Search Result for 'John snow'

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The Independent leads with the news that the NHS is about to pilot its new coronavirus detector app – known as the "NHSX app" – in the Isle of Wight. Matt Hancock is expected to announce at today's Downing Street press briefing that the 141,000 residents of the island will become the first people in the country to test the new homegrown app. But why has the NHS developed its own contact-tracing app rather than rely on the tried-and-tested approach developed by Apple and Google? According to this report in The Register, the British Government has rejected the Apple-Google approach because the US tech giants protect their users' privacy too well. The Apple-Google approach is a tracing programme that relies on users consenting to their phones being used for data collection without creating a hackable data pool. The NHS app, by contrast, automatically sends that information to a central database on state-owned servers that creates a honey-pot for identity thieves. Two concerns immediately spring to mind. First, if the app is being developed by the NHS, will it actually work? The NHS's efforts to develop its own computerised patient record system had to be abandoned in 2013 at a cost of nearly £10 billion to the taxpayer. Second, will the NHS be able to protect all the data it gathers? ...

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Good news on the front page of today's Sunday Times: "Tory grandees" are heaping pressure on the Prime Minister to end the lockdown. "A pincer movement of Conservative Party donors, cabinet ministers and senior Tory backbenchers is putting Boris Johnson under concerted pressure to ease the lockdown," it reports. Another encouraging development is an exclusive on the front of today's Mail on Sunday revealing that the Government has ordered 50 million antibody tests that have been devised by scientists at Oxford working for the Rapid Testing Consortium. The newspaper claims the tests cost £10 each and give results in 20 minutes. Let's hope they're more reliable than the 33 FDA-approved PCR tests that infectious diseases expert David Crowe reviewed for Lockdown Sceptics yesterday. You can read David's article here. The Sunday Telegraph leads with a scoop of its own: anyone arriving in the UK from abroad — including British nationals — will have to self-isolate for two weeks under the Government's proposed exit strategy. This is already the case in Singapore, which has only recorded 12 deaths from COVID-19 to date. But won't that devastate the tourist trade? And what about British people who've already booked their summer holidays? Will they still leave the country knowing they'll have to self-isolate for two weeks on their return? It seems a little ...

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The Times leads with Nicola Sturgeon's exit plan for Scotland. "The First Minister published a 26-page 'framework' for easing the lockdown and discussed plans for reopening schools, businesses and allowing small gatherings," it reports. Sturgeon didn't say when this might happen, but argued there should be a “better balance” between tackling the disease and protecting the economy. In addition, Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, suggested that lockdown restrictions could be eased at a faster pace there than in the rest of the UK. Guernsey has already put an exit strategy in place, with gardeners, mechanics, estate agents and builders returning to work tomorrow. And in an encouraging sign, various senior Tories praised Sturgeon's initiative, including Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis and former Chancellor George Osborne who said we need to start talking about "the hard trade-offs". According to the Telegraph, Boris will return to work next week (as predicted on this site on Tuesday). Will he make an appearance at the Downing Street press conference on Monday and unveil an exit plan? Sturgeon apparently thinks so. After all, why start talking about her own exit strategy yesterday unless she thinks Boris is about to do likewise? She evidently thinks a big announcement is imminent and wants to make it look as though she bounced the dithering Prime ...

What are the Most Effective Treatments?

A critical question for sceptics is whether there are any effective treatments for COVID-19 because if there are then the case for prolonging the lockdown is weakened. So far, the most promising candidates are Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir and, most unexpectedly, Ivermectin, a drug for treating head lice. Which of these potential treatments hold most promise? As background, a quick introduction to what a virus actually is, and how COVID-19 acts on the body. This wonderful article from Scientific American clearly explains how viruses are simply fragments of DNA. Not life as we know it, they cannot respire, cannot replicate without a host, but they can invade host cells, take over the nucleus and reprogram it to create clones of themselves, which then explode out of the used cell to continue the cycle of infection. The virus is passed through the transmission of droplets exhaled, coughed or sneezed out by infected persons. Initially, the virus attacks exposed cells of the throat and eyes to invade and clone itself. Once established, the infected cells start to shed the cloned virus, and in the body's attempts to expel it by coughing and sneezing, a cycle of infection is created as the host sheds virus cells into the surrounding environment, where they can survive in the air or on surfaces. Over the course of a ...

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August 2022
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