Plans for the use of Covid-19 passports as a legal requirement for entry to large events this summer are set to be dropped, according to a report.
Officials working on the ongoing Covid-19 status certification review do not believe that the law will be changed to mandate their use in the UK, with one government source claiming that the plans were “dead”, The Telegraph reported.
“It’s not a case of ‘it’s finely balanced’. It’s not going to happen,” the source told the newspaper.
SARS-Cov-2 is a more stable virus than influenza. Trillions of replications have thrown up a handful of variants of concern, clustering around a small set of mutations. These variants are worth monitoring but the vaccines effectively prevent them causing serious illness. There is a theoretical risk of a more dangerous variant but it does not seem more likely than a shift in the influenza virus. If it were to occur, we could now manage it with short-term measures and rapid vaccine modification.
…Vaccination protects the vaccinated. It helps protect others but it means that we take no greater risk in the autumn of 2020 than in the autumn of 2019. Interventions should be proportionate to that – which means that most cannot be justified.
Some are worth retaining, like improved hygiene in public places or greater readiness to stay at home with respiratory symptoms. It is probably a good idea to invest further in the search for effective antiviral therapies. Promoting better population health through diet and exercise is always a good thing. But it is time for a bonfire of face masks and the despatch of lateral flow tests to landfill.
While two men with receding hairlines quibble over just how many care home residents the Government managed to kill last year, let me paint you a picture of how shambolic the situation actually was. Regardless of what Health Secretary Matt Hancock might have you believe, testing in care homes was a fiasco right from the beginning of the pandemic.
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”.
Pilot schemes for nine of the worst-hit areas will see councils offer to house the contacts of positive virus cases in order to stop transmission in overcrowded households.
Just 851.2 people per 100,000 died last month – the lowest figure since the ONS started recording mortality rates in 2001. At the height of the first wave of the Covid pandemic last April, death rates were 1,859 per 100,000.
The latest figures show that 38,899 people died in April – 6.1 per cent fewer than the five-year average.
Just 2.4 per cent of all deaths mentioned Covid on the death certificate, a 77.6 per cent decrease from March and the largest month-on-month decline since the pandemic began.
The new data provide more evidence that the NHS is in little danger of being overwhelmed in the near future, with deaths from most causes lower than normal. Covid is now the ninth most common cause of death in England and Wales, behind conditions including heart disease, dementia, several cancers and influenza.
The Government is facing a backlash over plans to extend the vaccine rollout to children, with some experts questioning the benefits of the proposed move.
Dozens of medics, doctors and scientists have written to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to express their “grave concern” over the proposals.
In a joint letter, they warned it is “irresponsible, unethical and unnecessary” to jab children and urged the medicines watchdog not to “repeat mistakes from history”.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer on (yet another) celebratory ‘freedom’ day in the UK, but I’m here to tell you: we are not free. We are, as so many people continue to wilfully ignore, still living under a totalitarian regime that no-one voted for, which has for 14 long months seen our most basic freedoms given and taken away at a whim, all because of a virus that did indeed kill people, but on average at the same age as what the national life expectancy is anyway. That is not hyperbole. It is a fact. The average age of someone who dies from coronavirus is 82.4. Britons have an average life expectancy of 81.1.
Scientists on a committee that encouraged the use of fear to control people’s behaviour during the Covid pandemic have admitted its work was “unethical” and “totalitarian”.
…SPI-B warned in March last year that ministers needed to increase “the perceived level of personal threat” from Covid-19 because “a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened”.
Plans for Covid passports have been significantly scaled back as government ministers privately question whether they should be adopted at all, The Telegraph understands.
Not a single person has been successfully prosecuted under the Coronavirus Act despite almost 300 people being charged, it has emerged.
Figures released by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) following a 12 month review, revealed that all 270 cases had been dropped before making it to court.
The vast majority of prosecutions were withdrawn because the police – confused by the constantly changing laws – had charged people with the wrong offence.
The case for the prosecution of Johnson is likely to be heard in a parliamentary inquiry (with Dominic Cummings as the star witness) which should bring scrutiny of the Imperial College cliff-edge hypothesis. This suggests that Covid cases surged every day until lockdown, so Prime Ministerial dither cost thousands of lives. Only when he eventually agreed to lock down on March 23, says Imperial, did cases collapse. This theory is one of the most influential ever deployed in government – and now looks as if it could be bunkum.
We don’t have to guess anymore, given how much Covid data exists. The ONS, Zoe/King’s College, the React-2 study run by a different team at Imperial: none support Neil Ferguson’s cliff-edge theory. All show Covid cases falling before lockdowns. So what forced the virus into retreat, if not stay-at-home orders? We can look at another form of contagion: news, spread digitally. People saw how things were getting dangerous and stayed home of their own accord. This is more than theory. Mobile phone data offers rich detail of this worldwide trend.
GPs have been told to refuse patients face-to-face appointments, in order to force the use of virtual consultations, under new NHS guidance.
…The updated NHS guidance now instructs practices to make this the default permanently.
…It continues: “Discourage patients from attending the practice to book appointments. If they do attend in person, demonstrate the process using a smartphone or kiosk”
Still, however, the battle for common sense over hysteria is far from won. Do we really think testing healthy children at an estimated cost of £144,564 per positive test is either “sensible” or “proportionate”? Do we really think that asking children who’ve already missed so much this year to miss further days isolating for a virus against which all vulnerable adults have been vaccinated is a drawback appropriately balanced against a benefit? And what do we think of this in the context of the looming discussion over offering the vaccine to children – at negligible risk from Covid – given the harm we should assume will ensue to a small minority of them?
Back in November, Nick Stokes emailed the Planet Normal podcast to protest that the NHS was being turned into the “National Covid Service”, and misinformation was being spread about hospitals being overwhelmed. “If there is a shortage of beds, that happens every single year – it is not due to Covid! I can remember several years of black alerts, ambulances unable to unload etc due to flu cases, but I don’t remember everything else being cancelled or people being told to stay at home.”
Watson’s response to the easing of lockdown is not all that uncommon, say psychologists. It is not yet known how many people will be affected by residual Covid anxiety after vaccination, but it’s feared a significant minority will struggle to readjust, especially as increased unlocking allows for large groups and big, crowded events to take place again.
Schools back mass vaccinations for children, with headteachers saying that “peer pressure” will boost take up.
Education leaders would be willing to help facilitate a vaccine roll-out at schools around the country, according to Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the largest union for secondary school heads.
…“I think there will be a sense of schools wanting to step up and play their part and explain to children why having the vaccine is important during assemblies and in tutor time.”
…He explained that vaccinating children at school could result in higher take-up because pupils would not want to feel socially isolated by refusing to have the jab.
…“The peer pressure of seeing that your friends are lining up to do it is likely to make the overall numbers taking up the vaccine higher,” he said. Some scientists have argued that if Covid rates rose significantly it would be a priority to vaccinate children to prevent any more disruption or closures of schools during the next academic year.
There is a “prima facie risk” of harm to secondary school pupils from wearing masks during lessons due to the impact it has on their ability to breathe properly, according to lawyers acting for a 12-year-old girl against the Trust that runs her school.
Closing playgrounds has helped to fuel “a pandemic of mental health problems” among children, a parliamentary committee has warned.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood is calling for practical measures to help children recover from repeated lockdowns, which have left too many confined for long periods at home.
Meanwhile, the disconnect between what ordinary people can see with their own eyes and the Covid regulations only confirms the idea that Government pronouncements are no longer to be taken literally. The rules are starting to seem symbolic and removed, subject to broad reinterpretation. While the polling shows that people are content with the official pace of reopening, the mobility data (what people are actually doing) shows they have been quietly reopening their lives since January. Apple data now shows use of public transport in London up to nearly 70 per cent of normal from nearer 30 per cent at the start of this lockdown.