Woolhouse
© Ian Georges
Professor Mark Woolhouse: 'This is a very discriminatory virus.'
There was a distinctive moment, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, that neatly encapsulated the mistakes and confusion of Britain's early efforts to tackle the disease, says Mark Woolhouse. At a No 10 briefing in March 2020, cabinet minister Michael Gove warned the virus did not discriminate. "Everyone is at risk," he announced.

And nothing could be further from the truth, argues Professor Woolhouse, an expert on infectious diseases at Edinburgh University. "I am afraid Gove's statement was simply not true," he says. "In fact, this is a very discriminatory virus. Some people are much more at risk from it than others. People over 75 are an astonishing 10,000 times more at risk than those who are under 15."


Comment: Notably the government admitted it was an untrue statement in its other propaganda messaging by claiming that a 'human shield' was needed to stop 'young people killing their granny'. Moreover, for the vast majority of people were at no risk from the coronavirus, because it is little more than the flu.


And it was this failure to understand the wide variations in individual responses to Covid-19 that led to Britain's flawed responses to the disease's appearance, he argues - errors that included the imposition of a long-lasting, national lockdown. This is a strategy that Woolhouse - one of the country's leading epidemiologists - describes as morally wrong and highly damaging in his forthcoming book, The Year the World Went Mad: A Scientific Memoir.


Comment: It wasn't a 'failure of understanding', this was a government driven fearmongering policy that intentional sought to obfuscate th e facts in order to further an agenda, and it worked; much of the population was so fearful it lost the ability to think critically: Whistleblower reveals how hystericised BBC staff abandoned balanced Covid reporting in favor of pushing for lockdowns


"We did serious harm to our children and young adults who were robbed of their education, jobs and normal existence, as well as suffering damage to their future prospects, while they were left to inherit a record-breaking mountain of public debt," he argues. "All this to protect the NHS from a disease that is a far, far greater threat to the elderly, frail and infirm than to the young and healthy.


Comment: It wasn't just 'young adults' who were at extremely low risk, it was adults more generally.


"We were mesmerised by the once-in-a-century scale of the emergency and succeeded only in making a crisis even worse. In short, we panicked. This was an epidemic crying out for a precision public health approach and it got the opposite."


Comment: People were hystericised by a globally coordinated propaganda campaign, even psychologists could see that: Psychologists accuse UK government of using 'unethical' fear tactics on people to enforce lockdown


Rather than imposing blanket lockdowns across the nation, the government should have adopted measures designed to make contacts safe, Woolhouse maintains. "You can see from the UK data that people were reducing their contacts with each other as cases rose and before lockdown was imposed. That, coupled with Covid-safe measures, such as masks and testing, would have been sufficient to control spread."


Comment: Testing and masks have been shown to have little to no impact on Covid-19 transmission, nor are they even necessary. However, what this does reveal is that people are more than capable of modifying their own behaviour, even if it was driven, in part, by a nefarious behavioural engineering campaign.


Largely voluntary behaviour change worked in Sweden and it should have been allowed to progress in the UK, argues Woolhouse. Instead, we plumped for an enforced national lockdown, in part because, for the first time in history, we could. Enough business is now done online to allow large parts of society to function fairly well - through video conferences and online shopping.


Comment: It seems the professor is oblivious to the economic and human devastation that these ongoing lockdowns are wreaking. He seems to think that the world turns thanks to Amazon shopping and Zoom calls.


"But it was a lazy solution to a novel coronavirus epidemic, as well as a hugely damaging one," he adds.


Comment: It was far from lazy. Coronavirus fearmongering has been one of the establishment's most concerted, energy-intensive, and successful propaganda campaigns ever.


However, Woolhouse is at pains to reject the ideas of those who advocated the complete opening up of society, including academics who backed the Barrington Declaration which proposed the Covid-19 virus be allowed to circulate until enough people had been infected to achieve herd immunity.

"This would have led to an epidemic far larger than the one we eventually experienced in 2020," says Woolhouse. "It also lacked a convincing plan for adequately protecting the more vulnerable members of society, the elderly and those who are immuno-compromised."


Comment: Sweden did not suffer an 'epidemic far larger' than anywhere else, in fact it has been shown that countries locked down have suffered higher mortality rates, both by delaying herd immunity but, more significantly, by denying primary health care.


Instead, the country should have put far more effort into protecting the vulnerable.


Comment: Instead from the US to the UK, the elderly and the vulnerable were treated even worse than they normally are; they were deprived of care and human contact, they were knowingly put at risk, and some were manipulated them into signing Do Not Resucitate orders.


Well over 30,000 people died of Covid-19 in Britain's care homes. On average, each home got an extra £250,000 from the government to protect against the virus, he calculates. "Much more should have been spent on providing protection for care homes," says Woolhouse, who also castigates the government for offering nothing more than a letter telling those shielding elderly parents and other vulnerable individuals in their own homes to take precautions.

The nation could have spent several thousand pounds per household on provision of routine testing and in helping to implement Covid-safe measures for those shielding others and that would still have amounted to a small fraction of the £300bn we eventually spent on our pandemic response, he argues.


Comment: The true cost of the lockdowns is nearly incalculable; how does one quantify the disruption to child development, deaths of despair and soaring mental health issues?


Indeed, Woolhouse is particularly disdainful of the neglect of "shielders", such as care home workers and informal carers. "These people stood between the vulnerable and the virus but, for most of 2020, they got minimal recognition and received no help."


Comment: It gets worse: these carers are now being fired for refusing the jabs that don't prevent infection or transmission - that they managed fine without for over a year of the 'pandemic' - and, in turn, carehomes are suffering critical staff shortages.


Britain spent a fortune on suppressing the virus and will still be servicing the debt incurred for generations to come, he adds. "By contrast, we spent almost nothing on protecting the vulnerable in the community. We should and could have invested in both suppression and protection. We effectively chose just one."

And Woolhouse is emphatic that further lockdowns are not the way to deal with future waves of Covid-19. "Lockdowns aren't a public health policy. They signify a failure of public health policy," he states.


Comment: They never were a public health policy; in fact no country considered lockdowns to be a public health policy until the beginning of the contrived coronavirus crisis when, suddenly, and rather suspiciously, they rewrote years of pandemic planning to include lockdowns.


Instead, the country needs, very quickly, not to be surprised by new variants and not to respond each one in an ad hoc fashion. "We should agree a sliding scale of interventions and trigger points for implementing them. With omicron it all feels a bit chaotic. We need better planning and preparation for when the next variant arrives, as it surely will."