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BEL MOONEY: My dad Ted passed three Covid tests and died of a chronic illness yet he’s officially one of Britain’s 120,000 victims of the virus and is far from alone… so how many more are there? – Daily Mail

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!’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9279767/BEL-MOONEY-dad-died-chronic-illness-hes-officially-Covid-victim.html

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Opinion

We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April – Wall Street Journal

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.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/well-have-herd-immunity-by-april-11613669731

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Publications

Clarifying the evidence on SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid tests in public health responses to COVID-19 – The Lancet

Most people infected with SARS-CoV-2 are contagious for 4–8 days.7 Specimens are generally not found to contain culture-positive (potentially contagious) virus beyond day 9 after the onset of symptoms, with most transmission occurring before day 5. This timing fits with the observed patterns of virus transmission (usually 2 days before to 5 days after symptom onset), which led public health agencies to recommend a 10-day isolation period. The short window of transmissibility contrasts with a median 22–33 days of PCR positivity (longer with severe infections and somewhat shorter among asymptomatic individuals). This suggests that 50–75% of the time an individual is PCR positive, they are likely to be post-infectious.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00425-6/fulltext

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Opinion

What WAS the point of vaccine triumph if we are doomed to endless curbs, asks Dr JOHN LEE – Dail Mail

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? 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-9267781/What-point-vaccine-triumph-doomed-endless-curbs-asks-Dr-JOHN-LEE.html

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Opinion

Does Mr Hancock really think a non-disclosed Portugal visit is worse than a sexual offence? – Lord Sumption, The Telegraph

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.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2021/02/09/does-mr-hancock-really-think-non-disclosed-portugal-visit-worse/

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Publications

Evidence of early circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in France: findings from the population-based “CONSTANCES” cohort – European Journal of Epidemiology

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.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10654-020-00716-2

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News

Captain Sir Tom Moore tested positive for coronavirus after a 10-day stay in hospital and didn’t catch it on his Barbados trip, family reveal – Daily Mail

  • 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.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9218431/Captain-Sir-Tom-Moore-tested-negative-coronavirus-testing-positive-stay-hospital.html

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News

25,000 Covid-19 victims were infected in hospital: One in six patients on wards caught coronavirus while being treated for other illnesses, figures show – Daily Mail

  • More than 25,000 patients caught coronavirus in hospital since second wave
  • One in six Covid-19 patients in NHS hospitals in England were infected while being treated for other conditions since September
  • So far this month, 5,684 Covid-positive in-patients out of 44,315 were infected after being admitted for other conditions

A specialist Covid nurse treating people at home said many of her patients had contracted the virus in hospital and were re-admitted when their conditions worsened.

The nurse said one elderly lady, originally admitted after breaking a rib in a fall, was now critically ill and had passed the virus on to two close relatives while at home.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210118024546/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9157627/One-six-hospital-patients-caught-Covid-19-treated-illnesses-figures-show.html

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News

One in five in England have had Covid, modelling suggests – The Guardian

One in five people in England may have had coronavirus, new modelling suggests, equivalent to 12.4 million people, rising to almost one in two in some areas.

It means that across the country as a whole the true number of people infected to date may be five times higher than the total number of known cases according to the government’s dashboard.

In some areas, however, the disparity may be even greater. Parts of London and the south are estimated to have had up to eight times as many cases as have been detected to date.

The analysis, by Edge Health, reveals that the true number of coronavirus infections in England could be as high as 12.4 million, equivalent to 22% of the population, as of 3 January.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210110190150/https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2021/jan/10/one-in-five-have-had-coronavirus-in-england-new-modelling-says

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Publications

Assessment of Maternal and Neonatal SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load, Transplacental Antibody Transfer, and Placental Pathology in Pregnancies During the COVID-19 Pandemic – JAMA

Conclusions and Relevance  In this cohort study, there was no evidence of placental infection or definitive vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Transplacental transfer of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was inefficient. Lack of viremia and reduced coexpression and colocalization of placental angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and transmembrane serine protease 2 may serve as protective mechanisms against vertical transmission.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201222162005/https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2774428

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Publications

Hospital acquired covid infections hit record high – HSJ

The number of covid-19 infections likely to have been acquired in hospital are rising again for the first time in three weeks and their proportion of all cases has reached record levels for the second wave, HSJ can reveal.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201211180106/https://www.hsj.co.uk/patient-safety/hospital-acquired-covid-infections-hit-record-high/7029149.article

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Publications

What the data say about asymptomatic COVID infections – Nature

Now, evidence suggests that about one in five infected people will experience no symptoms, and they will transmit the virus to significantly fewer people than someone with symptoms. But researchers are divided about whether asymptomatic infections are acting as a ‘silent driver’ of the pandemic.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201118211843/https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03141-3

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News

UK coronavirus infections may be ‘stabilising’ – BBC

The increase in coronavirus infections appears to be slowing around the UK, latest data from the Office for National Statistics show.

Although the number of people with Covid continues to rise, the growth is levelling off.

In the week to 30 October, ONS says new daily infections in England stabilised at around 50,000.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54841375

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Publications

Masks, false safety and real dangers, Part 2: Microbial challenges from masks – ResearchGate

Masks have been shown consistently over time and throughout the world to have no significant preventative impact against any known pathogenic microbes. Specifically, regarding COVID-19, we have shown in this paper that mask use is not correlated with lower death rates nor with lower positive PCR tests.

Masks have also been demonstrated historically to contribute to increased infections within the respiratory tract. We have examined the common occurrence of oral and nasal pathogens accessing deeper tissues and blood, and potential consequences of such events. We have demonstrated from the clinical and historical data cited herein, we conclude the use of face masks will contribute to far more morbidity and mortality than has occurred due to COVID-19.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344661022_Masks_false_safety_and_real_dangers_Part_2_Microbial_challenges_from_masks

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News

Rise in Britons being treated with Covid in hospital is partly driven by them catching it on wards, figures show – The Mail On Sunday

  • Hospital cases rose from 2,396 to 3,660 between September 30 and October 7.
  • Almost one in five in hospital tested positive seven days or more after admission.
  • This implies that they caught coronavirus whilst a patient there.
  • The findings suggest Covid-19 hospitalisations caused by community outbreaks may not be growing as fast as some fear. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8827131/Rise-Britons-treated-Covid-hospital-partly-driven-catching-wards.html

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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

Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection – PLOS ONE

…it is recommended that improving vitamin D status in the general population and in particular hospitalized patients has a potential benefit in reducing the severity of morbidities and mortality associated with acquiring COVID-19.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0239799

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News

CDC removes guidance saying coronavirus spreads through air – Washington Examiner

The CDC has long maintained that the coronavirus is transmitted through droplets spread among people in close proximity to one another. On Friday, it updated its guidelines, adding that the virus also spreads through “respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes,” adding that this is the main vector of infection.

The guidance no longer says COVID-19 can be spread through the air, and the agency said it will update the language once its review process “has been completed.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/cdc-removes-guidance-saying-coronavirus-spreads-through-air

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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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Publications

Did COVID-19 infections decline before UK lockdown? – Prof Simon Wood, arXiv

The number of new infections per day is a key quantity for effective epidemic management. It can be estimated by testing of random population samples. Without such direct epidemiological measurement, other approaches are required to infer whether the number of new cases is likely to be increasing or decreasing: for example, estimating the pathogen reproductive rate, R, using data gathered from the clinical response to the disease. For COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) such R estimation is heavily dependent on modelling assumptions, because the available clinical case data are opportunistic observational data subject to severe temporal confounding. Given this difficulty it is useful to reconstruct the time course of infections from the least compromised available data, using minimal prior assumptions. A Bayesian inverse problem approach applied to UK data on COVID-19 deaths and the disease duration distribution suggests that infections were in decline before full UK lockdown (24 March 2020), and that infections in Sweden started to decline only a day or two later. An analysis of UK data using the model of Flaxman et al. (2020, Nature 584) gives the same result under relaxation of its prior assumptions on R.

https://arxiv.org/abs/2005.02090