The people of Leicester are confused.
Relieved business owners have been given virtually no notice at all that they need to shut down again, plunging them back into stress and anxiety; sports events that were set to go ahead have been postponed and people who were looking forward to restarting some form of restricted, if highly monitored and controlled, social life have had the chance to meet friends snatched away.
Leicester Council officials all say they understand the need to do this. Yet no one really knows what the reasons are, because none have questioned it. It is lockdown by government decree and nothing more.
Consequently, while the rest of the country is set to further ease lockdown restrictions, the people of Leicester are the first to have a local lockdown. They won’t be the last.
More Cases. So what?
The government state that more people have tested positive in Leicester and they are calling this a “spike” in cases. Even though there own data evidences no such spike. The justification for the lockdown is a complete mystery.
The unquestioning, parrot mainstream media propagandists have reported the numbers without bothering to analyse any of them. The intention is to make sure people remain fearful as instructed by Spi-B, the UK government’s behavioural change guru’s.
The lack of scrutiny of the data is perfectly understandable. It either makes no sense at all or reveals yet more statistical chicanery from the UK government. Something the mainstream media (MSM) clearly aren’t allowed to report.
Speaking on the 29th June, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the people of Leicester why they need to be banged up again:
The seven-day infection rate in Leicester is 135 cases per 100,000 people which is three times higher than the next highest city. Leicester accounts for around 10 per cent of all positive cases in the country over the past week. And admissions to hospital are between six and 10 per day rather than around one a day at other Trusts.”
Following discussions with the government, Leicester City Council reported nearly 944 “new cases” in the last couple of weeks and said that 3,216 people had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 since the start of the outbreak. The BBC reported that 866 of those reported cases occurred in the two week period leading up to the 23rd of June. This represents 4.6% of reported cases (according to official government statistics.)
However, on the 3rd of June, 4 weeks ago, Leicester city council reported 2,226 lab confirmed cases, meaning 990 new cases over the last month. This represents less than 3% of new cases. Still pretty high for just over 0.5% of the British population. Especially when you realise that, thus far, we are talking about a pandemic that has supposedly infected approximately 0.45%, allegedly killing 0.065%, of the populace.
It is not clear how Matt Hancock came up with the 10% figure to rationalise the Leicester lockdown. Given the apparently high case rate in Leicester anyway, this may seem like a pedantic point. However, if the UK’s Health Secretary announces what appears to be an arbitrarily inflated figure to justify the house arrest of hundreds of thousands of British citizens, we need to question that claimed rationale. The MSM won’t.
In truth, the number of positive cases doesn’t mean much. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) influenza causes 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness and, in a bad season can kill up to 650,000 people in a single year. We generally don’t worry too much about this. It’s the flu.
Again, according to the WHO, SARS-CoV-2 has apparently infected just over 10 million people. Up to 80% of these people will be asymptomatic, oblivious that they even have the virus.
The WHO claim that it has killed nearly 510,000 people. Though given that Italy’s National Institute of Health (ISS) found that only 12% of reported COVID 19 deaths were actually attributable to the COVID 19 syndrome, this claim should also be treated with some scepticism.
While flu is an annual occurrence that can kill more people than COVID 19, we are told the only possible solution to COVID 19 is to lock everyone up (now on a sporadic ad-hoc basis in the UK), transform the global economy, wipe out every small to medium size business, destroy high streets, eviscerate the productive economy, enforce the wearing of masks (for no apparent reason) and vaccinate everyone on Earth.
This has never been required for the flu but is vital for COVID 19 because reasons.
The number of new cases has far more to do with the extent of The UK’s testing program than it does with the actual spread of the virus. The virus will do it’s thing regardless of the number of people tested or any government interventions.
Testing simply gives you a glimpse into the overall number of people infected. It doesn’t tell you how many people have been infected, only how many have been tested. So what could possibly account for this alleged spike in SARS-CoV-2 cases in Leicester?
Testing Our Patience
The UK government last updated their Scaling Up Our Testing Program document on April 6th. They split their testing regime into “pillars.”
Pillar 1 focused upon swab testing (RT-PCR) the most vulnerable, the seriously ill and front line key-workers. Pillar 2 expanded the testing to include essential workers in social care and other sectors, and established wider community testing. In Leicester this took the form of booked appointments at various mobile testing units (MTU’s).
From the outset this data collection was plagued with problems.
For example, people who had taken multiple tests were counted as separate individuals, tests were prematurely counted as complete before the results were available and a positive nose swab and throat swab from one individual could be counted as two confirmed cases. While the data has been used to place the people of Leicester under house arrest, within a couple of days the UK government announced that they had simply wiped off 30,302 reported cases due to methodological errors. They then stated:
Due to this change many cases previously not attributed to any area are now included in area totals. This is not a recent surge in cases – the cases now being reported occurred from April onwards.”
This would seem to directly contradict the reasons they have given for placing Leicester into extended lockdown. The MSM hasn’t bothered to report it.
The ongoing methodological problems had previously resulted in the government suspending all reporting of Pillar 2 test results on the 23rd May. So Boris Johnson’s recent response to Keir Starmer that councils had access to this data requires further explanation before anyone can be dumb enough to believe him.
The chair of the UK Statistics Authority David Norgrove wrote to the Health Secretary on 3rd June. Pointing out that the governments figures were both incomplete and incomprehensible, he suggested that testing should serve two purposes.
Firstly to increase understanding of the scale and characteristics of the pandemic and secondly to inform testing programs to make them a useful early warning tool. He wrote:
The way the data are analysed and presented currently gives them limited value for the first purpose. The aim seems to be to show the largest possible number of tests, even at the expense of understanding. It is also hard to believe the statistics work to support the testing programme itself. The statistics and analysis serve neither purpose well.”
Pillar 2 testing is a public private partnership. Companies like Amazon and Boots Pharmacies, along with universities and research institutes, were invited to participate with the government to roll out testing across the country. Obviously home delivery services and pharmacists have a conflict of financial interest. There is no evidence that the government took account of this.
Despite all the problems, frequent retractions and meaningless results, forcing the governments suspension of the reporting of Pillar 2 results, and the widespread criticisms from statisticians and researchers, we are now told that Pillar 2 data is sufficiently reliable to lock up 350,000 people in the Leicester region. Oxford University statistician Jason Oke, speaking of the prerequisites for identifying “spikes” in cases, said:
We can only do that if we have clear data on who’s getting tested and how many people are getting tested, not just total numbers of tests.”
There is no reason to think these problems with Pillar 2 testing have been eliminated. Nor any that it is capable of identifying “spikes” anywhere. This appears to be born out by the Pillar 2 data for Leicester. There is no identifiable spike, just a consistently upwards trend.
The Pillar 2 results are analysed at the so called Lighthouse Labs established in Milton Keynes, Alderley Park (Cheshire), Glasgow and Cambridge. If there is a potential conflict of financial interest in the collection of Pillar 2 data, analysis of submitted tests is more or less defined by it. The Lighthouse public private partnership’s data and resources are provided by Astrazeneca and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Astrazeneca are partnered with Oxford University to develop a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and GSK are partnered in numerous vaccine research projects around the world. Perhaps most notably with the French vaccine giant Sanofi. GSK are the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world and Sanofi are the third. Whether their collaboration will be temporary or more enduring, their collaboration has, temporarily at least, formed a vaccine giant capable of dominating the global market.
With a significant role in producing the Pillar 2 data, neither GSK nor Astrazeneca would be very keen to see the threat of COVID 19 diminish. They have a very clear motivation to potentially make sure that doesn’t happen. Again there is no evidence at all that the UK government has done anything to address this enormous conflict of financial interest at the heart of their Pillar 2 data.
Pillars Of Salt
Leicester’s first Pillar 2 testing centre opened on May 4th, in Birstall Park, and was only for front line and essential key workers. It was reportedly “tightly controlled.”
Leicester based researchers had already noted the unusual early end of the flu season in Leicester. For some reason it concluded in February, making it far more likely that any respiratory illness would be attributed to COVID 19. They noted that the high number of positive test cases in Leicester, and surrounding areas, was primarily a consequence of government testing efforts, not the actual spread of the virus:
“The high positivity rate in our community patients is likely a result of a very targeted local COVID-19 testing program led by the NHS 111 and East Midlands PHE teams, where the COVID-19 case definition became relatively more sensitive and specific outside of our normal seasonal influenza period.”
In the two week period of June 13-16 Leicester City Council announced 80 new positive tests. Not so, say the UK government. There were actually 944. Nearly 12 times more than you thought. You just didn’t count the Pillar 2 figures.
While the government were collecting Pillar 2 data they weren’t sharing it with any local authorities. Perhaps this is because the government had to stop sharing it due to its appalling inaccuracy. Maybe there is no internet in Leicester, Manchester, York nor any of the other cities and regions the government can’t communicate with.
While the nation were being told by the government that COVID 19 had eased sufficiently to generally ease the lockdown regime, it seems the politicians knew differently all along. It turns out, despite reducing cases and mortality, it is actually increasing in some places. We know this thanks to the hitherto secret Pillar 2 data from Amazon, Astrazeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.
Now that the government have decided to share the corporate data they effectively sat on for more than two months, we can see that SARS-CoV-2 is still getting worse. More and more people are becoming infected in the UK. It is orders of magnitude worse than we could have ever possibly imagined. Depending where you live. According to the government and their corporate partners.
The government chose not to disclose any of this during the daily COVID19 briefings to the nation, which ended on June 23rd. Why they didn’t mention this far higher infection rate is inexplicable. Now that the daily briefings have ceased, the government have decided it is time mention it.
The sudden twelve fold increase in new cases compelled Leicester NHS trust, which oversees the running of three hospitals in Leicester, to go into “red alert.” They have reportedly only seen “a slight increase” in cases over recent days. Though the additional 864 cases must surely overrun them soon.
Odd that the surge hasn’t materialised yet. The WHO state that the incubation period between contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the onset of symptoms is between 5-6 days and most of these people were supposedly identified at least two weeks ago. So their absence from hospital merely adds to the mystery.
It is also strange that mortality, allegedly from COVID 19, has been steadily declining in Leicester, just as it has everywhere else in the UK. Local coronavirus data in Leicester is inline with the rest of the country according to local media reports. Fortunately the breakthrough drug Dexamethasone, announced with great fanfare by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was first used to treat COVID 19 patients in Leicester, from June 17th onward. Perhaps this accounts for the incongruent figures?
How can infection rates have been continually escalating in Leicester, since the beginning of March, while mortality has peaked and declined? If the government’s Pillar 2 data is credible, then Leicester’s infection rates do not correspond to its mortality rates. They do however correspond precisely with testing rates.
Writing anonymously, for good reason, a self proclaimed doctor from University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust wrote about the situation in Leicester hospitals. With nowhere near as many cases as anticipated, no sign of any notable risk to staff or really anyone under the age of 65, no perceivable health risk to children or essential workers they wrote about the shared sense of anger building within the medical profession in the area. Noting that 95% of the Pillar 2 data related to under 65’s the doctor could identify no rationale for the Leicester lockdown. They concluded:
Local Lockdown in Leicester is purely a tool of control. It’s a threat to make us behave……Be warned. Given our cases have already started falling, they will be able to call this a success in two weeks. By then it might be your turn.”
We are now living in a country where anywhere, any city, county or region, can be locked down because the government simply releases more test data. In and of itself this means absolutely nothing, but the State can claim it means “danger.”
The UK is becoming a federation of city states which the government can shutdown whenever it likes for any reason it chooses. Just as long as you believe their claims.
The only thing Pillar 2 data tells us is that more people have been tested. It tells us virtually nothing at all about the associated health risks. Though more cases, without corresponding mortality, would suggest the virus is even less dangerous than we have been led to believe.
We commonly have trillions of viruses inhabiting our microbiomes. If infection isn’t unusually hazardous to health, infection rate alone doesn’t describe the risk.
There doesn’t appear to be any perceivable public health benefit for the government’s draconian lockdown of the people in Leicester. Quite the opposite. Lockdowns do present a risk to health. So maybe Leicester’s hospitals will see the anticipated surge after all.
However, the disparity may also be evident because the government’s Pillar 2 data is junk. Regardless, whether plausible or not, there is nothing in it to justify the government’s further destruction of Leicester.