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Skeptical of medical science reports? – NCBI

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as editor of The New England Journal of Medicine”.

More recently, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, wrote that “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness”.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4572812/

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COVID-19 vaccine refusal is higher among health and social care workers who feel pressured by their employers – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Health and social care workers who felt under greater pressure from their employers to receive COVID-19 vaccination were more likely to decline it, according to preliminary new research highlighting factors influencing uptake.

https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2021/covid-19-vaccine-refusal-higher-among-health-and-social-care-workers-who-feel

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Coronavirus and depression in adults, Great Britain: January to March 2021 – ONS

1.Main points
Around 1 in 5 (21%) adults experienced some form of depression in early 2021 (27 January to 7 March); this is an increase since November 2020 (19%) and more than double that observed before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (10%).
Around 1 in 3 (35%) adults who reported being unable to afford an unexpected expense of £850 experienced depressive symptoms in early 2021, compared with 1 in 5 (21%) adults before the pandemic; for adults who were able to afford this expense, rates increased from 5% to 13%. Over the period 27 January to 7 March 2021:

Younger adults and women were more likely to experience some form of depression, with over 4 in 10 (43%) women aged 16 to 29 years experiencing depressive symptoms, compared with 26% of men of the same age.
Disabled (39%) and clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) adults (31%) were more likely to experience some form of depression than non-disabled (13%) and non-CEV adults (20%).
A higher proportion of adults renting their home experienced some form of depression (31%) when compared with adults who own their home outright (13%).
Almost 3 in 10 (28%) adults living in the most deprived areas of England experienced depressive symptoms; this compares with just under 2 in 10 (17%) adults in the least deprived areas of England.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/coronavirusanddepressioninadultsgreatbritain/januarytomarch2021

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Increased risk for COVID-19 in patients with vitamin D deficiency – Science Direct

Vitamin D deficiency is strongly associated with increased risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The odds ratio for COVID-19 increases with vitamin deficiency in black individuals.

Diabetes, obesity, and periodontal disease are associated with an increased risk for both COVID-19 and vitamin D deficiency.

Patients with vitamin D deficiency were 4.6 times more likely to be positive for COVID-19 (indicated by the ICD-10 diagnostic code COVID19) than patients with no deficiency (P < 0.001). The association decreased slightly after adjusting for sex (odds ratio [OR] = 4.58; P < 0.001) and malabsorption (OR = 4.46; P < 0.001), respectively. The association decreased significantly but remained robust (P < 0.001) after adjusting for race (OR = 3.76; P < 0.001), periodontal disease status (OR = 3.64; P < 0.001), diabetes (OR = 3.28; P < 0.001), and obesity (OR = 2.27; P < 0.001), respectively. In addition, patients with vitamin D deficiency were 5 times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than patients with no deficiency after adjusting for age groups (OR = 5.155; P < 0.001).

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899900720303890

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Is a Mask That Covers the Mouth and Nose Free from Undesirable Side Effects in Everyday Use and Free of Potential Hazards? – MPDI

Many countries introduced the requirement to wear masks in public spaces for containing SARS-CoV-2 making it commonplace in 2020. Up until now, there has been no comprehensive investigation as to the adverse health effects masks can cause. The aim was to find, test, evaluate and compile scientifically proven related side effects of wearing masks. For a quantitative evaluation, 44 mostly experimental studies were referenced, and for a substantive evaluation, 65 publications were found. The literature revealed relevant adverse effects of masks in numerous disciplines. In this paper, we refer to the psychological and physical deterioration as well as multiple symptoms described because of their consistent, recurrent and uniform presentation from different disciplines as a Mask-Induced Exhaustion Syndrome (MIES). We objectified evaluation evidenced changes in respiratory physiology of mask wearers with significant correlation of O2 drop and fatigue (p < 0.05), a clustered co-occurrence of respiratory impairment and O2 drop (67%), N95 mask and CO2 rise (82%), N95 mask and O2 drop (72%), N95 mask and headache (60%), respiratory impairment and temperature rise (88%), but also temperature rise and moisture (100%) under the masks. Extended mask-wearing by the general population could lead to relevant effects and consequences in many medical fields.

https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/8/4344/htm

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Vaccine Development, Testing, and Regulation – The History of Vaccines

Vaccine development is a long, complex process, often lasting 10-15 years and involving a combination of public and private involvement.

https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/vaccine-development-testing-and-regulation

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Preliminary Findings of mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons – The New England Journal of Medicine

Among 827 participants who had a completed pregnancy, the pregnancy resulted in a live birth in 712 (86.1%), in a spontaneous abortion in 104 (12.6%), in stillbirth in 1 (0.1%), and in other outcomes (induced abortion and ectopic pregnancy) in 10 (1.2%). A total of 96 of 104 spontaneous abortions (92.3%) occurred before 13 weeks of gestation (Table 4), and 700 of 712 pregnancies that resulted in a live birth (98.3%) were among persons who received their first eligible vaccine dose in the third trimester. Adverse outcomes among 724 live-born infants — including 12 sets of multiple gestation — were preterm birth (60 of 636 among those vaccinated before 37 weeks [9.4%]), small size for gestational age (23 of 724 [3.2%]), and major congenital anomalies (16 of 724 [2.2%]); no neonatal deaths were reported at the time of interview. Among the participants with completed pregnancies who reported congenital anomalies, none had received Covid-19 vaccine in the first trimester or periconception period, and no specific pattern of congenital anomalies was observed. Calculated proportions of pregnancy and neonatal outcomes appeared similar to incidences published in the peer-reviewed literature 

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2104983

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Is a Mask That Covers the Mouth and Nose Free from Undesirable Side Effects in Everyday Use and Free of Potential Hazards? – Europe PMC

On the one hand, the advocacy of an extended mask requirement remains predominantly theoretical and can only be sustained with individual case reports, plausibility arguments based on model calculations and promising in vitro laboratory tests. Moreover, recent studies on SARS-CoV-2 show both a significantly lower infectivity and a significantly lower case mortality than previously assumed, as it could be calculated that the median corrected infection fatality rate (IFR) was 0.10% in locations with a lower than average global COVID-19 population mortality rate. In early October 2020, the WHO also publicly announced that projections show COVID-19 to be fatal for approximately 0.14% of those who become ill—compared to 0.10% for endemic influenza—again a figure far lower than expected.

On the other hand, the side effects of masks are clinically relevant.

…We not only found evidence in the reviewed mask literature of potential long-term effects, but also evidence of an increase in direct short-term effects with increased mask-wearing time in terms of cumulative effects for: carbon dioxide retention, drowsiness, headache, feeling of exhaustion, skin irritation (redness, itching) and microbiological contamination (germ colonization).

https://europepmc.org/article/MED/33923935

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News Publications

Seven Peer-Reviewed Studies That Agree: Lockdowns Do Not Suppress the Coronavirus – Lockdown Sceptics

There have been at least seven peer-reviewed studies which look at the question of lockdowns from a data point of view, and all of them come to the same basic conclusion: lockdowns do not have a statistically significant relationship with Covid cases or deaths. Here is a list of them with a key quote for ease of reference.

https://lockdownsceptics.org/2021/04/15/seven-peer-reviewed-studies-that-agree-lockdowns-do-not-suppress-the-coronavirus/

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COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca analysis print – UK Government

All UK spontaneous reports received between 04/01/21 and 05/04/21 for COVID-19 vaccine Oxford University/AstraZeneca

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/978315/050421_AZ_DAP.pdf

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COVID-19 mRNA Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine analysis print – UK Gov

All UK spontaneous reports received between 9/12/20 and 05/04/21 for COVID-19 vaccine mRNA Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine analysis print

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/978316/050421_PF_DAP.pdf

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Rapid Response: Do doctors have to have the covid-19 vaccine? – BMJ

Nevertheless, what I am currently struggling with is the failure to report the reality of the morbidity caused by our current vaccination program within the health service and staff population. The levels of sickness after vaccination is unprecedented and staff are getting very sick and some with neurological symptoms which is having a huge impact on the health service function. Even the young and healthy are off for days, some for weeks, and some requiring medical treatment. Whole teams are being taken out as they went to get vaccinated together.

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Rapid, point‐of‐care antigen and molecular‐based tests for diagnosis of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection – Chochrane Library

We identified virtually no evidence for mass screening of asymptomatic individuals using rapid antigen tests in people with no known exposure. A small study screening travellers returning from high‐risk countries (Cerutti 2020), identified only five SARS‐CoV‐2 infections (prevalence of 3%) with a reported sensitivity of antigen testing for detecting infection of 40%. However, important larger studies have been published since the end of our search, as mentioned above.

https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD013705.pub2/full

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NIAID Statement on AstraZeneca Vaccine

Late Monday, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) notified NIAID, BARDA, and AstraZeneca that it was concerned by information released by AstraZeneca on initial data from its COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. The DSMB expressed concern that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from that trial, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data. We urge the company to work with the DSMB to review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date efficacy data be made public as quickly as possible.

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/niaid-statement-astrazeneca-vaccine

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The QCovid risk calculator – Oxford University

QCovid is an evidence-based model that uses a range of factors such as age, sex, ethnicity and existing medical conditions to predict risk of death or hospitalisation from COVID-19.

It provides nuanced information on people’s risk of serious illness due to COVID-19 and has the potential to help patients and doctors reach a shared understanding of risk.

It is a ‘living’ risk prediction model which will be updated regularly as our understanding of COVID-19 increases and more data become available.

The risk calculator can be found at the link below. You will be asked to accept the license terms but it does not ask for any personally identifiable information.

https://qcovid.org/Calculation

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The EMA covid-19 data leak, and what it tells us about mRNA instability – BMJ

Leaked documents show that some early commercial batches of Pfizer-BioNTech’s covid-19 vaccine had lower than expected levels of intact mRNA, prompting wider questions about how to assess this novel vaccine platform, writes Serena Tinari

https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n627

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Face coverings in education – Department for Education

No pupil or student should be denied education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/967285/Face_coverings_in_education-March-2021.pdf

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Exclusive: NHS in London asked to plan for ‘possible covid surge later in 2021’ – HSJ

The NHS’s London regional team has told its integrated care systems to draw up plans for ‘another possible [covid-19] surge later in 2021’, HSJ has learned.

https://www.hsj.co.uk/quality-and-performance/exclusive-nhs-in-london-asked-to-plan-for-possible-covid-surge-later-in-2021/7029605.article

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Closing schools is not evidence based and harms children – BMJ

Some 8.8 million schoolchildren in the UK have experienced severe disruption to their education, with prolonged school closures and national exams cancelled for two consecutive years. School closures have been implemented internationally1 with insufficient evidence for their role in minimising covid-19 transmission and insufficient consideration of the harms to children.

https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n521

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Bacteria were the real killers in 1918 flu pandemic – New Scientist (2008)

Medical and scientific experts now agree that bacteria, not influenza viruses, were the greatest cause of death during the 1918 flu pandemic.

…That pneumonia causes most deaths in an influenza outbreak is well known. Late 19th century physicians recognised pneumonia as the cause of death of most flu victims. While doctors limited fatalities in other 20th-century outbreaks with antibiotics such as penicillin, which was discovered in 1928, but did not see use in patients until 1942.

…McCullers’ research suggests that influenza kills cells in the respiratory tract, providing food and a home for invading bacteria. On top of this, an overstressed immune system makes it easier for the bacteria to get a foothold.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14458-bacteria-were-the-real-killers-in-1918-flu-pandemic/