The first UK case of COVID-19 was confirmed on 31st January 2020 and a lockdown of unknown duration started on 24th March 2020. To paraphrase independent researcher Greg Dropkin. Unknown duration. Then the government spends 5.7million pounds on sending a letter to every household. It is now funding an app that doesn’t just ask everyone to self-report each day, it tells people about social distancing and time outdoors. It surveys us.
I am sure that psychologists could prove to government that there are ways to lead cities and nations to get them all onboard during a crisis. The Blitz? The D-Day Landings? NHS staff across London hospitals right now are working together to fight COVID-19, taking in sick children to free up wards across the UK and putting patients with other conditions in separate hospitals from COVID-19 patients. If people are brought together for a purpose or a crisis, they do what they believe is right naturally. See the Naked Streets experiment. Without road markings, people chose for themselves to obey speed limits for the right reasons. This difference in behaviour may be visible on the surface or, more likely, suppressed. If you can’t see it, it’s not there, right?
Instead of being transparent, giving us the information and saying what needed to happen, as you would do with a team working together or any collaboration – proven to be the biggest survival skill for humans – and asking us to work together to get a predicted result, the government made a generalised, sweeping judgment about the people in the UK.
That judgment is biased by all the other impacts of policymaking and interference in people’s lives. Therefore, it was not a perceptive reading and is probably wildly inaccurate. The outcome of this? Massive doubt, questioning, panic and other unintended consequences such as a spike in home deaths and spread of misinformation and fake news. Exactly the opposite to what is supposed to be intended.
Usually, a judgement might form the thesis on which research might start, not finish. Science requires peer reviews, citations, declarations of conflicts of interest and an anti-thesis, but policymaking seems to be able to rest on a sweeping judgment of how the public would respond, without telling them why. No context, just do what you’re told. Usually, this triggers rebellion. Even a small child would want to know why they are told to do something. It is what makes us human. Being told what to do makes us automaton, not autonomous. Our actions are preset not self-willed.
We’ve heard that before haven’t we? People wanting one party elected, posting about the opposition on social media who go on to win the election because all publicity is good publicity. Doctors and the NHS wanting people to stop smoking and making them ineligible for NHS health checks if they smoke, while actions being consistently with ensuring they cannot quit or they turn to prescription drugs or vaping instead. Public health and industry interests do not seem to be served at the same time. Why not? is the tax from tobacco and alcohol worth this destruction?
I think this is just pushing everything you don’t want to see or hear under the proverbial carpet. If lawns represented the landscape of governmental information in the UK it would be Salisbury Plain with all the burial mounds. Looking at these hills, there’s the truth from the stop smoking campaign, that one is evidence about healthy nutrition, that one is COVID-19 testing.
The efforts to stop fake news or misinformation on social media and via search engines is another front. In fact, people such as Doctor Eoghan Colgan who wanted to share guidance for health workers free of charge to help them during this pandemic crisis was blocked by Twitter.
Yesterday, the news broke that the number of deaths from nursing homes had not been included in the official figures of COVID-19 deaths. This distorts the picture. Until challenged by staff being left to handle cases in care homes, who were witnessing avoidable deaths because untested patients were sent back to the home to, essentially die, this was being covered up.
The Biggest Bias
The biggest bias we have in media is silence. Documentaries are riddled with statements and lack of responses. Companies do not reply on difficult subjects. Rich people use lawyers to avoid questions. Footage of people covering their faces as they run to their waiting car with blacked-out windows.
Therefore, with no encouragement to reduce alcohol, bad advice to stop smoking and a blurry, confusing directive on healthy eating with claims that all the essential vitamins and nutrients we need ‘we will get in a balanced varied diet’ Public Health England are put in charge of the COVID-19 pandemic. How can we trust them not to promote the interests of pharmaceuticals? How can we trust them to ensure a vaccination is safe? How can we trust them to not vaccinate people with natural antibodies? How can we trust them to not over-prescribe or, worse, make a COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for everybody, despite it not being proven safe, like vaping?
How can we trust Public Health England with their track record for putting the onus for health onto individuals, not taking responsibility for the outcomes, not using research free from industry funding, not being truthful about tax earnings from cigarettes, alcohol and vaping and not telling us about kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies?
We already have medical treatments and food manufacturers given precedence over holistic or natural health and medicine. Proactive health is unheard of and medical students are not taught about nutrition. Essential vitamins and minerals are what our bodies need to work at their best and yet the Eatwell Guide has long advised starchy carbohydrates with every meal, although all they do is raise blood sugar levels and no essential nutrition. Prevention rather than cure has been forgotten, as people are made dependent on their doctors, leaving human nature free to exploit the power for profit. Antibiotics have been overprescribed and now resistance has grown as there is no profit in antibiotic development and therefore governments have to pay pharmaceutical companies to develop them.
In America the situation is even more drastic as Valeant bought out rivals and pushed the price of prescription drugs sky high. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Big Pharma has had Washington over a barrel about legislating on medication prices.
A Quiet Rebellion
Much as I admire people who make a noise to challenge corruption, anonymous companies, offshores, conflict of interest and bad official advice, the biggest change happens when people talk to each other and share their own experiences, such as unassisted smoking cessation. We can set each other examples by being the change, or supporting and encouraging each other and talking to each other. If we let the government carry on getting funding from industry to put onus on us instead of making themselves accountable, then we can take that responsibility, that power, and use it for ourselves and each other. The government and official bodies can perform their usual functions and we don’t need to rely on them anymore, even if they are called “Public Health England”.