Boris Johnson asked for patience from the public as he extended the Covid restrictions for another four weeks. This seems to be going on forever. We are being asked to behave like frightened rabbits hiding in the dark of our warrens, argues Wen Wryte.

The dire national emergency and crisis that hit us in March 2020 is – if one believes the government – still with us. It is as if a mass-psychosis has infected those in positions of influence in the UK, with the abandonment of all the customary requirements of logic and evidence. Does the government have a good case for continuing with the infection-control measures it has imposed upon us? My argument is that it does not.

First, the official stats for the spread of the Delta (Indian) variant are highly suspicious, showing an almost reciprocal fall in the new infections of all other variants – this is highly unlikely. Separating the positive test results out into those for the Indian variant and those for the rest as if there is no overlap makes it easy to mislead the public that the Indian variant is now uniquely a threat to public health.

Second, the rise in the numbers of 'infections' is also easily manipulated due to the policy of surge testing. The public health authorities decide to have a surge in testing in a specific area and, shock, there is a sudden increase in infections recorded in that area. That is what surge testing does – produce a sudden increase in the numbers of detected infections. However, the FDA has withdrawn its approval of the use of the lateral flow test in the US because it is unreliable and produces too many false positives. So why is it still being used in the UK?

Third, 'infections' are not the same as 'cases'. Failing to distinguish between the former (referring to those who currently carry the virus, whether or not they are ill from it) and the latter (those who have the virus, are ill from it, and who receive medical assessment and treatment as a result) is irrational. The distinction is crucial, and is standard medical practice for all other diseases, yet the WHO officially approved combining the terms early on in the pandemic. All this does is give a heightened sense of threat to the virus. The only way of being scientific about the data is to distinguish between infectiousness and risk of harm to the vulnerable. When the two are put together they become viewed as one, and the spread of the virus alone can be used as a pretext for restricting our freedoms.

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The Office of National Statistics has also been guilty of conflating data, specifically relating to deaths. Deaths resulting directly from Covid are combined with deaths with Covid, thus bumping up the mortality rate from Covid considerably. Even if the death was the direct result of something entirely unconnected (such as being fatally injured in an accident), if that person returned a positive Covid test within 28 days, it gets included in the Covid death statistics. This statistical subterfuge has enabled the Covid mortality rate to be inflated far beyond the numbers who actually die as a direct result of the virus.

It is impossible to disentangle the deliberately conflated figures, which is why we should not trust any data on Covid published by the government. It is being deliberately manipulated to deceive us. How many of the miniscule number of people (in statistical terms) now being recorded as having died from Covid actually died merely with Covid? We have a moral right to know.

Even the much-publicised figures for those dying from the Indian variant who have been vaccinated are misleading. Had they had both vaccine doses? Had immunity from the vaccine taken effect? Did they die from Covid or with Covid? Much hangs on whether there were any underlying health conditions that made the person more vulnerable to Covid, because that risk factor does not apply to the general population. These distinctions are not being made – or at least they are not being made available to the general public. But we have a moral right to know, because our lives have been put on hold as a result of such misrepresentations of the data, and for some people the impact has been catastrophic and may be irreversible.

Calling for patience under such circumstances is reasonable only if those who are suffering as a result understand why such patience is necessary. And such understanding is possible only if the relevant facts and arguments are put before them.

At present the government's public case for continuing the Covid restrictions is not only indefensible on any logical and evidential grounds, but also negligent to the point of stupidity. It discounts the full extent of the negative impact on people's lives in order (supposedly) to save the lives of a tiny number of people who in most cases, if not all, would die anyway from pre-existing conditions that predispose them to dying from any number of complicating factors of which Covid would be just one. In other words, if Covid was not implicated in their death, something else may well have taken its place.

This is not a justifiable reason for removing the civil liberties of the entire population, and never will be. In a free and open and democratic society citizens have a moral right to know the precise reasons for any deprivation of their freedoms. Yet the British public have been – and are being – fed a diet of barely half-truths and possibly even lies by the government and its advisers in respect of Covid. They deserve the full truth, and they deserve it now.

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