Month: October 2021

News Round-Up

There’s No Reason to Plunge the U.K. Into A Christmas Lockdown, Boris Johnson Declares

The Prime Minister has stated that there is currently “no evidence” to implement a Christmas lockdown, despite what Sky News calls a “rise” in Covid cases. (In fact, they’re falling.) Johnson also said that, instead of new restrictions, members of the public should receive a booster jab when they are offered the opportunity, admitting that the effectiveness of the first two jabs does “start to wane” after a time. Sky News has the story.

Speaking to reporters during his trip to Rome for the G20 summit, Johnson once again insisted ministers are sticking with the current plan to tackle Covid and there is no reason to activate the Government’s ‘Plan B’.

Asked if he could guarantee a good Christmas, he said: “I see no evidence whatever to think that any kind of lockdown is on the cards.”

His comments come after the NHS Confederation, the British Medical Association and scientists called on the Government to take steps to ease the growing pressure on the health service.

Covid infections have risen across the U.K., with recent Office for National Statistics estimates showing the same proportion of people in England have the virus as at the peak of the second wave in January.

However, hospitalisations and deaths remain well below the levels seen earlier this year – in part due to the vaccine rollout which has seen 45.7 million people fully vaccinated.

Worth reading in full.

Has Government Gone Too Far Down the Vaccine-Saviour Road to Be Capable of Objective Assessment of the Evidence?

There follows a guest post by retired dentist and regular Daily Sceptic contributor Dr Mark Shaw, who wonders if the Government, health care profession and media are now too far down the vaccine-saviour narrative road to be capable of objective consideration of the evidence.

In my previous articles I have highlighted how the Government and most of the media are concealing certain facts, altering previously established protocols or manipulating data that has the effect of deceiving the public. I try not to dwell on why. Whatever the reason there is something that needs to be addressed.

Every form of medical treatment has an element of risk and any new development in healthcare is to some degree experimental. Time will and does tell how successful and how risky a particular form of therapy is. The Covid vaccination strategy would be no different in that respect. Yet Government and media have, in their headlong, panic-stricken way resisted all attempts of cautious, sceptical and truly ethical scientific scrutiny. They fail to recognise any form of experimentation, any increased risk profile associated with a novel medical procedure or how time and trialling (of which the public are those undergoing the trials) help establish the safety of a particular procedure. 

All this in the day of ‘defensive medicine‘ – a term sometimes used to describe a way of preventing patients from successfully suing their practitioners. But defensive medicine or dentistry can also protect the public if used genuinely for that specific purpose. All you need to do is practise fully informed consent where you are honest with your patient and explain the pros and cons clearly and freely in a way that doesn’t help steer the patient into a decision that is biased, for example by scaring the patient into electing no treatment or falsely reassuring the patient into accepting it. All that has gone out of the window with Covid. Similar safeguards are required for customers of pension and mortgage providers and gambling platforms for example – ‘your capital is at risk’, ‘the value of your investment is at risk’ etc. All these things are done to prevent the harms and scandals that are in the history books. 

So by abandoning the safeguards and principles that had successfully been established pre-Covid, what would happen if things turned out not to be what the patient (the majority of the public in this case) were led to believe? What if the treatment they underwent proved to be more harmful than beneficial? This may not be the case with respect to the Covid vaccine, but what if it was?

One in Six New York City Public Servants Remain Unvaccinated After Friday’s Mandatory Vaccination Deadline

One in six New York City public employees, which include those working within law enforcement and the fire department, have yet to receive the first dose of a Covid vaccine after the deadline for adhering to the city’s vaccination mandate closed yesterday. Those still unvaccinated will be put on unpaid leave starting from tomorrow, with the city expecting a shortage of workers to place a strain on public services. The Guardian has the story.

Despite opposition to the city’s vaccine mandate fuelled by right wing politicians and media and leading to a protest at City Hall this week, a last-minute rush of jabs boosted the vaccination rate to 83% among police officers, firefighters, garbage collectors and other city workers covered by the mandate as of 8pm on Friday.

That was up from 76% a day earlier.

Workers who have not complied with the requirement will be put on unpaid leave starting on Monday, leaving the city bracing for the possibility of closed firehouses, fewer police and ambulances and mounting trash.

Vaccination rates for the fire and sanitation departments jumped significantly on Friday as workers rushed to meet the deadline for the mandate and an extra incentive: workers who got a shot by Friday would get $500.

The fire department rate rose 8% and the sanitation department saw an additional 10% of its staff vaccinated, according to city data. The fire and sanitation departments each have 23% of staff unvaccinated.

The NYPD had a 5% jump in vaccinations on Friday, leaving 16% of police personnel yet to get a dose.

City officials have been weighing contingencies to deal with an expected staffing shortfall.

The Fire Department said it was prepared to close up to 20% of its companies and have 20% fewer ambulances in service while changing schedules, cancelling vacations and turning to outside EMS providers to make up for expected staffing shortages.

Worth reading in full.

12 to 15 Year-Olds to Be Vaccinated at More than 800 Schools from Tomorrow

From tomorrow, health teams will visit more than 800 schools to offer the vaccine to children aged between 12 and 15 year-olds. Health Secretary Sajid Javid commented that this vaccination drive is necessary to keep the classroom open by helping prevent Covid outbreaks in schools. BBC News has the story.

More than 600,000 children have been vaccinated since the rollout was extended last month, NHS England said.

Some 163,000 received a jab in the last week after the national booking system was opened up those eligible under 16 years-old.

Last month, the UK’s Chief Medical Officers recommended that children aged between 12 to 15 years-old be offered one dose of a Covid vaccine.

The NHS began the rollout in England on September 20th.

Efforts to vaccinate pupils as many return to the classroom from the half-term break comes as cases in England remain high.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The vaccines are safe and will help keep children in the classroom – I encourage everyone to come forward for their jab to protect themselves and the people around them.”

Children can alternatively make an appointment via the national booking system to visit a vaccination centre.

Some 140,000 children have made appointments to book their vaccine over the next few weeks, NHS England said.

Professor Adam Finn, a paediatrician who is a member of the UK vaccine expert group the JCVI, said vaccinating teenagers would “minimise the chance of disruption to education, which is really the major harm that the pandemic has done to our children”.

Worth reading in full.

News Round-Up

U.S. Intelligence Claims That Covid May Have Escaped from Chinese Lab

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According to a recent declassified report, U.S. intelligence have remarked that the lab leak theory, which claims that the global spread of Covid began when the virus escaped from a Chinese laboratory by accident, is a plausible explanation, but has stated that the disease was never intended to be a biological weapon. The Telegraph has the story.

The report, which China branded a “farce”, said agencies may never be able to identify the source of the global pandemic but dismissed accusations that Covid was developed as a bioweapon.

Those pushing that theory have been accused of disinformation and had “no direct access” to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, it said.

One intelligence agency said it had “moderate confidence” that the first infection was probably because of a laboratory accident involving experiments and animals at the Wuhan Institute.

The report updates a review ordered by President Joe Biden amid political infighting over how much to blame China rather than governments that may not have moved quickly enough to protect citizens.

Former Republican President Donald Trump – who lost his bid for re-election as the deadly pandemic ravaged the US economy – and many of his supporters referred to Covid as the “China virus.”

The Chinese embassy in Washington said, “The U.S. moves of relying on its intelligence apparatus instead of scientists to trace the origins of Covid is a complete political farce.

“We have been supporting science-based efforts on origins tracing, and will continue to stay actively engaged. That said, we firmly oppose attempts to politicise this issue.”

Worth reading in full.

The Daily Sceptic has More Readers than the New Statesman, Novara Media and the Morning Star Combined

There’s a good little story on Guido Fawkes that caught my eye. Apparently, the Daily Sceptic is doing rather well.

An article in this week’s New Statesman (“In the Post-Corbyn World, What Next for Alternative Left Media?“) spurred Guido to do some research into their traffic and how they are performing generally. The short answer is not very well in terms of raw audience size. In comparison to right-of-centre political news and opinion sites they are well behind. Like for like The Spectator has double the New Statesman’s readership. To give you an idea how much worse they are faring after the Corbyn-era glory days, consider this, Toby Young’s Daily Sceptic last month alone had more online readers than the New Statesman, Novara Media and Morning Star combined!

Worth reading in full.

Needless to say, all credit should go to the Daily Sceptic‘s employees – Will Jones, Noah Carl, Ian Rons and Luke Perry – as well as our regular contributors and tireless moderators. Well done team!

Why Aren’t Journalists and Politicians More Sceptical About the ‘Net Zero’ Policy, Given that it’s Based on the Outputs of Unreliable Models?

We’re publishing a guest post on the eve of COP26 by journalist Chris Morrison that asks why journalists and politicians are so willing to accept at face value a scientific hypothesis that relies on the outputs of climate models, given that the track record of those models in predicting the future has so far proved to be very poor?

Delegates gathering in Glasgow for COP26 to try to stop the climate heating up face the rather inconvenient truth that the average temperature in Scotland hasn’t moved for about 15 years. Indeed IPCC members might wish to cast a new hockey temperature stick. With the handle now stretched along the horizontal, rather than the vertical, it can replace the previous climate mascot – long gone after some unseemly disputes over the surprise abolition of the medieval warming period and the subsequent mini ice age.

The delegates plan to stay for two weeks. One must hope they have packed warm clothing. For years, average November temperatures in Scotland have been dropping like a stone. It’s so bad that temperatures are falling to levels last seen in the ‘90s – the 1890s.

These trends are not confined to Scotland. Met Office figures show a similar pattern for the U.K. In fact, the 2010s were colder across the U.K. than the 2000s – a fall in average temperature from 9.3C to 9.17C, again according to official Met Office figures. On a global level, both highly accurate satellite measurements and surface measurements show that there has been no warming for seven years – and counting.

Vaccination Has No Impact on Household Transmission of the Delta Variant, Study Finds

According to a recent study published in the Lancet, those who have received a Covid vaccine are just as likely as the unvaccinated to transmit the Delta variant within a household setting. In addition, researchers uncovered that both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated had a similar viral load of the disease when infected, with 25% of vaccinated household contacts contracting the disease. The Hill has the story.

According to the study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, people who contracted Covid had a similar viral load regardless of whether they had been vaccinated. The study further found that 25% of vaccinated household contacts contracted Covid while 38% of unvaccinated individuals were diagnosed with the disease.

Researchers examined 621 symptomatic participants in the United Kingdom over a year.

“Although vaccines remain highly effective at preventing severe disease and deaths from Covid, our findings suggest that vaccination is not sufficient to prevent transmission of the Delta variant in household settings with prolonged exposures”, the study said.

In contrast, researchers noted that the vaccination was more effective at curbing transmission of the Alpha variant within the household, at between 40 and 50%. 

“Increasing population immunity via booster programmes and vaccination of teenagers will help to increase the currently limited effect of vaccination on transmission, but our analysis suggests that direct protection of individuals at risk of severe outcomes, via vaccination and non-pharmacological interventions, will remain central to containing the burden of disease caused by the Delta variant”, the researchers wrote.

Worth reading in full.