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News

Diabetics make up a third of England’s Covid hospital deaths – The Telegraph

Experts said the major study, which included all patients hospitalised with Covid-19 over 10 weeks, showed that diabetes – which is often fuelled by obesity – is driving Britain’s death toll.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/19/one-third-covid-19-deaths-england-have-among-diabetics/

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Opinion

Can we trust Covid modelling? More evidence from Sweden – The Spectator

One reason why the models failed is that they – just like most countries’ politicians – underestimated how millions of people spontaneously adapt to new circumstances. They only thought in terms of lockdowns vs business as usual, but failed to consider a third option: that people engage in social distancing voluntarily when they realise lives are at stake and when authorities recommend them to do so.

As countries plan how to leave lockdown, they can look at Sweden and ask: what happens if you don’t involve the police, if you don’t issue edicts about how many of your relatives or neighbours you can visit, and just ask people to be careful? Might that work? The Swedish experiment casts huge doubts on the models, and makes the case for trusting the public.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/can-we-trust-covid-modelling-more-evidence-from-sweden

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Videos

Covid-19 – Britain’s Disastrous Response Will Have Devastating Consequences – David Starkey

What is unique about this pandemic–apart from the fact that it’s rather small–is that the damage that it does is self-inflicted.

This is a very odd plague. It’s rather small in scale but it’s gigantic in consequences because we have chosen to inflict a form of economic suicide on ourselves.

This week on “So What You’re Saying Is…”: Dr. David Starkey argues that a calamitous series of events and decisions caused a panicked British government to recklessly abandon its sensible coronavirus plan for one that is likely to harm the nation far more than the virus itself.

Comparing this virus with historical pandemics Starkey believes the dire situation we are encountering today has a different cause. Earlier pandemics such as the Black Death eradicated up to half of the population of Europe. In contrast, although it is profoundly tragic on a personal level to the individuals and familiies it afflicts, coronavirus is nowhere near as devastating on a population-wide level as previous pandemics. Consequently, Starkey argues, the Conservative government was correct to follow a similar path to Sweden which was far more relaxed than elsewhere in Europe.

This approach suited Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s libertarian attitude and personality. But on a single weekend there was a calamitous confluence of events and decisions that caused the Tory government to panic (Northwick Park hospital overwhelmed, Imperial College modelling showing potential 500,00 deaths etc.) and enforce an extreme lockdown without any plan to deal with the epidemic. It was simply a goal to protect the NHS.

Protect the NHS: The Tory Government, says Dr. Starkey, was desperate not to be seen as responsible or the NHS being overwhelmed. Eager to prove to the traditional Labour “Red Wall” that the Conservative Party really was their natural home, the British government prioritised the NHS’s capacity to deal with Covid-19 over everything else– but disastrously this included its treatment of cancer patients etc. A bizarre and unprecdented abandoning of the Hippocratic oath that we have not seen in other countries, argues Starkey.

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Opinion

How to make a crisis far, far, worse – Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

The main thing that went wrong, I believe, was a failure to understand that hospitals would become the vectors for COVID, the epicentres for the infection. We – the hospitals, the decisions taken by the NHS managers with their clipboards – spread the disease, especially among the elderly vulnerable in care homes. A disease that we were trying to stop… killing the elderly and vulnerable.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/488075-nhs-made-covid-19-crisis-worse/

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Publications

Surgical Mask vs N95 Respirator for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Workers – JAMA (2009)

Surgical masks and N95 respirators are not effective at preventing the flu. Of the 446 nurses who took part in this study, nearly one in four (24%) in the surgical mask group still got the flu as did 23% of those who wore the N95 respirator.

Influenza infection occurred in 50 nurses (23.6%) in the surgical mask group and in 48 (22.9%) in the N95 respirator group (absolute risk difference, −0.73%; 95% CI, −8.8% to 7.3%; P = .86), the lower confidence limit being inside the noninferiority limit of −9%.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/184819

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Opinion

Alistair Haimes: The virus that turned up late

“There are really only two particularly unusual things about the Covid-19 epidemic: the timing of its arrival and the lockdown some countries declared.”

Deaths per day, as is well-reported, peaked around Easter; and because deaths lag infections by something around three weeks, this implies that infections peaked sometime in mid-March. If you add up all the bars in the chart and fill in the blank area of deaths still to come, we are looking at a killer that, in scale, is bad-but-nothing-special compared to killers of previous years. Panning out: as a killer worldwide, it looks as though Covid is going to take a toll perhaps 1% of 1918’s Spanish Flu.

…the dark blue line is 2019-20, with Covid-19; the turquoise and red lines are the bad flu years of 1998-99 and 1999-2000.

…Covid-19 is narrowly in third place as a killer to remember, behind the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 influenzas (2017-18’s ‘Beast from the East’, the green line, doesn’t place), a point also made by American statistician William Briggs.

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News

Are ventilators killing people? – Off-Guardian

Intubation and ventilation were billed as the only way to treat Covid19 patients in the early days of the outbreak, but now some medical professionals are questioning the practice.

Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that according to this article 66% of UK Covid19 patients put on ventilators are dying. A recent study found that, in New York, 88% of ventilated Covid patients died. In Italy it was over 81%, in Wuhan it was 86%.

Conversely, South Korea has reported good early results treating Covid19 patients with other forms of oxygen therapy, or “non-invasive ventilation”.

The question arises: If ventilators are not recommended for respiratory infections, may do more damage than they prevent and are less effective than non-invasive ventilation, why are they being so widely used?

Well, one possible reason is that, according to the WHO guidelines, non-invasive ventilation could contribute to the spread of the virus via “aerosolisation”. This is repeated in guidelines from the CDC, ECDC and other national institutions.

The UK’s NHS goes one step further again, with their March 19th protocol actually calling mechanical ventilation the “preferred” option over non-invasive ventilation or other oxygen therapies.

This leaves wide open the possibility that hospitals are using treatments known to cause harm, simply to avoid the hypothetical spread of the virus.

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News

Some doctors moving away from ventilators for virus patients – AP News

Generally speaking, 40% to 50% of patients with severe respiratory distress die while on ventilators, experts say. But 80% or more of coronavirus patients placed on the machines in New York City have died, state and city officials say.

…Similar reports have emerged from China and the United Kingdom. One U.K. report put the figure at 66%. A very small study in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the disease first emerged, said 86% died.

http://archive.today/2021.09.23-073522/https://apnews.com/article/health-us-news-ap-top-news-international-news-virus-outbreak-8ccd325c2be9bf454c2128dcb7bd616d

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Publications

Healthcare personnel exposure in an emergency department during influenza season – PubMed (2018)

Abstract

Introduction: Healthcare personnel are at high risk for exposure to influenza by direct and indirect contact, droplets and aerosols, and by aerosol generating procedures. Information on air and surface influenza contamination is needed to assist in developing guidance for proper prevention and control strategies. To understand the vulnerabilities of healthcare personnel, we measured influenza in the breathing zone of healthcare personnel, in air and on surfaces within a healthcare setting, and on filtering facepiece respirators worn by healthcare personnel when conducting patient care.

Methods: Thirty participants were recruited from an adult emergency department during the 2015 influenza season. Participants wore personal bioaerosol samplers for six hours of their work shift, submitted used filtering facepiece respirators and medical masks and completed questionnaires to assess frequency and types of interactions with potentially infected patients. Room air samples were collected using bioaerosol samplers, and surface swabs were collected from high-contact surfaces within the adult emergency department. Personal and room bioaerosol samples, surface swabs, and filtering facepiece respirators were analyzed for influenza A by polymerase chain reaction.

Methods: Thirty participants were recruited from an adult emergency department during the 2015 influenza season. Participants wore personal bioaerosol samplers for six hours of their work shift, submitted used filtering facepiece respirators and medical masks and completed questionnaires to assess frequency and types of interactions with potentially infected patients. Room air samples were collected using bioaerosol samplers, and surface swabs were collected from high-contact surfaces within the adult emergency department. Personal and room bioaerosol samples, surface swabs, and filtering facepiece respirators were analyzed for influenza A by polymerase chain reaction.

Conclusions: Healthcare personnel may encounter increased concentrations of influenza virus when in close proximity to patients. Occupations that require contact with patients are at an increased risk for influenza exposure, which may occur throughout the influenza season. Filtering facepiece respirators may become contaminated with influenza when used during patient care.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30169507/

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Publications

It’s not exponential: An economist’s view of the epidemiological curve

The spread of COVID-19 is not going to follow an exponential curve – and grave errors will follow if analysts believe it will. The number of new cases rises rapidly, peaks, and then declines. It’s called the epidemiological curve. It’s not a theory or hypothesis; it plays out that way every flu season. It is how it has played out in China and Korea for COVID-19. Flattening the peak to avoid overloading the healthcare system is the main medical goal of the seemingly extreme containment policies we have seen to date.

https://voxeu.org/article/it-s-not-exponential-economist-s-view-epidemiological-curve

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Videos

There never was a surge but we’re in danger of losing our capacity to deal with the second wave because we panicked – Tony Heller

Tony Heller compares COVID-19 with other pandemics and explains why the lockdown may create an even more devastating second wave.

Medical professionals say there never was a surge, hospital activity is at a low and we’re in danger of losing our capacity to deal with the second wave because we panicked.

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News

The hospital I work in is so quiet – MumsNet

Forum posts apparently show NHS workers and patients discussing the empty UK hospitals. Screenshot below.

https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/coronavirus/3886452-The-hospital-I-work-in-is-so-quiet

Go to forum

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News

NHS crisis: 20 hospitals declare black alert as patient safety no longer assured – The Guardian (2017)

More than 20 hospitals in England have had to declare a black alert this week after becoming so overcrowded that they could no longer guarantee patient safety and provide their full range of normal services.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/11/nhs-crisis-20-hospitals-declare-black-alert-as-patient-safety-no-longer-assured

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News

Ineffective flu vaccine added to 50,000 extra deaths last winter, ONS says – The Independent (2018)

It was the worst winter on record for more than 40 years, with the 1975-76 season being the last time deaths climbed so high above the expected levels.

The NHS was rocked by a record winter crisis in early 2018, with a massive rise in flu cases and sub-zero temperatures triggered by the Beast from the East storm, which added further to death rates.

“The number of excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2017 to 2018 was the highest recorded since the winter of 1975 to 1976,” said Nick Stripe, from the ONS Health Analysis and Life Events team.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/flu-vaccine-deaths-nhs-ineffective-crisis-bad-weather-illness-2017-a8660496.html

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News

Why Some Doctors Are Now Moving Away From Ventilator Treatments for Coronavirus Patients – TIME

Generally speaking, 40% to 50% of patients with severe respiratory distress die while on ventilators, experts say. But 80% or more of coronavirus patients placed on the machines in New York City have died, state and city officials say.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200409192719/https://time.com/5818547/ventilators-coronavirus/