UK health and statistics authorities allegedly used 14 inconsistent ways to define fatalities.
Many who died early in the pandemic were never actually tested for the virus while others may have died from something else entirely, according to experts.
…The Oxford study, from 800 freedom of information requests, found some deaths were attributed to Covid just because a care home provider said so and coronavirus was rife.
The report stated: “At the beginning of the pandemic, Public Health England linked data on positive cases to the NHS central register of patients who died.
“This definition meant that a patient who tested positive would be counted as a Covid death even if they were run over by a bus several months later.”
Did official figures overestimate Britain’s grim Covid death toll?
It’s a question that has been asked persistently by medics and members of the public alike almost since the start of the pandemic.
…Last week, in the first of a series of special reports probing the science that has underpinned our pandemic response, The Mail on Sunday set about tackling the ongoing concerns that tests used to diagnose Covid were picking up people who were not actually infected.
The conclusion of some scientists was, yes, they did. And there were those who maintained that despite shortcomings, PCR swabs – used by millions – were accurate enough.
It has been one of the most enduring Covid conspiracy theories: that the ‘gold standard’ PCR tests used to diagnose the virus were picking up people who weren’t actually infected.
Some even suggested the swabs, which have been carried out more than 200 million times in the UK alone, may mistake common colds and flu for corona.
If either, or both, were true, it would mean many of these cases should never have been counted in the daily tally – that the ominous and all-too-familiar figure, which was used to inform decisions on lockdowns and other pandemic measures, was an over-count.
And many of those who were ‘pinged’ and forced to isolate as a contact of someone who tested positive – causing a huge strain on the economy – did so unnecessarily.
Such statements, it must be said, have been roundly dismissed by top experts. And those scientists willing to give credence such concerns have been shouted down on social media, accused of being ‘Covid-deniers’, and even sidelined by colleagues.
But could they have been right all along?
Scientists did not have accurate Covid case numbers, and were unsure of hospitalisation and death rates when they published models suggesting that more than 500,000 people could die if Britain took no action in the first wave of the pandemic, it has emerged.
On March 16 2020, Imperial College published its “Report 9” paper suggesting that failing to take action could overwhelm the NHS within weeks and result in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Before the paper, the UK coronavirus strategy was to flatten the peak rather than suppress the wave, but after the modelling was made public, the Government made a rapid u-turn, which eventually led to lockdown on March 23.
However SPI-M (Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling) minutes released to the Telegraph under a Freedom of Information request show that by March 16, modellers were still “uncertain” of case numbers “due to data limitations”.
The minutes show that members were waiting for comprehensive mortality data from Public Health England (PHE) and said that current best estimates for the infection fatality rate, hospitalisation rates, and the number of people needing intensive care were still uncertain.
They also believed that modelling only showed “proof of concept” that lockdowns could help, and warned that “further work would be required”.
[Ms. Spit] is part of a very small, little-discussed community of pandemic victims: those who have suffered—or had family or loved ones suffer—from rare but serious vaccine side effects recognized by doctors, regulators and researchers. They say they feel lost in wider Covid-19 statistics, which have shown vaccines to be extremely safe and effective for most of the population.
Faced with the gravest health crisis in memory, governments deployed newly developed vaccines in record time. Many countries indemnified pharmaceutical companies that made the shots, with some governments promising to consider compensation for suspected Covid-19 vaccine-related injuries.
Now governments, including the U.S. and U.K., are trying to live up to that pledge. They are in the very early stages of applying existing vaccine-injury programs to hundreds of claims of injury alleged from Covid-19 shots.
…The U.K.’s National Health Service has received more than 720 claims requesting Covid-19 vaccine-related compensation. The country’s vaccine-injury compensation program entails a one-size-fits-all cash payment of £120,000, equivalent to around $163,000. The volume of Covid-related claims has grown by about 20 a week, toward a projected 1,500 to 1,800 new claims this year, according to U.K. government projections.
Up to a third of people who tested positive for coronavirus by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests were not contagious and did not need to self-isolate, a new study suggests.
Research led by academics from the University of Oxford found that many laboratories are setting the positivity bar very low, meaning they are picking up people who are “a danger to no one”.
…However, Freedom of Information requests made by members of the public and compiled by the University of Oxford show that NHS trusts are using vastly different cut-off thresholds, with little regulation from the Government. Some are as low as 25, while others are as high as 45.
The figures also show that between 23 and 37 per cent of people who were told they were positive had a cycle threshold value above 30. For one in 20, it was higher than 40.
“There are some scientists who have absolutely loved being media stars for the first time and they don’t want to stop. We don’t hear as much from the paediatricians, disease physicians, academic virologists and the immunologists who really know about these things.” (says Professor Allyson Pollock.)
Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, said many prominent Covid voices have never written papers on infectious diseases. “It’s like me deciding, ‘I did a course on health and economics a year ago: maybe I should set up a group advising the chancellor on how to manage the tax system.’”
The UK is suffering a wave of excess deaths not fully explained by the coronavirus, according to official statistics.
There were 12,050 deaths registered in England and Wales in the seven days to November 12, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows. That was 1,719 more than the five-year average for 2015-19, or a 16.6 per cent increase.
Professor Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University explains herd immunity, highlighting critical details about both the concept and its relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic that are often overlooked in public discussion.
The development of immunity through natural infection is a common feature of many pathogens, and we now know that COVID-19 does not have any tricks up its sleeve to prevent this from happening. If it did, it would have posed a serious problem for the development of a vaccine.
That being said, COVID-19 belongs to a family of viruses that do not typically confer lifelong immunity against infection. Most of us have never heard of the other four ‘seasonal’ coronaviruses that are currently circulating in our communities. And yet, surveys indicate that at least 3% of the population is infected by any one of these corona cousins during the winter months each year. These viruses can – and do – cause deaths in high-risk groups or require them to receive ICU care or ventilator support. Hence, it is not necessarily true that they are intrinsically milder than the novel COVID-19 virus. And like the COVID-19 virus, the other coronas are much less virulent in the healthy elderly and younger people than influenza.
One important reason why these corona cousins do not kill large numbers of people is that, even though we lose immunity and can be reinfected, there is always a sufficient proportion of immune people within the population to keep the risk of infection low for those who might die upon contracting it. Also, all of the coronaviruses in circulation — including COVID-19 — have some features in common, which means that getting one coronavirus will probably offer some protection against the others. This is becoming increasingly clear from work in many labs, including my lab in Oxford. It is against the background of acquired immunity to COVID-19 itself, as well as its close relations, that the new virus has to operate.
It is misleading to speak of “reaching” herd immunity. Herd immunity is a continuous variable that increases as people become immune and decreases as they lose immunity or die. There is a threshold of herd immunity at which the rate of new infections begins to decrease. We do not yet have a clear idea of what this threshold is for COVID-19 as the transmission landscape includes people who are susceptible to it, people who have built up immunity to it, and people who have immunity to other coronaviruses.
Unfortunately, we do not have a good way of telling how many people have been exposed to the new virus, nor how many people were resistant to begin with. We can test for antibodies but, as with other coronaviruses, COVID-19 antibody levels decline after recovery, and some people do not make them at all. Thus, antibody levels will not answer this question. More and more evidence is accumulating that other arms of immunity, like T cells, play an important role.
Indications of the herd immunity threshold having been reached in a given location are visible in the time signatures of epidemics where death and infection curves tend to either “bend” in the absence of intervention or to stay down when interventions are relaxed (in comparison with other locations where the opposite happened). Unfortunately, we do not know how far (or close) we are to that threshold in most parts of the world. This means that we need to make public health decisions based only on limited information and do so in a constantly changing environment.
Focused Protection was initially proposed as a solution for how we could proceed in the face of such uncertainty and it remains relevant now. It suggests that we exploit the fact that COVID-19 does not cause much harm to the large majority of the population and allow those individuals to resume their normal lives, while shielding those who are vulnerable to severe disease and death. We have good information about who falls into these groups and the availability of vaccines, which offer excellent protection for vulnerable populations and guard against hospitalisable illness, provide us with the ideal setting in which to implement such a plan.
Sunetra Gupta is Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford and a member of Collateral Global’s Scientific Advisory Board.
By Professor Sunetra Gupta
28 May 2021
Excess deaths have not been this high since the week ending Feb 19, when 2,182 extra deaths were registered – 18.8 per cent above the pre-2020 five-year average.
Although some of the increase in excess deaths can be explained by the recent rise in deaths involving Covid, most were not linked to the virus.
Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at The Open University, said: “These excess deaths can’t all be explained by deaths of people who had Covid-19. In the most recent week, for England and Wales there were 1,270 more deaths than the five-year average – that’s 14 per cent higher than that average.
…Deaths in private homes have been well above the 2015-19 average almost every week since April last year. Before Covid, around a quarter of deaths occurred at home but that has since risen to one third, according to research by the King’s Fund.
Fully vaccinated people carry the same amount of Covid as the unvaccinated, scientists have found in a new study that calls into question the effectiveness of vaccine passports and changes to the NHS app.
…[E]ven the fully jabbed carry high levels of the virus if they become infected and are also more likely to be symptomatic than vaccinated people who pick up an alpha infection.
The results suggest those who are fully jabbed could be as capable of passing on Covid as the unvaccinated, although they are less likely to pick up the virus in the first place.
University of Oxford scientists are trialling giving Ivermectin to over-50s with Covid symptoms to see if it can keep them out of hospital.
Covid testing in schools is hugely disruptive and should be suspended, experts have said, as it emerged that up to 60 per cent of “positive” tests a week are coming back negative when checked.
Under plans to keep schools open, more than 50 million lateral flow tests have been carried out on youngsters, leading to thousands of pupils and their social bubbles being forced to self-isolate for 10 days.
This is the first instalment of my three-part investigative report on the Chinese-made Innova lateral flow test. Vast sums of UK taxpayers’ money have been paid to a California start-up for tests that have failed to stand up to scrutiny.
…Innova Medical Group, the company benefiting from the UK Government’s huge testing contract, is owned by the private equity group Pasaca Capital which was founded by a Chinese investment banker, the enigmatic Dr Charles Huang, in 2017. It has been revealed to be the single largest recipient of the Department of Health’s Covid contracts after signing a £496million deal to supply LFTs last year. An earlier contract with Innova cost the taxpayer £107million.
I had no choice but to speak out against lockdowns. As a public-health scientist with decades of experience working on infectious-disease outbreaks, I couldn’t stay silent. Not when basic principles of public health are thrown out of the window. Not when the working class is thrown under the bus. Not when lockdown opponents were thrown to the wolves. There was never a scientific consensus for lockdowns. That balloon had to be popped.
…Ultimately, lockdowns protected young low-risk professionals working from home – journalists, lawyers, scientists, and bankers – on the backs of children, the working class and the poor.
Doctors are now being told to look out for signs of the most common type of stroke following the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, after three British patients were admitted to hospital and one died.
Two women in their 30s and a man in his 40s suffered ischaemic strokes after having the vaccine.
Previous reports of rare blood clots from the jab have specifically involved cerebral venous thrombosis – a rare form of stroke caused by the blockage of specific veins.
A woman in her 30s has died from a stroke after the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccination caused a blood clot to form in an artery in her brain.
The patient, a 35-year-old Asian woman, went to hospital six days after her vaccine appointment, and died two weeks after being admitted following “extensive hemorrhaging”.
THE influence of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (GF) extends right into the heart of the British medical and science establishment. It has been funding British companies, charities, universities and public bodies for almost 25 years.
The open letter states that “a good society cannot be created by an obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health” and states all restrictions should be lifted in June on the final date in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown. Masks should no longer be worn by schoolchildren after May 17, say the scientists – and they warn the damage to society will be too great if the current Covid control measures continue beyond the June roadmap date.
Vaccine passports should also be scrapped along with mass community testing, they say.
Instead, the government should focus on targeted testing, creating better incentives for staying home if ill and basic hygiene measures, such as handwashing and surface cleaning.
Signatories (in alphabetical order)
Professor Ryan Anderson, Translational Science, Medicines Discovery Catapult
Dr Colin Axon, Mechanical Engineering, Brunel University
Professor Anthony Brookes, Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of Leicester
Professor Jackie Cassell, FFPH, Deputy Dean, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Professor Angus Dalgleish, FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci, Oncology, St George’s, University of London
Professor Robert Dingwall, FAcSS, HonMFPH, Sociology, Nottingham Trent University
Professor Sunetra Gupta, Theoretical Epidemiology, University of Oxford
Professor Carl Heneghan, MRCGP, Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, University of Oxford
Professor Mike Hulme, Human Geography, University of Cambridge.
Dr John Lee – formerly Pathology, Hull York Medical School
Professor David Livermore, Medical Microbiology, University of East Anglia.
Professor Paul McKeigue Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics, University of Edinburgh
Professor David Paton, Industrial Economics, University of Nottingham
Emeritus Professor Hugh Pennington, CBE, FRCPath, FRCP (Edin), FMedSci, FRSE, Bacteriology, University of Aberdeen
Dr Gerry Quinn, Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster
Dr Roland Salmon, MRCGP, FFPH, former Director of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (Wales).
Emeritus Professor John Scott, CBE, FRSA, FBA, FAcSS, Sociology, University of Essex
Professor Karol Sikora, FRCR, FRCP, FFPM, Medicine, University of Buckingham
Professor Ellen Townsend, Psychology, University of Nottingham
Dr Chao Wang, Health & Social Care Statistics, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London,
Professor John Watkins, Epidemiology, Cardiff University
Professor Lisa White, Modelling and Epidemiology, University of Oxford.