“Following the science” – Really?

A catchy mantra perhaps to help insulate Governments from responsibility, but is this really a credible excuse for the biggest self-inflicted collapse in economic activity and personal liberty since WW2? Relying on the output of a “scientific model” may sound sensible, but when that model is based on incomplete, if not flawed data, then the conclusions could be worse than worthless. Digging a hole and hiding in it might seem rational approach to avoiding a communicable disease, but not if the collateral damage is worse; something rarely included in these models.

At the very least, one might have hoped that after five months of this pandemic we would have some reliable data on the rate of asymptomatic infections, from which one might deduce the overall level of infections and importantly the real mortality rate of this disease and by demographic and health groups. Is COVID-19 no more dangerous to certain groups than a bad influenza year and if so, perhaps the focus could be more easily placed on those at risk groups instead? What has been plainly obvious from the start was that Governments would not be able to sustain lockdowns until a possible vaccine availability, so are now being caught in their own policy cul de sacs in trying to justify reopening markets while without any effective mitigations – what a mess!!

Even the normally unflappable Dr John Campbell seemed exasperated at the parlous state of data on the rate of asymptomatic cases, where studies suggest anywhere between 5% to 80%. Hardly the basis for an informed estimate of the real infection and mortality rates which must lie at the heart of any policy response by governments. Dr Campbell’s summary of the various studies to date are an excellent, if not essential analysis and is well worth watching.