PCR testing data is exaggerating the current risks of the CCP virus pandemic, and it’s misleading to say that there’s now a second wave in the UK, a group of scientists and health professionals said on Saturday.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday, 16 scientists and health professionals said that the measures to slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus had become disproportionate and are now causing more harm than good.
“We call for restoration of our normal democratic governance and for politicians to be independently and critically informed in the decision-making process,” the letter, organised by “Us For Them”—a group of parents campaigning against the restrictions on behalf of children—reads.
While using PCR testing en masse is very helpful in a clinical situation, the letter said, it’s not a solid foundation to base policy on it in this case.
“The problem of functional false positive rates has still not been addressed and particularly in the context of low prevalence of disease whereby false positives are likely to exceed true positives substantially and moreover correlate poorly with the person being infectious,” the letter reads.
It added that highlighting the increasing number of cases and deaths from the CCP virus out of context exaggerated the current risk.
“It is normal to see an increase in illness and deaths during the winter months. This is well known in the case of pneumonia and influenza,” the letter reads.
“It is notable that UK death rate is currently sitting around average for this time of year. The use of the term ‘second wave’ is therefore misleading.”
The letter argued that the initial estimates of infection rate and mortality rate are both higher than that observed, and the emphasis on antibody prevalence seriously underestimated exposure and immunity as it neglected to factor in the “robust cellular immunity” generated after exposure to the CCP virus.
The scientists and health professionals also said the government shouldn’t pin all of its hopes on a vaccine, which, if available, may still not give complete or long-lasting protection.
They urged the government to consider harms that the restrictions can cause, including on mental health and child development; provide factual, balanced, and contextual advice to the public that allows individuals to manage their own risk; and encourage the return to normal life for the less vulnerable members of society to help generate population immunity.
The government dismissed the arguments in the letter.
“This assertion is completely wrong. The national restrictions have been introduced to save lives and protect the NHS,” a spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.
“We have been guided by the advice of experts from SAGE [Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies] from the outset and our response has helped to ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed,” the spokesperson added.
“We recognise the impact this unprecedented period has had on people’s mental health and it is vital people follow the rules over the coming weeks so we can bring the transmission rates back down and get back to normality as soon as possible.”
The approach recommended by Us For Them had been proposed by other medical professionals, including in the Great Barrington Declaration, which suggests governments shield the elderly and other high-risk groups, while allowing those who are not vulnerable to build up herd immunity.
“Even if we were to have an effective vaccine,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, co-author of the declaration, told YouTube show “UnHerd“, “we will be relying on herd immunity as the endpoint of this infectious disease epidemic.”
Therefore, he said, “it’s less of a strategy than a recognition of biological fact.”
The British government has been using lockdowns, social distancing measures, and ramping up the test and trace regime to combat the spread of the CCP virus while waiting for an effective vaccine.
Johnson’s Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance had said that COVID-19 will probably not be eliminated by a vaccine, and will likely continue to circulate and become endemic, in agreement with scientists opposing lockdowns.
But the government has rejected multiple times the proposals of building up herd immunity naturally.
Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty told MPs on Nov. 3 that he thought the basis of the Great Barrington Declaration is scientifically “dangerously flawed, operationally impractical, and … ethically a little difficult”.
Whitty argued that humans have never reached herd immunity for many diseases, including HIV and ebola, and “a very, very large number of people” would die before the population reached herd immunity. He also said that although shielding the vulnerable is an attractive idea, it’s “practically not possible”.
England has been under a four-week national lockdown since Nov. 5. People are told to stay at home unless they cannot work from home, and businesses considered non-essential are forced to close.
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of a vaccine developed by Pfizer, which displayed a high efficacy rate in a large phase 3 study, according to results released on Nov. 9.
Johnson said the full safety data and findings still need to be peer reviewed before it can be used.
Alexander Zhang contributed to this report.