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The Telegraph leads on Chris Whitty’s depressing announcement at yesterday the Downing Street press conference that social distancing measures will have to remain in place until a vaccine or “highly effective drugs” are available to avoid a second wave of infections, which could mean well into next year. This bombshell came just moments after Dominic Raab had said there was now a “glimmer of hope”. He didn’t spell out what he was referring to – and he used the same phrase almost two weeks ago, so the glimmer hasn’t got any brighter. But in his speech he referred to “the peak of this virus” three times and implied we’re in the midst of that right now. The Government’s position is that no social distancing restrictions can be lifted until we’re past the peak and there is no risk of a second wave that will necessitate reimposing those restrictions.

I have good news for Mr Raab in that case. There’s growing evidence that the daily death toll peaked on April 8th, as can be seen on the NHS England graph below:

That’s the view of Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford. Two days ago he said: “From an epidemiological perspective we can say that the numbers are consistent with the peak happening on April 8th.” As Prof Heneghan has pointed out, if the peak was indeed on April 8th and deaths have begun to decline since, that suggests the more modest social distancing measures the Government introduced on March 16th flattened the infection peak, without the lockdown being necessary. After all, there’s a three-week lag time between infection and death and April 8th is three weeks after March 18th, two days after the mitigation measures were introduced but five days before the lockdown.

More evidence that extreme social distancing measures aren’t necessary to flatten the peak is the analysis done by numerous researchers – including three I flagged up in yesterday’s update – showing that the rate of infections and deaths rise and fall according to the same pattern in every country the virus has struck, regardless of varying population densities, testing rates, case levels, mortality rates, etc. and in spite of the severity of the lockdowns they’ve imposed and when they imposed them in the lifecycle of the outbreak. This is nicely illustrated in the graph below, created by a sceptic on Twitter, which maps the rise and fall of daily deaths in England and Sweden, having adjusted for the fact that Sweden’s are about 10 times lower than England’s. As you can see, the pattern is almost identical, even though Sweden hasn’t imposed a lockdown:

So what are you waiting for, Mr Raab? The doves in the Cabinet will argue that these analyses are all very well but we still don’t know enough about the virus yet to be sufficiently confident that if we start to relax social distancing measures we won’t be overwhelmed by a second peak. But even though that may be true (depending on how you define “sufficiently confident”) it’s not a good argument for delaying announcing a phased exit, as the leaders of Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, the United States, etc. have already done. No Government can eliminate the risks posed by the virus completely, but keeping lockdowns in place is hardly the risk-free option, given how much economic damage they’re doing. It’s a question of balancing the risks against each other, and in order to do that in a properly informed way our Government needs to listen to sceptical epidemiologists and virologists, not just the most alarmist, as well as economists and business experts. (And educationalists. Only five per cent of Britain’s most vulnerable children are taking up the offer to attend school, according to the BBC, and only 8% of children in the most disadvantaged schools are turning up for online lessons.)

The editor of the Washington Examiner, Hugo Gordon, makes this point eloquently in an op ed published yesterday. Talking about the reluctance of some state governors to end lockdowns, he writes:

It is time to resume commercial activity, at first gradually, and then as quickly as reasonably possible. If we allow ourselves to be frightened into an innumerate expectation of complete safety before life is allowed to return nearer to normal, we will bring on an economic, social, and national catastrophe involving the destruction of America’s wealth, happiness, and place in the world. We must take sensible precautions so the public knows the balance of risk has switched toward activity away from inertia. But a balance still means risk on each side.

Meanwhile, evidence continues to mount that the lockdown itself may be causing more deaths than it’s preventing – and that’s just in terms of its immediate impact on public health, not the long-term consequences of the economic harm. Consultant oncologist Karol Sikora has a piece in the Mail today warning of the catastrophic impact the lockdown is having on non-COVID-19 patients. “Some stroke and heart attack patients are routinely waiting more than two hours for an ambulance, while 2,300 cancer diagnoses are being missed each week because patients are not going to see their GP or because they are not being referred for urgent tests and scans at hospital,” he writes. “Another 400 cancers a week are, it is estimated, being missed because breast, cervical and bowel cancer screening has been suspended. For any of these patients, delay can be a death sentence.” Since the virus struck, the number of patients who are being referred for cancer treatment has dropped by 75%. By Sikora’s estimation, the combined effect of all these delays will be 50,000 excess cancer deaths. (TalkRadio’s Dan Wootton makes a similar argument in today’s Sun.)

The odd thing about the neglect of non-COVID-19 patients is that the hospitals are hardly full of COVID-19 patients. Health Service Journal reports that a new Nightingale hospital in Harrogate isn’t going to be needed after all, so low is the demand, and the flagship Nightingale hospital in London, which has the capacity to treat 4,000 patients, is still largely empty. As if to underline just how underwhelmed the NHS is by the current crisis, doctors and nurses have been posting videos of themselves on YouTube dancing on their wards.

Some people were outraged by the opening paragraph of Monday’s daily update, in which I tried to assess whether NHS workers are more likely to die from COVID-19 by crunching some numbers with the help of Guy de la Bédoyère, a reader who’s well-versed in statistics. On the face of it, NHS workers don’t seem to be dying from the virus in greater numbers than other people of working age. The NHS employs roughly 1.5 million people across the UK, which is about 1/43 of the UK population and about 1/25 of the working population (people aged 20-65). But the number of NHS workers succumbing to the virus is a bit lower than 1/25 of the number of people of working age who’ve died of COVID-19. Of course, if you adjust for the fact that a majority of NHS workers are less likely to be suffering from underlying health conditions than the general working population, it may well be that they are dying in greater numbers. But when Guy and I looked at the data that calculation hadn’t been done. Was that a callous and unfeeling point to make, given that NHS workers are placing themselves in harm’s way every day? The producers of Radio 4’s More or Less don’t think so because yesterday the programme posed exactly the same question and came to a similar conclusion. It calculated that if NHS workers are dying from COVID-19 at the same rate as the rest of the working population, you’d expect between 70 and 85 of them to have died so far. In fact, according to More or Less, 77 have died (or had when they last looked), which is in line with expectations rather than higher. Like us, however, the presenter Tim Harford and his producer added the caveat that NHS workers are likely to be healthier than the average 20-65 year-old, which means you’d expect fewer to be dying if their risk isn’t elevated. You can listen to the item here. It starts at 17m and 23s.

The South African authorities have banned the sale of alcohol and tobacco in the hope of persuading people to remain in their homes, prompting looting to break out in the Western Cape. That’s a particularly brain-dead bit of state over-reach because according to a study carried out in a French hospital nicotine may be both a prophylactic against coronavirus and an effective treatment. It found that of those admitted to hospital with COVID-19, whose median age was 65, only 4.4% were regular smokers, compared with 11% of 65-75 year-olds in the general population. The Guardian has the story.

Bad news for those lockdown sceptic who upload content to YouTube. Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s CEO, told CNN’s Reliable Sources yesterday that during the pandemic the social media platform will be “removing information that is problematic”, such as advising people to “take Vitamin C” or “anything that would go against World Health Organisation recommendations”. Not sure when YouTube put this policy in place, but if it was at the beginning of the year then presumably any content suggesting COVID-19 was a transmissible disease before the end of January would have been removed because up until that point the WHO was maintaining that there was no “clear evidence of human to human transmission of the novel coronavirus”.

Thanks to all those people who donated to Lockdown Sceptics yesterday – it’s those donations that enable me to devote so much time to this site. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here. I’ll leave you with this table. It was originally produced by the Babylon Bee in a different form, but I’ve adapted it slightly (with help from Ian Rons).

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DAP
DAP
1 month ago

Alcohol ban also in philippines. Not sure if it is everywhere but is banned in every way in Maasin City where a friend lives. This includes drinking what you may already have. The idea is to stop gatherings. The lockdown here is such that many who work a day to eat that day have nothing. We have donated 250kg rice so far.

Robin66
Robin66
1 month ago

There appears to be mounting evidence that lockdown was an overreaction. Sweden offers an interesting case study of a different way. I’d like to hear these arguments tackled head on by someone who comes to a different conclusions. Whatever mistakes were made in the past (with the benefit of hindsight) it doesn’t justify continuing with the mistake.

Quentin
Quentin
1 month ago
Reply to  Robin66

Everything I hear politicians in the UK saying about the lockdown now stinks of the sunk costs fallacy.

John Bradley
John Bradley
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin

Exactly … ‘can’t risk undoing the good work’ etc

Will Jones
1 month ago

Interesting to know whether NHS workers really are healthier than the general population. Ethnic minorities are disproportionately present among Covid-19 deaths and also among NHS workers. Maybe there’s a link there?

Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson
1 month ago
Reply to  Will Jones

I can assure you that nursing staff are sadly not healthier than the general population. Until a few years ago it would have been rare to have found a nurse or heatl care assistent who didn’t smoke . Now unfortunately there is definately a problem with weight ; maybe it is all the chocolates left on the ward by grateful relatives or ” cake Friday ” .
Anyway here is a link to the evidence.
https://www.nhs.uk/news/obesity/1-4-nurses-england-are-obese-survey-finds/

and in the US where obesity is a big health problem , the nursing staff were just as obese as your average hamburger eating Joe.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2760042/

wendyk
wendyk
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Thompson

Quite agree: 2 years ago, I spent one night in a local hospital following an examination under anaesthetic.
More than half of the nursing staff were significantly overweight; indeed the girl who escorted me to the pre-op room was morbidly obese.
Since then, I’ve noted the number of care assistants working in the local nursing homes who are also overweight.
Watching the news bulletins at the outset of this epidemic, I also noted that many of the NHS nurses who had succumbed were overweight.
Friends who’ve visited local hospitals have also noticed this worrying trend.
This does not bode well for the future.
The senior nurse at the local GP practice is also significantly overweight: an extremely pleasant woman, but how she gives dietary and general health advice is puzzling.

Fiery
Fiery
1 month ago
Reply to  wendyk

I previously worked as a nurse and as a very slim and fit individual was definitely in a minority. Most of my team were overweight or morbidly obese and ate, drank or smoked to excess. I don’t think they know the meaning of exercise or healthy eating.

Crochuboy
Crochuboy
22 days ago
Reply to  wendyk

I really don’t understand your position Wendy..are you saying that overweight conservatives must blame themselves if they get infected..and if they die we should all be nonchalant?

Catherine Young
Catherine Young
1 month ago
Reply to  Will Jones

The elephant in the room…..it’s called obesity.

Ethelred the Unready
Ethelred the Unready
1 month ago

I have been saying for a while that the most serious epidemic we have In U.K. is the obesity epidemic, we have to disavow the ‘body positive’/ no ‘fat shaming’ nonsense and ensure that individuals know that in fact, it’s not OK to be obese

Colin
Colin
23 days ago

Private Eye’s medical correspondent made the point that our unfit population might have been the reason that the herd immunity strategy was abandoned. They argue that the strategy was predicated on all those who are not in the high-risk groups being fully fit, which clearly is not the case.

Quentin
Quentin
1 month ago
Reply to  Will Jones

Ethnic minorities are out there saving everyones lives*, and what does our government do? Lock them in their homes in misery when they come off shift, rather than simply give them decent PPE and pay.
*That includes food supply and all the vital non-medical infrastructure too

GLT
GLT
1 month ago

It was depressing to listen to conservative mp Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown being interviewed on Radio 4 this am. He accepted as indisputable fact that the virus is deadly and that only a tiny percentage of people had so far been exposed to it. I feel I must have missed an important piece of evidence that the government are basing this on? Or maybe they have been busy conducting wide-ranging studies that are yet to be published?

RDawg
RDawg
1 month ago

IN FAVOUR OF:

– Encourage meticulous hand-washing for everyone.
– Ramping up NHS capacity (building of Nightingale hospitals, building extra ventilators, asking retired NHS staff (doctors and nurses) to return to work, hiring of 750,000 volunteers.
– Social distancing (time limited, to be lifted once the peak of the infections has passed).
– Temporary restrictions of gatherings of not more than 50 people, as the Swedes have done.
– Keeping all businesses open where possible.
– Grants to businesses, especially those most at risk such as SMEs.
– Shielding the vulnerable, preventing visits to the over 70s and those with high-risk medical conditions.

AGAINST:

– Forced quarantining of the young and healthy in their homes, despite being at minimal risk of developing symptoms.
– Forced closure of businesses, risking bankruptcy and denying hard-working business owners an income.
– Closure of schools, denying children access to their education, and forcing predicted grades onto thousands of students, who will have no opportunity to sit their exams.
– Furloughing staff, AKA using public money to pay 10 million+ people to stay at home sunbathing and watching Netflix for three months.
– Cancelling cancer screenings, cancer treatment, operations and other medical treatment needed to save lives.
– Crashing the economy, and causing more than 2 million people to lose their employment.
– Creating a mental health and domestic violence crisis by forcing people to stay at home.
– Indefinite enforced social distancing until a vaccine becomes readily available. This is entirely unrealistic, unsustainable and could take years. We need our pubs, cafes and restaurants to be open. We have a service-based industry and these are a massive contributor to our economy.
– Mainstream media providing unbalanced journalism, spreading fear, panic and hysteria, and massively distorting people’s perception of risk. Scaring people to the point where they are terrified of visiting their GPs or hospital Emergency Department. This also kills.

The government could have chosen to manage this “crisis” with a sensible, balanced and proportionate response that would have saved people’s livelihoods, children’s education, people’s mental health and the economy from crashing to a level not seen since the Great Depression. Instead they chose to enforce an extreme, never seen before approach that has stifled people’s liberty, wellbeing, physical and mental health, and effectively written off an entire year of people’s lives. This approach has stemmed from panic and fear, in response to a virus which leading epidemiologists, virologists, microbiologists and epidemiological statisticians have said will be no more deadly than a potent influenza season. A virus that carries no more background relative risk that one’s daily commute in their car to work. Despite the plethora of evidence that lockdowns cause more deaths than the virus itself, still governments continue on this self-destructive path.

We cannot live our lives 100% risk free. Every element of living involves some element of risk. The only way to prevent this would be to stay in our homes wrapped up in cotton wool. Society seems to accept that people can die around the world from cancer, obesity-related diseases, air pollution, road traffic accidents, hunger, drinking dirty water, snake bites, a plethora of other viruses, bacterium and multiple diseases, YET this new virus comes along and most of the free, democratic world goes into unprecedented lockdown. Where is the proportionality to all of this?

I just hope and pray, that someone, somewhere high up, begins to see sense before it is too late. Here’s hoping…

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

“A virus that carries no more background relative risk that one’s daily commute in their car to work.” If this were true then I agree with you. It is not true. Look at Italy prior to lock down. We don’t know the true mortality rate because we don’t have the data. We do know that it is extremely hard on some people requiring hospitalisation and it kills. We know it can totally overwhelm our health systems if allowed to spread. Don’t think that there are 66 million people in the UK and only 20,000 have dies so the mortality rate is very low. It’s not. We have few deaths because we stopped its progress. The mortality is not super high either. But the virus is causing major problems that we can’t cope with in hospitals.

We simply had to stop it. We had to get our health systems in better shape – beds, PPE, testing etc. The big question is are we ready now and what do we do now. Not locking down would have been massively risky.

RDawg
RDawg
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

Hi BoneyKnee,

First of all I think this might not be the website for you. The clue is in the name: lockdown SCEPTICS.

Secondly, re my claim on background risk, that was reported on this very website:

Stanford professor of medicine John Ioannidis explains in a new one-hour interview the results of several new studies on Covid19. According to Professor Ioannidis, the lethality of Covid19 is “in the range of seasonal flu“. For people under 65 years of age, the mortality risk even in the “hotspots“ is comparable to the daily car ride to work, while for healthy people under 65 years of age, the mortality risk is “completely negligible“. Only in New York City was the mortality risk for persons under 65 years of age comparable to a long-distance truck driver.
Watch his interview here: https://youtu.be/cwPqmLoZA4s

Re your point on Italy: “On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,” – Prof. Walter Ricciardi, scientific adviser to Italy’s minister of health.

John Bradley
John Bradley
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

Hi RDawg
I agree with the points you make in your original post, nicely expressed. Many others do too, judging by the number of likes.
I do welcome the views of contributors who have a different outlook though. I think it would be a shame if this website developed into an echo chamber and the only people who contributed were sceptics. Your reply to BoneyKnee strengthened your argument. Let’s welcome debate and other viewpoints.

DebateIsGood
DebateIsGood
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

This is the perfect website for BoneyKnee, if we reason with him he might join our scepticism. Remember, we must preach to more than just the converted.

RDawg
RDawg
1 month ago
Reply to  DebateIsGood

Good point.

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

I am not a sceptic. I am not even sure what that means. I do believe that this lock-down has to be lifted and carefully. I’ve learned a bit on this site. I think Toby is rather tabloid in his approach and many of the commentators are far more thoughtful. I do believe that political leadership is needed to sensibly get us through. Simply saying “We are doing what the science says is a complete cop out & is clearly designed for the politicians to all point fingers at the scientific community post event.

Thanks for the Ioannidis link. His statement is driven by one set of tests of 3,300 people in one county. He does warn that this gives a fifty-fold change in mortality rate. Taking all that and extrapolating across the whole of the US. I am not saying he is wrong and it’s super deadly. I think the fact is we do not know. I am not a pessimist. It would be terrific is Iaonanidis is correct and a larger datasets support his.

I do not think that the lock down was the wrong choice – so I am not a lock down sceptic in that sense. I do believe that it needs to be ended ASAP while trying to minimise spread and deaths. That might not be as difficult as some believe.

RDawg
RDawg
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

Hi BoneyKnee,

I concede there are scientists and epidemiologists on both sides of this debate, and still nobody really knows the true infection fatality rate. However, I think we can safely say that this is not the bubonic plague, nor is it Ebola.

What I’m in favour of is a proportionate response to the threat posed by this virus. When the government measures put in place risk causing more deaths and economic devastation than the virus itself, we have to question if locking down to the extreme really is the answer.

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

I can agree this is not anything close to Ebola or plague in terms of mortality. And I can agree we need a proportionate response. We just differ on exactly what that is. I am OK with this lock down to buy some time and get the spread stopped. I think you don’t think we should have done it.

We are probably both on the same page on “What now?”. Simply saying “more of the same until we say otherwise” doesn’t work for me – and I know it doesn’t for you.

Barney McGrew
Barney McGrew
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

“We know it can totally overwhelm our health systems if allowed to spread.” No we don’t. We know that in certain locales, compounded with bad decisions, hospitals can be overwhelmed, possibly even more that they routinely are in bad flu seasons, but not to such an extent that the economy should be ruined.

This happened in 2018 in the UK. Were you even aware of it?
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/11/nhs-winter-crisis-hospital-felt-like-something-out-of-a-war-zone
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/25/nhs-hospitals-serious-shortages-vital-equipment
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/08/nhs-hospitals-emergency-measures-winter-crisis

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago
Reply to  Barney McGrew

Yes. I was aware. The NHS is on the edge every winter and they have cancelled elective procedures before. I think what we have now is very different in the scale.

Tim Bidie
Tim Bidie
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

Quite clearly it is not different in scale, particularly given that Britain’s population has increased by 400,000 net every year for at least 20 years now. Have a look at this website which illustrates the point

http://inproportion2.talkigy.com/

Sunchap
Sunchap
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

Well said. The situation here in New Zealand would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.

Our neighbour, Australia, has had a very light lockdown, ie kept 90% of businesses operating, whereas we shut down about 90%. Their mortality rate per million is actually LOWER than ours but our PM has extended our lockdown. Surfers have been arrested at the beach…for surfing…

In New Zealand, we have had 15 people die, almost all of them in rest homes. Normally 500 die every year from the flu. The PM is taking the credit for this “low toll”, even though all evidence is now clear. The IFR of Covid-19 is 0.1% – the same as the flu.

Our tourism industry ie 16% of our economy is being destroyed as our PM wants to “eradicate” the bug and all tourism is to be banned for months. Our leader’s (supposed) Science Expert, has not even requested a mass, random, antibody test to discover the true infection rate. If he did, he would of course discover eradication is impossible as overseas serology tests have shown massive under counting of infections.

How can a Government be so stupid?

Ethelred the Unready
Ethelred the Unready
1 month ago
Reply to  Sunchap

But, here in UK, our BBC tells us daily that St. Jacinda -The-Woke is perfect in all ways, are you perhaps mistaken Sunchap?

wendyk
wendyk
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

What a very sensible analysis and most welcome.
Could the government not start to provide some hope for the future now, with the aim of maintaining public support and overcoming the fear and panic?
Significant investments in businesses and industries now languishing in limbo; support for R&D to promote the resurrection of British manufacturing.
How about abandoning the HS2 vanity project and transferring the funds to pay for an increase in public transport networks, especially in rural areas like Cornwall?
Rescind the controversial Huawei deal- and no I don’t believe that 5G masts spread covid- and reward another company, while committing to ensuring that much of the work is done herein the UK.
Promise an increased and better funded apprenticeship scheme for the future.
Young people need hope; they need to be educated and to learn; let them start work again.
Children should be back at school.
And yes, let’s remove the cotton wool: we aren’t children, most of us are responsible adults who accept an inevitable element of risk in our lives.
And the rising incidence of unrelated morbidity , both physical and mental, must be tackled sooner rather than later.

Annabel Andrew
Annabel Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

Good post – and sums up everything up.

I am feeling so frustrated that we seem to be in this situation where the blindingly obvious is staring us all in the face and yet we are being forced down a completely ridiculous and dangerous route.

If only, right at the beginning, GP surgeries were asked to collate information from their patients as to symptoms, we would be able to see very quickly that this virus is not as deadly as was initially believed and, most importantly, it looked as though many people have already had it.

It is awful to feel so helpless and hopeless in a country that purports to be a) a democracy and b) free.

Tonight I will be clapping for freedom (as I write this I cannot believe I am having to) and those people who have lost livelihoods, businesses, jobs and futures.

Boris – get your act together.

Catherine Young
Catherine Young
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

RDawg, that’s superbly expressed. I hope you don’t mind if I copy and paste with credit?

RDawg
RDawg
1 month ago

Of course! 🙂 I just wish we could get something like this in the mainstream media.
If you want to credit, probably don’t use my alias as it might lack credibility LOL. My real name is Ryan Karter.
Take care.

Wendyk
Wendyk
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

Could you upload it somewhere where it would be more widely read Ryan? It’s such a well composed rebuttal of the rationale which has led us to this impasse.

RDawg
RDawg
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendyk

Thank you. I wouldn’t know where to begin to be honest. The big issue is that the mainstream media is generally in favour of lockdown, so trying to present such an argument to a wider audience proves a difficult challenge.

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

Somebody work out how we can go about getting RDawg’s “in favour and against” enforced and this lockdown lunacy ended. This is going to have to become a DIY set of laws, as whitehall’s set is against magna carta, human rights, civil liberties, economic reason and the best interests of future NHS funding.

Wendyk
Wendyk
1 month ago
Reply to  Jimmy

Spiked might do it; they’re also challenging the lockdown. Worth a try. Attach copy of Magna Carta and ask Brendan O’Neill to publish it with attribution to RDawg /Ryan Karter.
Perhaps a group request from this site might get results.

RDawg
RDawg
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendyk

Hi Wendy, if you have his e-mail address I’ll happily send it to him…

Wendyk
Wendyk
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

viv.regan@spiked-online.com

This is their general address RDawg; if you send it as a priority marked for Brendan O’Neill’s attention, it should get through.

Spiked are generally in favour of challenging the status quo..

If you want support from your fans here, just put a comment up.

May the force be with you!

RDawg
RDawg
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendyk

Thanks and done! 🙂

Nigel Baldwin
Nigel Baldwin
1 month ago
Reply to  RDawg

One thing: over 70s need visitors. They need to see their grandchildren, probably the only thing some of them live for. The isolation of these people (my mother is 96) is overwhelming and killing them as efficiently as any poxy virus might. Basically its solitary confinement which some government agencies around the world consider torture.

Sally
Sally
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Baldwin

Over 70s need more than visitors. They need the right to venture out into the world if they so wish. Many, perhaps most, will choose to minimise interactions with others, but some will prefer to carry on as normal and they should be allowed to do so. They are not a threat to anyone else.

Ralph
Ralph
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally

If the old do start going out I wonder if “policeman beats up grandmother” might be the sort of headline which could get the herd thinking that it is about time lockdown was ended. Right now the old are seen as only in danger from the virus, despite the fact that although the fatality rate is somewhere around 10% for the elderly they are still also in huge danger from being unable to get normal medical treatments or having cancers go undiagnosed longer, or dementia caused by a lack of mental stimulation. If they were seen as in danger from the police might that change things?

John Linford
John Linford
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally

I’ll be 70 in August and the idea that I am in some way “vulnerable” is laughable. I’m still running a business, albeit quiescent at the moment, I cycle and climb mountains. I have no medical conditions and take no prescriptions. I am damned if the government will single me and others like me out as being incapable of doing anything other than sitting at home festering for the rest of our lives.

Colin
Colin
23 days ago
Reply to  John Linford

“!the idea that I am in some way “vulnerable” is laughable.”

You don’t know that.

Gracie Knoll
Gracie Knoll
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally

Agreed. I had a phone conversation with one of my business clients a couple of days ago; she is 70 years old and a retired scientist with a PhD.

Despite this she has been swallowing the mainstream propaganda hook, line, sinker, rod and copy of “Angling Times”. (I often find that people with high academic credentials display staggering levels of credulousness when it comes to anything outside their specialist discipline.)

I mentioned to her that the Govt is likely to lock her in for anything from 3 to 18 months until the vaccine arrives.

Her reply was along the lines of “WHAAAAAT? You’ve got to be JOKING! I can cope with maybe another 6 weeks of this, maximum, and then I’m bloody well going out, virus or no virus. I’ll take my chances, thank you very much!”

If an Establishment-programmed 70 year old like this lady is not going to comply with the “rules” for much longer, I can’t see any of our more feisty oldsters going along with the agenda either – to say the least!

The hippie generation is rebelling!

Caswell Bligh
Caswell Bligh
1 month ago
Reply to  Gracie Knoll

“I often find that people with high academic credentials display staggering levels of credulousness when it comes to anything outside their specialist discipline”

Spot on. It drives me mad.

Colin
Colin
23 days ago
Reply to  Sally

Over 70s are not forbidden from leaving their homes. They are strongly advised to stay put, but the rules are the same for everyone.

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago

Today I will agree with some of Toby’s piece. It’s a massive mistake not to explain to people how the current severe limitation might get lifted – even if the timing and exact changes cannot be fully pinned right now. If you don’t then you get the result that Toby shows of mixed messages, “Light at the end of the tunnel” which there is as the cases today are falling BUT it’s not the end. It’s not really the peak. This is a false peak that we induced by the shutdown. The obvious question for all of is “OK. We now have some control. What next?” For Government to fail to discuss “What next?” & in Hancock’s case point blank to refuse is awful. The only way to keep everyone together is to involve them and allow them to follow your thinking.

The death rate in the UK of NHS staff? More or Less does yet another back-of-an-envelope calculation. As Tim Harford says the base figure that start with are locked up at home. They then go on to look at another set of assumptions and say that the numbers can go the other way. They then look at the stats for bus workers and conclude they are dying much faster than us. What do I take away from all this? We don’t know. The base population rates are all over the shop because of the lock down. The actual reported deaths are dubious unless tested. Those trying to prove the NHS are not dying of Coved at an increased rate are like Toby with an agenda.

Today, we get a “study” that shows smoking helps. Well, it’s one pre-published paper. It raises an interesting medical point but is unproven and inconclusive. Toby is using it to imply that banning cigarette sales might be stupid on medical grounds – a rather tabloid type move. I think it’s stupid because smoking will help some people with the stress of all this & taking that away doesn’t help or hinder virus spread. I am quite sure from a medical perspective smoking is overall very bad for you.

As for controlling what goes on the large social media platforms? Of course we have to. Look at the 5G causes Covid posts. They have scientific studies supporting them and talking heads saying it’s true. And we have mobile masts being burned down. It’s all a question of degree.

GLT
GLT
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

I don’t think either the ‘More or Less’ team or yesterday’s commentator are ‘trying to prove that NHS are not dying at an increased rate’. They are simply pointing out that the way the figures are presented in the media suggests a higher rate that does not appear to be supported by the current data. This, of course, may change as we get further data.

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago
Reply to  GLT

I didn’t mean to imply More or Less was trying to prove one or the other was true. They were I think showing that it is not at all clear from the stats – but common sense does help understand that a very simple analysis is wrong.

Tim Bidie
Tim Bidie
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

It is the Health Service Journal itself that has done the research and reports:

‘……the data does not clearly show that healthcare workers are dying at rates proportionately higher than other employed individuals or even the population as a whole.’

Their agenda is simple:

‘In recent weeks, there has been sustained public and media interest in the death from covid-19 of health and social care workers. Both mainstream and social media outlets have been reporting on these deaths individually or collectively but we are not aware of any formal analysis of this data. Here we set out that analysis.’

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Bidie

Thanks for this link. It beats the More or Less noddle and has a surprising result. It is pretty heavily caveated and again points to the problem of good data. They used media reports only – that’s the best they had. They did use doctors to do the analysis so isn’t the back-of-a fag-packet stuff Toby was indulging in the other day. Here is the link. It’s worth a read.

https://www.hsj.co.uk/exclusive-deaths-of-nhs-staff-from-covid-19-analysed/7027471.article

I am still not sure why these reports should make me sceptical about the lock-down.

Tim Bidie
Tim Bidie
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

The point about NHS workers is that certain press reports are trying to show that they are dying from a lack of provision of adequate personal protection equipment. The Health Service Journal report indicates that to be unlikely.

And that kind of inaccurate reporting seems widespread; sensationalist.

In fact much Covid 19 data is unreliable, for various reasons.

So the lockdown was imposed on the basis of unreliable evidence; a statistical model used to generate scary mortality rates based on poor Covid 19 data.

It is a political lockdown, with no medical utility, as the example of Sweden (no lockdown, similar medical outcomes) demonstrates.

A growing number of people are wising up to this and are not happy about it.

Why not join them?

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Bidie

I am OK with the lock down as a precautionary measure given the problems the virus caused in Italy and Spain. Remember that it is not only the UK that concluded restrictions were necessary. The data isn’t there and the virus is a killer and contagious. We needed to get a breather, data and prepared. I can join you on “What do we have to do now or rather, we’ve stopped it but how do we move out of paralysis?”

ThomasPelham
ThomasPelham
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

How do you define ‘killer’? Many viruses are killers. This one seems to have a less than 0.5% IFR (New York) which is heavily skewed towards people with pre-existing health problems.

I say less than because that IFR was seen in a city in which health services became overwhelmed, and more people died with/of than otherwise would have happened.

So the lockdown was sold as preventing that scenario. We were shown a graph with beds per 1000 at 8, and a line which simulated the current situation + school closures which required at least 16 beds per 1000.

Manifestly that scenario has been avoided, although it’s rather hard to put it all on the lockdown; partly it was the NHS scaling up beds in a short period of time. Partly it was better hygiene, partly it was advisory social distancing. Partly, it was the lockdown itself. It seems to me that it’s quite possible that the first 3 of those would have been sufficient but even on the lockdown’s own logic we should surely, once over the simulated need for beds, be able to go to the situation which led to 16 beds per 1000 needed.

But there are a couple of other problems. Our measures came in too late to have caused the peak; there is a well established average time to death of 21-24 days. The peak of deaths is that length of time before the peak of cases (because there is a straightforward link between the two.) That suggests our cases peak came in the week before lockdown.

If you can find me some better data on time to death that shows it to be a week slower, then fair enough. But this pattern has been the case in a number of places; lockdowns happen when governments panic in the exponential phase of the disease, but the disease seems to level off before they can possibly have time to.

Why is this? Is there a ceiling on infections? Is it far less deadly than we thought? Are some, especially younger people, basically not measurably affected at all?

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Bidie

PS As many here simply believe that the lock down is unnecessary – we don’t have proper data to see yet. I also tend to believe that lack of PPE for people close to the problem will increase deaths. Again, a lack of proper data and analysis means my belief can’t be proven.

Barney McGrew
Barney McGrew
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

You say there’s a lot about the virus we don’t know, but use the word ‘lockdown’ as though we know exactly what it means. So what are the consequences of lockdown? Do you have any scientific references to back up your answers?

wendyk
wendyk
1 month ago

https://covid.joinzoe.com/data#levels-over-time

Here is the Kings College Covid tracker report for today; numbers are falling steadily

Cbird
Cbird
1 month ago
Reply to  wendyk

Thanks. Interesting. I have just signed up and shared the tracker app – the more the merrier I think!

SteveB
SteveB
1 month ago

Latest numbers in from not-locked-down Sweden. “Intensivvårdade fall/dag” being probably the best indicator.

https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/09f821667ce64bf7be6f9f87457ed9aa

Ethelred the Unready
Ethelred the Unready
1 month ago

The Government’s position is sadly, entirely political, dressed up in a nice, caring frock. Their calculation is damage limitation. They care not whether you or I die, or if our businesses and livelihoods are destroyed. They care only about their own political capital. In fairness, when was it not this way? Presently, our Government fears that any relaxation of the ‘lockdown’ may risk further deaths and, importantly, thereby provide their critics with political ammunition. Hence, they are rabbits in the headlights glare, unable and unprepared to make any movement whatsoever. The Nation is in stasis due not to fear of a virus, but to fear of that viruses political fallout.

Jane
Jane
1 month ago

Time for the people to change the balance, make sure the government know that the political fallout of lockdown will be worse, and that they know that we know they will be responsible for the fallout of lockdown and that we won’t merely put it down to “that’s what viruses do”.

Oaks79
Oaks79
1 month ago

Seeing posts on social media of a picture and its Godzilla attacking a city and people screaming “run” then others saying “relax he has only killed 4000, flu kills 25000 a year”

Thoughts….

Quentin
Quentin
1 month ago
Reply to  Oaks79

Think instead of people in a very well armoured bunker (the kind which can resist godzilla’s footfall) shouting “we’re as safe as we can be, but just in case lets also throw away all our luxuries and spend our time spying on each other”. The bunker is the immune systems of most of our population (most people get a miserable two weeks of something worse than flu) plus basic social distancing measures,restrictions on VERY large gatherings, shielding of the frail and elderly and decent hand and mask hygiene. What those of us against the lockdown say is “the bunker is what we need, we’ll reinforce the roof and otherwise keep life going in here”, reinforcing the roof is betetr capacity and pay for the NHS. We don’t say the virus shouldn’t have precautions taken against it, we are NOT 5G cosnpiracy theorists, we are not ant-vaccine nutters. We say that we shouldn’t take extreme measures derived from “politicians logic” . “my cat has four legs, dogs have four legs, hence my cat is a dog” is a logical proposition equal to “we must do something, lockdown is something, hence we must do lockdown”.

Tim Bidie
Tim Bidie
1 month ago
Reply to  Oaks79

Godzilla was much misunderstood.

BoneyKnee
BoneyKnee
1 month ago

Just listened to Nicola Sturgeon who right now is showing more sense and leadership than Raab, Hancock and co. They have published a 26 page document. We might not agree with the content but it is a starting point for discussion and reflection. It sets out what they are assuming/believe and how they will approach the problems.

It’s to be contrasted with Westminster telling us every 24 hours how may have died – give or take – and how PPE will be fixed and testing will be fixed but…no….we can’t talk about your lives next week….that would be be inappropriate.

Ethelred the Unready
Ethelred the Unready
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

Sturgeon is cunning. She enjoys the power that lockdown brings as much as the next politician, however what she enjoys even more is making the Westminster Government look tin eared. By publishing her lockdown release thoughts, she has scored a clever political Point

Wendyk
Wendyk
1 month ago

She’s been pre-empting the government since this started and has not missed an opportunity , both to insist on an extension to the Brexit process ,and to put Westminster on the spot.

(Although we shouldn’t forget CMO Calderwood’s spectacular own goal.)

The raison d’etre is to keep pushing the indyref case which is the last thing we need. (I write from north of the border.)

wendyk
wendyk
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

Good comment and I agree, but one has to question Sturgeon’s motives, since her ultimate aim is to push for another referendum and to defer the Brexit negotiations.

If everyone in government, including the devolved administrations, would come together to present an openly unified proposal for ending this increasingly damaging lockdown, matters might move forward for the benefit of the UK as a whole.

Paul Seale
Paul Seale
1 month ago
Reply to  wendyk

I couldn’t really care less about her ulterior motives, at least she is providing leadership and an exit strategy. Boris is missing in action. Lets not forget Churchill’s physician feared he may die of pneumonia in 1943. Did his idols disappear to chequers for a month?

Barney McGrew
Barney McGrew
1 month ago
Reply to  BoneyKnee

For me, the most significant thing is that she used the words “[we] must find a better balance than the one we have right now”. That’s an actual acknowledgement that the lockdown may be a step too far, and that perhaps deferring every possible Covid-19 death as long as absolutely possible is not a sensible long term strategy. As far as I can tell, our government, such as it is, doesn’t acknowledge this – with huge ramifications for business and the population’s mental well-being.

As the i newspaper reports it:

‘This week saw Dominic Raab admit in the daily press conference that there was “light at the end of the tunnel” before quickly revising it to a “glimmer of light”, presumably for fear of offering the public too much hope’.

Gko
Gko
1 month ago

https://www.epicentro.iss.it/coronavirus/bollettino/Bollettino-sorveglianza-integrata-COVID-19_16-aprile-2020.pdf

Age stratified mortality with Italian health workers on page 12

I assume this is not even counting asymptomatic (CFR vs IFR)

maudboggins
maudboggins
1 month ago

https://apple.news/AL2bVCHqQRMKezf4_Bw_J9w

HALF OF EUROPEAN COVID-19 DEATHS IN CARE HOMES (as proven in Italy and as I estimated four weeks ago).

So that’s approx 9,000 dead in British care homes, another, say 10% infected whilst IN hospitals (minimum according to the 7 NHS doctors I have asked in varying parts of the country), meaning complete destruction of the UK economy over 7,000 deaths.

Since when did we become so unutterably stupid?

Quarantine and up protection in hospitals and care homes, dry our eyes and crack on. This lockdown lunacy is the single biggest mistake this country will have made in the history of its existence.

Fiery
Fiery
1 month ago
Reply to  maudboggins

Many people in care homes have zero quality of life if I was suffering the indignities of Alzheimer’s or some other terminal and debilitating condition I’d welcome the chance of Covid 19 ending my suffering and certainly wouldn’t want to be shielded and at some point vaccinated just so I could endure a few more years of a living hell and being a cash cow for some private company.

Harry
Harry
1 month ago
Reply to  Fiery

I’ve lost relatives to Alzheimer’s and to pneumonia, the one who slipped away with pneumonia went much quicker and which much less suffering, got to mostly live a life until the last few days.

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Harry

“the one who slipped away with pneumonia went much quicker and which much less suffering”

Pneumonia used to be called “the old man’s friend” for this reason.

Barney McGrew
Barney McGrew
1 month ago

Is everyone here totally convinced that there isn’t more to the lockdown than appears at face value? Might there be something we don’t know? Is it an experiment in social control? Are financial deals being done between the WHO, Imperial College, Bill Gates and others? Is it a vehicle for imposing increased surveillance in general? A global ‘controlled demolition’ of the debt bubble..?

I wouldn’t normally think such things, but our ‘government’ seems to be so utterly brain dead over this, that one begins to wonder…

Tim Bidie
Tim Bidie
1 month ago
Reply to  Barney McGrew

I believe it is just politics. After all, a lockdown is a one way bet. If things get worse, the government cannot be accused of inaction. If things get better, then ‘they saved us’. Probably quite a few European governments decided to act in concert. Unfortunately for them, Sweden has an independent health authority run by people who know what they are talking about and so are trusted by the population. A lesson there for this country, since Sweden’s outcomes are similar to ours without any official lockdown.

My hope is that this embarrassing silliness, which is what it will, sooner or later, be revealed as having been, will create a consensus for change: the depoliticisation of health and education, and far reaching, long overdue, reform of the civil service; for starters.

Mark Hunter
Mark Hunter
1 month ago
Reply to  Barney McGrew

When it became apparent in early February that “the coronavirus” wasn’t going away, I said to my partner “this is a giant, global social engineering exercise.” With each new step taken in early March, up until lockdown, nothing changed my mind on that.

We’re being pushed, prodded and controlled. Trolled and lied to. That very fact that virtually every country on earth suddenly adopted almost identical tactics – apart from Sweden – with almost no political opposition, tells me this isn’t political. It’s bigger than that.

And now we’ve given our freedoms away and have the carrots of tracing apps, vaccines etc in front of us and the big stick of “3 more weeks of lockdown” hovering over our arses, we’re getting ready to roll over and accept whatever “new normal” the powers-that-be deign us worthy of living in.

Then, of course, we learn that 77th Brigade is involved, and, as we say in Glasgow, the games a bogie.

Harry
Harry
1 month ago
Reply to  Barney McGrew

I struggle to believe that the types of b*stards who would want to carry out a global catastrophic conspiracy could keep together long enough without each betraying the others for hope of personal gain. There’s nothing particularly malicious about the WHO or Imperial College, just some cockups which have been acted on out of all proportion. And for all the EVILS of Windows 10 (an operating system designed to remove choice from users and increase dependence on remote corporate servers) Bill Gates hasn’t actually run the Micro$oft company since much earlier and has been up to some genuinely noble medical work in some of his time since. The crimes of the lockdown are being perpetrated by individual governments, none of whom I imagine could manage to work together so as to mastermind anything, these are organisations where cockups lead to promotions. What is more concerning is that without need for conspiracy some of these governments will be very unwilling to relax their draconian powers, evil nations will make attacks on vital infrastructures of freedom such as cash payments, using fear to corral populations towards the evils of remotely-interferable cashless payments.

John Linford
John Linford
1 month ago
Reply to  Harry

Indeed, I tend to the cock up theory in preference to conspiracy. This particular cock up has, unfortunately, got a life of its own now and there are far too many “important” people who fear that their reputation is at stake for them to now back down.

Gracie Knoll
Gracie Knoll
1 month ago
Reply to  Barney McGrew

One possible agenda is COMPULSORY vaccinations. This is something of a Holy Grail for the Pharma industry, which is run by people as corrupt as those at the top of the banking industry.

Pharma is facing the prospect of a slow decline. Consumers are finding more self-help information on the internet – in the USA especially, where healthcare costs are crippling, “wellness” movements are starting up in which people are trying to avoid massive bills by getting well and staying well through their own efforts. Healthy people make lousy customers.

Medical whistleblowers such as Professor Peter Gotzsche (Cochrane Collaboration), Dr Richard Smith (British Medical Journal) and Dr Marcia Angell (New England Journal of Medicine) are exposing the dirty tricks of the drug companies and their prioritisation of profits over drug safety and efficiency. Some of this is getting widespread publicity.

The net result is that Joe Public is gradually getting more suspicious and unwilling to load up on medication.

But if the population could be LEGALLY FORCED to accept the industry’s products, this would be a game-changer for the companies involved. It would be like Ford Motors colluding with the Govt to ensure that EVERYONE must buy a Ford – you can’t buy any other make of car, not can you refuse to buy a car at all. And you’ve got to buy a new model every year!

I have flagged this up elsewhere as what I call a “medico-legal Rubicon” that we MUST resist crossing at all costs.

From a medico-legal viewpoint, once we have lost the ability to refuse a medical or pharmaceutical intervention, and we have no say in what can or cannot be inserted into our bodies, then we have lost sovereignty over our own bodies. (A fundamental human right.)

In simpler terms: legally, we are no longer the owners of our bodies – the Government is. And by extension, so is the Pharma industry. Does anyone think the latter would stop at ONE compulsory vaccination?

This is the thin end of a very big wedge which could be leveraged to erode our rights on a grand scale.

To be clear, I have no problem whatsoever with voluntary vaccination. Compulsory vaccination is quite another matter.

If this is in the pipeline, the Pharma industry is running out of time. In a few more months the world will start developing herd immunity and a vaccine won’t be necessary and a compulsory one won’t be accepted. But if the fear-porn can just be kept going a bit longer……….$$$$$$$$$!! Time for the industry to put pressure on its many pet politicians – “keep the lockdown going, if you know what’s good for you – capice?”

Paul Seale
Paul Seale
1 month ago

Oh, Mr Young, what have we become? At times I simply do not where to begin. As a starting point the medical industry’s desire to extend life with no regard for the quality of it increasingly seems to be the fundamental logic behind this lockdown and the economic fallout.

At times I simply despair but thankfully and with each passing moment there are more and more of us who seek to question “authority” and “scientists” not because we are experts but because we value discourse, logic and reasoning and have the gumption to research and ask questions ourselves and enhance our own intellect. The statistics back us more each day, we were not afraid to be wrong and I (and I am certain most who have challenged group think) will take no pleasure in being “right”, lives have been lost but at what cost?

Thank you Toby for this website and with special mention Dr Prof Sir Delingpole MBA BA QC, Peter Hitchens and Hector Drummond among others for giving a voice to the silent and marginalised minority and for allowing our voices to be heard even in some small part. The debt of gratitude we owe you will most likely be lost in the annals of history but I sincerely thank you for bring attempting to bring rational debate to an increasingly irrational world.

wendyk
wendyk
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Seale

Mass emoting, rather than reasoning, seems to be the order of the day., and politicians are seemingly too cowed to challenge it.

The misguided drive to prolong life at all costs, and the widespread reluctance to accept that death will get us all in the end, and the essentially consumerist attitude to treatment which now prevails, is responsible in no small part for the limbo in which we now find ourselves.

Nursing homes are for those who are reaching the end of life, for whatever reason, which is why palliative care is the most appropriate.

Relief of distress, fear and general discomfort with suitable nursing support, not heroic interventions, are what is needed .

Alarmist headlines about deaths in nursing homes are whipping up panic and encouraging unrealistic demands. Old frail people die, but their deaths can be eased and accompanied in the right setting.

When working in hospitals, I disputed countless times the reliance on crash teams and obligatory resuscitation, regardless of prognosis and age.

Questioning the need for a resus trolley in a nursing home and asking to refuse to participate on principle in any and every resuscitation event marked me down as a troublesome heretic, but I’ve never regretted this.

The hysteria surrounding the death rates amongst the very old ,frail and debilitated is irresponsible

Polemon2
Polemon2
1 month ago

It seems clear to me that the NHS wants this all to continue for as long as possible so that we are all aware of how wonderful they are -despite spreading the virus by discharging early – and will happily pay for whatever they want.. I see, from today’s government slides that at no time has the occupancy of intensive care beds has never been above 60% and yet we still seem to need 7 “Nightingale” hospitals. I bet the cost of those is not coming out of this year’s NHS budget!

Mark Hunter
Mark Hunter
1 month ago
Reply to  Polemon2

It’s just under 2 hours until the state-mandated applause of love for the NHS. “Thank you for only 18,000 deaths, NHS. Thank you.”

wendyk
wendyk
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Hunter

The streets are alive to the sound of clapping…..where is Julie Andrews when we need her?

Decima
Decima
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Hunter

Just so you know, I didn’t ask for this clapping stuff and frankly find it deeply embarrassing. Most of my colleagues think it’s weird too,mostly because we’ve never been so far from the”front line” in our careers. Also because it’s disconcertingly like the 2 minutes of hate in 1984. The NHS is a top down, badly led perpetual failure, which is why we have no patients to nurse and no PPE during this “crisis”. Don’t clap, go outside and scream because that’s what I’m doing inside every day. There is nothing I can do but wait and worry about my patients waiting for their procedures hoping that we’ll get there in time after this debacle is over.

Dylan Jones
Dylan Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Decima

Thank you for your candid honesty Decima. I agree wholeheartedly, I think we have out-Orwelled Orwell – Covid-19(84). I think the disgraceful media outlets across the globe – Weapons of Mass Deception, have proven to be more dangerous than anything produced in this or the last century.

Sunchap
Sunchap
1 month ago
Reply to  Polemon2

I think every country now needs a: “Don’t Panic Sergeant Mannering Act”, with a requirement for evidence before health measures can be enacted…

Otherwise a MSM run by 26 year olds, and the internet will whip up another panic which career politicians will kowtow to. A Churchill or Thatcher is very rare.

Voice of Logic
Voice of Logic
1 month ago

We need actuaries assessing all negative impacts to society not just Wuhan Virus deaths. We’ve found death acceptable in past flu pandemics w/o shutting down the country, so why is there no discussion or no specific analysis of ALL COST & BENEFITS TO ALL PEOPLE”? If the difference between lock down & BEING FREE is 0.01% less deaths, is is worth ruining the livelihoods of millions of others?

Derrick J Byford
Derrick J Byford
1 month ago

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.04.20053058v1

“Home outbreaks were the dominant category (254 of 318 outbreaks; 79.9%), followed by transport (108; 34.0%; note that many outbreaks involved more than one venue category). Most home outbreaks involved three to five cases. We identified only a single outbreak in an outdoor environment, which involved two cases. Conclusions: All identified outbreaks of three or more cases occurred in an indoor environment, which confirms that sharing indoor space is a major SARS-CoV-2 infection risk.”

robinh
robinh
1 month ago

Thank you for convening this site to curate research & analysis with the same high journalistic standard with which you write your broadsheet columns. You are a rare representative of an intelligent balanced perspective sorely missing in all but occasional corners of the mainstream media.

I can’t adequately express my frustration at hearing otherwise excellent journalists from a range of media outlets at the daily briefing. They use their platform to ask almost identical questions to one another, flogging topics such as PPE without hint of a curve ball. I suspect none wish to take the slightest risk. Thank you, Toby, for showing some fighting spirit and altruism. How I wish radio 4 would move the profile of analysis of figures from more-or-less to the flagship ‘Today’ aired beforehand, or better still, invite in some of the researchers you reference.

I fear I have little to add to the discussion; your article & some excellent comments cover all salient points. Might I just highlight something Polemon2’s post brought to mind. Whether at elections or budget, every bit of society battles for its place in the media and sings of the woeful shortcomings in funding. Not a winter passes without the annual NHS forecast of doom, and we expect a ‘boy sleeping on floor’ in the papers representing any government’s opposition at the time. Now the dog has a bone; scientists from medical fields with a platform to hang onto and make their voice heard for as long as they can hold fort. Government and public hang on their daily words of wisdom and prophecy. From only the energy of the reverential clapping of hands, our new prophets perform miracles moving goalposts & defying logic in a way us unworthy mortals may never comprehend. It’s a shame Boris has been too personally involved to notice the coup; perhaps others in the 1922 will prove more enlightened.

Supportive of the NHS as I am, both in spirit and in part by employment, I’m surprised that medical advisors to the government are keen to maintain the status quo whereby so many are at best failing to receiving diagnosis for fatal diseases, and at worst are being directly caused harm – in particular, mental health disorders. The NHS staff saved from the stress of a particularly-pointy-sombrero shaped curve, are surely going to be hit so much harder by the backlog of non-Covid-19 illness and tighter purse strings which follow.
(Damn. I ranted. I didn’t mean to. I’ll make a donation in recompense)

Oaks79
Oaks79
1 month ago

Cuomo: DEATH RATE MAY BE APPROX 0.5% OF PEOPLE INFECTED of which 95% are elderly or at risk so for everyone else its more like .025%.

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/new-york-virus-deaths-top-15k-cuomo-expected-to-detail-plan-to-fight-nursing-home-outbreaks/2386556/

Laura
Laura
1 month ago
Reply to  Oaks79

Oh, my anger is boiling up. I’m so angry. How could we just sit back and take this a few weeks ago, and take another three weeks of it, and we will accept another few weeks until June, at least? Why? And YES – the journalists asking questions have a one-track mind. Surprised they haven’t lost their jobs yet.

Csaba
Csaba
1 month ago

Toby, thank you for this article. I like it so much. We are definitely one step closer to the truth. Slowly more and more people will see that something is wrong with the current approache.

Ritchie2
Ritchie2
1 month ago

Great site.

A few points I’d like to make.

1. This is touted as the biggest challenge facing the UK in my lifetime and probably since WWII. Yet we can’t seem to get accurate case/death statistics on weekends. Karen from St Thomas hospital seemingly does not do weekends regardless of the level of emergency the world is facing.

2. The grotesque clapping of NHS workers every Thursday needs to stop. People that work in the NHS are brilliant, heroes in a lot of cases but I think they have the message and the challenge now is to reward them financially for the long term.

3. As do the tick tock videos of nurses dancing around in wards and the ‘not so’ social distancing NHS staff and police we see on TV every Thursday. Remember a lot of people lost their livelihoods, businesses, savings and long term financial security because we were asked to protect the NHS and stay at home. Play the game.

4. Social distancing in supermarkets, in my opinion makes for a more chilled out shopping experience. No joke, I enjoyed taking my time and waiting my turn to move into the next designated 2x2m box.

5. Test, Test, Test was the advice from the WHO. In my opinion, accurate post mortem’s are equally, if not more important. Yet, the WHO has advised not to carry out post mortem on suspected cases?

6. Accurate cause of death and reporting of ‘with’ and ‘because of’ COVID have been completely muddied. I have no doubt at all that this is seriously affecting the numbers worldwide and increasing the mortality rate just as asymptomatic cases are doing the same.

7. The lockdown proves that you don’t need to travel from London to Manchester for a meeting. HS2 should be scrapped immediately. It also proves that heck of a lot of people can actually work from home and remain productive with the right resources.

As I said, great site, gives an alternative perspective which is very welcome in these troubled times.

Harry
Harry
1 month ago

Found an article at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/16/why-lockdown-skeptics-are-wrong/ which gives some interesting insights into the minds of those who aren’t sceptical yet. They decscribe how the lockdowns are supposed to buy time for hospital capacity to rise, and they try to play everything in terms of lives. What they forget is the nature of the lives at risk, nowhere does the article admit that the disease is only fatal to the young and healthy in a tiny proportion of cases. Nowhere does it tackle the dangers of state surveillance and authoritarian feature creep. Worth a read so we can better see the flaws in their arguments and how we need to focus when we want to show them the error of their pro-lockdown beliefs.

Peter Forsythe
1 month ago

I live in Hong Kong. Would people care to note how well we’re doing? Only four deaths, world’s lowest in per million population terms. And we have what I call “light lockdowns”: we can shop, go out when we want, even — gasp! — go to restaurants and eat out!
Because of our 2002 SARS experience, we ignored WHO and wore masks early on. And naturally distanced and disinfected.

Peter Forse
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Forsythe

PS: Maybe HK is ignored because we are China adjacent and China = Bad. But we ought be studied, because we’ve done well, best in world, and some of what we’ve done can be copied.

nowhereman
nowhereman
1 month ago

We should keep a close eye on Denmark, where nurseries and schools were reopened to under elevens some 9 days ago now. No sign of a second wave of infections so far….

ThomasPelham
ThomasPelham
1 month ago

It looks like Singapore are in trouble, this interests me (although it’s obviously tragic). It suggests that it’s virtually impossible to “dance” with this virus, as the widespread article “The Hammer and the Dance” proposes (essentially it proposes a hard lock-down then lengthy contact-tracing as the best way of dealing with COVID). It casts doubt on the new track-and-trace strategy which this longer lockdown appears to be heading towards, rather than simply a suppression whilst NHS gets itself into order.

Tim Bidie
Tim Bidie
1 month ago
Reply to  ThomasPelham

It seems to be the usual (sensationalised over here, but not in country) story: more cases because more testing:

‘MOH said the main increase on Wednesday “continues to be for work permit holders residing in dormitories, where we are picking up many more cases because of extensive testing.

“Most of these cases have a mild illness and are being monitored in the community isolation facilities or general ward of our hospitals. None of them is in the intensive care unit,” the health ministry said.’

https://www.nst.com.my/world/world/2020/04/586851/singapore-covid-19-cases-soar-10141

Gracie Knoll
Gracie Knoll
1 month ago

I thought this rather horrific post by an OffGuardian contributor deserves flagging up. (The emphasis at the last sentence is mine.)

https://off-guardian.org/2020/04/23/why-you-cant-trust-the-uks-daily-covid19-updates/

“This policy is literally a death sentence.
Shutting down the economy for a year, as being discussed on the BBC’s ‘Today’ program, yesterday is effectively a death sentence for a large number of the British population.
Even if food production is maintained in the UK, fresh produce is normally 100% imported during the spring season, our ability to pay for that food will dwindle as our businesses collapse and go into more and more debt.
Not only will inflation start to steal our savings as the bank of England prints pounds, as they are doing, but the Bank of England’s ability to print is limited. We are not able to ‘print to infinity’ as the USA can do, to pay unemployment benefits or even food stamps, off the backs of its foreign bond holders by virtue it’s status as the world reserve currency. The Pound is a small currency very vulnerable to the hostilities of the international markets.
The pound will eventually crash and starvation will follow because we import 30% of our food, that is 100% guaranteed if this ‘shut down’ continues for a year or even 6 months. Don’t depend on the IMF to save you because there are no countries able or perhaps willing to fund it.
The government are saying the lock down is not going to end any time soon, if that is the case THEY ARE EFFECTIVELY GOING TO MURDER A VERY LARGE PERCENTAGE OF THE BRITISH POPULATION.”

Gracie Knoll
Gracie Knoll
1 month ago

Earlier I posted a horrific scenario from a commenter on the OffGuardian site.

Now I’d like to redress the balance with an inspirational poem.

This has long been a favourite of mine; a few weeks ago its last lines came into my head and I looked up the full poem which I’d not read for quite a while – and I was blown away.

I suddenly realised that this poem could have been written specifically for this very moment in world history – did the guy have some sort of precognition? The language is of course metaphorical but it describes a springtime in which people are imprisoned; most are asleep but some are awake and trying to awaken the rest, and only by an immense effort of spiritual transformation will humanity succeed – and time is short.

A SLEEP OF PRISONERS by Christopher Fry

The human heart can go the lengths of God…
Dark and cold we may be, but this
Is no winter now. The frozen misery
Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move;
The thunder is the thunder of the floes,
The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.

Thank God our time is now when wrong
Comes up to face us everywhere,
Never to leave us till we take
The longest stride of soul we ever took.

Affairs are now soul size.
The enterprise
Is exploration into God.
Where are you making for? It takes
So many thousand years to wake,
But will you wake for pity’s sake!

(Note that Fry calls our enterprise, not an exploration “unto” God but exploration INTO God. We’re not seeking something outside ourselves; we have to awaken our inner divine attributes of love, compassion and courage – or perhaps for the non-theists, we have to awaken our inner potential; our best version of ourselves.)

Spring 2020. Affairs are now soul size.

Csaba
Csaba
1 month ago

For me the math does work out well. Can somebody help me? The government website and so worldometer shows such a high number of deaths for today in the Uk 687. Nhs website as per in today’ article shows 150. How can it work out when Scotland Wales and NI reports such a low numbers as well.
Where does the government get these extra numbers?

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk/

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