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Crowded beaches were actually covid safe

Last August (3rd) I wrote a post saying that the dangers of covid had been exaggerated by the media. I especially pointed out that crowded beaches did not lead to a surge in infections.

The important point is that there is little evidence of covid being spread in out of doors situations. More sports and other gatherings could safely take place. The new variant may have changed the situation slightly and I would be interested to hear expert views on this.

Now you can hear an expert on the topic – click here.

David Roberts

18 February 2021

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Children safe from corona virus at school – official

Yesterday Sunday 23rd August 2020 the Chief Medical Officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, stated what I have been promoting on this website for months –  that corona virus is extremely unlikely to harm children. This is not my idea or just wishful thinking. I have been looking at official statistics and quoting other top experts who have been saying this since the outbreak began. You can find these posts and stats by searching my blogsite,

You can read and see Chris Whitty’s statement here. Link to BBC website.

David Roberts,

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The greatest threat to our civilisation today – social distancing

Social Distancing has already trashed our economy and ruined many lives. Thousands of businesses have closed permanently. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs. And many people have died because hospitals postponed operations and treatment. Social life was totally halted for months. Weddings were banned. Even churches that had never closed in hundreds of years were ordered to close. Schools were closed. Tourism and air travel industries have been shattered and for millions of people in this country and around the world taking holidays in another country has become a financially and personally risky thing to do. Social gatherings remain limited or impossible with a devastating impact on our cultural life and those who work in leisure industries.

Life more controlled than in war time

Since the Second World War social distancing has become the greatest threat to our way of life (prosperity, employment, business, education, the arts, travel, religions, pubs and restaurants, holiday industries, festivals), but social and psychological disruption is far greater than was experienced even in a world war. Communities in the war situation could meet and people could work together and enjoy leisure activities. Yet the danger, the risk of dying of covid-19, is minimal compared with all-out warfare and we are all less likely to die of covid than a whole range of other diseases and dangers we face. You can see the statistics for yourself below.

No theatre, no restaurant, no pub, no educational establishment, few shops and businesses can function normally and be economically viable so long as social distancing is maintained.

Repressive restrictions out of proportion to the dangers

We have got the risk out of proportion – The media have presented an unbalanced picture of the danger we are in.

Corona virus is very dangerous only for very ill people and especially the elderly who are already ill. There is no doubt that many have had their death hastened by the virus. (about 46,000 people). Nevertheless the daily flow of death statistics have been presented to us out of context. Hundreds of people die in the UK every day (over 1400 deaths per day, about 540 thousand in a year – statistics below). We have been given the impression that we are all in grave danger not just of catching the disease but also of dying from it when other dangers are much greater.

The statistics of what has happened in recent months and how the death rate from covid compares with the five year average from other causes show the danger as significant but not overwhelming. It may be just another danger that we are going to have to get used to living with. The statistics also show that the healthy under 65 age group (although they may well get the virus) are very unlikely to die from it as compared with the risk of dying from other causes. See the chart below this article.

Who do we need to protect? Who needs to avoid getting too close to other people?

The elderly with health problems and anyone else who is seriously ill, need to be protected from contact with the corona virus and also health workers who are dealing with corona cases and the sick and the elderly on a daily and close-up basis.

Is social distancing necessary for the population as a whole?


Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London and other cities on 20th June and serious overcrowding on Bournemouth beach on 25th June did not lead to huge increases in infections, suggesting that outdoors, at least, social distancing is not so important.

The World Health Organisation has only ever recommended distancing by one metre.

Education and social distancing

Only a few weeks ago great fear was being expressed in the media about the dangers of children going back to school. Teachers unions were demanding that re-assurances should be given about the safety of teachers. Teachers needed to be sure that they were not at risk of contracting the virus. The talk in the media, especially David Shukman, the BBC Science Correspondent, continued to re-iterate the idea that people including children in schools should stay 2 metres apart. TV news bulletins showed how schools were preparing to operate with desks 2 metres apart and children kept 2 metres apart throughout school buildings. Classes were to be only half size to make this possible.

Somehow, eventually, an awareness seemed to filter up to the top health advisers and politicians that children do not die from covid and hardly ever experience noticeable effects. On 19 June Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, announced that all children would return to school in September in normal size classes.

My view for a long time has been that schools, colleges and universities should not only be open but be fully functioning with no social distancing. I have lobbied health advisers, politicians, journalists and trade unionists on this point.

Young people cannot develop normally at a distance of 2 metres from each other. Classrooms are unworkable in these conditions. Outside school children mingle as is natural and necessary whatever happens inside the buildings. College students cannot function as human beings 2 metres apart and are at minimal risk.

Will children carry the virus back to their parents? The evidence (some of which I have set out elsewhere) seems to suggest that children rarely transmit the disease. However, since most children’s parents are of relatively young age their risk of serious ill-health caused by corona virus would be very slight anyway.

In my view, so long as access to older people by potentially infected individuals is carefully managed the rest of the British population should be allowed to resume normal life.

Have a look at the official statistics and see what conclusions you think may be drawn?

You can go to the source of this table with the accompanying analysis at Cambridge University Risk Communication

David Roberts, 28 May 2020 with revisions 3 August.


You can go direct to their website for fuller information and further analysis.

Comparisons of 16 weeks of Covid deaths vs other causes over a year.

Table 1 lists the number of deaths registered with Covid-19 in England and Wales up to 3rd July 2020 in 5-year age bands, and compares with the number of deaths from other causes. Other causes shown include influenza during an average year and during a bad year, deaths from injuries and all accidents, and deaths from road accidents, suicides and homicides. Influenza data are estimates, adjusted to England and Wales’ population and 5-year age bands. See the Appendix for sources of all statistics, and any adjustments done to each cause of death reported.

We note the massive increase in the numbers of Covid deaths for increasing age.

Table 2 –  Compared with other causes over the whole year:

For each age-group under 20, fewer have died with Covid than on average die from flu each year. This means that for all ages above 20, more have died from Covid than would typically die from flu each year.
For those over 90, around the same number have died with Covid as died from flu in 2014-2015, the worst recent year.
For each age-group under 35, fewer have died with Covid than on average die from road accidents each year.
For each age-group under 50, fewer have died with Covid than on average die from accidents and injuries each year.
Note that over 80% of Covid deaths are to those with a pre-existing medical condition. If we conservatively assume that at most 40% off the population have such a condition, then the Covid death rates for people without such a condition are less than a third those reported above (this follows since at least 60% of the people are experiencing at most 20% of the deaths).

There will be some additional Covid deaths over the remainder of 2020, although this is likely to be limited due to additional measures being precipitated by outbreaks.

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Schools are overreacting to the corona virus

Last night I watched the BBC TV 6 0’clock news with an item about a primary school in the north of England. The presenter, Branwen Jeffreys, showed us a school and its preparations to deal with the return of pupils after the long break caused by the corona virus pandemic, and the steps the head had taken “to ensure that the children were safe”. It was clear that neither the head teacher nor the presenter knew that the corona virus was harmless to children, nor that children outside a classroom will mingle and be in close physical contact with each other.

Desks were 2 metres apart resulting in most of the classroom being empty, toys and other equipment that children might handle had been removed. Bookcases had been taped across with yellow and black warning tape to prevent the use of books.

To my mind this was shocking:  dangerous to the mental well-being of children, totally unnecessary and a gross waste of resources. I don’t believe education can function in such a set-up. I was shocked that a teacher and, apparently the BBC’s Education Correspondent, should think this was an acceptable approach to the current corona-virus outbreak.

How are we educating our children? To fear coming near to another human being in case they catch a deadly disease? To believe that the very air is potentially lethal? That toys, educational equipment, and books cannot be shared because of the terrible danger of catching a deadly infection? To be obsessive about hand washing? To grow up anxious and deeply fearful of the world? This is not healthy or appropriate education.

Picture Philadelphia Inquirer

David Roberts  1st June 2020

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Closing Norway’s Schools May Have Been a Mistake

Norway’s Prime Minister has second thoughts about closing Norway’s Schools.

On Wednesday night, Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg went on Norwegian television to make a startling admission: she had panicked. Some, even most, of the tough measures imposed in Norway’s lockdown now looked like steps too far. “Was it necessary to close schools?” she mused. “Perhaps not.”  –  From Daily Telegraph, 2 June 2020.

Was it a mistake for the UK?
David Roberts

2 June 2020

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Corona Virus, “The impact on children is minuscule in terms of their health.”

Corona Virus, “The impact on children is minuscule in terms of their health.” – Dr Gavin Morgan.

Dr Gavin Morgan, an expert in educational psychology at University College London, said the impact of spending a prolonged period out of education was “100 per cent” worse than Covid-19.

“We know how important play is for children’s development,” he told the Sunday Telegraph, 8 June.. “If they can’t play with their friends, their mental health is going to suffer.

He also said that parents’s anxiety about sending their children back to school was “misplaced”.

“We know children have a less challenging disease if they do pick it up,” added Dr Morgan, who sits on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), which feeds in to Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies).

DR 18 June 2020

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“Children are at very little risk of infection”

“Children are at very little risk of infection” – Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Professor Russell Viner of the UCL Institute of Child Health and President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health told MailOnline: ‘What we know about the novel coronaviruses, including COVID-19, is children are at very little risk of infection.

‘Children probably catch it as much as adults but most children either have no symptoms or incredibly mild symptoms.

‘If children do catch catch the virus, most do not get any symptoms.

‘Most of those that do develop symptoms only experience mild effects, such as a slight fever, some aches and pains and a bit of a cough.

Daily Mail online 18 March 2020

So if children are at only the slightest of risks surely they don’t need to keep apart. And actually, I would think that it would be socially and psychologically harmful to bring children up to fear close contact with others or believe that the air they breathe is contaminated, that shared objects like books may be a health hazard. Such behaviour is so unnatural that only a truly great danger should lead us to treat children in this way. And covid-19 is of minimal danger to children.

College and University Students

These are of very little risk too so that the attempt to keep students apart is also unnecessary as well as being unworkable, inhuman, and socially and psychologically undesirable.

Statistics giving the evidence behind this claim can be found elsewhere in this blogsite.

David Roberts, 17 June 2020