Day: 8 May 2022

Prince William Praises TV Writers For Inserting Green Alarmist Agenda into Shows After Video Claiming the “Planet is on Fire”

Prince William has opened a BAFTA segment on climate change praising television writers for inserting green alarmist messages into their programmes and urged them to “keep them high up on the agenda of programming”. His words followed a video that claimed the “planet is on fire”. MailOnline has more.

The duke appeared as part of a special video address highlighting “Planet Placement”, in which shows feature messages about sustainability throughout their ordinary programming.

The clip detailed how the “planet is on fire”, before he shared his hope that programme-makers will do more to prioritise environmental issues.

But William also praised the “innovative” and “emotive” messages that are now being written into television shows to help raise awareness of climate change and persuade audiences to actively want to save the planet. 

In the address, he said: “Now more than ever, programme makers have a unique opportunity to ensure climate change and sustainability remain at the forefront of our collective consciousness.

“By creating innovative, educational and emotive content for television, writers and producers are playing a unique role in ensuring the future of our planet is something that we all want to talk about.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen some fantastic examples of this across a wide variety of programmes and genres.

“I hope you will all continue to carry on your invaluable work, keeping environmental issues high up on the agenda of programming in the years ahead.”

Worth reading in full.

Is Musk’s Twitter Takeover the Start of a Wider Fightback Against Woke Capitalism?

The “coalition of financial super-powers” assembled by Elon Musk to take control of Twitter is of huge significance as it may be the start of a wider fightback against dysfunctional, sanctimonious woke capitalism, says Matthew Lynn in the Telegraph

The markets are obsessed with ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing, driving it to the point of absurdity. It has demanded the winding up of the oil giants, even though it means soaring prices and dependence on Russian gas, and stopped investment in defence manufacturing, even though it leaves us vulnerable to attack, while prioritising diversity, home working and inclusivity over productivity, output and innovation. 

Corporate chief executives have started outbidding one another in political virtue signalling, ignoring returns to their shareholders. And the banks, including the all-powerful central banks, have prioritised ‘green finance’ over such mundane matters as financing investment and controlling inflation.

The results have been dismal. Almost 15 years after the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, we are heading into the new decade in worse shape than ever. The roaring twenties have been replaced by the stagnant twenties, with a terrifying mix of soaring inflation, flat-lining growth and massive debt mountains. 

Sure, there are multiple explanations for that. But it can hardly be a coincidence that as the money markets and major corporations have been captured by narrow ideological interests the economy has steadily deteriorated. 

With so much money assembled behind it, the same group of financiers, entrepreneurs and investors can move on from Twitter to other targets. Such as? Media companies, from Netflix to Disney, that prioritise preachy sermonising over entertainment. The multinationals such as Unilever that put political campaigning over making decent products at a fair price. And the investors who prioritise ESG over real investment. In truth, woke capitalism may soon be killed off – and it will be achieved through the relentless force of the free market.

Worth reading in full.

WHO Estimates of India’s Covid Deaths Are Highly Suspect

On May 5th, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a new report estimating global excess deaths at 14.9m for two years of the pandemic 2020-21 as the true COVID-19 mortality toll, nearly triple the official toll of 5.44m. “Excess mortality” is the difference between the number of deaths that would be expected in any time period based on data from earlier years and the number of deaths that have occurred. For countries with robust data surveillance, reporting and recording systems, this poses no real difficulty. Unfortunately, these conditions are not met in many countries. Therefore their excess mortality can only be estimated and the accuracy is a function of the reliability of the methodology and modelling used in the exercise. Given the overwhelming evidence about the flaws and deficiencies of Covid-related modelling over the last two years, and the damage caused by governments trusting modelling projections over real-world data, this should immediately throw up a forest of red flags about the WHO report.

A second reason to be sceptical is the less than stellar role of the WHO in its well-known Covid-related deference to China, the abandonment of its own summary of the state of the art science on managing pandemics from October 2019, its willingness to manipulate definitions of ‘herd immunity’ in relation to vaccines and natural immunity in order to fit with the experimental pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that came to dominate Covid policy around the world, and its self-interest in expanding its budget, authority and role in steering global health policies and management by means of a new international treaty.

The WHO Figures on Sweden’s Excess Deaths Must Radically Change the Terms of the Covid Inquiry

Lockdown sceptics Robert Dingwall, Professor of Sociology at Nottingham Trent University, has written a barnstorming piece for today’s Sunday Telegraph arguing that Sweden’s below-average number of excess deaths for 2020 and 2021 – in the league table compiled by the World Health Organisation – should change the terms of the official Covid inquiry.

“Judge me in a year,” said Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s State Epidemiologist, in July 2020, when his country was being attacked for sticking to its pandemic plan rather than adopting the novel intervention of lockdown. The latest World Health Organisation figures add to the evidence that has been accumulating since summer 2021. Sweden managed the pandemic more successfully than most, with much less disruption of everyday life and economic activity.

The WHO has published estimates of excess deaths globally for 2020 and 2021. This approach covers all deaths from Covid, whether formally diagnosed or not, together with collateral damage in deaths from other conditions that went untreated. Looking at Europe, where official data are usually robust, Sweden had half the excess death rate of the UK, Germany or Spain – and a quarter of that of many Eastern European nations.

In turn, the U.K. tends to be mid-table, in line with other large Western European countries, while Eastern European countries have had much worse experiences. There is a widely-circulated view that the UK has had a uniquely bad pandemic. The data simply do not support this.

Nor do they support the view that the outcomes have much to do with the restrictions adopted by different governments, how soon they began, or the stringency of enforcement. The question, then, is how governments came to adopt highly restrictive policies in the first place. This must be the starting point for any national inquiry. Why was the experience of emergency planners, and two decades of pandemic preparation, abandoned everywhere except Sweden?

Worth reading in full.

Fourth Vaccine Dose Offers No Protection Against Infection After Just Two Months, Israeli Study Finds

A population-wide study from Israel published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that a fourth dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine ceases to have any efficacy against infection within just eight weeks (see chart above). Here is the abstract.

BACKGROUND

On January 2nd 2022, Israel began administering a fourth dose of BNT162b2 [Pfizer] vaccine to persons 60 years of age or older. Data are needed regarding the effect of the fourth dose on rates of confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

METHODS

Using the Israeli Ministry of Health database, we extracted data on 1,252,331 persons who were 60 years of age or older and eligible for the fourth dose during a period in which the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant of SARS-CoV-2 was predominant (January 10th through March 2nd 2022). We estimated the rate of confirmed infection and severe COVID-19 as a function of time starting at eight days after receipt of a fourth dose (four-dose groups) as compared with that among persons who had received only three doses (three-dose group) and among persons who had received a fourth dose three to seven days earlier (internal control group). For the estimation of rates, we used quasi-Poisson regression with adjustment for age, sex, demographic group, and calendar day.

RESULTS

The number of cases of severe COVID-19 per 100,000 person-days (unadjusted rate) was 1.5 in the aggregated four-dose groups, 3.9 in the three-dose group, and 4.2 in the internal control group. In the quasi-Poisson analysis, the adjusted rate of severe COVID-19 in the fourth week after receipt of the fourth dose was lower than that in the three-dose group by a factor of 3.5 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.7 to 4.6) and was lower than that in the internal control group by a factor of 2.3 (95% CI, 1.7 to 3.3). Protection against severe illness did not wane during the six weeks after receipt of the fourth dose. The number of cases of confirmed infection per 100,000 person-days (unadjusted rate) was 177 in the aggregated four-dose groups, 361 in the three-dose group, and 388 in the internal control group. In the quasi-Poisson analysis, the adjusted rate of confirmed infection in the fourth week after receipt of the fourth dose was lower than that in the three-dose group by a factor of 2.0 (95% CI, 1.9 to 2.1) and was lower than that in the internal control group by a factor of 1.8 (95% CI, 1.7 to 1.9). However, this protection waned in later weeks.

CONCLUSIONS

Rates of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 were lower after a fourth dose of BNT162b2 vaccine than after only three doses. Protection against confirmed infection appeared short-lived, whereas protection against severe illness did not wane during the study period.

While protection against severe disease did not appear to decrease during the six week follow-up, note that the fact that severe Covid illness was occurring in the triple-dosed at over three times the rate of the quadruple-dosed suggests that the protection of three doses against severe illness had already significantly declined. This is confirmed by other studies (e.g. here and here) and noted by the authors themselves.

Read the study here. My write-up of an earlier version can be found here.

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