Pharmaceutical Companies

It is absolutely not the case that pharmaceutical companies created COVID-19 for their own profit, and it is extremely irresponsible for people to promote these lies. Scientists have worked extremely hard to establish the origin of the virus in order to help to defeat it, and through that work they were able to learn that COVID-19 evolved from a coronavirus in the bat population. Further, researchers have stated that, had COVID-19 been human made, that would have been identifiable in the virus’ genome. No such evidence has been found.

Pharmaceutical companies have been working hard to establish treatments and vaccines for this virus; in fact, Astra Zeneca, who have been working with Oxford University on one of the frontrunner vaccines, have pledged not to profit from the vaccine during the pandemic.

Vaccine Safety

Before use, vaccinations are extensively trialled under a variety of conditions, before undergoing a robust and independent analysis process. The benefits associated with vaccinations are overwhelming, and as such I strongly disagree with any group or individual seeking to discourage people from protecting themselves and others from potentially fatal illnesses, including coronavirus. I pay tribute to the Health Secretary and others for raising concern about these worrying trends of lack of parents refusing to vaccinate their children from deadly diseases. It is deeply irresponsible: not only does it put their children at risk, but others too who may not be able to have the vaccine for medical reasons.

Face Coverings

Some people have expressed concern about rumoured health risks of wearing a face covering. However, let me be clear that these claims are false and unsubstantiated. For example, hypoxia, or deprivation of oxygen, is not caused by the breathable materials recommended for face coverings, nor by the prolonged use of medical masks when properly worn in line with recommendations for the product. There is absolutely no evidence that face coverings cause hypercapnia, or too much carbon dioxide in the blood, unless they are entirely air tight: carbon dioxide molecules that you breathe out exit through and around the types of face coverings that are commonly worn. Further, there is no evidence at all to support the claim that face coverings can suppress the body’s immune system – they may stop germs getting into your mouth or nose so that the immune system does not have to kick in, but this is not the same as it being suppressed. I believe it is extremely irresponsible for people to promote these myths in any forum, particularly on social media where they have been widely shared, when there is an increasing body of evidence to show that face coverings can reduce the spread of coronavirus and as such can save lives.

5G

scientists have made it clear that there is no link between 5G and coronavirus.  A connection with the virus is ‘both a physical and biological impossibility’. This is a conspiracy theory that has come about as a result of false information online. Damaging telecoms infrastructure is particularly dangerous and anyone responsible for these criminal acts will face the full force of the law.

I know the Government is working with social media companies to ensure that harmful, false claims like these are removed as swiftly as possible.

SAGE

The purpose of SAGE is to provide scientific advice to the Government. I cannot emphasise strongly enough that this has been used to help save lives, and has been nothing to do with behavioural control, nor would it ever be so. I believe that it particularly important during the coronavirus outbreak that the public are provided with truthful information and guidance. The spread of rumours, lies and falsehoods can put lives in danger. Cross-government work is helping to identify false narratives and provide rebuttals to those claims.