March 29th 2020
By: Chris Morrison
If you believe that we are heading for a climate fireball on the basis of forecasts from over 100 models that have never been right over 30 years, then you will have had little trouble swallowing Professor Fergie’s initial guesses that 500,000 people in the UK might die from Covid-19.
Imperial professor Neil Ferguson is said to have used mathematical models to predict half a million deaths and his view was said to have been influential in persuading the government to lockdown the country, place most citizens under virtual house arrest and risk terminal damage to large parts of the productive economy.
Quite why the Government should be so influenced by Ferguson is a mystery. When it comes to hopelessly inaccurate model predictions, the chap has form as long as your arm. He was behind an unnecessary strategy of mass animal slaughter during the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic that cost billions of pounds. This drastic measure was subsequently seen as unnecessary and used models that were later criticised as unvalidated and not fit for purpose. He also predicted that up to 150,000 people could die from mad cow disease. To date it is thought there have been 200 deaths from the condition.
Over on the mad climate front we are now taking guidance from under-educated child prophets and raving tele Malthusians.
No forecast from any climate model has yet proved correct, no prediction of Armageddon, printed unquestioningly by the Guardian and the BBC, has yet occurred. The useless climate models are ridiculed in many sceptical scientific circles – considered, to coin a phrase, not fit for purpose. Hundreds of genuine scientists dissent from the view that human caused C02 plant food is producing harmful changes in the climate, yet the matter is now “settled” and discussion has been locked down.
If that is the level of competence in dealing with every compromised climate model prediction, no wonder we are making such a pig’s ear of dealing with the latest respiratory illness taking a pop at the human population.
Did the government, for instance, consider whether the Ferguson model corrected for age, pre-existing conditions, changing virulence, the effect of death certification and other factors? Not my question but one posed by recently retired professor of pathology Dr John Lee in the Spectator. Dr Lee suggested that if a new infection is causing many extra people to die (as opposed to an infection present in people who would have died anyway) then it will cause an increase in the overall death rate. “But we have yet to see any statistical evidence for excess deaths in any part of the world”, he adds.
He further notes that Covid-19 deaths represent just 0.14% of the 40 million people who would be expected to die worldwide in the first three months of this year – figures that he suggests are lower than seasonal flu and would not cause drastic global reaction.
There is a problem. Covid-19 is a nasty little virus but similar bugs have always attacked life forms on Earth. It is a real danger for elderly people with existing medical problems and others with lifestyle related conditions. For some reason, which we currently don’t understand, it seems to have little effect on the young and for many people it is little more than a mild irritation. In a league of biblical pestilence, it plays in the lower reaches. The presence of a number of well know people in a highly tested small subset of the UK population suggests that a high rate of infection and subsequent immunity might be found when widespread testing is conducted.
A more rational response to the pandemic might have been to re-direct our limited resources to isolate those most at risk and pour whatever money it takes into ensuring that the NHS is fully equipped to deal with those who will invariably fall ill. We do something similar with seasonal flu, the bug that causes similar societal problems almost every year.
But rational debate is showing signs of moving into the isolation ward to be replaced by the Guardian’s George Monbiot suggesting that Covid-19 is “Nature’s wake up call to complacent civilisation”. Conditions of modern life, when billions of people have never been so healthy and well fed, are dismissed as a “bubble of false comfort and denial”. Poor George – years of poor diet and writing articles suggesting snow is a sign of global warning have taken their toll.
Over on the BBC’s anti-science page, the actual technicalities of medical covid science are more or less ignored. Last week it was business as unusual reporting on disappearing wasps and guesses that climate change boosted the Australian bush fires by 35%. Currently its lead stories are about animals and plastic and lower pollution levels due to the lockdowns.
Faced with this useless reporting, what chance does the wider population have of hearing the many varied and different opinions and arguments about covid-19 now raging in the epidemiological establishment.
What could happen if the current extreme policies are kept in place for much longer is that our limited resources will rapidly disappear. Even a quick glance at the financial pages shows clearly the fiscal bloodbath we are facing. Many small and medium businesses, which provide the majority of employment, operate almost month to month. They cannot afford to shut down. They will go broke, destroying wealth and millions of livelihoods.Their countless loans will become worthless and financial contagion could lead to systemic bank stress.
Larger companies are almost as fragile. How will department stores, planes, hotels and cruise ships earn their keep and pay leases and loans when nobody is using them? What will happen to all the bond income and dividends they generate that pays for all those pensions? Look at the financial pages and it is obvious we are only weeks away from utter disaster.
It is suggested that Italy is facing a 12% fall in GDP this year. That is not going to do a lot for its already weak local financial institutions and the experimental Dm euro. We know from the recent Corbyn experiment that many people, particularly those isolated from reality by working for the public sector, think money grows on magic trees. It does not. If you are teaching “studies” in our seats of unlearning, expect a P45 when the student loan punchbowl is taken away.
And what price civil liberties when goods start disappearing from the stores? Already we have seen how keen the Constabulary has been in enforcing our current house arrest. Of course some of us wish that such Constabularian conscientiousness had been more evident last year when death cult XR louts blockaded London for weeks on end.
But one suspects that hundreds of formerly comatose constables will rise to the challenge when the serious work of restricting movement, responding to snitching neighbours and prosecuting Covid-19 hate crimes starts to mount up.
We think we can control the climate; we think we can abolish every irritating cough that comes along. Perhaps we can, perhaps we should – just make sure we don’t kill ourselves in the process.
Stay safe, stay solvent.
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