21st October, 2020
I’m writing in reply to two emails I received from you on the 14th
and 18th October regarding your dealings with the government over
the imposition of Tier 3 restrictions on the Liverpool City Region, of which I
am a resident.
I would like to respond to the following points raised in your emails:
state that “infection rates have risen exponentially in every
part of our city region over the past five or six weeks from an average of 15 cases per 100,000 at the end
of August to an average of almost 500 cases per 100,000 today.”
- You are
quoting the number of ‘cases’ in relation to the region’s population, not in relation
to the number of tests conducted. Clearly, the more tests that are carried out,
the higher the number of positive tests that will be recorded. Across the UK,
testing has been increasing on a weekly basis, due to the opening of more test
centres and the increase in lab capacity to process the tests. Furthermore,
random testing has been introduced in areas considered to be hotspots, with
people offered tests even if they don’t have symptoms. This policy is likely to
have the effect of raising further the number of recorded ‘cases’ in areas such
as Liverpool which have the highest rates.
In other words, the ‘exponential’ rise in cases, to which you refer, is likely
at least in part to be caused by an ‘exponential’ rise in the number of tests
you confirm the numbers of tests carried out in the Liverpool City Region at
the times you reference in your email, ie the end of August in comparison with
the middle of October?
the quoted time scale covers the start of the new academic year, when thousands
of students arrived in Liverpool to start or resume their university studies,
and may have either requested or been asked to take a COVID-19 test. Positive
tests are recorded as ‘cases’, yet the overwhelming majority of young people
don’t develop serious symptoms requiring admission to hospital. Therefore, the
proportion of the increase in ‘cases’ arising from the student population would
lead to virtually no hospitalisation or death.
Could you confirm the number of students and young people included in the quoted
the most egregious flaw in your statement lies in your conflation of the terms
‘cases’ and ‘infections’. ‘Cases’ are simply positive results from the PCR test,
whereas reference to ‘infections’ implies such individuals have a communicable
disease. They are not synonymous terms. As pointed out in a recent study by
Professors Tom Jefferson and Carl Heneghan from Oxford University’s Centre for
Evidence-Based Medicine, the PCR test detects genetic material which does not
necessarily indicate the presence of infectious virus. In fact, the test may
give a positive result “many weeks after infectiousness has dissipated.”
Furthermore, 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 160 people in England was
estimated to have COVID-19 in the week from 2 to 8 October, which equates to
0.625% of the population. 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
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 625 true positives. This means that if you receive a positive result, it
is 43.85% 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 625 true positives. This means that if you receive a positive result, it
is 13.51% likely that you have COVID-19.
Do you agree that the unreliability of the PCR test and its susceptibility
to false positive results completely undermine your quoted figures and the predictions
for hospital and intensive care admissions, as well as the basis for lockdowns?
- “We were in Tier 3, no ifs, no buts.”
“The government had already made up their minds before they ever started
talking to us that we were going into Tier 3.”
thousands of years, dictatorial governments have sought to impose repressive
measures on the people of their countries. History teaches us that it is not by
complying, but by resisting, that unjust measures are overturned and unlawful governments
No doubt the suffragettes were ordered not to chain themselves to railings, ‘no
ifs, no buts’.
No doubt Rosa Parks was ordered to give up her seat on the bus, ‘no ifs, no
No doubt the Kinder Scout trespassers were ordered not to go rambling, ‘no ifs,
Would votes for women, an end to racial segregation and the freedom to roam
have been achieved, had these groups and individuals simply obeyed orders
rather than challenging them?
- “Last week, when Tier 3 was imposed on our city
region, we were told by the government that the closure of gyms and leisure
centres was non-negotiable, which makes the decision to exclude them from
Lancashire’s Tier 3 restrictions confusing and disappointing.”
will be aware that many gyms in the Liverpool City Region remained open in
defiance of the closure orders, despite the deployment of several armed police to
at least one gym on the first day of Tier 3. The government’s decision to exclude
gyms from Lancashire’s Tier 3 restrictions may well have been influenced by the
courageous action on the part of the Liverpool gym owners, who quickly
mobilised to set up a petition and a crowdfunder to cover possible legal costs.
The government has now backed down, and allowed Liverpool City Region gyms to
reopen. This clearly demonstrates what can be achieved by simply refusing to comply
with arbitrary and draconian diktats.
Looking further afield, regional leaders in Madrid recently refused to accept
repressive new lockdown measures and restrictions on civil liberties imposed on
residents by central government. The local authorities lodged an appeal in the
regional high court, resulting in the quashing of the measures, on the basis that
they lacked legal underpinning and breached residents’ fundamental rights.
Would you agree that, just as the best way to deal with a playground bully
is to stand up to them, confronting government oppression will yield far more
success than capitulation?
- “Liverpool City Region
leaders have secured a £50m package from the government to support our
communities through the Tier 3 restrictions imposed on us last week.”
“Today’s announcement will see our city region receive £30m of support for
local businesses, in addition to the £21m already secured to run a local Test,
Trace and Isolate system and support enforcement.”
million will not prevent hundreds of small businesses from closing. It will not
prevent the loss of thousands of jobs. It will not prevent a precipitous
decline in standard of living. It will not prevent a sharp increase in mental
health problems, in addictions, in hopelessness and despair, in domestic abuse
million is nothing more than a sticking plaster over what is already a gaping,
festering wound across our city region. One which has already caused immense
pain and suffering, and which is set to cause far more.
£21 million to run a local Test, Trace and Isolate system and support
“enforcement”, simply rubs salt in the wound. The system is based on the
fundamentally flawed PCR test, which, as explained above, is likely to produce
a high proportion of false positive results. What this means is that many
people who are not infectious will be forced into house arrest, with
potentially devastating consequences for their jobs, their social life and
their mental and physical health.
Liverpool City Region needs leaders who
will defend the people against this tyrannical government. Leaders who will
reject ruinous lockdowns, flawed contact tracing systems, draconian restrictions
on civil liberties and the wanton destruction of the proud city of Liverpool.
Leaders who refuse to sell the people’s birthright for a mess of pottage.
Steve Rotheram, will you either step up
to the plate…or step down as Mayor, and make way for someone who is prepared to
stand up for the people of Liverpool City Region?