Friday 9 October 2020

ISAG against the 'Rona

Back in May a petition was circulated in the scientific community to support the idea that Ireland could flatten crush the curve and eliminate the scourge from our midst, so that we could get back to a normal life: rugger, night-clubs, big fat weddings, weeping into our pints on Saturday night; visiting the grannie. I signed because I was asked and thought that it was a nice aspiration . . . even if possibly impractical. At the time, I was anxious that alternative views should be aired and debated and alternative evidence and data evaluated and integrated. That petition, pushed by Anthony Staines of the covid surveys, became ISAG the Independent Scientific Advisory Group whose mission statement is 


As a handful of qualified but day-job-busy people it's not clear how they intend[ed] to achieve this laudable aim. If the full attention of the government and all its agencies has succeeded only in deferring the second wave of infections so that it will mesh nicely with normal winter 'flu infections, what can ISAG do? What has ISAG done??

On Monday afternoon I was one of 100 people who got inside the zoom room of the first statement / town-hall / Q&A from ISAG. Chaired by Aoife McLysaght [L top] we heard from   Gerry Killeen [L bottom] and Sam McConkey [L middle] two of the ISAG founders. They talked about some of the latest research from Brazil which showed that doing nothing was demonstrably worse than doing something, anything, to limit the spread of the virus. I gather that the webcast was recorded and will become available later; although with a100 thumbnails as the only thing on the screen for much of the time, there will surely be GDPR issues.

Anyway, I was glad to have been present. As the dilemmas and predicaments of the  most vulnerable members of our community were explicitly and sensitively addressed, I could get behind ISAG and its aspirations. But talking to 100 disembodied people isn't going to butter no curve-crushing parsnips. We need vocal, even shouty, engagement with a reactive government which is being barracked by vested interests who don't give a toss about the discountable People of the Dark: minimal wage, zero-hours contract workers in nursing home and meat factories who sleep, stacked like cord-wood, in Direct Provision Centres.

Here's a recent report on The Swedish Model.

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