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News Opinion

Your Environment Is Cleaner. Your Immune System Has Never Been So Unprepared – New York Times (2019)

A century ago, British scientists suggested a link between increased hygiene and allergic conditions — the first hint that our immune systems are becoming improperly “trained.”

…Should you use antibacterial soap or hand sanitizers? No. Are we taking too many antibiotics? Yes.

https://web.archive.org/web/20190312120618/https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/12/health/immune-system-allergies.html

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News

California halts injections of Moderna Covid vaccine batch due to ‘higher-than-usual number of adverse events’ – RT

California health officials are asking vaccine providers to stop administering a batch of Moderna’s Covid-19 jab, after an unusually high number of adverse reactions were linked to the drug.

Doses from Moderna Lot 041L20A are suspected of causing a “higher-than-usual number of adverse events” and should be shelved until a proper investigation can be conducted, the California Department of Public Health said on Sunday.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210118112307/https://www.rt.com/usa/512825-moderna-california-vaccine-adverse-reactions/

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News

25,000 Covid-19 victims were infected in hospital: One in six patients on wards caught coronavirus while being treated for other illnesses, figures show – Daily Mail

  • More than 25,000 patients caught coronavirus in hospital since second wave
  • One in six Covid-19 patients in NHS hospitals in England were infected while being treated for other conditions since September
  • So far this month, 5,684 Covid-positive in-patients out of 44,315 were infected after being admitted for other conditions

A specialist Covid nurse treating people at home said many of her patients had contracted the virus in hospital and were re-admitted when their conditions worsened.

The nurse said one elderly lady, originally admitted after breaking a rib in a fall, was now critically ill and had passed the virus on to two close relatives while at home.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210118024546/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9157627/One-six-hospital-patients-caught-Covid-19-treated-illnesses-figures-show.html

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News

Norway urgently changes Covid vaccine guidance after 23 die in days following Pfizer jab – Express

The European nation reported that 23 elderly people have died within days of taking the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with 13 of those deaths said to be related to “side effects”. All those who suffered supposed side effects were nursing home patients and at least 80 years old.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1384728/Covid-vaccine-latest-side-effects-Pfizer-jab-23-dead-Norway-coronavirus-update

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Publications

Annual deaths and mortality rates, 1938 to 2020 (provisional) – ONS

Number of deaths, crude and age-standardised mortality rates from 1938 to 2020. Age-standardised mortality rates start in 1942.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/adhocs/12735annualdeathsandmortalityrates1938to2020provisional

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News

America’s Biggest Owner Of Farmland Is Now Bill Gates – Forbes

Bill Gates, the fourth richest person in the world and a self-described nerd who is known for his early programming skills rather than his love of the outdoors, has been quietly snatching up 242,000 acres of farmland across the U.S. — enough to make him the top private farmland owner in America

https://web.archive.org/web/20210115021741if_/https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielshapiro/2021/01/14/americas-biggest-owner-of-farmland-is-now-bill-gates-bezos-turner/?sh=233598cc6096

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News

Farce mask: it’s safe for only 20 minutes – The Sydney Morning Herald (2003)

Professor Cossart said that could take as little as 15 or 20 minutes, after which the mask would need to be changed. But those warnings haven’t stopped people snapping up the masks, with retailers reporting they are having trouble keeping up with demand.

[John Bell from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia] agreed with Professor Cossart’s assessment regarding the effectiveness of the masks.

“I think they’re of marginal benefit,” he said. “In a way they give some comfort to people who think they’re doing as much as they can do to prevent the infection.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20200905114812/https://www.smh.com.au/national/farce-mask-its-safe-for-only-20-minutes-20030427-gdgnyo.html

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News

COVID Lockdowns May Have No Clear Benefit vs Other Voluntary Measures, International Study Shows – Newsweek

A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.

https://www.newsweek.com/covid-lockdowns-have-no-clear-benefit-vs-other-voluntary-measures-international-study-shows-1561656

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Publications

Fear of Terrorist Attack Could Trigger Mass Psychogenic Illness – U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2006)

A phenomenon in which social trauma or anxiety combines with a suspicious event to produce psychosomatic symptoms, such as nausea, difficulty breathing, and paralysis. If many individuals come to believe that the psychosomatic outbreak is connected to the cause of the trauma or anxiety, these symptoms can spread rapidly throughout a population.

In December 2005 a mysterious illness marked by headache, fever, faintness, and numbness in extremities occurred in 13 school children in the Shelkov region of Chechnya. Many believed the illness was caused by a Russian chemical weapons attack, which precipitated the rapid spread of similar symptoms throughout the region. Medical officials determined the episode was a case of psychosomatic contagion—mass psychogenic illness—brought on by anxiety over Russian military activities in the area. There is no evidence the illnesses were caused by chemical weapons.

https://file.wikileaks.org/file/dhs-mass-psychogenic-illness-2006.pdf

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News

NHS HOSPITALS SPEND £2M ON GAGGING ORDERS PREVENTING STAFF SPEAKING OUT – The Independent (2013)

Hospitals have spent £2 million on more than 50 gagging orders preventing staff speaking out, a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed.

Tory MP Steve Barclay, who obtained the figures, accused NHS chief Sir David Nicholson of either failing to ask questions about the orders or being “complicit in a cover-up”.

Sir David will retire as NHS England’s chief executive next year but Mr Barclay said he should stand down now because the culture in the health service had to change.

It was reported last night that at least 52 staff have been silenced using the orders since 2008, some of which cost as much as £500,000. All are thought to contain confidentiality clauses.

…North East Cambridgeshire MP Mr Barclay told The Daily Telegraph: “It is simply not plausible that the man who was supposed to be running the NHS was seemingly unaware that employees threatening to speak out were being offered golden goodbyes in return for a vow of silence.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20201111180257/https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-hospitals-spend-ps2m-gagging-orders-preventing-staff-speaking-out-8654716.html

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News

Bacteria in your GUT affects your immune response to Covid-19 and could influence how severely you suffer symptoms, study finds – Dail Mail

  • South Korean study reviewed pre-existing research on role of gut microbiome  
  • Hong Kong-based scientists examined blood and stool samples from patients 
  • Both studies indicate a gut microbe imbalance is key in severe Covid-19

The study concludes the gut microbiome may be involved in the ‘magnitude of Covid-19 severity possibly via modulating host immune responses’.

The authors found that patients with Covid-19 had depleted levels of several gut bacteria known to modify a person’s immune response.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210112140105/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9137823/Bacteria-GUT-affects-Covid-19-severity.html

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News

Tony Blair ‘advising Matt Hancock on pandemic response’ – The Independent

Secret talks covered vaccines and mass testing

Tony Blair has been advising health secretary Matt Hancock on coronavirus pandemic strategy, it has emerged.

The former Labour prime minister has reportedly privately offered strategic advice to the government a number of times during the course of the outbreak.

Topics touched on by the ex-Labour leader are said to include vaccine strategy and mass testing, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.

The secret talks are reportedly part of an attempted comeback for the former politician, according to a source familiar with his thinking who spoke to the same newspaper.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tony-blair-advising-matt-hancock-coronavirus-vaccine-b1785125.html

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Opinion Videos

Ivor Cummins on The James Delingpole Channel

Ivor Cummins aka the Fat Emperor – gives James the lowdown on why you can’t trust anything our governments tell us about Covid-19. If you want the facts on Coronavirus – how deadly is it? do lockdowns and masks work? how does it compare with previous pandemics? – you’ve come to the right place

Please support the Delingpod:

Mirror archives are available below if this video is removed from YouTube.

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News

One in five in England have had Covid, modelling suggests – The Guardian

One in five people in England may have had coronavirus, new modelling suggests, equivalent to 12.4 million people, rising to almost one in two in some areas.

It means that across the country as a whole the true number of people infected to date may be five times higher than the total number of known cases according to the government’s dashboard.

In some areas, however, the disparity may be even greater. Parts of London and the south are estimated to have had up to eight times as many cases as have been detected to date.

The analysis, by Edge Health, reveals that the true number of coronavirus infections in England could be as high as 12.4 million, equivalent to 22% of the population, as of 3 January.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210110190150/https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2021/jan/10/one-in-five-have-had-coronavirus-in-england-new-modelling-says

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News

People with common colds testing positive for Covid-19 may simply be asymptomatic cases, experts reveal – The Telegraph

Trademark symptoms of seasonal flu could be mistaken for symptoms of Covid-19, it is claimed

People with common colds who are testing positive for Covid-19 may simply be asymptomatic cases, experts have said.

Trademark symptoms of seasonal flu could be mistaken for symptoms of Covid-19 if the individual tests positive for the virus, it is claimed.

More than eight in ten people who test positive for coronavirus show none of the main symptoms at the time they are tested, a major study by UCL previously revealed.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210109173857/https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/01/09/people-common-colds-testing-positive-covid-19-may-simply-asymptomatic/

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News

How busy are hospitals in England? – BBC News

When announcing the national lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the NHS risked being overwhelmed if the measures weren’t taken.

But statistics suggest that the proportion of beds currently occupied by patients is actually lower than usual.

So how can both things be true?

…To create that wiggle room, there has been a big decrease in patients coming in for non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments, to ensure that space is there and pressures are not increased.

Even in September 2020, when hospitals were beginning to increase the number of operations carried out, these were still 25% lower than in previous years.

This also helps explain why there are also fewer patients in hospitals this year, as well as fewer beds.

The impact of this is a large backlog and the potential for certain treatments – such as cancer care – being delayed.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210107152338/https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/55536762

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News

‘Very little’ virus risk at nurseries, says vaccine minister – BBC News

Nursery schools present “very little risk” and are Covid-safe, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi has said, as he defended keeping them open.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-55558742

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Publications

Assessing Mandatory Stay‐at‐Home and Business Closure Effects on the Spread of COVID‐19 – Wiley Online Library

Background and Aims
The most restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for controlling the spread of COVID‐19 are mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures. Given the consequences of these policies, it is important to assess their effects. We evaluate the effects on epidemic case growth of more restrictive NPIs (mrNPIs), above and beyond those of less restrictive NPIs (lrNPIs).

Methods
We first estimate COVID‐19 case growth in relation to any NPI implementation in subnational regions of 10 countries: England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, and the US. Using first‐difference models with fixed effects, we isolate the effects of mrNPIs by subtracting the combined effects of lrNPIs and epidemic dynamics from all NPIs. We use case growth in Sweden and South Korea, two countries that did not implement mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures, as comparison countries for the other 8 countries (16 total comparisons).

Results
Implementing any NPIs was associated with significant reductions in case growth in 9 out of 10 study countries, including South Korea and Sweden that implemented only lrNPIs (Spain had a non‐significant effect). After subtracting the epidemic and lrNPI effects, we find no clear, significant beneficial effect of mrNPIs on case growth in any country. In France, e.g., the effect of mrNPIs was +7% (95CI ‐5%‐19%) when compared with Sweden, and +13% (‐12%‐38%) when compared with South Korea (positive means pro‐contagion). The 95% confidence intervals excluded 30% declines in all 16 comparisons and 15% declines in 11/16 comparisons.

Conclusions
While small benefits cannot be excluded, we do not find significant benefits on case growth of more restrictive NPIs. Similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less restrictive interventions.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eci.13484

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News

TalkRadio urgently seeks answers from Google after its YouTube channel was shut down amid claims it ‘violated’ the website’s ‘community guidelines’ by airing criticism of coronavirus lockdowns – Daily Mail

  • YouTube shut down TalkRadio’s channel ‘for violating community guidelines’
  • TalkRadio is urgently seeking answers from Google about channel removal 
  • Station has aired criticism of government use of coronavirus lockdowns  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9114039/Covid-UK-YouTube-shuts-TalkRadios-channel-presenters-challenge-lockdown-policy.html

Categories
Opinion

The Lab-Leak Hypothesis – Did the Coronavirus Escape from a Lab? – New York Magazine

hat happened was fairly simple, I’ve come to believe. It was an accident. A virus spent some time in a laboratory, and eventually it got out. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began its existence inside a bat, then it learned how to infect people in a claustrophobic mine shaft, and then it was made more infectious in one or more laboratories, perhaps as part of a scientist’s well-intentioned but risky effort to create a broad-spectrum vaccine. SARS-2 was not designed as a biological weapon. But it was, I think, designed. Many thoughtful people dismiss this notion, and they may be right. They sincerely believe that the coronavirus arose naturally, “zoonotically,” from animals, without having been previously studied, or hybridized, or sluiced through cell cultures, or otherwise worked on by trained professionals. They hold that a bat, carrying a coronavirus, infected some other creature, perhaps a pangolin, and that the pangolin may have already been sick with a different coronavirus disease, and out of the conjunction and commingling of those two diseases within the pangolin, a new disease, highly infectious to humans, evolved. Or they hypothesize that two coronaviruses recombined in a bat, and this new virus spread to other bats, and then the bats infected a person directly — in a rural setting, perhaps — and that this person caused a simmering undetected outbreak of respiratory disease, which over a period of months or years evolved to become virulent and highly transmissible but was not noticed until it appeared in Wuhan.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210104114538/https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/coronavirus-lab-escape-theory.html