‘The lockdown has been cruel and negligent’

Dr John Lee on the terrible cost of officialdom’s response to coronavirus.


Dr John Lee, retired pathologist and leading critic of the government’s coronavirus response, joins spiked’s editor for the latest episode of The Brendan O’Neill Show. They discuss the exaggerated threat of Covid, the corruption of science and the mounting death toll of the lockdown.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Alan Dunn

7th August 2020 at 6:32 pm

Brilliant. Wish this sort of analysis would make the media

SNJ Morgan

7th August 2020 at 4:48 am


-We’re referring to the type of models produced by Neil Ferguson and Imperial College, who have been the laughing stock of ‘modeling’ for decades.

Ferguson has been out with his calculations by orders of magnitude that beggar belief. I think he once admitted his model had placed the decimal point in the wrong place!!! And yet we have the accepting his models on COVID-19 over models produced at Oxford College.

It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.

Jerry Owen

29th July 2020 at 12:20 pm

Interesting point about spittle drying and bacterial dust being breathed out of a mask which could potentially travel further.
I see people fiddling with masks then touching food, so on balance mask wearing does seem to be an unproven benefit.

Jerry Owen

29th July 2020 at 11:37 am

I have yet to wear a face mask. We did a huge shop before the compulsion, however I will need food sometime soon so will have to succumb to wearing an object that blocks my airways, something that my body wasn’t designed to wear. I will also be be breathing in more CO2 which the eco loons have been waging a war against. How odd that these are the same people by and large that now wish me to breathe in more CO2.. But I did vote Brexit, perhaps this is my punishment!
Wandering around my local town centre last Saturday was utterly depressing in that 99% of people were wearing masks and not even just in the shops, why didn’t they wear them in April May and June if they believe there was a danger to their health?
Driving down the M3 the other day I passed a lone woman in her car.. Wearing a face mask!
You couldn’t make it up.

Bear Mac Mathun

29th July 2020 at 9:22 am

Models are just opinions. Interesting. Some of these opinions have achieved remarkable things, such as satellite guidance systems. So we have two people with no experience with Mathematical Modeling pontificating about it. Just because one has a scientific background, it makes it no more right: one could argue that assuming authority to talk about something that one has no experience with is somewhat unethical.

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

28th July 2020 at 11:55 pm

The Great Moderator and High Algorithm has mercifully spared me from the Great Spike of Spikes, whereon are impaled views of such lurid offensiveness that their authors must must be the Outcasts of the Earth, wandering forever beneath the frowning cloud of Editorial Disapproval.

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

28th July 2020 at 11:30 pm

I am before the dreaded Great Moderator in his Algorithmic Eyrie ! It snatches up it’s victims at random, and with Olympian authority we are disposed of.

James Knight

28th July 2020 at 9:54 pm

Please tell the NHS that masks are not effective. Then do a few shifts in a covid19 ward without PPE.

Or how about a double blind study? 50% of covid wards with staff without any PPE, the other 50% with PPE.

George Whale

29th July 2020 at 12:08 am

How about doing a similar study for people out shopping, or on public transport?

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

29th July 2020 at 1:13 am

Front-line medical staff – including dentists – run the risk of long exposure to an atmosphere saturated with viral droplets in crowded wards, and are therefore in danger of acquiring a viral load many times more challenging to the normal immune system than is possible in ordinary daily life. And they are also responsible for dealing with very vulnerable cases with compromised immune systems. The risk assessment in such a context rightly demands that the most comprehensive hygiene protocols should be observed. Of course, be it noted that masks are only one among a whole panoply of clinical precautionary, preventative and curative medical interventions employed in hospital.

Just by themselves masks make an inefficient and very minor contribution to preventing infection. If hospital staff were protected by no more than their masks, then God help them! Similarly, out in society there are much more important and effective measures of cleanliness and quarantine. There remains little utility or practicality in expecting the public sphere of general human life and interaction beyond the antiseptic walls of the NHS to revolve around any such strict and highly disciplined professional regime. This cannot be emulated in the general population. Simple measures with reasonable discretion for individuals to choose their own habits of cleanliness and sensible avoidance of undue exposure to the virus, and following unsensational and calm advice are what is wanted.

I know our government has little concern for either utility or practicality or steadiness in a crisis, but that observation hardly endorses a dumb submission to the gag they have imposed on us. The very prospect makes me sick. They have panicked the population and made public health advice no better than an irresponsible spreading of public alarm and despondency. The phlegmatic Swedish way was reminiscent of our old British calm in a crisis – a national virtue long extinct, along with many other good and useful qualities of our once sturdy and sensible nation, like simple common sense.

This crazy and insulting gagging order – along with the similarly penal ‘lockdown’ and making the constabulary and the legislature effectively the managers of the country’s health policy – is punishing people for being disease vectors. The Chinese Communist Party’s idea of Lockdown was so intensive and ruthlessly total that it did include the Malthusian culling of their population. The mortality rate from our own Lockdown is on the way to rivalling that of Covid 19 itself, through enforced neglect of all other cases. The NHS policy of intrusive intubation at the outset of the outbreak was finally dropped because of its lethality, and gentle ventilation substituted with improved outcomes for patients – but the original adoption of this extreme and inappropriate measure remains redolent of the historical outrage of the forced feeding of hunger-striking suffragettes, an intervention used as a tool of punishment rather than as a life-saving measure.

There is a veiled cruelty in the manner with which the authorities are abusing the people of this country – for all the world as if we were the helpless inmates of a badly-run and crisis-ridden institution, where the care is indistinguishable from a penal regime. They are running a system of Terror, and it is now an established tool of government. It will be used now whenever the ‘health of the Nation’ becomes an expedient piece of NewSpeak to cripple democracy with: as Orwell might have said, Dictatorship is a mask suffocating a face – forever.

Reluctant Mlungu

28th July 2020 at 9:25 pm

How does one get to listen to the content…? Where’s the link or “play” button?

Diane Roche

28th July 2020 at 7:54 pm

I have just read the brilliant article from The Critic re. face masks make you stupid. I loathe wearing a mask and feel angry with myself for crumbling under the pressure to conform.There is a feeling of giving up part of your real self and I find it terrifying. I have tried to make a stand but the suffocating sinister presence of the mask wearing public turn me against my will into a compliant mindless robot. All the points in The Critic article are my thoughts exactly .I cannot bear to even look at myself in a mask. They are dehumanising and useless.Now with tasteless designer masks,even a Saville Row monstrosity, we have seriously lost the plot.
More sinister, is the way the public are challenging non mask wearers.I tried to resist and was approached by a woman who was obviously beside herself with curiosity.She had me in her sights.Finally she creepily edged towards me (obviously keeping a social distance!)and asked me if I was “one of the exempt”. I did not reply as I was so astounded and I hate to say offended but three days later I am still angry.

Gareth Edward KING

28th July 2020 at 8:48 pm

Diane, Don’t give up! Stand your ground! Your health is your business. Don’t wear a mask. I ‘wear’ mine deliberately wrongly i.e. under my chin, in a shop, for ex. In Madrid’s main park Saturday: in El Retiro we were encouraging people to remove theirs! At least in Spain, the police can denounce you, but it has to be said that there are more than a million fines ‘in limbo’; with any luck, the police’ll give up asking. I can’t see how the enormous service sector in the capital is supposed to survive these draconian measures, it’s beyond me. Are they intent on destroying social life? We’ll see.

Diane Roche

28th July 2020 at 10:21 pm

Thank you Gareth!I am going to have another attempt at non mask wearing .I spent summer in Madrid a couple of years ago and I cannot imagine the fun loving exuberant Madrilenos ever being
stifled physically or mentally by a mask.This adherence to “rules” by the masses is a puzzle to me.A genius social experiment is all it has proved to be.

James Knight

28th July 2020 at 9:52 pm

“More sinister” is the way people have been murdered for asking others to wear a mask.

Get over it, FFS. Even if they turn out to be 0% effective masks are worth trying. If this doctor doesn’t believe in them, feel free to work on a covid19 ward without one and recommend the NHS staff don’t bother with PPE.

While we are at it, who needs handwashing? What sort of conformist morons would do that? Build your immune system, put your hands down a toilet before eating.

Jonathan Castro

28th July 2020 at 10:37 pm

It’s difficult to do, but possible. I haven’t worn a mask in a shop. Some shops are worse than others. Sainsbury’s Brookwood is pretty conformist, with most staff in masks, but Sainsbury’s Burpham (Guildford) is much more relaxed. Quite a few staff not wearing masks, and lady at checkout counter pleased to see I wasn’t wearing one. An improvement on last week among the customers – one other person not masked (lol). Local garage was also better tonight with most people not in masks, including staff at the till (as opposed to the day before).

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

28th July 2020 at 10:58 pm

I don’t want to wear a mask, because no research has demonstrated it’s effectiveness, either in protecting the wearer, or in protecting those in proximity to the wearer, from any virus. Since this is what I believe to be true, wearing a mask I generally find to be embarrassing – more embarrassing than would be standing out from the crowd. However, if I’m threatened with a thumping from a righteous civilian thug, or arrest by a legitimised official thug, I would naturally comply for reasons of my health – as you might say – ; unless of course I was backed up by a gang bigger and uglier than the representative or representatives of enforced conformity confronting me. And it might come to that.

Naturally, I would not make an issue of the wearing or the not wearing of a mask where the quarantine of the vulnerable with already compromised immune systems, or who are generally frail in health, are concerned, on the basis that I would neither wish to worry such already anxious folk, nor seem to show them contempt for their misfortune; and I would, moreover, also consider that even the slightest possibility of marginal benefit, to such as these, from masking at least the lower portion of my face, as when visiting an elderly relative in a care home, would be a simple kindness, performed on a generous just-in-case assumption.

But among the healthy, when one is suffering no symptoms oneself, the assessment of courtesy and risk is different, or ought to be, and as, for example, it normally is during any influenza outbreak. Busy and robust people have always hazarded their comfort and health by entering the daily melee of the public space, readily exposing themselves to the challenge as a proficient gambler balances risks with possible gainful outcomes. It is indeed only in this way that society and the economy can possibly flourish. If the healthy become valetudinarian hypochondriacs, then our civilisation quite simply sickens. And quite rapidly languishes and dies. Not with a bug but a whimper.

The extremist prescriptions of authority are therefore extremely troubling to all of a healthy outlook. The current spectacle presented to their appalled gaze is the nervous collapse of an entire people – a society of the insane. The mental hygiene of the mad doctors whose Lysenkoist social controls now rule us is a corruption of reason, and from that corruption spreads an insidious and toxic miasma, destroying our minds. Sick in the head and sick of soul our mere survival becomes a burden: ‘Welcome Covid! Liberator of our weary nonentity!’ many will cry; while others will as loudly wail ‘Shelter us from Death, O Hierarch of Everlasting Health, and let us freeze forever in the mummified immobility of Fear’.

A baffling curiosity of Patrick Fagan’s article in ‘The Critic’ is that part of his argument, which adduces such historical events as the Venetian carnival to show that the mask suppresses our humanity, fails in this intention, only serving to demonstrate how masking – or masquerading – is actually a dis-inhibitor rather than otherwise, in fact encouraging and disguising wild impulses, exhibiting ‘indecencies, jostling, provocative laughter, exposed breasts, mimicking buffoonery, a permanent incitement to riot, feasting and excessive talk, noise and movement.’ Would that those days of merry riot, so recently our own urban norm, could sweep away this ‘New Normal’ of dull and lifeless Orwellian conformity !

Far from a suppressant, the mask is properly thought of as a liberator. This is a hopeful sign of irrepressible rebellion.

So let us perhaps appropriate the muzzle – so perceived by our stupid governors – and subvert it’s purposes back to those of masked and sinister banditry ! And rejoice that digital surveillance, largely dependent upon face-profiling, has at a stroke been out-faced !

Let’s go around wearing stockings over our heads, or sinister pig-masks – or, as the humour takes us, Venetian Carnival disguises of the most fanciful kind. Let riotous assembly rule, and so restore the true order of carefree gaiety, that is the birthright of all free peoples.

Let us have immunity from the herd !

Vivian Darkbloom

29th July 2020 at 12:35 am

It’s not easy Diane. The amount of social disapproval you will face from the unthinking herd is enough to put anyone off. But we must fight fascism, we really must. If I can give you some comfort and advice just wear the muzzle if you feel uncomfortable but leave it hanging around your chin. There are some absolute bastards out there who will jump at the chance to shame you. Stand strong. If someone challenges you, which is unlikely, tell them you have an exemption because wearing a muzzle gives you severe distress. This is entirely legal and built into the legislation. Remember that this is, at least for the moment, legislation rather than law, so in that sense it is merely advisory. Don’t listen to fascists like Knight; ignore these authoritarians. As a last resort, play the madwoman card: if challenged – possible but unlikely – say that the “severe distress” you suffer from includes going absolutely mental if forced to wear the slave mask, to the point that you flip out and attack those who will try to compel you. I must say that this is a final resort and I’m certainly not advocating violence in any way.

If they insist then tell them that refusal to allow you into a shop is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act of 2010. Request the names of those who have refused you ingress and explain that they will be prosecuted if they continue their unreasonable actions. I myself have mental health issues – of a mild kind – which prevent me from wearing a slave muzzle. The law is on your side. The big problem is getting over the interior sense of social shame and the occasional stares from those who have been conditioned. Hold your head up high and just be you; there is no one better qualified! Don’t listen to that policewoman they’ve implanted in your head. We really can’t give in to fascism.

Vivian Darkbloom

30th July 2020 at 10:17 pm

Dammit! Reading back on my comment I mean one should ignore the proto-fascist Hancock. Apologies. What a silly slip. Although perhaps I should also apologise to Hancock who is probably little more than banal.

Ian Murray

28th July 2020 at 7:18 pm

Spiked isn’t free. It is paid for by political interests on the right.

Constantine Sotiriou

28th July 2020 at 10:20 pm

No it’s free, Carole. Payment is optional.

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

28th July 2020 at 11:05 pm

And a very necessary antidote it is to the spittle-flecked lunacy of the Left, in that taxpayer-funded asylum of government, the inmates of which are being unleashed into the community.

Paul Stevenson

31st July 2020 at 5:38 pm

I couldn’t agree more although I would declare Spiked to be sensibly middle of the road.

Steve Roberts

28th July 2020 at 7:00 pm

It’s been an overused out of context phrase attached to many things recently, however, the social ,political, economic and regressive generalised destruction of the fabric of society and the beginnings of a new social order are unprecedented during the recent period, certainly nothing has come to close to this since the mass human destruction of WW2.
Lee’s words are so powerful, reasoned, objective and intellectually substantial, his conclusions are full of despair and so much anger to what has irrationally been imposed. He mentions a “jackpot” regards the precautionary principle, but the real jackpot is that there are still people like him in expert and intellectual circles that refuse to be cowed and silenced, and of course that outlets like Spiked provide such a platform.
Lee also is exasperated by much of the the scientific/intellectual community, the government and alleged opposition , the wider establishment and the media class, there has been little dissent or challenge to the madness of the entire narrative. But here is the positive thing, once more , as over Brexit , the wider demos are seeing, or more of it are seeing, that there is no reason, at all, to place any hope in the established social and politcical order, dominated as it is by the elites of such ineptitude who are prepared to destroy our society, they are once again exposed.
We can be angry, dissappointed and shocked at these further revelations, but it is vital that we all understand that for any serious change to take place in our lives and society generally it will not come from those who maintain and impose the status quo. Any change will have to come from beyond the norm, the established players, until that is accepted as a defining principle things will never change, blind hope that the media, political and economic class can be steered in another path is worse than dangerous it is an obstacle to change ever taking place, in those circumstances we are inviting those who have just caused such destruction and authoritarian denial of freedoms to continue to do so.

Gareth Edward KING

28th July 2020 at 6:38 pm

Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! Just today, Isabel Díaz Ayuso’s Madrid regional government has just made ‘death-mask’ wearing obligatory at all times, along with leaving one’s National Identity Number on going into bars, restaurants, terraces, wherever; 10 people maximum in a group whether inside or outside and that includes when in one’s OWN home! Dr. Natalia Priego Cancelo’s press conference on Saturday here in the Spanish capital has actually been reported on on the media; she was there that day with German and Argentinian medical teams. She’s been out on the streets in Barcelona and she’ll be there with her team in Berlin, August 1st on a Europe-wide demo against this ‘hysteria’. As Dr. Lee said most eloquently, this has to stop, and the House of Commons needs to be there demanding responses instead of acquiescing to Johnson’s useless, spineless government.

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