Such is Ms Hartley Dooda’s belief that she is right, and anyone suggesting otherwise is not only wrong, but also a very bad person to boot, that this morning she has taken out a king-sized onion and told anyone not yet asleep that she is a victim. The problem with her apparently spontaneous protestation is that she had to keep looking down as she pontificated, suggesting that she was reading from a pre-prepared script.
“I’ve been called a lot of names … names I can’t say out loud on the radio … I believe when they start calling you names, that’s when you’re winning the argument”. There’s delusion for you: someone thinks she’s channelling Mrs T. Then comes sheer desperation as she fixes on the D-Word, as in Denial or Denier.
“To use Denier - echoes of a Holocaust Denier, people who deny the worst crime in history, is just despicable”. That lame excuse was trotted out over a decade ago by the Climate Change Denial brigade. The problem with it is that the word Holocaust is missing. And without the word Holocaust, no-one is suggesting Holocaust Denial. Next.
Then it was on to mere scepticism. “Since when was being sceptical about Government policies rolled out without any evidence [false claim: there was plenty of evidence] that would achieve not anything that they claim to achieve [false claim: restrictions last Spring and Autumn reduced the number of infections, which was the whole idea]”.
There was more. “Since when was being sceptical about that a bad thing? Asking questions, demanding evidence and proof for a policy that devastates millions of lives [no citation] … destroys children’s education [at the very least, this is wilful exaggeration, and again, no citation] and according to eminent experts from some of the top Universities in the world, will cost more lives than it will save [no citation]”. But enough.
Let’s just see what she’s defending. Comments such as “The virus kills. It just isn’t causing excess deaths anymore … No, we are not seeing excess deaths over and above roughly what we would expect at this time of year … Excess deaths are no higher than, for eg. autumn 2018, and they are happening at home and to under 65s, which suggests very strongly that they are NOT Covid deaths … We don't have 200 deaths from coronavirus a day. There are no excess deaths”. And then there were all those False Positives.
She claimed “An FPR of 0.8% when the virus prevalence is so low means that at least 91% of ‘Covid cases’ are FALSE POSITIVES”. When Dominic Pimenta, who you can tell as he’s a doctor, told her she had her sums wrong, she sniffed “you actually don't understand the maths, do you?” followed by “Why don't you do some basic research into those statistics and into the false positive paradox and then get back to me”.
Some might take that as a flat-out denial of reality in order to push misinformation. Like supporting the Great Barrington Declaration, which suggested erroneously that the elderly and vulnerable can simply be shielded. They can’t. You cannot, repeat cannot, REPEAT CANNOT simply “shield the vulnerable”. What about care home staff? They interact with families, families interact with friends, transmission happens. The GBD is a sham.
Not that Ms Hartley Dooda is having any of that: “the Great Barrington Declaration was and is correct: help the millions of old & sick to shield while allowing the young & healthy (& our economy) to carry on living”. She also misunderstands the concept of “underlying conditions” to excuse her contention that restrictions should be ended.
“Just 377 healthy people under 60 have died of Covid. That's not a typo. There are no zeros missing. 377. Yes, that's sad but we have locked down an entire country for a virus that mostly kills the very old & the very sick. The rest of us should be free to decide our own risks”. What she means is 377 people with no underlying condition.
But those underlying conditions include hypertension, asthma, diabetes and many other common conditions which are managed by medication and which would otherwise not stop those affected from being full contributors to society, or indeed from living long and happy lives. In the world of Julia Hartley Dooda, they simply get in the way.
Still, back to her pleading this morning. “If the evidence for lockdowns is so strong, and not just a totally debunked computer model from a year ago [false claim] then why are those in favour of lockdowns so terrified of a public debate?” Who’s terrified? Dominic Pimenta wasn’t terrified. Ms Hartley Dooda was. So is there a point to all this?
“The people who want to shout names, or insults, or slurs, including by the way, some MPs [probably a reference to Tory MP Neil O’Brien, who has been roasting the loathsome Toby Young] and leading newspaper columnists [Nick Cohen of the Observer, and even Dan Hodges of the Mail on Sunday, have called her out]. If they want to carry on, so be it. But they will not stop me … from speaking out on behalf of the millions of people who do not have a voice”. That’s just plain delusional. So let me put her straight.
Nobody wants lockdowns. Nobody is a lockdown enthusiast. This is a false premise which Ms Hartley Dooda, and her fellow “sceptics”, peddle in order to demonise their opponents. Lockdown is something most people accept, given the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Claiming otherwise is just more peddling of misinformation.
She calls the current restrictions, which are at last showing a reduction in the number of new Covid-19 cases, “a policy which has been proven time and time again to be wrong”. This is a pack of lies. We don’t want lockdowns, but they do their job.
“Let history be the judge” pontificates Julia Hartley Dooda. It might just. And in that case, I hope she and her fellow misinformation enthusiasts have their excuses at the ready.
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