Saturday, March 28, 2020

Mike Butler: A lock-down, a model, and the flu

Evidence has emerged to show that the current lock-down that has crippled the New Zealand economy is based a possible scenario predicted in a model, the assumptions of which have been contradicted by expert medical opinion.

The model, created by British scientist Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London, predicted that 2.2 million Americans and more than half a million Brits would be killed. (1)

He said that that if the US and UK did not shut down for 18 months, and isolation measures were not taken, “we would expect a peak in mortality (daily deaths) to occur after approximately three months.” His “models” showed overflowing hospitals and ICU beds.

However, after tens of thousands of restaurants, bars, and businesses closed in the UK, Ferguson changed his view by saying he felt “reasonably confident” the health care system there can cope when the predicted peak of the epidemic arrives in a few weeks.

Some accused him of “walking back” his apocalyptic predictions while others argued that his apocalyptic prediction was merely one scenario of his model and things had changed because of the lock-down.(2)

Dramatic footage from Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, of people being dragged, kicking and screaming, into quarantine, and troops in hazmat suits spraying buildings, buses, and streets with disinfectant, raised the international terror factor exponentially.

Once a few cases were reported in New Zealand, the Covid-19 virus became perceived as a killer bug that could jump on anyone, anywhere, at any time.

However, Covid-19 is probably must this year’s incarnation of the flu, according to the opinions of dissenting experts in virology.

An expert in medical microbiology, Professor Sucharit Bhakdi, has said that blaming the new coronavirus alone for deaths is “wrong and dangerously misleading”.(3) There are other more important factors at play, he says, notably pre-existing health conditions and poor air quality in Chinese and northern Italian cities. (4)

He condemned the extreme and costly measures being taken around the world as “grotesque”, “useless”, “self-destructive” and a “collective suicide” that will shorten the lifespan of the elderly and should not be accepted by society.

He said that all 3700 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship were exposed to the virus, yet only 17 percent contracted it, nowhere near the 81 per cent predicted by the model. (5)

In South Korea new cases have dropped off rather than expanded exponentially, in China they have almost disappeared, and Japan has announced it is to lift its state of emergency, leaving people wondering what happened to the expected explosion. (6)

“We are afraid that 1 million infections with the new virus will lead to 30 deaths per day over the next 100 days. But we do not realise that 20, 30, 40 or 100 patients positive for normal coronaviruses are already dying every day,” he said. (7)

Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, a German physician specialising in pulmonology, said “we should be asking questions like ‘how did you find out this virus was dangerous?, ‘how was it before?’, ‘didn’t we have the same thing last year?’, ‘is it even something new?’ That’s missing.” (8)

Dr Joel Kettner, a professor of community health sciences and surgery at Manitoba University, said “I have never seen anything like this, anything anywhere near like this. I’m not talking about the pandemic, because I’ve seen 30 of them, one every year. It is called influenza. And other respiratory illness viruses, we don’t always know what they are. But I’ve never seen this reaction, and I’m trying to understand why.” (9)

Dr John Ioannidis, who is Professor of Medicine, of Health Research and Policy and of Biomedical Data Science at Stanford University School of Medicine, said “the one situation where an entire, closed population was tested was the Diamond Princess cruise ship and its quarantine passengers. The case fatality rate there was 1.0 percent, but this was a largely elderly population, in which the death rate from Covid-19 is much higher. Could the Covid-19 case fatality rate be that low?” (10)

Dr Yoram Lass, an Israeli physician, compared Covid-19 with the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 (swine flu), and said “in every country, more people die from regular flu compared with those who die from the coronavirus”, “the coronavirus . . . is a virus with public relations” and “whoever thinks that governments end viruses is wrong”. (11)

Dr Pietro Vernazza, a physician specialising in infectious diseases at the Cantonal Hospital St Gallen, Switzerland, said that “if we close the schools, we will prevent the children from quickly becoming immune”. (12)

Frank Ulrich Montgomery, a German radiologist, said “I’m not a fan of lockdown. Anyone who imposes something like this must also say when and how to pick it up again. Since we have to assume that the virus will be with us for a long time, I wonder when we will return to normal? You can’t keep schools and day-care centres closed until the end of the year. Because it will take at least that long until we have a vaccine”. (13)

Professor Hendrik Streeck, a German HIV researcher, epidemiologist and clinical trialist, said “the new pathogen is not that dangerous, it is even less dangerous than Sars-1”.(14)

Dr David Katz, an American physician and founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Centre, said “I am deeply concerned that the social, economic and public health consequences of this near-total meltdown of normal life — schools and businesses closed, gatherings banned — will be long-lasting and calamitous, possibly graver than the direct toll of the virus itself. The stock market will bounce back in time, but many businesses never will. The unemployment, impoverishment and despair likely to result will be public health scourges of the first order.” (15)

Charles F. Manski, who is economics professor at Northwestern University in Illinois, said Ferguson’s model failed to take economic and ethical factors into consideration. He criticised the epidemiological model used by Ferguson’s team for not considering how a pandemic may generate behavioural responses within the population, and stressed that there is limited empirical basis to assess the accuracy of the model.(16)

We should put the current Covid-19 scare into perspective. In 2009, there were in New Zealand around 3000 cases of H1N1 swine flu and 19 deaths and we hardly noticed it. That was on the tail of the global financial crisis a year earlier which we survived as well.

It appears that our current anti-capitalist climate-doom government has chosen to listen to experts who follow its narrative instead of basing decisions on hard evidence. Perhaps here we are under house arrest and the economy has been trashed simply because this year’s flu has arrived with a greatly heightened fanfare.









8. Ibid

9. Ibid

10. Ibid

11. Ibid

12. Ibid

13. Ibid

14. Ibid

15. Ibid



oneblokesview said...

My take on the whole lockdown phenomena is that it is somewhat of a group think reaction from politicians.
If other countries do it, then we cant be blamed if it wasnt the right thing to do.

My comment has always been. A lockdown is a recognition of failure to act quickly in the first place (ie Taiwan, Singapore). NZ certainly falls in the failed to act category.

All it does is give Governments a breather time in which to catch up.
During that time they have to take dramatic action in testing, tracing and treatment.

I see no evidence of that strategy in NZ.
Most comments I get are from fearful people who emotionally have locked in to the ridiculous idea that all will be solved by the 28 day lockdown.

When I point them to the Italian experience. ie more than 2 weeks in and no dramatic fall in daily new cases. I am being told not to be silly?

Interesting times.

Ray S said...

Onebloke is right, we do indeed live in interesting times. There a level of fear among the general population not seen before, not during the Sars, Swine flu or even ordinary flu. While measures are being taken to limit contact between people, we are told this will stamp out the spread of the Covid 19 virus. The proliferation of face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser is seen when one visits the supermarket or local store. Fear does different things to different people from "who cares, to run for your life, the sky is falling" More sinister is the actions of some who will try to exact some sort of revenge on virus carriers and sufferers. We may see some of that WHEN the lockdown is extended as it surely will be. Other forces are at work here and we may not see what they are until the epidemic shuts the country done for a longer period than ever imagined.

Richard said...

The government's eradication strategy is based on the wishful thinking that there was no community transmission of the virus before the first acknowledged cases in mid March, and that community transmission remains minimal.
This against the fact that the virus was circulating in Hubei province as early as November, and that between then and the first restrictions on travel, tens of thousands of travellers from China entered New Zealand. It seems vanishingly improbible that the virus did not enter the country and spread. If it did get into the community, most infected individuals will have been asymptomatic or had mild respiratory symptoms, but even if they were very ill would have been diagnosed as having some other condition because they did not fit the public health "case definition" which only looked for the disease in persons recenty arrived from abroad (indeed, at first only from "affected countries") or their immediate contacts,.
Testing limited to those meeting a very restrictive case definition won't find those who don't fit the definition. No wonder community spread was not seen, the system was blind to it.
My guess is that, as testing is broadened to those with symptoms, and not restricted to those with the travel history or contacts, it will reveal extensive community spread, overwhelming the capacity for contact tracing. Spread will be slowed, but not stopped transmission, and the government, having mounted the tiger of lockdown, will be unable to dismount.

5th generation Kiwi said...

The news media should be ashamed of themselves. News is now like a reality show, "what can we shock and awe them with now" (ratings = money). The corona virus came along just at the right time when the so called "climate change" show was getting nauseatingly repetitive and boring. Even after a relatively short time of covering Corona in our nightly news the media and audience are already tiring, so the media are searching for new angles already even if it means unnecessary shock and awe, example last nights one news Quote lead story "up to 28 thousand New Zealanders could die from the virus" then 10 minutes later a respected medical officer says, it could kill up to 100 people and as a worst case scenario might kill up to 28,000.
So the TV channel got the headline and caused much more stress, panic and frightened many just for an attention grabber.
Just like all the now false claims about the calamitous claims climate change was supposed to have caused by now, will we be looking back in time with the same conclusion?

Richard said...

When presented with a simple proposition ie death and illness resultant from the contagion Coronavirus, it is all too easy to view and respond with a simple explanation. But given the last three decades of unfortunate experience where we have seen the Government economical with the truth, spinning factual situations by variously; omission, inappropriate emphasis, misinformation and downright inept ignorance, complimented by a compliant and pro socialist media.
Why then do we accept this current scenario only on its simple face values.
We know this Government Administration is hell bent on dragging our pioneer Nation into the Marxist NWO.
We know this Government would rather march lockstep with the UN, IMF and global Corporations policies than take any step to uphold Individual Citizens Rights.
We know that the administration is committed to collectivist and socialist policies even to honoring trade pacts and UN undertakings ahead of the Rights of Natural born Citizens.
Why then should we doubt that this whole Panic/solution/Lockdown/social funding scenario, is not intrinsically wedded to the Government CoL's intended marxist direction of "Controlling" the Population with lasting measures, "Obtaining" individual Bio-Identification to be linked to IRD and Health Registration, "Controlling" the means of food and general distribution, "Linking" ongoing welfare to Food distribution entitlement, future "linking" preventative health measures (vaccinations) to welfare entitlement, "Controlling" authorized movement and traffic, "Linking" private Energy access to health/taxation compliance.
These matters resultant of the Lockdown, goes way further than merely media shamed compliance and social distancing, this has the real result to change the nation from a prosperous liberal Democracy into a economic basket case trapped under a blanket of communist regulation and dominated by the foreign regulation of the UN - NWO.
Britain has just escaped this dreadful future under a similar EU regulated fate, Why would we fall into the trap and forgo our Independent Sovereign Nation status.

Troutickler said...

It is easy to understand that Jacinda, being clearly out of her depth on most real issues has fallen for the global majority knee jerk. She can defend herself on that.
How can the figures that are being published every day be meaningful in any way? Unless we test the whole population we are just reporting on how many tests we have or haven’t done each day in a random ay across all DHB’s.
This annually normal spread of germs seems to be creating something that Jacinda is hoping will give her some positive spin leading up to an election, but I maintain that her true potential is in taking the minutes at meetings, rather than contributing to meaningful to the topics.

Anonymous said...

When our economy has totally collapsed, there will be no money for future healthcare, so what will the vulnerable do then? It will be back to survival of the fittest!

Unknown said...

Well folks you maynot have realised it but 1984 has arrived.It has to do with total goverment control over the population. Mark my words worse is still to come from this lot in the Behive.