Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dr Mike Ryan of the WHO ferociously denounces UK-style herd immunity strategies: "Humans are not herds", "No-one is safe until everyone is safe"

I posted the other day about Iain Macwhirter quoting Dr Mike Ryan out of context to give the false impression that the World Health Organization had somehow endorsed the reckless Swedish philosophy of "this virus isn't as dangerous as all that, you know" and "we can safely allow it to move through the population".  Needless to say, Ryan actually takes the completely opposite view, as he helpfully demonstrated in yesterday's WHO media briefing with one of the most eloquent denunciations of 'herd immunity' that you'll ever hear or read.  There's a touch of biting sarcasm in this, and it's hard to believe it wasn't aimed at least partly at the likes of Dominic Cummings ("so what if we lose a few old people along the way"), Chris Whitty ("there was an assumption that when the seroepidemiology comes it will demonstrate that most people have been infected and this will all be over") and Patrick Vallance ("this idea that, well, maybe countries that have had lax measures and haven't done anything will all of a sudden magically reach some herd immunity").

"Herd immunity, a term taken from veterinary epidemiology, where people are concerned in animal husbandry with the overall health of the herd.  An individual animal in that sense doesn't matter from the perspective of the brutal economics of that decision-making.  Humans are not herds, and as such the concept of herd immunity is generally reserved for calculating how many people would need to be vaccinated in a population in order to generate that same effect.  So I think we need to be really careful when we use terms in this way around natural infections in humans, because it can lead to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people and life and suffering at the centre of that equation.

What also does concern me in this narrative is that there was an assumption as this disease spread around the world that we're really just seeing the severe cases and the difficult cases, and when the seroepidemiology comes, it will demonstrate that most of the people have been infected, and this will all be over and we'll go back to normal business.  Well, the preliminary results from the seroepidemiologic studies is showing the opposite.  It's showing the proportion of people with significant clinical illness is actually a higher proportion of all those who've been infected, because the number of people infected in the total population is probably much lower than we expected.  And as Maria has said, that means we have a long way to go, and it means, as the Director-General has been saying for months, this is a serious disease, this is Public Enemy No. 1.  We have been saying it over and over and over and over again.  We really do need to now step back and sort of recalculate this as a 'mild illness' and effectively make the same mistakes we made the first time round in terms of not taking this seriously, and not putting in place the necessary measures.  

We have a second chance now, as a society, to put in place the necessary public health interventions, to put in place the necessary community support, to support our vulnerable populations, be they in long-term care facilities, or be they in refugee camps.  No-one is safe until everyone is safe.  

So I do think this idea that, well, maybe countries that have had lax measures and haven't done anything will all of a sudden magically reach some "herd immunity", and so what if we lose a few old people along the way, I mean this is a really dangerous, dangerous calculation, and not one that I believe most member states are willing to make.  Member states, responsible member states, will look at all their population, they'll value every member of their society, and they'll try to do everything possible to protect health, while at the same time obviously protecting society, protecting the economy and other things.  We need to get our priorities right as we enter the next phase of this fight."

The quoted section can be viewed below from approximately 47:52.


  1. But Sir Lawrence, a leading expert in strategic studies, insisted the Government achieved its objective of not having the NHS overwhelmed, however, the threat to care homes was not given enough attention.

    In an article for Survival, the journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, he wrote in his assessment of the UK's handling of the coronavirus outbreak in March: "With Government following rather than leading public opinion, a graduated approach was abandoned.

    "The collective effort to suppress the spread of the coronavirus began before Government announcements and had an effect before March 23.

  2. Stuart Campbell protect I.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. It's odd that people just copy and paste the same posts over and over again - which is the epitome of trolling - then complain when posts are deleted for just being repetitive copy and paste jobs.

    Maybe if each post was more individual, and backed up with a plethora of links to supporting material, they might be permitted.

    1. It's a dangerous world where assholes can walk into your personal space and sprout abusive crap at you, even when you keep asking them to leave.

      Maybe if you didn't go around marching into people's 'homes' uninvited, arrogantly demanding they listen to you, people might actually listen to you.

    2. That's a strange analogy, I thing most people would assume posting an opinion on a forum is not akin to wading into to someone's personal space, you'll find you're pushing water uphill with that one.

      People tend to resort to playing the man when they can no longer play the ball. I'll leave the abuse to you. It's a form of flattery when people take the time to read your opinion and respond to it, it should be taken that way.

    3. And skier you can't simply usurp a public forum as your own personal space, its akin to sitting in a public park all day everyday and aggressively telling anybody that enters you disagree with to leave.

    4. This isn't a forum. Nor is it public (taxpayer funded / owned).

      It's a private, personal blog. It has no membership, no membership fees, and isn't paid for by the taxpayer. Nobody has a right to post on it except if James decides they do.

      This is crucial to a free democracy; a right to privacy. It would be a dark, dystopian world if we were forced to allow posts from anyone of any nature on personal blogs. That's pure authoritarianism; something you seem to favour.

      I've not told anyone to leave. I've just explained why James might not let some people post, i.e. it's normal to not want assholes on your personal plog.

      You are free to have your own blog and put all your theories there. James will not try to silence it, nor I imagine, post endless comments with his own theories beneath articles. You are not being silenced. You are just having issues with paranoia coupled with a serious case of 'someone is wrong on the internet' syndrome.

      Out of interest, do you chip in to James's fundraiser or are you a lazy freeloader?

    5. Still sat on the bench, in the park, ranting, I see skier. The best of health to you.

    6. Still berating people having a chat amongst themselves in a private park I see. Don't you have any of your own mates?

      Copying and pasting posts repetitively on someone's personal blog when they're not welcome is a pretty sad thing to do.

      If I did that, I imagine James would start deleting my posts too.

    7. You're inferring opinions are for those that have the capacity or ability to pay for them. A strange thing for a socialist or social democrat to do. What would you do with the freeloaders (your words) skier.

      As for being sad or paranoid, well we assume you have some expertise in the those disciplines. We defer to you.

  5. The SNP must be going to do well or the Internet wouldn't be full of people who pretend to support Independence being so worried about it, so much so they want the SNP not to win or have another party who'll win better, or sack the FM and replace her with another one, or the SNP are infiltrated by the CIA or GCHQ or MI5, or people who are not really SNP but Tories in disguise, or they've been paid to NOT try to achieve Independence

    We pretty much know where lots of these rumours come from, you start one in the morning and by tea time it becomes a *fact* that everbody knows and has secret evidence for, which they never show, but you must believe them because they're nicer and more honester than other people on the Internet

    Please send your money to my bank in England for more bigger and better conspiracy theories and I will be happy to fill your heads with all kinds of SH*TE

  6. Further outbreaks of coronavirus and rolling lockdowns are inevitable under government plans to ease restrictions and send people back to work without a robust strategy to suppress the virus, an independent group of scientists has warned.

    The experts convened by Sir David King, the former government chief scientific adviser, urged ministers to reconsider the “dangerous” strategy of managing the spread of Covid-19 and adopt widespread decentralised testing, tracing and isolation to clamp down on the epidemic.

    Prof King set up the “independent Sage” meetings amid concerns around the transparency of independent scientific advice reaching ministers through the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

    In a report being published today, the group warn that simply ensuring the NHS is not overwhelmed is “counter-productive” and “potentially dangerous”. Without strong measures to suppress the spread of infections “we shall inevitably see a more rapid return of local epidemics and face the prospect of further partial or national lockdowns,” the authors write.

    The report, which includes 19 key recommendations, will be sent to Downing Street, Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser who co-chairs Sage, the first ministers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Jeremy Hunt, the chair of the Health Select Committee.

    The experts call on ministers to reverse the 12 March decision to abandon efforts to test, trace and isolate cases of Covid-19 and replace the existing centralised testing approach, which relies heavily on the private sector. In its place, the group call for a decentralised strategy that puts GPs and local health teams at the heart of the outbreak control. The report states that the “over-dependence on outsourcing” is unsustainable.

  7. BBC Scotland’s Disclosure programme has revealed that there were multiple transmissions of coronavirus in Edinburgh in February, well before the first confirmed cases in the country, but that this was not disclosed to the public.

    Scotland’s first confirmed coronavirus case, in Tayside, was announced on 1 March, but Disclosure, broadcast on Monday night, revealed an outbreak that began the week before on 26 and 27 of February at a conference of international delegates for the sportswear company Nike. At least 25 people linked to this event have since been confirmed to have been infected, said the programme, eight of them resident in Scotland.

    Nike told the BBC it instigated enhanced measures, including contact tracing and increased cleaning and disinfection processes in their stores and offices, and that all its staff had now recovered. The Scottish government confirmed health authorities were alerted to the potential outbreak on 2 March.

  8. I have never known there to be so many experts around during this period in history and disagreeing with each other. I will just stay at home and alert to what the experts are saying. On a brighter note I have received a monthly £1.53p increase in my works pension - 20% tax.

    1. Covidia shouldn't worry about such things. Its beloved Tory overlords told it that the Brexitanian people had had enough of experts. That should be enough to secure its unquestioning obedience.

  9. If the death cult governments in the USA and UK continue on their present tracks there won't be an election next May for a lot of us and in worst case no election at all.
    Perhaps we should get away from who trolls who and who hides behind more than one pseudonym and concentrate on what little we can do to:

    * support the (not perfect but much better) approach to trying to deal with the pandemic of the Scottish and Welsh governments;

    * keeping close watch on any attempts by the westminster, killer clown gang to undermine devolved powers.

    Although there may be a time later, a lot of the stuff above is self indulgent dross at present.

    Best wishes to most on here but it's time to focus.

  10. I doubt GPS would be of any help in controlling the virus. They and their staff are locked up in their premises. Basic procedures like essential inoculations are cancelled until further notice. The government saying you will be able to get treatment is pish.

    1. Covidia needs to cite its evidence, or stop telling lies for the British nationalist death cult.

    2. What evidence do you require!

    3. Covidia will need to do better than spittle-flecked anecdote and insinuations.
      Linking to the justifications for its gibberings would be a start.

    4. Did you type that while your other hand was occupied. It can make you go blind.

    5. Covidia resorted to grubby insinuations and projections of its own online behaviours instead of providing evidence for its earlier ravings.
      Therefore, Covidia is as dishonest and misinformed on this subject as it has shown itself to be on everything else.

  11. The Northern Ireland executive has just published its own coronavirus recovery plan. The 12-page document is here (pdf), and there is a seven-page summary here (pdf).

    It envisages a five-step route to recovery.

    PA Media summarises them here.

    The first step includes groups of four to six people who are not from the same household being able to meet outdoors while maintaining social distancing, drive-through church services, churches opening for private prayer, opening of outdoor spaces and public sport amenities, drive-through cinemas and more sports, including some water activities, golf and tennis.

    The second step will see groups of 10 being able to meet outdoors, team sports training on a non-contact basis in small groups, re-opening of some libraries and open-air museums, as well as indoor activities involving limited contact of less than 10 minutes and with two to four people.

    The third step will see groups of up to 30 being able to gather outside, re-opening of more libraries as well as museums and galleries, concert and theatre rehearsals resuming and larger indoor gatherings.

    The fourth step is set to see socially distanced church services, resumption of competitive sport behind closed doors or with a limited number of spectators, leisure centres re-opening and outdoor concerts resuming on a restricted basis.

    The fifth step will include the resumption of close physical contact sports, return of competitive sport, spectators at live events on a restricted basis as well as the re-opening of nightclubs and concerts on a limited basis.

    However the NI executive has not included dates for when each step of the plan might be reached and warned this will take “significant time”.

    And here is an extract from the plan. It says:

    The executive shares the aspiration of all of you - to return to a more normal way of living our lives soon. While this will take significant time, we can guarantee that we will not retain the restrictions for any longer than is absolutely necessary,” the document reads.

    However it is important that when taking decisions now, we recognise the risk of having to re-introduce restrictions if cases rise sharply again. That is why we will only decide to relax restrictions when we are sure that that is in the long-term interest of the health and wellbeing of the population.

  12. The issue boils down to whither you still believe that the SNP's main aim remains independence, or whither their main aim is now government and independence is their electoral tool to winning British elections in Scotland and remain in government.

    If there is even a sneaking suspicion of that kind of attitude change, then it doesn't really matter how high SNP are riding in the polls or how large a majority they are heading for - independence will not be prioritised in the way the yes supporting population want to see it prioritised.

    That is why, and is the only reason why, there is widespread discussion among savvy yessers about an indy supporting list party. The benefits of an effective single issue list only party would be 1. Remove unionists en mass from easy election on the list 2. Campaign directly on the arguments for Scottish independence at every election. This is not done at the moment by SNP or Greens and is a major reason the uk electoral cycle factionalises the yes support into party political camps. A list party could use the uk electoral cycle to unify the movement rather than damage it by breaking us up into party political factions. So - List to vote and argue indy, constituency to vote pro Indy party political governance. 3. Single issue List party could enter into a supply and demand agreement with SNP and it's party political manifesto for governance on the condition an indyref2 is set and delivered. This negotiation would happen at every Budget. 4. The role of any Indy party is to support and sustain the SNP in their primary role as an indy supporting scots government, in order to ensure an indyref or alternative democratic route to independence is always available to the scottish electorate when voted for.

    Holyrood was created to make governance of Scotland a routine affair for a major party and a smaller party in coalition. This was central to the UK unionist plan to lock SNP, the single party of independence, out of government no matter how popular it threatened to become.

    That structural coalition governance model was supposed to be unionist, labour and libdem (or tory and libdem at a push). The electoral map has changed beyond recognition since that unionist plan was hatched for Holyrood yet the SNP have still only ever managed one, very, very slim overall majority in Holyrood. That tells me that the underlying unionist structure of Holyrood being a parliament of coalition is still very much in place. So - their own weighted structure should be turned against them to ensure coalition governments with overwhelming parliamentary numbers in support of full Scottish independence become an absolutely routine affair (election after election if necessary).

    This can only be done by a single issue independence party on the list to vote for Indy alone, and SNP on the constituency as our party of government to be voted for. It's how Holyrood was designed to work - only its UK nationalist designers envisaged locking indy out, not the scottish electorate locking the union out.

    This is NOT about going against the SNP. This is about prioritising independence in a parliament that was designed to lock that democratic possibility out and tie up party politics, of every colour, in the day to day managerial necessities of devolved scottish governance within the 'United Kingdom'. A single issue list party that has independence and only independence as its aim can cut right across all those UK created, Holyrood implemented, structural impediments to independence. And - that is what is scaring everyone, who is or has become comfortable in that Holyrood managerial structure, half to death!

    I don't know about you, but I am definitely for keeping on scaring them until Independence is won and delivered!


    1. "This can only be done by a single issue independence party on the list to vote for Indy alone"

      You won't get many votes for a single issue party. Not when it has to spend 5 years in the chamber voting on all sorts of issues, from welfare to the NHS.

      I mean what are these MSPs going to do when the debate isn't about indy? They can't sit around on there arses doing nothing on taxpayer wages, and they certainly can't abstain. If they abstain, they could cause unionists to win votes.

      If you want people to vote for a party in a national election on any significant scale, it can't be single issue. It needs a clear left/centre/right stance with policies to boot. I don't want to vote for an unknown 'indy' party just to have it vote through a unionist budget. Unless it has a manifesto making commitments here, then people won't vote for it.

    2. You won't get many votes for a single issue party. Not when it has to spend 5 years in the chamber voting on all sorts of issues, from welfare to the NHS.

      I mean what are these MSPs going to do when the debate isn't about indy?

      You'd better ask Nigel Farage and his MEP's and what was the outcome for that single issue party. Anyone got any ideas.

    3. You're not scaring the SNP by threatening to invest yourself in a single issue party invented by people you don't know and could be as unpleasant as any unionist party you disliked

      We're in the political times of nobody tells the truth but everyone wants a slice of something

      You have to enquiry the motives of the amount of people their are right now trying to sell Scotlands people all sorts of things, and why, and most of them are Internet based and always tend to need your money to advance the cause they tell you that you want, and the first thing they tell you is the thing that you supported before has let you down so you need them to rectify that, send me money

      If they don't ask for your money today they will tomorrow once they think they have your attention, they're no different to drug dealers, first fix free then you pay

      Scotland has become the political capital of the drug dealing Internet blogger seeking to sell you shit if you're prepared to pay them for it, we never had this before because we never had a chance of having our own politics, now that we have everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon when they couldn't have cared less before

      They don't want the effort of building their own political party and setting out policy or objectives and pay for it, they steal ideas from the most popular and sell them to you so you'll pay for it, minus what they tell you is bad about the political party you used to buy

      And as if by magic we have the biggest purveyor of that shit on the Internet deciding to tell you the party that he told you to vote for he now tells you to vote against, now why would that be because surely it isn't his wee single issue of GRA, surely his deep loathing of Scotlands FM can't be it, and it sure as hell can't be because he wants to bring back a failed politician that the entire British media would savage all over again to replace the most popular leader of the SNP in the history of forever

      So what's it all about? Money Money Money Money and more of it if he and his chums can get their hands on yours

      Stuart Campbell is a bigoted wee angry man trying to sell you bigotry and anger, the thing is are you going to part with your money on that basis

    4. I think UKIP managed a single MP in the UK national parliament?

      Certainly, a single issue indy party, if it wanted to emulate Farage's success, would be better targeting union elections. That's how UKIP 'won' without actually ever making progress in national elections. They did well in union elections where voters felt they could apply pressure without having to vote for a blank (or nutcase) domestic policy agenda.

      Also, if the SNP are getting too comfy with the UK union, then disposing of their Westminster MPs in favour of rock solid indy supporters would make a whole lot of sense. Likewise, since Scots MPs are just overruled at ever turn, there's no real need for more than one policy, i.e. indy. Sinn Fein are clued up here.

      Targeting holyrood is unlikely to be fruitful by contrast, not on a single issue.

      Anyway, as I said, single issue parties tend to flop in national elections, with UKIP a good example of this.

      And I really hope a new pro-indy party doesn't model itself on UKIP by lying to the electorate, e.g. about how a PR voting system works. Honesty is how you win hearts and minds firmly.

    5. The Jock Nat si Mps could do the same as the murderous Sinn Fein IRA. Refuse to take their seats and not swear loyalty to the Crown but still get their salaries.

    6. It's perfectly simple how a single issue party would operate in the Holyrood system and what it would stand on at election time in it's manifesto commitments. It would stand on the principle that it would enter into a parliamentary agreement with the SNP to support the SNP's manifesto for government on a supply and demand agreement. The basis of that supply and demand would agreed at every budget negotiation and be founded on SNP commitments to progress IndyRef2, or in it's absence a replacement democratic method for the Scottish public to have their say on our self determination. 
      If the SNP were stupid enough to reject this support then the list party would simply not vote their budget through. It would however not support any other party to form a government should the SNP be unable to secure a majority for it's budget. SNP might have it's own majority or rely on a unionist party for this. However, should the SNP decide to reject the support of a pro indy party in favour of a unionist party in order to pass their budget without a contractual commitment to IndyRef2, then this new attitude to Indy will become very clear, to it's own indy supporting voters and more importantly it's membership. This, I think, is a political impossibility for the SNP because it would mean publicly relinquishing the 'party of independence' crown to the List party - and who knows where that kind of re alignment could lead? 
      As I say, Holyrood has been specifically designed by unionists to coopt standard political parties into the day to day managerial realities of devolutionary governance - not focus on the constitutional big picture of Scotland's desperate need for self determination outside of the straight jacket and financial drain of the devolutionary settlement. In essence the List Party MUST be the opposite of Skier's wants. For that Skier, you can vote SNP or whoever else you want for governance. List Party simply keeps everyone focused on the Big picture of Independence and progressing it to the satisfaction of the Independence movement as a whole. Otherwise it will be the SNP delays in progress that the Yes movement will be broken upon. Yes supporters cannot allow that to ever happen. This is one way it could be avoided and theSNP legitimate ambitions to continued Government be wholeheartedly supported.
      As you can see, the party principles I am outlining here does not match the current proposals for Indy List parties. They all seem to be focused on their own party political policy drums to beat along with the Indy drum. Why bother - we already have the very electorally successful SNP party of government for that!


    7. Thanks for your response Braco. My observations / questions are genuine.

      This kind of fleshed out a bit is what will be needed. Voters will want to understand how any new party will vote on key issues in the chamber.

      They will also need to be told honestly what will happen with their vote, and that you can't cheat PR.

      For example, in East Lothian, if people don't vote SNP on the list, then they may will not be voting SNP at all, as Labour could again take the constituency, making an SNP vote 'wasted' under FPTP (not counting towards the make up of parliament).

      In 2016, any SNP voters in East Lothian who had e.g. opted for a SCIP list vote, would have in effect not voted SNP - their favourite party - at all. Just for SCIP.

      The list vote is a persons most important vote as it's PR so always counted. The FPTP constituency vote is much more risky and is the only place you can vote tactically to minimise the risk of it being wasted.

      So, you vote for your favourite party on the list, then 'tactically' if desired on the constituency. That's how AMS works.

      This is why I need to know exactly how any list party will vote; I know this to be my most important vote, so some 'spare' second one that I can hand out willy nilly.

    8. Fully agree with you there Skier, it's just that for many, many Yes supporting SNP voters THE most important thing they are voting for is Independence, and it is that vote that they feel is being co-opted by the SNP into party political policies that are not the priority for their vote. As time goes by for a party in government, voter disconnect becomes worse and worse. It is why popular governments finally get voted out after time. The suspicion among many Yessers (only a suspicion but important none the less), is that the SNP are trying to counter that natural party political gravity by corralling the frustrated Indy support into their voting booth as the 'only party of independence'. They fear a single issue list party because they don't believe they can pull that trick off if a real alternative Indy Party exists. The irony is that a Single issue List Only party (rather than a conventional alternative Indy Party with policies etc) will likeley increase their support in the constituencies as the Indy supporter comes to understand the simple message and importance of BOTH votes for Indy!  :)


  13. The first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a significant rise in suspected cases of Covid-19 in hospitals overnight – a rise of 165 taking to total of those in hospital with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 to 1,618.

    1. That is very sad indeed. Sorry to say but with EngGov now having all but lifted lockdown in England, it's a free for all travel where you like, preferably somewhere nice like Scotland. Many holiday flats in Edinburgh ( some air b&b) are now F/T occupied by people from south of England, at least that's case in our part of town. That would no doubt have meant the spread of Covid19 into and around the city, and more pressure on our NHS for general healthcare as well as cases of the virus. But, what happens when people stay in Scotland temporarily but are not registered with a GP practice here? We have a separate NHS and always have had, how does it work when people who would normally use EngNHS need to be treated by Scotland's NHS? & vice versa of course..

    2. Using the term EngGov is false and typical of the Nat si fanatics. 1707.

    3. GWC, what would you say and do if you were able to march into Skier's home uninvited?

    4. You just hate the English so much you want to deny them their own identity and EVEL government.

      Let the English have their 'Stay Alert' message and different lockdown measures if that works for them GWC. Your hated of the English is increasingly apparent these days.

      I have no problems with them doing things their own way as long as they make clear what's for the 'UK' and what's for 'England'. Why can't you respect them as a people in the same way?

    5. The English, Welsh, NI Irish and Jocks are very well represented at Westminster. We do no need the hanger oan additional extras. ND, I am unable to march tae ma lavvie never mind Skiers. However his French wife would leave him once she claps her eyes on me.

    6. Stench of this and its unwarranted narcissism.

  14. Gentle hint for the "Unknown" troll: The penny seems to be taking a looooooong time to drop, so let me spell it out for you. Your trolling, and endless reposting of troll comments that have already been deleted several times, is not welcome here. Go away and stay away. That is all.

  15. I could never trust anyone that lies about how a voting system works in an attempt to get me to vote for them.

    I also have to say I don't trust people who screamed 'Sturgeon should resign!' just ahead of a key election where the SNP really needed (at least in an anti-propaganda sense) to get a bigger % of the vote in Scotland than the Tories got UK wide.

    Whether I think she's the right leader or not, undermining the SNP at such a key moment is what a unionist would do.

    If Sturgeon calls for the resignation of the SNP leader just ahead of a key election too, I definitely not be trusting her either.

  16. Eh, the Greens are a single issue party, but if they said they didn't support Independence only 14 people would ever vote for them

    The Liberal Democrats are a single issue party, their issue is *we're Tory lite vote for us we're nice* not true but still

    Tory and Labour are a single issue party, notice I put them together because they are one party, one no different to the other
    and their issue is *no to Independence*

    These parties have proved their actual worth and it's less

  17. Coming a bit late to the party, this is yet another misunderstanding of the term "herd immunity" that has appeared for the first time in this debate. The term is not a veterinary one, as I had to be at pains to tell my animal science students when I was lecturing on the subject. It is categorically not about being concerned only with the health of the herd. It is a term frequently and correctly used in human medicine to describe the situation where a high enough percentage of a population is immune to a disease so that even the non-immune individuals don't get infected. Although not every individual is immune the "herd" as a whole is immune and as such the herd protects its non-immune members.

    As has so frequently been pointed out, this percentage is not achievable without vaccination. You can't line people up and forcibly expose them to a pathogen. You can't protect new members of the herd without a vaccine.

    The most common context for the herd immunity discussion relates to measles virus and the anti-vax movement. When nearly all children are vaccinated even those who aren't (infants too young to be vaccinated, children with immunosuppressive illnesses and so on) are still protected by the "herd" of immune children around them. If too many children remain unvaccinated these vulnerable individuals start falling sick.

    The standard misuse of the term herd immunity in the context of the pandemic is its use to describe the progress of the disease to a point where enough people are immune to stop epidemic flare-ups of infection and the virus becomes endemic. That is to say it is always there and people get sick and die all the time, just at the rate of hundreds a week rather than hundreds a day. Initially the government was OK with that as an end-point because it was thought people would just accept that and life would go on.

    The deception was that many people assumed that this so-called "herd immunity" goal was actually a situation where the virus would be driven out of the population, which is what herd immunity really means. But as I said that can't occur without a vaccine. If real herd immunity happens, vulnerable people don't need to shelter. If the disease is simply endemic, they do, because they're always at risk. The idea that they could have their epidemic then let the oldies out of their 12-week isolation and it would all be fine was an absolute lie and a deception all along.

    Of course it was a lie and a deception two ways, because they didn't actually shelter the elderly and the vulnerable at all and half the deaths have been in care homes. But even the vulnerable sheltering at home will never be able to come out until either this virus is properly suppressed as described, or there is a vaccine.

    1. There was no lies or deception. The PM said from the onset that people would die. In these days of scientific advance our experts are trying to catch up. People who play their sad political games over this virus are beneath contempt. Sadly the virus will probably not get them.

    2. Aye, Boris explained his herd immunity strategy live on the telly. Described how the virus would be allowed to 'work its way through the population', who would 'take it on the chin'. He didn't seem to be hiding it. As you say, he made it clear his plan meant a lot of deaths. There was no deception.

    3. I do not recall the PM outlaying this strategy or using the herd word. Surely Knickerless would have scolded him.

    4. Covidia knows its place and never questions its overlords or their contradictions. It obeys through doublethink.

  18. reckless Swedish philosophy
    Only time will tell if that is true......

    1. Time has already told that it is true. Their death toll is much worse than their Nordic neighbours, and in particular there's been carnage in Swedish care homes. They've already apologised for failing their elderly.

  19. The Deacon Gregor MacGregor of the Holy Church of BathMay 12, 2020 at 11:03 PM

    Oh ye of little faith! Cast down your false idols and false profits, renounce your Sturgeons, declare the Lord of Bath your One True Lord, and (subject to the sufficiency and sustainability of your monthly financial contribution) He shall lead you to the Promised Land!

    For All True Believers know that our Noble Shepherd of Bath has led us into the Foothills of Independence. All True Believers know that the Satanic Sturgeons casts up only False Summits before us. But All True Believers know that (subject to the sufficiency and sustainability of your monthly fee) the Almighty shall deliver us with Winged Haste unto the Promised Land! Eventually! Someday! And any attacks on Sturgeon are NOT - repeat - NOT - cynical attempts to fracture the independence movement and secure a cushy financial future by exploiting the gullible congregations in a movement that has been intentionally scuppered by those who'll only get paid to sloth about on their erses sniping from the Beloved Parish of Bath so long as the Promised Land is never reached.

    So Spread Forth into the world my Little Lambs and spread the Good News! Invite the Yet unsaved to commit to Charitable Works, such as, say, the protracted monetary pampering of our Lord and Saviour - for only We Blessed Few know with certainty that it is in these Divine Acts of subsidy that our Commitment to the Cause is Made Clear. Remind them to attend one of the occasional trite recycled sermons at Our Lord of Bath's House, on the subject "1984" - the only book the Faithful must ever read, for it is the only book our Divine Almighty appears ever to have read.

    And remind them, above all, of the Edict written in stone and handed down upon the slopes of Ben Lomond, which did read: "Lo, and so did the Faithful give generously of their credit card details and PIN numbers, and did Dutifully remortgage their homes and sell their vital organs and first born sons, that our Lord and Saviour of Bath might receive Due Homage. And lo, was it also noted in small-lettering that terms and conditions apply on a non-refundable basis."

    Amen (subject to guaranteed indefinite remittance).

    1. Landover Baptist ChurchMay 12, 2020 at 11:10 PM

      That was a fine sermon Deacon Gregor. Would you like to join us in prayer. Deacon Fred.

    2. The Deacon Gregor MacGregor of the Holy Church of BathMay 12, 2020 at 11:21 PM

      Nothing would please me more. As I'm sure you are aware, group prayer and affirmation are an important part of the life and liturgy of the Holy Church of Bath.

      Might I suggest one of our Lord Father's favourites: a holy recitation of the bank details?

    3. Landover Baptist ChurchMay 12, 2020 at 11:57 PM

      We would love to give you funds for your excellent cause however we are funding our great leader President Trump. We wish you well.

  20. The total diddy that is Johnston will end up creating the dreadful combination of extensive economic damage and large numbers of uneccessary dead. It's about time the idiots who voted for him took some responsibility for voting for the lazy, psychopathic, incompetent, clown.

  21. Is it Iain Macwhirter or a clone stroke new sleeve in his place? When did he turn into a Brit Tory Lunatic?

    1. I like how you fascists turn on each other when there is disagreement. There is no debate just hatred. Well done.

    2. Covidia knows better than to question its masters. Its ultra-right-wing authoritarianism is born of obedience and doublethink.