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Another Government U-Turn: Vaccine Passports on the Way

Sky News reports that today Ministers will discuss a Cabinet Office proposal to introduce vaccine and testing certificates for future international travel.

Responsibilities have already been divided up between government departments to look at the idea. If approved, the Department for Transport will be told to draw up plans for a certificate infrastructure. And the NHS will be told to prepare to let people access their vaccine status when preparing for international travel.

“Formal engagement” with other countries and international organisations will also begin, led by the Cabinet Office. The Foreign Office, meanwhile, will help design the international certificate system.

Sky News has been told Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has signed off on the proposal ahead of a meeting with other cabinet ministers tomorrow. A government insider stressed there is “nervousness” about when such a system will even be announced publicly, let alone rolled out for use.

A briefing paper prepared ahead of the COVID operations meeting tomorrow and seen by Sky News said: “We should not set even speculative timelines on when this may change border measures.” The policy will not be implemented until there is “sufficient scientific evidence” from the Government’s advisory group known as SAGE on the effects of vaccine and testing certificates.

A Government spokesperson did not deny the plan, telling Sky News: “The UK Government, like most nations, wants to open up international travel in a responsible safe and fair manner and we continue to be guided by the science. We want to ensure there is an internationally recognised approach to enable travel and are working closely with international partners to do so.”

The Government has previously denied there were plans for vaccine passports. Which made it highly suspicious that £450,000 worth of Government grants were given to eight schemes focused on developing digital immunity documentation. Lara Prendergast in the Spectator takes a closer look at what is going on. She finds an idea gaining traction internationally.

The Prime Minister of Greece, whose economy depends on holidaymakers, has proposed a system of vaccine passports, a global ID card scheme which identifies the vaccinated. His logic is simple and compelling: vaccines speed up the return to normal life. A system of immunisation passports could get us flying again. He’d like the EU to oversee it.

Denmark will start issuing vaccine passports this month, followed by Sweden, where identity cards and ‘personal numbers’ are already ubiquitous. Israel has introduced a ‘green pass’ for those who can prove their immunity status, which grants them access to shopping centres, gyms and museums. Joe Biden has asked for an evaluation of a vaccine ID scheme for Americans. Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Malta – all desperate to revive tourism – are in favour of vaccine passports. All they need is for other governments to give them the go-ahead.

But the application of vaccine passports will inevitably extend far beyond holidays. The safety-first mentality could spread into almost every area of modern life. One of the most appalling tragedies of the pandemic was the failure to protect the elderly in care homes. There’s a clear moral case for those who work with the elderly to be able to prove they’ve been vaccinated. Hospitals can make the same argument. But convincing proof can only be issued by the NHS – or, rather, the Government. Without its backing, a vaccine passport system will never get off the ground. When it does, there’s no telling where it will lead.

It would likely start with holidays. But where would it stop?

At first, it would just be a glorified doctor’s note, to help you get on that longed-for flight to Greece. Later, it could exist to “reassure” your employer. The concern is that before long your freedom to move, to work, to do anything beyond sitting in your house may depend on whether or not you have had the latest Covid vaccine (be it Oxford, Pfizer, Moderna or another). The vaccine will give you more than just the prospect of immunity; it will grant you immuno-privilege. Freedom could be determined by the characteristics of your blood: good blood and bad blood.

Polls say that about 85% of British adults are “likely” to take up the offer of a jab, but 15% have concerns. People who can’t have a vaccine for medical reasons might be granted an exemption. But will the wishes of others be taken into consideration, their rights protected, their religious views respected, if vaccine documentation is brought in? Inevitably it will be those already on the edges of society – people who often avoid contact with the authorities – who are pushed out further by the need to prove their immunological status. Vaccine refuseniks, according to Zahawi, “skew heavily towards BAME communities” which raises the prospect of vaccine passports deepening racial divisions – particularly if the Government decides to grant certain exemptions.

Right now, debate has been muted. Who wants to be accused of being ‘anti-vax’ or told that they are putting lives at risk? Meanwhile, the technology continues to develop at pace. Systems that we willingly use to document every moment of our lives are now being commandeered to keep track of our health status. Covid results are sent by text message. An NHS app can ‘ping’ us with an instruction to self-isolate.

We don’t even have to imagine where this might lead: we need only look at China. Just as it pioneered lockdown, it is now blazing ahead with digital identification. A health colour code exists: green allows a person to move around freely, enter offices and shops, and take public transport. Yellow or red will deny them entry. The code is based on location data taken from individuals’ phones, as well as self-reported information. Data is also shared with the police. “We need to further harmonise policies and standards and establish ‘fast tracks’ to facilitate the orderly flow of people,” said President Xi Jinping, as he called for a “global mechanism” to enable international travel. That must be music to Blair’s ears.

Anyone who considers such systems sinister and authoritarian may soon find themselves in a vanishingly small minority. A recent Bristol University study found that almost two thirds of the British population are in favour of immunity passports, making them almost as popular as lockdown. Just 20% were strongly opposed: a figure that Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, who conducted the study, described as “surprisingly low”, suggesting greater public acceptance of “privacy-encroaching technologies”. Maybe we’re not actually that far behind China, despite what we like to tell ourselves about our old-fashioned love of liberty.

Worth reading in full.

Imperial College Modelling Falsely Assumes No Seasonality to COVID-19

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Ferguson-Ball.png
Is this the source of Neil Ferguson’s model assumptions? (Credit: Miriam Elia)

We’re publishing an original piece today by Glen Bishop, a Lockdown Sceptics reader and maths student at Nottingham University. Fresh-faced and youthful he may be, but he spotted a serious flaw in Imperial College’s coronavirus modelling that appears to have escaped the learned professors: it gives no regard to how the spread of Covid is affected by the seasons. He writes:

How likely is it that there is going to be a summer surge in SARS-CoV-2, a surge where hospitals have similar numbers of coronavirus admissions to what they saw in January? Pretty unlikely, I would have guessed. But doing the rounds in the news was a paper by the Imperial College modelling team projecting just that. It predicts, as a mid-range scenario, 130,000 more deaths, with a catastrophic summer surge even if restrictions are lifted at the current snail’s pace and the vaccination programme goes well, at two million doses per week from February.

As a maths student at Nottingham University, I have been reading through some of the modelling done for SAGE recently. Bad modelling at the beginning of a pandemic, particularly with a communist country withholding or obscuring crucial data, is understandable. What I did not understand was how predictions of scenarios worse than have occurred anywhere in the world keep being predicted for the UK.

On reading the paper, I realised they are assuming there is absolutely no seasonality to SARS-CoV-2. This is fundamentally wrong. They are attributing all the reduction in R-value last spring to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) and none to seasonality, leading to assumptions that the base R-value in July will be the same as it was in January. This seemed crazy. It goes against the last century of knowledge on respiratory diseases and human coronaviruses. It also goes against the patterns shown in the real-world data from the last 12 months, in both the southern hemisphere and the northern hemisphere.

I emailed the Imperial researchers to verify that I wasn’t mistaken, and this was the assumption and if so to find their justification for it. It was indeed the case and I received this paper as justification.

Now the first problem with that paper is that it was published in August, so all the data from the last six months, which I think anyone would agree shows significant seasonality, has not been included. In the moving picture of a pandemic, this is old science. Secondly, it seems more of a political commentary on the consequences of what the virus being seasonal would mean for American politics, rather than a purely scientific paper. It cautions the reader to look out for “bad faith politics”, the example it gives being “economic interests driving reopening or non-intervention”. Comments asserting that people wanting to address the fact that people are losing their livelihoods are engaging in “bad faith politics” have no place in an objective scientific paper. The paper also unfavourably includes comments by the President of Brazil and President Trump, as they mentioned seasonality could help reduce viral spread come summer. One ought not to be able to guess a scientist’s political leanings from a paper they write. It seems in some way that this paper was written as a political reaction to Trump mentioning something his advisers will have told him about seasonality.

Worth reading in full.

Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Protect the NHS

Lockdown Sceptics reader Matthew Brittain has an idea of how to get the Government to stop obsessing about Covid – give it something else to obsess about.

According to a recent report summarised in the Guardian, excess fat is responsible for 23% of deaths, far more than the number of deaths with Covid.

Given the precedent of the lockdown, isn’t it now time to issue rationing cards to all those considered overweight?

Surely, this would be less of an infringement on the freedoms of the overweight than forcing them to stay indoors, parted from their nearest and dearest, unable to work, be properly educated, protest or enjoy a healthy cultural life. Moreover, it would be targeted, meaning that the economic effects on the nation would be relatively tiny.

Some might argue that such an intervention would be ineffective, but to me this indicates a lack of concern for the wellbeing of the overweight as if their lives somehow didn’t matter. In any case, eye-watering prison sentences could be used to deter others from dealing calories to the unentitled.

Those of a more liberal bent might suggest that it is the right of the overweight to make their own choices about their bodies, but what then about the NHS? If we do have another winter crisis, the NHS could be pushed over the edge by the overweight.

Focus on the overweight would offer a displacement for the life-wrecking instincts of Government and their advisors. Maybe, in the end, they just need to be given something new to meddle in; a set of lives that can be theirs to ruin and degrade.

No, “Double Masking” Is Not the Answer

There follows a guest post by Jonathan Barr.

There are a number of reports floating around about the studies by the US Centre for Disease Control suggesting there may be great benefits in double-masking.

They need to add: “for dummies”.

The study, which was carried out in January, consisted of:

Experimental simulations using pliable elastomeric source and receiver headforms to assess the extent to which two modifications to medical procedure masks 1) wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask (double masking) and 2) knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure masks where they attach to the mask’s edges and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face) could improve the fit of these masks and reduce the receiver’s exposure to an aerosol of simulated respiratory droplet particles of the size considered most important for transmitting SARS-CoV-2.

In the course of their experiments, which were carried out in “a chamber approximately 10 ft (3.1 m) long by 10ft wide by 7ft high”  they played around with various combinations of masks, double masks and knotted masks and they found:

When the source and receiver were both fitted with double masks or knotted and tucked masks, the cumulative exposure of the receiver was reduced 96.4% and 95.9%, respectively.

But so what? There were no humans involved in this so it can hardly form the basis for a mandate or even a recommendation regarding mask-wearing in real life.

Indeed, the discussion section of the study points up one of the reasons that ubiquitous masks may not be very effective.

These laboratory-based experiments highlight the impor­tance of good fit to maximize overall mask performance. Medical procedure masks are intended to provide source control (e.g. maintain the sterility of a surgical field) and to block splashes. The extent to which they reduce exhalation and inhalation of particles in the aerosol size range varies substantially, in part because air can leak around their edges, especially through the side gaps.

Hardly a bombshell discovery. We know that fit is important for masks to be effective and the fact that people aren’t going to pay much heed to it when they mask up for school, shops or public transport has been pointed out by sceptics before. The study goes on to admit certain limitations in the findings, including their lack of bearing on real life.

First, these experiments were conducted with one type of medical procedure mask and one type of cloth mask among the many choices that are commercially available and were intended to provide data about their relative performance in a controlled setting. The findings [should not be] interpreted as being representative of the effectiveness of these masks when worn in real-world settings.

And a couple of the points on which I think we might all agree:

These findings might not be generalisable to children because of their smaller size or to men with beards and other facial hair, which interfere with fit.

Although use of double masking or knotting and tucking are two of many options that can optimize fit and enhance mask performance for source control and for wearer protection, double masking might impede breathing or obstruct peripheral vision for some wearers, and knotting and tucking can change the shape of the mask such that it no longer covers fully both the nose and the mouth of persons with larger faces.

Naturally, these awkward discussion points have not stopped numerous media outlets going big on the value of the medical and cloth mask combo. Here, for instance is the how-to guide from Wired:

Start with a disposable medical or N95 mask underneath. Then add a cloth mask over the top. As with any mask you wear, the most important thing is making sure both masks have a proper fit. Both masks should be covering both your nose and mouth. Ideally, the inner medical mask will have a nose wire to make a proper seal against your nose, and the cloth mask will press the inner mask closer to your face and ensure a tighter fit.

Try blowing out a big breath while you feel around the edges of the mask stack. If any of your hot air is escaping, adjust the mask until there’s a sealed fit all around the sides. Try to use a mask with a nose wire, as they do a much better job of forming a seal around your nose and mouth.

Can anyone imagine someone actually doing this before heading into Sainsburys? More to the point, has anyone remembered that it is actually important for air to pass in and out of one’s nose and mouth, something that a “sealed fit” of multiple masks is likely to impede?

Murder by Misinformation

Janet Menage, a retired GP in Wales, had a scorching letter published in the BMJ last week. We reproduce it in full below.

Dear Editor,

History is littered with examples of the atrocities which ensue when doctors abandon their traditional principles and judgement in favour of unquestioning subservience to government diktat – medical involvement in torture, human experimentation and psychiatric punishment of political dissidents being familiar examples.

Abbasi takes as axiomatic that there was no prior immunity in the population, that lockdowns are effective, that computer modelling is realistic, that statistics have been accurate and that WHO statements are reliable. All of these parameters have been widely challenged by knowledgeable and conscientious researchers whose findings were often disregarded, censored or vilified.

From a medical perspective, it was clear early on in the crisis that disregarding clinical acumen in favour of blind obedience to abnormal ventilation measures, reliance on an unsuitable laboratory test for diagnosis and management, and abandoning the duty of care to elderly hospitalised patients and those awaiting diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases, would create severe problems down the line.

Doctors who had empirically found effective pharmaceutical remedies and preventative treatments were ignored, or worse, denigrated or silenced. Information regarding helpful dietary supplements was suppressed.

This was further compounded by rule-changes to death certification, coroners’ instructions, autopsy guidelines, DNR notices and the cruel social isolation policy enforcement regarding family visits to the sick and dying.

When medical professionals allow themselves to be manipulated by corrupt politicians and influenced by media propaganda instead of being guided by their own ethical principles and common sense based on decades of clinical experience, the outlook becomes very bleak indeed.

Historically, public respect for and trust in doctors has exceeded that awarded to politicians. The unquestioning capitulation of medicine to an authoritarian executive and predatory corporate power may have undermined the doctor-patient relationship for a generation.

The Great Debate

Peter Hitchens and Dan Hodges faced off against each other in a talkRADIO debate about lockdown hosted by Mike Graham. Quite entertaining, although Peter clearly did more preparation than Dan who was winging it throughout. Dan’s argument against sceptics amounts to this: some sceptics have got some things wrong over the past 12 months, therefore everything sceptics say should be disregarded. As Peter points out, people on both sides of this debate have got things wrong, but most of us have struggled honestly to get things right and it would be odd to dismiss one side’s arguments in this debate because they’ve got some things wrong and not the other. Worth watching if you have an hour to spare. We need more debates like this.

Poetry Corner

In What Can I Hope?
by Jonny Peppiatt

With all this talk of ‘horizon’ and ‘hope’,
I wonder sometimes, ‘Did I miss the boat?’
What is it that has these people excited?
Should I see it? Or have I been blinded?
Whatever it is, whatever they see,
Whatever they think, I know they’re not me.
They’ll never know what it is that I fear,
They’ll never risk losing what it is I hold dear,
They’ll never see the world through my eyes,
They’ll never just sit at their desks and cry.

I envy them this, their blindness, their bliss,
Their freedom in hope, their faith in a wish.
I’d trade all I have for that faith and hope,
I’d give it away to look forward and know,
Know that tomorrow brings a brand-new day,
Know that tomorrow brings light, paves a way;
Paves a way to joy, to reason and worth,
To happiness, cheer, merriment, and mirth.
I envy their hope that all will be well,
But their hope alone does nothing to quell
My fears that I’ll be left nought but a shell,
Left here on my own, in my fears to dwell.

For my fears pave my way, keep me this way,
Keep me locked up, hidden, keep me dismayed.
I see no reason to hold onto hope,
I see no reason to look forward and know
That all will be better. How can that be so
When, time after time, I’ve nothing to show.
I’m down a job, a house, a lover, and friends,
I know I’ve support, but when does this end?
When can I look to, in what can I hope,
When all I see makes it harder to cope.

Round-up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Six today: “Madness” by Muse, “Gotta Get Away” by The Rolling Stones, “Wasted Years” by Iron Maiden, “I can’t wait” by Nu Shooz, “Oh freedom!” by Joan Baez and “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby.

Love in the Time of Covid

We have created some Lockdown Sceptics Forums, including a dating forum called “Love in a Covid Climate” that has attracted a bit of attention. We have a team of moderators in place to remove spam and deal with the trolls, but sometimes it takes a little while so please bear with us. You have to register to use the Forums as well as post comments below the line, but that should just be a one-time thing. Any problems, email Lockdown Sceptics here.

Stop Press: The Mail reports that two women were caught by police “‘fornicating in car on Dartmoor at 2am in -3C temperatures in breach of Covid rules”. And I thought it was permitted to meet up with one other person for exercise?

Sharing Stories

Some of you have asked how to link to particular stories on Lockdown Sceptics so you can share it. To do that, click on the headline of a particular story and a link symbol will appear on the right-hand side of the headline. Click on the link and the URL of your page will switch to the URL of that particular story. You can then copy that URL and either email it to your friends or post it on social media. Please do share the stories.

Social Media Accounts

You can follow Lockdown Sceptics on our social media accounts which are updated throughout the day. To follow us on Facebook, click here; to follow us on Twitter, click here; to follow us on Instagram, click here; to follow us on Parler, click here; and to follow us on MeWe, click here.

Woke Gobbledegook

We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today, Andrew Doyle in spiked sets the record straight about the origins of the word “woke” – the latest focus of woke historical revisionism.

No word seems to generate more conversations at cross purposes than ‘woke’, whose definition varies depending on who is using it at any given time. For the various black civil-rights activists of the 20th century it signified an alertness to injustice, particularly racism. This usage became popularised by the singer Erykah Badu in her 2008 song “Master Teacher (Stay Woke)”, and was taken up by the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013. Soon after, the term was co-opted by practitioners of the new ‘social justice’ ideology, and for a few years was a popular form of self-identification. We became accustomed to headlines in the Guardian such as “Can a woke makeover win Barbie and Monopoly new fans?” and “My search for Mr Woke: a dating diary“. In the US, articles such as “Keeping your classroom woke“, “Becoming woke in the wake of ‘Me Too'”and “The woke black person’s guide to talking about oppression with family” became commonplace.

Inevitably, those who took a critical stance on these identitarian perspectives would describe their proponents as ‘woke’. It made sense, given that this is how they were describing themselves. Before long, commentators who had once happily embraced the ‘woke’ label became dismayed at how their opponents were using it to criticise or mock them, and so they pretended that the word had been concocted by the right as a slur. Afua Hirsch exemplified this kind of gaslighting in the Guardian when she claimed that anyone using the word was “likely to be a right-wing culture warrior angry at a phenomenon that lives mainly in their imagination”. Not all of her colleagues received the memo, which is why a Guardian writer recently described the Saved by the Bell reboot as “a woke reimagining” and another asked “why are some Americans woke online but not in real life?”

This revisionist strategy is unlikely to succeed, given that the proposition that identitarian writers did not commonly self-define as ‘woke’ can be easily disproved with the most cursory of internet searches. When Comedy Awards director Nica Burns launched the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe by declaring that she was “looking forward to comedy’s future in the woke world”, she was not roundly lambasted for using a term that was merely “a right-wing slur”. When Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wore a “#StayWoke” t-shirt on stage at the 2016 ReCode conference, nobody suggested that he was guilty of disseminating right-wing propaganda. These people were woke, and proud of it.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: The New York Post invites us to “Read the column the New York Times didn’t want you to read“. It’s a piece by NYT columnist Bret Stephens criticising the rationale behind the forced removal of NYT reporter Donald J. McNeil, spiked by publisher A.G. Sulzberger.

“Mask Exempt” Lanyards

“Safe & Sanitized” by Jordan Henderson (cropped)

We’ve created a one-stop shop down here for people who want to obtain a “Mask Exempt” lanyard/card – because wearing a mask causes them “severe distress”, for instance. You can print out and laminate a fairly standard one for free here and the Government has instructions on how to download an official “Mask Exempt” notice to put on your phone here. And if you feel obliged to wear a mask but want to signal your disapproval of having to do so, you can get a “sexy world” mask with the Swedish flag on it here.

A reader has started a website that contains some useful guidance about how you can claim legal exemption. Another reader has created an Android app which displays “I am exempt from wearing a face mask” on your phone. Only 99p.

If you’re a shop owner and you want to let your customers know you will not be insisting on face masks or asking them what their reasons for exemption are, you can download a friendly sign to stick in your window here.

And here’s an excellent piece about the ineffectiveness of masks by a Roger W. Koops, who has a doctorate in organic chemistry. See also the Swiss Doctor’s thorough review of the scientific evidence here and Prof Carl Heneghan and Dr Tom Jefferson’s Spectator article about the Danish mask study here.

Stop Press: Science News reports on a new study that finds “long term mask use breeds microbes that infiltrate the lungs and contribute to advanced stage lung cancer”.

The Great Barrington Declaration

Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya

The Great Barrington Declaration, a petition started by Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya calling for a strategy of “Focused Protection” (protect the elderly and the vulnerable and let everyone else get on with life), was launched in October and the lockdown zealots have been doing their best to discredit it ever since. If you googled it a week after launch, the top hits were three smear pieces from the Guardian, including: “Herd immunity letter signed by fake experts including ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’.” (Freddie Sayers at UnHerd warned us about this the day before it appeared.) On the bright side, Google UK has stopped shadow banning it, so the actual Declaration now tops the search results – and Toby’s Spectator piece about the attempt to suppress it is among the top hits – although discussion of it has been censored by Reddit. In February, Facebook deleted the GBD’s page because it “goes against our community standards”. The reason the zealots hate it, of course, is that it gives the lie to their claim that “the science” only supports their strategy. These three scientists are every bit as eminent – more eminent – than the pro-lockdown fanatics so expect no let up in the attacks. (Wikipedia has also done a smear job.)

You can find it here. Please sign it. Now over three quarters of a million signatures.

Update: The authors of the GBD have expanded the FAQs to deal with some of the arguments and smears that have been made against their proposal. Worth reading in full.

Update 2: Many of the signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration are involved with new UK anti-lockdown campaign Recovery. Find out more and join here.

Update 3: You can watch Sunetra Gupta set out the case for “Focused Protection” here and Jay Bhattacharya make it here.

Update 4: The three GBD authors plus Prof Carl Heneghan of CEBM have launched a new website collateralglobal.org, “a global repository for research into the collateral effects of the COVID-19 lockdown measures”. Follow Collateral Global on Twitter here. Sign up to the newsletter here.

Judicial Reviews Against the Government

There are now so many legal cases being brought against the Government and its ministers we thought we’d include them all in one place down here.

The Simon Dolan case has now reached the end of the road. The current lead case is the Robin Tilbrook case which challenges whether the Lockdown Regulations are constitutional. You can read about that and contribute here. UPDATE: The JR was denied permission to proceed yesterday, though they have not given up yet.

Then there’s John’s Campaign which is focused specifically on care homes. Find out more about that here.

There’s the GoodLawProject and Runnymede Trust’s Judicial Review of the Government’s award of lucrative PPE contracts to various private companies. You can find out more about that here and contribute to the crowdfunder here.

Scottish Church leaders from a range of Christian denominations have launched legal action, supported by the Christian Legal Centre against the Scottish Government’s attempt to close churches in Scotland  for the first time since the the Stuart kings in the 17th century. The church leaders emphasised it is a disproportionate step, and one which has serious implications for freedom of religion.”  Further information available here.

There’s the class action lawsuit being brought by Dr Reiner Fuellmich and his team in various countries against “the manufacturers and sellers of the defective product, PCR tests”. Dr Fuellmich explains the lawsuit in this video. Dr Fuellmich has also served cease and desist papers on Professor Christian Drosten, co-author of the Corman-Drosten paper which was the first and WHO-recommended PCR protocol for detection of SARS-CoV-2. That paper, which was pivotal to the roll out of mass PCR testing, was submitted to the journal Eurosurveillance on January 21st and accepted following peer review on January 22nd. The paper has been critically reviewed here by Pieter Borger and colleagues, who also submitted a retraction request, which was rejected in February.

And last but not least there was the Free Speech Union‘s challenge to Ofcom over its ‘coronavirus guidance’. A High Court judge refused permission for the FSU’s judicial review on December 9th and the FSU has decided not to appeal the decision because Ofcom has conceded most of the points it was making. Check here for details.

Samaritans

If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.

Shameless Begging Bit

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And Finally…