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4 Jul, 2020 08:04

Britain’s Leicester lockdown is an unjustifiable travesty, based on shoddy figures and a bungled report

Britain’s Leicester lockdown is an unjustifiable travesty, based on shoddy figures and a bungled report

The so-called ‘outbreak’ of Covid-19 in the English city of Leicester, which has precipitated a second lockdown there, has been driven by the young and people under 40. The very people who aren’t much at risk of death.

On Monday, the UK government announced that schools in Leicester will be shut to all children except those of essential workers. Furthermore, all non-essential shops and businesses have been closed. They’re back in the deep freeze, so to speak.

The lockdown was not based on a report, but rather the whisperings and rumours surrounding a report, which was released only on Wednesday evening. This report is by Public Health England – specifically a crack department of people who have given themselves the spiffy name Rapid Investigation Team, as if they are Power Rangers in spectacles.

These boffins got worried when they expected testing over a 10-day period in Leicester to reveal 582 infections, but – shock horror! – 711 were recorded. Hardly a spike. Is it even a blip? Clearly these crack minds have never seen Forrest Gump, who taught us the eternal lesson: “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Apparently, for the Rapid Investigation Team, not guessing the exact piddling number of cases was unacceptable, and the citizens of Leicester had to pay.

Gotta do Gupta again – sorry

It’s getting to the point where I’m having to cite Professor Sunetra Gupta in every article, and her statement (of what should be the obvious) that case numbers are too dependent on the level of testing to be relevant, and only the number of Covid-19 deaths should be important.

The MSM won’t shut up about cases these days, presumably because there aren’t enough deaths for them to scare people with. So, suddenly, the dial’s being turned up on testing, tracking, tracing, only it’s about four months too late.

Back to the report, which states “The rise in pillar 2 diagnoses is probably linked, in part, to the availability of testing to the general public … rather than a true increase in the number of new infections occurring.” In other words, plain English ones, this is all bunkum, because what’s increasing is the number of tests and not the true level of infections. Someone should tell Public Health England that the number of positive Covid-19 tests bears only the flimsiest of relations to public health.

One would expect the line after this to provide a counterargument, a reason why there may actually be some – any – reason to believe Leicester needed to be locked down. But no. The next line explains how the change in case numbers over time “is not characteristic of unconstrained growth of an epidemic”. And to cap it off, the report ends with the conclusion: “Evidence for the scale of the outbreak is limited.” So, WTF?

Can’t anyone in the government count?

Sometimes one wonders what the point is in making an argument against government policy, when the policies themselves are repeatedly based on juvenile misunderstandings and blunders.

Councillor Francesco Lari, leader of the independents in Nottingham, which neighbours Leicester, tweeted on Friday to show how the UK government had over-reported the number of cases by 29,726 because it counted some twice. “Deduplication” is the fancy term it uses for not being able to do sums, because you can’t expect the Rapid Investigation Team to get every calculation right! After all, when it comes to decisions of great importance that will profoundly affect the lives of hundreds of thousands, rapidity is the name of the game!

Even if they had got all their sums right, and there was an upsurge in cases that warranted action, the report makes clear that it is in the “under 19-year-old group”. That is, children. You know, those small humans who don’t get Covid-19, or if they do, are infinitesimally at risk of dying if they do? Just 0.05 percent of deaths from coronavirus have been of people aged under 19, and those under 40 represent only 0.7 percent. If the purpose of a lockdown is to save lives, whose lives do Public Health England think they are saving here?

In conclusion, there was patently no cause to lock down the people of Leicester, just as previously there was no real cause to lock down Britain, unless you wanted to kill more people through a deep and lasting recession than Covid-19 ever will.

As Mr Lari has pronounced, Leicester is “a whole city locked down on wrong data”, and the only two possible reasons for that are gross incompetence or a nefarious ulterior motive.  Perhaps we’ll be able to deduce which by whether we see a spate of sackings as a result of this latest omnishambles. And I know who I’d start with, Prime Minister.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.