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News

Exposure rate ‘similar’ in London and Stockholm – BBC News

  • Exposure to Covid-19 is similar in Stockholm and London, based on antibody tests, despite different lockdown strategies.
  • The research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found that 17% of people tested in April in Stockholm had developed antibodies.
  • This compares with 17% of Londoners tested in April and May, and 5%-10% of people living in Geneva.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53741851

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News

UK economy faces long climb back to health after historic 20% crash – Reuters

Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% in the second quarter when the coronavirus lockdown was tightest, the most severe contraction reported by any major economy so far, with a wave of job losses set to hit later in 2020.

The data confirmed that the world’s sixth-biggest economy had entered a recession, with the low point coming in April when output was more than 25% below its pre-pandemic level.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-britain-economy/uk-economic-output-collapses-by-20-4-in-second-quarter-idUSKCN2580LK

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News

‘Dangerous’ to think masks will stop virus – The Times

The epidemiologist in charge of Sweden’s coronavirus response has dismissed the scientific evidence for mask-wearing as “astonishingly weak” and suggested that making face coverings mandatory could backfire.

Anders Tegnell, the face of his country’s distinctive light-touch approach to Covid-19, said it was “very dangerous” to believe that facemasks on their own could control the spread of the disease.

He also conceded that Sweden had failed to protect its old people’s homes against the virus but said the number of new infections in the care sector had dwindled away to a negligible level since the height of the outbreak four months ago.

Dr Tegnell has steered a markedly different course from those plotted by most other European countries, leaving bars, restaurants and most schools open throughout

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/facemask-evidence-is-astonishingly-weak-says-architect-of-swedish-strategy-bm0w335zr

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News

No, Europe isn’t being engulfed by a deadly second wave – The Telegraph

An uptick in cases hasn’t been matched by an increase in deaths. It’s about time we had a more intelligent conversation about risk

Hard luck to those who switched their holidays to Greece when Spain was put back on the quarantine list. The Greek government has just officially declared a “second wave”. Once holidaymakers have explored the Aegean they face getting to know a lot more about the insides of their own homes upon their return, as Greece is now a favourite to be added to the ever-growing list of countries whose air bridges with Britain have collapsed.

But how real is this “second wave” apparently sweeping Europe? Look at the chart of new recorded infections in Greece and, sure enough, you can call it a second wave. Recorded cases began to inch upwards from mid-June onwards. The figure for Sunday – 202 – was markedly higher than the peak in new recorded infections in Greece’s first wave, which reached 156 on April 21. But then look at the chart for Greece’s Covid deaths and there is not the slightest trace of a second wave.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/11/no-europe-isnt-engulfed-deadly-second-wave/

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News Opinion

UK second wave fears quashed? Top doc claims Britain almost ‘reaching herd immunity’ – Dr. Ron Daniels, The Express

  • Official data from NHS England points to a huge drop in the number of coronavirus patients being treated in hospitals today compared to mid-April, during the height of the pandemic.
  • Dr Daniels: Britain is “almost reaching herd immunity”.
  • Increase in hospital admissions nor a second wave to hit the UK.
  • “I think that’s highly unlikely because the pubs have been open for over a month, people have been socially interacting heavily during that time, and the natural history of this disease is that if you contract the virus and you’re going to end up in hospital, you’re pretty much in hospital within 15 days of contracting it.”

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1320683/uk-coronavirus-news-latest-second-wave-death-toll-infection-rate-herd-immunity

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Opinion

COVID-19 May Never Go Away — With Or Without A Vaccine – NPR

Humans have never been particularly good at eradicating entire viruses, and COVID-19 might not be any different.

More than 19 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus globally, and at least 722,000 have died. In the U.S., nearly 5 million people have tested positive and more than 160,000 have died. While scientists are racing to find a cure for the virus, there’s a chance COVID-19 will never fully go away — with or without a vaccine.

Vineet Menachery, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch, told NPR’s Weekend Edition that one of the more likely scenarios is that the spread of COVID-19 will eventually be slowed as a result of herd immunity. He said that he’d be surprised “if we’re still wearing masks and 6-feet distancing in two or three years” and that in time, the virus could become no more serious than the common cold.

The first thing to remember is that we haven’t been successful at eradicating many viruses at all. Really the lone exception is smallpox, but many of these viruses exist not only in the human population but in animal populations. So coronaviruses may be removed from the human population, like SARS coronavirus in 2002, but we know that those viruses or viruses that are similar to it still exist in nature and at any time they may gain the tools to reemerge in humans again.

https://text.npr.org/s.php?sId=900490301

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Opinion

More people die from flu with a vaccine than coronavirus without one – Alan Jones, Sky News Australia

Sky News host Alan Jones says people are being swept up into a sense of hysteria and alarmism around COVID-19.

There are only 17 people in hospital with the coronavirus in NSW, eight of them in intensive care, while the World Health Organisation continue to maintain that 99 per cent of all cases will experience mild symptoms.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a vaccine, and we’re going to have to learn to live with this,” Mr Jones told Sky News host Chris Smith.

“But we learned to live with a whole lot of other communicable diseases.

“More people are dying from the flu with a vaccine than are dying from coronavirus without a vaccine.”

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News

Daily covid death count could be scrapped – The Telegraph

  • A review will examine reports that officials were “over-exaggerating” the number of deaths from coronavirus.
  • On July 17, the Health Secretary asked PHE to urgently investigate the way daily death statistics had been reported, leading PHE to say it was “pausing” the daily release.
  • Under the previous system, anyone who has ever tested positive for the virus in England was automatically counted as a coronavirus death when they died, even if the death was from a car accident.
  • Weekly rather than daily counts could help improve accuracy for future death counts, but could also make it harder to draw comparisons in the event of a second wave of the virus.
  • Prof Carl Heneghan, director at Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, has called for a cut-off period for the way the death toll is calculated in England of 21 days.
  • Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, reportedly holds the view that excess deaths are the best measure to use, which will be unaffected by the PHE review.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/08/09/daily-covid-death-count-could-scrapped/

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News

Pupils pose no risk of spreading Covid – Professor Russell Viner, The Sunday Times

One of the largest studies in the world on coronavirus in schools, carried out in 100 institutions in the UK, will confirm that “there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted” there, according to a leading scientist.

Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and a member of the government advisory group Sage, said: “A new study that has been done in UK schools confirms there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted in schools.

“This is the some of the largest data you will find on schools anywhere. Britain has done very well in terms of thinking of collecting data in schools.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pupils-pose-no-risk-of-spreading-covid-27q6zfd9l

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Publications

Exposure to common cold coronaviruses can teach the immune system to recognize SARS-CoV-2 – MedicalXpress

  • Your immune system’s ‘memory’ T cells keep track of the viruses they have seen before.
  • New study led by scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) shows that memory helper T cells that recognize common cold coronaviruses also recognize matching sites on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Having a strong T cell response, or a better T cell response may give you the opportunity to mount a much quicker and stronger response.
  • 40%-60% of people never exposed to SARS-CoV-2 had T cells that reacted to the virus showing that their immune systems recognized the virus.
  • This finding turned out to be a global phenomenon and was reported in people from the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
  • This discovery suggests that fighting off a common cold coronavirus can induce cross-reactive T cell memory against SARS-CoV-2.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-exposure-common-cold-coronaviruses-immune.html

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News

Covid wards empty as virus death toll plunges – The Times

Fatalities are down 99% and some hospitals have no coronavirus patients, sparking hope that ‘herd immunity’ may be near

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has fallen 96% since the peak of the pandemic, official data reveals.

Hospital staff are now treating just 700 coronavirus patients a day in England, compared to about 17,000 a day during the middle of April, according to NHS England.

Last week, some hospitals did not have a single coronavirus patient on their wards, with one top doctor suggesting that Britain is “almost reaching herd immunity”.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/covid-wards-empty-as-virus-death-toll-plunges-bvm0mxl2n

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News

Sweden’s Economy, After Not Having Lockdown, in Much Better Shape Than Rest of Europe – Newsweek

  • Sweden’s GDP fell 8.6 in Q2 2020, the country’s worst quarterly decline in modern history.
  • The Scandanavian nation markedly outperformed the rest of Europe. Its GDP drop in the second quarter was lower than the 12.1 average experienced in the Eurozone, as well as the 11.9 average across the whole of the EU.
  • Sweden outperformed several European countries, including Spain (18.5 percent fall), France (13.6 percent), Italy (12.4 percent) and Germany (10.1 percent).

https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-sweden-economy-gross-domestic-product-eurozone-better-europe-1523359

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News

Up to 750,000 UK Covid test kits recalled due to safety concerns – The Guardian

Products made by diagnostics firm Randox removed from care homes and individuals

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/08/up-to-750000-uk-randox-covid-test-kits-recalled-over-safety-concerns

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News Opinion

Why Sweden, pilloried by the whole world for refusing to lock down – with schools staying open and no face mask laws – may be having the last laugh as experts say Stockholm is close to achieving herd immunity – Daily Mail

Swedish health experts say struggle against pandemic is ‘marathon not a sprint’

The country has one of the highest death rates from coronavirus in the world

Anders Tegnell’s refusal to impose lockdown is held up by critics as a warning

But is it possible the Scandinavian nation made the right call in the long-term?

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8607731/Why-Sweden-pilloried-world-refusing-lock-having-laugh.html

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News

For every three COVID-19 deaths, lockdown may have caused another two – Sky News

The national lockdown may have indirectly caused 16,000 excess deaths in two months, according to government analysts.

However, the report concludes 41% of those deaths were the result of missed medical care rather than the virus itself.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-lockdown-may-have-indirectly-caused-16-000-excess-deaths-study-12044923

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Opinion

Our government should not be copying totalitarian states – Dr. John Lee, Spiked

  • The government is purporting to engage with ‘The Science’, but it is also engaging in psychological operations.
  • But a side-effect of compelling people to wear masks is that some may decide it is all too stupid, and they are not going to go to the shops until this idiocy is over.
  • But a side-effect of compelling people to wear masks is that some may decide it is all too stupid, and they are not going to go to the shops until this idiocy is over.
  • The science on masks is very weak. The claim is that you might spread Covid-19 without knowing, if you have it asymptomatically.
  • Firstly, asymptomatic Covid-19 spreading around is good because it reduces the virulence of the virus.
  • Secondly, the idea that masks stop the spread is not only totally unproven, but also facile. It is a failure of imagination.
  • When a droplet hits a mask, it will dry out within seconds or, at most, minutes. If there is any substance to the droplet other than water, it will turn into a dust particle. Unless you superglue the mask to your face, there will be a constant rain of dust particles coming out from all directions around your mask as you breathe. They will be breathed in by others and the virus will do what it does.
  • There seems to have been no assessment whatsoever of the effects of lockdown before we entered it. That violates a key principle of medicine: first, do no harm. 
  • There is a term in medicine for taking action without that knowledge: negligence. The government was negligent in putting us into lockdown with no assessment of what that would do.
  • The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are not fever, cough, headache and respiratory symptoms – they are no symptoms at all, and around 99 per cent of those who catch this virus recover.
  • The government painted itself into a corner very quickly. It doesn’t know how to get out of that corner apart from by acting out the scenario that it came up with in the first place, which is why, months after we could have abolished all these restrictions and got back to normal, we are going through more months of public virtue-signalling and ritualistic behaviour. 
  • The WHO is not fit for purpose and whose performance has been lamentable
  • The WHO said there were no asymptomatic cases of Covid-19. Now, it is reckoned probably about 90 per cent of people who get Covid-19 are asymptomatic. That is a big change in viewpoint.
  • Broadcasters have done a woeful job of presenting balance on this, and have not allowed views contrary to the mainstream narrative to reach the public.
  • I also fear too many people are compliant, and complacent in thinking the government knows what it’s doing.
  • This episode is showing us that personal freedom must not be taken for granted.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/08/07/our-government-should-not-be-copying-totalitarian-states/

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News Opinion Videos

Australians have been filled with fear and alarmism – Alan Jones, Sky News Australia

The consequences to be inflicted on the personal wellbeing of Australians, business viability, the national economy, and mental health are far beyond what could be described as responsible management of the situation says Sky News host Alan Jones.

“The nation is swimming in debt, kids are out of school, people are locked up while all along the mental anguish of what is taking place is beyond calculation,” Mr Jones said.

On Monday, Premier Daniel Andrews outlined the details of his stage four lockdowns which will affect Metropolitan Melbourne for at least six weeks in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mr Andrews ordered all non-essential workers not to leave their homes from Thursday but promised people they will not need to bulk buy food as supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies would stay open.

Mr Jones said if lockdowns were the answer, why do deaths continue to escalate around the country.

Mr Jones discussed the issue with Garrick Professor of Law at the University of Queensland.

  • Australia-wide: 43 critical cases
  • 1% of patients critical
  • 99% of cases are mild
  • 221 COVID-19 deaths so far out of a population of 26 million
  • 440 Australians die every day
  • 1,000-1,500 flu deaths each year
  • COVID-19 not in top 50 death causes
  • Professor James Allan: “In a decade this will be looked back on as one of the most colossal public policy fiascos of the century.”
  • Around 161,000 Australians die every year (440 per day)
  • 1,200 die in car accidents
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News

‘Mask Mouth’ is Smelly Side Effect of Mask Wearing – Dr. Rob Ramondi, California Globe

California Globe has seen reports of lung infections from long-term mask wearing, persistent coughing, as well as dermatitis on the skin around the mouth.

Providing one more reason healthy people should not wear face masks, Dentists report they are seeing a new syndrome brought about by mask-wearing which the doctors have dubbed “mask mouth,” Fox News reports.

The moisture trapped in face masks creates a petri dish of breeding ground for bacteria, as it is  in place directly over your mouth.

Constant mask-wearing “is leading to all kinds of dental disasters like decaying teeth, receding gum lines and seriously sour breath.

“We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before,” says Dr. Rob Ramondi, a dentist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental. “About 50% of our patients are being impacted by this, [so] we decided to name it ‘mask mouth’ — after ‘meth mouth.’ ”

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Opinion

How bad is COVID really? – Sebastian Rushworth M.D.

  • Article based on experience working as a doctor in the emergency room of one of the big hospitals in Stockholm, Sweden, and of living as a citizen in Sweden.
  • Unlike other countries, Sweden never went in to complete lockdown. Non-essential businesses have remained open, people have continues to go to cafés and restaurants, children have remained in school, and very few people have bothered with face masks in public.
  • COVID hit Stockholm like a storm in mid-March. One day I was seeing people with appendicitis and kidney stones, the usual things you see in the emergency room. The next day all those patients were gone and the only thing coming in to the hospital was COVID. Practically everyone who was tested had COVID, regardless of what the presenting symptom was. People came in with a nose bleed and they had COVID. They came in with stomach pain and they had COVID.
  • Then, after a few months, all the COVID patients disappeared.
  • At the peak three months back, a hundred people were dying a day of COVID in Sweden, a country with a population of ten million. We are now down to around five people dying per day in the whole country, and that number continues to drop. Since people generally die around three weeks after infection, that means virtually no-one is getting infected any more.
  • The risk of dying is at the very most 1 in 200 if you actually do get infected.
  • In total COVID has killed under 6,000 people in a country of ten million.
  • Sweden has an annual death rate of around 100,000 people. Considering that 70% of those who have died of COVID are over 80 years old, quite a few of those 6,000 would have died this year anyway.
  • COVID will never even come close to major pandemic numbers like 1918 flu.
  • If herd immunity hasn’t developed, where are all the sick people? Why has the rate of infection dropped so precipitously?
  • The reason we test for antibodies is because it is easy and cheap. Antibodies are in fact not the body’s main defence against virus infections. T-cells are. But T-cells are harder to measure than antibodies, so we don’t really do it clinically.
  • Sweden ripped the metaphorical band-aid off quickly and got the epidemic over and done with in a short amount of time, while the rest of the world has chosen to try to peel the band-aid off slowly. 
  • I am willing to bet that the countries that have shut down completely will see rates spike when they open up. If that is the case, then there won’t have been any point in shutting down in the first place, because all those countries are going to end up with the same number of dead at the end of the day anyway. Shutting down completely in order to decrease the total number of deaths only makes sense if you are willing to stay shut down until a vaccine is available. That could take years.
  • COVID has at present killed less than 6000 in Sweden. It is very unlikely that the number of dead will go above 7,000. An average influenza year in Sweden, 700 people die of influenza. Does that mean COVID is ten times worse than influenza? No, because influenza has been around for centuries while COVID is completely new.
  • So it is quite possible, in fact likely, that the case fatality rate for COVID is the same as for influenza, or only slightly higher, and the entire difference we have seen is due to the complete lack of any immunity in the population at the start of this pandemic.

Original source: https://sebastianrushworth.com/2020/08/04/how-bad-is-covid-really-a-swedish-doctors-perspective/

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News

Lockdown ‘killed two people for every three that died of coronavirus – Daily Mail

  • 16,000 people died because they didn’t get healthcare from March 23 to May 1
  • At the same time, 25,000 Britons died of coronavirus at the pandemic’s height
  • Of the 16,000, 6,000 were unwell people who were too scared to go to A&E
  • It is feared that 81,500 people could die over next 50 years because of lockdown
  • In the next five years, 1,400 could die as they were diagnosed with cancer late
  • The new figures were presented to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) in the middle of July.
  • They were calculated by the Department of Health, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Government Actuary’s Department and the Home Office.
  • The 16,000 people who died included 6,000 who didn’t go to A&E during lockdown because they feared catching the virus.
  • Another 10,000 people are thought to have died in care homes after early discharge from hospital and a lack of access to care.
  • A further 26,000 people could die by next month because of the restrictions, while in total 81,500 people could lose their lives in the next 50 years because of the virus.
  • In more bad news, the next five years could see 1,400 people die because they were diagnosed with cancer too late.
  • An earlier report by the same team suggested deaths caused by delayed care amid the virus they could be as high as 185,000.
  • Professor Neil Mortensen, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, warned that the health service ‘must never again be a coronavirus-only service’.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8605885/Lockdown-killed-two-people-three-died-coronavirus.html