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Is Obesity to Blame For the High Covid Death Toll?

A number of news outlets carried the story yesterday of the report by the World Obesity Federation which concludes that obesity is responsible for worsening Covid death rates around the world. The Times has more.

Britain’s dire COVID-19 death rate is partly the result of obesity, according to a report that the World Health Organisation says is a “wake-up call” to the overweight West.

Boris Johnson is considering giving out shopping vouchers for losing weight as he accepts the link between obesity and Covid and will promise today £100 million more for slimming schemes. The prime minister’s near-death experience with Covid caused him to reverse his opposition to anti-obesity policies and accept the need to act. This case is underlined in a report by the World Obesity Federation which concludes that thousands of deaths in Britain could have been avoided if “negligent” governments had a grip on the national weight problem.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO, said that the link between obesity and Covid deaths was “compelling” as he urged countries to improve public health.

Analysis shows a “dramatic” increase in death rates once more than half a country’s population is overweight, which it says cannot be explained by age, wealth or health systems. In countries where less than half the population is overweight, the risk of death from Covid is a tenth of that in countries above this level, with almost nine in ten Covid deaths in countries with overweight rates above 50%.

No country where less than 40% of the population is overweight has Covid death rates above 10 per 100,000, while no country with death rates above 100 per 100,000 has overweight rates of less than 50%.

The last statement is certainly true – and is another way of saying that the top left of the chart above is empty (i.e., there are no high Covid mortality countries with low obesity). But is this the whole story? For reasons best known to themselves, the Times did not reproduce the full chart from the report, which is shown below.

With the bottom right now filled in with all the countries with high obesity but low Covid mortality, the result looks distinctly less impressive.

Notice in particular that among the countries above 50% obesity (right-hand side) there is no sign of a correlation at all, with more points at the bottom (low Covid mortality) than at the top and no upward slope to speak of. There is no indication of Covid mortality getting worse as a country gets fatter.

Neither is there much correlation in evidence in the bottom left of the chart, among the low obesity countries. As the obesity prevalence increases it remains basically flat. The countries with 20% obesity fare basically the same as those with 40%.

Then suddenly, wham! A tower of Covid appears at just over 50% obesity.

Thus it is a chart of two halves: a flat half below 50% and a strange tall blob above 50%, and no neat slopes upwards in either half or between them.

What explains this curious shape? It may be helpful to realise that the countries in the bottom left consist almost entirely of the African and South East Asian countries, which are already known (for reasons that remain somewhat mysterious) to have had a very different pandemic to the rest of the world.

Obesity is likely to be part of the story. But how big a part? On the evidence of this graph and report, it’s very hard to say.

The Emerging Totalitarian Dystopia: An Interview With Professor Mattias Desmet

Cartoon by Peter Poplaski

We’re publishing today an interview with Mattias Desmet, Psychotherapist and Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ghent University in Belgium, who is concerned about the emergence of totalitarian tendencies in the West. The interview was conducted by political philosopher and author Patrick Dewals and first published in Flemish here. It has been translated by a group of Lockdown Sceptics readers and appears here for the first time in English.

Here’s a taster.

Do you recognise totalitarian traits in the current crisis and the government response to it?

Definitely. When one steps away from the virus story, one discovers a totalitarian process par excellence. For example, according to Arendt, a pre-totalitarian state cuts through all social ties of the population. Simple dictatorships do that at the political level – they ensure that the opposition cannot unite – but totalitarian states also do this among the population, in the private sphere. Think of the children who – often unintentionally – reported their parents to the government in the totalitarian states of the twentieth century. Totalitarianism is so focused on total control that it automatically creates suspicion among the population, causing people to spy on and denounce each other. People no longer dare to speak out against the majority and are less able to organise themselves due to the restrictions. It is not difficult to recognise such phenomena in today’s situation, in addition to many other features of emerging totalitarianism.

What is it that this totalitarian state ultimately wants to achieve?

At first, it doesn‘t want anything. Its emergence is an automatic process coupled on the one hand with great anxiety on the part of the population and, on the other hand, a naive scientific thinking that considers total knowledge possible. Today there are those who believe that society should no longer be based on political narratives but on scientific facts and figures, thus rolling out the red carpet for rule by technocracy. Their ideal image is what the Dutch philosopher Ad Verbrugge calls “intensive human husbandry”. Within a biological-reductionist, virological ideology, continuous biometric monitoring is indicated and people are subjected to continuous preventive medical interventions, such as vaccination campaigns. All this to supposedly optimise public health. And a whole range of medical hygiene measures must be implemented; avoiding touch, wearing face masks, continuously disinfecting hands, vaccination, etc. For the supporters of this ideology, one can never do enough to achieve the ideal of the greatest possible ‘health’. A newspaper article appeared in which one could read that the population ought to be made even more afraid. Only then would they stick to the measures recommended by the virologists. In their view, stirring up fear will work to produce good. But when drawing up all these draconian measures, the policymakers forget that people cannot be healthy, either physically or mentally, without sufficient freedom, privacy and the right to self-determination, values that this technocratic totalitarian view totally ignores. Although the Government aspires to enormous health improvement for its society, its actions will ruin the health of society. By the way, this is a basic characteristic of totalitarian thinking according to Hannah Arendt: it ends in the exact opposite of what it originally pursued.

Worth reading in full.

COVID-19 Testing and the Workplace

There follows a post from our legal eagle Dr John Fanning, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Liverpool, responding to a question posed by a Lockdown Sceptics reader about whether employers can require their employees to be tested for Covid.

For those fed up with working from home or the tedium of life on furlough, the UK Government’s “roadmap” for the easing of lockdown raises the prospect of a welcome (though gradual) return to the workplace over the coming months. Of course, many people – including NHS staff; the police; fire brigade; workers in essential retail, construction and manufacturing; and so on – never left it in the first place. Nevertheless, employers will most likely have to continue to ensure that workplaces are “COVID-secure” for the foreseeable future – with an expanded programme of asymptomatic testing playing a key part in this endeavour. With that comes another interesting question: can your boss demand that you take a test?

This is a tricky one to answer because so much depends on what is “reasonable” in the circumstances. The manager of a nursing home might reasonably require her/his employees to undergo mandatory testing in order to protect its residents from coronavirus disease. In those circumstances, an employee’s failure to comply with such a reasonable instruction might be grounds for disciplinary action. By contrast, it would seem much less reasonable to order an employee who ordinarily works alone in a single-occupancy office, or a warehouse yards away from anyone else, to take a test which she/he has declined. Between these two examples is a broad spectrum of circumstances in which employers’ instructions may, or may not, be reasonable. The context is key.

One thing about which we can be sure is that an employer cannot force an employee to undergo a COVID-19 test without consent. To do so would constitute battery – i.e., “the infliction of unlawful force on another person” (Lord Justice Goff in Collins v Wilcock [1984] 1 WLR 1172) – and a criminal offence. I have written elsewhere that the Coronavirus Act 2020 does contain powers which authorise compulsory testing of potentially infectious persons, but they have remained in reserve up to now and, in any case, they are not for employers to deploy. In its recent guidance on this subject, the Department of Health described the expansion of workplace testing as “crucial” in “breaking chains of COVID-19 transmission”. Yet in the very next paragraph, the guidance states that it is “a voluntary decision for employers to run testing programmes for their staff”. As is often the case where COVID-19 testing is concerned, the sabre-rattling rhetoric is an imperfect reflection of legal reality.

As with many of the measures taken to “stop the spread” of COVID-19 (e.g. face masks, plastic screens, one-way systems, 2-metre (6ft 6ins) social distancing, and so on), asymptomatic workplace testing may have more value as a performative ritual – a reassuring sign for returning staff that something is being done ­– rather than as a necessary condition of the restoration of normality. What remains to be seen is whether any court will find that an employer’s failure to offer workplace COVID-19 testing is negligent. If an employer fails to offer Covid testing and one of its employees contracts the disease and suffers serious complications or dies, could that employee (or her/his estate) claim compensation from her/his bosses?

This is another tricky one. It is true that employers owe a non-delegable duty to provide their employees with a safe place of work (Wilson and Clyde Coal Co v English [1938] AC 57). But whether a failure to offer COVID-19 testing would breach that duty would, again, depend on what was reasonable. My hunch is that an employer’s failure to comply with Government guidelines by not running an inexpensive workplace testing scheme to tackle a foreseeable risk probably would breach her/his duty to her/his staff in some circumstances. This does not mean that employers everywhere are now on the hook for big compensation pay-outs – there is still an obvious causation problem; i.e., can it even be said that an employer’s negligent failure to offer testing caused an employee to fall ill? That employee could just as easily have been exposed to the virus on the bus, in a supermarket, or by another member of her/his household. However, even the potential for liability might prompt many employers to offer testing out of an abundance of caution; indeed, their insurers may insist upon it. Whether an employee would actually have to take a test would depend on that vexed question of reasonableness.

Zero Covid Cultists Target Scotland

A Lockdown Sceptics reader forwarded to us the email he received from the Zero Covid campaign inviting him to the “Launch conference for Zero Covid Scotland”.

Join us on Saturday March 13th for the Zero Covid Scotland launch conference.

There’s a door ajar in Scotland, a door to Zero Covid.

The Scottish Government has been handed a report, by their own Scottish Parliament’s COVID-19 Committee, telling them to pursue a virus elimination strategy. With the Scottish elections coming up on May 6th, let’s push that door wide open.

Speakers include:

Science

Dr Philippa Whitford MP, member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus that recommended a Zero Covid strategy.
Dr Jeremy Rossman, expert on the international elimination of Covid, University of Kent.
Professor Andrew Watterson, public health expert, Stirling University.
Dr Deepti Gurdasani, epidemiologist and medical statistician, Queen Mary University of London.

Activism

Yvonne Blake, Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment (MORE) 
Tracy Edwards, Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union.
Allan Crosbie, Educational Institute of Scotland (personal capacity)
Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards – aiming to reduce injury, ill health and death caused by work/workplaces in Scotland.

Others to be confirmed

The campaign to eliminate the virus – Informed by science – Led by activists

The frightening thing is, they know the Scottish government is open to their barmy ideas.

Why is the Government Ignoring the Evidence on Harms to Schoolchildren of Wearing Masks?

As schools prepare to return for all children on Monday for the first time since December, Government guidance is that masks should be worn by all children in class, though confusion has been created by the Government also stressing they are optional.

Molly Kinglsey from UsForThem has an excellent piece in the Telegraph outlining the dangers for schoolchildren of wearing masks all day and asking why the Government is not, as per WHO guidance, monitoring and evaluating the impact on their health and education.

There are clear and negative implications for teaching; only a few short months ago DfE advice was that “face coverings can have a negative impact on learning and teaching so their use in the classroom should be avoided”; it’s yet again another intervention forced on children to protect adults; and worst of all it appears to be entirely unevaluated for its potential to cause harm and yet capable of causing great harm in a great many cases.

The Covid legislation makes no secret of this fact that harms have not been assessed – each of the Government’s regulations concerning coronavirus restrictions states “No impact assessment has been prepared for these Regulations”.  Perhaps this is okay for adults.  Is it for children?  

The WHO certainly don’t think so: they say that when authorities recommend masks for children those authorities should monitor and evaluate the impact on their health and education from the outset.  Under a FOI seen in October, both DfE and the Department of Health confirmed they were not collecting this information. 

We are apparently flying blind; and we are doing so in the face of what looks to be potentially serious harm to our children.  In Germany a study  of over 25,000 children wearing masks throughout the school day reports headaches (53%), difficulty concentrating (50%), malaise (42%), impaired learning (38%) and drowsiness or fatigue (37%); in France social media is awash with reports of parents measuring children’s oxygen levels at the end of the school day and finding them to be dangerously low.  

There are lists of studies, many now peer reviewed, identifying other proven harms which are extensive and serious – communication issueseye issues and difficulty breathing.  If these aren’t clear red flags, what are? 

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Judith Woods, also in the Telegraph, evidently does not agree – and felt no restraint in expressing that disagreement, calling parents opposed to their child wearing a mask “brainwashed”, “cretinous Covid-deniers”, “selfish nutters”, “criminally loopy” and implying their child will kill their teacher. Of course, no self-respecting newspaper would publish a sceptic writing in this rude and inflammatory way about lockdowners or mask-lovers. But as so often, it’s the double standards that show you who’s currently in charge.

Masks are horrible, unnatural and reduce communication, which is crucial in any classroom. I hate them. Everybody hates them.

But that doesn’t alter the fact that we must wear the wretched things now in order to eventually never wear them ever again in the future.

If a school asks students to wear masks in class, then so be it. Unless there is a bona fide medical reason not to cover their face, there’s no valid reason to refuse, other than truculence or terror instilled in them by bloody-minded parents who should be ashamed of themselves for putting my child and other children at risk.

The brainwashed anti-vax brigade and the cretinous Covid-deniers can do one, as far as I’m concerned. No jab, no job? Fine by me. Even the Queen thinks you’re selfish nutters (I paraphrase, Ma’am).

Classroom apartheid, with masks refuseniks made to sit at the back, and kids segregated at lunchtime? If that’s what it takes, Mr Chips. Knock yourself out, Miss Jean Brodie.

I gather some parents have been bleating on about the outrage of this “coercion” and cavilling at the stigma their child will suffer. It will be a far bigger stigma if Milo kills Miss.

Maybe you can tell, but I’m bone-weary of exceptionalism. Yes, every child is a special poppet (particularly mine), but learning to conform is a life skill too. In this case, a life-or-death skill.

Kids have more than enough on their plates come Monday without being inculcated with criminally loopy theories about protective facemasks being a vector of disease.

Really not worth reading in full, unless you like to enrage yourself by being exposed to the intemperate rantings of people who think the findings of infectious disease specialists are “criminally loopy”.

Now Granny is Safe, Are We Killing Our Children?

Today we’re publishing an original piece by Emma Hine, who asks whether we have considered the enormity of what we have imposed on our children in the name of preventing a disease that barely affects them.

By keeping our teens out of school for almost a whole year, we have already deprived them of one of their fundamental, instinctive needs and now, when they can finally feel hope at restoring these connections, we are asking them not only to continue not to physically connect with their peers but also to hide half of their face, in effect removing every tool they have in their communicative toolbox. A Gallup Youth Survey in 2001 found that, unlike Maslow’s hierarchy of basic human needs that places food and water at the base of its triangle and self-fulfilment at the pinnacle, 13-17 year olds responded with their most important needs being “need to be trusted” (78%), “need to be understood and loved” (77%) and “need to feel safe and secure where I live and go to school” (77%). I don’t believe there is a single psychologist who would agree that a sea of masked faces, devoid of expression gives the feeling of either safety or security.

When you consider that 46% of suicides occur in people with mental health conditions, these increases in mental health disorders in adolescents are alarming. If we do not start giving young people back their lives, then we have lost our fundamental instinct as parents. We are no longer prepared to die for our children. We are literally asking our children to die for us.

Worth reading in full.

What is Happening With Mortality in Israel?

Dr Hervé Seligmann of Aix-Marseille University’s Faculty of Medicine Emerging Infectious and Tropical Diseases Unit

A story has been doing the rounds in the past few weeks that the mainstream media are understandably nervous to touch. At Lockdown Sceptics we have been keeping an eye on it to see how it develops. It began with an article published on February 11th (with an update on March 2nd) that asks why mortality in Israel appears, on official data, to be so much higher among the vaccinated than the unvaccinated in the first few weeks after the first vaccine dose.

Israel National News explains further.

A front-page article appeared in the FranceSoir newspaper about findings on the Nakim website regarding what some experts are calling “the high mortality caused by the vaccine.”

The paper interviews Aix-Marseille University Faculty of Medicine Emerging Infectious and Tropical Diseases Unit’s Dr. Hervé Seligmann and engineer Haim Yativ about their research and data analysis. They claim that Pfizer’s shot causes “mortality hundreds of times greater in young people compared to mortality from coronavirus without the vaccine, and dozens of times more in the elderly, when the documented mortality from coronavirus is in the vicinity of the vaccine dose, thus adding greater mortality from heart attack, stroke, etc.”

Dr Hervé Seligmann works at the Emerging Infectious and Tropical Diseases Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France. He is of Israeli-Luxembourg nationality. He has a B.Sc. In Biology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has written over 100 scientific publications.

Dr Niall McCrae has written about the story in Unity News Network.

More evidence of iatrogenic harm came from Israel, which started vaccinating on December 19th. As reported by former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson, while COVID-19 mortality escalated among Israelis throughout January, in Palestine it declined steeply after a surge in December. Yet the Palestinians had no vaccine. 

This correlation is more than coincidental. Analysis of Israeli health ministry data by Hervé Seligmann at Aix-Marseilles University indicates that about 40 times more elderly people died of COVID-19 in the three weeks between their first and second doses than among those who were not vaccinated. … Deaths in Israel are now falling, which politicians and media attribute to the vaccine, although there is a global trend of the virus becoming less deadly.

There has not yet been any official response to this analysis from the Israeli Government or Health Ministry, though they were contacted by FranceSoir.

Why is SAGE Still Advising Government?

The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland

There follows a guest post by Lockdown Sceptics contributor and former parliamentary researcher Dr James Moreton Wakeley, questioning why SAGE, contrary to its original design, seems to have become a permanent fixture in political life.

SAGE is designed to be an ad hoc, temporary body summoned when emergency circumstances persuade government that they need particular expertise. It has been called eight times since 2009, for events like Swine Flu, floods and the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption. Its formation and role guiding government policy for almost a year is entirely unprecedented, and entirely contrary to how it has been used in the past.

SAGE’s mandate is interesting. It emphasises timeliness and consensus: even though the Enhanced SAGE Guidance does note that SAGE representatives should tell ministers the degrees of consensus around the issues they consider, other guidance explicitly states that SAGE’s key sub-committees, like NERVTAG, “provide (their) consensus conclusions to SAGE”, strongly implying that the system risks supplying ministers with too small a degree of perspective. This risk of course increases when those looking at the evidence do not change, and become professionally invested in maintaining a certain set of conclusions or more interested in certain types of data.

The need for government to receive clear, unified scientific advice is perhaps understandable in a short-term, emergency situation when information is slight and uncertain.  Almost a year into the Covid pandemic, however, when so much more is known, and when it is clear that equally qualified experts have entirely different perspectives on the issue, why is a temporary, emergency committee – comprised of the same 20 leading figures who now have public reputations to defend – still advising government? SAGE was not designed to monopolise or replace normal governmental decision-making, but to be one source of advice among others in exceptional circumstances. Yet it seems to have morphed into some kind of dominant Committee of Public Safety, with ironic and deleterious consequences recalling its namesake in the darkest days of the French Revolution.

“Every Crisis Becomes a Religion If it Lasts Long Enough”

Journalist John Hayward has a Twitter thread on the cultic enchantment of the Covid crisis that we thought was so good we would reproduce it here in full.

Every crisis becomes a religion if it lasts long enough.

One factor in that transformation is the Beautiful Theory phenomenon: the power elite insists its remedies are logical and politically correct so they MUST work, even if the actual evidence shows they obviously don’t.

When Beautiful Theories crash into hard, cold reality and shatter, faith is the glue used by the elites to put their precious ideas back together. They need MILITANT faith to get the job done: true believers eager to crush doubt and compel obedience by making war on the infidels.

Some are swept into the faith because they desperately crave a sense of control over the crisis. They need to believe Something Can Be Done, and they’d rather invest their faith in debunked Beautiful Theories than have no faith at all. Faith is a coin that demands to be spent.

Some crave social approval, and the purveyors of Beautiful Theories have immense political, economic, and cultural power to make their faith seem fashionable. Virtue signalling is such a plague in modern society because the signals are pre-packaged and made very easy to send.

Some aren’t even hoping they can assert control over a crisis by converting to its religion. They’ll settle for just having some MEANING, some simplicity, a sense that the righteous will fare better than the unbelievers, that virtue will be rewarded while sin is punished.

That’s a very common impulse with the Church of Covid, since the Beautiful Theories were so very obviously wrong. There isn’t much left of the faith except the visceral communal satisfaction of hoping unbelievers will be punished for their blasphemies with sickness and death.

That sort of thing happens with all of the crisis religions, although not usually as quickly and obviously as with the Church of Covid. Look at the endless stream of movies about how the world became an apocalyptic hellscape because people didn’t believe in global warming.

The last resort of every crisis religion, the last thing that puts asses in the pews, is that addiction to misery porn, the collective hope that unbelievers will suffer someday, and everyone will admit the True Faith was right all along as Judgement Day crashes down upon them.

The elite will never have the humility to admit they were wrong, and they’ll never give up on politically or financially profitable “solutions” even when they obviously don’t solve the problem. Founding a crisis religion means they never have to say they’re sorry.

That applies to some very longstanding crises, like the War on Poverty, whose nostrums long ago transformed into fantastically expensive articles of religious faith even as mountains of data accumulated that proved they were utter failures, and often made the problems WORSE.

You can look for some telltale signs of a crisis transforming into a religion. The most obvious one is when the high priests tell you the “war” you’ve been drafted into will never end. They become very angry when asked to define success or failure, or lay out exit strategies.

Watch for the moment when you’re told “science” means not asking questions, defying dogma, or challenging “consensus.” That is the literal definition of faith, not science.

Always keep an eye out for Moving Goalposts, which are the signature miracle of crisis religions, their version of parting the waters or loaves and fishes. Crisis religions work very hard to make their faith unfalsifiable by constantly changing the standards of evidence.

Check to see if certain people are accumulating huge amounts of money and power from a crisis. That’s a pretty good sign it’s turning into a religion. A crisis should be solved as quickly and efficiently as possible. Don’t let it fester long enough to become a special interest.

Above all, look for the whiff of ARROGANCE to develop around a crisis. Wise religions and effective crisis managers have something in common: a sense of humility. Crisis religions are militant faiths that quickly become arrogant, smug, and totalitarian.

Dedicated people who truly want to solve a problem will look for evidence their analysis is wrong, or their policies aren’t working, and make adjustments as quickly as possible, no matter the cost or embarrassment to themselves. This is humility.

Crisis religions are arrogant. They reject criticism, insist their Beautiful Theories MUST be right because they’re ideologically pure – they fit snugly into a worldview that must not be challenged. Their plans only fail because their commands were disobeyed or sabotaged.

The high priests of a crisis religion see devils everywhere, leering at them from the rubble of every failure. Only sin can explain why their Beautiful Theories are tarnished. Failure never THEIR fault, so it must be YOURS. They find your lack of faith disturbing.

And you know what? A LOT of people want to see the world that way, including a great many self-described atheists. They hunger for the comfort of faith and the vibrant energy of militancy. They want to be right, and they want the wrong to suffer for their folly.

Conservatives think religious faith in the State is terrifying and wonder why so many embrace it. It’s because uncertainty is much more frightening. A simple false story is better than a complex true one, and with enough faith, maybe we can force the simple story to be true. 

Poetry Corner

Diary of a (Vaccine) Church Mouse
by Kate Williams

Imagine being a church mouse hauled in for vaccine trials whilst you’re busy munching through the Book of Revelation

The Antichrist and Armageddon
formed my fulsome bite,
When upon me swiftly whished a swoop
And knocked me into flight. 

He towered over, giving chase,
A small cage in his grab,
“Come ‘ere you wretched long tailed squeak!”
“You’re wanted in the lab!” 

I skidded through curled edges,
Of Apocalypse Horsemen Four,
He hurled the cage in front to catch
Me heading for the door.

Three squeaks abound, I lay there flat
Wedged underneath the pew,
Then came a pencil, lead end first
At Matthew Twenty Two.

A hobnail boot, a sighing captor
Shuffling to and fro,
It’s death by jab or hunger lest  
I took my chance he’d go.

A chink of light through vestry door
Showed fair chance to a dash
I scrambled over Ephesus
And just escaped his lash. 

The cage came down, a crash! A clink!
But narrowly I fled,
“Test your vaccine on your kind! 
And leave me be!” I said. 

“Damn your eyes ya pesky brute!
I’ll ‘ave ya next time, look!”
And off he went, with empty cage,
And I back to my book.

Rising From the Ashes

Lockdown Sceptics reader Scott Fennell has written to tell us about his new business venture after lockdown cost him his job.

I normally work on a cruise ship, but this industry has been really hard hit as you can imagine. With no help from the Government, I decided to set up my own supplement company without the nasty ingredients you see in nearly all other companies.

It’s only small at the moment with just one product, Vitamin C 1000mg, but I’m hoping to add some more soon. LS readers can get a 15% discount using code LSVITC15.

I don’t have a website at the moment, but you can order from Amazon UK here.

If you have a similar story to share then email us here and we’ll try to give your new venture a boost.

COVID-1984

Bob Moran’s cartoon in the Telegraph on September 24th

Three more Party slogans today:

BANALITY IS REALITY
PANIC IS PEACE
OUR MODEL IS YOUR MASTER, YOUR FREEDOM OUR DISASTER

Round-up

Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers

Eight today: “You Are Killing Me” by The Dandy Warhols, “No More Lies” by Cardboard Foxes, “No Justice” by Jimmy Cliff, “Strange Times Are Coming” by the Meteors, “I Can’t Be With You” by the Cranberries, “Lonely Day” by System Of A Down, “Life Worth Living” by The Spitfires and “My Resistance Is Low” by Robin Sarstedt.

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.

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

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Woke Gobbledegook

We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today, Joshua T. Katz, Professor of Humanities at Princeton University, writes in the New Criterion on the sheer madness of cancelling Dr Seuss.

Just last week, a wonderful cabinetmaker spent two days at my house installing shelves in a room where I have long intended to display my collection of alphabet books. Once he’d left, I put them up one by one—alphabetically, of course—stopping now and again to leaf through some I particularly like. One of these was Dr. Seuss’s On Beyond Zebra!, first published in 1955, in which Conrad Cornelius o’Donald o’Dell draws letters

            he never had dreamed of before!
And I said, “You can stop, if you want, with the Z
“Because most people stop with the Z
But not me!

I did not imagine then that on the 117th birthday of Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss Enterprises would announce that six of his books, including On Beyond Zebra!, would no longer be published or licensed because “they portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” Or that President Biden in his proclamation for Read Across America Day (which takes place on March 2 specifically in honour of Dr. Seuss) would, unlike his predecessors Presidents Obama and Trump, fail to mention one of the country’s best-loved children’s authors.

This is madness.

When the morning news broke, I took On Beyond Zebra! back off its new shelf and tried to discern the problem. It is true that there is mention of a man Americans (still) celebrate with a federal holiday:

So, on beyond Zebra!
Explore!
Like Columbus!
Discover new letters!

A friend more attuned to the zeitgeist than I am suggests, however, that at issue are the orientalizing depictions of one Nazzim of Bazzim, who rides a camel-like beast called a Spazzim (spelled with the Seussian letter spazz), and possibly also of Flunnel (spelled with flunn), a “softish nice fellow who hides in a tunnel.”

Let me repeat: this is madness.

That Dr Seuss, a man of the Left, can be cancelled shows that no one is safe from the woke revolutionaries, Katz writes.

It is true that Theodor Geisel was an imperfect man. For example, he supported the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. That said, he was a liberal Democrat who despised Richard Nixon and whose widow gave money from his estate to Planned Parenthood. If Seuss is canceled, anyone can be canceled—as, indeed, we are seeing day after day in this year of mayhem.

Worth reading in full.

“Mask Exempt” Lanyards

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: Paul E. Alexander and colleagues have written a detailed debunking of the CDC’s “Mask Mandate Study” for AIER. Read it here.

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, although that case, too, has been refused permission to proceed. There’s still one more thing that can be tried. You can read about that and contribute here.

The GoodLawProject and three MPs – Debbie Abrahams, Caroline Lucas and Layla Moran – brought a Judicial Review against Matt Hancock for failing to publish details of lucrative contracts awarded by his department and it was upheld. The Court ruled Hancock had acted unlawfully.

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

Thanks as always to those of you who made a donation in the past 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of this site. Doing these daily updates is hard work (although we have help from lots of people, mainly in the form of readers sending us stories and links). If you feel like donating, please click here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links we should include in future updates, email us here. (Don’t assume we’ll pick them up in the comments.)

And Finally…

The easing of lockdown, Boris style