WHO to Make Lockdowns Part of Official Pandemic Guidance

The World Health Organisation is to make lockdowns and other non-pharmaceutical interventions intended to curb viral spread part of official pandemic guidance.

The revelation comes in a report scheduled to go to the WHO’s World Health Assembly later this month. This is not part of a new pandemic treaty and does not require the endorsement of member states. The report says the implementation is already underway.

Many have raised the alarm about a new WHO pandemic treaty. However, as I’ve noted previously (and as Michael Senger notes here), there isn’t a new pandemic treaty on the table. Rather, there are amendments to the existing treaty, the International Health Regulations 2005, plus other recommendations (131 in all) put forward in a report from the Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies.

Most of these amendments and recommendations relate to information and resource sharing and preparation for future pandemics; none of them directly interferes with state sovereignty in the sense of allowing the WHO to impose or lift measures. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous, as they endorse and codify the appalling errors of the last two years, which began with China’s Hubei lockdown on January 23rd 2020.

Western Audiences Have a Right to Be Accurately Informed About this War

Yesterday, Ukrainian fighters besieged in the Azovstal steelworks surrendered to Russian forces, after a battle lasting almost three months. There’s no doubt this was a surrender: the Ukrainian fighters – who belong to the Azov regiment – were taken in buses to Russian-held territory in Eastern Ukraine (as shown above).  

However, that’s not the impression you’d get scanning Western media outlets like the BBC, CNN and the New York Times. These outlets described what happened as an “evacuation” marking an “end to the combat mission”. Here are the headlines:

• ‘Mariupol: Hundreds of besieged Ukrainian soldiers evacuated’ – The BBC

• ‘Hundreds of Ukrainian troops evacuated from Mariupol steelworks after 82-day assault’ – The Guardian

• ‘Azovstal steelworks evacuated as Ukraine ends combat mission in Mariupol’ – The Times

• ‘The battle for Mariupol nears end as Ukraine declares ‘combat mission’ over’ – CNN

• ‘Ukraine ends bloody battle for Mariupol; Azovstal fighters evacuated’ – The Washington Post

• ‘Ukrainian authorities declare an end to the combat mission in Mariupol after weeks of Russian siege’ – The New York Times

In war, an “evacuation” is when you send boats, planes or vehicles to transport your own troops away from a hostile location. Dunkirk was an evacuation. It is not when the enemy transports your troops to a location under his control after those troops have surrendered. That’s called a “surrender”.

Despite reporting where the Ukrainian fighters were taken (Russian-held territory), some of the articles above don’t even use the word ‘surrender’. One is reminded of Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf – nicknamed “Comical Ali” – who became known for his preposterous claims about U.S. losses during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Note: this has nothing to do with being ‘pro-Russia’. This is about journalists using language that actually corresponds with reality. Which prompts the question of why? Why are they going around describing things in transparently misleading terms?

NHS Chief Blames Lack of Face-to-Face GP Appointments for 24% Fall in Dementia Detection Rates

Progress on tackling dementia has stalled, Sajid Javid admitted on Tuesday, as the NHS dementia chief blamed the lack of in-person GP check-ups during the pandemic for a 24% drop in dementia detection rates. The Telegraph has the story.

Speaking at the Alzheimer’s Society annual conference, in London, Mr Javid said 1.6 million people in the UK were expected to have dementia by 2040, up from around 900,000 now.

Advances had been made in recent years, the Health Secretary said, “but the pandemic has stemmed the tide of progress”.

“Despite the best efforts of the NHS it became harder for some people to get a timely diagnosis because the pandemic made it more difficult to access memory assessment services,” he added.

The NHS dementia chief [Professor Alistair Burns] also told the conference that remote GP appointments meant opportunities to diagnose dementia had been “lost”…

Prof Burns said there were “pros and cons” to tele-consultations. “Crucially for me [there is the] issue of digital exclusion, people may not have access to some of the new technology and are at a disadvantage.”

Many patients have said they struggled to see their family doctor in person during the pandemic. The most recent official figures from NHS Digital show 62% of GP appointments were held in-person in March, compared with around 80% pre-pandemic.

Many aspects of primary care “slipped a bit” during the pandemic, Prof Burns added.

Citing new figures, he said the number of people at risk of dementia who were referred for assessment dropped by almost a quarter in the six months to this year, from 147,000 pre-pandemic to 112,000.

“It’s been a tough time for everyone during Covid, but I know particularly people with dementia, their families and carers have lost out disproportionately,” he said.

Worth reading in full.

More Reasons to Doubt the Covid Vaccines Really Deliver 90% Protection Against Death

The UKHSA’s latest vaccine surveillance report includes this table on page 11:

Fig 1

In essence, it claims ongoing efficacy against death from COVID-19 at about 88% following three vaccinations for the over 50 year-olds. Does this mean that in the absence of the vaccines we would expect deaths of the triple-vaccinated to be 8.3 times higher than it has been? Let’s assemble some data from Government sources and see if this can really be true.

Up until week 13 2022, the UKHSA used to report deaths from Covid by age and vaccine status. Fig 2 reproduces this last data table. The absolute numbers may have changed in the five weeks since then but the relative rates of death in the various groups had been fairly stable for the weeks prior to this and I suspect they still are.

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Nick Hudson Coming to London – Get Tickets Now

Nick Hudson of PANDA is coming to London on Thursday May 26th to deliver “The Quest for Open Science” before a live audience, after which he will be interviewed by Jeffrey Peel from the New Era and take questions from the audience.

The event will take place on Thursday May 26th at 7:30 pm at the Weston Theatre in the Barbican.

All are welcome – the presentation is pitched so as to reach those who understand that there has been censorship of the truth around the Covid response, but who perhaps have not had the time or will to engage with the real scientific story behind what we’ve been told by the corporate media.

Attendees are welcome to join Nick and the PANDA team before the event from 6pm and afterwards from 9.30pm at the historic Lord Raglan pub (a minute’s walk from the venue).

Tickets sales and further details can be found here.

Stop Press: Nick is also speaking at the World Council for Health’s Better Way Conference in Bath this coming weekend, May 20th-22nd, alongside many other well-known names in the sceptical movement such as Robert Malone, Tess Lawrie, Maajid Nawaz and Neil Oliver. Tickets for online and in-person attendance for the Better Way conference are available here.

Don’t Panic Mr Monkeypox! Social Distancing Returns Due to New Viral Panic

STD clinics have reintroduced social distancing amid fears of an outbreak of monkeypox cases in the U.K. MailOnline has more.

At least one practice in West London had already brought in stricter infection control measures yesterday, before the total number of British cases rose to seven.

Patients were told to keep a one-metre distance in the waiting room and were asked if they had any unusual bumps or rashes prior to each appointment.

Monkeypox can be mistaken for syphilis or other common rash illnesses, making it difficult to diagnose early.

A health source told MailOnline the stricter measures were not part of new national guidance but they could not rule out some NHS boards ‘putting in measures locally’.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) bosses have now written to regional NHS teams telling them to stock up on PPE and be on alert for patients with a new rash.

Seven Britons have been diagnosed with monkeypox and six of them appear to have contracted it in the UK, in a sign the virus is spreading in the community.

Five are in London, one in the South East, and one in the North East. Four of the cases are in gay or bisexual men.

The first UK patient, who was diagnosed nearly two weeks ago, had brought the virus back from Nigeria, where the disease is endemic.

Transmission between people is “unusual” and “surprising”, according to experts, but any outbreak is likely to be small.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: ITV has published a helpful explainer so people can work out whether they’ve got Monkeypox. Reminder: there are nine recorded cases of Monkeypox in the U.K. So one in 7.47 million Britons are likely to be infectious.

Are All Britain’s Current Woes Traceable to a Group of Entitled ‘Tory Toffs’ at Oxford in the 1980s?

I’ve reviewed Simon Kuper’s book Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the U.K. for the House Magazine. I say it’s an entertaining, highly readable book that contains some great anecdotes, but it’s core thesis – that the Brexit project was shaped by the class interest of a group of grievance-mongering Tory toffs who resented the transfer of power from Westminster to Brussels because they regarded the exercise of that power as their birthright – is laughably chippy. Here are the first few paragraphs:

It has become a commonplace of Islington dinner parties that the reason Britain is in such a mess is because of its wretched class system which has condemned us to being ruled by a bunch of incompetent Tory toffs. Not only are they lazy and amoral, believing the rules don’t apply to them, but for the most part they’re innumerate and scientifically illiterate, thanks to the humanities bias at Britain’s elite public schools and Oxford University. Little wonder, then, that they’ve made such a hash of governing the country, culminating in the disastrous decision to leave the European Union.

This furious critique of our current political masters has been given its clearest expression yet by the Financial Times journalist Simon Kuper. In Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK, he traces Brexit back to a group of straight, white, ex-public schoolboys at Oxford in the 1980s and blames it on their elite backgrounds, their gargantuan sense of entitlement and the cult of the gentleman amateur.

“Ruling Britain was the prerogative of their caste,” he writes. “They didn’t want outsiders in Brussels muscling in.”

The dramatis personae of this story will be familiar to anyone interested in contemporary British politics and it is genuinely remarkable how many students who attended Oxford between 1983 and 1993 – that was the critical 10-year period, according to Kuper – now dominate public life. They not only include the architects of the Vote Leave campaign – Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Dominic Cummings, Daniel Hannan and Jacob Rees-Mogg – but also some of the main protagonists on the other side – David Cameron, George Osborne, Jeremy Hunt, Hugo Dixon, Rory Stewart, Nick Boles and Roland Rudd. Also at Oxford at the same time were many prominent Labour politicians, including Keir Starmer, David Miliband, Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper.

Just listing all those people points to a difficulty for Kuper. If being part of a privileged clique at Oxford from 1983-93 was instrumental in shaping the views of the politicians who masterminded our exit from the European Union, why did so many members of this club end up campaigning for Remain? And it seems a bit simplistic to reduce the Tory values of Johnson, Hannan and Rees-Mogg to a desire to perpetuate their class privilege when some of the most prominent Conservatives of this Oxford generation, such as Gove, came from modest backgrounds. Indeed, Boris wasn’t exactly to the manor born himself, being a scholarship boy at Eton. As Cummings once remarked on Twitter about this class-based analysis of the Brexit project: “If u think me Gove & Boris are posh you have literally no idea what posh is.”

Worth reading in full (no paywall).

Forget Science – Climate Now Has a Central Role in The Culture Wars

One of my first tasks as a journalist in the late 1970s was to compile a “Major losses and catastrophes” page for a monthly reinsurance magazine. Sources were much scarcer in those days, but the back pages of the daily Lloyd’s List would supply various reports from shipping agents and news agencies. Every month there would be stories of large weather-related disasters including wildfires sweeping Australia, monsoons failing in Asia, droughts continuing in California, hundreds of people dying on a Philippines ferry caught in rough seas. At the time, I was intrigued at how little of this made the headlines in the U.K. Go forward a few years and we have global catastrophes, morning, noon and night. Bad weather has been politicised to spread widespread fear and anxiety as established elites pursue their subsidy-driven, command-and-control Net Zero political project.

Journalist Helen O’Callaghan put it succinctly in the Irish Examiner recently: “Whether it’s watching a David Attenborough interview, or seeing fires raging in California, becoming aware of the climate emergency is leading to anxiety and distress.”

The medical journal the Lancet published a paper in 2020 stating that ecological grief and anxiety were reasonable and functional responses to climate-related losses, and, needless to say, an “urgent response is needed from clinicians, public health practitioners and policy makers”. The American Psychological Association goes on to note that climate change mental health disorders include “trauma and shock, PTSD, anxiety and depression that can lead to suicidal ideation and risky behaviour”. Community-wide impacts are said to include interpersonal violence, including domestic and child abuse.

Would the U.S. Side With Ukraine’s Far-Right Against Zelensky?

In a must-read article, journalist Aaron Maté argues that, in the lead-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. sided with Ukraine’s far-right – thereby sabotaging President Zelensky’s mandate for peace.

Contrary to what you might assume based on his ‘Churchillian’ stance during the war, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky was elected in 2019 on a platform to make peace with Russian-backed separatists in the East. The war in Donbas had been going since 2014, leaving more than 14,000 dead.

As Maté notes, in Zelensky’s inaugural address he said was willing to “do everything” to make peace:

I can assure that in order for our heroes to stop dying I am ready to do everything. And I am definitely not afraid to make difficult decisions, not afraid to lose my own popularity, my ratings. And if there’s a need I’m prepared to give up my own position – as long as peace arrives.

He also said that, although it “wasn’t us” who started the war, “it’s our job to end it” – and stressed that “we’re ready for dialogue”.

Unfortunately, these overtures towards a diplomatic solution did not go down well with Ukraine’s powerful far-right. The head of “Right Sector” warned that Zelensky “will lose his life. He will hang on some tree on Khreshchatyk – if he betrays Ukraine and those people who died in the Revolution and the War.”

Even the New York Times wrote in February of this year that Zelensky’s Government could be overthrown by far-right groups if he “agrees to a peace deal that in their minds gives too much to Moscow”.  

What Zelensky needed to face down the far-right, Maté argues, is support from the U.S. If America had backed his pledge to broker a peace deal, he’d have been able to do so without fear of threats or intimidation. But the U.S. didn’t back him, and Zelensky’s pledge went unfulfilled.