Just done an interview on 5 live, where there was a long discussion on Lilico's anti-mask statements. If we're still debating whether people should wear masks on transport & in shops at a point in time when our NHS is overwhelmed & a new variant is spreading, we're in trouble.
I think as the host of the programme mentioned I don't think the scepticism is as widespread as it's platformed on the media. There are several highly influential actors who are push out anti-vax and anti-mask rhetoric. It's important to go beyond this and address the reality.
In reality the idea that the public won't cope has been pushed by govt messaging for a long time. It's far likely that members of the Tory party won't cope, but the public will if the messaging is good. Messaging and role-modelling has of course been shambolic so far.
I feel bizarre doing media now sometimes because the discussions often feel so far out from the global and UK reality unfolding in front of us.
-we're already seeing cases at 40-50K/day
-our NHS is severely overwhelmed in its capacity to even provide emergency care
->15,000 people have died since July- >18 weeks of excess deaths over baseline
- 5 million cases since July
-Almost 170,000 deaths in total now
-rapidly rising long COVID numbers
-there is zero slack in our healthcare system
- and now - community transmission of omicron
30% of our population still not received 2 doses of vaccination.
We can't be debating mask mandates on transport & shops. We need to be talking about mask grade, mitigations in schools, vaccination of children, caps on gatherings. Other countries are doing these things.
I know we live in a hopium and fake reality bubble in the UK where global evidence, and science has limited place, but we need to desperately break out of this. This virus is adapting. If we don't adapt to it, we'll be selected out, not it. Treat pathogens with respect not denial

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More from @dgurdasani1

28 Nov
Masking in 'communal areas'. Seriously? What is the evidence behind this? Do you honestly believe that transmission doesn't happen in classrooms where children breathe shared air for literally hours! @kprather88
Literally almost every other country, including in Europe have mask mandates in schools- both primary & secondary, and in some high-grade masks provided by govt. And they have far higher vaccination rates in adolescents, and lower infection rates than us!
Infection rates rapidly rising and highest in primary & secondary school children. Some of the poorest mitigations in schools across W. Europe, and no isolation of contacts required. Every new variant spread disproportionately through school outbreaks.
And we're doing nothing.
Read 4 tweets
27 Nov
Today's briefing appears to be an exercise in doing the bare minimum while seeming to signal that our response is in someway proportionate to the potential threat. Let's be clear- this response doesn't even go far enough to deal with delta, far from dealing with anything beyond🧵
Let's remember we're entering a period of uncertainty and high *potential* threat with our NHS already under unsustainable pressure (something that doesn't seem to have been discussed at all during the briefing)! Ambulances are on black alert with emergency services struggling.
We've been having excess deaths and very high transmission for months, and are currently at 50K cases or so a day, and rising, esp in children. This has been accompanied by huge rises in self-reported long COVID in young people- something not addressed at all in the briefing.
Read 20 tweets
27 Nov
For 19 months, I've been constantly attacked for advocating for elimination, and saying SARS-CoV-2 isn't a virus we can and should live with. It's been evolving in one direction from the start- greater transmissibility, escape & virulence. 🧵
But the hopium on 'benign endemicity' has been widespread- the idea that it'll magically become the common cold when all evidence has been pointing the other way for 19 months. Unfortunately, early signs don't look good.
So, I'll say this again. And trolls and my 'colleagues' can and will attack - but progressive coordinated and supported global elimination was the only way to really deal with this threat. And with every new variant, it gets harder to do this.
Read 10 tweets
27 Nov
61 people on a flight of 600to the Netherlands tested positive for COVID-19 on screening flights from SA - variant status now being assessed. Not imposing mandatory quarantine from all regions including SA is a huge failure of UK policy. This variant is very likely widespread.
Even if it's here (which I think it likely is), we need to slow spread- and we seem to be doing nothing in the face of what is a fast changing situation. Why? This is precious time for acting, and planning next steps, to protect the public in an evolving situation.
We need comprehensive mandatory border quarantines from all regions, mask mandates (high-grade masks), mitigations in schools (masks, ventilation, bubbles, quarantine for contacts), caps on large gatherings, and speed up of boosters, vaccines to kids.
Read 5 tweets
26 Nov
I know people will accuse me of 'fearmongering', but I'm really concerned by the potential threat posed by Nu: Why? TL;DR
-The rapid growth to dominance/near dominance in multiple parts of SA
-growth accompanied by increase in R
-accumulation of mutations - many of concern
Yesterday, we heard about the detailed work done on surveillance and characterisation of this new variant from SA. It has far more mutations compared to the original variant compared to delta. Many of these are shared with other VOCs, while many are new:
Many of the mutations are associated with escape at least in laboratory studies (although we don't have data on this particular variant with all its mutations yet). But early data suggests mutations associated with higher transmissibility & escape.
Read 23 tweets
25 Nov
The document that's being shared in this picture by @ALewerMBE is by @DrJBhattacharya an architect of the Great Barrington Declaration that advocated for 'herd immunity by infection'. Jay was disallowed as an expert witness in court due to misrepresentation of evidence on masks!!
Major flaws were highlighted in his testimony by multiple judges, with one concluding that he wasn't qualified to be an expert witness, and others suggesting his testimony was problematic. This is the person whose advice our govt ministers are sharing?
Read 4 tweets

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