Dan Wootton: Boris Johnson has made many mistakes but he was right to ignore the Covid hysterics throughout December

The very 'experts' who have got it wrong time and again during the pandemic, always demanding our freedoms be curtailed even further, could not have misjudged Omicron any worse if they’re tried

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So how did they get it so devastatingly wrong?

You know who I’m talking about, right?

The doomsday scientists, the modellers, the Labour party leaders, the media hysterics like Peston and Pym, the Cabinet lockdown lovers Gove and Javid, SAGE, Independent SAGE, Whitty, Vallance, Van Tam, Harries, Fergusson…

The very “experts” who have got it wrong time and again during the pandemic, always demanding our freedoms be curtailed even further, could not have misjudged Omicron any worse if they’re tried.

If we thought Project Fear over Brexit by the political and media establishment was bad, over Omicron it went to new extremes.

They wanted us to panic.

They demanded draconian new restrictions.

And they irresponsibly warned that hospitals would be overrun if they didn’t get their way.

Well, here we are on January the 11.

The latest seven day average of deaths is 237.1, compared to 1,072.4 this time last year

Even NHS chiefs reluctantly admit hospitals are not overwhelmed.

With Chris Hopson from NHS Providers, which represents hospital bosses, saying he believes the health service’s “front line will hold”.

So now it’s time for the reckoning.

We must never let these scare mongers dominate the public debate and force us into liberty-destroying restrictions ever again.

So let’s look now at just how wrong they got it.

On December the 8th minutes from Sage meetings show scientists calling for restrictions “similar to lockdown”.

But for days Dr Angelique Coot-see-uh, the South African who raised the alarm about the Omicron variant, had been saying quite the opposite…

But still they went on.

SAGE minutes were leaked to the press and the headlines panicking about Omicron kicked into overdrive.

Minutes from SAGE read….

“Even if measures are introduced immediately, there may not be time to fully ascertain whether they are sufficient before decisions are needed on further action.”


But Sajid Javid was listening.

On December the 13th, the Health Secretary told Parliament that the UK Health Security agency estimates there are 200,000 Omicron infections a day, doubling every two days.

Within, 24 hours the hysterical Jenny Harries – who has been awarded with a damehood – appears on BBC News – where else? – to laughably state that Omicron is the biggest threat we’ve faced since the start of the pandemic.

One day later, on the 16th of December, Professor Neil Ferguson and Imperial College publish Report 48.

It does not name Britain directly but instead provides modelling for hypothetical situations for a “high-income country with substantial prior transmission and high vaccine access”. Like, er, the UK.

Imperial says its best projections show daily deaths could peak at around 75 per million in early 2022 – translating to as many as 5,000 Covid deaths a day.

And Javid, seemingly ignoring the evidence from South Africa, continues on his disinformation mission to tell us all there is no evidence Omicron is less mild than Delta.

Up until Christmas, there was a constant drumbeat from SAGE that a two-week circuit breaker lockdown – including bans on household mixing – was the only way to deal with Omicron.

Oh, and by the way, if those restrictions weren’t immediately introduced, we could hit two million cases by the end of the month.

Stephen Reicher, professor of social psychology at the University of St Andrews and member of SAGE, went on Times Radio to say…

“All the science suggests that (Plan B is) not going to be enough.”

He was wrong.

The government’s SPI-M group of scientists, which reports to SAGE, also warned that, based on their modelling, hospitalisations could peak between 3,000 and 10,000 a day, with deaths at between 600 and 6,000 a day.

London’s failed Mayor Sadiq Khan soon said it was inevitable there would be more restrictions, with the NHS facing collapse.

All of this was wrong.

All of these scare mongering experts and politicians must be held to account.

Sure, Boris Johnson has made many mistakes over the course of this pandemic.

But he was unquestionably right to ignore the Covid hysterics throughout December, who must now be wiped from public life before they inflict more damage.