Categories
Opinion

LOCKDOWN DOESN’T WORK. It simply delays the inevitable, says RICHARD MADELEY – The Express

The cycle of absurdity is now firmly established. We conceal ourselves; COVID-19 bides its time until we decide to come out again, infections rise, we go back into hiding. It’s a miserable, pointless spiral and possibly the most depressing thing about it is the institutional lack of intelligence it reveals. How much longer must this national version of Jeux Sans Frontières continue before Boris Johnson points to the elephant in the room – a great, lumbering fact of life that increasing numbers of us have been aware of for months.

https://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/richard-and-judy/1340247/coronavirus-lockdown-second-wave-boris-johnson-restrictions

Archived mirror:

https://web.archive.org/web/20200926203449/https://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/richard-and-judy/1340247/coronavirus-lockdown-second-wave-boris-johnson-restrictions

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Opinion

Snitches and snoopers, students and the elderly shut away… a nation cowering and an economy in tatters. Now BEL MOONEY asks: How could once-indomitable Britain be reduced to slaves to fear? – Daily Mail

Have we all gone mad, and become so afraid of the virus that we’ve lost the ability to read, to think and to question? You could argue that the fear of Covid-19 has become so all-consuming that it has become even more of a killer than the virus itself.

  • The national debt: £36 billion borrowed last month [August] alone.
  • The national debt: Our overall figure of more than £2 trillion is the biggest ever recorded, and will take at least two generations to pay off. Redundancy looms for millions.
  • Of the 52,514 virus deaths registered by the Office for National Statistics, 89 per cent have been over-65s.
  • More than 22,000 over-85s have died, as well as some 17,000 aged between 75 and 84.
  • Only 314 people under the age of 40 have died of the disease since March.
  • NHS England figures show that more than 95 per cent of patients who die from coronavirus in hospital have an underlying health condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity.
  • New report estimates that there will be a total of 74,000 deaths over the next five years due to the long-term financial and health impact of the pandemic.
  • Oncologists warn of an extra 30,000 deaths from cancers currently going undiagnosed.
  • Dr John Lee: COVID-19 is currently killing fewer than 40 of the 1,600 people who die every day in the UK.
  • There were 2,000 extra deaths from strokes and heart attacks this summer.
Categories
Publications

Diagnosis of physical and mental health conditions in primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic: a retrospective cohort study – The Lancet

Our study shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a large number of potentially missed or delayed diagnoses of health conditions, which carry high risk if not promptly diagnosed and effectively treated. Primary and secondary care services must proactively prepare to address the large backlog of patients that is likely to follow. Should a public health emergency on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic occur in the future, or if subsequent surges in COVID-19 cases arise, national communication strategies must be carefully considered to ensure that large numbers of patients with urgent health needs do not disengage with health services.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(20)30201-2/fulltext#

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Opinion

Boris must urgently rethink his Covid strategy – Professor Carl Heneghan, Professor Karol Sikora, Professor Sunetra Gupta

Dear Prime Minister, Chancellor, CMOs and Chief Scientific Adviser

We are writing with the intention of providing constructive input into the choices with respect to the Covid-19 policy response. We also have several concerns regarding aspects of the existing policy choices that we wish to draw attention to.

In summary, our view is that the existing policy path is inconsistent with the known risk-profile of Covid-19 and should be reconsidered. The unstated objective currently appears to be one of suppression of the virus, until such a time that a vaccine can be deployed. This objective is increasingly unfeasible (notwithstanding our more specific concerns regarding existing policies) and is leading to significant harm across all age groups, which likely offsets any benefits.

Instead, more targeted measures that protect the most vulnerable from Covid, whilst not adversely impacting those not at risk, are more supportable. Given the high proportion of Covid deaths in care homes, these should be a priority. Such targeted measures should be explored as a matter of urgency, as the logical cornerstone of our future strategy.

In addition to this overarching point, we append a set of concerns regarding the existing policy choices, which we hope will be received in the spirit in which they are intended. We are mindful that the current circumstances are challenging, and that all policy decisions are difficult ones. Moreover, many people have sadly lost loved ones to Covid-19 throughout the UK. Nonetheless, the current debate appears unhelpfully polarised around views that Covid is extremely deadly to all (and that large-scale policy interventions are effective); and on the other hand, those who believe Covid poses no risk at all. In light of this, and in order to make choices that increase our prospects of achieving better outcomes in future, we think now is the right time to ‘step back’ and fundamentally reconsider the path forward.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sunetra Gupta; Professor of theoretical epidemiology, the University of Oxford

Professor Carl Heneghan; Director, Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, the University of Oxford

Professor Karol Sikora; Consultant oncologist and Professor of medicine, University of Buckingham

Sam Williams; Director and co-founder of Economic Insight

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/boris-needs-to-rethink-his-covid-strategy

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Opinion

Lockdown failed. We must follow the Swedish model and learn to live with Covid – The Telegraph

I knew a second lockdown was on the cards before we’d had the first one. In mid-March my team at the University of Edinburgh modelled a lockdown that ended in June and was followed by a slow, initially imperceptible rise in cases over the summer, culminating in a second lockdown in late September.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/19/uk-needs-follow-swedish-model-learn-live-covid/

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Opinion Videos

Andrew Neil interviews Anders Tegnell – a second wave and what Sweden got right – SpectatorTV

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Opinion

Covid-19: Does Sweden have herd immunity? – Sebastian Rushworth M.D.

  • Sweden never went in to full lockdown. Instead, the country imposed a partial lockdown that was almost entirely voluntary.
  • The only forcible restriction imposed by the government from the start was a requirement that people not gather in groups of more than 50 at a time.
  • People followed the voluntary restrictions pretty well at the beginning, but that they have become increasingly lax as time has gone on.
  • After an initial peak that lasted for a month or so, from March to April, visits to the Emergency Room due to covid had been declining continuously, and deaths in Sweden had dropped from over 100 a day at the peak in April, to around five per day in August.
  • Dr. Rushworth hasn’t seen a single covid patient in the Emergency Room in over two and a half months.
  • COVID has killed under 6,000 people.
  • On average, one to two people per day are dying of covid in Sweden at present, and that number continues to drop.
  • In the whole of Stockholm, a county with 2,4 million inhabitants, there are currently only 28 people being treated for covid in all the hospitals combined.
  • Sweden seemed to be developing herd immunity, in spite of the fact that only a minority had antibodies, was due to T-cells.
  • Immunity may be long lasting, and probably explains why there have only been a handful of reported cases of re-infection with covid, even though the virus has spent the last nine months bouncing around the planet infecting many millions of people.
  • Almost all cases of reinfection have been completely asymptomatic.
  • People develop a functioning immunity after the first infection, which allows them to fight off the second infection without ever developing any symptoms.
  •  England and Italy have mortality curves that are very similar to Sweden’s.
  • Lockdown only makes sense if you are willing to stay in lockdown until there is an effective vaccine.

https://sebastianrushworth.com/2020/09/19/covid-19-does-sweden-have-herd-immunity/

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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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Videos

Dr Mike Yeadon: ‘Government are using a Covid-19 test with undeclared false positive rates.’ – talkRadio

Dr. Mike Yeadon, former Chief Scientific Advisor, Pfizer:

  • The evidence suggests that a substantial number of the positive cases are false positives.
  • The government doesn’t know or is not disclosing the false positive rate.
  • False positive rate may be as high as 1%, which would mean most or all of the positives are false positives.
  • We are finding traces of an ‘old’ virus which can’t possibly make people sick.
  • The test looks for a piece of genetic code. A positive test does not mean someone is sick.
  • ONS says the prevalence of the virus is less than 0.1%.
  • Pillar 2 (community) testing seems to be flawed. Method of processing samples would be inadmissible if this were a forensic case.
  • The number of COVID deaths is continuing to stay low and fallen for 6 months. For it to suddenly increase would need a big change in transmission.
  • Young people would have been the first who caught COVID-19 because they were not social distancing. The idea that the young people are now getting it is “for the birds.”
  • If positive tests are false, they will be distributed evenly in the population. This is what we’re finding.
  • Mass testing is not the answer.
  • Sweden is not doing mass testing and their society has had 0.06% of their population die from COVID-19. This is the same as the UK.
  • We are using a test with an undeclared false-positive rate.
  • Are we re-testing the positives? This is unclear.
  • A second lockdown is going to amplify the non-COVID deaths.
  • UK’s lockdown was too late to prevent the initial spread.
  • Mass population immunity is keeping the deaths low. This is the most reasonable explanation for the differences between the models and reality.

Categories
News

How Bolton only has TWO Covid-19 patients in hospital despite being England’s locked-down virus hotspot – and there are 141 people on wards across all 18 ‘intervention’ areas – Daily Mail

Public Health England has listed 18 areas of intervention with stricter rules

They had only a combined 141 people in hospital as of September 3, NHS shows

One person in hospital for every 38,000 in a population of over 5.4million 

Despite an infection rate of more than 120 cases per 100,000 people and local lockdown rules preventing people from meeting anyone they don’t live with, fears about the virus spreading translate to only two people in hospital.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8744625/How-locked-Bolton-TWO-Covid-19-patients-hospital.html

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News Opinion

Top Belgian scientist calls for herd immunity coronavirus strategy – The Times

The resurgence of coronavirus is nothing to be feared and lockdown measures are doing more harm than the pandemic itself, a leading Belgian medical scientist has said.

Jean-Luc Gala, head of the prestigious Université Catholique de Louvain Saint-Luc clinic and a specialist in infectious diseases, has broken ranks with other scientists and tried to quell fears over the rise of the Belgian infection rate.

He said that it was not dangerous for the virus to circulate and the lack of a vaccine could help to bring about herd immunity in the population.

“Is the rise in infections worrying? No. It is completely normal. Is it dangerous for the virus to circulate? No, once again,” he told La Dernière Heure newspaper.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/top-belgian-scientist-calls-for-herd-immunity-coronavirus-strategy-gxwqj887m

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News Opinion

The cure is worse than the disease: Dr JOHN LEE argues that the coronavirus lockdown could cause more long-term harm than the illness itself – Daily Mail

  • The NHS has not resumed anything like normal service. But the predicted Covid deluge never materialised.
  • Current Covid death toll of 41,628 is barely half the total fatalities of the 1968 flu epidemic in the UK. 
  • Hospital admissions for cancer were down by 36 per cent in April and another 37 per cent in May.
  • The State has wildly over-reacted, partly as a result of being in thrall to scientists such as Professor Neil Ferguson with unproven theories and dubious modelling.
  • More than 1,600 people die in Britain every day, yet, despite the Government’s scaremongering, the coronavirus daily death toll has been in single or low double figures for weeks.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8728845/Dr-JOHN-LEE-argues-coronavirus-lockdown-cause-long-term-harm-illness-itself.html

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Opinion

Boris Johnson needs to bin the rule of six- The Spectator

  • The ‘rule of six’ has no scientific evidence to back it up, and may well end up having major social consequences.
  • Increased activity at the end of summer leads to an increase in acute respiratory infections, as it does every year.
  • Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine: no scientific evidence on the effects of measures such as distancing on respiratory viral spread. No study pointing to the number six. If it’s made up, why not five or seven?
  • Admissions for Covid, critical care bed occupancies and deaths are now at an all-time low.
  • There are currently 600 patients in hospital with Covid compared to over 17,000 at the height of the epidemic. An average of ten patients a day die with Covid registered on their death certificate, compared to over 1,000 at the peak.
  • Shift in focus away from the impact of the disease is a worrying development.
  • Severity of the pandemic was monitored by numbers of cases, numbers of admissions, and deaths. All three measures are open to misinterpretation if their definitions are not standardised.
    • Cases are being over-diagnosed by a test that can pick up dead viral load.
    • Hospital admissions are subjective decisions made by physicians which can vary from hospital to hospital.
    • Even deaths have been misattributed.
  • Cases will rise, as they will in winter for all acute respiratory pathogens, but this will not necessarily translate into excess deaths.
  • Models ignore the vast expertise of our clinicians and public health experts who could provide a more robust approach based on their real-world healthcare experiences.
  • The current Cabinet is inexperienced:
    • the Health Secretary has been in post for just over two years now;
    • the PM and the Chief Medical Officer a year;
    • The Joint Biosecurity Centre is overseen by a senior spy who monitors the spread of coronavirus and suppresses new outbreaks;
    • New chair of the National Institute for Health Protection who has little or no background in healthcare.
  • The recognised alert threshold for ‘regular’ acute respiratory infections is 400 cases per 100,000.
  • Britain’s mental health has deteriorated. During lockdown, a fifth of vulnerable people considered self-harming, routine healthcare came to a standstill, operations were cancelled, and cancer care put on hold.
  • The most glaring initial blunder was not observing what was going on in other European nations and learning from their mistakes.
  • Life should return to as close as possible to normality.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/boris-johnson-needs-to-bin-the-rule-of-six

Categories
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

Non-virus deaths at home behind surge in excess fatalities, figures show – The Telegraph

Patients dying at home from causes other than Covid-19 are fuelling excess deaths across the UK, official figures show.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/02/patients-dying-home-causes-covid-19-fuelling-excess-uk-deaths/

Categories
News Opinion

The Failed Experiment of Covid Lockdowns – Wall Street Journal

New data shows that ockdowns correlated with a greater spread of the virus.

Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. has now carried out two large-scale experiments in public health—first, in March and April, the lockdown of the economy to arrest the spread of the virus, and second, since mid-April, the reopening of the economy. The results are in. Counterintuitive though it may be, statistical analysis shows that locking down the economy didn’t contain the disease’s spread and reopening it didn’t unleash a second wave of infections.

Considering that lockdowns are economically costly and create well-documented long-term public-health consequences beyond Covid, imposing them appears to have been a large policy error. At the beginning, when little was known, officials acted in ways they thought prudent. But now evidence proves that lockdowns were an expensive treatment with serious side effects and no benefit to society…

Measuring from the start of the year to each state’s point of maximum lockdown—which range from April 5 to April 18—it turns out that lockdowns correlated with a greater spread of the virus. States with longer, stricter lockdowns also had larger Covid outbreaks. The five places with the harshest lockdowns—the District of Columbia, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts—had the heaviest caseloads.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-failed-experiment-of-covid-lockdowns-11599000890

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News

Argentina offers irrefutable evidence that long lockdowns spell disaster – The Telegraph

Hailed as a model at the beginning of the pandemic, the world’s longest lockdown has not saved Argentina from coronavirus misery as cases and daily deaths continue to skyrocket.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/argentina-perfect-evidence-that-lockdown-are-a-disaster/

Categories
Opinion

We wanted the toughest possible lockdown, and now we will pay the price – The Telegraph

I used to joke about ending up under house arrest – arraigned by Europol on charges of xenophobia for criticising the Maastricht Treaty or some such. Sure enough, here I am after an ill-timed trip to France. And house arrest is the apt term: we returnees not allowed out even for solitary walks. The rules are unenforceable, of course, and plenty of people are ignoring them, but newspaper columnists and politicians don’t have that option. If there is a double standard at work, it is the opposite of what is commonly supposed.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/30/wanted-toughest-possible-lockdown-now-will-pay-price/

Categories
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/

Categories
News

Europe is at last waking up to its lockdown folly – The Telegraph

Did you hear it? Beyond the second wave sirens and the schools debate, the sound of the penny dropping on the global stage. In recent days, world leaders have hinted at an extraordinary admission: lockdowns are a disaster, and we can’t afford to repeat the mistake

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/27/europe-last-waking-lockdown-folly/