Day: 27 June 2021

Tens of Thousands Demand Their “Freedom to Dance” in London Protest

The protest isn’t over in London. Today, tens of thousands of people have turned out to a party to demonstrate against the Government’s attack on the live music industry through the imposition of numerous lockdowns and the continuation of social distancing measures. The MailOnline has the story.

Crowds blocked Regent Street during the FreedomToDance march organised by Save Our Scene, demonstrating against the ongoing Covid restrictions that are keeping nightclubs and music venues closed in order to stop the spread of the virus.

The lively protest saw open-sided trucks rigged with speakers providing a mobile club atmosphere for the punters as they poured out onto the streets without masks to protest against coronavirus restrictions on nightlife.

Young protestors were seen puffing on balloons as they walked along in the festival-feel crowd on one of London’s busiest shopping streets.   

Others were seen brandishing signs reading “let the music play”, “music is medicine” and “everybody’s free to feel good, but not dance”.

The results from 10 Government-led trial events were recently released and identified only 28 positive Covid test results among 58,000 participants. So when will the Government do as these protesters ask and “let the music play”?

The MailOnline report is worth reading in full.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid Says He Wants the Country to “Return to Normal as Quickly as Possible”

New Health Secretary Sajid Javid appears not to have got the memo about the ‘new normal’ and perpetuating restrictions on flimsy pretexts as in his first full day in office he has said he wants the country to “return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible”. The Telegraph has more.

Sajid Javid has said his “most immediate priority” will be getting the country through the coronavirus pandemic, as he took up the job of Health Secretary.

Speaking to the media for the first time since he took over from Matt Hancock on Saturday, Mr Javid said he recognised the “huge responsibility” which faced him.

And he pledged to “do everything I can to make sure that I deliver for this great country”.

This comes amid Mr Hancock’s shocking departure from his role as Health Secretary after he faced mounting pressure to quit for breaching his own social distancing guidelines in early May.

Mr Hancock was pressured into resigning after CCTV footage emerged showing him kissing his close aide, Gina Coladangelo, in his ministerial office.

Mr Javid said on Sunday that he wants the country to “return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible”, leaving the new Health Secretary with a tight deadline to deliver on England’s July 19th ‘freedom day’.

The lockdown zealots on SAGE won’t be happy and are presumably already plotting how to bring him round to more correct ways of thinking.

If Javid really wants to make his mark and show he is serious he could start by ensuring the country reopens on July 5th rather than July 19th. But either way, dropping the mask mandate and ending social distancing – including as guidance, which can be no less hampering for businesses and organisations for whom guidance is practically mandatory once insurers and lawyers get involved – must be a priority for any return to normality.

Half of Under-30s in England Vaccinated Against Covid

The NHS is set to reach another milestone with the English vaccine roll-out today with half of all adults under the age of 30 having received a first dose of a Covid vaccine. So why do Government advisers continue to push for lockdown to be extended? Sky News has the story.

More than 4.2 million people aged between 18 and 29 have received a jab in the three weeks after the coronavirus vaccination programme was opened up to those in their twenties.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi praised the “phenomenal achievement”.

He added: “It’s fantastic to see so many young people coming forward for their jabs, doing their bit to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

It comes as hundreds of “grab a jab” walk-in vaccination sites, including at stadiums and shopping centres, opened in England.

The sites were designed to boost uptake of the Covid vaccine amid rising case numbers fuelled by the Delta variant…

Appetite for jabs remains high as the vaccination programme enters its final stages.

More than one million vaccination bookings were made between Monday and Wednesday this week, while the NHS is also contacting people aged 40 and over to bring forward their second dose in line with updated expert advice…

More than four in five adults have now received their first jab and over 60% of people have received both doses, the NHS said.

Worth reading in full.

So Long Matt Hancock

We’re publishing an original piece today by the historian and Lockdown Sceptics‘ regular Guy de la Bédoyère about the demise of Matt Hancock, which he sees as a source of hope. Here is an extract:

The truth of course is that the Government, despite some of its very remarkable achievements and initiatives of the last 15 months, also imposed dramatic and ultimately impossible pressures on its own members, advisers, and the rest of the population. Sometimes, self-destruction is the only means of escape. The former Health Secretary had constructed a compensatory image of himself as someone devoted night and day to saving lives and exhorting the nation to participate in his righteous crusade and turn every aspect of human existence towards one end. He knew he could not possibly live up to that, as he teetered along the edge of a cliff. I’m not surprised he became overwhelmed and found solace in other, more human, comforts, however clumsy and ill-advised.

The Prime Minister’s support of his minister was only to be expected. How could he do anything else? To have condemned the former Heath Secretary would have automatically turned the searchlight back on himself. It’s the best way to vindicate one’s own behaviour, or at any rate divert attention from it. Inevitably, the Cabinet lickspittles rallied round with their characteristic short-termism to add their chorus of approval for shutting the matter down, apart from trying to turn it into a question of national security. Patriotism, especially that brand of cod-patriotism, is the last refuge of a scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson so pithily observed. Fortunately, large swathes of the Conservative Party took a different view.

The shabby corralling of support was a self-inflicted, if unintentional, momentary conspiracy to unravel the Government’s collective authority. For the cynic it was a golden moment, to say nothing of the joy exhibited by the tabloid hacks handed this feast upon a plate. The Government will totter on and plenty of people will say it doesn’t matter what a Health Secretary gets up to in his private life, even if it is being conducted on the office clock at public expense. But that’s not the same as managing and maintaining prestige and authority. This latest escapade comes on the back of the G7 cronies living it up on the beach and enjoying a barbecue, to say nothing of the international travel involved.

Are we at a turning point? Yes, we probably are. There comes a time to say a quick goodnight and quietly fade away. A person made of sterner stuff than anyone in this administration of career mediocrities would have recognised immediately when the moment had come. Instead, we were treated for another day to the tawdry sight of a reptile grimly trying to cling on to the greasy ladder of power after first caking his hands in melted butter.

Worth reading in full.

Data Looking Good For July 19th Unlock, but July 5th Too Soon, Says SAGE Member

The new Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s claim that he would like to see a return to normal “as quickly as possible” has been responded to by a leading member of SAGE who warns that we shouldn’t “rush” into unlocking on July 5th. But with such a high proportion of the adult population (including those who are most vulnerable to Covid) already fully vaccinated, and daily deaths after 28 days of a positive Covid test rarely topping 15, there is no legitimate reason to hold off until July 19th. WalesOnline has more.

An announcement is expected tomorrow from the Prime Minister about when all Covid restrictions can be lifted in England.

The rules were originally planned to lift this month but were put back to July 19th because of the spread of the Delta variant of the virus, will the caveat that could be brought forward by two weeks if all was going well.

Professor Sir Peter Horby, Chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, says “encouraging” Covid data suggested restrictions in England could indeed be eased by July 19th – but not any sooner.

The member of SAGE told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We always have to be driven by the data, not the dates.

“So we’re watching it very carefully and there will be a lot of analysis of the data coming up to that date, to make sure we’re comfortable with that release.

“At the moment, the data is encouraging that we can do that. But we have to make sure that we follow the data.”

He said he would not bring the restrictions easing date forward, adding that it had been “very sensible” to delay the previous June 21st target date by four weeks.

“I don’t think we should rush into anything, we really want to make sure that we can release all restrictions and not have to backtrack at all,” he added.

Sir Peter said the route out of the pandemic would be “a bumpy road” with “twists and turns”.

Worth reading in full.

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

There follows a guest post by the Lockdown Sceptics’ in-house medic, a former NHS doctor.

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

I hope the readers will forgive a little self-indulgence on my part if I relate an anecdote from the tail end of my 12 years as a junior doctor in the early years of the first Blair government. At the time, the Health Secretary Alan Milburn (advised by the youthful Simon Stevens) had issued strict waiting time targets to all hospitals.

I was tasked with sorting out the numbers of patients on the surgical waiting lists at a large teaching hospital. It became apparent that if a patient had a date for surgery, they were no longer counted as ‘waiting’, even if that date was many months in the future. Accordingly, I issued dozens of patients dates for surgery and achieved compliance with the waiting time targets at a stroke.

There was just one problem. Both the managers and I knew that all those patients had virtually no chance of getting into the hospital on their designated dates. Due to lack of available beds, they would all be cancelled a couple of days before admission. At a meeting with the CEO of the Trust, I pointed this out. He looked me in the eye and said, “Let me make one thing clear to you. There is no problem with beds in this hospital.”

I briefly considered debating the assertion, but realised it was a pointless endeavour. The facts did not fit the Chief Executive’s preferred narrative – so the facts had to change. He was subsequently awarded a Knighthood for services to healthcare.

And so, here we are twenty years later – still believing six impossible things before breakfast. We might call it the ‘rule of six’!

Here is my first example where a target failed to be matched by real world data. When considering facts there are three basic components. Understanding the collection process and the inherent errors and bias within that, the interpretation process, during which there will be a range of opinion, (although currently only one viewpoint is permitted) and finally presentation of the data which is open to the greatest amount of bias.

Graph 1 shows the actual number of patients admitted with COVID from the community in June (orange bars). The blue line indicates where SAGE predicted it would be as a consequence of easing lockdown restrictions. How annoying – the data does not correlate with the prediction. In fact, hospital admissions are stubbornly refusing to increase significantly.

Never mind. If we simply state loudly that something nasty ‘could happen’ in the future that will cover just about every situation where the observable data do not support the required conclusion. And we can also show Graph 2 – which records the number of positive ‘cases’ in May-June 2021. The public won’t realise that most of these cases were asymptomatic and they may well think that they are the same as people being admitted to hospital.

“Equal Opportunity Employer” Las Vegas Police Department Will Not Accept Unvaccinated Recruits

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), which brands itself as an “equal opportunity employer”, has announced that it will not accept new recruits who have not been vaccinated against Covid, with just a few limited exceptions. The Epoch Times has the story.

“LVMPD is requiring all new hire employees to be vaccinated and to show proof of vaccination for Covid prior to being hired,” their application page reads.

At the end of the announcement, they style the Department as an “equal opportunity employer”.

“All appointments to the competitive service shall be made without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, genetic information, military service or political affiliation, and shall be based on merit and fitness only,” the statement reads.

There are some limited exemptions in cases such as health and allergies or religious exonerations…

The Employment Diversity Office will have the religious exemption cases forwarded to them for approval, and the health and allergy cases will be sent to the Health and Safety Section for approval…

More than half of U.S. states have banned [vaccine] passports, asserting they present serious privacy concerns and disparate treatment of the unvaccinated.

The President of the largest union of health care workers in the United States says the organisation will fight against companies requiring mandatory Covid vaccines for employees.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., care home workers have been told that they will have to choose between getting vaccinated or losing their jobs. The same rule is also likely to be applied to healthcare workers in other settings, according to reports.

The Epoch Times report is worth reading in full.

News Round-Up