Almost 500 medics and academics have penned a letter to U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson – just hours after the U.S. election has been “decided” – informing him that official Covid data is being “exaggerated” and that talk of a second wave of Covid is “misleading”.
The letter was critical of the government’s handling of the virus and said that the response to the pandemic has been “disproportionate” relative to the risk, according to the Daily Mail.
The group claims that mass testing has “distorted the risk of the virus”, that the high numbers of tests are likely to be producing false positives, and that the infection and death rates need to be put into the context of normal seasonal rates.
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The group of scientists, medics and academics have also claimed that the U.K.’s second wave “has already peaked”:
Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Covid Symptom Study app aiming to track the spread of Covid-19 in the UK, confirmed that there were ‘positive signs’ the country has ‘passed the peak of the second wave’.
The letter is titled “First Do No Harm”. It comes one day after the U.K. confirmed 24,957 positive tests, up 13.9% from the week prior’s total. Immunologist Dr. Charlotte R Bell, pediatrician Dr. Rosamond Jones, and Keith Willison, Professor of Chemical Biology at Imperial College are among those who signed the letter.
“The management of the crisis has become disproportionate and is now causing more harm than good,” it says. “We urge policy-makers to remember that this pandemic, like all pandemics, will eventually pass but the social and psychological damage that it is causing risks becoming permanent.”
“After the initial justifiable response to Covid-19, the evidence base now shows a different picture,” it continues.
“The problem of functional false positive rates has still not been addressed and particularly in the context of low prevalence of disease whereby false positives are likely to exceed true positives substantially and moreover correlate poorly with the person being infectious. Alongside this we have the issue that it is normal to see an increase in illness and deaths during the winter months,” the letter continues.
Then, the group points out that the “second wave” may not be any different from a normal U.K. November: “It is notable that [the] UK death rate is currently sitting around average for this time of year. The use of the term ‘second wave’ is therefore misleading. We have the knowledge to enable a policy that protects the elderly and vulnerable without increasing all other health and economic harms and which is not at the expense our whole way of life and particularly that of the nation’s children.”
“The R rate of the coronavirus dropped in five regions of England this week – except London and the South East, where it did not change – and stayed stable at between 1.1 and 1.3 in England and the UK as a whole. Last week marked a drop from 1.2 to 1.4 the week before,” the Daily Mail concluded.
The letter was organized by a group called UsForThem, which opposes strong coronavirus restrictions.