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News

Coronavirus second wave has claimed the lives of just 17 victims under 40: Official figures show the disease is 100 times as deadly for the oldest victims as it is for the young – Daily Mail

  • Only 17 people under 40 died with Covid between the end of August and the middle of this month.
  • Increased infections among children and young adults has not led to their hospitalisations or deaths.
  • One person under the age of 20, and another 13 under 40, have died with coronavirus in English hospitals since the start of September.
  • 1,425 patients over 80 have died over the same period, along with another 1,093 aged between 60 and 79.
  • 247 deaths among working-age people since the end of summer compared with 2,026 among pensioners

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8890811/Coronavirus-claimed-lives-just-17-victims-40-figures-elderly-risk.html

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Opinion

Government may increase the death toll with unjust and insane measures, why are they doubling down on failure? – Lord Sumption, The Sun

  • Instead of indiscriminate rules, we should be concentrating on protecting the vulnerable.
  • The rest should be allowed to get on with normal life and acquire some natural immunity.
  • The Government’s policy is founded upon a great lie — that we are all vulnerable to Covid so it is necessary to take over the lives of everyone.
  • For healthy people under 60 the symptoms are usually mild or non-existent. 
  • About 90 per cent of deaths have been of people aged over 70. Most are in their 80s or 90s.
  • Infections don’t matter a row of beans unless they lead to hospitalisations or deaths.
  • Out of nearly 43,000 dead with Covid-19, just 41 have been under 25.
  • What we are seeing now…is the first spike…which has come back to hit us. Just as their advisers told them it would, back in February and March.
  • So why are Johnson and his crew doubling down on failure? This is about covering politicians’ backs.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12886627/lord-sumption-government-death-toll-coronavirus-crisis/

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Opinion Videos

Covid experts: there is another way – UnHerd

  • Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.
  • Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.
  • We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young.
  • COVID-19 is less dangerous for children than many other harms, including influenza.
  • All populations will eventually reach herd immunity.
  • Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.
  • Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19.
  • Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal.
  • Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold.
  • Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home.
  • Restaurants and other businesses should open.
  • Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume.

https://unherd.com/2020/10/covid-experts-there-is-another-way/

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News

HSE attempts to trace origins of new virus cases – RTE

The committee also heard that under the World Health Organization case definition, if a patient has a heart attack and is also found to have Covid-19, the case will be recorded as a Covid-19 death.

  • Chief Executive Paul Reid said the cost of testing this year is estimated at €450 million and the estimate for next year is €700m.
  • He said that, to date, the highest level of weekly testing has been 90,000 tests.
  • 4,328 children and teachers have been tested and the positivity rate in school cases has been 1.9%.
  • Out of 27 deaths in September 2020, 20 of these cases, the patients had an underlying illness.
  • The median age of those who died was 79.
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Opinion

Too many children are being tested for coronavirus, top paediatrician claims as he demands schools stay fully open in face of future waves of Covid-19 – Daily Mail

Professor Russell Viner, from University College London, demanded schools should instead remain fully open in the face of a second wave and cease their ‘flip-flopping’ between closures and openings which are ‘harming’ the education of youngsters.

He was speaking after his recently published study revealed those under 20 are 44 per cent less likely to be infected with the virus than adults.

…’We need to be thinking: “Are we testing too many children?” because of our understandable but probably unscientific and misplaced concerns about children being infected in schools.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8780333/Too-children-tested-coronavirus-paediatrician-claims.html

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Publications

Fask Facts -The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

A curated list of mask facts and medical publications.

COVID-19 is as politically-charged as it is infectious. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO, the CDC and NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci discouraged wearing masks as not useful for non-health care workers. Now they recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are hard to do (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). The recommendation was published without a single scientific paper or other information provided to support that cloth masks actually provide any respiratory protection. Let’s look at the data.

  • Surgical masks are loose fitting. They are designed to protect the patient from the doctors’ respiratory droplets.  There wearer is not protected from others’ airborne particles.
  • People do not wear masks properly. Many people have the mask under the nose. The wearer does not have glasses on and the eyes are a portal of entry.  If the virus lands on the conjunctiva, tears will wash it into the nasopharynx.
  • Most studies cannot separate out hand hygiene.
  • The designer masks and scarves offer minimal protection. They give a false sense of security to both the wearer and those around the wearer.
    **Not to mention they add a perverse lightheartedness to the situation.
  • If you are walking alone, no need for a mask. Avoid other folks; use common sense.
  • Remember: children under 2 years should not wear masks because of accidental suffocation and difficulty breathing in some.
  • Even if a universal mask mandate were imposed, several studies noted that folks do not use the mask properly and over-report their wearing.  Additionally, how would the mandate be enforced??
  • The positive studies are models that assume universality and full compliance.
  • If wearing a mask makes people go out and get Vitamin D – go for it. In the 1918 flu pandemic people who went outside did better.  Early reports are showing people with COVID-19 with low Vitamin D do worse than those with normal levels. Perhaps that is why shut-ins do so poorly.

https://aapsonline.org/mask-facts/

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Opinion

This second wave of coronavirus is simply not as deadly… if we panic, so many more lives will be lost, says PROFESSOR KAROL SIKORA – Daily Mail

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 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.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8748883/This-second-wave-coronavirus-simply-not-deadly-says-PROFESSOR-KAROL-SIKORA.html

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News

Common colds ‘may account for some reported COVID-19 cases’, PHE survey says – Sky News

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.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-common-colds-may-account-for-some-reported-covid-19-cases-phe-survey-says-12075554

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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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Publications

Neurologic Complications in Children Hospitalized With Influenza Infections – ​​​​The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal

Background:
Influenza infection is a common cause of respiratory disease and hospitalization in children. Neurologic manifestations of the infection have been increasingly reported and may have an impact on the severity of the disease. The aim of this study is to describe neurologic events in pediatric patients hospitalized with influenza and identify associated risk factors.

Methods:
Retrospective cohort study which included all hospitalized patients with microbiologic confirmation of influenza disease over 4 epidemic seasons, focusing on neurologic complications. Demographic, laboratory and clinical data, as well as past history, were recorded. Descriptive and analytic statistical study was performed using SPSS and R statistical software.

Results:
Two hundred forty-five patients were included. Median age was 21 months (interquartile range, 6–57) and 47.8% had a previous underlying condition. Oseltamivir was administered to 86% of patients, median hospitalization was 4 days (interquartile range, 3–6), and pediatric intensive care unit admission rate 8.9%. Twenty-nine patients (11.8%) developed neurologic events, febrile seizures being the most frequent, followed by nonfebrile seizures and encephalopathy. Status epilepticus occurred in 4 children, and 69.6% of seizures recurred. Patients with a previous underlying condition were at greater risk of developing a neurologic complication [odds ratio (OR), 4.55; confidence interval (CI), 95% 1.23–16.81). Male sex (OR, 3.21; CI 95%, 1.22–8.33), influenza B virus (OR, 2.82; CI 95%, 1.14–7.14) and neurologic events (OR, 3.34; CI 95%, 1.10–10.19) were found to be risk factors for pediatric intensive care unit admission.

Conclusions:
A significant proportion of influenza-related hospitalized patients develop neurologic complications, especially seizures which may be prolonged or recurrent. Previous underlying conditions pose the greatest risk to neurologic events, which increase disease severity.

https://journals.lww.com/pidj/Fulltext/2020/09000/Neurologic_Complications_in_Children_Hospitalized.5.aspx

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Publications

COVID-19 – research evidence summaries – Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Are children as likely as adults to acquire COVID-19?

Emerging evidence suggests that children may be less likely to acquire the disease. This is supported in countries that have undertaken widespread community testing, where lower case numbers in children than adults have been found.4 14 44 45 Between 16 January and 3 May 2020, 35,200 children in England were swabbed for SARS-CoV-2 and 1408 (4%) were positive. Children under 16 years old accounted for only 1.1% of positive cases.

Can children transmit the virus?

The importance of children in transmitting the virus is difficult to establish, particularly because of the number of asymptomatic cases, but there is some evidence that their role in transmitting the virus is limited…

https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-research-evidence-summaries#transmission

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News

Mandatory masks in school are a ‘major threat’ to children’s development, doctors warn – The Brussels Times

The face mask requirement at school is bad for children’s general well-being and should be abolished, 70 doctors wrote in an open letter to Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts.

…The doctors mentioned anxiety and sleep problems as well as behavioural disorders and germaphobia, which is a pathological fear of germs. They are also seeing an increase in domestic violence, isolation and deprivation.

“Mandatory face masks in schools are a major threat to their development. It ignores the essential needs of the growing child. The well-being of children and young people is highly dependent on emotional attachment to others,” they wrote.

Moreover, “there is no large-scale evidence that wearing face masks in a non-professional environment has any positive effect on the spread of viruses, let alone on general health. Nor is there any legal basis for implementing this requirement.”

https://www.brusselstimes.com/news/belgium-all-news/health/130480/face-mask-obligation-in-school-major-threat-to-childrens-development-doctors-say/

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Publications

Comparison of Clinical Features of COVID-19 vs Seasonal Influenza A and B in US Children – JAMA

No statistically significant differences in the rates of hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit, and mechanical ventilator use between children with COVID-19 and those with seasonal influenza.

Question  What are the similarities and differences in clinical features between coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and seasonal influenza in US children?

Findings  In this cohort study of 315 children with COVID-19 and 1402 children with seasonal influenza, there were no statistically significant differences in the rates of hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit, and mechanical ventilator use between the 2 groups. More patients with COVID-19 than with seasonal influenza reported fever, diarrhea or vomiting, headache, body ache, or chest pain at the time of diagnosis.

Meaning  The findings suggest that prevention of both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza in US children is prudent and urgent for the well-being of this population.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2770250

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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 Opinion

Face mask rule for school children imposed ‘without proper research’ professor says – Professor Carl Heneghan, Daily Mail

FORCING school children to wear masks is part of a scattergun approach by a government “lacking the political will” to study the actual evidence, a professor warns.

Dr Carl Heneghan said that the mask doctrine came into place even as the deputy chief medical officer admitted there was no strong evidence they would help with the disease. This was despite the social and psychological damage masking pupils would cause, he said. He pointed out that with drug interventions, high quality testing was required before they were implemented. 

…He said: “Wearing masks can interfere with social wellbeing. We clearly understand with drugs the need to do proper research on the benefits against the harms before we use them.

This is a huge intervention to impose on society with many unknowns and potentially damaging consequences, but we are not doing the research to justify it.”

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News

Primary schools ‘no greater risk than home’ for pupils and staff – BBC

Attending primary school puts children and staff at no greater risk of contracting coronavirus than staying at home, a study of 131 schools suggests…

…A separate sample of 2,100 staff and children, who were tested for antibodies, found 10.6% of pupils and 12.7% of staff had previously had coronavirus.

This could suggest that children are as likely as adults to be infected, rather than being less susceptible to the disease.

But because so few positive cases in children are detected, it confirms previous research that they are likely to experience mild symptoms, or none at all.

The study found children and staff who attended school more frequently were no more likely to test positive for antibodies than those who did not attend school, or went less often.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54025708

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News Opinion

The Case Against Covid Tests for the Young and Healthy – Wall Street Journal

There is little purpose in using tests to check asymptomatic children to see if it is safe for them to come to school. When children are infected, most are asymptomatic, and the mortality risk is lower than for the flu. While adult-to-adult and adult-to-child transmission is common, child-to-adult transmission isn’t. Children thus pose minimal risk to their teachers. If a child has a cough, a runny nose or other respiratory symptoms, he should stay home. You don’t need a test for that.

Sweden was the only major Western country that kept schools open for kids 15 and younger throughout the pandemic, with no masks or mass testing. How did it turn out? Zero Covid-19 deaths among 1.8 million children attending day care or school. Teachers didn’t have an excess infection risk compared with the average of other professions.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-case-against-covid-tests-for-the-young-and-healthy-11599151722

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News Opinion

Let children be exposed to viruses, says Professor Gupta – Prof. Sunetra Gupta, Evening Standard

Gupta, who is a professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford, told The Londoner that alongside huge social and educational benefits, the “evidence is mounting that early exposure to these various coronaviruses is what enables people to survive them”.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/londoners-diary/the-londoner-let-children-be-exposed-to-viruses-says-professor-gupta-a4538386.html

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News

Now Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries says the evidence that masks stop the spread of coronavirus is ‘not very strong in either direction’ – Daily Mail

The evidence on face coverings ‘is not very strong in either direction’, England’s deputy chief medical officer has said, leaving Britons confused once again over experts’ changing attitudes to masks.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8676535/Jenny-Harries-says-face-coverings-evidence-not-strong.html

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Opinion

Delaying herd immunity is costing lives – Spiked

The choice we face is stark. One option is to maintain a general lockdown for an unknown amount of time until herd immunity is reached through a future vaccine or until there is a safe and effective treatment. This must be weighed against the detrimental effects that lockdowns have on other health outcomes. The second option is to minimise the number of deaths until herd immunity is achieved through natural infection. Most places are neither preparing for the former nor considering the latter.

The question is not whether to aim for herd immunity as a strategy, because we will all eventually get there. The question is how to minimise casualties until we get there. Since Covid-19 mortality varies greatly by age, this can only be accomplished through age-specific countermeasures. We need to shield older people and other high-risk groups until they are protected by herd immunity.

Among the individuals exposed to Covid-19, people aged in their 70s have roughly twice the mortality of those in their 60s, 10 times the mortality of those in their 50s, 40 times that of those in their 40s, 100 times that of those in their 30s, and 300 times that of those in their 20s. The over-70s have a mortality that is more than 3,000 times higher than children have. For young people, the risk of death is so low that any reduced levels of mortality during the lockdown might not be due to fewer Covid-19 deaths, but due to fewer traffic accidents.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/04/29/delaying-herd-immunity-is-costing-lives/