Analysis comment

Home Office leak confirms herd immunity still central to government plan

Unions outraged by callous but revealing statement

Civil service union PCS has warned that the government’s attempt to force around 2,000 passport office staff back to work – in spite of the government’s coronavirus lock-down instructing workers to stay home – is putting lives at risk.

Workers have asked how they are supposed to get into the 500 or so offices the Home Office wants them to staff without using public transport or needlessly exposing themselves and others – and their families – to infection, after a leaked Zoom meeting transcript revealed the government’s plan.

A ban on international travel means that processing passport applications does not constitute ‘essential work’. Staff reacted with horror to the danger to themselves and their families.

But the leaked meeting also revealed that – as the SKWAWKBOX warned readers three weeks ago – the government’s ‘herd immunity’ plan is very much still in place, with nothing changing but the language and charts used to describe it.

The government’s Deputy Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), Rupert Shute, was recorded telling the meeting:

We are working on the assessment that 80% of us, if we haven’t already, will get the virus.

We cannot hide away from it forever.

‘Herd immunity’ is the idea that if enough of the population – normally 95% but the government is claiming 60-80% – have antibodies against the virus, it will be unable to continue spreading. However, it is normally achieved by vaccination.

Without a vaccine, given the death rate of the virus, reaching the required levels of community immunity would mean hundreds of thousands – as many as two million – people in the UK would die.

Three weeks ago, after the consequences of the plan were exposed – again, weeks after the SKWAWKBOX revealed them – the government claimed that it was no longer following its intended course of action.

But this was a lie – and the Home Office gave away the game in the comments of the Deputy CSO.

Only three days ago – on Tuesday of this week.

The BBC reported the leak and its contents – but still regurgitated the government’s claim to have abandoned its herd immunity plan.

But the reality is clear: that plan is still very much alive – and right at the centre of the Tories’ thinking. A plan that will result in an unthinkable number of innocent deaths if they are allowed to pursue it.

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22 comments

  1. I guess we’ll all be expected to have the determination and strength of character to just tough it out like ‘our national hero’ Boris. 😏

    1. I would not be surprised in the least if Johnson is not even sick. This is base purely on Tory past behaviour. Why? First, sympathy and support for him and his govt. Second, if he fights it off they can say, “See? We’re willing to do the herd immunity thing. It’s no big deal.” Third, it makes him seem like a leader, “If I can do it. You can too!”

      In quarantine, nobody knows you’re not unwell 😉

      I am about the same age as BJ. I have asthma. I do not want to go anywhere near this shit. For one thing, I would not have PM level healthcare. YMMV

      For the record, I hope he IS sick and suffers horribly, then gets well after almost dying and develops a bad case of empathy and transforms into a non-sociopathic being

      1. According to available data the average stay in hospital for someone with the Covid-19 virus is eleven days.

        Normal flu – average 5-6 days.

        The PM was reported to have been admitted to hospital on the evening of Sunday 5th April. He is reported to have been discharged either yesterday (Saturday 11 April)? or the day before (Friday 10 April)?

        Question:

        How many male cases of Covid-19 in the age range, weight, condition etc of Mr Johnson have been admitted to hospital and discharged in so short a time span?

        Supplementary questions:

        A: Was it Covid-19 or ordinary flu?

        B: Was he actually ill in the first place?

        Are there any journalists in the UK?

  2. Although there are a few people who may need official forms of identity for benefit or loans purposes these are few and far between as most people will already have the correct documentation.

    All civil service offices are unsafe during any outbreak of any infectious disease due to the space optimisation programme by a previous tory government. This was the programme of having the minimum space possible to enable property to be reduced and sold or let to other parties. I expect all civil service offices will need to be reconfigured to adhere to the two metre rule. Cleaning contracts are also outsourced and therefore understaffed by the private companies.

    In respect of the public transport ban for staff getting into work. Personally I feel banning certain staff who use different forms of transport is futile. The inside of cars are usually cleaned less often than public transport and people may be sat closer together in cars. The safer forms of transport are good old fashioned legs (walking) or cycling because social distancing is easier to observe. They really should be looking at those living closest to the office who are well enough to deliver any essential applications. This basic principle of using the least travel distance possible has been ignored by the government. More local offices gives the flexibly to deliver essential services in low case areas and to change offices if the situation changes. This government and prior governments local closure programme for some government departments has been well documented.

    The shortages leaving the NHS vulnerable in pandemics was highlighted many years ago. The damage privatisation has done to the NHS has seen bed capacities fall to record lows. The NHS is also short of equipment both for front line clinical staff and those homeworking. Any procurement for equipment for homeworking has to give the NHS priority.

    1. It’s curious that when countries were supposed to be preparing for the next pandemic, they were doing nothing. Except in the UK, where they were busy dismantling the NHS. Cheers, Boris, Dave, IDS and the rest of you scumbags!

    1. ‘Sign Language’ I have advocated for many years that it should be taught in schools as part of the National Curriculum. Deaf Ears as no-one cares.
      Instead, teachers are displacing parents in their crusade to impose their own selective bourgeois values on their captive audience. Teachers will now decide the moral compass of your children.

  3. “The class war is over”………do ya really think so Tony Blair?

    Covid 19 virus pandemic affects the poor in ways the affluent cannot begin to comprehend, least of all doing manual work on zero hours contracts…..self isolate & starve! Clap hands for menial workers.

    Essential workers in the Passport Office? Who needs a passport during lockdown…….apart from the fact that many planes are still flying with no checks @ airports. Keep the virus spreading.through globalisation.

    The vast majority of covid 19 infections are spread among the poor. Millions of workers & small business owners, will lose more than just their jobs.

    Boris can get an intensive care bed on NHS @ the drop of a hat……..others, with the same symptoms are denied access to hospitals & sent back. Keep washing your hands Boris!

    The herd immunity theory, comparing people with cattle, demonstrates how Tories think. A ‘Survival of the fit-test philosophy, is being introduced, without care or compassion, Poco a poco, region by region, a controlled spreading of the virus ensures the limited resources of the NHS are not immediately overwhelmed. A double whammy for the Tories is that it is the poor who will again pay the price as the Banksters use ‘Quantative Easing’ to re-finance big business & flood the stock exchange with cheap fiat money. Keep printing the pounds. Austerity! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

    1. check posts on skwawkbox.org weeks ago. that was and is still their intention. they only expected the poor vulnerable to die. they are correct on that. for socio economic reasons ie nutrition etc, mostly the poor and vulnerable will die first. NB first. Johnson, Cummings & Tory co, genuinely NEVER expected that fatalities would cone close to Tory homes. They expected they would be able to flee to their 2nd + 3rd country piles in Cornwall, Dorset, Shropshire, Somerset etc etc etc plus, villas in France, and Italy etc etc etc. The bastards never expected the virus to affect them in a major way. Hence seek out and circulate the video of DOMINIC CUMMINGS RUNNING yes running away from No10, when Johnson got a scarce test kit to show he had not just the Conservative Nasty Viruses but Covid-19 as well. CUMMINGS RAN AWAY. Not even Raab ran. Even SELF CONFESSED COKE SNORTER MICHAEL GOVE did not run. Not sure if Cameron ran anywhere. Cameron can’t run if he is as he said and wrote is off his head on dope. Then again he may be interfering with the heads of dead pigs…. molesting dead pigs. BUT remember forever and never let it fade from public consciousness. Dominic Cummings ran away from his chum when his chum tested positive with a virus that was expected ONLY to decimate hundreds of thousands of the poor, the sick, the disabled, the nurses, the refuse collectors… THE WORKERS and their freinds and families. Cummings RAN AWAY🌹🌹🌹

  4. What’s all this hyperventialting simply about the term ‘herd immunity’?

    It’s not a Tory plot – it’s just a simple fact of virus life. Until its achieved, the virus lives on, and the Deputy Chief Scientific Officer was only stating a fact in saying :

    “We cannot hide away from it forever.” It will stay in the population until a certain level of immunity is achieved.

    Where there is an argument to be had is in the route to achieving that ‘herd immunity’, absent a vaccine – which is a normal part of any strategy. There are also arguments to be had about preparedness, testing, the state of the health service etc. etc. – which *are* issues for government.

    But ‘herd immunity’ isn’t up for debate – it just ‘is’. And it’s hard to conceive of a scenario where a vaccine comes into play as a viable part.

    The latest European mortality figures show current excess deaths (all causes) now matching the levels of the bad ‘flu epidemics, and the real questions are about the best way of achieving that necessary immunity, weighing the health/economic costs of any strategy. As in most health issues, free lunches aren’t normally on offer, and is why there has been debate about the best measures in epidemiological terms.

  5. quick p.s., my posts re that only reliable numbers re Covid-19 fatalities, will be revealed after comparing figures for similar months in previous years: that caution applies to ALL countries incl Germany. There are indications that German authorities may also be underreporting fatalities. 🌹🌹🌹

    1. European figures for *all cause* mortality is the best guide to what is happening, and allows historical comparisons. Trying to separate out deaths due specifically to Covid-19 isn’t feasible, for all the resons that have been rehearsed.

      1. RH – There were around 2,000 more deaths in the Netherlands in the first week of April than would normally be expected, its statistics office said on Friday, likely the result of the coronavirus outbreak.

        Figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) showed around 5,100 deaths registered in the country in the week ended April 5, compared to around 3,200 a week in the same period a year ago, and 3,100 a week in early 2020 before the country registered its first COVID-19 case in late February.
        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-netherlands-casual/dutch-report-2000-extra-deaths-in-early-april-likely-due-to-coronavirus-idUSKCN21S12E

  6. The figure of 92-95 % is relevant to highly contagious viruses ,such as measles,which gave a RO of between 12-18.The % figure is important in that when lower society starts to see outbreaks of measles-this was virtually eradicated by immunisation.The current RO of corona virus I between circa 1-3 due to interventions.This is a novel virus but similar viruses do not require 95% of the ‘herd’ – population to produce immunity- please people do you own research. The initial figure produced via their model was 500,000 deaths ,this figure is now significantly lower than 100,000 and will be determined by application of interventions to reduce RO below 1.The current estimations are that it will be in the population for between 12-18 not the original two years.

    There is no way back with from ‘herd immunity’ because of the trace,track and isolation was not the governments preferred option at he outset.

  7. A desire to kick the Tories is a worthy enough aim in general. But it isn’t going to cure Covid-19.

    Standing back, one of the interesting aspects of this epidemic is the differing mortality rates between countries, and the lack of easy explanations. Data or strategies? When you dig, you find that a lot of the common explanations (like earlier or later implementation of restrictions) don’t actually hold water. It’s a complex picture.

  8. Herd Immunity……..time for more deceit. The elderly & the vulnerable are a price worth paying, not just here in Britain, but in the social economic experiment taking place in Sweden, where business is as usual. Interesting to compare Covid 19 stats with Norway, where there has been a total lock-down for some time. I’m sure Boris would prefer the Swedish model, but we shall see.

    Lock-down breaks the chain of transmission, but this Gov’t refuses to test, refuses to trace contacts & research information necessary to find how this virus spreads; it might provide answers that differ from the standard “We follow the science” response, even when questioned about air travel from hot spots….”WE follow the science”..

    Tory politicians no longer mention ‘herd immunity’, it is left to their scientific staff to prepare the ground & place it on the MSM agenda. Soon it will be time for an exit strategy that will enable the economy to function. Schools & Colleges will re-open, along with restaurants & pubs. People will return to work, but Covid 19 will still be here with us. It will be the weak; the vulnerable & the elderly who alone must self-isolate. for self preservation or risk death. We live in interesting times.

    1. ” the social economic experiment taking place in Sweden”

      Actually – it’s been the refusal to take some experimental social/economic measures that has typified Sweden.

      As to ‘following the science” – the problem is that the science is incomplete and uncertain – so there is no clear route to follow. The key issue is that – given the impossibility of sustaining indefinite ‘lockdown’ – how to relax quarantine measures without wide immunity present in the population – and thus just delaying the spread of infection.

      I don’t reckon that the Tories, however, will be planning to cull or even alienate their key support group. Whatever their stupidities, naked lack of self interest isn’t one of them. 🙂

      Politically – setting aside the ‘noise’ and getting to the notty gritty – this is the third (or perhaps fourth if you count the self-inflicted leadership wound and capitulation to the Israel lobby) time in a row that the Tories have managed to stump and trump the left. That’s what worries me.

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