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News

Britain could have been hit harder by Covid-19 because it has avoided bad flu seasons in the past two winters as influenza kills the SAME vulnerable people, study claims – Daily Mail

Britain could have been hit harder by Covid-19 than other European nations because the past two winter flu outbreaks have only been mild, according to a study.

Researchers say influenza kills the same groups of people as the coronavirus, with both illnesses posing the greatest danger to the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

Public Health England statistics show around 20,000 excess deaths – those of any cause that happen above average – occur from influenza each year.

But only 1,700 extra fatalities were recorded during the 2018/19 outbreak, said lead author Dr Chris Hope who claimed data showed the 2019/20 season was also ‘very mild’.

It means more than 30,000 people in England alone were alive at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic who would have been expected to die in the previous two flu seasons.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8497185/Britain-hit-harder-Covid-19-avoided-bad-flu-seasons.html

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Opinion

Calm Down! Record Testing Is Why There Are Record “Cases” – William Briggs

Deaths decreasing as cases surge because of testing.

Testing is going nuts. Testing is out of control. Testing is rampant. Testing is at insane levels and only growing.

The number of daily COVID tests in the US
Official weekly dead according to the CDC as of 2 July for week ending 27 June

Notice anything? You might not have reached the apex of probability like I, the Statistician to the Stars! have, but surely you can see the most salient point. DEATHS ARE DECREASING, EVEN AS NEW “CASES” “SURGE” “SPIKE” “SOAR” “SET RECORDS”.

This is why we must continue to look to all-cause deaths are the best indicator. It’s just too easy to cheat, fudge, shade, tweak, adjust, or whatever word you like, with COVID deaths.

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Publications

80.9% of care home residents who tested positive were asymptomatic – Department of Health & Social Care

  • 2.4% of all tests were positive (9,674 out of 397,197)
  • 3.9% of residents tested positive (6,747 out of 172,066)
  • 3.3% of asymptomatic residents tested positive (5,455 out of 163,945)
  • 80.9% of residents who tested positive were asymptomatic (5,455 out of 6,747)
  • 1.2% of asymptomatic staff tested positive (2,567 out of 210,620)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vivaldi-1-coronavirus-covid-19-care-homes-study-report/vivaldi-1-covid-19-care-homes-study-report

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News

UK’s mental health has deteriorated during lockdown, says Mind – The Guardian

Government must take urgent action to prevent even bigger crisis in future, charity warns

Lockdown has been devastating for mental health and the worst could be yet to come, a leading charity has said.

The mental health charity Mind says a survey has revealed that lockdown has had a dramatic impact on the nation’s mental health, warning that unless action is taken now, the problem could grow.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jun/30/uks-mental-health-has-deteriorated-during-lockdown-says-mind

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News

Millions went hungry during first months of UK lockdown, figures show – The Guardian

Government figures have revealed that lack of money forced millions of people to go hungry or rely on food banks during the first few weeks of the coronavirus lockdown, with families and young adults worst affected.

Households with children, people with health issues and people aged 16-24 were most likely to either to skip meals or use food charities to feed themselves or their family in April and May, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) data showed.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jun/26/millions-went-hungry-during-first-months-of-uk-lockdown-figures-show-coronavirus

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Opinion

SAGE advises use of media to increase sense of personal threat

Update 27 June 2020: For a more in-depth commentary, please read How SAGE and the UK media created fear in the British public


In early March 2020, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) produced a document for the UK Government highlighting recommendations for increasing adherence to social distancing measures. There seemed to be some doubt as to whether the public would comply with the upcoming measures so SAGE developed a methodology based on criteria called ‘APEASE’.

The document itself was drafted by SPI-B, the behavioural science sub-group for SAGE. More information about SPI-B can be found in this document.

Source: Options for increasing adherence to social distancing measures, 22 March 2020

APEASE criteria

In the document, behavioural change options were set in a grid and evaluated based on the six criteria. See Appendix B in the linked document.

SPI-B’s APEASE criteria are:

  • Acceptability
  • Practicability
  • Effectiveness
  • Affordability
  • Spill-over effects
  • Equity

Persuasion through fear

It seems that a big part of SPI-B’s behavioural change strategy was to ‘persuade through fear.’ The Persuasion section of the document states:

The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. To be effective this must also empower people by making clear the actions they can take to reduce the threat.

Appendix B of the document lists ten options that can be used to increase social distancing in the public. Option 2 advises: “Use media to increase sense of personal threat.

Psychological techniques to change behaviour

In this document, the UK Government has openly admitted to using psychological techniques to change the behaviour of the British population. Despite the open nature of this admission, it seems to have gained little coverage in the media.

This is of no surprise since the British media was clearly complicit in spreading fear in the public.

Download the document

The document is freely downloadable on the gov.uk website in a page titled, “Research and analysis – Options for increasing adherence to social distancing measures, 22 March 2020“.

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News

NHS treatment delays linked to more child deaths than coronavirus – The Telegraph

Seeking medical help too late during pandemic was contributory factor in the deaths of nine children, Royal College research finds

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/25/nhs-treatment-delays-linked-child-deaths-coronavirus/

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Opinion

Ignoring the Covid evidence – Alistair Haimes, The Critic

  • Far from following the science, the government turned its back on all available data.
  • Until mid-April, with the escalating deaths in care homes agonisingly clear across Europe, government policy was still for patients to be discharged to care homes from hospitals without requiring negative tests. And so the toll: around half of UK Covid-19 deaths are care home residents, despite them accounting for only 0.6 per cent of our population.
  • Germany, whose population is roughly 25 per cent bigger than ours, has suffered approximately a quarter of our Covid deaths.
  • Ministers have deferred to scientists who themselves deferred to the projections of models, even when data on the ground told a completely different story.
  • Statisticians on social media had a field day pointing out the chasm between modelled outcomes and reality, but it is not clear that the models on which SAGE relied (both their input parameters and mechanical dynamics) were continually refined with on-the-ground data (or simply discarded as wrong). 
  • Why weren’t Oxford’s team, who specialise in zoonotic viruses and who looked at the same data as Neil Ferguson’s modelling-led team but came to wildly different conclusions, on SAGE’s panel to provide an alternative view?
  • Why were there no economists on SAGE? Economics is not the bloodless pursuit of money but the science of decision-making under uncertainty where resources are finite; could they really have brought nothing to the party?
  • In mid-March, Stanford’s Nobel laureate Michael Levitt (biophysicist and professor of structural biology) discussed the “natural experiment” of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, a petridish disproportionately filled with the most susceptible age and health groups. Even here, despite the virus spreading uncontrolled onboard for at least two weeks, infection only reached a minority of passengers and crew. 
  • The data towards the end of March clearly showed we were already near the tipping point of the bell-curve (meaning the disease is on the wane). We were already past the point where lockdown could have made much difference.
  • Knut Wittkowski: “respiratory diseases [including Covid-19] . . . remain only about two months in any given population”. 

https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/july-august-2020/ignoring-the-covid-evidence/

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Opinion

Day by day, the coronavirus edges ever closer to extinction. Time to get back to normal – The Telegraph

It’s becoming clear that the social distancing rules – even if the new one-metre rule – are unnecessary.

Across the United Kingdom, epidemiologists, public health officials and local bureaucrats are stamping their feet and gnashing their teeth. They’re furious about the fact that daily deaths from Covid-19 are continuing to decline at a precipitous rate. Contrary to their dire warnings, the easing of lockdown restrictions hasn’t led to an uptick in the rate of infection. The much ballyhooed ‘second spike’ has refused to materialise. The virus has all but disappeared.

The extent to which Covid-19 has vanished isn’t immediately apparent from the figures. The death tolls announced each day refer to all those deaths involving coronavirus that have been ‘registered’ in the last 24 hours. That includes people who died weeks ago – sometimes months ago – but whose paperwork has only just been completed. If you look instead at the number of actual deaths in English hospitals in the last 24 hours, that gives a clearer picture. The number on June 23 was four – all in the north west. Fewer than 20 died in London hospitals in the past week.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/25/day-day-coronavirus-edges-ever-closer-extinction-time-get-back/

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Publications

HM Government guidance states evidence for face coverings is weak

Working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres, published 24 June 2020, states:

6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings
Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited.

6.1 Face coverings
There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may
be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. The evidence
suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it
may protect others if you are infected but have not developed
symptoms.

It is important to know that the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small…

(Emphasis mine)
Screenshot from HM Government publication Working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres, published 24 June 2020.

Advice for offices and contact centres: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb97e7686650c278d4496ea/working-safely-during-covid-19-offices-contact-centres-240620.pdf

Advice for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb96e8e86650c278b077616/Keeping-workers-and-customers-safe-during-covid-19-restaurants-pubs-bars-takeaways-230620.pdf

Advice for close contact services: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5ef2889986650c12970e9b57/Keeping-workers-and-clients-safe-during-covid-19-close-contact-services-230620.pdf

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News

The Government’s coronavirus response remains trapped in ludicrous second wave pseudo-science – The Telegraph

It is official. No 10 is too entangled in lockdown spin to do what it takes to save Britain. For the sake of our ailing economy, political clarity, and basic scientific honesty, this was Boris Johnson’s moment to declare to the nation that the overwhelming evidence suggests lockdown was a mistake – and we must never lock down again. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/06/23/governments-coronavirus-response-remains-trapped-ludicrous-second/

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News

Top doctor’s chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year – Professor Patrick Pullicino, Daily Mail

NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds, a senior consultant claimed yesterday.

Professor Patrick Pullicino said doctors had turned the use of a controversial ‘death pathway’ into the equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly.

He claimed there was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.

Professor Pullicino claimed that far too often elderly patients who could live longer are placed on the LCP and it had now become an ‘assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway’.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2161869/Top-doctors-chilling-claim-The-NHS-kills-130-000-elderly-patients-year.html

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Publications

Comment on Flaxman et al. (2020): The illusory effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in Europe – Professor Stefan Homburg

Flaxman et al. (Nature, 8 June 2020, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2405-7, 2020) infer that non-pharmaceutical interventions conducted by several European countries considerably reduced effective reproduction numbers and saved millions of lives. We show that their method is ill-conceived and that the alleged effects are artefacts. Moreover, we demonstrate that the United Kingdom’s lockdown was both superfluous and ineffective.

https://advance.sagepub.com/articles/Comment_on_Flaxman_et_al_2020_The_illusory_effects_of_non-pharmaceutical_interventions_on_COVID-19_in_Europe/12479987/1

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News

Two-metre coronavirus rule is just for guidance, says Jacob Rees-Mogg – The Times

The two-metre social distancing guidance is “not an absolute rule” and “can only remain in place as long as there is consent”, a cabinet minister has said.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, said the measure was “guidance rather than an absolute rule that will be enforced by a policeman”.

Speaking on his fortnightly Moggcast on the Conservative Home website, he added: “My view of all the restrictions is that they have happened by consent rather than compulsion.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/two-metre-coronavirus-rule-is-just-for-guidance-says-jacob-rees-mogg-pwmfbcnqh

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News

Non-apologies for coronavirus deaths are not good enough – Al Jazeera

The UK government blusters its way through excuses for its poor response to coronavirus. It must be held accountable.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/apologies-coronavirus-deaths-good-200416115612897.html

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Opinion

As the Left now controls every lever of power, we face nothing less than Regime Change – Peter Hitchens, The Mail on Sunday

The sad but unavoidable fact, that the disease is little danger to most young and healthy people but is especially deadly to the old and ill, is also now beyond dispute…

The ceaseless assumption of the Government and the BBC that the shutdown ‘protected’ the NHS is simply not borne out by any facts. The NHS was never going to be overwhelmed. Covid deaths in this country peaked on April 8 – an event far too soon to have been caused by the shutdown announced on March 23 and begun the following day.

In fact, the country with the highest number of deaths per head is Belgium (843 per million). Yet Belgium introduced one of the tightest and most severe shutdowns on the planet. Sweden, without a shutdown at all, has suffered 472 deaths per million.

The UK figure of 620 per million may be inflated by our lax recording methods but hardly suggests that we did better than Sweden by throttling our economy and grossly interfering in personal liberty. Japan, which also did not shut down, suffered just over seven (yes, seven) deaths per million…

I believe that forces hostile to our country, its history and nature, have seen this as an opportunity. Probably incredulous to begin with, they realised the British people really had gone soft, accepting absurd and humiliating diktats, believing the most ridiculous claims. 

https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2020/06/peter-hitchens-as-the-left-now-controls-every-lever-of-power-we-face-nothing-less-than-regime-change.html

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Publications

UK GDP fell by 10.4% in the three months to April 2020 – Office for National Statistics

In June 2020, The Office for National Statistics released their Gross domestic product (GDP) report for April 2020. They calculated that GDP fell by 10.4% in the three months to April. This was directly caused by the UK government’s policy of lockdown.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/bulletins/gdpmonthlyestimateuk/april2020

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Opinion

Covid-19 death toll may be less than half of what has been recorded – Prof Karol Sikora, The Telegraph

The Covid-19 death toll may be less than half what has been recorded because many victims of the pandemic would have died soon anyway, one of Britain’s leading medics has said.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/11/prof-karol-sikora-covid-19-death-toll-may-less-half-has-recorded/

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News

UK COVID-19: we protected our NHS by dying at home – Alistair Haimes

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News

School age children more likely to be hit by lightning than die of coronavirus, analysis finds – The Telegraph

School children under the age of 15 are more likely to be hit by lightning than die from coronavirus, new figures suggest, amid mounting pressure for the government to get more to get pupils back into classrooms as quickly as possible.

Scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford have called for “rational debate” based on the “tiny” risk to children and have suggested that if no vaccine is found in the future then it may be better for younger people to continue with their lives, while shielding the more vulnerable.

It comes as the government was accused of “losing the plot” after Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, scrapped the Government’s target of getting all primary school pupils back in the classroom before the summer holidays