Tuesday 9 June 2020

Science, doubt and the ‘second wave’ of Covid

In his latest article for the SpectatorDr John Lee depressingly tells us that once scientists (like everyone else) make up their minds they find evidence to fit their conclusions and this explains why the people advising the British government still believe lockdowns and social distancing are effective, despite evidence to the contrary.

'There’s really no clear signal (apart from modelling, which doesn’t count) that these interventions have had any significant effects on the epidemic curves, either on the way in or the way out of these rules, in many different variants and in many different countries.

'A second assumption is that, because a relatively low percentage of the population has had the disease, it will again be able to rapidly spread among us. But that depends, among other things, on us having no innate resistance to the virus. That was what the models originally assumed, and it looks like it’s just wrong.

'There’s a type of immunological cell called a T helper cell (or CD4 positive T cell) that helps coordinate the immune response to viruses. A recent study looked at blood taken a year ago and found T helper cells reactive to Sars-Cov-2 in 40 to 60 per cent of unexposed individuals, suggesting cross-reactivity between the Covid coronavirus and other viruses already circulating that cause the common cold.

'The authors cautiously speculate that these reactive T cells may help to protect from Sars-Cov-2. But given our knowledge of other RNA viruses, the question we need to ask is why on earth wouldn’t they? If they’re reactive, they are highly likely to be protective. Cross-reactive T cells have been previously found to correlate with a less severe disease in H1N1 flu. And the important point is that already-present immunity could have a large effect on the spread and seriousness of Sars-Cov-2.'

Groupthink flourishes on the BBC and in the media, with the virus as with Black Lives Matter. This explains why the line on the BBC World Service is still pretty emphatically pro-lockdown, though I just heard with surprise an American small businessman tell the World Service  only 200 people had died in his county "since this all began" which showed lockdowns were an overreaction. He was obeying the law this time but would not if there were another lockdown. 

He was one voice in a programme where everyone else thought lockdowns a good idea. 

One blamed President Bolsonaro for the 30,000 virus deaths in Brazil. I wonder what the truth about Brazil is. I wonder how to find out, searching through reporting by Western journalists who to a man and woman hate what he stands for. If I had time, I'd look in the Brazilian press using Google Translate. Or maybe go to Breitbart.com 


  1. Country  Deaths  Deaths/1M pop

    Belgium 9,619 842.1
    United Kingdom 40,597 610.6
    Spain 27,136 580.8
    Italy 33,964 562.0
    Sweden 4,694 461.0
    France 29,209 436.0
    Netherlands 6,016 349.1
    Ireland 1,683 346.8
    United States 113,106 345.7
    Switzerland 1,923 225.8
    Ecuador 3,642 213.2
    Canada 7,835 211.4
    Luxembourg 110 181.0
    Brazil 37,312 178.1


    1. Comparison between Brazil United Kingdom United States


  2. A small businessman is an expert now?

    1. Oh America must be ruled by experts, not the people? I am a monarchist and up to a certain point deferential to my betters, but I thought Americans were republicans.

  3. America is a big country, I have no way of knowing whether the small businessman is a genius or a dolt, and I frankly do not believe that only 200 Americans have died of coronavirus -- I suspect you do not either.

    In matters of public health I would rather listen to experts than laymen although experts have made mistakes. If I become ill I will consult a physician and not a small business owner, and if I need to ride in a plane I will board one manned by a pilot and not a cotton candy vendor. Members of my household are being tested for covid-19 today at a testing facility, not a schwarma stand. You get the picture.

    No one but a select few will probably know what happens in Brazil, because Brazil seems to have stopped releasing its data.

    1. 200 is more than died in Greece or Bulgaria, so not such a tiny number. We don't know how big his county is or whether they died of or merely with the virus.

    2. On the 7th June Brazil stopped giving a cumulative total number of deaths.

      Brazil has the world's second-highest number of cases, and has recently had more new deaths than any other nation according to the BBC but the figure on Worldometer is 3,493 per million, fewer than many countries including the USA, UK, Peru, Italy, Eire and Switzerland. I wish Worldometer did not include tiny places like San Marino etc.

    3. 'deaths... 3,493 per million'

      Is 178.1 Deaths/1M. UK's 610.6: