ambiguous words. This is because there is too great a risk that the full implications of their unqualified meaning may have passed unnoticed in the democratic process. In the absence of express language or necessary implication to the contrary, the courts therefore presume that even the most general words were intended to be subject to the basic rights of the individual...


"There are few more fundamental rights than personal liberty...”


"There is no specific power under the Act to confine or control the movements of healthy people. To interpret it as conferring such a power would not only be inconsistent with the principle of legality. It would also be contrary to the whole tenor of this part of the Act."


Would you agree with Lord Sumption’s considered view that the Public Health Act 1984 may not confer on the government the power to impose a lockdown? And would you agree with the inference I draw from his words that the lockdown may well be illegal? And that by voting in favour of a second lockdown, Members of Parliament may be complicit in breaking the law?


Members of Parliament, I urge each and every one of you to stand up for the rights, freedom, health, wellbeing and prosperity of the citizens of the UK, and to oppose the imposition of a second national lockdown, which will have disastrous consequences for the people and the country.


Yours in dread and fear,


Joanne Allman