CORONAVIRUS is not a hoax. Nor is the epidemiologist-led response to it a conspiracy. However, six months on, it is clear that the medium- and longer-term costs of this response will be far greater than any damage inflicted by the virus itself.

Baby boomers will recall the big stories of 1968 – the May evenements in Paris, the invasion of Czechoslovakia – but how many will recall that in 1968 between two and four million people died of Hong Kong flu? That 60,000 died in the then two Germanies alone? (Nine thousand have died there of CV19), and that 30,000 died in the UK?

This coronavirus pandemic has some way to go before it reaches those levels. So why is the response more disproportionate? Societal media over-domination: a death in the UK, or even a cluster of non fatal infections, becomes a headline event.

Scotland with the UK has possibly the highest per capita death rate in the world, and Nicola Sturgeon has done little better than Boris Johnson, considering our low BME population, the demographic that has been hardest hit. Possibly 4,000 have died which amounts to 0.07 per cent of the Scottish population.

This 4,000 is roughly the same as the Scottish lung cancer death rate annually (take all cancers together, and the death rate is much lower for coronavirus), and is far less than the 6,600 heart disease deaths, less also than the 6,500 Alzheimer’s deaths and marginally more than stroke deaths at 3,800.

More than nine out of 10 people who will die in Scotland in 2020 will not die of CV19. More people have died of cancer during the lockdown than of coronavirus, and many more will die of preventable deaths due to delayed diagnosis and treatments.

The Commons Committees have indicated that the main cause of the high CV19 death rate in the UK was not closing airports to civilian traffic in March; possibly 20,000 people died because of that failure, and another 10,000 died by shifting untested old people from hospitals to care homes.

That is, 65 per cent of all deaths were directly due to incompetence of both the UK and Scottish governments, and were avoidable.

There will be many greater causes of death in 2020, worldwide, than coronavirus. Heart disease: 15 million; all cancers, eight million; bronchial illness three million; diabetes 1.6 million, tuberculosis two million; road injuries two million.

Even suicide (one million annually recorded, but probably double that in reality), will exceed coronavirus most probably, though not certainly.

With the death rate declining in Europe to below flu-death rates the need is for acceptance that life is not risk-free and that there are many greater dangers facing humanity than CV19. One of those will be its consequences.

One can predict in all confidence that excess deaths over the coming years, caused by all the outcomes of how this was managed, will be far greater than deaths from coronavirus. We have caught a virus, the virus of unreason. And the sleep of reason breeds monsters.

Sweden got it right. My next car is a Volvo.

Ian R Mitchell,


DR Lewis Morrison protests too much (“Consultants could demand more money in second wave”, September 14).

It’s true that there’s been a big rise recently in the numbers tested positive, but that doesn’t mean more sick people.

Every day in the first half of July there were more than 300 patients in hospital with Covid-19, whereas there have been fewer than 300 every day since then, and the current total is likely to be revised downwards.

The British Medical Association Scotland is a trade union, not a professional organisation, so Dr Morrison was speaking in that capacity, but it’s disappointing that such a senior doctor should resort to selfish axe-grinding rather than fairly representing the facts.

Andrew Anderson,


ASSUMING the leaked information is true, and the Treasury and health experts back the idea, Boris Johnson’s “Moonshot” would spend £100 billion on regularly testing everyone for coronavirus.

I’m aware that the number of cases is on the rise, but surely that is inevitable given the amount of testing being done, and the actual number of deaths is a more consistent measure.

There were 75 Covid deaths in the UK last week. That is just over one person per million, a minuscule amount. By comparison, Germany had 28 Covid deaths and France had 180.

If this had been the rate since the epidemic started 28 weeks ago, around 2,000 people would be dead by now, not 42,000, and Boris Johnson would be the new Messiah.

Economics and politics are surely about choices, priorities and expected outcomes. We can do a lot with £100bn, including not spending what you don’t have.

You could build at least two million low-cost houses for that amount and give them away free, thus solving one of the biggest reasons for the poverty and poor health we are told the virus hits hardest.

Or you could give every one of the country’s 66.5 million inhabitants £1,500 each. I wonder what people would prefer?

Instead we are could be blowing eight months of the NHS annual budget on an effort to – let’s be honest – let those that don’t follow the rules off the hook, and get people back to the pub and shops, because this seems to be what fuels the economy these days.

Allan Sutherland,


IT looks as if the cure is worse than the disease: that the coronavirus lockdown has caused more long-term harm than the illness itself. Ill-directed efforts aimed at protecting public health have created a public health disaster.

After losing its nerve and swerving from the path Sweden continued to tread, the Government decided to shield the NHS, hoping to gear up for an imminent tidal wave of cases. All resources were focused on this goal.

The treatment of other conditions was put in abeyance even though it was soon clear the that predicted deluge wasn’t coming. The Covid death toll is half that of the 1968 flu epidemic but the NHS still hasn’t resumed normal service

In a climate of healthcare rationing, targets for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, mental health and dementia are abandoned. Yet there’s little evidence that coronavirus was ever an exceptional threat to the nation’s wellbeing

Politicos wildly over-reacted to the dubious modelling of controversial “researchers”. It reminds one of C S Lewis’ warning: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.

NOT long ago, Nicola Sturgeon told us she was en route to eradicating the virus from Scotland, making caustic side swipes about her perception of the situation in England.

Consequently, dyed-in-the-wool nationalists demonstrated at the border to stop the English entering Scotland. Sadly Ms Sturgeon has failed.

There has been no virus eradication; in fact, Scotland has the highest R number in the UK at 1.1 to 1.5. It would seem the English need protection from us.

Perhaps Ms Sturgeon and her supporters need to realise that, tragically, Covid doesn’t recognise the jurisdictional border about which she obsesses.

Martin Redfern,



A FRIEND of mine who plays “walking football” (for elderly keep-fitters), usually plays in teams more than six per side.

He contacted his recently re-opened sports centre to query the size of his team and was told the Rule of Six does not apply to them as they are a business.

Let’s please call a halt to all this unnecessary nonsense and get back to our normal way of life. Sweden never had lockdown, so why are we complying with all these stupid rules?

Mrs Christine Tack,

Poole, Dorset.

BILL Eadie (“Let’s have action on travel refunds”, letters, September 14) rightly wonders about the accuracy of scientific advice relating to Covid-19. I suggest that there is no such thing as “the science”.

We have not, for example, heard much recently from Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London, whose alleged prediction that coronavirus could kill 500,000 Britons led Boris Johnson to deciding that the country had to be locked down.

These sorts of predictions are based upon mathematical models, and different scientists use different models.

I defy anyone to produce a model which, to quote one of Mr Eadie’s examples, suggests that children under 12 are not toxic in Scotland but are in England.

David Miller,


IT is easy to understand the frustrations (though not the regrettably intemperate language) of those people who are frustrated by the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

But there is a serious problem afoot, and I note that the health minister in Wales has just observed that a national lockdown could be a matter of weeks away.

It would be interesting to know what all these caustic critics of the new restrictions would say were a member of their own family to be tested positive for coronavirus symptoms and needed NHS treatment and/or a period of self-isolation.

I strongly suspect that they would change their tune pretty smartish.

A Delaney,