Day: 9 March 2021

‘Back to Normal’ Supports Anti-Lockdown Candidates in May Elections

There follows a guest post by Geoff Cox, one of the organisers of the Back to Normal postcard campaign. Back to Normal aims to deliver one million postcard summarising the case against lockdowns and has already dispatched more than 400,000.

With the chance to make a complaint through the ballot box approaching, now is the time to order our new postcard and deliver them to houses throughout the country. Email us and order a box or two of our Back to Normal postcards; deliver them in the spring sunshine and get a bit of free vitamin D as a bonus.

We are not back to normal and we must register our complaint in the May elections. If not, the Government and Opposition will take it that the electorate approves of their destructive lockdown policy. Our postcard supports any sceptical candidate whether they are standing for one of the new Parties (Heritage, Reclaim, Reform, Freedom Alliance, etc.) or as an Independent.

Fact Check: “Rishi Sunak Was the Main Person Responsible for Covid’s Second Wave”

The Times has published the latest instalment in Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott’s new book Failures of State, an exercise, it seems, in recording the Official Narrative.

In the excerpt the authors lay the blame for the second wave at the feet of Chancellor Rishi Sunak, quoting a SAGE source that he was “the main person who was responsible for the second wave”. The editors picked this incendiary quote as the title of the piece.

Calvert and Arbuthnott write:

The Government had been warned about the consequences of a second wave but, by the end of July, the scientists on SAGE were reporting that they had no confidence that R was not now above the one threshold. The Government’s limited room for manoeuvre was acknowledged by Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, at a hastily arranged press conference. “We have probably reached near the limits, or the limits, of what we can do in terms of opening up society,” he said.

The following Monday, August 3rd, was going to be the start of Eat Out to Help Out, come what may. According to a Conservative MP source, both Matt Hancock and Michael Gove were concerned about pressing ahead, but “the voices that were prevailing in government, for whatever reason, were those that were pushing a case that was based purely on economic recovery at all costs as fast as possible”.

By mid-August, positive tests had risen to more than a thousand a day. The Commons all-party coronavirus group wrote directly to the Prime Minister. “It is already clear that to minimise the risk of a second wave occurring . . . an urgent change in government approach is required,” said the letter.

Grannies Gone Wild

A reader has sent us the following email about older people among his family and friends becoming much more blasé about social distancing rules since being vaccinated. Heartwarming stuff.

My 62-year-old and vaccinated wife took advantage of our bountiful government’s magnanimity and met up with a 70-year-old vaccinated friend for a walk today at a local beauty spot. They mused on the very obviously more-than-two groups walking around brazenly. Her friend told my wife that her husband (70), also vaccinated, has given up on lockdowns and is now routinely visiting his ailing father in his late nineties, likewise vaccinated, on the simple basis that neither of them have time to waste on fooling about with precautions that no longer have any serious validity. Their remaining opportunities to see each other are more important. According to the pair, this is happening on a wider scale, as we already know. Life’s simply too short. Perhaps we have already reached the point of no return? Professor Chris (‘clunk click, every trip) Whitty’s dire warnings today of another biblical apocalypse heading our way over the summer might already be blurring into the proverbial fart in a hurricane. We can live in hope.

Killer Lockdown: 43,000 Non-Covid Excess Deaths at Home Since Last March

The ONS mortality report this morning showed that in the week ending February 26th (week 8) deaths registered in England and Wales were 9.2% above the five-year average (1,066 deaths higher).

However, drilling down into the data it becomes clear that perhaps all of those excess deaths this week are deaths caused by the lockdown not by the virus, primarily denial of healthcare.

Deaths in care homes were down to 12.6% below the five-year average (334 deaths) (down from 1.1% above the previous week). Deaths in hospitals were slightly above the five-year average at 5% (275 deaths).

Deaths in private homes on the other hand were still a huge 44.2% above the five-year average (1,147 excess deaths). There were 238 deaths involving COVID-19, leaving 909 non-Covid excess deaths (if we make the generous assumptions that all Covid deaths are excess). That’s nearly 80%.

As can be seen in the above graph, excess deaths at home have remained well above average all year and at a relatively constant rate – a sign they are not just misattributed Covid deaths. There have been 50,810 excess deaths at home since the pandemic began a year ago. 7,056 home deaths have been registered with COVID-19, leaving 43,754 non-Covid (assuming all Covid deaths are excess) and still rising at over 1,000 each week with little sign of falling off.

The UK has had, and still has, one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, and an NHS waiting list of millions to show for it as people have stayed away from hospital to “protect the NHS” and out of fear of catching Covid. The most immediate cost of this can be seen in non-Covid excess deaths from denial of healthcare, especially at home – over 43,000 and counting by this estimate (though some of these will be transfer deaths that would ordinarily have occurred in hospital). Lockdowners claim that this is a fraction of the death toll that would result from not imposing restrictions. But when places like Sweden and Florida don’t impose lockdowns and see fewer, not more, Covid deaths per million, it is very hard to credit that, whatever the models might say.

And if lockdowns don’t save lives, then what are we left with? Just tens of thousands of deaths caused by reckless Government interventions. That’s the real horror story of the past year.

“All the Modelling” Predicts Another Covid Surge This Year, Says Chris Whitty

“All the modelling” suggests there will be another Covid surge this year, Professor Chris Whitty has warned MPs. The Telegraph has the story.

The Chief Medical Officer told the Science and Technology Committee that despite the success of the vaccine rollout, some people couldn’t or wouldn’t have it. There are also some people for whom the vaccine would not be effective, he noted. 

“Even if you have a relatively small proportion of people still remaining vulnerable, that still equates to a very large number” who could be at risk from Covid, Prof Whitty said. 

He added: “All the modelling suggests at some point we will get a surge in the virus. We hope it doesn’t happen soon – it might happen later in the summer if we open up gradually, or if there is a seasonal effect it might happen over the next autumn and winter.

“But all the modelling suggests there is going to be a further surge, and when it happens it will find the people who have not been vaccinated or where the vaccine has not worked. Some of them will be hospitalised and sadly some of them will die.”

As Toby asks, if another Covid surge is predicted for later this year, why are the Nightingale hospitals being closed?

Worth reading in full.

11,000 Women Could Be Living with Undiagnosed Breast Cancer Following “Protect the NHS” Drive

In a further indictment of the 12-month drive to “protect the NHS”, new analysis reveals that nearly 11,000 women could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer. The charity Breast Cancer Now has said that “the tragic cost of almost 11,000 missing breast cancer diagnoses is that in the worst cases, women could die from the disease”. The Telegraph has the story.

A reluctance to burden the health service during the pandemic’s first wave, coupled with a drop in GP referrals and suspensions of screening programmes is wreaking a “tragic cost”…

Research by the charity Breast Cancer Now found there were 10,700 fewer people diagnosed with breast cancer across the UK between March and December last year.

Philippine Reef Covered with Used Face Masks

Single-use face masks aren’t just to be found scattered across shop car parks and on local greens but also, as new footage reveals, on some of the worlds most beautiful – and delicate – ecosystems. Divers in the Philippines have found scads of used masks on coral reefs close to the country’s capital, Manila. The BBC has the story.

According to an estimate by the Asian Development Bank, the city has been generating an extra 280 tonnes of medical waste per day, since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

Environmental groups are warning that the plastic inside face masks is breaking down and being consumed by marine wildlife. They’re urging the Philippine government to improve its handling of medical waste, to prevent further pollution of the seas.

Howard Johnson, a BBC News Philippines Correspondent, filmed at the reef to show the extent of the damage being done.

Single-use face masks have been termed the ‘new plastic bags’, and are bound to be the cause of a great amount of damage to ecosystems across the world due to the large quantity being used (with threats of fines for non-wearers). Last August, the Mail reported that “124,000 tons of unrecyclable masks – the equivalent weight of 10,000 London buses – could be dumped each year”, and that, by November, gloves and face masks could be found on almost a third of all British beaches.

Worth watching in full.

Is Dr Geert Vanden Bossche Right That “Vaccination Amidst a Pandemic Creates an Irrepressible Monster”?

Dr Geert Vanden Bossche describes himself as an independent virologist and vaccine expert who was formerly employed at GAVI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This week he wrote an open letter appealing to “all authorities, scientists and experts around the world, to whom this concerns: the entire world population” to immediately halt mass Covid vaccination, claiming there is compelling evidence that the mass rollout will dramatically worsen the consequences of the pandemic.

Entitling his letter, “Why mass vaccination amidst a pandemic creates an irrepressible monster”, he writes:

Basically, we’ll very soon be confronted with a super-infectious virus that completely resists our most precious defence mechanism: The human immune system.

From all of the above, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how the consequences of the extensive and erroneous human intervention in this pandemic are not going to wipe out large parts of our human population. One could only think of very few other strategies to achieve the same level of efficiency in turning a relatively harmless virus into a bioweapon of mass destruction.

He concludes:

If we, human beings, are committed to perpetuating our species, we have no choice left but to eradicate these highly infectious viral variants. This will, indeed, require large vaccination campaigns. However, NK cell-based vaccines will primarily enable our natural immunity to be better prepared (memory!) and to induce herd immunity (which is exactly the opposite of what current COVID-19 vaccines do as those increasingly turn vaccine recipients into asymptomatic carriers who are shedding virus). So, there is not one second left for gears to be switched and to replace the current killer vaccines by life-saving vaccines.

I am appealing to the WHO and all stakeholders involved, no matter their conviction, to immediately declare such action as THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN.

Dr Bossche makes a number of dubious assumptions in his doom-laden prognosis and his solution (despite his striking confession that COVID-19 is a “a relatively harmless virus”) is yet more vaccines, just of a different kind. The Zero Covid-like aim is to “eradicate these highly infectious viral variants”.

Dr Clare Craig of HART comments:

Dr Bossche is wrong on vaccines driving variants that evade the natural immune response. I’m also yet to be convinced the Kent variant was any more infectious than the original. The ONS Survey had it falling before Lockdown 3 was announced. At peak cases ONS reckoned 61% of COVID cases in England were new variant, 33% in Northern Ireland, 22% in Scotland and only 5% in Wales – yet all had a winter wave.

We await detailed scientific rebuttals of the various claims in the paper. But the current feeling among a number of sceptical scientists we are in touch with is that the paper greatly exaggerates the capacity of viral variants to evade the human immune system. Upon encountering a virus like SARS-CoV-2, a large repertoire of T-cell epitopes is produced which are capable of dealing with most variants.

UPDATE: Dr Mike Yeadon and Marc Girardot have written a scientific rebuttal to Dr Bossche’s claims, arguing that the recent downward trends in cases and hospitalisations across the globe indicate that the virus has probably not mutated in a way that makes it much more dangerous and that a healthy immune system is very capable of dealing with these new forms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Read it here.

The Other Sweden

We’ve heard a lot about Sweden over the past year, but according to Dr Oliver Robinson Sweden isn’t the only ‘control’ that invalidates the lockdown experiment. We’ve been neglecting Finland. In an original piece for Lockdown Sceptics, the Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich points out that Finland has had the second lowest Covid death rate in Europe, yet, like Sweden, it avoided locking down.

So, what interventions did the Finnish Government make? From March to May 2020, schools were closed, public meetings were limited to 10 people, borders were shut and citizens returning from abroad were put into quarantine. Guidance was given to people with symptoms to stay at home, and over-70s were requested to avoid social contact unless essential (this last measure is notably similar to the Great Barrington Declaration’s proposed approach of ‘focused protection’). On June 1st, the number of people allowed to meet was increased to 50 and public indoor places were opened gradually. Since then, various selective international travel restrictions have been imposed.

According to the Blavatnik School of Government’s COVID-19 Response Tracker, Finland’s response to COVID-19 was marginally stricter than Sweden from March to early April 2020, then the same level of strictness from April to May, then less strict than Sweden, something which remains true to this day. You can check for yourself here.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Dr Paul Yowell, an Associate Law Professor at Oxford, has written a fascinating blog post in which he points out that Sweden hasn’t fared badly compared to its neighbours – an argument often made by lockdown enthusiasts – provided you count Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania among those neighbours. “Once you include the Baltic countries (lying immediately south of Finland) in the geographic comparison, Sweden is no longer an outlier in mortality comparisons,” he writes.

Unemployment of Recent Graduates Reached 12% Last Year

A report by the ONS has found that unemployment for recent university graduates reached 12% in the third quarter of last year, following months of Government-imposed lockdowns. Here are the key findings:

Unemployment amongst graduates has been consistently lower than the total. The average unemployment rate for graduates between Quarter 1 2017 and Quarter 3 2020 was 3.0%, compared with the total average unemployment rate of 4.2%. However, average unemployment for recent graduates was the highest, averaging at 6.3% over the period and reaching a peak of 12.0% in Quarter 3 2020. This suggests that recent graduates have been hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of unemployment.