Saturday, March 14, 2020
Don't follow the herd, Nicola, and don't let's "take it on the chin" - untold numbers of lives will be needlessly lost unless we radically change course and move into line with the WHO's recommendations
(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?"
Friday, March 13, 2020
The best hope is that "social distancing from the bottom up" builds up enough economic pressures that the govt start considering the South Korean strategy. It's clear any change won't come from the govt's medical advisers, who are hellbent on ignoring the WHO's recommendations.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) March 13, 2020
In a live press conference, @WHO chief @DrTedros just had the following message for world leaders:— Rachel Clarke (@doctor_oxford) March 13, 2020
“Not testing alone.
Not contact tracing alone.
Not quarantining alone.
Not social distancing alone.
You must do it all.”
How precisely does @BorisJohnson know better? https://t.co/jNXefhuUyB
"Do not just let this fire burn" says the head of the WHO to European countries. Unfortunately it seems the only people not listening to him are the UK government's scientific advisers, who think they know better and want a huge epidemic to produce "herd immunity".— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) March 13, 2020
Will the complacent media people saying "we must listen to the science" please, for the love of God, listen to this man, the head of the WHO, who is telling the UK government and its advisers to change course urgently?https://t.co/0xYQ5aTI2s— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) March 13, 2020
Two days ago, "taking it on the chin" was just a wacky theory. Now, it's being put into practice under the pretext of achieving "herd immunity."— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) March 13, 2020
Guys: herd immunity only works when the herd has been vaccinated. Otherwise, we call it "natural selection."
Powerful ,authoritative contribution from Dr Michael Ryan of WHO— Bruce McD (@brucemcd23) March 13, 2020
Speaking from experience of fighting epidemics says work closely with your community, move early and move fast . Leave no room for regret because if you don’t move fast the virus will
Anyone listening in No 10? pic.twitter.com/gS1gyWnrPu
No vaccine and no data on immunity following recovery. In that context talk of herd immunity amounts to social darwinism— Darius Humperdinkt (@DHumperdinkt) March 13, 2020
It seems ages ago, but Chris Whitty said to MPs a couple of weeks ago that, whatever his personal feelings on the futility of containment, he'd have to take heed of international feeling on whether to attempt it. So why are the UK govt studiously ignoring what the WHO are saying?— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) March 13, 2020
If it's true that the UK's idiotic response to this catastrophe is being driven partly by "behavioural psychology", you'd think it would have occurred to someone that "wash your hands but we'll make sure you get the virus eventually anyway" isn't the most promising message?— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) March 13, 2020
Absolutely. And history will record that when some (not enough) of the right things started happening, it was in spite of the government, not because of them. That'll make the UK (sadly including Scotland) almost unique in Europe.https://t.co/ubPQe8tkgs— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) March 13, 2020