Here's a thread from Twitter that destroys the myth that the UK government are somehow just "following the science" with their insane plan to deliberately allow 60%+ of the public to be infected with a virus that has a reported mortality rate of 1-2%. It's written by Anthony Costello, a British former director of the World Health Organization, and it makes plain what has already become frighteningly clear to so many people over recent days - that the UK, and the UK alone, is ignoring the WHO's recommendations and is hellbent on letting the virus spread at the cost of heaven knows how many lives. Costello clearly doesn't think the strategy will 'work', even on its own warped terms, and understandably feels that the huge loss of life will be ethically hard to justify. I think we all know how hard it is for the Scottish government to move out of lockstep with London in a time of crisis such as this, but let's not mince words - it's simply got to be done, and it's got to be done quickly. If we don't change course and move into line with the WHO's advice, we'll be sleepwalking into catastrophe. This would be a man-made tragedy of unimaginable scale that would haunt Scotland's collective memory for decades to come.
(Note: I've copied and pasted the tweets below, because embedding a full thread is a bit tricky. You can see it in its original form HERE.)
"Unlike all other countries, the UK strategy aims to build herd immunity by allowing the steady spread of #COVID19. The government argue it will block a second peak in several months time. Here are EIGHT questions about this HERD IMMUNITY strategy:
1. Will it impair efforts to restrict the immediate epidemic, and cause more infections and deaths in the near term? Evidence suggests people shed virus early, and those without symptoms may cause substantial spread...
...this argues for policies against mass gatherings, for school closures, and for strict national and local measures for social distancing.
2. Will it weaken containment systems (testing, screening, radiography, isolation)? China quickly built a robust nation-wide system of mobilised communities/workers for identifying cases promptly, isolating contacts + treating vulnerable people promptly to contain the outbreak.
3. Does coronavirus cause strong herd immunity or is it like flu where new strains emerge each year needing repeat vaccines? We have much to learn about Co-V immune responses.
4. Doesn’t this herd immunity strategy conflict with WHO Policy? After the announcement of this being a pandemic, Dr Tedros, Director General WHO, said “The idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous.”
5. Shouldn’t we wait to see the China situation? They've contained the epidemic after 7 weeks of intense national effort. Will their strengthened systems not contain outbreaks quickly? What is their herd immunity? We don’t have serology available yet? It might be substantial.
6. Without an all-out national mobilisation plan for social distancing, are the UK government behavioural and nudge strategies really evidence-based to flatten the peak? Or simply based on models?
7. On the precautionary principle shouldn’t we go all-out to snuff this UK epidemic out, with national mobilisation at all levels, using all possible preventive measures (whether evidence is strong, uncertain or weak) and worry about herd immunity when we have more evidence?
8. Vaccines are a safer way to develop herd immunity, without the risks associated with the disease itself. Is it ethical to adopt a policy that threatens immediate casualties on the basis of an uncertain future benefit?"