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Exclusive: GCHQ giving Boris Johnson ‘real-time’ intelligence to tackle Covid – The Telegraph

Experts working inside Cabinet Office to sift through data that can inform policy-making

GCHQ has embedded a team in a Downing Street cell to provide Boris Johnson with real-time intelligence to combat the “emerging and changing threat” posed by Covid-19, The Telegraph can disclose.

GCHQ analysts have been given access to mobile phone data to track the public’s movements during the national lockdown. The up-to-the-minute reports on compliance are passed to the Prime Minister.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/11/18/exclusive-gchq-cell-giving-boris-johnson-real-time-intelligence/

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Exclusive: ‘Covid graphs were wrong in suggesting daily deaths would soon surpass first wave’ – The Telegraph

Government forced to reissue key charts used to justify second lockdown after admitting projected fatalities were overstated

Official projections which pushed the country into a second lockdown have been quietly revised to no longer suggest deaths could soon overtake those at the peak of the first wave, The Telegraph has learned.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/11/05/covid-graphs-wrong-death-toll-will-not-surpass-first-wave/

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Hospital intensive care no busier than normal for most trusts, leaked documents show – The Telegraph

Update seen by Telegraph shows capacity tracking as normal for beginning of November, with usual numbers of beds available

Hospital intensive care is no busier than normal for the majority of trusts, leaked documents have shown, raising more questions about whether a second national lockdown is justifiable.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/11/03/hospital-intensive-care-no-busier-normal-leaked-documents-show/

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Opinion

Data used to justify England’s second national lockdown is ‘proven’ to be false, Prof Carl Heneghan claims – The Telegraph

Data presented by the Government’s chief advisers to justify a second national lockdown in England has been “mathematically proven” to be incorrect, an Oxford University professor has said.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/11/03/data-used-justify-englands-second-national-lockdown-proven-false/

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Covid cases are not spiralling out of control, says King’s College – The Telegraph

Covid-19 rates are not surging, researchers at King’s College have said after results from its symptom tracker app showed a far less deadly virus trajectory than Imperial College findings.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/30/covid-19-rates-not-surging-reveals-kings-college-research/

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Government struck £119m Covid advertising deal weeks before first lockdown – The Telegraph

The Cabinet Office signed the lucrative contract with London-based OMD Group as the Government began to gear up its response to the crisis.

Ministers struck a  deal worth up to £119m with one of the world’s biggest marketing companies for a Covid campaign three weeks before the country went into a national lockdown, official filings show.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/10/25/government-struck-119m-covid-advertising-deal-weeks-first-lockdown/

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Don’t believe the scare stories about hospitals running out of ICU beds – The Telegraph

Even in Manchester, hospitals are faring far better than the headline statistics suggest

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/20/dont-believe-scare-stories-hospitals-running-icu-beds/

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‘No sign of second wave’ as ONS data shows normal level of deaths for time of year – The Telegraph

There is no sign of a second coronavirus wave, experts have said as new Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that deaths are just 1.5 per cent above the five-year average and tracking on a normal trajectory for the time of year.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/20/second-wave-not-sight-ons-figures-show-deaths-just-15-per-cent/

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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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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

Boris Johnson’s ‘strongman’ Government is destroying democracy – Lord Sumption, The Telegraph

Authoritarian government depends on fear. Ministers need to spread fear to justify what they are doing and achieve compliance. So we have the continual attempt to pretend that everyone is at risk, even if they are under 60 and in good health. We have the dodgy charts deployed last week to persuade us that infections were doubling every week. We have continual threats to lock us down. This kind of behaviour destroys trust. If the government were trusted, it would not need to resort to coercion on the scale that it is doing. People are more likely to comply if the advice makes sense, is presented to them coherently, in calm language, and is supported by evidence which has not been crudely hyped up.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/10/02/boris-johnsons-strongman-government-destroying-democracy/

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Local lockdowns failing to slow the increase in coronavirus cases – The Telegraph

Local lockdowns are not working to suppress the increase in coronavirus cases, analysis shows, with just one town managing to break free of restrictions, and most seeing instances continuing to rise.

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Covid death rates dropped as doctors rejected ventilators – The Telegraph

Death rates among seriously ill Covid-19 patients dropped sharply as doctors rejected the use of mechanical ventilators, analysis has found.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/03/covid-death-rates-dropped-doctors-rejected-ventilators/

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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/

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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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We are massively overreacting to new Covid ‘outbreaks’ – The Telegraph

The Imperial College study published this morning claiming that 3.4 million people ( six per cent of the UK population) have antibodies indicating that they have been exposed to Covid-19 provides no great revelation. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has already published similar figures suggesting that 6.5 per cent of the population has been infected. Nevertheless, it is yet more confirmation of how irrelevant are the official statistics for Covid 19 cases – and what a nonsense it is to rely on them for policymaking.

According to the Government’s Covid “dashboard”, updated at 4pm on Wednesday, 313,798 people in Britain have had the disease. This is less than one tenth of the number suggested by the Imperial study. In other words, for all Matt Hancock’s efforts to ramp up testing, the vast majority of cases have not been detected.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/13/massively-overreacting-new-covid-outbreaks/

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The statistical quirk that means the coronavirus pandemic may never officially end – The Telegraph

If you are starting to feel like the coronavirus epidemic will never end, then you may be correct. A statistical quirk in testing means that Britain may never hit zero cases, even if the virus is wiped out entirely.

The reason lies in the large number of false positives that are almost certain to creep in once case numbers drop very low, yet testing remains very high.

Testing is never 100 per cent accurate, and scientists must factor in the false positive and negative rates when determining infection prevalence. The problem is, nobody knows what those rates are.

The best guess at present is that coronavirus tests pick up around 80-85 per cent of positive cases, and around 99.9 per cent of negative cases.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/12/statistical-quirk-means-coronavirus-pandemic-may-never-officially/

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No, Europe isn’t being engulfed by a deadly second wave – The Telegraph

An uptick in cases hasn’t been matched by an increase in deaths. It’s about time we had a more intelligent conversation about risk

Hard luck to those who switched their holidays to Greece when Spain was put back on the quarantine list. The Greek government has just officially declared a “second wave”. Once holidaymakers have explored the Aegean they face getting to know a lot more about the insides of their own homes upon their return, as Greece is now a favourite to be added to the ever-growing list of countries whose air bridges with Britain have collapsed.

But how real is this “second wave” apparently sweeping Europe? Look at the chart of new recorded infections in Greece and, sure enough, you can call it a second wave. Recorded cases began to inch upwards from mid-June onwards. The figure for Sunday – 202 – was markedly higher than the peak in new recorded infections in Greece’s first wave, which reached 156 on April 21. But then look at the chart for Greece’s Covid deaths and there is not the slightest trace of a second wave.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/11/no-europe-isnt-engulfed-deadly-second-wave/

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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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Antibody tests do not pick up people who had mild coronavirus, Oxford study suggests – The Telegraph

Antibody tests may be missing large numbers of people who contracted Covid-19 because they don’t work for people who had a mild infection, new research from Oxford University suggests.

A study of more than 9,000 healthcare workers suggested significant numbers of people were getting ‘negative’ test results, despite probably having had the virus.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/antibody-tests-may-miss-people-had-mild-symptoms-coronavirus/