Throughout the course of the pandemic, officials and ministers wrestled with how to ensure the public complied with ever-changing lockdown restrictions. One weapon in their arsenal was fear.
“We frighten the pants off everyone,” Matt Hancock suggested during one WhatsApp message with his media adviser.
The then health secretary was not alone in his desire to scare the public into compliance. The WhatsApp messages seen by The Telegraph show how several members of Mr Hancock’s team engaged in a kind of “Project Fear”, in which they spoke of how to utilise “fear and guilt” to make people obey lockdown.
The NHS has wasted around £13million after hundreds of beds meant for the Nightingale hospitals are unable to be used for patients in other wards. The temporary Nightingale hospitals were built across the country to tackle waves of Covid-19, including at a site in London.
The huge loss was documented last week in NHS England’s annual accounts, with the health service claiming that the beds can’t given to other departments as they don’t meet the required standard. Some of the millions of pounds written off include paying for storing the beds.
Plan B is a go. And just like that, more mask mandates, working from home guidance and, most controversially, vaccine passports have been rushed in. While we wait, of one thing we can be certain: Covid decisions this winter are once again being determined by one institution. While we wait to find out more about the omicron variant, there is one thing we can say with certainty: our future rests once again on the ability of the National Health Service to handle an uptick in cases.
…Yet the NHS has a guilty little secret, rarely talked about given its status as the national religion. On many metrics, capacity has not been rising – it’s actually been falling.
Following the publication of the 2011 preparedness paper, however, the number of ICU beds continued to fall. Then, five years later, government held an unusual and secretive event called Exercise Cygnus.
It involved all government departments, all local authorities, and the NHS, right across the UK. Its report has not been published for “national security reasons” and so as not to “frighten the public”. However, according to those with first-hand knowledge of the operation, Cygnus’ script contained a scenario of a patent lack of capacity in ICU beds and personal protective equipment.
This hunger games scenario of a middle-aged, potentially pre-infected and already immune health secretary taking a nominal, rushed, improperly trialled novel-technology vaccine after the pandemic has already passed on live TV is as unethical and obscene as any of the propaganda we have been subjected to. What have we become? If it happens, the supposed vaccinator, the TV station, the secretary of state, and the vaccine company should all be roundly condemned. It proves nothing and risks everything. Obnoxious and dangerous as he is, he hasn’t a clue what might happen to him. He is still that sacred thing: somebody’s patient. A power-crazed, ignorant man for whom the mantras “whatever it takes” and the “end justifies the means” are dear, offering himself for a macabre, televised ritual sacrifice fit for the Incas to appease his political masters. It is truly grotesque. There is no medical reason for him to have these chemicals.
There are approximately 30,000 student-nurse places in the UK each year, which, given nursing is a three-year course, means there are about 90,000 student nurses in total (notwithstanding dropouts). Moreover, there are 84 university nursing departments throughout the UK, each with a body of nursing professors, senior lecturers and lecturers, many of whom will be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (although they are not required to work clinically to maintain registration). In this emergency pandemic, it would seem quite rational for these students and teaching staff to be deployed by government to staff the Nightingale Hospitals.
Exact approximations vary but the survival rate for Covid-19 is thought to be somewhere above 99 per cent, and maybe as high as 99.8 per cent.
…The average age of someone who dies from coronavirus is 82.4, which, by the way, is nearly identical to the average life expectancy in Britain (81.1).
…In the first week of October, there were 91,013 cases of coronavirus reported in England and Wales, and 343 Covid-related deaths. That same week a total of 9,954 people died from various causes. Of those, just 4.4 per cent of the death certificates mentioned Covid-19.
The British public protected the NHS alright. Any fears that the institution might be overwhelmed were put aside when, a couple of weeks into lockdown, the hurriedly-constructed Nightingale hospitals were still empty, along with many other hospital wards, clinics and surgeries. By mid April, routine clinical activity by GPs was down 25 per cent and A&E visits down 52 per cent. Some of that was thanks to fewer drunks falling over and fewer children coming to grief in playgrounds, yet there is plenty to suggest that some very unwell people were scared into taking the instruction not to trouble the.
2:55 – Masks • Tom Jefferson: “Aside from people who are exposed on the frontlines, there is no evidence that masks make any difference, but what’s even more extraordinary is the uncertainty: we don’t know if these things make any difference…. We should have done randomised control trials in February, March and April but not anymore because viral circulation is low and we will need huge number of enrolees to show whether there was any difference”. • Carl Heneghan: “By all means people can wear masks but they can’t say it’s an evidence-based decision… there is a real separation between an evidence-based decision and the opaque term that ‘we are being led by the science’, which isn’t the evidence”.
9:26 – Pandemic life cycle • CH: “One of the keys of the infection is to look at who’s been infected, which shows a crucial difference when comparing the pandemic theory to seasonal theory. In a pandemic you’d expect to see young people disproportionately affected, but in the UK we’ve only had six child deaths, which is far less than we’d normally see in a pandemic. The high number of deaths with over-75s fits with the seasonal theory”.
14:00 – Covid seasonality • CH: “The stability of the virus is far less when the temperature goes up but humidity seems to be particularly important. The lower the humidity, the more stable the virus is in the atmosphere and on surfaces… It’s now winter in the southern hemisphere, which is why places like Australia are suddenly having outbreaks.”
20:37 – Lockdown • CH: “Many people said that we should have locked down earlier, but 50% of care homes developed outbreaks during the lockdown period so there are issues within the transmission of this virus that are not clear… Lockdown is a blunt tool and there needs to be intelligent conversations about what mitigation strategies can keep society functioning while we keep the most vulnerable shielded”.
25:20 – Nightingale hospitals • CH: “They are the wrong structure. What you need is fever hospitals which were here until around the 1980s or 90s. They were on single floors and had isolation within isolation. Theere were no lift shafts and staff were trained, which meant that everyone was protected from each other… It looks like at leats 20% of people got the infection while they were in hospital”
27:30 – Suppression strategy • CH: “The benefits of the current strategy are outweighed by the harms…When it comes to suppression, only the virus will have a determination in that. If you follow the New Zealand policy of suppressing it to zero and locking down the country forever, then you’re going to have a problem… This virus is so out there now, I cannot see a strategy that makes suppression the viable option. The strategy right now should be how we learn to live with this virus”
32:45 – Response to the virus • TJ: “I am a survivor of four pandemics and for the other three, I didn’t even realise they were going on. People died but nothing changed and none of the fabric of society was eroded like this response… Do I see steps being taken at a European level about learning from our mistakes and changing policies? The answer is no…
39:30 – Politics of the virus • CH: “We as individuals are part of the problem because sensationalism drives people to click and read the information. So it’s a big circle because we’ve created the problem — if we put the worst case scenario out there, we will go and have a look. If you want a solution, you’ve got to get people to stop clicking on this sensationalist stuff”.
43:30 – IFR • CH: “We will be down about where we were with the swine flu: around 0.1-0.3% which is much lower than what we think because at the moment we are seeing the case fatality”. • TJ: “If you look at the whole narrative, it was distorted from the very beginning by the obsession with influenza which was just one or two agents and nothing else existed. We’re no different now”.
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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