It is a profound blessing that children are barely affected by COVID-19 — we have not seen deaths in previously healthy children in Britain. There have sadly been a very small number of children with serious life-limiting conditions who have died with COVID-19, but paediatricians can already organise vaccination for very high risk children under compassionate grounds, once the risk and benefits have been carefully weighed up. We don’t need to vaccinate healthy children for the sake of vulnerable ones. We also do NOT need to vaccinate healthy children to provide herd immunity for adults.
Decades of evidence on viral seasonality, acquired immunity, prior immunity are being ignored, with those in charge claiming that the virus will wreak havoc if we go about our normal lives. Most people agree that, on some level, the rules don’t make any sense. And yet still they remain.
Mortality risk from COVID-19
The constant portrayal of COVID-19 as a threat has caused distortion in people’s perception of their risk of dying from it, if they are unlucky enough to catch it. This data will be an overestimate as it comes from table 1 of this study published in August 2020. The study estimated an overall infection fatality rate in Western Europe to be over 1% and even Professor Neil Ferguson agrees that it is more like 0.8% with WHO estimates now substantially lower than that.
Restrictions pose more of a threat than COVID-19
After several weeks of minimal cases being found in the community and weekly deaths below normal levels we are still locked down. Lockdown costs us about £500m a day and every day brings more businesses to the brink. Over 4.7 million people are now waiting for NHS operations. Between March 2020 and January 2021 there were 350,000 fewer cancer referrals to hospitals than expected, a shortfall which is still growing. Education is still being interrupted with universities not returning to face-to-face teaching until 17 May. ..
Child vaccine trials paused
The trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine in children has been paused while a possible link with blood clots in adults is investigated. Given that the phase 3 adult vaccine trials to establish long-term safety data are on-going and are not due to conclude until late 2022/early 2023, the question remains why were trials in children ever started? The risks to children from COVID-19 remain extremely low and any suggestion that children should be vaccinated to protect adults is ethically highly questionable.
HART’s position remains that it is unnecessary, unethical and should be strongly discouraged until long-term safety data in adults are complete. HART would also remind regulators, the media and politicians that these are experimental vaccines, without full regulatory approval but issued under emergency waivers. It is vital that data is collected and rigorous scrutiny of vaccine effects is completed and letters such as this one in The BMJ must surely be followed up as a matter of urgency…
HART vs SAGE
HART Pathology Lead Dr John Lee appeared on Good Morning Britain this week alongside Professor Susan Michie who sits on SAGE and the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B).
Dr Lee noted the lack of evidence for asymptomatic spread of SARS-CoV-2 and also pointed out the absence of diverse scientific discussion in the media. Susanna Reid denied this, stating that the other side was being heard on social media and in the papers. However, these avenues are not the same as trusted mainstream TV programmes and the void of diverse thinking here has no doubt hampered the public’s understanding of ‘the science’…
By Professor David Seedhouse Professor of Deliberative Practice There has been a stark lack of ethical reflection used in the COVID-19 response. There is an urgent need to restore balance in decision-making and to ensure this can never happen again. Public health is a branch of medicine mostly run by doctors with medical degrees. Whilst […]
By Joel Smalley Quantitative Data Analyst Modelling can accurately predict excess mortality associated with COVID-19 outbreaks. Policies can therefore be tailored to minimise collateral harms and maximise benefits. Mortality data can help us unravel the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak and the effects of associated interventions. When we try a new experiment such as lockdowns on the […]
By Dr John Lee retired Professor of Pathology A respiratory virus needs associated symptoms in order to be clinically relevant. One year ago, this belief would have been universally accepted by the wider medical community. The Health Secretary, addressing the nation on television on 20 December 2020 stated that ‘If you act like you have […]
There is no emergency
COVID-19 cases are low and all-cause deaths are now back to normal pre-pandemic rates and falling. All vulnerable groups have been offered a vaccination. There are no longer any justifiable or ethical reasons for prolonging Covid-related statutory ‘emergency powers’.
It is anticipated that all phase 1 priority groups (approximately 32 million people) will have been offered a vaccine by 15 April, a group accounting for 99% of the deaths last spring. This will be an amazing achievement. The virus is now endemic and will circulate at very low levels this summer and is then likely to join the range of respiratory viruses circulating each winter. Talk of continuing social distancing and masks for several years is therefore unnecessary and unhelpful. We urgently need to reduce fear and increase hope as we recover from this crisis…
The data is in: lockdowns serve no useful purpose and cause catastrophic societal and economic harms. They must never be repeated in this country. The ‘sunk cost fallacy’ is a well known one. World War 1 is the classic example. By Christmas 1914 it was obvious to all that the war was a catastrophe, but […]
Parliament is due to debate vaccine passports on 15th March, triggered by an online petition. After consideration of the arguments for and against below, HART strongly contends that any vaccine certification or passport would create a precedent of eroding informed consent. An independent group, the UK Medical Freedom Alliance, has prepared a detailed open letter on the topic, which is well worth reading…
From next week, secondary pupils across England will be asked to take rapid lateral flow tests to help identify anyone who might be infectious. According to PHE and the University of Oxford, lateral flow tests have a false positive rate of around 0.3%, which in a clinical setting would be acceptable, but when testing 4 million healthy, asymptomatic schoolchildren twice a week will mean 24,000 false positive tests. When you add in their contacts this could see up to 700,000 children out of the classroom every week (based on classes in quarantine rather than whole year groups). This clearly undermines the “national priority” of ensuring British schoolchildren have the education that they deserve. It is also important to note that after conducting 1.9 million tests in secondary schools throughout January and February, the results have shown no genuine COVID-19…
Welcome to our latest weekly bulletin.
Good news from the NHS – COVID-19 like symptom triages through 999 and 111 calls dipped this week to 3,734 – the lowest since the 8th August, when few non-pharmaceutical interventions were in place.
UK restrictions among strictest in the world
It may be a surprise to learn that, compared with all other nations for which a stringency index of NPIs was calculable, the UK ranks fifth most severe behind only Cuba, Eritrea, Honduras and Lebanon. See the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker for their methodology…
Many of you found our first bulletin last week useful. We are pleased to circulate our second bulletin below.
With every death comes personal tragedy, nevertheless it is important to remember:
– The median age of at death with COVID-19 (around 82 years) exceeds normal life expectancy.
– The majority of those who died with the virus also had two or more serious, chronic illnesses.
– In 2020, there were 388 COVID-19 deaths in those aged 60 and under with no prior illnesses.
– 99.9% of people under 70 years and with no underlying conditions survive the virus…
By Joel Smalley, MBA Quantitative Analyst Introduction This article presents an analysis of the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 respiratory virus on excess mortality in England. It is an investigative, open-minded attempt to find an explanation for the pattern of excess mortality recorded so far that fits the empirical data. All the data and studies referred […]
Welcome to our first bulletin. HART has come together as a group of UK independent senior scientists, professors and doctors, clinical psychologists, economists and other representatives of relevant disciplines, with many years of experience in the NHS, private practice and academia.
Our aim is to find the common ground between the Government and groups that are concerned about COVID-19 restrictions. We want to bring all sides together and to widen the debate in order to formulate an exit strategy that benefits everyone in society. We hope you find this bulletin useful. We intend to be topical and cover matters as they occur and evolve…