It is an article of faith: climate change is dangerous. Dare to criticise that view and, as a non scientist, you will be labelled a ‘climate denier’ and a crank. As a scientist, you will also be called a denier and a crank, as well as being ex-communicated, ostracised, hounded, disciplined, humiliated, vilified, cancelled, forced out of your job even. Dare to question the validity of epidemiological models which portray Covid-19 as a killer pandemic which, without lockdown, will cut through the populace like a knife, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives and overwhelming health services and you are similarly frowned upon by the prevailing epidemiological oligarchy.
At a recent online meeting of Nobel laureates outside of the field of epidemiology, prizewinners complained that:
researchers have ‘stuck to a line’ about the pandemic’s danger in order to get politicians to listen – risking open debate
Scientists have “circled the wagons” during the coronavirus pandemic, Nobel laureates have argued, and been afraid to have a truly open debate about whether the virus is as deadly as feared and if lockdowns are justified.
Michael Levitt, a winner of the chemistry prize in 2013 and, since February, an outspoken contrarian voice on the pandemic, said he had received only “abuse” from fellow scientists for questioning predictions of catastrophic death tolls.
Sounds all too familiar doesn’t it?
Michael Levitt questioned very early on whether the virus was as dangerous as it was being portrayed, thus questioning the measures being put in place to mitigate its impact, but he was drowned out by howls of outrage from the domain experts using human lives as their shield and wielding the formidable ‘precautionary principle’ as their sword.
Using statistical analysis across different countries with varying degrees of lockdown, Professor Levitt has repeatedly and publicly argued that the virus slows far earlier than would be expected if everyone was susceptible, possibly indicating some kind of prior immunity.
Just 15 per cent of the population needs to be infected to reach herd immunity, he believes.
“The data had very clear things to say,” he told the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, an annual gathering of prizewinning academics and young researchers, itself moved online due to coronavirus.
But when sharing his results, “nobody said to me, ‘let me check your numbers’. They all just said, ‘stop talking like that’,” he said.
He may have been wrong. He may still be wrong (but the lack of huge numbers of deaths and ongoing research into immunity suggests he is not. But the point is, the domain experts keen to convince politicians of their expertise and keen to have politicians listen to them, and them only, came down heavily on him, dismissing his valid scepticism, even though he is obviously an extremely well qualified scientist.
At the beginning of the crisis, scientists failed to collectively ask basic questions like “does this thing grow exponentially”, said Professor Levitt, Robert W. and Vivian K. Cahill professor in cancer research at Stanford University.
Physicists and theoretical chemists “who understand trajectories” were often better qualified to analyse the pandemic than epidemiologists, who “see their job not as getting things correct, but preventing an epidemic”, leading them to overstate the threat, he argued in a debate on the role of science in a crisis.
“We should never have listened to the epidemiologists,” Professor Levitt said. “They have caused hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of suffering and damage, mainly on the younger generation,” he said. “It’s going to make 9/11 look like a baby story.”
Now look where we are, because we let a few ‘experts’ like Professor Ferguson of Imperial College and others convince us that Covid-19 was far more dangerous than it has actually turned out to be (barring a rather unlikely extremely deadly second wave or hidden deadly long term consequencs arising from being infected, even in those experiencing mild or no apparent symptoms).
Where epidemiologists differ from climate scientists though is that they are not immune to inconvenient data and research, which is pouring in all the time re. Covid-19, undermining the original assumptions about the impacts of the disease. Deaths have declined to single figures in all areas of the UK and the ratio of deaths to hospitalisations has declined also, suggesting either that treatment is better or the disease has already become less deadly, or both.
There’s also a steady stream now of research by immunologists suggesting that many people have innate prior partial or full immunity to Covid-19 (via exposure to other coronaviruses – a “dumbshit theory” according to Steven Mosher), thus significantly lowering the herd immunity threshold from Ferguson’s estimated 60 or 70% to 15-20%. Ferguson’s model imagined a runaway freight train hitting the buffers at full speed with hundreds of thousands dying absent interventions (but not full lockdown, I might add – that was a political decision) from government. The ‘immunological dark matter‘ consisting of T-cells in human bodies exposed to other coronaviruses is a heavy loco breaking steadily in front of this runaway train, slowing it down and eventually stopping it in its tracks.
In the Telegraph yesterday:
Large numbers of the population may have natural immunity against coronavirus even if they have never been infected, scientists believe.
Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, who is leading an Oxford team to develop a vaccine, said there was likely to be a “background level” of protection for a “significant number of people”.
Recent studies have suggested the immune system can be primed by other coronaviruses, such as the common cold, giving the body a head start in fighting off Covid-19.
Research shows that a separate part of the immune system, T-cells, respond to chains of amino acids produced by different types of coronaviruses and may be responsible for stopping the virus in people who never show symptoms. Crucially, those T-cells die off in older people, which may be why they are far more likely to develop a more serious illness.
“There is certainly evidence that people who have been infected with Covid-19 have not developed antibodies but have developed a T-cell response, and that would be likely to protect them against another infection. I think you have to keep an open mind about whether you have a large number of people who have protective T-cells in the absence of antibodies.”
A recent study suggested children may be protected from coronavirus because they catch so many colds.
Unlike other conditions, such as flu, children rarely develop a severe case of Covid-19 even though they appear to catch the disease as much as adults.
The common cold is caused by four different types of coronavirus which circulate in the community and are largely harmless. But while adults pick up a cold around two to four times a year, school age children catch an average of 12 colds annually, studies have shown, which may give them an advantage in battling off coronavirus.
But yeah, stop the kids from going to school, stop adults from getting so close to one another, force them to wear masks when there isn’t even an epidemic, thus reducing their exposure to other coronaviruses and therefore possibly inhibiting their T-cell mediated natural immunity. Now deaths have declined to single figures, it’s all about local lockdowns and stopping infections among adults and children which are highly unlikely to lead to an increase in deaths or more widespread re-emergence of the virus (the dreaded second wave), rather more likely to delay the UK reaching the probable 15-20% herd immunity necessary to contain the disease naturally. Makes sense doesn’t it?
These three tweets from Professor Balloux say a lot:
By shutting down schools and by keeping silly ‘bubbles’ in place when (if) they go back in September, the government may be seriously reducing T-cell mediated immunity from developing in younger children especially, who have not been exposed to the full range of coronaviruses.
Meanwhile, back in the climate domain, the ‘experts’ at the Met Office carry on regardless in their claims of how dangerous anthropogenic climate change is going to be – because nobody can really check their wild claims unless they happen to have a Tardis. Thus, a new study by (of course) Stott of the Met and other scientists purports to demonstrate that 40C temperatures in the UK will happen on average once every 3.5 years under RCP8.5 (groan) and once every 15 years on average by 2100 under a “medium emissions scenario”. It’s not an emissions scenario, it’s a concentration pathway, dummies! Didn’t you get the memo from Richard Betts? If though, like Michael Shellenburger, you dare to say that climate change is real, but it’s nowhere near as dangerous as has been made out and we’re probably not going to be fried by heatwaves every few years, you get cancelled by the climate obsessed and doubts cast upon you by well known (C)AGW believing scientists named Rice on account solely of the types of people who have promoted your opinions.