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If COVID-19 is Not a High Consequence Infectious Disease, Why Lockdown?

Martin O’Neill, Professor of Computer Science and Statistics, School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Queen Mary University of London, has done a twitter thread posing an interesting question. Reprinted below.

  1. On 19th March the UK 4 nations public health HCID group made a decision that COVID-19 is NOT a high consequence infectious disease (HCID):
  2. Note this important statement: “The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID.”
  3. In the UK an HCID is defined as an acute infectious disease, with high case-fatality rate requires an enhanced individual, population and system response.
  4. Professor Neil Ferguson is a member of The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP).
  5. I understand the committee reached the UNANIMOUS view, that COVID-19 is NOT a HCID, at a meeting on 13th March 2020.
  6. Despite this the UK SAGE group published a document on 14th March recommending enhanced individual, population and system responses to COVID-19:
  7. The SAGE group, Whitty and Vallance made this decision on 14th March – the day after the ACDP committee decision and five days before the HCID group’s decision.
  8. They therefore made this decision despite, and in contradiction to, official scientific advice.
  9. What happened between 13th and 14th March? Why did Ferguson, Vallance and Whitty change direction before the 4 nations HCID group made their decision on 19th March?
  10. Professor Neil Ferguson is a member of SAGE and a member of the ACDP. How can he make a decision one day and then contradict it the next?

Prof O’Neill has written for Lockdown Sceptics before about how most ‘positive’ cases are either asymptomatic carriers or false positives.