Coronavirus: SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies): National lockdown may not be enough to prevent spread of the new COVID-19 variant

Dr Minh Alexander, NHS whistleblower and former consultant psychiatrist 1 January 2021

We have a corrupt and untruthful UK government which has squandered billions in public money on deals during the pandemic which benefited friends but provided poor value for the public.

It has acted too slowly on infection control on repeated occasions.

Even in September, when the Swedish model of seeking herd immunity by natural infection was discredited, the prime minister and chancellor invited advice from proponents of herd immunity by natural infection.

They subsequently ignored mainstream scientific advice and chose not to impose a brief national lockdown to stop a second wave, which inevitably occurred.

Moreover, extremist actors who have supported the current UK government are spreading fake news, denying the seriousness of the COVID-19 crisis, implying that the risks are minimal for people under 60 years old and even falsely claiming that reports of huge strain on the NHS are untrue.

This is a brief post to share source material from the SAGE scientific advisory group meeting on 22 December 2020 which:

  • Gave information about the more infectious new COVID-19 variant
  • Listed as yet unanswered but important questions about the new variant
  • Advised of increasing evidence that children are transmitting virus and that keeping schools open is enabling virus spread via this route
  • Gave advice to the government that without closure of secondary schools, it was “highly unlikely” that virus transmission could be controlled
  • Gave advice to the government that even a full national lockdown might not be sufficient to control virus transmission

This is the critical excerpt from the SAGE minutes:

These were the observers and government officials who were documented to be present at the SAGE meeting on 22 December 2020:

These were the scientists present at the SAGE 22 December 2020 meeting, including Patrick Vallance Government Chief Scientific Advisor and who talked up the benefits of seeking herd immunity by natural infection and Jonathan Van Tam the Deputy Medical Officer.

These are the three SAGE documents from the 22 December meeting:

SAGE 74 minutes: Coronavirus (COVID-19) response, 22 December 2020

EMG/SPI-B/TWEG: Mitigations to reduce transmission of the new variant SARS-CoV-2 virus, 22 December 2020

Children’s Task and Finish Group: update to 4 November 2020 paper on children, schools and transmission – 17 December 2020

We know of course that the government did not act to reduce risk by closing schools or at least secondary schools, and it also allowed Christmas household mixing in some areas, despite SAGE’s above advice on 22 December 2020.

Not only that, it intimidated councils who tried to act on steeply rising infection rates by closing schools. Greenwich borough council closed its schools and the government launched action to force Greenwich to back down. The borough is currently one of the worst infected areas in the country, with some localities with more than a thousand cases per 100,000 resident population. However, the government has made a vindictive political point by allowing some schools to delay reopening in January, but continuing to refuse permission for Greenwich to close its schools. This is a letter from Danny Thorpe Leader of Greenwich council to Gavin Williamson the Education secretary about these events:

It is horrifying but not surprising to learn what SAGE advised the government just before Christmas, and the extent of the government’s cruel recklessness with lives.

We are currently reaping the whirlwind in unprecedented numbers of daily new COVID-19 cases and our hospitals are filling up with COVID-19 patients with some areas such as the South East being forced to evacuate critically ill patients far out of catchment because there are no beds. And the biggest surge is yet to come.

Independent SAGE, a group of experts who set up an alternative advisory group because of the government’s disastrous handling of the pandemic, is calling for an immediate national lockdown.

Stay safe.

Avoid extremists.

Coronavirus: Records of UK Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG)

Patrick Vallance Spectator 13 March 2020: How herd immunity can help fight coronavirus

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