Will Jones

The Unholy Trinity of Social Control: Covid, Climate Change and Critical Race Theory

Is it any wonder reports of mental illness have sky-rocketed in recent years when we are all constantly berated over what an awful state the world is in and how disaster is imminent unless our whole way of life is radically changed for the worse?

People living in 2021 are now burdened with at least three major issues, all of which have arisen or reached a new intensity in the last 18 months. First there is obviously Covid, with lockdown restrictions – unheard of before February 2020 – fast becoming normalised as a form of disease management. Second is climate change, the recent IPCC doomsday report and the approach of COP26 triggering the release of all kinds of new schemes and threats of punitive taxes and bans. Third, there is Critical Race Theory and the wider woke agenda of demonising and delegitimising ‘whiteness’, men, heterosexuality, women, and anything else deemed to be oppressive to minorities and insufficiently inclusive, egalitarian and diverse.

On the face of it these three things have little or nothing in common. Disease management, global temperature changes, race and minority relations – the issues are distinct. Yet their supposed urgency makes them and their approved solutions core tenets of the reigning governing philosophy of our day. Covid is such a serious disease it must be suppressed via restrictions whenever it surges; climate change is such a threat to human life it must be combated by drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions as quickly as possible; the oppression of minorities is so serious and pervasive that drastic action must be taken to increase diversity and remove oppressive cultural expressions in short order.

The three are also united in that all of them demand a high degree of social control. Normal life and liberty spreads disease, emits carbon dioxide and oppresses minorities. It is therefore unacceptable and must be curbed and brought under a heavy degree of governmental and social regulation. People must be compelled not to gather, to stay at home, to wear face coverings, to take tests and medicines, not to burn gas, oil, coal or petrol, not to eat meat, not to offend favoured minorities, to promote diversity. Those in charge are always attracted to an agenda that justifies them throwing around the power they have, and this unholy trinity of righteous causes has that in buckets.

The three are also based on ‘science’, or at least academia. They involve supposedly impartial, objective experts pronouncing on what the world’s biggest problems are and formulating the solutions that will save us. This is a very appealing formula for elites, who gain perceived legitimacy by allying themselves with expertise.

Another thing the three have in common, though the scientists, academics and politicians themselves will never admit it, is that they are all based on an underlying mistake, and the pursuit of their supposedly necessary solutions will frequently cause more harm than good.

To cap it off, they are also all totally impossible to achieve, giving rise to the ultimate soul-destroying ideology: urgent, impossible, and ultimately pointless.

As Infection Rates for Vaccinated Aged 40-79 Hit Double the Rates in the Unvaccinated, the U.K. Health Security Agency Suggests that Vaccines May Hobble the Immune Response on Infection

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.)

No Evidence New Delta Sub-Variant AY.4.2 is Anything to Worry About

There’s a new variant in town. Or rather, a sub-variant – AY.4.2, an offshoot of the Delta variant, said by some scientists to be up to 10-15% more transmissible. As of the end of September it made up around 6% of new cases and is on an upward trajectory.

Variants detected in England (Wellcome Sanger Institute)

However, there’s no reason to panic – and, for a change, that’s the message coming from the top. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There’s no evidence to suggest that this variant… the AY.4.2 one… is more easily spread. There’s no evidence for that…”

Francois Balloux, Director of the University College London Genetics Institute, said while the variant is “likely to be up to 10% more transmissible”, it is not comparable to Delta when it arrived in the U.K, which was at least 50% more infectious than Alpha.

Professor Balloux played down the likely impact of the increased transmissibility on infections, adding:

Vaccine Safety Update

This is the 14th of the round-ups of Covid vaccine safety reports and news compiled by a group of medical doctors who are monitoring developments but prefer to remain anonymous in the current climate (find the 13th one here). By no means is this part of an effort to generate alarm about the vaccines or dissuade anyone from getting inoculated. It should be read in conjunction with the Daily Sceptic‘s other posts on vaccines, which include both encouraging and not so encouraging developments. At the Daily Sceptic we report all the news about the vaccines whether positive or negative and give no one advice about whether they should or should not take them. Unlike with lockdowns, we are neither pro-vaccine nor anti-vaccine; we see our job as reporting the facts, not advocating for or against a particular policy. The vaccine technology is novel and the vaccines have not yet fully completed their trials, which is why they’re in use under temporary and not full market authorisation. This has been done on account of the emergency situation and the trial data was largely encouraging on both efficacy and safety. For a summary of that data, see this preamble to the Government’s page on the Yellow Card reporting system. (Dr Tess Lawrie in June wrote an open letter to Dr June Raine, head of the MHRA, arguing that: “The MHRA now has more than enough evidence on the Yellow Card system to declare the COVID-19 vaccines unsafe for use in humans,” a claim that has been ‘fact checked’ here.) We publish information and opinion to inform public debate and help readers reach their own conclusions about what is best for them, based on the available data.

Summary of Adverse Events in the U.K.

According to an updated report published on October 14th, the MHRA Yellow Card reporting system has recorded a total of 1,228,991 events based on 372,878 reports. The total number of fatalities reported is 1,719.

  • Pfizer (22.7 million first doses, 19.8 million second doses) now has one Yellow Card in 188 people vaccinated. Deaths: 1 in 40,391 people vaccinated (562).
  • AstraZeneca (24.9 million first doses, 24 million second doses) has one Yellow Card in 106 people vaccinated. Deaths: 1 in 22,514 people vaccinated (1,106).
  • Moderna (1.5 million first doses, 1.2 million second doses) has one Yellow Card in 90 people vaccinated. Deaths: 1 in 75,000 people vaccinated (20).

Overall, one in every 132 people vaccinated (0.76%) have experienced a Yellow Card adverse event. The MHRA has previously estimated that the Yellow Card reporting rate may be approximately 10% of actual figures.

The Flaw in the New ZOE Study Showing Vaccine Protection Better Than Natural Immunity

The ZOE Covid Study App (which recently changed its estimates again, which doesn’t exactly instil confidence) released a study earlier in the month (or rather a press release with no link to an actual study) which claimed natural immunity following infection “only gave 65% protection against catching it again”. This compared to 71% protection from the AstraZeneca vaccine (rising to 90% for those who had tested positive for Covid before) and 87% protection from the Pfizer vaccine (rising to 95% for the previously test-positive). The researchers say the results came from during the U.K. Delta wave.

This is a surprisingly low estimate for the protection given by natural immunity. Other estimates have tended to be more like 80% against testing positive and 90% against symptomatic infection. A recent study from Israel (not yet peer-reviewed) found natural immunity was 13 times better than Pfizer vaccination at preventing PCR positives during the Delta surge and 27 times better at preventing symptomatic infection.

The ZOE result is similar, however, to a recent (very flawed) study based on the ONS infection survey, which claimed to find just 55% protection from natural infection. A similarly flawed study from Oxford University, also based on the ONS survey, found natural infection just 66% effective.

The main problem with the ZOE study is that it only looks at infections from May and June 2021. This was mostly a time of very low prevalence, though with the beginnings of the Delta surge occurring in the latter half.

News Round-Up

Infection Rate in Vaccinated People in Their 40s Now More Than DOUBLE the Rate in Unvaccinated, PHE Data Shows, as Vaccine Effectiveness Hits Minus-109%

In the latest Vaccine Surveillance report from Public Health England (PHE) the infection rate in double-vaccinated people in their 40s went above 100% higher than in the unvaccinated for the first time, reaching 109%. This translates to an unadjusted vaccine effectiveness of minus-109%.

Vaccine effectiveness continues to drop fast in all over-18s (see chart at top), hitting minus-85% for those in their 50s, minus-88% for those in their 60s and minus-79% for those in their 70s. (For definitions and discussion of limitations see here.)

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.

No, Locking Down a Week Earlier Would Not Have Saved Tens of Thousands of Lives

Toby has already gone through in detail the new report from the Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee of the House of Commons on the Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and taken it apart.

One point worth underlining further is that one of its central conclusions – that “if the national lockdown had been instituted even a week earlier ‘we would have reduced the final death toll by at least a half'” (the report quoting Professor Neil Ferguson here) – is demonstrably false on all the data available. That’s because it assumes that the epidemic was continuing to grow exponentially in the week before lockdown was brought into effect on March 24th, a growth which supposedly only the lockdown brought to an end.

That this is not the case is evident from all the data we have, as has been shown on numerous occasions.

For example, already in April 2020 Oxford’s Professor Carl Heneghan had noted that by projecting back from the peak of deaths on April 8th it could be inferred that the peak of infections occurred around a week before the lockdown was imposed. This early deduction was subsequently backed up by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty himself, who told MPs in July 2020 that the R rate went “below one well before, or to some extent before, March 23rd”, indicating a declining epidemic.

Further support arrived in March 2021, when Imperial College London’s REACT study published a graph showing SARS-CoV-2 incidence in England as inferred from antibody testing and interviews with those who tested positive to ascertain date of symptom onset. It clearly showed new infections peaking in the week before March 24th (see below), as well as a similar peaking of infections ahead of the subsequent two national lockdowns.

Vaccine Safety Update

This is the 13th of the round-ups of Covid vaccine safety reports and news compiled by a group of medical doctors who are monitoring developments but prefer to remain anonymous in the current climate (find the 12th one here). By no means is this part of an effort to generate alarm about the vaccines or dissuade anyone from getting inoculated. It should be read in conjunction with the Daily Sceptic‘s other posts on vaccines, which include both encouraging and not so encouraging developments. At the Daily Sceptic we report all the news about the vaccines whether positive or negative and give no one advice about whether they should or should not take them. Unlike with lockdowns, we are neither pro-vaccine nor anti-vaccine; we see our job as reporting the facts, not advocating for or against a particular policy. The vaccine technology is novel and the vaccines have not yet fully completed their trials, which is why they’re in use under temporary and not full market authorisation. This has been done on account of the emergency situation and the trial data was largely encouraging on both efficacy and safety. For a summary of that data, see this preamble to the Government’s page on the Yellow Card reporting system. (Dr Tess Lawrie in June wrote an open letter to Dr June Raine, head of the MHRA, arguing that: “The MHRA now has more than enough evidence on the Yellow Card system to declare the COVID-19 vaccines unsafe for use in humans,” a claim that has been ‘fact checked’ here.) We publish information and opinion to inform public debate and help readers reach their own conclusions about what is best for them, based on the available data.

Summary of Adverse Events in the U.K.

According to an updated report published on October 7th, the MHRA Yellow Card reporting system has recorded a total of 1,222,566 events based on 370,574 reports. The total number of fatalities reported is 1,698.

  • Pfizer (22.9 million first doses, 19.6 million second doses) now has one Yellow Card in 189 people vaccinated. Deaths: 1 in 41,486 people vaccinated (552).
  • AstraZeneca (24.9 million first doses, 24 million second doses) has one Yellow Card in 106 people vaccinated. Deaths: 1 in 22,698 people vaccinated (1,097).
  • Moderna (1.4 million first doses, 0.7 million second doses) has one Yellow Card in 84 people vaccinated. Deaths: 1 in 73,684 people vaccinated (19).

Overall, one in every 132 people vaccinated (0.76%) have experienced a Yellow Card adverse event. The MHRA has previously estimated that the Yellow Card reporting rate may be approximately 10% of actual figures.