By Peter Andrews, Irish science journalist and writer based in London. He has a background in the life sciences, and graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in genetics.The coronavirus misinformation that scientists, politicians and media have fed to the public has been shocking. Take a tour through the bizarre, contradictory and downright ludicrous myths that have done more damage than Covid.
TRIGGER WARNING! Do not read this if you are a loyal member of the Branch Covidians, cravenly awaiting the pleasure-pain prick of the Covid vaccine before you will appear in your own garden without a face nappy.
Or rather, do read it, but don’t expect to like it. There is no place for assumptions here—only logical thought from first principles. The only aim is to debunk the biggest myths that the media and political establishment have propagated.
And if you can hear me out then I salute you; there are few of us left who hold open minds.
Myth 1: Slowing the spread of the virus is a good idea
This is the fundamental premise of the world’s ‘response’ to Covid, from which all else springs. But it has never been established that we should be trying to slow the virus down, not even from the blinkered point of view of just saving lives in the short term.
Slowing the spread of the virus was initially sold to us as a way of protecting health services: if everyone gets sick at once, the hospitals will fill to bursting point and people will die on gurneys in car parks outside. Remember ‘flatten the curve’? Since Covid infections are inevitable, spreading them out through time will indirectly save lives by ensuring that everyone who can be saved by medical interventions – oxygen masks and ventilators – will be.
A noble idea, but as it happened, a misguided one. Most hospitals spent the months of the outbreak as good as empty. All other medical treatments were postponed in order to prepare for the onslaught of Covid patients coughing their lungs up—an onslaught that never arrived. Even intensive care units rarely reached full capacity, and it quickly became apparent that for the people most at risk from Covid, ventilator and intensive care treatment is unsuitable. Only a tiny minority of those who have died actually died in intensive care—old people with many co-morbidities are best kept in ordinary wards.