The CDC has long maintained that the coronavirus is transmitted through droplets spread among people in close proximity to one another. On Friday, it updated its guidelines, adding that the virus also spreads through “respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes,” adding that this is the main vector of infection.
The guidance no longer says COVID-19 can be spread through the air, and the agency said it will update the language once its review process “has been completed.”
And then there is the biggest issue of all: the fact that breaking the rule is a criminal offence. As the Hampstead incident suggests, some police officers are evidently seizing their chance to indulge in the kind of neurotic, unnecessary behaviour that first reared its head at the start of lockdown.As part of a quest for “stronger enforcement of the rules”, Boris Johnson has proposed local “Covid marshals” who will ensure any miscreants do as they are told. Now, there are to be fines of up to £10,000 for people judged to have breached self-isolation rules, and the police will be checking compliance in the “highest incidence areas” and “high-risk groups”, based on “local intelligence”.
…The legislation allows ministers to authorise no end of drastic moves, from much weaker oversight of government surveillance and sectioning powers under the Mental Health Act to the closure of the UK’s borders. Perhaps the most startling section – which Martha Spurrier, the director of the pressure group Liberty, calls “completely wild” – lays out how the police can be rapidly allowed to detain anyone deemed “potentially infectious”, without an upper time limit.
Dear Prime Minister, Chancellor, CMOs and Chief Scientific Adviser
We are writing with the intention of providing constructive input into the choices with respect to the Covid-19 policy response. We also have several concerns regarding aspects of the existing policy choices that we wish to draw attention to.
In summary, our view is that the existing policy path is inconsistent with the known risk-profile of Covid-19 and should be reconsidered. The unstated objective currently appears to be one of suppression of the virus, until such a time that a vaccine can be deployed. This objective is increasingly unfeasible (notwithstanding our more specific concerns regarding existing policies) and is leading to significant harm across all age groups, which likely offsets any benefits.
Instead, more targeted measures that protect the most vulnerable from Covid, whilst not adversely impacting those not at risk, are more supportable. Given the high proportion of Covid deaths in care homes, these should be a priority. Such targeted measures should be explored as a matter of urgency, as the logical cornerstone of our future strategy.
In addition to this overarching point, we append a set of concerns regarding the existing policy choices, which we hope will be received in the spirit in which they are intended. We are mindful that the current circumstances are challenging, and that all policy decisions are difficult ones. Moreover, many people have sadly lost loved ones to Covid-19 throughout the UK. Nonetheless, the current debate appears unhelpfully polarised around views that Covid is extremely deadly to all (and that large-scale policy interventions are effective); and on the other hand, those who believe Covid poses no risk at all. In light of this, and in order to make choices that increase our prospects of achieving better outcomes in future, we think now is the right time to ‘step back’ and fundamentally reconsider the path forward.
Professor Sunetra Gupta; Professor of theoretical epidemiology, the University of Oxford
Professor Carl Heneghan; Director, Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, the University of Oxford
Professor Karol Sikora; Consultant oncologist and Professor of medicine, University of Buckingham
Sam Williams; Director and co-founder of Economic Insight
- ‘Circuit break’ may be a grave error with terrible consequences for the health of the British people and for the health of the country.
- The Government is once again in the grip of doom-mongering scientific modellers who specialise in causing panic.
- The latest reliable data from Spain (up to September 3) which does not indicate any sort of upward curve in infections, let alone one coming to get us here in Britain.
- Anyone with clinical experience of dealing with respiratory viruses knows that the only certainty is uncertainty itself.
- Making comparisons between countries using different national data with different definitions is no more useful than trying to compare apples and pears.
- Latest study shows that nearly a third of all Covid-19 deaths recorded in July and August might have actually been the result of other causes –cancer, for example, or road traffic accidents.
- Sweden has probably suppressed Covid-19 to the same level as Great Britain but without draconian measures.
- Anyone going down with a new respiratory illness is likely to be suffering from a cold – not Covid.
Covid-19 accounts for an average of 11 of the 1,687 deaths in Britain every day, according to official statistics.
|Cause||UK deaths per day|
|Flu and pneumonia||124|
|Accidents at home||16|
I believe I have identified a serious, really a fatal flaw in the PCR test used in what is called by the UK Government the Pillar 2 screening – that is, testing many people out in their communities. I’m going to go through this with care and in detail because I’m a scientist and dislike where this investigation takes me.
…In the last 40 years alone the UK has had seven official epidemics/pandemics; AIDS, Swine flu, CJD, SARS, MERS, Bird flu as well as annual, seasonal flu. All were very worrying but schools remained open and the NHS treated everybody and most of the population were unaffected. The country would rarely have been open if it had been shut down every time.
The former president of the supreme court says parliament “surrendered” its role over emergency laws restricting freedoms amid the coronavirus pandemic, in an intervention expected to embolden MPs threatening a Commons revolt.
The UK’s biggest Covid-19 testing laboratory is prioritising Premiership Rugby players and travellers to Dubai while failing to meet government targets for the public, according to company insiders.
Randox Laboratories, based in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, was handed a £133m testing contract in March — no other company was given the opportunity to bid for the work. It is responsible for a quarter of community tests in the UK.
However, leaked documents marked “sensitive” reveal that it regularly fails to provide test results within the official 24-hour target. On September 9, Randox completed fewer than one in 10 tests on time. It has also “voided” more tests than any laboratory — meaning the number it throws away because of errors.
- There were two pieces of emergency legislation which came into force in late March:
- the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations;
- the Coronavirus Act.
- The Coronavirus Act has never been lawfully used. It has been continually misapplied.
- The Crown Prosecution Service conducted a review of all charges under the coronavirus laws – both under the regulations and the Coronavirus Act. It found an extremely high percentage of charges made under the coronavirus laws were wrongly brought.
- The law has the power to criminalise people. Breaching guidance should not result in criminal prosecution.
- The rule of law developed to protect the weak and vulnerable from the strong, and to treat people equally. That has been hard fought for. That equal application of the law cannot be dependent on positions of power. The rule of law is also there to prevent the government from acting illegally. The government cannot subject us to restrictions and punishments unless justified by law.
- The laws have come into force with less scrutiny than you would get for a new series on Netflix.
- There’s no justification for ongoing revision of law without it going through parliament. The reason why parliament is so important is it raises checks and balances.
- Laws are really being used as an exercise of power by police, who are not considering the health and safety aspect.
I knew a second lockdown was on the cards before we’d had the first one. In mid-March my team at the University of Edinburgh modelled a lockdown that ended in June and was followed by a slow, initially imperceptible rise in cases over the summer, culminating in a second lockdown in late September.
- Sweden never went in to full lockdown. Instead, the country imposed a partial lockdown that was almost entirely voluntary.
- The only forcible restriction imposed by the government from the start was a requirement that people not gather in groups of more than 50 at a time.
- People followed the voluntary restrictions pretty well at the beginning, but that they have become increasingly lax as time has gone on.
- After an initial peak that lasted for a month or so, from March to April, visits to the Emergency Room due to covid had been declining continuously, and deaths in Sweden had dropped from over 100 a day at the peak in April, to around five per day in August.
- Dr. Rushworth hasn’t seen a single covid patient in the Emergency Room in over two and a half months.
- COVID has killed under 6,000 people.
- On average, one to two people per day are dying of covid in Sweden at present, and that number continues to drop.
- In the whole of Stockholm, a county with 2,4 million inhabitants, there are currently only 28 people being treated for covid in all the hospitals combined.
- Sweden seemed to be developing herd immunity, in spite of the fact that only a minority had antibodies, was due to T-cells.
- Immunity may be long lasting, and probably explains why there have only been a handful of reported cases of re-infection with covid, even though the virus has spent the last nine months bouncing around the planet infecting many millions of people.
- Almost all cases of reinfection have been completely asymptomatic.
- People develop a functioning immunity after the first infection, which allows them to fight off the second infection without ever developing any symptoms.
- England and Italy have mortality curves that are very similar to Sweden’s.
- Lockdown only makes sense if you are willing to stay in lockdown until there is an effective vaccine.
Britain is now in grave danger of sleepwalking into a second national lockdown. The consequences of doing so would be disastrous.
We find ourselves in this wretched position partly because the Government’s main achievement since the pandemic first emerged in China has not been suppressing the virus or saving lives or the economy, but in spreading irrational fear.
- A blanket lockdown is the last thing we should be contemplating if we are serious about the nation’s mental and physical well-being.
- This second wave or will not trigger the explosion in deaths we saw in the spring.
- Not a single young child has died in the UK from Covid without some other serious pre-existing condition.
- According to Cambridge statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter, anyone under 50 is more likely to die in a car crash than from the virus.
Rising cases of the common cold could be giving a false picture of the spread of coronavirus among children.
Public Health England’s weekly coronavirus report shows a rise of almost 23% in rhinovirus infections, which include the common cold, in the last week.
The great 20th-century pandemics, comparable in so many ways to their 21st-century heir, accounted for myriad private tragedies. Yet, unlike this novel coronavirus, their public, political significance was negligible. They were treated as public-health challenges, problems for clinicians, virologists and epidemiologists. And there were arguments at the time that more should have been done to mitigate their harm. But there was no sense of a world ending. No talk of a new normal. No attempt, that is, to reorganise the entirety of societal life around the threat they posed.
Dr. Mike Yeadon, former Chief Scientific Advisor, Pfizer:
- The evidence suggests that a substantial number of the positive cases are false positives.
- The government doesn’t know or is not disclosing the false positive rate.
- False positive rate may be as high as 1%, which would mean most or all of the positives are false positives.
- We are finding traces of an ‘old’ virus which can’t possibly make people sick.
- The test looks for a piece of genetic code. A positive test does not mean someone is sick.
- ONS says the prevalence of the virus is less than 0.1%.
- Pillar 2 (community) testing seems to be flawed. Method of processing samples would be inadmissible if this were a forensic case.
- The number of COVID deaths is continuing to stay low and fallen for 6 months. For it to suddenly increase would need a big change in transmission.
- Young people would have been the first who caught COVID-19 because they were not social distancing. The idea that the young people are now getting it is “for the birds.”
- If positive tests are false, they will be distributed evenly in the population. This is what we’re finding.
- Mass testing is not the answer.
- Sweden is not doing mass testing and their society has had 0.06% of their population die from COVID-19. This is the same as the UK.
- We are using a test with an undeclared false-positive rate.
- Are we re-testing the positives? This is unclear.
- A second lockdown is going to amplify the non-COVID deaths.
- UK’s lockdown was too late to prevent the initial spread.
- Mass population immunity is keeping the deaths low. This is the most reasonable explanation for the differences between the models and reality.
The coronavirus pandemic has peaked earlier than expected in many African countries, confounding early predictions, experts have told MPs.
Scientists do not yet know why, but one hypothesis is the possibility of people having pre-existing immunity to Covid-19, caused by exposure to other infections.
Prof Francesco Checchi, a specialist in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told MPs it was “broadly” true that coronavirus had not behaved in expected ways in African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Somalia.
Officials in Nashville, Tn. concealed from the media how few coronavirus cases had been traced to bars and restaurants in the city, according to emails sent between the mayor’s office and the city’s health department
Public Health England has listed 18 areas of intervention with stricter rules
They had only a combined 141 people in hospital as of September 3, NHS shows
One person in hospital for every 38,000 in a population of over 5.4million
Despite an infection rate of more than 120 cases per 100,000 people and local lockdown rules preventing people from meeting anyone they don’t live with, fears about the virus spreading translate to only two people in hospital.
Professor Carl Heneghan said there has been a 50% rise in coughs and colds
This is normal for September when children go back to school and university
But Government messaging about Covid-19 has left people ‘terrified’, he said
- A coughing illness would not normally be considered an epidemic until doctors were seeing 400 symptomatic cases per 100,000 – far higher than Covid-19 rates;
- The Eat Out to Help Out restaurant voucher scheme likely led to an increase in the spread of coronavirus;
- Increased testing is still only picking up a fraction of the true number of cases but it’s detecting more of ‘background’ infections because it’s more targeted, making it look like cases are soaring;
- Bolton may be experiencing high infections because the virus was not widespread there before lockdown lifted and people did not build up any immunity;
- Swab tests are still picking out too many people who aren’t infectious, and studying individuals’ viral loads could help officials to pick out those actually at risk of spreading it;
- The country cannot test its way out of the outbreak and there must be a coherent strategy for what to do with knowledge of case numbers and a level that is acceptable;
- Ambiguous phrases such as ‘Moonshot’ are not helpful for communicating the Government’s plans and have no basis in science, which should be paramount.
Sky News host Alan Jones says he has warned time and time again the political leaders who are the architects of this coronavirus response will not be able to escape the criticism that is now finding its way into the public place. It comes as an economist in the Victorian Department of Finance and Treasury, Sanjeev Sabhlok, on Wednesday penned an article in the Australian Financial Review announcing his resignation from his position.
- Policies are a sledgehammer to kill a swarm of flies.
- The Spanish Flu killed killed at least 50 million out of 1.8 billion people out of worldwide.
- To compare with Spanish Flu, COVID-19 would need to kill 210 million people. It has only killed 0.9 million.
- 60 million people worldwide normally die each year.
- There are strong scientific arguments against lockdown.
- The data was clear from February that the elderly should be protected but this wasn’t done.
- Epidemiological models have badly exaggerated the risk.
- There was never any reason to mandate measures such as face masks.
- COVID-19 is no worse than the Asian Flu.
- Lockdowns cannot eradicate the virus.