Day: 14 October 2021

YouTube Censors Conservative Ex-Minister David Davis For Criticising Vaccine Passports

YouTube removed a video of a speech made by David Davis at a Conservative Party Conference fringe meeting in which he argued against the introduction of vaccine passports in the U.K. The Independent has more.

Senior Conservative MP David Davis has accused YouTube of censoring him after the platform removed his speech criticising the use of domestic vaccine passports in Britain.

The video of the former cabinet minister – speaking on the fringes of the Tory party’s annual conference last week – was uploaded by the civil liberties campaign group, Big Brother Watch.

In a notification email, the platform told the organisation: “YouTube doesn’t allow claims about Covid-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organisation (WHO).”

During the speech, Mr. Davis hit out at the use of domestic vaccine passports, decrying them as “illiberal, demanding that we an ordinary British citizens produce our papers to do something which is normal in our daily lives”.

The Conservative MP suggested the use of vaccine passports was about “trying to push a policy by covert coercion, about pressurising people to get vaccinated”.

Just last month, the U.K. Government dramatically shelved proposals to the [sic] enforce the mandatory use of vaccine passports at crowded venues such as nightclubs, but has kept the policy option in reserve.

Reacting angrily to the move to remove the video, which has now been reinstated on YouTube, Mr. Davis labelled it an “outrageous attack on free speech”.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen blatant attempts by big tech to silence opposition voices challenging the conventional wisdom,” he said.

Mr. Davis added: “My speech at conference was carefully researched, wholly accurate and backed up with the latest scientific fact.

“This unambiguous attempt by YouTube to censor by speech is a warning. If YouTube is happy to attempt to silence elected Members of Parliament, then they are also happy to censor anyone uploading content to their speech.”

Worth reading in full.

Let’s hope this is a wake up call to MPs about the threat posed to free speech by the Online Safety Bill, which will encourage social media platforms to be even more censorious.

Stop Press: YouTube has now reinstated the video, which you can watch here. As UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers says: “If you have a megaphone you get attention and the censorship is reversed, but if you don’t…”

Biden Administration Telling U.S. States to Prepare to Vaccinate Children as Young as Five against Covid Next Month

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet decided whether to authorise the emergency use of the Pfizer Covid vaccine in children aged five-11, but reports suggest the Biden Government is already quietly telling states to prepare to begin jab roll-outs for this age group as early as next month. MailOnline has the story.

Recently, Pfizer submitted an application [to] the FDA to expand emergency use of its Covid vaccine to include kids between ages five and 11. 

An unnamed White House official told NBC News that the Federal Government has been telling state governors that it anticipates the authorisation will come in the next few weeks, as soon as early November. 

What’s more, an official in the Department of Health and Human Services told the news outlet that [the] Biden administration has already purchased 65 million pediatric doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.

That’s more than the two doses needed to fully vaccinate the 29 million children in the U.S. who would now become eligible.

According to clinicaltrials.gov, Pfizer’s study in younger children worked similarly to the way it did in older children and adults. …

[But] unlike the larger clinical trial conducted in adults, the pediatric trial did not measure efficacy by comparing the number of Covid cases among the vaccine group to the number in the placebo group.

Instead, scientists looked at levels of neutralising antibodies in young vaccine recipients and compared the levels to those seen in adults.

The companies expect data on how well the vaccine works in children between ages two and five and between six months and two years of age by the end of the year. …

Because of this low risk of severe illness, polls have shown that many parents are not inclined to vaccinate their children.

A July 2021 survey, conducted by CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine last month, found that 39% of parents said their children [had] already gotten a coronavirus shot.

However, 40% of parents also said it was “unlikely” that their children would be getting vaccinated.

Worth reading in full.

Brits Suffering from ‘Super Colds’ Due to Weakened Flu Immunity Following Lockdowns

The decline in flu immunity during lockdowns has resulted in Brits complaining of suffering from ‘super colds’, with extra disruption to life likely to be caused by some health experts advising those with symptoms to isolate before ruling out Covid through testing. The Mirror has the story.

Social media is seeing users increasingly talking about having caught a “Super Cold” as Covid tests come back negative. …

[Professor Neil Mabbott says:] “As [lockdown] measures are eased and people start mixing more indoors and travelling on public transport we can expect to see a significant rise in colds and other respiratory diseases.”

Professor Alex Richter, of Birmingham University, said: “It is impossible to tell the difference between a cold and Covid clinically.

“They present so similarly that only PCR testing can differentiate between the two. Lateral flow testing can help with screening, but if someone has symptoms then they should go for a PCR swab test.”

“It is unlikely we are seeing the circulation of a ‘Super Cold’,” Professor Mabbott added.

“Rather our immune systems have had limited exposure to colds over the past 18 months, so our immunity to these diseases will have waned during this period and will be less effective against colds than would be expected normally.” …

Professor Alan McNally is Professor of Microbial Evolutionary Genomics at the University of Birmingham and was Infectious Disease lead at the Milton Keynes Lighthouse Lab.

He said: “If you have any symptoms of respiratory infection you should stay at home to prevent transmission and get a test done for Covid to rule in or out.

“Trying to self-diagnose is a sure-fire way to send Covid case rates soaring again.”

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: The Telegraph has some advice for those suffering from the ‘super cold’.

300 People a Day Go to A&E with Depression

As patients struggle to access face-to-face appointments with their GPs, figures show that more than 300 people a day are attending A&E departments complaining of depression – a sign both of the deepening mental health crisis and the inability of the NHS to cope with it. The Telegraph has the story.

NHS Digital data show that, in the year to March, “feeling depressed” was a patient’s main complaint in 114,000 attendances at NHS emergency departments in England – an average of 312 a day.

Mind, the mental health charity, said it was “deeply concerning” that so many people across the country needed emergency care for this reason.

The data refers to chief complaints, which a clinician views during a patient’s first assessment as the main reason that led them to seek emergency care. It is not an official diagnosis.

Feeling depressed was the 28th most common reason of nearly 150 recorded for attending an emergency department nationally in the last year, coming above puncture wounds, back injuries, coughs and sore throats. …

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, in the North West, saw the highest number of A&E attendances for people presenting with feeling depressed as their main symptom (4,785), followed by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which recorded 3,950, and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, with 2,525.

Different figures show “depressive disorder” was listed as the first suspected or confirmed diagnosis in 83,500 A&E attendances at NHS trusts across the country in 2020 to this year, making it the 25th most common diagnosis of hundreds recorded.

A patient with this diagnosis may not necessarily have been listed as “feeling depressed” in their initial assessment.

Leila Reyburn, the policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said: “It is deeply concerning to see so many people feeling so mentally unwell that they need to go to A&E. This is supported by data which shows an increasing number of people, including children, being treated by the NHS in a mental health crisis.”

Worth reading in full.

Covid Infections Begin to Rise in Northern Europe as Winter ‘Flu Season’ Gets Underway

Has the winter ‘flu season’ begun in northern Europe, with signs of upticks in Covid positive tests in the U.K., Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and also Russia?

There’s no new variant driving these – it appears to be purely seasonal, with Delta still dominating. There’s also a lot more herd immunity around now (and high vaccination rates, if that has any effect on infection and transmission). What will a winter Covid surge look like under these conditions? We may be about to find out.

Denmark recently ended all restrictions, including abolishing vaccine passports, declaring Covid no longer a “socially critical disease”. Let’s hope it holds its nerve as winter hits, and that we, too, will resist introducing any draconian new measures as we face whatever the coming season may throw at us.