Covid-19 - who is really to blame, the science, several possible cures and a few absurdities.

This section of my website contains a collation of some of the most compelling scientific references I have found during months of being interested in the coronavirus topic. Some of the references were provided via a forum where other scientists and engineers discuss all manner of topics ranging from investments to the environment and (more recently) epidemiology! My original interest in Covid-19 was its implications for folk dancing - which has recently become a potentially dangerous hobby.

The material only covers a period to about early May 2020, after which time the number of references exploded. Some later perspectives are provided but for the most part this is a summary of early views and knowledge. Two of the most notable developments by early June 2020 were that Professor Ferguson's work in advising the government based on an assumed R value as low as 2.4 led to the disease being treated as far less serious than might have otherwise been the case. The delay in 'lockdown' in the UK cost many lives - probably tens of thousands. The second point is that genetic studies of the virus showed that there was no such thing as 'patient zero', a single person arriving in the UK and from which all other cases derived. It is postulated that there were as many as 1300 cases brought into the UK, mainly from Europe (Spain, Italy etc) during the early period, and that closing the borders then could have dramatically reduced the UK infection rate. Closing the borders or quarantining arrivals commencing mid June 2020 seems a particularly good example of ineptitude and political posturing, even by the standards of Priti Patel.

SYNOPSIS of Covid 19 section.

The key point that was almost ignored by mainstream media in the early days (February and March 2020) is that the whole coronavirus pandemic was PREDICTED and need never have occurred had politicians listened to the scientists who (following SARS and MERS) foresaw that the next animal - human virus transmission would occur as a consequence of the extensive abuse of wildlife that occurs world-wide but especially in Asia.

A useful summary is an article in the UK Guardian newspaper of 29 April 2020 - at a time when lock-down was still in place but being weakened by people having decided (variously) to go back to work or to undertake more extensive shopping or leisure activities.

There has been suspicion that the pandemic originated instead via accidental spread of the virus from a laboratory in Wuhan (that was known to be studying coronaviruses in bats) rather than from the meat markets in the same town. Links are given below including to China's attempts to supress information and their failure promptly to notify the WHO of human to human transmission. The Chinese government has a long history of supressing information that dates from before the massacre of 1989 in Tiananmen Square - an event that has been all but expunged from official Chinese history. Another theory of the origin, put forward by a German scientist is the widespread breeding in China of racoon dogs for their fur.

In the UK, and after years of cuts to basic scientific research, it seems ironic that the government have stressed at every opportunity that they were being guided by the science, especially as they made such a mess of handling the initial stages of the pandemic by promoting a simplistic 'herd immunity' model. Unlike in China, the UK government has been largely unable to limit discussion on any 'leaked' documents.

The country arguably most to blame for the pandemic is China - as is explained below. Other Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia could equally have been the source of a new disease especially if the origin is eventually confirmed to have been a 'wet meat market'.

It is politically incorrect to call Covid-19 the Wuhan virus or the Chinese virus. But it is logically and factually correct. The lasting effects of the pandemic are likely to include a large extension of the Police State, especially via electronic surveillance. This will apply both in the UK and elsewhere. The worst excesses may occur in countries that already have authoritarian governments - especially China and Russia.

Whilst about 80% of the deaths from Covid-19 are in people who would probably have died anyway within a year (owing to old age and/or underlying chronic or acute illnesses) many of the deaths in younger people may be linked to unhealthy diets and/or lifestyles - in a nutshell they are unfit and/or overweight and suffer from diabetes, obesity and other often preventable conditions. This is turn means that their heart and lungs may already be 'overloaded' or otherwise compromised and therefore less able to deal with a virus infection. A few may not have known they had some underlying weakness. Overall however, successive governments and their health ministers have in effect presided over a National Sickness Service (rather than a National Health Service). Their failure to address poor dietary and exercise habits have contributed to many Covid-19 deaths and to much of the multi-billion pound economic dislocation caused by the weeks of 'lockdown'. It might have been much less expensive to ensure that the nation (and indeed people throughout the world) were both physically fit and properly fed! Having adequate vitamin D levels has been suggested as an important factor in limiting the more severe phases of the disease.

A highly critical article in The Daily Telegraph of 29 April written by Dr Aseem Malhotra, an NHS Cardiologist and Professor of Evidence Based Medicine, centred attention on the UK government's failure over several decades to address obesity as a key parameter of the nation's health.

If you find the content here interesting, please pass this page to your contacts. Many of the early scientific references are given below - I'm not expecting you either to understand them all or indeed to agree with them all! The link is www.seered.co.uk/covid.htm

There are probably millions of references to the new corona virus on the internet. I have collated some that I considered were the most lucid and credible during the early days of the pandemic.

Part of my scientific career within government brushed up against epidemiology and health economics, including calculations of preventable premature deaths, so I know the basics. I was also involved in studies of how to address lung cancer caused by radon.

Amidst all the over-reaction and incompetent policies of some governments it is necessary to keep a sense of perspective - and to retain some humour. Covid-19 is nothing like as severe an illness as it might have been, and from that we should learn some serious lessons for the future management of the Earth, and especially how we treat animals and the environment.

Will people and especially corrupt and despotic governments take heed? I doubt it.

covid animals.jpg (165989 bytes)

Other sections of this website are devoted to aspects of folk dancing in the UK - one of my hobbies over the last 20 years. At an early stage of the coronavirus outbreak, it was clear that local folk dance clubs should close for an extended period. Folk festivals were markedly slower to respond: they had (and have) far more to lose by postponing their events for a year (or maybe more). Almost as an aside, there is some discussion of the importance of 'social distancing' as applied to folk dance and similar 'close contact' events, and in the context of the risk from 'super-spreaders' of the virus. Folk dancing is an excellent way to keep fit - but sadly it has, for a while, arguably become an especially dangerous hobby. All the major folk dance festivals - for example Chippenham, Sidmouth and Towersey were cancelled for 2020. They all seem to be assuming that things will be back to normal by summer 2021!


Contents:

0. Index page.

1. Wet markets, abuses of wildlife, organised crime and the origins of the virus.

2. Folk dancing and the importance of other 'super-spreader' events - experience overseas.

3. Scientists, government scientists, and criticisms of government policy in the UK.

4. How many people will die - no-one can tell until the final reckoning.

5. Policing of lockdown in the UK - the need for police reform (starting at the top?).

6. Religious nutcases and despotic governments (often the same people!)

7. Economics vs. Health - the lockdown cure being worse than the disease?

8. Ventilators and cures.

9. Shaggy dog stories - and wash your hands.

10. Reserved.

Home page of website


Please notify any errors or broken links to the author, Dr Stephen J Wozniak,     email =  stevewozniak42 (AT) hotmail.com