Here we are again. We are at risk of another Christmas. Boris Johnson appears on television frequently, and each time he makes an appearance, it seems that he is closer to another round of restrictions.

The spectacle of droves of gloomy scientists flooding back onto the airwaves, particularly the BBC’s, to demand tougher restrictions from the Government is now a dependable part of Christmas.

Only this time it’s apparently worse. It is true that even the most doom-mongering scientists must admit that there has been more protection from last year’s vaccine rollout. So in this respect, things are actually better.

Omicron is the opposite. This word itself is sinister. It sounds like the name for a leader in a group of evil extra-terrestrials who are determined to ruin our way of live. This may just be what it will do.

Boris Johnson pops up frequently on our television screens, and with every new appearance, he seemingly edges closer to another spate of restrictions

Boris Johnson appears frequently on television, seemingly closer to another round of restrictions.

I don’t doubt that Omicron is rife and spreading like wildfire. Most of us have heard of at least one or two people infected with Omicron over the past few days. It’s said to be three times as infectious as the Delta variant it is supplanting.

Scientists, journalists, politicians, and journalists are exaggerating danger from the new variant. They ignore or downplay the solid evidence that South Africa has provided, which suggests it will likely lead to significantly fewer deaths and hospitalisations. It is my belief.

And was Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, correct when she declared yesterday that Omicron poses ‘probably the most significant threat we’ve had’ since the start of the pandemic? It is a very strong doubt.

Was Jenny Harries (pictured), chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, correct when she declared yesterday that Omicron poses ‘probably the most significant threat we’ve had’ since the start of the pandemic? I very much doubt it

Was Jenny Harries (pictured), chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, correct when she declared yesterday that Omicron poses ‘probably the most significant threat we’ve had’ since the start of the pandemic? This I strongly doubt.

That’s the same Jenny Harries who, in the early days of the pandemic, suggested it wasn’t ‘a good idea’ for the average member of the public to wear a face mask, and was also sceptical about banning mass gatherings.

My opinion is that panic has gripped the nation. A new national nervous breakdown is taking place. As you might recall, the previous one was when there were fewer tanker drivers and people waited in line for hours to fill up their cars with petrol. It’s called hysteria.


According to the latest claims, there will be one million Covid cases per day by the end the week. It could be that it is already happening. During yesterday morning’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4, I heard that this figure would be reached ‘within days’, ‘in a week’ and in ‘two weeks’.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that figure were soon increased by the doom-mongers to two million cases a day. This would mean that most of us by next year will either already have Covid or in the process of being struck down.

Perhaps we’ll have millions of cases every day. We would be crazy to exclude it. But all we are offered at the moment are predictions, largely based on modelling by Jenny Harries’s UK Health Security Agency.

On Monday, it claimed there were 200,000 new cases every day — about four times the official government number at that time. The distinguished statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter rightly said that this figure was ‘a bit naughty’ because it didn’t show how the figure was reached.

Scientists from the government claim that Omicron infections are increasing at a rate of 2% every day, but Boris Johnson stated yesterday that this process takes only two days. This calculation shows that yesterday there were 800,000 cases, while today there will be 1.66 million. It sounds insane to me.

It would be so much more beneficial if scientists and the Government stayed focused on known facts, rather than looking for answers. We need to know the facts, and not just what you imagine.

Ironically, however, while the Government can freely speculate about their theories, they are reluctant to share statistics regarding the vaccination status and age of patients who died from Covid. Wild conjecture is more generously shared than solid facts.

People who listen to frightening forecasts can be prone to become paranoid. The BBC is a willing mouthpiece, I worry. While it’s not the only one who is guilty among broadcasters, its reach stands out as a major player.

The Beeb seems to be interested almost solely in the work of apocalyptically-minded epidemiologists. Graham Medley, a Sage Professor is one of the Beeb’s favourite Gloomsters. This morning, it gave the floor again to him.

Professor Medley feared that Omicron could trigger a ‘very large’ wave of hospitalisations because it is so transmissible. Professor Adam Finn, another of Auntie’s pets, gave a similar message on BBC Breakfast. His message suggested that some new regulations might be required.

Corporation, however, does not give much attention to highly-qualified scientists with a balanced or less pessimistic outlook. Think of distinguished people like Sir John Bell, Regius professor of Medicine at Oxford and Carl Heneghan director of Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.

Neither of them is famous for pushing for new restrictions, and both tend to advocate restraint — which doubtless explains why they’re not favourites at the Beeb. Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, another moderate is often overlooked.

One of the BBC's favourite coronavirus gloomsters is Professor Graham Medley (pictured) of Sage

Professor Graham Medley of Sage is one of BBC’s most beloved coronavirus experts.

It was ignored

He criticized the Omicron panic yesterday. British scientists and policy-makers have largely neglected a study that examined 78,000 Omicron-related cases in South Africa.

According to the study, hospitalization rates with this new strain are 29% lower than those with Wuhan and 23% less than that with Delta. It is important to have two vaccinations in order to protect against death or hospitalisation. Omicron sufferers required less intensive treatment than those with Delta.

South Africa may not be Britain. South Africa’s population is considerably younger. On the other hand, Dr Angelique Coetzee — a South African GP who knows more about Omicron than most — points out the high level of HIV infection, and therefore medical vulnerability, among many South Africans.

Kate Bingham, the scientist and venture capitalist responsible for Britain’s stunningly successful vaccine rollout, is another measured voice. She told a Commons committee on Tuesday that Omicron may be ‘a more mild disease’.

There are many deaths

However, neither the BBC nor Government seem to be open to the possibility. These scientists are pushing the discussion by recommending restrictions and speculating about extremely high infections.

Remember, too, that a greater number of cases is not a bad thing if it doesn’t lead to more hospitalisations or deaths. It’s actually the reverse. It is possible to build our immunity to future viruses by catching a milder, but more common version.

All I am saying is that we shouldn’t panic. According to some epidemiologists, the BBC is convinced that we need not panic. Prudence is wise; hyperstylism is dangerous. Incidentally, isn’t it interesting that the BBC and, I suspect, many of the scientists demanding restrictions, privately loathe Boris Johnson?

He will do what they ask? Will he just wait and see how dangerous Omicron is for a population that has received boosters? His resolve will be tested as never before in the coming weeks.