Exceptionalism the scientific community which is justifying exceptional govt policies is killing us. Yet, some of our scientists seem to continue to justify this in the face of overwhelming evidence for failure. Why?
A thread.
I'm seeing actual scientists/medics saying that our govts policy of mass infection through summer was a good one because we've got more 'population immunity' than Europe now, and this will protect us through winter. Let's examine this claim.
A central argument to this claim is that exposure to mass infection over summer - to prevent future infection over winter was a good thing. First, this argument doesn't pass basic scrutiny because vaccines are a much safer and more effective way to get 'population immunity'
Let's be clear- this argument is in many ways no different from the earlier 'herd immunity by infection' arguments we heard in March- if we'd listened to them then, it would've been disastrous. Paying heed to them now is still disastrous.
These arguments treat infection as inevitable- in that you'll get infected and have to deal with the consequences of that at some point anyway, so why not now? Many reasons. Vaccines are just one of these.
Vaccines are now available for almost all age groups- we could have vaccinated many of the groups (predominantly children) who were exposed, or mitigated while waiting for vaccines to be approved in younger children to not expose them to the impact of infection. We did neither.
Consequences of mass infection over summer:
We've had >14,000 deaths over the summer - higher than almost every other Western European country, and *massive* increases in long COVID reported by the ONS in young people in recent months.
We've had one of the highest rates of cumulative confirmed infection and deaths across Western Europe. While Italy has had higher deaths/million than us, they're at least trying to contain these now, so that deaths have been flat recently, whereas in the UK they're still rising!
Our death rates are almost 1.5-2x higher than Austria and Germany, so if you're comparing us to them in cross section now and saying- hey look our exceptional and frankly nutty strategy of mass infection was the right one, think again!
Just the increases in long COVID in children and young people over the last few months have been shocking- all of this is a result of our exceptional policy:
This wouldn't be a justifiable way to get to 'herd immunity' anyway, but the worst part of it is that our cases are still rising! And not from the much lower points they started rising in Germany and Austria.
They're rising from 30-40K/day at a point in time our healthcare services are have been overwhelmed for months! Which means we have an unprecented number of people waiting for care, because we've been in disaster medicine mode for *months*.
We have a healthcare force that's decimated- with exhaustion, trauma, depression, and long COVID. Because we didn't think there was a cost to mass infection. There is. A massive one.
And yet, we continue to make the same mistakes. We still present our exceptional policy of >160,000 deaths, and >1 million people living with long COVID as a success! Did we know something the rest of Europe didn't? No. We just thought we did. And that led to many more deaths.
Similar with JCVI- the thinking that somehow we knew better than other countries - justifying our exceptional policies of delaying vaccination for children, considering 'healthy' children as not at risk. And we're making the same mistakes again.
There's a global scientific consensus- worth looking at the evidence behind it, and even our own evidence which all points in the same direction. No, we don't know better. Our death rates, long COVID rates, including in kids, & the decimation of the NHS shows us this objectively.
So, please please stop with the 'we knew better than the rest of Europe, or the world' rhetoric. It's literally killing us.
You made the same arguments in March. You were wrong then, and are still wrong. Suffering and death isn't inevitable. It can be prevented. And what's the endgame? You didn't see vaccines coming. You didn't see boosters coming. You didn't see new treatments coming.
All of these are saving lives. And a third of our population isn't even vaccinated yet!! Why on earth would you think now is better than later. Why not protect people with vaccination before exposing them to a novel virus that causes multi-system disease and death.
Why not give more people boosters? Why not wait to vaccinate our children, and the treatments being developed everyday that protect more people's lives while using simple measures like mask mandates, better ventilation, good TTI systems to keep them safe?
The 'if not now, when?' argument is a false and dangerous one. Don't fall for it.
And no, we haven't achieved 'population immunity' despite all the harms of mass infection (people who promoted these arguments clearly don't understand natural infection and immunity in children)- because cases are still rising!

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More from @dgurdasani1

23 Nov
More pseudoscience propaganda from the BBC.

We've escaped the 'worst of what's being seen in the continent' because we've already got the highest total death rate, we've already killed 14,000 people since 'freedom day' (more than any other country in Europe) & maimed >1 million
What Nick doesn't tell you could fill a phD thesis.
The UK has one of the lowest vaccine rates in Western Europe totally (just above Austria and Germany but below other countries) because of massive delays in vaccinating children & shambolic roll out. Image
We have twice the cumulative deaths of Germany, and the third highest total deaths in Western Europe- close to Belgium and Italy. Italy seems to have learned it's lessons, and cumulative deaths are now flat, while ours? Still rising! >2 in 1000 people overall have died of COVID Image
Read 10 tweets
22 Nov
What's disturbing is a conference abstract (one of thousands presented-*not* a peer review paper) providing no information on numbers, research methods & correlating immune biomarkers post-vaccination with probability of acute coronary syndrome being disseminated in this way.
We have extensive evidence from the CDC on millions vaccinated on outcomes in patients which very clearly shows that both short and long term impacts from COVID-19 far outweigh any risks from vaccination. Vaccine myocarditis is typically mild & in recovers fully in most.
COVID myocarditis (and other COVID impacts) are far more serious, and more common. Anyone giving warnings about vaccine-myocarditis (with no details of methods, incidence rates or clinical correlates) without talking about impacts of COVID-19 should be treated with scepticism.
Read 5 tweets
21 Nov
Myth busting thread: Vaccines *do* reduce transmission- even with delta. Anyone who says otherwise (and I've seen many scientists say this recently to rationalise not vaccinating children!) is misinterpreting the evidence. Let me explain
There are two levels of protection against transmission:
1. Protection against infection (if you don't get infected you can't transmit)
2. Protection against transmission *if* breakthrough infection occurs
When many people say there isn't protection against transmission, they're talking about 2. - that is- if you get infected, you can still transmit delta efficiently. But that doesn't account for the fact that you are *less likely* to get infected in the first place.
Read 17 tweets
21 Nov
So I presume he has access to information that the ACIP at the CDC didn't in their analysis which was made accessible and available publicly?
And the risk of covid myocarditis- both in frequency and severity is greater than vaccine myocarditis which has not results in a single fatality and is typically mild. COVID myocarditis unfortunately has led to death, in children who could be alive had they been vaccinated.
Oh, and on the point that vaccines don't prevent transmission- they definitely do!! Substantially as a single measure in fact- between 50-70%. Perhaps even more so in children. Even real-world data from England backs this up, with drops in teenagers correlating with uptake:
Read 6 tweets
21 Nov
This is outrageous and deeply offensive. The fact that Asian and black people have 2-3 times higher death rates than white people doesn't have to do with pulse oximeters. It has to do with structural racial discrimination, deep social and health inequalities. Please stop.
So many of this govts hostile policies already contribute to this structural discrimination, and the anti-immigration rhetoric has stoked so much hate. Please stop denying the painful lived experience of minorities, after having spent decades contributing to that pain.
And I want to say that as a medic I've used pulse oximeters every single day on hundreds of patients, and believe me, medical device bias isn't the reason people die. It's racism and denial of this that kills.
Read 6 tweets
19 Nov
Our commentary on the Smith et al @NatureMedicine paper on child deaths in England up to Feb '21
led by @LawtonTri
Key takeaways:
-their results actually validate ONS data
-ONS data now has >70 deaths in 0-19 yr olds
-population rates are v. misleading!
The premise of the study is unclear to me- it seems to just recapitulate ONS data from death certification (done by the treating clinician), so not sure why all these cases were reviewed. It's bizarre that the paper doesn't seem to mention ONS data or compare with this at all.
By contrast to the reports from the paper, the vast majority of PHE deaths 'with COVID-19' are currently 'from' COVID-19- unlike during the period covered by the paper. And infection rates in children, and deaths are unfortunately the highest they've ever been.
Read 7 tweets

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