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Senior epidemiologist who advises the government says BBC misrepresented Covid risk to boost lockdown support

“BBC ‘misrepresented’ Covid risk to boost lockdown support, inquiry told”, the Telegraph reports.

Note that the person doing the telling is not some random conspiracist but Sir Mark Woolhouse, OBE FRSE FMedSci, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Woolhouse was an adviser to the Scottish government during the pandemic, although he says it did not often take the advice he offered. He also sat on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, a sub-group of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, usually known by its acronym “SAGE”. The Telegraph report by Scottish political editor Simon Johnson says,

The BBC was allowed to “misrepresent” the risk posed by Covid to most people to boost public support for lockdown, the UK Covid Inquiry has heard.

Prof Mark Woolhouse, an eminent epidemiologist and government adviser, lambasted the corporation for having “repeatedly reported rare deaths or illnesses among healthy adults as if they were the norm”.

He said this created the “misleading impression” among BBC News viewers at the start of the pandemic that “we are all at risk” and “the virus does not discriminate”.

In reality, he said it was known at the time that the risk of dying from Covid was 10,000 times higher in the over-75s than the under-15s.

But Prof Woolhouse told the inquiry the BBC did not correct its reporting, saying: “I suspect this misinformation was allowed to stand throughout 2020 because it provided a justification for locking down the entire population.”

23 comments to Senior epidemiologist who advises the government says BBC misrepresented Covid risk to boost lockdown support

  • Mark

    BBC tells truth….

    Now that would be a headline!

  • rhoda klapp

    The BBC lies to us all the time. Sometimes overtly, sometimes by omission. I thought everybody knew.
    The same goes for the newspapers, other broadcasters and politicians and corporations, at least as a working assumption until proven otherwise.

  • John

    The fact that the bbc has finally moved the story about the 12 UNRWA staffers from being hidden in the deepest depths of yesterdays daily stream to the actual news page lead story makes one wonder quite how serious and convincing the allegations must have been.

    After all it’s not like Jeremy Bowen & co to take anything said by Israel remotely seriously as opposed to their slave-like adherence to every word uttered by the Hamas health service.

    Still it’s good to know the miscreants have been dismissed, we wouldn’t want to prejudge anything by detaining them would we?

  • Ben

    The Inquiry seems to be a lot better at inquiring since it moved to Edinburgh

  • Peter MacFarlane

    “The BBC was allowed to “misrepresent” the risk posed by Covid…”

    “Allowed to”

    Interesting phrase to use. Who was doing the allowing – or disallowing?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

  • Truly, the state is not your friend.

  • djm

    Marianna Spring (the doe eyed BBC disinformation reporter/poster girl for BBC hypocrisy) will no doubt be all over this story

  • John


    Has she finished checking her own CV for disinformation? There was rather a lot of it, but to no-one’s surprise she’s still got the job.

  • APL

    “Senior epidemiologist who advises the government says BBC misrepresented Covid risk to boost lockdown support”

    As I said at the time, the BBC was acting as a domestic terror organisation. Difference being, it was acting on behalf of the British government.

  • APL

    “As I said at the time”

    Well, I did.

    Looks like Mr Ecks was spot on the ball too.

    Interest rates over 5%.
    Raging inflation.
    And the British government faced with a debt crisis ( viz Liz Truss – watch that space ).

    (3/3) i’d say.

  • Russell Weatherly

    If the lockdown wasn’t done to mitigate the risk of C-19, what was it for?

  • Kirk

    Why do the people of Britain put up with having the BBC forced down their throats? They’re basically paying the government twice, once to decide what they should be propagandized with, and the second time for the privilege of owning the equipment to have it broadcast to them.

    Puzzling, that.

  • APL

    If the lockdown wasn’t done to mitigate the risk of C-19, what was it for?

    To disguise the financial collapse that has been festering since 2008.

    Why do the people of Britain put up with having the BBC forced down their throats?

    Many people don’t, but frequent, the people the BBC prosecutes, are those that can least afford to pay the fee … to be lied to. Then probably the most suceptable to the lies, so net net, the audience the BBC wishes to indoctrinate.

    Mind you, sometime watching US television, I really take exception to the commercial breaks – frequently you find yourself in a commercial break without realising it. At least in the UK, there is ( or was ) on ITV a definite demarcation between programming and advertisements.

  • jgh

    After it almost completely disappearing, in recent years the stripey box thing in the top corner of the screen that counts down to ad breaks has re-appeared. I don’t know if it’s something to do with a fracturing of the advertising market to allow cue-ing up of different advert content. It was originally for network broadcasts to be able to cue up to opt out to local adverts. But it also was a useful prompt for the Pause button when recording on the VCR. 🙂

  • APL

    in recent years the stripey box thing in the top corner of the screen that counts down to ad breaks has re-appeared.

    There was, I recall, a video recorder of some brand, which used that flag to stop recording for the duration of the adverts. I’m not sure the advertisers liked that, as it meant that no one ever got to view their costly advertisements.

  • Kirk

    Simple solution… Turn off the f*cking television.

    I’ve got one, but I can’t remember the last time I turned it on.

    I do watch the damn thing in passing, when passing through other parts of the house where other family members are watching, but I can’t be bothered to turn it on for my own use.

  • Paul Marks

    The BBC were not alone – the whole international establishment lied, including the World Health Organisation and various government and corporate entities (which are largely merged in the international Corporate State – with government agencies part funded by pharma corporations and foundations).

    Let us go through the lies…

    “The virus was from an an animal in a wet market” – the virus was produced in a Chinese lab part funded by American government agencies and Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance and the World Health Organisation.

    “It is not a danger to the United States” Dr Tony Fauci (yes – the man who spread panic later, first said there was no danger), and the World Health Organisation.

    “It spread naturally” – there was a major international games in Wuhan at about the time the virus started to spread, and even later when it was obvious that the virus was killing people the international airport in Wuhan remained open even when travel to other parts of China was closed off.

    “There are no effective Early Treatments – this stuff is poison!” – in reality there were several generally effective Early Treatments which could have saved most of the people who died.

    “Lockdowns will save lives – without them millions moe will die!” – the countries that did NOT lockdown had a lower (not higher – lower) death rate than the United Kingdom and the United States and other lockdown countries.

    By the economic and social harm they have done the lockdowns will COST many lives – which was well understood by studies long before Covid, which is why lockdowns were not part of traditional plans for reaction to pandemics. As it was well understood that lockdowns would cost lives (not save lives) it is only logical to assume that this destruction of human life was the intent of the international policy.

    Lastly the “vaccines”.

    “No one is safe till everyone is safe” – a Collectivist slogan that just about everyone in power (from people such as Mr William “Bill” Gates at the top, right on down to people such as Prime Minister Johnson at much lower levels) repeated – this slogan makes no sense at all in terms of a real vaccine, a real vaccine protects the person who has had it, regardless of whether anyone else has had it. And why did some people, such as Prime Minister Johnson, get injected AFTER they they already had Covid – that was a barking mad thing to do (unless their injection was not as presented).

    Lastly we have the grand “the vaccines are safe and effective” lie.

    The Covid “vaccines” were not very effective (at least not very effective against Covid) and were certainly not “safe” – they have injured and killed many people.

    Yet the lie that “the Covid vaccines have saved millions of lives” is still trotted out, and not just by the left….

    After all President Trump has repeated this lie (or whether he knows it is a lie I do not know) and takes pride in “Operation Warpspeed”.

    If the left were intelligent they would stop attacking President Trump for fake crimes that even the giggling juries of New York do NOT believe (even as they convict him of things they know he did not do) – the left should be attacking President Trump for “Operation Warpspeed” – although this was a really an international Corporate State project.

  • Paul Marks

    Oh I forgot about the cloth masks.

    First Dr Fauci (and the rest of the international elite) said they were useless, then they said they were so useful they made them compulsory (we used to pick them out of the bin outside the supermarket in my home town – because we were not allowed to enter the supermarket without wearing a cloth mask, then we tossed them back in the bin when we left the place), now they have gone back to saying they were useless.

    The virus went through the cloth masks as if they were not there – and the virus travelled many feet on the air, so even people who refused to leave their houses still got it.

  • Kirk

    I’ve got some slight experience with fitting masks, from a military and industrial safety aspect. The fact is, even a properly fitted N95 isn’t going to be a perfect prophylactic against a virus. Hell, it’s not even all that good for particulate matter in terms of “Hey, is this good enough to use for lead/asbestos removal…?”

    As well, the problems with fitting them properly? Yeesh. I seriously doubt that anything that can be mass-issued for public use is going to be good enough. I mean, after all… The Wuhan facility was a Level-3 biohazard facility, and the virus managed to get past all their precautions. What makes anyone think that a paper diaper over the mouth was going to be at all effective?

  • Colli

    Isn’t there a parallel here with propaganda in war? Wars and viruses are both existential threats. Viruses could also require more collective action than wars. If one person escapes quarantine, they could be responsible for hundreds or thousands of deaths. Indeed, in Uruguay, a single person was initially responsible for the arrival of COVID. A single deserter is unlikely to do that much harm!

    It seems like if you think propaganda should be allowed in war, you should also think it permissible during a pandemic. In a war you might want propaganda so that people don’t decide not to fight. While there is a virus, you might want propaganda so that people don’t decide that they should make less effort not to spread the virus. You might want to ensure that people don’t think that the virus isn’t dangerous. Or you might want to make them think that the virus is more deadly than it is. In war, you might talk about the brutality of the enemy: how they kill civilians or sack towns, even if the frequency of such events is low.
    If people did think that the virus was less deadly, they would be less worried about spreading it. In the same way, if people thought that the enemy was less dangerous, they would not fight as hard.

    Is there something I have missed? Obviously there are differences between viruses and wars. But in what way do they differ so that propaganda is acceptable in one but not in the other?
    To be clear: I do not support propaganda or various governments’ responses to COVID. My point is that if you do support propaganda during wartime, why not during a pandemic?

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Colli, you seem to accept it as a given that propaganda during wartime that, for instance, exaggerates the frequency or severity of enemy atrocities is justified. I do not.

    I can accept the necessity of censoring things like troop deployments and your own losses, because if the enemy knows which of its tactics work well and which don’t, they will be enabled to kill more of your side.

    But if the only way you can get your people to fight is to lie about the enemy, you shouldn’t be fighting. Either their actual nature (which, as well as their atrocities, includes their ultimate intentions for your country if they win) is bad enough to justify war, or it is not.

    And the whole point of science was meant to be that it did not skimp or distort or simplify the truth; it just stated the facts with all due caveats. When a scientist uses the word “science” to propagate an idea they know to be inaccurate, they cease at that moment to be a scientist.

  • Paul Marks

    Kirk – the little cloth masks we had to wear could indeed protect us from nothing, and were not intended to protect us from anything, they were intended as ritual humiliation. A sign of compliance and submission.

    As someone who has COPD (yes a “oh, you are on your way out” disease) I was not under these regulations anyway – I could have gone on a train or in a supermarket without a mask, but I normally wore one because I could not be bothered to argue, only once (when I was fighting to breathe) did a take a mask off on a train – and I was still polite to the guard who tried to tell me off.

    “the virus managed to get past all their precautions”.

    Yes at just the time there was a large scale international games being held in Wuhan, and just after the international trial run role playing exercise in international social control during a pandemic.

    What a strange coincidence Kirk. What a clever virus to know exactly when to accidently escape.

    Still “nothing to see here – move along”.

    As Perry is fond of saying – the state is not your friend.

  • Paul Marks

    Colli – because the propaganda during Covid was a series of lies (see my long comment above). The propaganda was not intended to help people – and (no surprise) it did harm. For example, some people shut themselves away thus reducing their Vitamin D levels (that made them easy victims for the virus) and some people refused to seek out Early Treatments (“they are poison – the media, and the authorities, say so”) and thus died when they could have been saved. And, of course, people lined up for the toxic “vaccine” injections.

    As for Uruguay – it did not have a lockdown, yet had a lower death rate than Argentina, next door, that did have a lockdown.

    The Early Treatment point is important – many people got better treatment in parts of India, Turkey or the Dominican Republic (or many countries in Africa) than they did in the United States and the United Kingdom.

    The official position in both the United States and the United Kingdom was – stay home without treatment, till you become very ill – then we will take you to hospital and shove you on an overpowered ventilator.

    Thus the chance to save many lives was thrown away.

    It is difficult to find the words to express how bad policy was in the “advanced” countries, and just how useless the “Inquiry” is.

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