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Monday 30 March 2020

Sun Pundit Lies About Covid-19 Deaths

After the news yesterday that the current lockdown of the UK, ordered in an effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, could last another six months, has come the sadly predictable contrarian response. It’s not necessary, the public won’t wear it, it’s heavy handed, lots of people would have died anyway, and why oh why won’t anyone think of the economy? And why won’t they keep on buying their newspapers?
Much of the contrarian drivel is relatively harmless, but that emanating from the Murdoch press most certainly is not. That, though, has not stopped faithful enforcer Trevor Kavanagh doing what he has done with such lack of style for so many years: talking well, but lying badly. Kav has only one responsibility, and that is to Creepy Uncle Rupe.

He kicks off by lying about flu deaths in 2017-18: “JUST two years ago, in the Beast From The East winter of 2017-18, a flu epidemic prematurely claimed the lives of more than 50,000 frail and elderly victims”. Not true: an article in the BMJ cites this conclusion. “a total of 3,454 ICU/HDU admissions of confirmed influenza were reported across the UK from week 40 2017 to week 15 2018, including 372 deaths, based on combined data from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland”. Then Kav lies a little more.
And this time, it’s a big one. “The coronavirus death toll has topped 1,200 and, according to expert Prof Neil Ferguson, it could all be over in weeks with a final tally of ‘less than 7,000’”. Do go on. “That’s a big drop from the Prof’s terrifying forecast two weeks ago of up to half a million dead and perhaps 18 months’ lockdown”. But there is a problem.

As the BBC has reported, “A paper released on Friday projected that fewer than 7,000 people would die of coronavirus in the UK in total. This figure is much lower than that in the modelling used by government … So where did they get their numbers from? To get to these projections, Prof Tom Pike used the trajectory of death numbers in China to predict the progress of the UK and other countries' outbreaks. But experts in viruses and epidemics have cautioned against assuming that countries will follow the same trajectory, even if there are similarities in early figures from each country”. Also, “could”. Not “will”.
The Beeb also cautions “Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, who developed the modelling used by the government, says it takes time before any measures, such as social distancing, have an effect”. That has, surprise, surprise, been ignored by Kavanagh.

So off he goes: “We MUST protect the economy - industry, commerce, retail and financial businesses without whose taxes our precious NHS will shrivel, not grow. The cost of this lockdown on schools, sport, gyms, pools, golf and civil liberty is incalculable - and not just in hard cash … We are building a colossal national debt which will take our children’s and grandchildren’s lifetimes to pay off”. And his point is what, exactly?
Simples. What this irresponsible and dishonest rant really means is that the Murdoch press is losing print sales at a frightening rate. As the Guardian reported last Friday, “National print newspaper sales have fallen by as much as 30% since the start of the government-ordered coronavirus lockdown”. So Kav lies through his teeth in order to try and get everyone back to work - and stuff the death toll.

That’s how much the Murdoch mafiosi care about their readers. Don’t buy the Sun.
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Arnold said...

Dom Cummings is self-isolating after failing to outrun a sneeze in Downing Street last week.
If that means some Spads die, too bad.
I mustn't laugh. I mustn't laugh. I mustn't.... ROFLMAO.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the reality of the figures now and in the future.....none of it will change the fact that Kavanagh is a cowardly, disgusting, far right jobsworth tory cunt in thrall to a visibly decaying old urfascist gobshite.

We might as well get the terms of reference right.

Andy Foster said...

People who have come across Trevor Kavanagh always comment on his exquisite old-world courtesy. It comes across in interviews too. The traditional attribute of the Devil throughout the ages.

Anonymous said...

DG at MI5 has had enough by the looks of it - going in April.

Let's hope he slits a few proverbial throats on the way out.

Jeremy said...

I'd be wary of using that link to the BMJ to debunk the 50,000 figure. It's a "Rapid Response" (more or less a letter to the editor, not a peer-reviewed article) by John Stone, who's a notorious anti-vaxxer. Another Rapid Response, in reply to his, points out that he quotes a Public Health England document for the figure of 372 deaths (which is only those who were admitted to ICU/HDU), while neglecting to mention that the very same document estimates the total number of deaths in England caused by flu in the 2017/18 season to be around 16,000.

Not that I want to defend Trevor Kavanagh, but I think a link to the figure in the original PHE document (Table 6 on page 47 of https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/740606/Surveillance_of_influenza_and_other_respiratory_viruses_in_the_UK_2017_to_2018.pdf) would make a more reliable rebuttal.