- “Government paves way to bring in tough ‘Plan B’ Covid rules” – Councils are being consulted over support for measures such as vaccine passports amid warnings by senior doctors that NHS faces winter illness ‘triple whammy’, reports the Observer.
- “The lockdown myths need to be challenged” – Calls for more restrictions are all too often based on a flawed understanding of what is really happening, writes Raghib Ali in the Sunday Telegraph.
- “The new public health despotism” – Draconian rules are suppressing our humanity, writes Matthew B. Crawford in UnHerd.
- “Rishi Sunak to spend billions to digitise NHS” – The Chancellor is to give the health service another ‘boost’ by paying for new technology, hospitals and maintenance, reports the Sunday Telegraph.
- “Forget vaccine mandates and mass screening – reason must prevail” – The Government risks doing enormous harm with their ‘one-size-fits-none’ interventions to tackling the virus, like vaccine passports, writes Alex Starling in Reaction.
- “Building back dodgier with Del Boy Johnson” – “This expression ‘build back better’, constantly reiterated across the globe with suspicious synchronicity, seems to be the Prime Minister’s mantra du jour,” writes Sean Walsh in TCW Defending Freedom.
- “A Test for the Public – The Week in Review” – Michael Curzon, S.D. Wickett and Luke Perry discuss the latest Covid stories in Bournbrook Magazine’s regular podcast.
- “Austria considers lockdown that will only stop unjabbed from going out” – Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced the news late on Friday during a meeting with state-level leaders to discuss a national response to increasing infection numbers.
- “Net Zero target relies on rise in windy days” – The disclosure prompts questions over the accuracy of the CCC’s claims about the feasibility of meeting net zero by 2050, writes Edward Malnick in the Sunday Telegraph.
- “Boris Johnson should trust the market to solve climate change” – “We still don’t have a clear estimate from the Government on the cost of reaching net zero by 2050,” writes Annabel Denham in the Spectator.
- “My Grandfather’s Son by Justice Clarence Thomas – a review” – “It made me realise more wholly that the firmest ideological beliefs, in Thomas’ case austere conservatism, are formed most definitively in the realisations we gain from lived experiences,” writes William Parker in Bournbrook Magazine.
- “Parents who are occasionally abrupt with their children may be guilty of ‘mild neglect’, says NSPCC” – Parents who fall into the category of ‘mild neglect’ may warrant a “targeted short-term intervention” by the local authority or agency, reports the Telegraph.
- “Who had the right to deny a dying man the comfort of a priest?” – “I was shocked by how furious I was when I learned that a Roman Catholic priest had been told by police that he could not enter the building where Sir David Amess had been stabbed to give him the last rites,” writes Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday.
- “Assange supporters rally in London, as U.S. prepares new extradition attempt” – Supporters of Julian Assange have gathered in London to demand freedom for the jailed WikiLeaks founder. Meanwhile, the U.S. is preparing a fresh legal fight to extradite Assange and try him for espionage, reports RT.
- “‘Woke capitalism is killing democracy’” – Vivek Ramaswamy talks to Spiked about how social justice took over the corporate world.
- “The man who wants to wake us up to Woke Racism” – Academic John McWhorter is on a mission to highlight the absurdities of America’s new ‘religion’ – and it could be heading to Britain, reports the Telegraph.
- “The Betrayal Of Our Gay Inheritance” – How has the new trans left come to resemble the old religious right, asks Andrew Sullivan in his latest Substack update.
- “The trans assault on freedom” – Gender ideology is not about liberation – it is about coercion and control, writes Frank Furedi in Spiked.
- “‘I will refuse another lockdown’” – A caller tells talkRADIO: “I’m completely done with it. We’ve all been vaccinated. That’s what they said would take us out of this.”
Day: 23 October 2021
SAGE says ministers should be more precise about what could trigger ‘Plan B’ restrictions this winter and believes that telling the public to work from home again is one of the most effective measures it should prepare to reintroduce. The Times has the story.
SAGE noted that only about half the workforce had the option to stay at home but urged ministers to prepare for the “rapid deployment” of new measures if infections continue to surge.
Facemask mandates and vaccination passports are also options but are considered to be less effective.
The advisers have also urged Boris Johnson to decide what circumstances would trigger his ‘Plan B’. “Identifying early warning metrics and triggers for intervening is key to responding rapidly,” they said. …
New modelling from SAGE suggests that hospital admissions are unlikely to hit the peaks seen in January, when 4,000 people a day were admitted. But there are concerns that Covid cases could combine with a nasty flu season to drive hospitals closer to the edge.
“Even if peak [Covid] admission levels remain well below those of January 2021, this could still put health and care settings under significant pressure, particularly if this coincides with high numbers of patients with other respiratory infections,” SAGE advisers have told ministers in the past week.
It echoes past comments made by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, who has said that the Prime Minister must “go hard and go early” with winter restrictions if there is a surge in cases. …
The SAGE documents also include the suggestion that a campaign, coupled with practical and financial support, may be needed to encourage people to stay home if they have cold or flu symptoms, even if they have a negative PCR test for the coronavirus.
The experts are concerned that the pandemic has entered a highly unpredictable phase where small changes in public behaviour, or the effectiveness of vaccines, could have a large impact.
Worth reading in full.
Hundreds of patients in Glasgow are having face-to-face hospital appointments cancelled or rescheduled ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) which begins next week in the hope that this will help to clear up the roads. The Herald has the story.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it would be increasing the number of virtual consultations and moving some face-to-face consultations to different times of the day in order to accommodate a “temporary increase in population” in the city over the two-week climate summit.
Patients began receiving letters over the past week notifying them of changes to their appointments.
It comes amid warnings that the event itself could trigger a fresh spike in Covid cases, piling preassure on an already overstretched NHS.
Health cheifs at neighbouring NHS Lanarkshire – where the majority of non-urgent elective surgeries have been paused since August – have now escalated its risk status to ‘Black’ and confirmed that a number of cancer procedures will be postponed. These will be rescheduled “as soon as possible”, they said.
One Glasgow patient with long Covid symptoms, who is due to see several specialists, told the Herald their face-to-face appointments had been changed suddenly to telephone consultations after months of waiting. …[They said] that it was ironic patients were being switched to phone and video appointments to free up roads for climate deligates flying into Scotland who “really should have held their meetings virtually”.
Worth reading in full.
To read more of the article without hitting a paywall, view the cover of today’s Herald here.
19 months on from the beginning of the pandemic and schools in England are still far from normal. Some have switched to remote learning ahead of the October half-term due to concerns about increasing ‘cases’ and now, 17 local authorities are insisting that stricter measures should be (re)introduced, affecting 1,098,349 pupils at 3,250 schools. The Telegraph has the story.
Councils across the country have reintroduced face masks, bubbles and staggered break times and stepped up self-isolation rules for youngsters. …
Headteachers have been told by ministers that many of the restrictions in place in the last academic year are no longer necessary. However, as cases rise in schools, local public health teams are increasingly encouraging schools to ramp up their measures. …
Nine Maidens Academy, in Cornwall, moved to remote learning at the start of the week, while Admiral Lord Nelson School in Portsmouth closed its doors on Thursday owing to a “rapid” rise in cases.
A dozen councils are advising secondary pupils in their area to wear masks in communal areas at school, and several have introduced more stringent self-isolation rules for children.
This week, Walsall Council advised primary schools to reintroduce bubbles and staggered lunch breaks, and moved all ‘non-essential’ events online. Windsor Council has also told schools to avoid mixing classes or year groups and to cancel assemblies.
Union leaders have repeatedly called for more restrictions in schools, with Kevin Courtney, the Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, claiming the Government’s failure to introduce stricter rules such as face masks is “irresponsible”.
The National Association of Headteachers has urged ministers to bring back rules that would see healthy children kept at home if a sibling tests positive.
But ministers have been warned that parents are “despairing” and their patience with the Government has “worn out”.
Molly Kingsley, a Co-Founder of the parent campaign group UsForThem, said: “Children have been disproportionately burdened by these pandemic restrictions for too long. Now adults are back to normal and the Government ought to be worried about the detrimental impact this is having on children. Parents are really despairing about this.”
Government guidelines say children should only self-isolate if they are showing symptoms or have a positive PCR test result. But councils including Calderdale, Cheshire East and Suffolk have brought back self-isolation rules for children if a sibling or other member of their household has tested positive.
Meanwhile, other councils say children need to self-isolate for three to five days if a family member has Covid, then take a PCR test and only return to school if it is negative.
Worth reading in full.
Another week, another Vaccine Surveillance report (now published by the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the successor to Public Health England), and with it more worrying news on the vaccine front.
Infection rates in the double-vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated continue to rise, meaning unadjusted vaccine effectiveness continues to decline. Infection rates are now higher in the double-vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated by 124% in those in their 40s, 103% in those in their 50s and 60s and 101% in those in their 70s, corresponding to unadjusted vaccine effectiveness estimates of minus-124%, minus-103% and minus-101% respectively. For those over 80 the unadjusted vaccine effectiveness is minus-34% while for those in their 30s it is minus-27%. For 18-29 year-olds it is 25%, so still positive but low, while for under-18s it is 90%, the only age group showing high efficacy. Vaccine effectiveness against emergency hospital admission and death continues to hold up, though with some indication of gradual slide, particularly in older age groups (see below). (For definitions and limitations, see here.)
- “Booster jabs will prevent lockdown, says Rishi Sunak” – Shops, pubs and restaurants must not shut again to deal with Covid, Rishi Sunak tells the Times, insisting there can be “no more lockdowns”.
- “Winter Covid wave won’t be as bad as last year – even without ‘Plan B’” – Modelling suggests hospital admissions will be nowhere near the highs of January unless transmission soars and immunity wanes, reports the Telegraph.
- “It’s not the public’s job to ‘save’ the NHS” – We have now locked down three times for the NHS. How many more do they need, asks Camilla Tominey in the Telegraph.
- “In defence of SAGE’s models” – “The models are not perfect, although they are much improved during the course of the epidemic,” writes Graham Medley in the Spectator.
- “Censorship is rife” – There are continuing concerns about the censorship of essentially all voices questioning any aspect pandemic management, writes HART.
- “Liverpool council health board advises people to work from home in face of rising coronavirus cases” – The Government has been saying the best way to manage the current rise in cases is for people to get vaccinated – including boosters. But Liverpool’s director of public health is advising people work from home to avoid gathering and spreading Covid cases.
- “Unions warn of ‘winter of chaos’ without urgent action to curb Covid” – A joint statement calls for mandatory mask-wearing and attacks the Government’s so-called “laissez-faire approach“, reports the Guardian.
- “Former vaccine chief will return to NHS role amid concern over booster jabs rollout” – Emily Lawson previously led the operational delivery of the coronavirus vaccination programme – and soon, she will be back.
- “‘Years to get children back on track after Covid’” – BBC News reports on how the pandemic has affected child development in one primary school in north-east England.
- “How many people have had Covid” – Does anyone know how many of us have had Covid? This is a critical question that politicians cared about only a year ago, writes HART.
- “Covid and mental health” – BBC Health Correspondent Deborah Cohen reports on the mental health pressures on the NHS as referrals are the highest rate on record.
- “The Infodemic and the Rise of a Modern Inquisition” – “The response to Covid has given the public an unprecedented glimpse of the impressive machinery that forms the global health establishment,” writes Elisabeth Taylor in Quadrant.
- “Labour’s instincts over masks are out of step with the people it needs to attract” – The Left seem to relish the imposition of rules and regulations to control citizens’ behaviour, writes Tom Harris in the Telegraph.
- “Like McCarthyism, America will soon wake up to wokeism” – Americans will look back on the woke movement with bemusement, says Janet Daley in a recent Telegraph podcast with Steven Edginton.
- “‘It’s absolutely appalling’: Unvaccinated Canadians become social outcasts and the new persecuted minority” – In Canada, the supposedly benevolent country that prides itself on inclusivity, Covid totalitarianism has become unavoidably apparent, with its decision that soon only the fully vaccinated can travel, writes Eva Bartlett in RT.
- “My heat pump has me left in the cold” – I was helping save the planet and saving myself the cost of buying oil. The perfect win-win. A toasty house whatever the weather and a minuscule energy bill. But I was wrong, writes John Humphreys in the Mail.
- “Insulate Britain activists are finally taken to court and ‘face jail’” – National Highways has made nine applications to the High Court for contempt of court against Insulate Britain activists for breaching injunctions by “dangerously” blocking the M25 during their protests, reports MailOnline.
- “The public is waking up to the costs of the West’s unilateral eco-disarmament” – COP26 is a problem for Boris Johnson. It is unlikely to reach consensus, and voters at home are wary of the implications of ‘net zero’, writes Charles Moore in the Telegraph.
- “The death of Britain’s dignity” – The Assisted Dying Bill exploits the rhetoric of compassion, writes Mary Harrington in UnHerd.
- “David Amess and the rise of Islamist denialism” – The Spiked team discusses the surreal response to the murder of an MP.
- “How Stonewall was exposed” – The charity can no long explain its fanciful dogmas, writes Douglas Murray in UnHerd.
- “Putin Warns Wokeness Is Destroying The West” – Putin says woke ideology is causing societal ills throughout the Western world and is no different than what happened in Russia during the 1917 revolution.
- “The latest celebrity must have? A trans child!” – “The Facts of Life passed from adult to child have become fictions passed from child to adult,” writes Julie Burchill in the Spectator.
- “Retired surgeon Dr. Tony Hinton says surgeons’ face masks don’t stop viruses and illnesses from spreading” – Dr. Hinton tells talkRADIO that wearing masks “doesn’t give people confidence it keeps fear going”.