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News

Nashville Mayor’s Office, Health Department Concealed Low COVID Numbers Tied to Restaurants, Emails Show – National Review

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

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/nashville-mayors-office-health-department-concealed-low-covid-numbers-tied-to-restaurants-emails-show/

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News

How Bolton only has TWO Covid-19 patients in hospital despite being England’s locked-down virus hotspot – and there are 141 people on wards across all 18 ‘intervention’ areas – Daily Mail

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.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8744625/How-locked-Bolton-TWO-Covid-19-patients-hospital.html

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News Opinion

September’s normal increase in coughs and colds is causing ‘utter chaos’ in Britain because the Government has left people terrified of coronavirus, top Oxford scientist warns MPs – Prof. Carl Heneghan, Daily Mail

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.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8744063/Septembers-normal-increase-coughs-colds-causing-utter-chaos-post-lockdown-Britain.html

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News Opinion

Top Belgian scientist calls for herd immunity coronavirus strategy – The Times

The resurgence of coronavirus is nothing to be feared and lockdown measures are doing more harm than the pandemic itself, a leading Belgian medical scientist has said.

Jean-Luc Gala, head of the prestigious Université Catholique de Louvain Saint-Luc clinic and a specialist in infectious diseases, has broken ranks with other scientists and tried to quell fears over the rise of the Belgian infection rate.

He said that it was not dangerous for the virus to circulate and the lack of a vaccine could help to bring about herd immunity in the population.

“Is the rise in infections worrying? No. It is completely normal. Is it dangerous for the virus to circulate? No, once again,” he told La Dernière Heure newspaper.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/top-belgian-scientist-calls-for-herd-immunity-coronavirus-strategy-gxwqj887m

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News

What does a case of Covid-19 really mean? Prof Carl Heneghan & Tom Jefferson, The Spectator

‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,’ wrote the Bard. He was referring to a rose which is a rose, instantly recognised by its fragrance and its appearance. But a case of Covid-19 does not fit the metaphor, because it differs wherever you look.

In the course of our evidence gathering activities, we have gone through a few thousand papers reporting studies on all aspects of Covid-19 spread. We found that not very many defined a case of Covid, which is a sign of sloppiness when that is what you are looking for. Those that did, reported different definitions and ways of ascertaining what they meant by a ‘case’.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/what-does-a-case-of-covid-19-really-mean-

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Opinion

Boris Johnson needs to bin the rule of six- The Spectator

  • The ‘rule of six’ has no scientific evidence to back it up, and may well end up having major social consequences.
  • Increased activity at the end of summer leads to an increase in acute respiratory infections, as it does every year.
  • Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine: no scientific evidence on the effects of measures such as distancing on respiratory viral spread. No study pointing to the number six. If it’s made up, why not five or seven?
  • Admissions for Covid, critical care bed occupancies and deaths are now at an all-time low.
  • There are currently 600 patients in hospital with Covid compared to over 17,000 at the height of the epidemic. An average of ten patients a day die with Covid registered on their death certificate, compared to over 1,000 at the peak.
  • Shift in focus away from the impact of the disease is a worrying development.
  • Severity of the pandemic was monitored by numbers of cases, numbers of admissions, and deaths. All three measures are open to misinterpretation if their definitions are not standardised.
    • Cases are being over-diagnosed by a test that can pick up dead viral load.
    • Hospital admissions are subjective decisions made by physicians which can vary from hospital to hospital.
    • Even deaths have been misattributed.
  • Cases will rise, as they will in winter for all acute respiratory pathogens, but this will not necessarily translate into excess deaths.
  • Models ignore the vast expertise of our clinicians and public health experts who could provide a more robust approach based on their real-world healthcare experiences.
  • The current Cabinet is inexperienced:
    • the Health Secretary has been in post for just over two years now;
    • the PM and the Chief Medical Officer a year;
    • The Joint Biosecurity Centre is overseen by a senior spy who monitors the spread of coronavirus and suppresses new outbreaks;
    • New chair of the National Institute for Health Protection who has little or no background in healthcare.
  • The recognised alert threshold for ‘regular’ acute respiratory infections is 400 cases per 100,000.
  • Britain’s mental health has deteriorated. During lockdown, a fifth of vulnerable people considered self-harming, routine healthcare came to a standstill, operations were cancelled, and cancer care put on hold.
  • The most glaring initial blunder was not observing what was going on in other European nations and learning from their mistakes.
  • Life should return to as close as possible to normality.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/boris-johnson-needs-to-bin-the-rule-of-six

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News

Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Covid experiment – The Financial Times

As coronavirus cases rise in pretty much all other European countries, leading to fears of a second wave including in the UK, they have been sinking all summer in Sweden. On a per capita basis, they are now 90 per cent below their peak in late June and under Norway’s and Denmark’s for the first time in five months. Tegnell had told me the first time we spoke in the spring that it would be in the autumn when it became more apparent how successful each country had been.

https://www.ft.com/content/5cc92d45-fbdb-43b7-9c66-26501693a371

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News

GPs recorded three times more suspected cases of COVID-19 than official figures – Sky News

Suspected cases of COVID-19 recorded by GPs at the height of the pandemic were three times higher than officially confirmed infections, according to new research.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-gps-recorded-three-times-more-suspected-cases-of-covid-19-than-official-figures-12066280

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News

Europe’s ‘second wave’ has fizzled out – The Spectator

Has the Covid ‘second wave’ already run out of steam? On 9 July, just when Britain was reopening the hospitality sector and other businesses, the World Health Organisation announced that the pandemic was ‘accelerating’. Much of the coverage in Britain also implies that we are possibly in the early stages of a second wave. But that talk is lagging behind the data. Globally, the number of new recorded cases peaked on 31 July at 291,691 and has shown a slight downward trend ever since. In terms of deaths, they peaked at 8,502 on 17 April and have also been on a slight declining trend ever since. On the worst day in the past week – 2 September – 6,312 deaths were recorded. Most of the worst-affected countries are now showing downward trends in both daily cases and deaths, including the US, Brazil, Russia, Peru, Colombia, South Africa, Mexico, Chile and Iran. Among the top dozen worst-affected countries, only India is now showing an upwards trend in deaths. Spain and Argentina are showing slight upwards trends in new cases, but not deaths. All these figures, of course, have to be read in conjunction with a huge increase in testing – so a slight increase in new cases does not necessarily imply that the disease is in fact spreading.

As for Europe’s ‘second wave’, that, too, has fizzled out – with new cases now declining in Germany, and Sweden, and remaining flat in Italy, Ireland and Belgium. There is no obvious trend either way in Poland, Denmark or Portugal. The country with the clearest rising trend is Croatia. There was, until last week, a sharply-rising trend in Greece, although this has flattened off in recent days. You can follow country by country data on new infections and deaths here.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/europe-s-second-wave-has-fizzled-out

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News

The 1% blunder: How a simple but fatal math mistake by US Covid-19 experts caused the world to panic and order lockdowns – Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, RT

But where did this one percent figure come from? You may find this hard to believe, but this figure emerged by mistake. A pretty major thing to make a mistake about, but that’s what happened.

In order to understand what happened, you have to understand the difference between two medical terms that sound the same – but are completely different. [IFR and CFR.]

CFR will always be far higher than the IFR. With influenza, the CFR is around ten times as high as the IFR. Covid seems to have a similar proportion.

Now, clearly, you do not want to get these figures mixed up. By doing so you would either wildly overestimate, or wildly underestimate, the impact of Covid. But mix these figures up, they did.

…we’ve had all the deaths we were ever going to get. And which also means that lockdown achieved, almost precisely nothing with regard to Covid. No deaths were prevented.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/500000-covid19-math-mistake-panic/

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News

Hopes for normality grow as Covid shifts to the young: Two-thirds of new UK infections are in under-40s while rate in older people FALLS – raising hopes deaths will remain low without lockdowns – Dail Mail

The number of over-50s with Covid-19 represents a fifth of those nationwide

Just three per cent are aged over 80, down from 28 per cent six months ago

Peak age range for infections is now in the 20s but used to be in the 80s 

Sparked hope further restrictions could soon be reduced as older people shield 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8700399/Covid-shifts-young-Two-thirds-new-infections-UK-40s.html

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News Opinion

‘There is no second wave’: Oxford expert says rise in UK Covid cases is because of ‘increased testing’ and those infected are ‘young, healthy, symptomless people’ who are unlikely to die or be hospitalised – Daily Mail

Britain is not entering a second wave of coronavirus infections and rising numbers of cases are a result of increased, more accurate testing picking up infections among younger people, experts say.

Professor Carl Heneghan, a medicine expert at the University of Oxford, said: ‘There is currently no second wave. What we are seeing is a sharp rise in the number of healthy people who are carrying the virus, but exhibiting no symptoms. Almost all of them are young. They are being spotted because – finally – a comprehensive system of national test and trace is in place.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8689021/There-no-second-wave-UK-Oxford-expert-says.html

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News

Argentina offers irrefutable evidence that long lockdowns spell disaster – The Telegraph

Hailed as a model at the beginning of the pandemic, the world’s longest lockdown has not saved Argentina from coronavirus misery as cases and daily deaths continue to skyrocket.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/argentina-perfect-evidence-that-lockdown-are-a-disaster/

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News

Up to 90 per cent of people diagnosed with coronavirus may not be carrying enough of it to infect anyone else, study finds as experts say tests are too sensitive – Daily Mail

Up to 90 percent of people tested for COVID-19 in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada in July carried barely any traces of the virus, a new report says

Experts say it could be because today’s tests are ‘too sensitive’ 

In the US PCR testing is the most widely used diagnostic test for COVID-19 

PCR tests analyze genetic matter from the virus in cycles and today’s tests typically take 37 or 40 cycles

Experts say this is too high because it deems a patient positive even if they have small traces of the virus that are old and no longer contagious

They suggest lowering the number of cycles, which would hone in on people with a higher viral load and who are more contagious 

Today there are 5.9million cases of COVID-19 in the US and there have been more than 182,000 deaths

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8679307/Experts-say-USs-coronavirus-positivity-rate-high-tests-sensitive.html

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Opinion

Coronavirus ‘getting less angry’ and we shouldn’t fear second wave – Dr. Ron Daniels, The Mirror

A front line medic says there is no reason to fear a second wave of because the virus was “getting less angry”.

Dr Ron Daniels, an intensive care consultant at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, says Covid-19 is not now as deadly as at the start of the pandemic.

Dr Daniels said talk of a second wave was “hype” and told BirminghamLive : “I don’t want to sound like Donald Trump – but if you test more people, you will find more cases.”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/coronavirus-getting-less-angry-shouldnt-22563045

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News

STATS WRONG Coronavirus hospital admissions were over-counted as recovered patients returning without Covid included in stats – The Sun

CORONAVIRUS hospital admissions were over-counted at the peak of the pandemic as recovered patients returning to wards without Covid were included in the stats.

An investigation for the Government’s Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) found that people were being counted as ‘Covid hospital admissions’ if they had EVER had the virus.

Government figures show that, at the peak of the pandemic in early April, nearly 20,000 people a week were being admitted to hospital with coronavirus – but the true figure is now unknown because of the problem with over-counting.

This over-counting mirrors the problems with data for coronavirus deaths – where people who had died of other causes were being included in Covid-19 statistics if they had once tested positive.

Professor Graham Medley, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, asked by Sage to look into the situation, told The Telegraph: “By June, it was becoming clear that people were being admitted to hospital for non-Covid reasons who had tested positive many weeks before.

“Consequently, the NHS revised its situation report to accommodate this.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/uknews/12459291/coronavirus-hospital-admissions-stats-overcount/

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Publications

Diagnosing COVID-19 infection: the danger of over-reliance on positive test results – medRxiv

Unlike previous epidemics, in addressing COVID-19 nearly all international health organizations and national health ministries have treated a single positive result from a PCR-based test as confirmation of infection, even in asymptomatic persons without any history of exposure. This is based on a widespread belief that positive results in these tests are highly reliable. However, data on PCR-based tests for similar viruses show that PCR-based testing produces enough false positive results to make positive results highly unreliable over a broad range of real-world scenarios. This has clinical and case management implications, and affects an array of epidemiological statistics, including the asymptomatic ratio, prevalence, and hospitalization and death rates. Steps should be taken to raise awareness of false positives, reduce their frequency, and mitigate their effects. In the interim, positive results in asymptomatic individuals that haven’t been confirmed by a second test should be considered suspect.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.26.20080911v3

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News

We are massively overreacting to new Covid ‘outbreaks’ – The Telegraph

The Imperial College study published this morning claiming that 3.4 million people ( six per cent of the UK population) have antibodies indicating that they have been exposed to Covid-19 provides no great revelation. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has already published similar figures suggesting that 6.5 per cent of the population has been infected. Nevertheless, it is yet more confirmation of how irrelevant are the official statistics for Covid 19 cases – and what a nonsense it is to rely on them for policymaking.

According to the Government’s Covid “dashboard”, updated at 4pm on Wednesday, 313,798 people in Britain have had the disease. This is less than one tenth of the number suggested by the Imperial study. In other words, for all Matt Hancock’s efforts to ramp up testing, the vast majority of cases have not been detected.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/13/massively-overreacting-new-covid-outbreaks/

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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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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.”