Pennington was never really a ‘leading scientist’ at all. With a career based on an E-Coli outbreak in one Wishaw butcher’s, more than twenty years ago, retired 17 years ago, he is now a full-time political activist spending his days writing letters to the press as just ‘Hugh’ on behalf of the anti-democratic Scotland in Union covert letter-writing group.
Every major Scottish university has one or more professors of virology and of public health, active in their fields today. Professors Bauld and Sridhar from Edinburgh University are regularly featured on UK TV and in the press but, of course, are often fair to the Scottish Government.
In the midst of a pandemic, anyone can question the certainty of the research evidence for practice, but lives come first and, anyway, there is already research evidence to be going on with:
As Pennington surely knows, the experience of closing down the Aberdeen cluster in August revealed the role bars can play in the rapid growth of a Covid outbreak. Quite a severe lockdown was required to suppress it. The revellers will have infected at least some elderly and vulnerable people. It’s possible some of them died. Do we need to wait for academics to get a peer-reviewed survey published before we act on that knowledge?
Good news! At least three have already been done:
First, the highly respect Nature Medicine published research in September, tracing an outbreak to four bars in Hong Kong.
Second, also in September, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study reported:
Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.
Third, from Emergency Infectious Diseases, in July, a study from Guangzhou, China, implicated the air conditioning in a restaurant.