Day: 27 August 2021

Care Homes Could Be Forced to Call On the Relatives of Their Residents to Help Out Due to Staff Shortages Caused by Vaccine Mandate

Staff shortages in care homes caused by Government-imposed Covid vaccine mandates could force some homes to call on the families of their residents to volunteer to work on reception and to serve meals. The Telegraph has the story.

Providers have voiced fears that shortages caused by workers refusing to be double jabbed will amount to such a significant proportion of the workforce that the sector could collapse.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, one care home manager has written to the relatives of residents – many of whom are paying thousands of pounds for care – asking for help with caring duties “if the worst comes to the worst”.

Mike Padgham, Chairman of the Independent Care Group for York and North Yorkshire and owner of Saint Cecilia’s Care Services, which operates four care businesses, said the plan showed the “crisis” facing the sector, adding: “We want to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” …

The Government has previously estimated that its mandatory vaccination policy will result in about 40,000 care home staff – 7% – either quitting or being sacked, costing the embattled sector £100 million to replace. 

According to the latest available data, funded by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and published by Skills for Care in October 2020, there were 112,000 vacancies in the sector.

However, industry leaders warned that after the past year, as Covid ravaged care homes, causing the deaths of more than 40,000 residents, this number is now likely to be far higher and could even have doubled.

There are approximately 865,000 care workers, 87,000 senior care workers and 36,000 registered nurses in England, according to figures published by The King’s Fund think-tank in July.

Worth reading in full.

Restrictions to Be Scrapped in Denmark as Covid No Longer “A Critical Threat to Society”

Lockdown restrictions are set to be lifted in Denmark by September 10th after health officials said Covid no longer poses “a critical threat” to the country. Health Minister Magnus Heunicke has, however, warned that the Government “will not hesitate to act quickly” if the situation becomes worse once again. MailOnline has the story.

More than 70% of Danes are fully vaccinated and the low levels of Covid in the country led the Health Minister on Friday to announce that the virus is now “under control”.

“The epidemic is under control, we have record vaccination levels. That is why, on September 10th, we can lift the special rules we had to introduce in the fight against Covid,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said.

However, he stressed that “the epidemic is not over” and said the Government “will not hesitate to act quickly if the pandemic once again threatens the essential functioning of society”.

Denmark was one of the first countries to introduce a partial lockdown in March 2020, shutting down schools and non-essential businesses and services.

It has relaxed and reinforced its measures throughout the pandemic, and in April introduced a ‘corona passport’ granting holders access to businesses like restaurants, cinemas, gyms and hair salons.

That requirement was already lifted in some places such as museums on August 1st, and masks have not been mandatory on public transport in Denmark since August 14th. 

A number of further restrictions are set to end on September 1th. From the start of the month, people will no longer be required to show a valid corona pass to sit in restaurants and bars, though a pass will still be required to enter nightclubs and other large events such as football matches until September 10th.

The change in the classification of Covid will not, however, affect rules on travel into Denmark, which are governed by a separate inter-party agreement which is due to expire in October, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry said.

Denmark has not seen more than five Covid-related deaths per day since February.  

Worth reading in full.

Boris Johnson Will Impose New Lockdown if Reported Covid Deaths Reach Around 1,000 a Week, According to Government Sources

The Prime Minister is said to have devised a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether he should plunge the country into another lockdown. A Government adviser says Johnson would be minded to impose further restrictions if the reported number of Covid-related deaths in the U.K. over the space of a year looked likely to rise above 50,000 (that’s just under 1,000 a week, or 137 a day). i news has the story.

Downing Street has denied it has set any “acceptable level” of Covid deaths but one adviser, who has been close to the Government since coronavirus struck 18 months ago, told i that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had privately accepted that there would be at least a further 30,000 deaths in the U.K. over the next year, and that the Prime Minister would “only consider imposing further restrictions if that figure looked like it could rise above 50,000”.

The Government’s cost-benefit analysis on Covid measures is believed to set not only the acceptable level of cost to save the life of a Covid patient at up to £30,000, but also how much each life lost costs the U.K. economy.

It is understood the analysis shows that the cost of keeping the annual death rate below 50,000 would outweigh the cost to the U.K. economy of allowing it to rise above this level.

As i revealed earlier this month, the Government has put contingency plans in place should the rate of infection and deaths rise to an “unacceptable level”.

The source said: “The Prime Minister is minded to implement another lockdown or new restrictions only if the figure of annual deaths looks like it’s going to go above 50,000. That means deaths from Covid of 137 a day, or just under 1,000 a week.

“However, it won’t be an immediate reaction. A sustained rate of death of around a 1,000 a week for two or three weeks will, though, lead to discussion on restrictions being reimposed. Unfortunately, prime ministers have to weigh up the cost of saving lives to the impact on the economy. No one wants to talk about that’s how it works.” …

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “There is no set number of acceptable deaths from Covid.”

But one of the Government’s most senior scientific advisers has also suggested the cost of saving lives could be a factor in the strategy.

Worth reading in full.

Butlin’s Has Muzzled the Redcoats – Not So Much Hi-De-Hi as Low-De-Low

A reader has got in touch to tell us about his recent experience at Butlin’s. It was ruined by the company’s insistence that all members of staff, including the Redcoats, wear masks at all times.

As the summer holiday season draws to a close, I thought it was worth sharing my experience at Butlin’s – the classic U.K. resort. Unfortunately, it was anything but the post-Step 4 ‘freedom experience’ we expected.

I visited Butlin’s last year in August 2020 and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. Here was a business clearly struggling to squeeze whatever it could out of the ludicrous Government-mandated situation. Shows were outside and we were restricted to tables only – you’d see more dancing in present day Afghanistan. So I was keen to enjoy a fully unrestricted experience when we returned in 2021. But I was wrong.

Butlin’s has hit a new Low-de-Low and has mandated facemasks for all staff – seemingly forever. By all staff, I mean all staff – including Redcoats. For those unfamiliar with the holiday camp experience, the Redcoats are the entertainment team. Multi-talented, relentlessly joyous and an intrinsic part of the Butlin’s experience. Except in 2021 they wear grey rags across their faces – the mask has become an official part of the uniform. So there are no smiles, no laughter and little communication.

Butlin’s has just opened ‘Studio 36’ at their Bognor Regis resort. A huge aircraft-hangar sized entertainment space with a ceiling so high you could stack double-decker buses in it. What’s more, the building has more air conditioning units than a Dubai hotel – I counted over 20 inverters lining the walls. It’s better ventilated than the beach. Studio 36 is a massive and impressive area. But here’s the punch line: the loony mask edict leads to a ludicrous situation whereby you can have 1000 unmasked guests dancing, singing and laughing; a six-piece band playing and…wait for it…two Redcoats either side of the band swaying from side to side – all with masks on! What possible ‘safety’ is this? How does forcing two people (the key entertainers) to wear masks, ‘protect’ a room of over a thousand? It is a ridiculous scenario. I feel genuinely sorry for the Redcoats who are forced to facelessly bob along to the music like castrated fluffers.

Australia is Falling Apart

We’re publishing an original essay today by historian Guy de la Bédoyère, a regular contributor, about the possibility that Australia may actually break apart as a result of its political leaders’ hopeless mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis. Having gone all in on the disastrous zero-Covid approach, its political class – and public health establishment – has had no choice but to implement more and more draconian lockdown measures, destroying the economy, alienating the business community and transforming working class citizens into seriously pissed-off dissidents. Can the country survive? Probably, but whole scale political collapse is a possibility that shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. Here is an extract:

My fear though is that Australia, of all the developed modern democratic states, has set out down a path that could in extremis result in the country breaking apart. Let’s not beat about the bush (a more appropriate term for Australia than anywhere else). This is a country that already teeters on the brink of viability. Natural disasters have the potential to destroy large swathes of Australia’s agriculture on a permanent basis. The country has never developed industry to a level that could serve it properly, preferring to rely on selling natural resources to China to make into things that get sent back to Australia. The national infrastructure is ramshackle. It was already the case that the individual states are more interested in their own futures than the country’s. That’s especially evident in WA, marginalised by Australian national politics.

Australia is to some extent only a nation in name. Western Australia, one of the least populous states, is also the largest. Apart from air travel, it is connected to the rest of Australia by a few scrappy roads, easily taken out by a single cyclone, and one railway. For years its colossal mineral resources have bankrolled the country’s wealth. That has caused no end of frustration to Western Australia which benefits less than most states from any federal handouts. Few Australians from the rest of the country ever bother with going to WA. There is little love lost between WA and the eastern states.

There is therefore an incipient sense of nationalism in Western Australia. It’s no more than a conceit at the moment, but Covid is accelerating the sense of frustration. Only now is the federal Government getting it together with the vaccine rollout and desperately trying to roll back the terrible mess it’s made. The chaotic response exhibited until recently has not been Australia’s finest honour. The fiasco has ridden on the back of the zero-Covid fantasy, a Land-That-Might-Have-Been.

Worth reading in full.

Israeli Study Finds that Natural Immunity Protects Much Better Against Infection than Pfizer Vaccine

Since the start of the global vaccine roll-out, it’s become increasingly clear that – although the vaccines provide strong protection against severe disease – they provide only limited protection against infection.

Israel and Iceland, two of the most vaccinated countries in the world, have recently seen major outbreaks of COVID-19. Both countries had fully vaccinated 60% of the population by July 1st. Yet by early August, Iceland had posted its largest daily total for the number of new infections since the pandemic began, and case numbers in Israel were soaring.

However, the question of whether vaccines are superior to natural immunity in terms of protection against infection has remained open. According to a Guardian article titled “Common myths about Covid – debunked”, which was written by a member of Independent SAGE, natural immunity is “not as good as the protection you get from being vaccinated”.

Yet a new paper suggests the reverse may be true: natural immunity is stronger and longer-lasting than vaccine-induced immunity.

Sivan Gazit and colleagues analysed a large sample of anonymised patient records from Israel. Their sample included two key groups: fully vaccinated people who’d never tested positive; and unvaccinated people who had tested positive.

In addition to matching these two groups for size, and average demographic characteristics, they controlled for ‘immune activation time’. This was done by limiting the sample to people who’d been vaccinated or infected between January 1st and February 28th, 2021.

Patients’ Covid outcomes (subsequent infection, hospitalisation or death) were measured during a follow-up period between June 1st and August 14th.

What did the researchers find? Of the 257 cases that were detected in the follow-up period, 93% occurred in the vaccinated group, and only 7% occurred in the previously infected group. And of nine hospitalisations, eight occurred in the vaccinated group, compared to just one in the previously infected group.

These results indicate that natural immunity confers substantially more protection against infection than vaccine-induced immunity. They also suggest that natural immunity confers more protection against hospitalisation, although one should be cautious here, as there were only nine hospitalisations in total.

The researchers point out that their results may only apply to the Delta variant, and to the Pfizer vaccine, and that they couldn’t control for all relevant differences between the two groups. Nonetheless, their paper provides the strongest evidence to date that natural immunity beats vaccine-induced immunity when it comes to infection.

Francious Balloux of UCL, a self-described “militant corona-centrist”, said the paper “is a bit of a bombshell”. Though he added that “essentially every adult who hasn’t been infected yet greatly benefits from being vaccinated”.

Gazit and colleagues’ findings still need to be replicated. But if they prove to be robust, then government priorities may shift substantially going forward. The case for vaccinating healthy young people will be even weaker. And the case for donating surplus vaccines to poor countries will be that much stronger.

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