THE Government has been accused of over-relying on pandemic modelling and risking “catastrophe by computer”. Last week Boris Johnson published a cautious ‘roadmap‘ to normality after scientists warned him there could be 91,000 extra deaths if he scrapped curbs completely at the end of April.
These figures were based on Imperial College modelling that has since been challenged by Mark Harper, deputy chair of the Covid Recovery Group of MPs. He argued the model did not account for key factors shown to change the course of the pandemic such as the most up to date evidence on the protective effect of the vaccines as well as the “seasonal effect” as the country moves into summer. Modelling has driven much of the pandemic response. The initial reaction in the UK, the US and other European countries was shaped by the dramatic headlines in March last year, suggesting 550,000 deaths in the UK and 2.2 million in the US if mitigation measures were not put in place.
But this logic is faulty. For a start, children are almost entirely unaffected by the virus. And anyway, why should the country be held hostage because one-fifth of the population decline to protect themselves?
…Regrettably, we may unintentionally have encouraged more serious variants with lockdowns instead of allowing milder variants to circulate and ultimately prevail.
The science behind fighting Covid is difficult, and politicians need all the help they can get to interpret it correctly. Sadly, Mr Johnson has repeatedly retreated to his comfort redoubt of a handful of key advisers who seem wilfully blind to the fact that their recommendations are tearing apart the fabric of our society.
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.
This is not because Ted Mooney contracted coronavirus in the very good (and expensive, it must be said) care home three miles from our house, as statistics will now state.
Because he did not. Yet the principal cause of death is set down officially as Covid-19 — and that, in my view, is a bizarre and unacceptable untruth.
…They agreed that, yes, it must distort the national figures — ‘and yet the strangest thing is that every winter we record countless deaths from flu, and this winter there have been none. Not one!’
Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks. If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill. Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?
In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing. Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.
…explained only by natural immunity. Behavior didn’t suddenly improve over the holidays; Americans traveled more over Christmas than they had since March. Vaccines also don’t explain the steep decline in January. Vaccination rates were low and they take weeks to kick in.
Despite the success of the vaccine programme, which will see all vulnerable people protected against Covid-19 in a month, it seems lockdown will largely continue until July.
Restaurants and churches possibly still closed. Travel impossible. Families forbidden to mingle indoors. The Treasury still borrowing billions to keep people on furlough. This is draining the health of our population and our economy.
Anyone would be justified in demanding to know what the past year’s sacrifices have been for, if not to end lockdown as soon as possible.
How can the Government fail to set free the country — particularly after the stellar vaccination campaign?
Scientists are trying to work out why coronavirus cases in India are falling when at one point it looked like the country might overtake the US as the worst-hit nation.
In September the country was reporting some 100,00 new cases per day, but that went into decline in October and is now sitting at around 10,000 per day – leaving experts struggling to explain why.
While the Indian government has been keen to put the apparent success down to its mask-wearing and social distancing laws, few believe these measures alone are responsible for the dip.
Instead, experts believe it may be down to the fact that India’s largest cities have reached herd immunity, meaning the virus has moved to rural areas where it spreads slower and where cases and deaths are far less likely to be tested and logged.
The travel and tourism industry has been one of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, with lockdowns and travel restrictions all but shutting business at times.
People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog.
With many primary school pupils learning at home, and toddlers missing out on critical social interactions with their peers,parents of young children have concerns about the long-term impact of long periods spent at home.
As with so many of the Government’s Covid-19 measures, the ten-year jail sentence is important mainly for what it tells us about the mentality of the decision-makers. Laws like these can only be justified on the footing that nothing matters except keeping infections down.
They are the work of people who think that there is no limit to the human misery, oppressive cruelty, economic damage or injustice that we must put up with if it reduces infections.
Using serum samples routinely collected in 9144 adults from a French general population-based cohort, we identified 353 participants with a positive anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG test, among whom 13 were sampled between November 2019 and January 2020 and were confirmed by neutralizing antibodies testing. Investigations in 11 of these participants revealed experience of symptoms possibly related to a SARS-CoV-2 infection or situations at risk of potential SARS-CoV-2 exposure. This suggests early circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in Europe.
Trapped in lockdown between the two extremes of Coronavirus deniers and lockdown orthodoxy, Nye is intrigued by Sweden’s approach: no lockdown, no school closures, no masks. She manages to secure an exclusive interview with Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, whose steely resolve not to buckle under world mainstream media pressure means – among other things, tango dancing is allowed in Stockholm!
Claudia Nye is a BAFTA nominated filmmaker. Brought back to documentaries for the sake of the future of her children, Nye travels from UK to Sweden to learn about their unique Covid-19 strategy.
She is also a qualified Relationship Counsellor, which she’s been practicing over the past ten years. She travelled to Stockholm with photo-journalist Sean Spencer and together they made this documentary
This is a BMJ Rapid Response letter by Dr Janet Menage, Wales, UK, in response to Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote-elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant, by Kamran Abbasi. You can find the full response in the link below.
From a medical perspective, it was clear early on in the crisis that disregarding clinical acumen in favour of blind obedience to abnormal ventilation measures, reliance on an unsuitable laboratory test for diagnosis and management, and abandoning the duty of care to elderly hospitalised patients and those awaiting diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases, would create severe problems down the line.
Doctors who had empirically found effective pharmaceutical remedies and preventative treatments were ignored, or worse, denigrated or silenced. Information regarding helpful dietary supplements was suppressed.
- Family said Captain Sir Tom Moore had regularly tested negative for Covid-19 until he visited hospital
- Only after a ten-day stay for pneumonia was he discharged on January 12 and then tested positive that day
- The inspirational NHS fundraiser later had to be readmitted and died in hospital surrounded by his family
- A family spokesman revealed Captain Tom’s pneumonia battle meant he had not had the coronavirus vaccine
- Centenarian became a national treasure over first coronavirus lockdown after raising millions for the NHS
- Boris Johnson today announced there would be a clap at 6pm by everyone to remember his achievements
- It came after a minute’s silence was held in the Commons by MPs in honour of the respected ex-army man
- His grandson Tom Teixeira also paid tribute to him, describing him as ‘a patriot to the country’
‘On January 22, Tom was discharged from hospital back to the family home where he felt most comfortable. Unfortunately he was left still fighting pneumonia and tested positive for Covid-19 that day.
‘Tom was able to have visitors to say goodbye to him at the end of his life. On Monday evening his daughter Hannah and grandchildren Benjie and Georgia were able to be by his side and his daughter Lucy was able to speak to him on FaceTime.’
BELGIUM has advised against giving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to over-55s because of a lack of data about its efficacy.
It became the latest European Union country to recommend that the Covid jab should not be given to older people. Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said the country’s advisory health council, had suggested the doses of the Oxford-produced vaccine should only be administered to people younger than 55. He said Belgium was reviewing its vaccination strategy because AstraZeneca’s jab was seen as a key part of the government’s plan to prioritise vulnerable groups.
According to the most recently peer-reviewed paper on Covid-19, how many people who get the virus do you think survive? Go on, take a wild guess. Eighty percent? Ninety percent? Ninety-five percent? Nope. Precisely 99.8 percent live to see another day. Under-70s have an even higher survival rate – 99.96. Put another way, they have a 0.04 chance of dying; less than half of half a per cent.
And many of those are already seriously or even terminally ill from other conditions.
The Office for National Statistics said this week that far from a “second wave”, figures show all UK deaths are currently just 1.5 percent above average, and on a normal trajectory for early autumn.
[Hospital admissions] stubbornly bump along near the bottom of the chart.The co-relationship between diagnosis and death has radically changed in the last six months as treatments dramatically improve.
- Hospital chaos will have led to 46,000 avoidable deaths by end of next month
- Cancellations to routine operations may cause 18,000 excess deaths overall
- Another 40,000 people may die due to the economic impact of lockdown
More than 100,000 people are likely to die from non-coronavirus causes because of the pandemic, according to an official government estimate.
By the end of next month the chaos in hospitals and care homes will have led to 46,000 avoidable deaths, Department of Health research has suggested.
Cancellations to routine operations may cause 18,000 excess deaths in the long-term, on top of hundreds more from cancer.
Officials calculated that over the next few years another 40,000 people may die due to the economic impact of lockdown, including rising unemployment and mental health issues.
It has been called a “second pandemic” with charities across the UK warning of a growing mental health crisis since the first Covid restrictions began.
But because it takes months for suicides to be formally recorded, there are, as yet, no official figures on suicides over the past year. That means its too soon to know whether the virus has affected the number of people taking their own lives.
However, new figures from England’s ambulance services, shared with ITV News, suggest some areas have experienced a spike in calls related to suicide or suicide attempts.
In the first six months after lockdown, from March to November 2020, London Ambulance Service recorded 15,541 calls relating to suicide or attempted suicide. That compares to 11,703 calls over the same period in 2019.
If you or someone you know if struggling with your mental health, you can get help here:
- Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]
- Rethink Mental Illness offer practical advice and information for anyone affected by mental health problems on a wide range of topics including treatment, support and care. Phone 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm) or visit rethink.org
- Mind also offer mental health support between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. You can call them on 0300 123 3393 or text them on 86463. There is also lots of information available on their website.
- Campaign Against Living Miserably’s (CALM) helpline and webchat are open from 5pm until midnight, 365 days a year. Call CALM on 0800 58 58 58 or chat to their trained helpline staff online. No matter who you are or what
Germany has recommended the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine should only be given to people under the age of 65, according to reports.
The country’s vaccine committee has reportedly said the jab, developed alongside the University of Oxford, should only be offered to people aged between 18 and 64.
It gave a lack of sufficient data on the effectiveness of the inoculation in older people as the reason for the decision in a draft recommendation.