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Opinion

Have we got it all wrong when it comes to Covid? – The Irish Examiner

There is a case to be made that we as a country have been led by a conversation about the virus which has been unbalanced and disproportionate, writes Daniel McConnell

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/arid-40081700.html

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Publications

Harms of public health interventions against covid-19 must not be ignored – BMJ

The harmful consequences of public health choices should be explicitly considered and transparently reported to limit their damage, say Itai Bavli and colleagues

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge for governments. Questions regarding the most effective interventions to reduce the spread of the virus—for example, more testing, requirements to wear face masks, and stricter and longer lockdowns—become widely discussed in the popular and scientific press, informed largely by models that aimed to predict the health benefits of proposed interventions. Central to all these studies is recognition that inaction, or delayed action, will put millions of people unnecessarily at risk of serious illness or death.

However, interventions to limit the spread of the coronavirus also carry negative health effects, which have yet to be considered systematically. Despite increasing evidence on the unintended, adverse effects of public health interventions such as social distancing and lockdown measures, there are few signs that policy decisions are being informed by a serious assessment and weighing of their harms on health. Instead, much of the discussion has become politicised, especially in the US, where President Trump’s provocative statements sparked debates along party lines about the necessity for policies to control covid-19. This politicisation, often fuelled by misinformation, has distracted from a much needed dispassionate discussion on the harms and benefits of potential public health measures against covid-19.

https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4074

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Opinion Videos

Dr. Mike Yeadon on The James Delingpole Channel

Interview highlights

  • COVID-19 is not a dread disease that will kill everyone.
  • The initially high case fatality rate of COVID-19 was because the medical community didn’t know how to treat it.
  • The fatality rate of flu is 0.1% (1 in every 1,000 who are infected end up dying).
  • Ventilators are the wrong option if you do not have an obstructed airway disease.
  • Prod. Ioannidis: The infection fatality ratio of COVID-19 is 0.15%. This is pretty much the same as the flu.
  • We should just ask people to be careful but otherwise go about your daily life.
  • These things pass every year. This is the first ‘social media pandemic.’
  • The normal practice for intensive care beds in the NHS is to run them almost full. This is because a lot of intensive care bed assignment is planned.
  • ICU use at the height of the pandemic was has very low because the NHS was run as light as possible to cope with a second wave.
  • Respiratory viruses don’t do waves.
  • This is not opinion but is basic understanding among experts in the field. It is supposrted by the highest quality science. Sir Patrick Vallance knows this.
  • COVID-19 follows the Gompertz Curve.
  • You have immunity after your body has fought off a respiratory virus. If that was not the case, you’d be dead. Immunity probably lasts decades based on evidence from other viruses.
  • Gompertz Curve is identical in all heavily infection regions.
  • Something awefull happened in the middle of the year: PCR swab test.
  • It is not true that if you test more people you’ll save more lives. A certain percentage of the test will come up positive even if there’s no virus in you.
  • False positive rate wasn’t released.
  • Kate Barker wrote in a government document on June 3rd, 2020, to SAGE: test has an unknown false positive rate; based on similar tests it may be between 1%-2%. This is a big deal.
  • Based on 1%: for every 1,000 people you test, 10 will come back positive, even if they don’t have the virus. If prevalence is only 0.1% as reported by ONS, only 1 in 1,000 will be genuine. This means 9 in 10–in other words 90%–are false.
  • Pillar 2 testing would have caused of the most of the positives to be false.
  • 1,700 people die normally every day in the UK. During the summer, only about 10 were dying per day of covid.
  • More testing, more false positives. We’ll never escape covid if we keep testing because most of the positives will be false. This is immunology 101. Sir Patrick Vallance would have known this.
  • Influenza is a high mutation-rate virus. Coronaviruses are relatively stable so once you’ve recovered, you are probably immune for decades.
  • COVID-19 kills 0.15%-0.2%, slightly more lethal than the average flu. Once it’s gone through the population, it won’t come back.
  • 99.94% survive COVID-19 and will be resistant for a long time.
  • COVID-19 is 80% similar to SARS-COV-1.
  • People who were exposed to SARS have T-cell immunity 17 years later. Evidence for COVID-19 all point in direction.
  • Our bodies have many lines of defense, including innate immunity and T-cells. Antibodies are in the last line of defense.
  • Study shows around 30% prior immunity to SARS-COV-2. It was due to exposure to common-cold coronaviruses.
  • The claim made by Sir Patrick Vallance that more than 90% are susceptible is a lie.
  • Mass testing of the well populating is the worst problem as it generates false positives, fear and control.
  • If you’re immune, you can’t be infected or infectious. Herd immunity is already in play in London.
  • If SAGE is correct, London should be ‘ablaze’ with deaths.
  • Current testing methods are not forensically sound.
  • Tests detect common cold and dead virus.
  • SARS-COV-2 has never really been a public health emergency.
  • We do not need the vaccine to return to normal. Most people are not in danger from COVID-19. More people are in danger from car crashes and we accept that risk.
  • Best case scenario is that the vaccine is 50% effective. Natural immunity might be better.
  • The most vulnerable often don’t respond well to vaccines and die anyway.
  • SAGE is giving lethally wrong advice.
  • The reason the pandemic is not over is because SAGE says it’s not.

Categories
Opinion

The second wave proves it: lockdowns won’t stop Covid – The Telegraph

Up to mid-March 2020, the Government’s Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) Committee advised against attempting heavy suppression of the spread of what in those days it called the “Wuhan coronavirus”. The minutes of its meeting of March 13 2020 state: “Sage was unanimous that measures seeking to completely suppress spread of Covid-19 will cause a second peak. Sage advises that it is a near certainty that countries such as China, where heavy suppression is underway, will experience a second peak once measures are relaxed.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/14/second-wave-proves-lockdowns-wont-stop-covid/

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Opinion

Government may increase the death toll with unjust and insane measures, why are they doubling down on failure? – Lord Sumption, The Sun

  • Instead of indiscriminate rules, we should be concentrating on protecting the vulnerable.
  • The rest should be allowed to get on with normal life and acquire some natural immunity.
  • The Government’s policy is founded upon a great lie — that we are all vulnerable to Covid so it is necessary to take over the lives of everyone.
  • For healthy people under 60 the symptoms are usually mild or non-existent. 
  • About 90 per cent of deaths have been of people aged over 70. Most are in their 80s or 90s.
  • Infections don’t matter a row of beans unless they lead to hospitalisations or deaths.
  • Out of nearly 43,000 dead with Covid-19, just 41 have been under 25.
  • What we are seeing now…is the first spike…which has come back to hit us. Just as their advisers told them it would, back in February and March.
  • So why are Johnson and his crew doubling down on failure? This is about covering politicians’ backs.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12886627/lord-sumption-government-death-toll-coronavirus-crisis/

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Publications

Global perspective of COVID‐19 epidemiology for a full‐cycle pandemic – Prof. John Ioannidis, Wiley Online Library

  • As of October 2020, there are >1 million documented deaths with COVID‐19.
  • Many early deaths may have been due to suboptimal management, malfunctional health systems, hydroxychloroquine, sending COVID‐19 patients to nursing homes, and nosocomial infections; such deaths are partially avoidable moving forward.
  • About 10% of the global population may be infected by October 2020.
  • Global infection fatality rate is 0.15‐0.20%
  • Global infection fatality rate in those younger than 70 years old is 0.03‐0.04%.
  • Targeted, precise management of the pandemic and avoiding past mistakes would help minimize mortality.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eci.13423

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News

Herd immunity could have saved more lives than lockdown, study suggests – The Telegraph

Researchers from Edinburgh University reassessed Imperial modelling that showed half a million people would die.

Blanket social distancing and the closure of schools may have cost more lives than if herd immunity had been allowed to build slowly in the community, a study suggests.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/07/herd-immunity-could-have-saved-lives-lockdown-study-suggests/

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Opinion

We must learn to live with coronavirus – just like Samuel Pepys lived with the Great Plague

  • Humans have lived with infectious diseases for at least 15,000 years.
  • Until the early 2000s when we started to vaccinate for flu, we accepted that outbreaks would kill 20,000 to 50,000 people every winter without much comment.
  • Self-isolation is not appropriate if you do not share the living conditions of the elites who make the rules – and that the risk does not seem proportionate to the benefits for ordinary people.
  • Face covering, as practised, is irrelevant in most circumstances. The whole country should not be driven by the exceptional circumstances of rush hour in major cities. If most people are currently wearing face coverings, acknowledge that this is because they want to avoid trouble rather than to achieve protection.
  • We will never eradicate the threat from coronaviruses because they are so widespread among animal populations.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8776423/Coronavirus-UK-learn-live-covid-says-ROBERT-DINGWALL.html

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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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News

Pandemic isolation has killed thousands of Alzheimer’s patients while families watch from afar – The Washington Post

Since the pandemic began, Goerke’s wife, Denise — 63 years old and afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease — had declined dramatically. Left alone in her nursing home, she had lost 16 pounds, could not form the simplest words, no longer responded to the voices of her children.

In recent weeks, she had stopped recognizing even the man she loved.

Goerke, 61, could tell the isolation was killing his wife, and there was nothing he could do but watch. “Every day it gets a little worse,” he said. “We’ve lost months, maybe years of her already.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/09/16/coronavirus-dementia-alzheimers-deaths/

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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

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Publications

Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020 – CDC

“In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public.” 

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6936a5-H.pdf

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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/

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News

NHS data shows 15m on ‘hidden waiting list’ – The Times

The NHS has a “hidden waiting list” of 15.3 million patients who need follow-up appointments for health problems, according to the first analysis of its kind.

The official waiting list, which stands at 3.9 million, shows how many patients are yet to have their first hospital appointment after a GP referral.

However, the total number who are on hospital books in England and need appointments is not collated centrally. A new calculation, based on freedom of information requests to NHS trusts and seen by The Times, puts the figure at 15.3 million.

Although the official waiting list, after initial referral by a GP, has remained at a fairly stable level throughout the pandemic, this has been mainly driven by fewer patients joining it.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/coronavirus-nhs-data-shows-15m-on-hidden-waiting-list-w250vxvz6

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News

How eco-warriors are using Covid as an excuse to drive cars off the road: Councils are closing roads but creating more cycle lanes, piling new agony on shops… all under the guise of saving us from the virus – Daily Mail

Covid has been used as an excuse for road closures to encourage people out of their cars to get fit and lose weight and protect themselves against the virus 

London, Oxford, Manchester, Birmingham, York, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Derby and Cardiff are all in line for Government funding to install ‘green’ measures

Government has set aside £225m for ’emergency’ walking and cycling measures

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8654475/How-councils-closing-roads-creating-cycle-lanes-guise-saving-virus.html

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News

Restrictions have turned care homes into ‘prisons’, charities warn Government – The Telegraph

Care homes have been turned into prisons, with residents “losing the will to live” as they are deprived contact with families, charities for the elderly have warned.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus was told that restrictions on visiting homes have become so extreme that vulnerable people are being left distressed and lonely, in some cases unable to recognise their loved ones.

Charities said belated attempts to keep residents safe from the spread of coronavirus were too often creating misery and isolation.

They criticised the Government for acting so slowly to attempt to protect care homes from the pandemic that 6,000 deaths had occurred by the time testing was introduced.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/12/restrictions-have-turned-care-homes-prisons-charities-warn-government/

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Opinion

The Lockdown Lobotomy – The Critic

While naysayers may pick holes in specific studies, the quantity and consistency of evidence is overwhelming: lockdown is stressful, it harms cognitive function, and it makes you susceptible to disease. Ultimately, the toll is high. A meta-analytic review (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015) found that social isolation increases the likelihood of mortality by 29%. In short, lockdown is murder.

https://thecritic.co.uk/the-lockdown-lobotomy/

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Opinion

COVID-19 May Never Go Away — With Or Without A Vaccine – NPR

Humans have never been particularly good at eradicating entire viruses, and COVID-19 might not be any different.

More than 19 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus globally, and at least 722,000 have died. In the U.S., nearly 5 million people have tested positive and more than 160,000 have died. While scientists are racing to find a cure for the virus, there’s a chance COVID-19 will never fully go away — with or without a vaccine.

Vineet Menachery, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch, told NPR’s Weekend Edition that one of the more likely scenarios is that the spread of COVID-19 will eventually be slowed as a result of herd immunity. He said that he’d be surprised “if we’re still wearing masks and 6-feet distancing in two or three years” and that in time, the virus could become no more serious than the common cold.

The first thing to remember is that we haven’t been successful at eradicating many viruses at all. Really the lone exception is smallpox, but many of these viruses exist not only in the human population but in animal populations. So coronaviruses may be removed from the human population, like SARS coronavirus in 2002, but we know that those viruses or viruses that are similar to it still exist in nature and at any time they may gain the tools to reemerge in humans again.

https://text.npr.org/s.php?sId=900490301

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Opinion

We need a Covid reality check and to focus on getting our economy back – The Telegraph

Here is the good news: No matter how old you are, you are extremely unlikely to die of Covid-19. Even if a lockdown had not been instituted and no social distancing implemented, and assuming Imperial College’s controversial worst-case scenario estimate of 500,000 deaths, there would have been a 99% likelihood of surviving the pandemic.

This is no bubonic plague. That killed very nearly 30 per cent of the world’s population in the 14th century. Here is some more good news: a lockdown was instituted and social distancing measures are now well entrenched in our behaviour. As a result, the chance of surviving the pandemic is more like 99.9%.

If you are fortunate to be under the age of 45, your chances of dying from the virus are negligible. You are more likely to die from a lightning strike. The Office of National Statistics estimates that only 0.07% of the population in England is currently infected by the virus. That equates to about 35,000 people.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/08/07/need-covid-reality-check-focus-getting-economy-back/

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Videos

Corona – The Simple Truth in Under 6 Minutes

References for the video can be found at the content creator’s website at https://the-iceberg.net