THE Government has been accused of over-relying on pandemic modelling and risking “catastrophe by computer”. Last week Boris Johnson published a cautious ‘roadmap‘ to normality after scientists warned him there could be 91,000 extra deaths if he scrapped curbs completely at the end of April.
These figures were based on Imperial College modelling that has since been challenged by Mark Harper, deputy chair of the Covid Recovery Group of MPs. He argued the model did not account for key factors shown to change the course of the pandemic such as the most up to date evidence on the protective effect of the vaccines as well as the “seasonal effect” as the country moves into summer. Modelling has driven much of the pandemic response. The initial reaction in the UK, the US and other European countries was shaped by the dramatic headlines in March last year, suggesting 550,000 deaths in the UK and 2.2 million in the US if mitigation measures were not put in place.
EXPERTS have called for urgent action to protect children from the harm of lockdown, saying youngsters are being used in “an unethical mass experiment” and warning we are on the brink of a “national emergency”.
They are urging the Government to take urgent steps to examine and address the collateral damage that has been caused to children from issues such as school closures, lockdowns and social isolation as a result of the pandemic. One specialist is calling for a task force to be launched immediately and to remain in place for10 years, which would include experts in child abuse and neglect, childhood depression, suicide and anxiety, as well as physical, educational and developmental health.
BELGIUM has advised against giving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to over-55s because of a lack of data about its efficacy.
It became the latest European Union country to recommend that the Covid jab should not be given to older people. Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said the country’s advisory health council, had suggested the doses of the Oxford-produced vaccine should only be administered to people younger than 55. He said Belgium was reviewing its vaccination strategy because AstraZeneca’s jab was seen as a key part of the government’s plan to prioritise vulnerable groups.
According to the most recently peer-reviewed paper on Covid-19, how many people who get the virus do you think survive? Go on, take a wild guess. Eighty percent? Ninety percent? Ninety-five percent? Nope. Precisely 99.8 percent live to see another day. Under-70s have an even higher survival rate – 99.96. Put another way, they have a 0.04 chance of dying; less than half of half a per cent.
And many of those are already seriously or even terminally ill from other conditions.
The Office for National Statistics said this week that far from a “second wave”, figures show all UK deaths are currently just 1.5 percent above average, and on a normal trajectory for early autumn.
[Hospital admissions] stubbornly bump along near the bottom of the chart.The co-relationship between diagnosis and death has radically changed in the last six months as treatments dramatically improve.
The European nation reported that 23 elderly people have died within days of taking the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with 13 of those deaths said to be related to “side effects”. All those who suffered supposed side effects were nursing home patients and at least 80 years old.
TIER 4 restrictions could remain in place until the coronavirus vaccine is rolled out across all the affected areas, Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested.
THE Treasury must form its own advisory group to counterbalance the “Covid-19 only” approach of Sage, experts say.
England was placed into lockdown following advice from the Government’s scientific advisers, despite warnings that it would lead to mass unemployment and cause huge economic damage. Much of the data relied on by Sage, including the “4,000 a day” death figures, has been challenged, with experts saying too much weight was being given to the doomsday scenarios. One accused the group of using “eye-wateringly wrong modelling data to inform government policy” akin to “crystal ball gazing”.
A CORONAVIRUS vaccine may work but will need years to take effect if it does. Even in this best case scenario, Covid-19 will probably never be truly eradicated.
In fact, Mr Tegnell says, if any country was “following the science” – the phrase favoured by Boris Johnson – sense advice to alert its population.
Long-term lockdowns and facemasks are not the answer, he believes. “I can understand some countries situations were so bad they needed to do something drastic and it was tempting to lockdown,” he says.
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.
Dr Andrew Kemp, Head of Scientific Advisory Board on the British Institute of Cleaning Science, said alcohol based hand gels have still not been proven to kill Covid-19 on skin. But the Lincoln university academic said overuse of the gels will allow other bugs – commonly found on our hands – to learn how to survive them. If antibiotic resistant superbugs adapt to survive alcohol it could lead to an “armageddon situation”, he warned.
He stressed that hand hygiene was vital to deal with the spread of Covid, and hand washing was a powerful weapon. But he warned that even the most potent sanitisers do not destroy every single bug, potentially giving rise to more problems.
The surviving bacteria would be resistant to alcohol and potentially far more harmful.
CORONAVIRUS is not as deadly as was thought and the public fear that is stopping the country returning to normal is unfounded, a leading expert says. Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, called for the government to intervene and “proactively reassure the population”.
He said exaggerated fears of Covid have led to “people going about their daily lives misunderstanding and overestimating their risk”.
And he said introducing local lockdowns could do more harm than good by forcing people into their homes, potentially infecting other vulnerable people that live with them.
Professor Heneghan – whose work led to a lowering of the official death toll after he revealed Covid deaths were being counted even if someone had subsequently died of other causes – spoke as he released new data revealing the infection fatality rate had fallen from 2-3 per cent in the height of the pandemic to 0.3.
- Official data from NHS England points to a huge drop in the number of coronavirus patients being treated in hospitals today compared to mid-April, during the height of the pandemic.
- Dr Daniels: Britain is “almost reaching herd immunity”.
- Increase in hospital admissions nor a second wave to hit the UK.
- “I think that’s highly unlikely because the pubs have been open for over a month, people have been socially interacting heavily during that time, and the natural history of this disease is that if you contract the virus and you’re going to end up in hospital, you’re pretty much in hospital within 15 days of contracting it.”
THERE IS a growing body of evidence which, if it is ever proved true and it may well be when our present nightmare is over, would leave the Government’s policy over the past 20 months in discredited tatters.
Trying to predict the future is the oldest delusion known to Man. It has never worked, save exceptionally by a fluke. This time we were told “Follow the science”.
CANCER deaths caused by the indirect effects of Covid-19 on the NHS will outstrip the number predicted to die from the virus, experts have warned.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, Professor Thomas argued that according to his team’s calculations, if the UK’s GDP fell by more than 6.5 percent for a consistent period of time, the economic effect of coronavirus will cost the country more lives than the disease itself. He explained: “I calculated the likely size of the epidemic and it is very big. The loss of life will be equivalent to 400,000 average lives lost.