Categories
Opinion

The making of Britain’s Covid catastrophe – Dr. John Lee, Spiked

My 30 years of working in academic environments, as both a scientist and a clinical academic, tell me this: a scientist’s career objective is to big up his subject, which increases his personal likelihood of gaining grants, influence and promotion. Scientists focus on narrow topics, often almost to the exclusion of everything else. Perspective is rarely a strong point. The more their subject is in the public eye, preferably centre stage, the better it is from a career point of view. Any crisis is, I’m afraid, a career opportunity for some. Unbiased, agenda-free, selfless public service is not, I believe, a key feature of academic life, nor is there any real reason to expect it to be.

The management of the Covid ‘crisis’ – a crisis substantially caused by the very management itself – has all the hallmarks of government being advised by a group of experts in the limelight, in thrall to groupthink, and with far too cosy a consensus to do effective science.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/09/25/the-making-of-britains-covid-catastrophe/

Categories
Opinion

Lies, Damned Lies and Health Statistics – the Deadly Danger of False Positives – Dr. Mike Yeadon

I believe I have identified a serious, really a fatal flaw in the PCR test used in what is called by the UK Government the Pillar 2 screening – that is, testing many people out in their communities. I’m going to go through this with care and in detail because I’m a scientist and dislike where this investigation takes me. 

…In the last 40 years alone the UK has had seven official epidemics/pandemics; AIDS, Swine flu, CJD, SARS, MERS, Bird flu as well as annual, seasonal flu. All were very worrying but schools remained open and the NHS treated everybody and most of the population were unaffected. The country would rarely have been open if it had been shut down every time.

Categories
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

‘Confounding’: Covid may have already peaked in many African countries – The Guardian

The coronavirus pandemic has peaked earlier than expected in many African countries, confounding early predictions, experts have told MPs.

Scientists do not yet know why, but one hypothesis is the possibility of people having pre-existing immunity to Covid-19, caused by exposure to other infections.

Prof Francesco Checchi, a specialist in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told MPs it was “broadly” true that coronavirus had not behaved in expected ways in African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Somalia.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/sep/16/confounding-covid-may-have-already-peaked-africa

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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/

Categories
News

Coronavirus: Tests ‘could be picking up dead virus’ – BBC

The main test used to diagnose coronavirus is so sensitive it could be picking up fragments of dead virus from old infections, scientists say.

Most people are infectious only for about a week, but could test positive weeks afterwards.

Researchers say this could be leading to an over-estimate of the current scale of the pandemic.

But some experts say it is uncertain how a reliable test can be produced that doesn’t risk missing cases.

Prof Carl Heneghan, one of the study’s authors, said instead of giving a “yes/no” result based on whether any virus is detected, tests should have a cut-off point so that very small amounts of virus do not trigger a positive result.

He believes the detection of traces of old virus could partly explain why the number of cases is rising while hospital admissions remain stable.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54000629

Categories
News Opinion

Nine out of 10 people in England live in areas that haven’t seen a Covid case in a MONTH and fresh lockdown based on ‘dodgy data’ is not needed, professor says – Daily Mail

Nine out a 10 people in England live in areas that have not seen a Covid-19 case in a month and new lockdowns are not needed, an expert has said.

Professor John Clancy, from Birmingham University, has warned that fears of another shutdown are based on ‘dodgy data.’

Writing in a blog, he said: ”91 per cent of England (that’s 51million people) live in neighbourhoods where there hasn’t been a recorded Covid-19 case in the last 4 weeks.’

He added: ‘So-called ‘spikes’ are occurring here, there, and everywhere up and down the country because new testing regimes are causing them either with false positives, picking up residual infections or (usually more likely) suddenly increased testing in specific areas.’ 

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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/

Categories
Opinion

Half a million Covid deaths was ABSURD we are being DUPED, says RICHARD MADELEY – The Express

We have consistently (and I’d say flagrantly) over-estimated the threat of Covid-19, starting with the absurd prediction of 500,000 deaths by Imperial College London’s Professor Neil Ferguson. Data experts who later reviewed the computer code used in the professor’s model described it as “a mess which would get you fired in private industry”…

The trashing of the economy, the worst recession in our history, avoidable deaths at home with people too frightened to go to hospital for fear of catching the virus, chaos in education, the explosion in domestic violence, steep rises in anxiety, depression, and heavy drinking?

No. Lockdown will come to be seen as one of the most catastrophic misjudgments a British government has ever made.

https://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/richard-and-judy/1323175/coronavirus-lockdown-figures-covid-19-death-toll

Categories
News

England death count review reduces UK toll by 5,000 – BBC

A review of how deaths from coronavirus are counted in England has reduced the UK death toll by more than 5,000, to 41,329, the government has announced.

The new methodology for counting deaths means the total number of people in the UK who have died from Covid-19 comes down from 46,706 to 41,329 – a reduction of 12%.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53722711

Categories
News

Daily covid death count could be scrapped – The Telegraph

  • A review will examine reports that officials were “over-exaggerating” the number of deaths from coronavirus.
  • On July 17, the Health Secretary asked PHE to urgently investigate the way daily death statistics had been reported, leading PHE to say it was “pausing” the daily release.
  • Under the previous system, anyone who has ever tested positive for the virus in England was automatically counted as a coronavirus death when they died, even if the death was from a car accident.
  • Weekly rather than daily counts could help improve accuracy for future death counts, but could also make it harder to draw comparisons in the event of a second wave of the virus.
  • Prof Carl Heneghan, director at Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, has called for a cut-off period for the way the death toll is calculated in England of 21 days.
  • Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, reportedly holds the view that excess deaths are the best measure to use, which will be unaffected by the PHE review.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/08/09/daily-covid-death-count-could-scrapped/

Categories
Opinion

Our government should not be copying totalitarian states – Dr. John Lee, Spiked

  • The government is purporting to engage with ‘The Science’, but it is also engaging in psychological operations.
  • But a side-effect of compelling people to wear masks is that some may decide it is all too stupid, and they are not going to go to the shops until this idiocy is over.
  • But a side-effect of compelling people to wear masks is that some may decide it is all too stupid, and they are not going to go to the shops until this idiocy is over.
  • The science on masks is very weak. The claim is that you might spread Covid-19 without knowing, if you have it asymptomatically.
  • Firstly, asymptomatic Covid-19 spreading around is good because it reduces the virulence of the virus.
  • Secondly, the idea that masks stop the spread is not only totally unproven, but also facile. It is a failure of imagination.
  • When a droplet hits a mask, it will dry out within seconds or, at most, minutes. If there is any substance to the droplet other than water, it will turn into a dust particle. Unless you superglue the mask to your face, there will be a constant rain of dust particles coming out from all directions around your mask as you breathe. They will be breathed in by others and the virus will do what it does.
  • There seems to have been no assessment whatsoever of the effects of lockdown before we entered it. That violates a key principle of medicine: first, do no harm. 
  • There is a term in medicine for taking action without that knowledge: negligence. The government was negligent in putting us into lockdown with no assessment of what that would do.
  • The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are not fever, cough, headache and respiratory symptoms – they are no symptoms at all, and around 99 per cent of those who catch this virus recover.
  • The government painted itself into a corner very quickly. It doesn’t know how to get out of that corner apart from by acting out the scenario that it came up with in the first place, which is why, months after we could have abolished all these restrictions and got back to normal, we are going through more months of public virtue-signalling and ritualistic behaviour. 
  • The WHO is not fit for purpose and whose performance has been lamentable
  • The WHO said there were no asymptomatic cases of Covid-19. Now, it is reckoned probably about 90 per cent of people who get Covid-19 are asymptomatic. That is a big change in viewpoint.
  • Broadcasters have done a woeful job of presenting balance on this, and have not allowed views contrary to the mainstream narrative to reach the public.
  • I also fear too many people are compliant, and complacent in thinking the government knows what it’s doing.
  • This episode is showing us that personal freedom must not be taken for granted.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/08/07/our-government-should-not-be-copying-totalitarian-states/

Categories
News

Thousands of coronavirus deaths ‘will be wiped off the government’s official toll’ after urgent review into counting fiasco – Daily Mail

  • Public Health England was miscounting coronavirus death, official review found.
  • Could see up to 4,000 deaths removed  from England’s official toll of 41,749, or 10 per cent.
  • Ministers count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later.
  • The statistical flaw was uncovered by Oxford University’s Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Yoon Loke, from the University of East Anglia.
  • The Office for National Statistics, another Government agency, also records Covid-19 deaths, and is considered the most reliable source.
  • The ONS — which is not affected by the counting method — has confirmed at least 51,596 people have died in England and Wales up to July 24.
  • Around 58 Brits are now succumbing to the life-threatening infection each day, on average.
  • The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
  • Department of Health bosses say 820 Britons are now being struck down with the life-threatening virus every day, on average. The rate has been rising since dropping to a four-month low of 546 on July 8.
  • The number of patients being admitted to hospital has yet to spike, bolstering claims from top scientists that the outbreak is not getting worse and cases are only rising because more patients are being tested.
  • Just 109 coronavirus patients were admitted for NHS care across the UK on August 2 — a figure which has barely changed throughout July. During the darkest days of Britain’s crisis in April, around 3,500 patients were needing hospital treatment every day.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8599213/Thousands-Covid-19-deaths-wiped-governments-official-toll-counting-fiasco.html

Categories
News

Autopsy shows Wellington nurse died of kidney infection, not COVID-19

A report from the Palm Beach County Medical examiner obtained by CBS12 News shows that a young Wellington nurse believed to have passed from COVID-19, was never infected with the virus at all.

The report shows that 33-year-old Danielle DiCenso died from “complications of acute pyelonephritis,” otherwise known as a kidney infection.

Categories
News

Revealed – 16 care homes given £1,000 to take Covid-positive hospital patients – Birmingham Mail

  • From late-February 2020, Birmingham City Council gave care homes a £1,000 extra cash to take in hospital patients in a hurry, including some with coronavirus.
  • Reason: more NHS beds could be freed up for coronavirus patients.
  • Care home had to bid for the resident in a four hour window and, if their bid was ‘winning’, organise admission within 24 hours – regardless of the citizen’s Covid-19 testing or diagnosis status at the point of discharge.
  • Care home manager, Jane Farr, of Digby Manor care home in Erdington, believes her rejection of the offer is one of the reasons none of her residents have been infected.
  • From late February, any in-patients deemed ‘fit to discharge’ were rapidly moved out of hospital so hospital staff could focus on coronavirus patients.
  • Dr David Rosser, chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) said the city created too much capacity – indicating some of the frantic measures to empty beds turned out to be not needed.
  • From April 15 the Government’s rules changed and all discharged residents were supposed to undergo a test first.

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/revealed-16-care-homes-given-18550503

Categories
Videos

Can we trust the Covid-19 death numbers? – Prof Carl Heneghan, UnHerd

Key quotes:
• There was “massive confusion” about different Covid data between England’s health bodies. “Public Health England figures are about double the ONS figures because PHE are reporting anybody who has had a positive Covid death in the past… This will get increasingly confusing as we go into the next Winter because there could be a new outbreak and new deaths while also still reporting on historical deaths… This is a problem for epidemiologists and media… ”
• Even a “28 period cut-off is still not ideal for accurate death numbers because there is “immediate cause and underlying cause… Immediate cause means you’ve had Covid within 21 days but outside of that, it becomes the underlying cause — something that contributed to your death but wasn’t a direct cause. A 21 day cut-off would be helpful because it gives a clearer understanding of that distinction”
• “We follow excess deaths which is the most accurate information about what’s going on at that moment, but it can’t tell you what those deaths are caused by” (i.e. people not coming forward with heart attacks etc)
• “There’s an important distinction between lives lost and life years lost. One of the things we’ll be watching very closely over the next six months is how many people would have actually died in the next six months… That’s where the excess deaths really matter. If we start to see it trend significantly under for the next few months, we’ll start to come forward with information that suggests there was a group of vulnerable people that any respiratory infection would have shortened their life.”
• “In the media you’ll always hear about catastrophe and the consequences of that. One of the things we notice is that when you don’t hear anything that usually means there’s good news happening. So when Sweden looks worse you hear about it but when it’s not so bad, like now, you never see it in the media.”

Categories
Publications

Why no-one can ever recover from COVID-19 in England – a statistical anomaly – CEBM

Here, it seems that PHE regularly looks for people on the NHS database who have ever tested positive, and simply checks to see if they are still alive or not. PHE does not appear to consider how long ago the COVID test result was, nor whether the person has been successfully treated in hospital and discharged to the community. Anyone who has tested COVID positive but subsequently died at a later date of any cause will be included on the PHE COVID death figures.

By this PHE definition, no one with COVID in England is allowed to ever recover from their illness. A patient who has tested positive, but successfully treated and discharged from hospital, will still be counted as a COVID death even if they had a heart attack or were run over by a bus three months later.

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/why-no-one-can-ever-recover-from-covid-19-in-england-a-statistical-anomaly/

Categories
Publications

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Testing – CDC

A positive test result shows you may have antibodies from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance a positive result means that you have antibodies from an infection with a virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses), such as the one that causes the common cold.

Regardless of whether you test positive or negative, the results do not confirm whether or not you are able to spread the virus that causes COVID-19. 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html

Categories
Opinion

Opting out of NHS Test and Trace

According to government guidelines, the public will be asked to provide their names and phone numbers to the venues and businesses they visit from Saturday 4th July 2020.

Be aware that this is done on a voluntary basis. You are under no legal obligation to leave your details or provide correct information. The business should not refuse to serve you if you do not wish to provide your information.

The relevant section of the government guidelines is shown below.

Source: Department of Health and Social Care Guidance, 2 July 2020

The complete text for the guidelines can be found in a document that can be downloaded from the GOV.UK website: Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

Information collected

If you choose to provide information as a customer, government guidelines state that only the following details should be collected:

  • The name of the customer or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group.
  • A contact phone number for each customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people.
  • Date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time.
  • If a customer will interact with only one member of staff (e.g. a hairdresser), the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer.

Booking and reservation information

The information you provide when making a booking or reservation may be shared with NHS Test and Trace. If you do not wish your details to be used for this purpose, you should inform the business that you wish to opt out of NHS Test and Trace.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

NHS Test and Trace is subject to GDPR. This means that the business is legally obliged to handle your details in accordance with the regulation. However, be aware that under GDPR, the business is not required to:

  • Individually inform customers about how their information will be used.
  • Seek consent to collect data from individual customers.

If in doubt, make sure you explicitly inform management that you are opting out and any details you provide should not be used for NHS Test and Trace.

Why you should opt out of NHS Test and Trace

While we cannot give you advice about leaving your contact details, we believe that opting out of NHS Test and Trace is the right thing to do. This is because:

  1. The tests for COVID-19 are known to be inaccurate, resulting in high false positives and false negatives.
  2. These inaccurate results may be used to justify local lock-downs which will have a severely negative impact on your area.
  3. You will be traced and told self-isolate if anyone you have been in contact with during your visit tests positive, even if it is a false positive.
  4. The tracing system rollout was rushed and did not complete mandatory privacy checks. NHS Test and Trace is facing a legal challenge because it does not have strong enough safeguards.
  5. Your data will be held for 20 years. There is no way to know how the information collected about you will be used by a future political administration.
Categories
Publications

Impact of false positives and negatives, 3 June 2020 – Government Office for Science

The UK operational false positive rate is unknown. There are no published studies on the operational false positive rate of any national COVID-19 testing programme.

An attempt has been made to estimate the likely false-positive rate of national COVID-19 testing programmes by examining data from published external quality assessments (EQAs) for RT-PCR assays for other RNA viruses carried out between 2004-2019 [7]. Results of 43 EQAs were examined, giving a median false positive rate of 2.3% (interquartile range 0.8-4.0%).

Alistair Haimes interpreted these results in this way:

2.3% false positive rate with 0.04% virus prevalence rate (ONS) means that if you test positive you have only a 4/234= 1.7% chance of being infected. We’re flying blind.

if the false positive rate is that high, surely they just know that it is ‘about nothing’; 0.04% must be false precision?

@AlistairHaimes. 3 July 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gos-impact-of-false-positives-and-negatives-3-june-2020