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News

By ditching compulsory face masks in schools, the government is finally prioritising children’s welfare – The Telegraph

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?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/11/ditching-compulsory-face-masks-schools-government-finally-prioritising/

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News

Were fears of a third wave overblown? – The Spectator

So, the third wave is officially no more. New modelling by SPI-M, the government’s committee on modelling for pandemics, has, at a stroke, eradicated the predicted surge in new infections, hospital admissions and deaths which it had pencilled in for the autumn or winter as a result of lockdown being eased. 

…As Philip Thomas explained here on Sunday, Imperial College has also assumed strangely low estimates for the number of people in Britain carrying antibodies. If you are going to use assumptions that are far more pessimistic than real world data suggests, it is small wonder that SPI-M keeps predicting waves and surges that turn out to be wide of the mark. The question is: why are these modelling teams using such negative assumptions?

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-likely-is-a-third-wave-

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Opinion

Why are we being lied to about Covid? There’s no good reason – Dr Mike Yeadon, The Conservative Woman

So in recent weeks I’ve made a clear decision no longer merely to point out what it is that governments and their advisers and spokespersons around the world are doing is wrong, scientifically unjustified and harmful, but to join the dots in an attempt to provide potential explanations of why they’re doing these things.

…Why do I say this? Simply because there is no benign interpretation of the acts of commission and omission consistently imposed upon us and no explanation of the statements which are flatly wrong other than an intention to deceive the population.

…It is my deduction and conclusion that the only motivation that fits all the observations is the intention to ‘herd’ every citizen into a VaxPass system. This is a completely novel system. Never before have all individuals been represented in a single, interoperable database as a unique digital ID, accompanied by an editable health-related field. Whoever controls that database, and the algorithms which govern what it permits and denies, has literally totalitarian control of the entire population. There is no personal threshold crossing or transaction which doesn’t fall to those operating that system.

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News

How did Sage get it so wrong? – The Spectator

Professor Neil Ferguson struck an unusually optimistic tone this week. With just one Covid death reported on Monday, and infection levels at an eight-month low in the UK, the architect of the original lockdown said: ‘The data is very encouraging and very much in line with what we expected.’ The first half of that statement is certainly true; the second half much less so.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/How-did-Sage-get-it-so-wrong

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News

COVID-19 vaccine blood clot fears: Under-40s to be offered alternative to AstraZeneca jab as advice changes – Sky News

All under-40s are to be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine as a precaution.

https://news.sky.com/story/under-40s-to-be-offered-alternative-to-oxford-jab-over-blood-clot-fears-12299219

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Publications

Coronavirus and depression in adults, Great Britain: January to March 2021 – ONS

1.Main points
Around 1 in 5 (21%) adults experienced some form of depression in early 2021 (27 January to 7 March); this is an increase since November 2020 (19%) and more than double that observed before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (10%).
Around 1 in 3 (35%) adults who reported being unable to afford an unexpected expense of £850 experienced depressive symptoms in early 2021, compared with 1 in 5 (21%) adults before the pandemic; for adults who were able to afford this expense, rates increased from 5% to 13%. Over the period 27 January to 7 March 2021:

Younger adults and women were more likely to experience some form of depression, with over 4 in 10 (43%) women aged 16 to 29 years experiencing depressive symptoms, compared with 26% of men of the same age.
Disabled (39%) and clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) adults (31%) were more likely to experience some form of depression than non-disabled (13%) and non-CEV adults (20%).
A higher proportion of adults renting their home experienced some form of depression (31%) when compared with adults who own their home outright (13%).
Almost 3 in 10 (28%) adults living in the most deprived areas of England experienced depressive symptoms; this compares with just under 2 in 10 (17%) adults in the least deprived areas of England.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/coronavirusanddepressioninadultsgreatbritain/januarytomarch2021

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News

There’s a reason you’ve not seen your GP recently – and frankly it’s a scandal – The Telegraph

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.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/columnists/2021/05/04/reason-youvenot-seen-gp-recently-frankly-scandal/

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News

Vaccinated but won’t go out? The rise of Covid anxiety syndrome – The Telegraph

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.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/vaccinated-wont-go-rise-covid-anxiety-syndrome/

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News

Buying a Single Version of the Truth – UK Column

MG-OMD has given their propaganda operation the Orwellian sounding name of OmniGOV. They say they are very proud of it and recognise their responsibility as the “the single cross-HM Government agency partner.”

OmniGov were behind the snappy slogans used to change our behaviour throughout the pandemic. Phrases like “flatten the curve”“stay home, protect the NHS, save lives” and “rule of six” all rely on a psychological mechanism called the rule of three. The £119 million Omnicom contract to modify our behaviour was in discussion long before the WHO made their pandemic declaration.

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Opinion Videos

Covid is the cure worse than the disease? Dr John Lee, Unlocked

Unlocked Exclusive — in a hard-hitting interview, retired NHS pathologist Dr John Lee discusses the government’s response to the pandemic, analyses why proven scientific procedures were abandoned, makes the case for ending Lockdown now, and asks the question most doctors are unable to discuss in public. Covid-19: is the cure worse than the disease?

Backup mirrors:

https://www.facebook.com/unlockedunitedkingdom/videos/506787697359395/

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Opinion

Enough is enough. We’ve got six weeks to show the government that if they don’t give us our lives back we’re just going to take them anyway – Daily Mail

We have had to watch as comparable democracies like the US get back to normal life, with its economy starting to fire, travel reopened, and social distancing and mask mandates axed altogether for those who have been jabbed.

Many of us have even reluctantly accepted there may well be an attempt to reintroduce some restrictions and even another lockdown over winter.

But on June 21, no matter what political party you support, the time has come to say loud and clear: No more!

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-9537949/DAN-WOOTTON-need-lives-back.html

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Opinion

Despotic laws can — even should — be ignored – Jonathan Sumption, The Spectator

The retired Justice of the Supreme Court admits breaking lockdown regulations and seems willing to countenance civil disobedience

…So most readers will turn first to Sumption’s final chapter, about the Covid pandemic. His target is not just the government and its decision to exercise ‘coercive powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted [and] with minimal parliamentary involvement’. He also blames the public for voluntarily surrendering their liberty ‘out of fear of some external threat’ — and MPs for agreeing to work remotely. Because this chapter was written as a lecture in October, it makes no mention of the government’s successful vaccination programme. His prediction that ‘Britain seems likely to suffer greater economic damage than almost every other European country’ is one he might now reconsider.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/despotic-laws-can-even-should-be-ignored-says-jonathan-sumption

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News

Hospitality sector warns of looming crisis over billions in unpaid rent – The Financial Times

The UK government is under pressure to resolve a £6bn rent arrears crisis and prevent a deluge of legal disputes between commercial tenants and landlords, ahead of the end of a temporary ban on evictions next month.

https://www.ft.com/content/03620e72-b618-49eb-9d34-0f2a9ffef5f2

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News

SAGE admits risk of catching Covid in a pub or restaurant is ‘relatively low’ with just 226 outbreaks in them since pandemic began – despite England’s hospitality sector being shut for another three weeks – Dail Mail

The risk of catching coronavirus in a pub or restaurant is ‘relatively low’, the Government’s scientific advisers have admitted.

Analysis by SAGE found the chance of contracting the virus in hospitality settings appeared slightly higher than in gyms or shops, but concluded the risk was still small.

…SAGE found there had been just 226 outbreaks in pubs and restaurants in England since the pandemic began, despite the sector being heavily penalised throughout the Government’s Covid response.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9530225/SAGE-admits-risk-catching-Covid-pub-restaurant-relatively-low.html?ito=social-twitter_dailymailUK

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News

Face masks in classroom risk causing children ‘physical and psychological harm’ – The Telegraph

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.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/04/30/face-masks-classroom-risk-causing-children-physical-psychological/

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News

UK health regulator concerned over use of rapid coronavirus tests – The Guardian

The UK’s healthcare regulator has expressed concern to the government that its multibillion-pound mass testing programme is “a stretch” of the authorised use of rapid tests, the Guardian has learned.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the lateral flow devices to be used to find coronavirus cases but not to act as a “green light” for people who test negative to enjoy greater freedoms.

The regulator is concerned that people who test negative will be given false reassurance by their result and will let down their guard if they believe they are Covid-free.

There is very little data to show how well the Innova lateral flow devices detect the virus when used as a self-test by someone who has no symptoms. They are being used by millions of people a week in England under the government’s universal testing programme.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/25/uk-health-regulator-concerned-over-use-of-coronavirus-rapid-tests

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Opinion

End face masks and social distancing on June 21 – top scientists demand – The Express

The open letter states that “a good society cannot be created by an obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health” and states all restrictions should be lifted in June on the final date in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown. Masks should no longer be worn by schoolchildren after May 17, say the scientists – and they warn the damage to society will be too great if the current Covid control measures continue beyond the June roadmap date. 

Vaccine passports should also be scrapped along with mass community testing, they say.

Instead, the government should focus on targeted testing, creating better incentives for staying home if ill and basic hygiene measures, such as handwashing and surface cleaning.

Signatories (in alphabetical order)

Professor Ryan Anderson, Translational Science, Medicines Discovery Catapult

Dr Colin Axon, Mechanical Engineering, Brunel University

Professor Anthony Brookes, Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of Leicester

Professor Jackie Cassell, FFPH, Deputy Dean,  Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Professor Angus Dalgleish, FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci, Oncology, St George’s, University of London

Professor Robert Dingwall, FAcSS, HonMFPH, Sociology, Nottingham Trent University

Professor Sunetra Gupta, Theoretical Epidemiology, University of Oxford

Professor Carl Heneghan, MRCGP,  Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, University of Oxford

Professor Mike Hulme,  Human Geography, University of Cambridge.

Dr John Lee – formerly Pathology, Hull York Medical School

Professor David Livermore, Medical Microbiology,  University of East Anglia.

Professor Paul McKeigue Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics, University of Edinburgh

Professor David Paton, Industrial Economics, University of Nottingham

Emeritus Professor Hugh Pennington, CBE, FRCPath, FRCP (Edin), FMedSci, FRSE, Bacteriology, University of Aberdeen

Dr Gerry Quinn, Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster

Dr Roland Salmon, MRCGP, FFPH, former Director of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (Wales).

Emeritus Professor John Scott, CBE, FRSA, FBA, FAcSS, Sociology, University of Essex

Professor Karol Sikora, FRCR, FRCP, FFPM, Medicine, University of Buckingham

Professor Ellen Townsend, Psychology, University of Nottingham

Dr Chao Wang, Health & Social Care Statistics, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London,

Professor John Watkins,  Epidemiology, Cardiff University

Professor Lisa White, Modelling and Epidemiology, University of Oxford.

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1427568/Lockdown-latest-face-masks-social-distancing-scientists

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News

Oxford jab ‘could be banned for under-40s’ after blood clot reports double – The METRO

Under-40s may be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after blood clot reports doubled, reports claim.

The chance of dying from a blood clot after having the jab is about one in one million – with 19 fatalities from around 20 million vaccinations. However, the total number of people in the UK who developed blood clots after getting one dose has gone from 79 to 168 in a fortnight, Medical Healthcare Products and Regulatory Agency (MHRA) data suggests.

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News

Closing playgrounds during Covid has fuelled ‘pandemic of mental health problems’ among children – The Telegraph

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. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/04/18/closing-playgrounds-covid-has-fuelled-pandemic-mental-health/

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News

Rapid Covid testing in England may be scaled back over false positives – The Guardian

Senior government officials have raised “urgent” concerns about the mass expansion of rapid coronavirus testing, estimating that as few as 2% to 10% of positive results may be accurate in places with low Covid rates, such as London.

…However, leaked emails seen by the Guardian show that senior officials are now considering scaling back the widespread testing of people without symptoms, due to a growing number of false positives.

…On 9 April, the day everyone in England was able to order twice-weekly lateral flow device (LFD) tests, Dyson wrote: “As of today, someone who gets a positive LFD result in (say) London has at best a 25% chance of it being a true positive, but if it is a self-reported test potentially as low as 10% (on an optimistic assumption about specificity) or as low as 2% (on a more pessimistic assumption).”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/15/rapid-covid-testing-in-england-may-be-scaled-back-over-false-positives