Dan Wootton: If we continue to listen to SAGE, there is no way out of this

The latest downbeat report from the paranoid and single-minded scientists who advise the government on Covid fills me with dread about what might be ahead

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Is Labour secretly advocating a zero Covid-19 policy?

In an interview this morning, the party’s Shadow Health Secretary said our vaccination rates are too low and Covid-safe ventilation systems too incomplete to justify Freedom Day on the 19th.

But then Jonathan Ashworth said something even more chilling.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth responding to a statement from Health Secretary Sajid Javid
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth responding to a statement from Health Secretary Sajid Javid

He uttered: “I don't think any avoidable deaths are acceptable.”

While that’s the sort of line that sounds good in theory because none of us wants anyone to die if it’s in any way avoidable, it’s not anchored in reality.

No avoidable deaths would mean closing all roads to traffic because too many people die each year in car accidents.

And it would mean locking down the country in winter because up to 20,000 people die annually of seasonal flu.

Shockingly to me, there’s a large portion of the elite in this country who seem to be up for that.

Who needs freedom when we like being closed off in our mansions, having small dinner parties with family and friends while being paid our full salary working a few hours a day from home?

These people need to start thinking about the avoidable deaths caused by lockdowns – the true number of which will not be known for many years.

Those deaths count too.

What’s worse is the pro-lockdown media and political establishment are backed up by SAGE.

The latest downbeat report from the paranoid and single-minded scientists who advise the government on Covid fills me with dread about what might be ahead.

They say a “variant of concern” would need to see lockdown restrictions reintroduced for a longer period of time.

But even if that doesn’t happen, some “baseline measures” might be needed to stay in place, including the sorts of horrid local lockdowns that kept cities like Manchester closed for months on end.

And “sustained behavioural change” – including the “highly effective” method of working from home – is necessary.

Are we going to sit back and allow this group of scientists who don’t live in the real world to change the way we’ve lived for hundreds of years?

I’m not, but it’s going to test the mettle of Boris Johnson and his new Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

That’s because the report of doom went on to say: “Stronger measures may be desirable for autumn and winter.”

In fact, even if hospitalisations and death rates stay low thanks to our great vaccine success story, according to SAGE, that’s no reason to loosen restrictions.

The report says of a low infection approach: “It makes it easier to prevent a return to rapid growth in the epidemic which could lead to the NHS being overwhelmed.”

In other words, folks: If we continue to listen to SAGE, there is no way out of this.

All I can say is thank God they no longer have Matt Hancock to turn to.

The new Health Secretary Sajid Javid continues to take a common-sense approach. Finally today he addressed the elephant in the room long ignored by his predecessor: The mass collateral damage caused by Covid.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid speaking to MPs in the House of Commons
Health Secretary Sajid Javid speaking to MPs in the House of Commons

In an interview with Radio 4 this morning, Javid said: ‘As a fresh set of eyes coming in, the thing that shocked me most was the huge waiting list. We estimate there’s some seven million people that did not come forward to the NHS to be helped with things like cancer, with heart disease. Think about the deaths that have been sadly caused by that.’

Absolutely.

Lockdown sceptics – including many within the NHS – have been shouting about this for the past 15 months.

And more good news breaking tonight from the Government.

Those who are double-vaccinated will no longer have to self-isolate after the 16th of August – even if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid.

The move will stop the sort of ludicrous nonsense experienced by the Duchess of Cambridge this week, who has been locked away despite having had two jabs and testing negative for Covid multiple times in the past week.

London’s failed Labour mayor Sadiq Khan is stoking division by advocating for continued use of masks just as the government says they should be voluntary.

He said today: “The wearing of face coverings on public transport helps reduce the spread of Covid, and crucially gives Londoners confidence to travel — which is vital to our economic recovery.”

What does he not understand about the concept of trusting people to take personal responsibility to decide when and how we cover our faces?

I’d much prefer to listen to the government adviser Professor Robert Dingwall who tweeted a must-read thread today about why he will pull off his mask. Let me share the highlights.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

He wrote: “As a member of government advisory bodies, I have always felt it would be incompatible with that status not to wear a face covering where legally required to. However, I shall cease to do so from 19 July when these requirements lapse.

“I shall do this as an act of solidarity with all the people who have been exempt because of respiratory and neurodiverse conditions. I shall do this as an act of solidarity with all the people who have been exempt because of trauma induced by previous assaults or abuse I shall do this as an act of solidarity with all the people with communication difficulties, whether auditory and unable to lip-read, or visual and unable to use sound for reliable interaction and navigation The main reasons for covering faces are now about fear and anxiety which will not be eased by clinging any longer to these comfort blankets.”

He added that the evidence about masks shows the “benefit in interrupting transmission from face covering is weak and ambiguous, allowing any partisan to cherry pick studies that suit their case”.

And he concluded: “If others take a different view, that is their prerogative. However, I will not allow them to suggest that I am less moral or caring and I will expect them to respect my choices as I respect.”

I’m 100 per cent with him.