Analysis comment

Johnson knew his ‘take it on the chin’ herd immunity would kill millions from the outset

Johnson’s access to Cygnus results – hushed up by Tory government – and other intelligence means he cannot plead ignorance

Boris Johnson’s government supposedly u-turned on its original plan to let the UK population to achieve so-called ‘herd immunity’ after a study by academics revealed that it would kill hundreds of thousands of people and potentially more.

The SKWAWKBOX had warned of the consequences the moment Johnson’s advisers. Johnson described it as ‘taking it on the chin’:

A cheery ‘take it on the chin’

In reality, the Tories have not changed their plan – only the language they use to describe it. Their ‘flatten the curve’ plan still assumes 80% or more of the population will catch the virus – it just spreads the ‘peak’ out over a longer period, which will save some lives by reducing the load on hard-pressed NHS hospitals.

But even with the best care and no overload, the rate at which the virus kills victims could mean as many as two million deaths – just in a number of smaller peaks instead of one big one:

Herd immunity has been rebranded, not abandoned

But Johnson’s original plan didn’t even allow for saving the lives of even the small percentage of sufferers that the revised ‘herd’ plan will.

Six years ago the Tory government conducted ‘Exercise Cygnus’ – a dry-run to ‘game out’ the impact of a similar pandemic on the UK’s people and the ability of the NHS to cope.

Boris Johnson had full access the Cygnus data and even more information long before he appeared on television to chat happily about ‘taking it on the chin’. He knew that the unchecked spread of the virus was going to look like this – and that with a global mortality rate of 2-3%, it would mean as many as 1-2 million deaths:

A chart from ‘Operation Cygnus’ predicts the scale of spread of the coronavirus

As the pandemic took huge tolls in other countries, Johnson and Matt Hancock spent weeks doing nothing, fully intending to let the virus run its course and kill as many as it could:

Johnson even boasted about his intention of doing so and compared himself to Superman:

Johnson said the UK can profit from ignoring anti-coronavirus measures

And even now, they are knowingly leaving such gaping holes in the lock-down that the spread of the virus is guaranteed – lack of protective equipment for hospital staff, care home workers, community health workers, prisons and other front-line services, together with a reckless and deliberate decision to allow flights even from global virus hotspots without even the token of a temperature check.

On top of this is a decision to send old people back to care homes even when they are known to be infected, creating a hidden holocaust with thousands of nursing homes seeing outbreaks and double-figure deaths 0 and a determination to hide many deaths when the UK’s real death toll is several times higher than the official figure.

And it is capped by the continuing decision to ignore the World Health Organisation’s strategy of ‘test and trace’ to find and isolate all those who are infected – a strategy that has meant South Korea has almost eliminated transmission without any lockdown.

Such knowing, uncaring recklessness is a political matter – but even more than that, it is a criminal one.

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  1. No, I don’t like the Spiv government, either, but –

    “*Six years ago* the Tory government conducted ‘Exercise Cygnus’”

    Mmmm … more dodgy projection models . Note the record of the much quoted ICL record on such modelling.

    Reality check from Sweden – from one of the advisers to the Swedish government and the WHO :

    The very recent Stanford research on infection and mortality is also considerably less alarmist.

    1. You are too kind. The herd immunity concept and the insouciant acceptance of the deaths of millions of vulnerable people are embedded within the philosophy of neo-liberalism.
      What Johnson, the Tories and Blairites are trying to do, having squeezed as much money out of it-and into the pockets of the spivs- as they can is to reverse the effects of the NHS, over seventy years in keeping unfit, elderly people alive. According to the cold calculations of their economists these people, who make little economic contribution to the capitalist class and eat away at Capital itself by cashing in their pensions/savings , ought not to be saved. And certainly ought not to be kept alive at great expense.
      I recently received, from a distant relative, the research he had done into our family tree. It showed that, from the mid nineteenth century up to the second world war our ancestors, living in the East End of London had almost all died of bronchial/pneumonic/influenza conditions, most of them before they had reached their sixties.
      That was the sort of society-the nightwatchmen state- that the Tories and the Blairites idealise. The plan is for the pandemic to sweep away the accumulated surplus of vulnerable people who would in non NHS circumstances be dead, and then, in future years for the grim reaper to make his regular harvest of victims.
      The idea is to empty the ‘Care’ homes and rejig the demography to the extent that elderly, unfit, pensioners are rarities, on;y the wealthy can keep their parents alive and the lifetime accumulations of capital-in the form of pensions and homes, basically- can be liquidated in medical costs rather than nibbled away by nonagenarians who haven’t done a day’s work for years.
      On one point I agree, however, I don’t blame Johnson and Hancock we all know what Tories are and that in power they are lethal. Those I do blame are the Blairites, like McNichol and Mandelson who deliberately and knowingly broke the social consensus protecting the NHS-a consensus which generations of Tories including Thatcher dared not challenge- in order to curry favour with rich men who would advance their careers. They are the true cannibals- consigning hundreds of thousands of vulnerable lives to early deaths simply in order to accumulate more wealth, more holidays and more power to employ against the weak.

      1. Your second sentence sums it up. From the point of view of Cummings and Rees Mogg and their ilk the over 70’s do cost them a lot of dosh; it’s not so much their knees and hips, bad enough but keeping their hearts going is v expensive and then the cheek of it the buggers download their pensions and end up being publicly funded for 24/7 of the rest of their lives in Care Homes. You can feel their fury. ‘Socialised Medicine’ is just one step from communism after all.

      2. Boris will “take it on the chin” until he contracted the virus & ran for treatment on the NHS……time for a change of policy? BoJo should have been kept @ home in self isolation, until the mild symptoms passed….probably just a cold, any fit & healthy person wouldn’t even notice.

        But “Good News” for Boris, he now has his ‘immunity passport’ stamped & can return to work knowing his anti-bodies will protect him for how long? We don’t know do we Boris?

        Most people in Care Homes have had to sell their own homes to pay for their ‘cradle to grave’.care. If they were cancer patients, everything paid for, but dementia… & pay. Unlucky daughters & sons (&/or grandchildren) get nothing, the gov’t takes everything, just a few pennies left to pay for the funeral.

        Herd immunity Boris…….the strong will survive & the herd will grow stronger. Cradle to Grave care will only weaken the herd, you should have led by example Boris & showed the old & vulnerable how it’s done…….DNR Boris. who needs the NHS?

      3. Paul 19/04/2020 at 3:24 pm · ·
        ”Your second sentence sums it up. From the point of view of Cummings and Rees Mogg and their ilk the over 70’s do cost them a lot of dosh;”

        Costs WHO ‘A lot of dosh’?

        Because you’re fucked if you think the likes of the rich are paying for social care – or ANY car for that matter.

        No. Not a f***ing bit of it.

        They cost US dosh, and it’s dosh I have NO PROBLEM paying; but have a major beef with the rat bastards avoiding their dues then crying about the cost THEY aren’t meeting but on the contrary are actually PROFITING from.

  2. The fact thousands of people arrived in the UK from epicentres like China and the US and nobody was even taking temperatures must have increased the number of infections here and perhaps especially in London. They swept onto public transport and into city centres. Incredibly that is STILL the situation. The most successful countries, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong immediately stopped inward passengers and there they measure deaths on the fingers of one hand a far cry from the tens of thousands here. I’ve not heard any Govt explanation for that beyond ‘we want to show the UK is Open for Business’. I guess they didn’t have enough equipment or protective clothing so just blanked the enquiries?

    1. Spot on Paul. The Times is only now reporting confirmation of what was posted on weeks ago.

      ps. AH, RH & McNiv monitor every word of every post of everyone here AND elsewhere. Which i had the staff. Thus AH, RH, SH & McNiv like some crazed maniacal stalkers, can retrieve posts showing that where some of us on skwawkbox lead, even the super-funded Murdoch MSM outfit follows… WEEKS later🌹🌹🌹

      1. Now you know that RH and the university challenge team will be on the rampage signpostwindchimes and someone will need to give white flag man a sedative….?

      2. HA😂😂😂 v funny joseph!!! Good to laugh even in these times. Listening to the extraordinary govt briefing now. Remind me to post about their graphs. But tune in to radio to hear how “expertly” the use their bloody graphs‼️‼️‼️

      3. “Monitor?” Me? I don’t even read your comments if they’re over ten lines – mostly I just skip them, same as I do with Allan’s, although he at least occasionally produces a pearl.
        RH and SH, whilst I disagree with them on some issues, can at least write legibly and articulately – and they don’t decorate their comments with annoyingly pointless shit from a florist’s bin.
        I assume that was trendy in the third form last term?

      4. Joseph okeefe 19/04/2020 at 3:52 pm · ·
        Now you know that RH and the university challenge team

        …You must’ve misheard, Joseph – rh is on the UNIVERSALLY CHALLENGED team . 🙂

    2. According to Gov’t scientist on News Briefing……”although 15K passengers arrive in GB daily unchecked, the evidence is that in countries that tried banning flights, such as USA, it didn’t work”. Are they serious? 6 planes a day fly from New York to Heathrow daily…….just keeping the virus alive?

      1. ………I add just a little more fresh flour every day, just B4 removing the same amount from the sourdough primer, just to keep the mix alive. Heathrow does the same.

  3. Tory Boris is committing a crime against humanity by killing people by design aged from 60 to 100 plus.

    Ignoring the start of high risk of Covid19 death by age group alone, beginning at 60, informed by the pandemic experts that the World Health Organisation is.

    Operation Cygnus is not about modelling of death rate, but about the lack by the Tory government from 2010 to stockpile respirators and protective clothing, and to cut the number of NHS beds down to below half they were in 1948 when the NHS began.

    To cut the number of doctors and nurses, and shut down emergency units, and still doing so, whilst opening Covid19 units that cost millions in rent to big companies.

    The Nightingale acute beds not used to look after people from 60 and from nursing homes and laying empty.

    Labour today is aiding and abetting this killing of the old, by being a lack lustre opposition, too mild to stop the killing.

    Tories have all the funding they need for Covid19 care, as the Bank of England has granted them QE, free money, which does not cause government debt.

  4. Ps Squawkbox…well done in trying to stop a genocidal regime kill even more of the elderly,the weak and the vulnerable…hopefully you may save some lives if the country wakes up..

  5. Can you tell us when the death rate will reflect this
    Demographically cheap and nasties dont have that much support in the under 65’s, you think they are wiping out there base
    Vaccination 2 years plus, if not herd immunity, then what
    This from life long socialists who cannot organise more than 3% of GMB members to vote against the Roache
    Never mind the Pantomime Dame
    FFS get real

  6. No one wants to see covid19 rip through the population, anyone with a brain wants to use every resource at our disposal against the spread
    Now let’s see what happens in Trumpton because that’s what the fuckwit has just unleashed

  7. I was hoping that this catastrophic event would see the demise of neo- liberalism, until I read this article which offered different conclusion and perspective.

    Towards A New World Order? The Global Debt Crisis and the Privatization of the State (Prof Michel Chossudovsky)

    Has the Pandemic Been Used to Precipitate the World into a Spiral of Mass Unemployment, Bankruptcy and Despair?

    ‘‘What is the underlying objective of this restructuring of the global economy?
    What are the consequences?

     A massive concentration of wealth and corporate capital,,
     the destabilization of small and middle sized enterprises in all major areas of economic activity including the services economy, agriculture and manufacturing.
     facilitates the subsequent corporate acquisition of bankrupt enterprises
     It derogates the rights of workers. It destabilizes labour markets.
     It creates mass unemployment
     It compresses wages (and labour costs) in the so-called high income “developed countries” as well as in the impoverished developing countries.
     It leads to an escalation of the external debt
     It facilitates subsequent privatization’’

    A diabolical “New World Order” in the making as suggested by Henry Kissinger? (WSJ Opinion, April 3, 2020):
    “The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order”
    Other HK gems “Control oil and you control nations, control the food you control the people.”
    Kissinger’s historic 1974 statement: “Depopulation should be the highest priority of US foreign policy towards the Third World.” (1974 National Security Council Memorandum)

    Concluding Remarks
    There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the nature of this crisis.
    Several progressive intellectuals are now saying that this crisis constitutes a defeat of neoliberalism. “It opens up a new beginning”.
    Some people see it as a “potential turning point”, which opens up an opportunity to “build socialism” or “restore social democracy” in the wake of the lockdown.
    The evidence amply confirms that neoliberalism has not been defeated. Quite the opposite.
    Global capitalism has consolidated its clutch. Fear and panic prevail. The State is being privatized. The tendency is towards authoritarian forms of government.

    1. I think it’s still up for the toss. Of course the RW and big business are desperate to squeeze every quid out of this they can to recover their lost profits and Oh so precious Dividends! A RW Govt like Johnson’s will aide and abet them at every turn – currently giving billions of tax payers money to ‘keep them going’. Ordinary people already knows what it means, a big lowering of their standard of living along with tax rises and a sharp reversal of fortunes for the elderly – and Austerity, probably as you’ve never known it. Profits and dividends have been hit so hard already they must fight hard to recover. The Q will be are people going to touch their caps and accept it or feel a certain resentment? With the Labour Party now a dead duck there is space for something new. Economic crisis is the best generator of political change. You can’t just lie down and be run over – can you?

      1. Yep. When your five-year-old is crying with hunger you’ll go looking for Rolls-Royces to petrol bomb.
        The armoured ones you’ll have to block in with a whole bunch of other cars first though. Don’t forget.
        There must be lots of us who wouldn’t give it a second thought or lose a second’s sleep.
        Me? I’ll roast chestnuts in the fucking flames.

    2. neo-liberalism is in crisis. If taken on and fought it can be defeated. This is an opportunity for fruitful, victorious struggle.
      But it is no more than that: the capitalists will certainly as Global Research suggests try to turn this crisis to their own benefit. The ruling class is always struggling to better itself and further exploit the people. There is nothing new in that and Chossudovsky, if he thinks about it, will see that.
      The variable, that people like him rarely take into account, is popular struggle. There are things that people will not tolerate and further progress down the neo-liberal road, a road leading directly back to Manchester in 1844, is, I believe such a thing.
      In or out of the Labour Party doesn’t matter- it will depend on local conditions, if you can work in your CLP do so, if you can’t, if the right wing won’t allow democratic debate and fair elections, spare your head a banging and work outside organising tenants, workers, students or whatever, for the things that Labour should be pushing for.

  8. The rich will fight to keep their privilege as always.
    Nobody can predict how this will turn out for them or for us – a peasant during the Black Death might well have predicted lower wages for the survivors when it was over but the reverse happened.
    Two things to bear in mind:
    1. the houses of the rich are no more fireproof than ours.
    2. fire is free.

  9. Not everyone’s favourite source but on this occasion he’s spot-on about Johnson

    ‘Lazy, lying Boris Johnson is a liability who should be out on his ear’

    Two million workers don’t deserve to lose their jobs, but one incompetent, lazy, reckless, lying charlatan should be out on his ear: Boris Johnson.
    When thousands are dying who might have been saved and a catastrophically deep economic slump is predicted, this part-time PM is proving an expensively fatal liability.
    Sympathy for a leader who survived a personal nightmare with the coronavirus must not shield him from damning scrutiny.
    Inaction, bad judgment, missed opportunities, wasted weeks, skipping five Cobra meetings, most weekends off and ensconcing himself with pregnant fiancee Carrie in a grace-and-favour mansion in Kent to discuss his divorce and their marriage are unforgivable.

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