Day: 6 July 2021

Britain Won’t Return to Normality This Year, Says Chris Whitty

Whether or not ‘Freedom Day’ takes place on July 19th, we won’t truly return to normal until at least next spring, says Chris Whitty, warning that it is “going to take quite a long time to get back to normality”. The MailOnline has the story.

England’s Chief Medical Officer hinted that some curbs may have to be rolled back later this year when the NHS faces a “difficult winter”.

But, in a glimmer of hope[!], Professor Whitty claimed he anticipated that the U.K. could return to the “status quo” by next spring. 

However, he admitted that he would be “surprised” if British life managed to return to pre-Covid normality before then, adding it was “going to take quite a long time to get back to normality”.

Covid hospital admissions and deaths are expected to rise in the weeks and months after July 19th, when all social distancing measures are due to be lifted in England.

Officials are also bracing for a rise in other respiratory illnesses that have been suppressed by lockdown measures during the pandemic, such as flu. 

But it’s hoped enough people will have been vaccinated or protected due to prior infection by next spring that the coronavirus will no longer trigger a deadly surge.

Speaking to the Local Government Association’s annual conference, Professor Whitty said: “There will almost certainly be a Covid surge [in winter] and that will be on top of a return to a more normal respiratory surge. 

“It’s going to take quite a long time, I think, to get back to normality and I certainly would be surprised if we got back to what most of us would see as a kind of status quo – before the pandemic – by the next spring.

“Because I think we’ve got this current wave, hopefully there will be a period of quieter Covid after that, and then it will still be quite a difficult winter, especially for the NHS – then by next spring I’m hoping slightly more into a more predictable pattern.”

Worth reading in full.

Can the Anti-Lockdown Forces Unite in a Political Coalition?

We’re publishing a guest post today by Geoff Cox, co-founder of the campaign group Back to Normal, calling for the various anti-lockdown political parties to form a front populaire and take on pro-lockdown candidates in elections. Back to Normal delivers easy to understand, anti-lockdown postcards directly to households across the country. Their target is to deliver one million postcards and they’re currently up to 700,000.

I can’t say we at Back to Normal entirely predicted the course of events over the last 18 months, but it was always clear to us that the covid nonsense would eventually run out of steam. Then, we would have a new fight on our hands to undo all the left-over legislation and restore our freedoms. At the same time globalists and new authoritarians would be coming up with new reasons for more legislation and big state over-reach.

I suspect that time may have arrived. But even if it hasn’t, it will arrive in due course and we must consider our next steps. I suggest our side joins together to take a broader libertarian stance, standing up for free speech v cancel culture, for a free internet v censorship, for privacy v the surveillance state, and so on. We must look to the future as next time the Government comes for us, they will be better prepared, more confident and will operate to greater effect.

Pressure groups can only do so much to change the Government’s mind about anything that globalists and unelected ‘experts’ demand. Furthermore, short of reading and commenting, there is little that grass roots activists and members of the public can do to support these groups. But the globalists have an even bigger weakness at grass roots level and this is one area where we can outflank them.

I’ve never been on a campaign that has so many good people on our side – spokesmen for “our movement” will not be hard to come by. Nor are we short of social media outlets where a huge spike in entrepreneurial activity to combat the Covid narrative has produced more websites and videos than we can shake a stick at. We also have some fair-minded broadcasting outlets, such as UK Column and GB News, where we can set out our stall. But what we do not yet have is a political movement to take votes away from pro-lockdown politicians at elections. Everyone knows this is a hard thing to do, but it is part of the process and we must threaten politicians at the ballot box. I had hoped one of the new political parties would have emerged as a front runner by now. But this has not happened. So I appeal to Reclaim, Reform, Freedom Alliance, Heritage, and the others to actively find ways to merge. If this can happen, Back to Normal is ready to support and run a local group network for this merged political party. We would like to speak to any of the political parties about this right now.

In the meantime, we are continuing to deliver postcards door to door promoting ivermectin, as this really will end the Covid cover story and prevent it ever coming back. Please order your box (or more) of Back to Normal ivermectin cards and join our local group network by emailing backtonormalrh@yahoo.com, or contact us through the website www.backtonormal.org.uk.

Self-Isolation to End for Fully Vaccinated Brits on August 16th

The Government will treat vaccinated and unvaccinated Brits differently on the matter of self-isolation after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, with those who have had two doses of a vaccine not having to isolate from August 16th. This change will also apply to children under the age of 18. Sky News has the story.

Individuals must allow two weeks to pass after having their second jab before they are allowed to be exempt from self-isolating, [Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Commons in a statement].

At present, people identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus will receive an alert from the Test and Trace app or a phone call from a tracer telling them to isolate for 10 days.

For those who have only received one vaccination or those who have not been vaccinated, the requirement to self-isolate after coming into contact with an infected person will remain in place.

And if someone who has received two jabs tests positive for coronavirus they will still have to isolate for the 10-day period.

Mr Javid told MPs “the odds have shifted in our favour” due to the successful vaccination roll-out which will allow the Government to make the self-isolation system more flexible next month. …

The Health Secretary said the Government will advise close contacts of confirmed cases who are fully vaccinated “to take a PCR test as soon as possible”, adding: “And of course, anyone that tests positive will have to self-isolate whether they have had the jab or not.”

The Government hopes the new system will bring an end to the disruption of individuals being made to stay in their homes, in some cases, for multiple periods of 10 days.

Worth reading in full.

Major Airlines Tell Passengers to Continue Wearing Face Masks after July 19th

A number of major airlines, including Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways, will continue to force passengers to wear face masks on their planes after “Freedom Day”. They will join businesses in other sectors which have decided to refuse custom from people who don’t follow Government “advice” after July 19th. ITV News has the story.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement in the fourth and final stage to ease England’s lockdown…

Despite the Government’s decision, Ryanair has said it will continue to make face masks mandatory on flights.

The airline said in a statement: “In order to protect the health of our customers and crew, the use of face masks will still be mandatory across all Ryanair flights, regardless of the departing/destination country.”

Asked about its plans from July 19th, easyJet also said it currently has no plans to drop its requirement for passengers to wear face masks.

It said: “At present, there are no changes to easyJet’s onboard mask policy and we will continue to keep this under review.

“We continue to be guided by our inhouse medical adviser and a number of key industry governing bodies that airlines follow including the World Health Organisation, International Civil Aviation Organisation, E.U. Aviation Safety Agency, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and public health authorities across Europe, and at present their guidance around the wearing of masks onboard remains unchanged.”

Meanwhile, train industry body the Rail Delivery Group said “wearing a mask helps protect others”, but said that the relaxation of the rules around their use indoors would apply to trains.

It has however have pledged to “support” passengers who continue wearing face coverings if they become voluntary.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: “If people don’t object to this now, their grandchildren will be wearing masks in the 2050s, although nobody will remember why,” says Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens.

As Evidence Grows That Vaccines Do Not Protect Against Infection, the Case For Granting Privileges to the Vaccinated Collapses

Creating a two-tier society where freedoms and opportunities are contingent on whether or not you have received a novel (and not fully tested or licensed) vaccine, and having to reveal that fact to strangers, was never a sound approach from a civil liberties point of view. But as the evidence grows that the vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission, the medical case against this new medical apartheid falls apart as well.

The Covid vaccines were originally intended to protect the vulnerable from serious disease and death, following which life could then return to normal. At some point, though, a new idea emerged: that everyone (including children) should be vaccinated, not in order to protect themselves (their risk was low) but to provide further protection to the vulnerable. Similarly, the idea appeared that the fully vaccinated should have freedoms that the unvaccinated did not, because they were no longer able to transmit the virus.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that this idea is incorrect, and the vaccines do not meaningfully prevent infection or transmission, particularly from new variants. Yesterday, Lockdown Sceptics reported on the new data from Israel showing that the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against infection had dropped to 64% during the current Covid surge, down from 94% the previous month. (Effectiveness against serious disease as a result of becoming infected held up much better at 93%.) Public Health England has already reported that the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine has dropped to 60% against the Delta variant. Even these new lower figures may be overestimates, since Israel reports that 55% of new cases are in fully vaccinated people, and since 60% of the country is fully vaccinated this suggests the vaccines are doing very little to prevent infection (a vaccine efficacy estimate on those raw figures would give just 18.5%).

There have also been major outbreaks in highly vaccinated countries like Bahrain, Seychelles, Maldives and Chile.

Underlining the point, the Swiss Doctor has highlighted a case where “a vaccinated Israeli caught the Indian variant in London, infected another vaccinated person in Israel, who infected another vaccinated person, who infected about 80 students at a high school party”.

To some, the idea that the vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission comes as no surprise. As Peter Doshi wrote in the BMJ in October, the trials were not designed to establish this. Furthermore, the vaccines do not produce mucosal IgA antibodies, which have been shown to play a crucial role in fighting infection in the early stages.

Time for governments to abandon the idea that vaccination provides meaningful protection against infection or transmission, and thus any idea of vaccinating people to protect others, or conferring privileges on the vaccinated, including for international travel, as though they will no longer spread the virus.

Governments should make clear that vaccination is purely for personal protection, and therefore also a personal choice in regard to personal risk. There is no social obligation to get vaccinated to protect others, no benefit to vaccinating children, and no warrant for restricting the freedoms and opportunities of the unvaccinated or imposing on them extra costs such as quarantine.

Restrictions Could be Reintroduced Locally After “Freedom Day” to Deal With New Variants, Says Sajid Javid

We have been assured that our unlocking will be “irreversible” – that July 19th is the “terminus date” for Covid restrictions (in England, at least). These words would be comforting if only they were matched by Government action. Alas, laws allowing local authorities to bring back restrictions on businesses and social contact in case of Covid outbreaks or – of course – new variants are being kept at least until the end of September, Sajid Javid has confirmed. The i has the story.

Ministers will retain laws that allow local authorities to shut down businesses, prohibit certain events, or close outdoor public spaces “in case of a local breakout” or in case a new dangerous variant emerges, the Health Secretary told MPs.

“We will be keeping in place contingency measures, particularly for local authorities, the so-called Number Three regulations, at least until the end of September, in case those powers are needed in the case of a local breakout,” Mr Javid told the Commons.

He added: “Of course there’s no intention at this point that those powers will be used but we believe it is necessary to have powers in place just in case.

“You would have heard me earlier talk about the risk that still exists from new variants and that is the plan.”

The so-called Number Three laws were first introduced in July 2020 to give local authorities the power to respond to “a serious and imminent threat” to public health by managing Covid transmission.

They form a patchwork of legislation that was used to govern local lockdowns in the second half of 2020.

But Boris Johnson decided to scrap the approach and impose another national lockdown in England in January after a series of painful negotiations over restrictions with local leaders like Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

Worth reading in full.

How Common Is Long Covid?

Estimates of the prevalence of long Covid – where symptoms persist for more than four or more than 12 weeks after infection, depending on the exact definition – vary dramatically.

Before getting to the estimates, what kind of symptoms are we talking about? All of the following have been reported: abdominal pain; cough; diarrhoea; fatigue; fever; headache; loss of taste; loss of smell; myalgia; nausea or vomiting; shortness of breath; and sore throat.

The ONS has documented that almost 14% of people who test positive for COVID-19 continue to report at least one symptom 12 weeks later. This estimate is based on data from the Coronavirus Infection Survey (CIS) – a large, random sample of UK residents living in private households. Here’s the ONS’s chart:

The control participants comprise individuals who took part in the CIS but were unlikely to have been infected. Note that only 2% reported at least one symptom on the relevant date. This seems to suggest that fully 12% of people who test positive for COVID-19 go on to experience long Covid (over and above the background rate).

However, while the CIS is a high-quality sample, the 12% figure isn’t necessarily correct. That’s because the symptoms are self-reported, and we don’t have any information on severity.

Due to the amount of media attention long Covid has received, CIS participants who tested positive might have been inclined to exaggerate their symptoms – to report things they normally wouldn’t have done. In other words, some of their symptoms might be more psychosomatic than physical.

News Round-Up