Pam Barker | Director of TLB Europe Reloaded Project
We’ve done our own summary of the discussion, and 21st Century Wire gives its take below that. But we urge readers to watch the interesting video discussion between Prof. Karl Friston, theoretical neuroscientist at UCL, and Freddie Sayer of UnHerd.
Prof. Friston in a recent interview coined a new phrase, ‘immunological dark matter’. This represents the lack of understanding as to why a large proportion of the population seems to be immune to the virus.
Modellers, Friston says, are facing an inverse problem: they have data but don’t know what’s causing it – the latent causes are hidden. They can see consequences but not the causes. So ‘dark matter’ means there’s stuff underneath the data but it’s not known what it is.
An effect observed in Germany is that a subpopulation exists that may not have participated in the outbreak in the same kind of way as the susceptible individuals who spread the virus. It seems that Germany is behaving as if a greater part of the population was ‘out of the game’ in terms of being susceptible to the infection. So if you put all the causes and parameters into the model (social distancing, testing, etc.), surprisingly it was not a societal/governmental response that explains differences: it’s something intrinsic to the way the population immunologically responds to the introduction of the virus.
Sayer: Has this been observed elsewhere?
Friston: There is enormous variation between countries, and it seems that understanding this lack of susceptibility to the virus is key to explaining this astonishing variation between countries. Researchers are looking at the different mechanisms that may be responsible. For example: vitamin D – Germans use this more, minorities in the UK less. Others have suggested many different, compelling reasons for this susceptibility, from psychosocial attitudes to genetic predispositions – many of these may play a role. They’re all viable hypotheses that need to be evaluated.
Sayer: What about government interventions playing a role such as lockdowns, social distancing, tests, contact tracing? What can we say about this?
Friston: The modelling says it matters less than we expect.
Some have pre-existing immunity given previous exposure to other coronaviruses like the common cold. Also, maybe you are not geographically close to the virus spread (staying in your attic, being on an island). These factors need to be examined.
Sayer: Ferguson’s modelling suggested that everybody was equally susceptible with a high death rate.
Sayer: What % of the UK population may be considered not susceptible?
Friston: If you put all testing data into the mix, 50% seem to have been unsusceptible up to the present time. But when the study is complete, it will probably show the non-susceptible population to be around 80%. The model shows a ‘firework’ effect where the virus spreads rapidly and then fizzles out. So in London, where there was a large, rapid outbreak, it seems that there is no more traction for the virus. People in the 80% group of not being susceptible are therefore doing the 20% a favour by going out and mingling, which renders the virus impotent for the rest still in isolation.
And we are still having to social distance, limit contact and wear masks because …? Answers on a postcard, please.
The fact that around 80% of the population may be not susceptible may confirm people’s earlier observations before and during lockdown that they knew of few people who actually had the viral infection.
Prof. Karl Friston: ‘80% Not Even Susceptible to COVID-19’
21st CENTURY WIRE
As the threat of COVID-19 quickly fades from the foreground and the damage from governments’ experimental panic-driven ‘lockdown’ measures, some experts are now asking an important question: why do different countries achieved such vastly different results in terms of fatalities due to Coronavirus?
The answers to this question will undoubtedly destroy official claims that the COVID lockdown was somehow science-based, let alone justified.
As it turns out, a large percentage of the population were never susceptible to this virus.
In other words: the threat was completely overblown, and lockdown and social distancing policies have never been based in reality.
Professor Karl Friston is a computer modelling expert, world-renowned for his contributions to neuroscience. He has been applying his “dynamic causal modelling” approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, and has reached some startling results.
– The differences between countries are not primarily down to government actions, but due to ‘intrinsic’ differences in the populations
– We don’t yet fully understand what is driving it, although there are theories ranging from levels of vitamin D to genetic differences
– In each country, there appears to be a portion of the population that is ‘not even in the game’ – that is, not susceptible to Covid-19. This varies hugely between countries
– In the UK, Professor Friston estimates that portion to be at least 50%, and probably more like 80%
– The similar mortality results between Sweden (no lockdown) and the UK (lockdown) are best explained by the fact that, in reality, there was no difference – the impact of the legal lockdown in Professor Friston’s models “literally goes away.”
This is a highly informative interview with UnHerd host Freddie Sayer and Professor Karl Friston. Watch:
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