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.
29 April 2021
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.
Vaccination certificates – impact on the high street
By Professor Marilyn James Professor of Health Economics The road to recovery will be hard, our hospitality and retail sectors do not deserve for this road to be even harder with more bureaucracy. This briefing was published on 28 April 2021 and did not feature in the original COVID-19 Evidence review document. The economic picture […]
22 April 2021
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.
16 April 2021
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. ..
8 April 2021
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…
31 March 2021
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’…
Ethical considerations of the COVID-19 response
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 […]
Care homes – we must do better for the most vulnerable in society
By Dr Ali Haggett Community mental health practitioner – older people Blanket visiting bans are contrary to the rights of residents and their families under the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 8). Blanket bans on care home visiting: legislation required as a priority The Joint Committee on Human Rights wrote a letter on 3 […]
Promising treatment options
By Dr Ros Jones Retired Consultant Paediatrician and Dr Edmund Fordham Fellow of the Institute of Physics Many promising treatment options have emerged over the past year. We must ensure access to these is facilitated, in order to optimise COVID-19 outcomes. Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. It is information for policymakers, or to take […]
The ONS Infection Survey: a re-evaluation of the data
By Dr Paul Cuddon Healthcare and Life Sciences and Dr Clare Craig Diagnostic Pathologist Are early warning signs from the UK’s ONS Infection Survey a missed opportunity in predicting outbreaks? Mass testing of a healthy population is another intervention explicitly not recommended in any pandemic planning for respiratory viral pathogens before 2020. HART’s view is […]
Mortality data & COVID-19
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 […]
Lockdowns – do they work?
By Professor Marilyn James Professor of Health Economics When an intervention has never been tried before, it is particularly important to carefully assess the potential harm it may inflict. Lockdowns have never previously been used in response to a pandemic. They have significant and serious consequences for health (including mental health), livelihoods and the economy. […]
Psychological impact of the Government’s communication style and restrictive measures
By Dr Damian Wilde (Chartered) Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist HART believes that the most effective step to meaningfully reduce the widespread mental health crisis would be a relaxation of all COVID-19 restrictions, with the assurance that they will not return. A year of COVID-19 restrictions and a relentless media campaign to enhance compliance has led […]
Masks – do benefits outweigh the harms?
By Dr Gary Sidley Retired Clinical Psychologist and Dr Alan Mordue Retired Consultant in Public Health Medicine & Epidemiologist Whilst masks are a successful psychological tool to remind the public to remain alert, they are not effective in preventing the community spread of disease. In the summer of 2020, mandates were introduced to compel healthy […]
‘Zero Covid’ – an impossible dream
By Professor David Livermore Professor of Medical Microbiology It is not realistic to eliminate a respiratory virus like SARS-CoV-2, any more than it is to eliminate the ‘flu or the common cold. Zero Covid is the public health strategy that seeks to eliminate COVID-19. It has influential backers,1 notably Nicola Sturgeon,2 Devi Sridhar,3 Independent SAGE,4 […]
Mutant variants and the futility of border closures
By Dr Gerry Quinn Post-doctoral Researcher in Microbiology and Immunology Mutant variants, emerging overseas or domestically, are an inevitable biological reality once a virus is in the population. On 9 February 2021, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that travellers from ‘hotspot countries’ will be expected to pay £1,750 to stay in one of 16 hotels […]
Economic impacts – the true cost of lockdown
By Professor Marilyn James Professor of Health Economics and Professor David Paton Professor of Industrial Economics “To be young in my generation was to feel that your future had been mortgaged out from under you, and that’s a tragic mistake we must never allow our leaders to make again.” (Ronald Reagan) Devastating economic impacts from […]