WATCH: Cummings Correct About Government’s Covid Strategy Change

Ahead of his committee appearance on Wednesday, Dominic Cummings continued his Twitter tirade over the weekend by slamming the government’s initial lockdown strategy, and accusing Number 10 of lying about its original plans. According to Cummings, Plan A was to reduce the initial peak of the virus to protect the vulnerable whilst allowing the healthy to build up natural herd immunity. Plan B was a total lockdown as “Manhattan Project” style research went into developing vaccines and treatments. The official strategy, Cummings said, was repeatedly explained on TV…

Guido’s had a look back through the footage to check his recollection, and it looks like Cummings is broadly right. From March 5 to 14, Boris, Vallance, and the Behavioural Insights boffin and SAGE advisor Dr. David Halpern all state the original ‘Plan A’ approach. Vallance and Halpern are both explicit: it was, in their view, fair to pursue ‘herd immunity‘ amongst the healthy as the way out of the pandemic. Boris, whilst not using that term specifically, also stresses that (at the time) he wasn’t wasn’t being advised to lock down entirely – only to introduce limited restrictions to prevent an initial overwhelming peak. His view was that the government should strike a balance in policy: beefing up the NHS rather than locking down the population entirely…

Looking back at the briefings, it’s pretty obvious the plans changed halfway through March. Guido, like Cummings, can’t figure out why the government isn’t being straightforward about this given Vallance said herd immunity was desirable on-camera, contrary to Priti Patel’s denial yesterdayThe truth is SAGE were intent on a Swedish-style herd immunity strategy originally, and switched to ‘Plan B’ once they modelled the much higher fatality rate that ‘Plan A’ would entail…

The public, in as much they will pay attention, might rightly sense that even if the government advisers may never have actively wanted people to be infected by the virus, they were sympathetic to a herd immunity strategy and so avoided a hard lockdown where no herd immunity would have built up. The strategy was, in any event, abandoned when modelling projected it would be disastrous.

mdi-timer 24 May 2021 @ 16:44 24 May 2021 @ 16:44 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Vallance Slams ‘Zero Covid’ Policy as Impossible

Speaking to the Science and Technology Committee this morning, SAGE Chair Sir Patrick Vallance dismissed the idea of completely eliminating covid as impossible:

“I do not think that ‘Zero Covid’ is possible. I think there is nothing to suggest that this virus will go away, at least in any time soon, it’s going to be there circulating, it may be a winter virus that comes back over winters with increasing infection rates during that period.

I don’t think that Zero Covid is possible and I think it’s going to be very difficult for any country to maintain complete absence of this long term because at some point countries have to open up borders.”

It wasn’t only the ‘Zero Covid’ fanatics that both Vallance and Whitty disappointed today. The boffins repeatedly felt the need to correct the implications of questions from various Labour MPs about the safety of schools. Chris Whitty patiently repeatedly explained that the risk to children from Covid is smaller than the risk from seasonal flu. He also explained that teachers are not a group at high risk. Disappointing news for fans of the armchair scientist suggestions of the Labour Party…

UPDATE: Whitty joined in the Zero Covid bashing too, slamming Dawn Butler’s suggestion that ‘Zero Covid’ advocates don’t actually mean zero covid when they say they want zero covid.

“As a scientist, for me zero means zero. So if you’re saying you want a zero covid strategy what you’re saying is that you want zero covid cases. You can say that, but what I’m just saying is I don’t think that’s a realistic option. If people say well I don’t mean zero I mean another number, fine, but then put a different number on it.”

mdi-timer 9 March 2021 @ 11:26 9 Mar 2021 @ 11:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Vallance: No Hard Evidence to Justify Hospitality Curfew

Appearing before the Science and Technology Committee this morning, Sir Patrick Vallance admitted that “there is no really hard evidence on curfew times”. Under questioning from Greg Clarke, Vallance said the decision to impose the curfew had been based on the assumption “keeping people longer in an environment where there is also alcohol is likely to increase risk”. An industry devastating restriction, all based on a hunch.

mdi-timer 9 December 2020 @ 11:36 9 Dec 2020 @ 11:36 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Vallance: Vaccine Doses Could Come “This Side of Christmas”

Sir Patrick Vallance struck an unusually positive note in today’s press conference, citing the promising progress of vaccine development allowing the country to return to normal. He began by saying…

“I remain of the view that wider spread use of the vaccine isn’t going to be until Spring or so next year, by the time we get enough doses and understanding.”

However, the Chief Scientific Officer went on to say that:

“We may get a few doses this side of Christmas, maybe something could happen”

Vallance said the realistic timeframe is the spring but there is “good progress” on the vaccines, saying of the rate of development that “it is remarkable”. Hope springs eternal…

mdi-timer 22 October 2020 @ 17:03 22 Oct 2020 @ 17:03 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sir Desmond Swayne Calls for Whitty and Vallance to be Sacked

MPs were subjected to a very passionate speech by Sir Desmond Swayne this afternoon; ever a leading Covid-skeptic the MP called for Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance to be sacked over their fear-mongering speech last week, along with asking whether the PM has been “abducted by Dr Strangelove and reprogrammed by the SAGE over to the dark side”. Based on conversations Guido’s had, this is exactly the sort of straight-talking debate many backbenchers are craving…

mdi-timer 28 September 2020 @ 17:14 28 Sep 2020 @ 17:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Vallance’s Telling Off by Whitty and Sedwill Over Lockdown Advocacy

A leaked email from Sir Patrick Vallance obtained via an FOI request has revealed when he “argued stronger than anyone for action for lockdown” he received “a telling off” from Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care Chris Wormald and former Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill. Far from Cummings, it was the machinery of Whitehall that stood opposed…

The leaked email comes just days after MPs advocated a public enquiry into the handling of the pandemic. Convenient that private words of some advisers are getting out early…

Read the email in full below:

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mdi-timer 14 September 2020 @ 13:30 14 Sep 2020 @ 13:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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