- “Covid vaccine passports would be un-British, says Sir Keir Starmer” – The Labour Party leader has told the Telegraph that if “we get the virus properly under control, the death rates are near zero, hospital admissions very, very low, that the British instinct in those circumstances will be against vaccine passports”. This is either the first time the Leader of the Opposition has actually opposed a Government Covid policy or an April Fool
- “Scotland’s unscientific mishandling of Coronavirus” – A letter published in Thinking Scotland from Douglas Brodie to all members of the Scottish COVID-19 Committee, pointing out that the “cure” of ineffectual, never-ending lockdowns is worse than the virus itself
- “100,000 homeowners at risk of repossession as banks withdraw COVID-19 support” – From today, the Telegraph reports, lenders will be able to resume repossession proceedings, putting many borrowers at risk
- “Lloyd’s of London boss dismisses calls for workplace Covid passports” – According to the Telegraph, John Neal, the CEO of Lloyds, reckons that by the time workers return to offices a significant proportion of them will have been vaccinated and “we’ll probably be very close to herd immunity”
- “Vaccine certificates are ‘ID Cards on Steroids’” – Writing for politics.co.uk, Ian Dunt – yes, the ultra-lockdown zealot – argues that vaccine certificates could “constitute one of the most fundamental alterations between the individual’s relationship with the state in the modern period”
- “The many scandals of the PCR test: Part 2” – The second part of Sonia Elijah’s investigation of PCR testing for the Conservative Woman examines the influence of the Corman-Drosten paper that established the testing protocol in January of last year
- “This Holy Week, the Church needs to stand up” – Now is the time for the Church to “provide the spiritual leadership that is so desperately needed”, writes the Rev. Dr. William Phillip in the Telegraph, reflecting on the legal victory he and his colleagues won against the Scottish Government
- “Tougher rules around face masks and social distancing needed as lockdown lifts, scientists say” – Sky News reports on some modelling developed by the universities of Cambridge and Liverpool which indicates that mask rules and social distancing restrictions should get tougher as lockdown relaxes
- “Did Lockdown Work? An Economist’s Cross-Country Comparison” – In research published by the journal CESifo Economic Studies, Professor Christian Bjørnskov compares mortality in 24 European countries to evaluate whether lockdowns have suppressed the spread of Sars-CoV-2. Needless to say, the answer is no
- “The Virus, Lockdown and the Right” – In a feature for Areo magazine, Professor M.L.R. Smith and Dr Niall McCrae take the political right to task for not opposing lockdowns (Toby is mentioned as an honourable exception)
- “I hate everything about the lockdown. But most of all, how much we like being bossed around” – Writing for Conservative Home, Lord Hannan of Kingsclere is distressed by how many people actually seem to like being locked down
- “Leading LSE academics call for post-Covid wellbeing agency” – A group of LSE academics, including former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell, are recommending a broader approach to policy that includes measuring impact against wellbeing as well as against life expectancy
- “COVID-19 Weekly Bulletin” – The latest update from HART, the Health Advisory and Recovery Team, covering Dr. John Lee’s appearance on Good Morning Britain and much else
- “Why aren’t we using Ivermectin?” – Dr Tess Laurie is a guest on the Pandemic Podcast with Dan Austin Gregory to talk about the potential of Ivermectin and the difficulty in getting it approved for emergency use
- “EU regulator slaps down Germany and says there’s ‘No Evidence’ to support AstraZeneca ban” – The European Medicines Agency has criticised Germany for suspending the AstraZeneca jab for the under-60s, revealing that there were just 62 cases of blood clots in 9.2 million vaccinations, MailOnline reports
- “Belgium must lift ‘all Covid-19 measures’ within 30 days, Brussels court rules” – The Brussels Times reports that a court has ordered the Belgian State “to lift ‘all coronavirus measures’ within 30 days, as the legal basis for them is insufficient”
- “Macron locks down France” – France is going into a four-week lockdown on Saturday, MailOnline reports, complete with the closure of schools and shops, working from home, travel restrictions and a 7pm curfew. Does this means Macron will be a one-term President?
- “Merkel and Macron in talks to use Russia’s Sputnik Covid vaccine” – With the AstraZeneca jab still dogged by safety concerns, the leaders of France and Germany are looking East for a vaccine, according to the Telegraph
- “Finland withdraws COVID-19 lockdown plan after it was deemed unconstitutional” – Reuters reports that a constitutional court in Finland has ruled that the Government’s lockdown proposal was “too vague and not in compliance with the constitution”
- “Despite vaccination success, Hungary sets daily record for Covid death” – According to EuroNews, Hungry recorded 302 Covid deaths on Wednesday, a new record for the country, despite an ambitious vaccination programme that is leading the way in the EU
- “Joe Biden Unmasked” – President Biden’s “‘mask mandate’ isn’t Democracy”, says Dominic Green in Spectator USA. “It’s politicised bureaucratic overreach”
- “We Must Not Be Forced Into Vaccinating Our Children From COVID-19” – “The recent push by the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and other television medical experts who suggest that we can only get to herd immunity by vaccinating our children is absurd and patently false,” writes Paul E. Alexander at AIER
- “New York Rolls Out Vaccine Passport Program” – Jordan Schachtel worries about the implications of New York’s ‘Excelsior Pass’
- “What should we make of the WHO Covid report?” – The report is “billed as a ‘joint WHO-China study'” and “it deserves to be read as such”, says Ross Clark in the Spectator, before going to interrogate its conclusions about the origins of SARS-CoV-2
- “UK, US and other 12 nations share ‘concerns’ about WHO COVID-19 origins study” – Fourteen countries have expressed concern about the WHO’s report into the origins of COVID-19, according to Euronews, particularly the study’s “significant delay” and the investigating team’s lack of “access to complete, original data and samples”
- “The Wuhan Whitewash” – The WHO report is best understood as “as a whitewash heavily influenced by the Chinese Communist Party and Westerners with conflicts of interest” says the Wall Street Journal
- “The Anthony Fauci Phenomenon” – In the latest episode of his show, Tom Woods speaks to Steve Deace, author of “Faucian Bargain“, a new book about the dangers of putting public policy in the hands of a scientific elite
- “What is the number of deaths from Covid we’re willing to live with?” – Julia Hartley-Brewer asked Robert Jenrick 10 times, but didn’t get an answer
Month: April 2021
There’s been a lot of worry about ‘misinformation’ around COVID-19, with numerous calls to suppress anything that doesn’t agree with the WHO’s current line, and news and social media companies all too happy to oblige.
Sometimes, though, the worst offenders are the mainstream sources themselves.
Take Wikipedia. On its main COVID-19 page – a page which cannot be edited by mere mortals as it is “protected to prevent vandalism” – it states the following in the second paragraph:
Of those people who develop noticeable symptoms, most (81%) develop mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia), while 14% develop severe symptoms (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging), and 5% suffer critical symptoms (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan dysfunction).
This is claiming that almost a fifth of symptomatic COVID-19 infections are severe, and 1 in 20 are critical. If these are the statistics that people are reading then no wonder they’re scared.
Wikipedia is many people’s first port of call when looking up a subject, and often comes out near the top of internet searches. So the fact that it grossly exaggerates the seriousness of COVID-19 should be concerning. Even more concerning is why it does so.
Where did Wikipedia get its stats from? Alarmingly, the reference is to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In its latest clinical guidance, in a section headed “Illness Severity”, the U.S. federal health agency states:
A large cohort that included more than 44,000 people with COVID-19 from China, showed that illness severity can range from mild to critical:
– Mild to moderate (mild symptoms up to mild pneumonia): 81%
– Severe (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging): 14%
– Critical (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan system dysfunction): 5%
In this study, all deaths occurred among patients with critical illness, and the overall case fatality ratio (CFR) was 2.3%.
These statistics come straight from an early study on the first 44,000 Covid patients in China, published on February 24th 2020. The study does not mention hospital admissions and it appears that all of these cases were in fact hospital patients. At any rate, the figures suggest a sample heavily skewed towards serious illness.
A more accurate estimate of severity comes from the ONS. In the December peak, the ONS estimated around 2% of the population of England were infected with COVID-19 and around 0.04% of the population were being admitted to hospital each week with the virus. This means about 2% of infections were leading to hospital admission, or 1% if we allow for the estimated half of serious infections caught in hospital. This is about 20 times lower than the nearly 20% serious infections in the Chinese study.
Why is the CDC still using this early study as its main source of statistics on the severity of COVID-19 when we’ve found out so much more about the illness since February 2020? Why is Wikipedia featuring these figures at the top of its COVID-19 page? Don’t they realise how misleading and unnecessarily frightening they are?