Today the UK press have a series of quotes from Tom Jefferson, a professor at Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. One was – In 1918 around 30 per cent of the population of Western Samoa died of Spanish Flu, and they hadn’t had any communication with the outside world. He added: The explanation for this could only be that these agents don’t come or go anywhere. They are always here and something ignites them, maybe human density or environmental conditions, and this is what we should be looking for.
His statements should have carried some weight considering his position and the specialisation in evidence-based research. However some very basic fact checking reveals the real source of the outbreak – On 7 November 1918, the New Zealand passenger and cargo ship Talune arrived at Apia from Auckland. On board were people suffering from pneumonic influenza, a highly infectious disease already responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world. Although the Talune had been quarantined in Fiji, no such restrictions were imposed in Samoa. Sick passengers were allowed to disembark. The disease spread rapidly through the islands. [NZ Government]
Now the case of Western Samoa is not some minor incident hidden in the archives. It was the subject of a royal commission and a UN report. It impacted relations with New Zealand for decades. So either the professor is deliberately giving out false statements or is most unsuitable for his academic rank and position …
So much for this expert’s opinion. Now let’s all hope that those experts in the UK Government’s SAGE group live up to their grand title regarding the handling of Covid-19.