I’ve been reading RT articles again and I just know that Andy West will disapprove! This particular one is written by
Peter Andrews, Irish science journalist and writer based in London. He has a background in the life sciences, and graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in genetics.
But not to worry Andy, I mention it only in passing because it put me on to the report itself, which is rather more interesting. Not that I particularly disagree with the headline:
Britain’s Leicester lockdown is an unjustifiable travesty, based on shoddy figures and a bungled report
The author says:
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?
I thought I would take a look at the actual report and see what it says myself. Firstly, it’s prepared by the so called Rapid Investigation Team, which I found wryly amusing, being so similar to the Rapid Response Team at World Weather Attribution and elsewhere, being a team of crack climate scientists dotted in university departments across the globe, who are on hand to respond to any extreme weather events and rapidly attribute them to climate change, thus generating alarm. In the case of the Rapid Investigation Team we have a group of crack government medics and epidemiological modellers on hand to investigate any ‘unexpected’ rise in Covid cases and attribute them (or not) to an unexpected and alarming rise in Covid cases.
The report begins:
In the last 14 days, 944 cases have been reported – 71 from Pillar 1 [hospital] testing and 873 from Pillar 2 [community].
The apparent sharp rise in cases have all come from community testing (government centres and home test kits), not clinical cases in hospitals, which are declining along with the rest of the country.
The bulk of the new positive cases are in the 18-65 age group though, not, as stated by RT, in the under 19s:
As it turns out, the positive cases are mainly coming from work places, food factories in particular, just like in Germany. So why the hell lock down the whole of Leicester because of some isolated ‘outbreaks’ in food factories? The incompetence of this government is staggering. The ‘outbreaks’ might not even be real and they are certainly not indicative of the ominous beginnings of a second bloody wave of Covid, as Sky News and other media liars would have you believe:
The histogram of pillar 1 and pillar 2 diagnoses appear to suggest that there is an
ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 in Leicester with increasing numbers of cases being
identified on subsequent days, most notably since early June 2020. However, the
absolute change in numbers of clinically unwell cases cannot be readily distinguished from the numbers of new infections (symptomatic and asymptomatic) that might be expected to be seen due to the very significant changes in testing regimes that have occurred during the period mid-March to late June.
The rise in pillar 2 diagnose is probably linked, in part, to the availability of testing to the general public, and at least one component of the rise in new diagnoses is due to a
steadily increasing proportion of infections (symptomatic and asymptomatic) being identified rather than a true increase in the number of new infections occurring.
There is an almost linear rise in the numbers of new cases being identified from the
beginning of May until mid-June. However, this is not characteristic of unconstrained growth of an epidemic from an organism that is well characterised as having an R0≈3.
So, again, how does this justify locking down the poor people of Leicester?
However, just to illustrate how grossly incompetent the government are, the report then says:
The proportion of positive PCR tests (as a proportion of all test) is rising. This is
suggestive of a genuine increase in numbers of new infections, not simply an artefact of increasing test rates.
This appears to be in direct contradiction to their previous statement that “at least one component of the rise in new diagnoses is due to a steadily increasing proportion of infections (symptomatic and asymptomatic) being identified rather than a true increase in the number of new infections occurring.”
One moment the data is probably not suggestive of a genuine increase in infections, the next moment it is! Bloody hell. If only the people of Leicster could know why their lives are being put on hold for at least another two weeks.
But then they say something very interesting:
This effect [proportion of positive PCR test rising] is most marked in the under 19-year-old group where the proportion of test positive cases fell to ≈5% (across all age groups) after the end of the initial epidemic peak, and has climbed back from mid-May to a current value of ≈15%.
The proportion of positive tests in working age people has also risen to ≈15%
In the bulk of the test data (18-64) there has been an increase in the proportion of positive PCR tests to total number of tests to the new value of 15%. In children, it’s increased much faster from 5% to 15%.
The graph shows that it appears to have peaked at 15% and is now declining:
The herd immunity threshold for Covid-19 (allowing for T-cell mediated immunity via exposure to other coronaviruses) is variously estimated at 7-20%. Is it just coincidence that the proportion of positive PCR tests in Leicster (in children and adults) have reached 15% and do not appear to be going beyond that figure? Why Leicester though, and not the East Midlands (black on the graph above)? Is this a very big clue:
Since the beginning of June there has been good provision of primary school access for
children in Leicester, with 38% of the all age school capacity now being available (we
believe that secondary access is currently still restricted to children of essential
workers); and of this 94% of child-day place availability capacity is being utilised.
We have been unable to provide any analytical link to correlate this observation with
any real or apparent rise in new infections in the Leicester area. However, it would
seem sensible to investigate this association to exclude any evidence of the recent rise
in observed case numbers of being linked to a return of larger numbers of children to
Could it in fact be that in Leicester, where significant numbers of young children have actually been attending school, infections in the community have risen quite rapidly to the herd immunity threshold as a result? Kids get the infection easily, then pass it onto parents and siblings etc.? Deaths and hospitalisations not rising, so no really detrimental consequences of the more widespread infection of children and adults below 65. Is Leicester being locked down because, ironically, it is now one of the few places in England which has actually reached the Covid-19 herd immunity threshold? That is a very unsettling thought to contemplate.