Miri AF

Massive missives and more


21st October, 2020

Dear Steve,

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:

  1. You 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 carried out.

Could 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?

  • Moreover, 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 figures?

  • However, 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 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 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?

  1. “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.”

    For 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 deposed.

    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 buts’.
    No doubt the Kinder Scout trespassers were ordered not to go rambling, ‘no ifs, no buts’.

    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?

  2. “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.”

    You 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?

  3. 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.”

£30 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 and suicides.

£30 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?


Joanne Allman

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