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ONS: Flu and Pneumonia Have Killed More People Than Covid Since June Blower's latest cartoon in the Telegraph. He must be a lockdown sceptic. That's the headline finding in the ONS's latest release, as far as the Telegraph is concerned. But there's another pretty striking finding in the second paragraph too. Influenza and pneumonia has contributed to more weekly deaths than COVID-19 since the middle of June, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.Just 78 people died of coronavirus in the week ending September 4th – the latest for which death registrations are available – the first time the figure has fallen below 100 since lockdown began in March.Just one per cent of deaths now mention coronavirus on the death certificate compared to 12.8% which mention influenza and pneumonia, making those conditions nearly 13 times more deadly.The numbers of overall deaths has also plummeted well below the five-year average for England and Wales, with 1,443 fewer deaths in the most recent weekly figures. This is a bit awkward for the Government. The day after its new draconian "Rule of Six" regulations are introduced, the ONS reveals there were fewer deaths in the week ending September 4th. Worth reading in full. Noel Gallagher: Sceptic of the Week Noel Gallagher performs on stage during day 1 of Madcool Festival ...

Covid Deaths and Taxes

by Louis-Vincent Gave In March, when COVID-19 began to rear its ugly head across the western world, national policy responses differed widely. Denmark was the first European country to go on full lockdown, before the virus even really emerged in the country. As soon as news broke that Italian hospitals were being overwhelmed, Denmark shut its borders (in defiance of European Union laws), and shortly after, on March 11th, confined its population at home. Within two months, however, by May 11th, the Danish authorities gave shops, restaurants, bars, sports clubs, etc. the green light to reopen.France imposed possibly the most stringent lockdown in the western world. For two months, French citizens were only allowed to leave their homes for essential shopping—and only within a limited radius. Anyone stopped on the street had to produce a pass showing the time of departure from home, with no one allowed outside for more than an hour.Sweden, in contrast, argued that lockdowns were a medieval response to the health problem. Instead of cowering behind closed doors, communities should look to build “herd immunity”. An economic shutdown would trigger other problems (suicide, alcoholism, drug abuse etc.) while locking people inside their homes could also trigger longer term difficulties (child abuse, domestic violence etc.).Switzerland, like Sweden, never embraced the dramatic lockdowns imposed by other European countries, ...

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Second Wave of Hysteria Arrives Here we go – brace positions. The UK's "Rule of Six" ban on social gatherings over six people comes into force today, and the Government confirmed yesterday that it includes children in England (unlike in Wales and Scotland). Denmark – the country once lauded for its coronavirus response – has been placed on England's quarantine watch list due to rising cases (even though on most days since June it's had no Covid deaths at all). Countries around Europe tighten restrictions. Israel locks down again. SAGE scientist Professor Sir Mark Walport warns that the UK is "on the edge of losing control" while Professor Peter Openshaw (of, you've guessed it, Imperial College) intones that the public must "act fast" and fall into line or face a second lockdown. Panic is back. "You've only got to look across the Channel to see what is happening in France and what's happening in Spain," says Professor Walport. "The only way to stop the spread of this infection is to reduce the number of people we all come into contact with." And what is happening in France and Spain? Let's see. A huge rise in cases positive tests, and little else. Hospitals in some areas such as Madrid have seen a gentle rise in COVID-19 admissions, but nothing they can't ...

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Operation Moonshine We've been hearing for some time that the Government hopes to return to "normal" through mass testing of the population with enforced quarantine for those who fail the test. Boris Johnson has now dubbed this "Operation Moonshot" and to say it has not gone down well with experts would be an understatement. Sky has more. The mass testing programme would cost £100bn – almost as much as the government spends on the NHS each year (£130bn) – according to a briefing memo seen by medical journal the BMJ. A separate document revealed there were plans to grow the UK's testing capacity from the current 350,000 a day to up to 10 million a day by early 2021...Anthony Costello, a former World Health Organisation director and UCL professor, wrote on Twitter: "The PM's Moonshot nonsense (no science, feasibility, evidence) has been earmarked for £100bn, almost the entire NHS budget, w contracts for Astra, Serco and G4S. This is waste/corruption on a cosmic scale." ...Dr David Strain, Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter and chairman of the BMA's medical academic staff committee, said the mass testing strategy is "fundamentally flawed"."The Prime Minister's suggestion that this will be as simple as 'getting a pregnancy test' that will give results within 15 minutes is unlikely, if not impossible, in the ...

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Panicking Boris Imposes Second Lockdown "Crikey Moses! I think we'd better press the panic button. What do you think, Dom?" Late on Tuesday night the Government announced a raft of new restrictions would be imposed in England from next Monday. The BBC has more. Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday – with some exemptions – amid a steep rise in coronavirus cases.A new legal limit will ban larger groups meeting anywhere socially indoors or outdoors, No 10 said.But it will not apply to schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports.It will be enforced through a £100 fine if people fail to comply with police, doubling up to a maximum of £3,200. Don't imagine the "workplace" exemption applies to restaurants, pubs and cafes. According to the BBC: "The change applies to... gatherings indoors and outdoors, in private homes, public outdoor spaces, and venues such as pubs and restaurants." This is in response to the rise in cases in the community – 2,460 new cases on Tuesday – which, as I explained in the Telegraph on Monday, is an artefact of increased testing. In the past week alone there have been over 1.3m coronavirus tests, compared to just 95,188 in the first week of April. Testing has increased to 1.3 million in ...

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Postcard From Dystopialand The Covid dragon prepares to breath virus particles on any visitors not wearing masks I've had a very busy day and unfortunately don't have time to do a proper update. So I thought I'd just publish this marvellous postcard I've received from Disneyland Paris. Disneyland has become Dystopialand. We all need a little normalcy in our lives. And a little fun. Hence, with lockdowns threatening to make a comeback in the winter months, it was quickly determined in our household that it was now or never to get our fill of the Disney themepark experience. It is still not popularly acknowledged, but such attractions are genuinely at risk of permanent closure due to the appalling economics associated with low capacity operations. I had run the numbers on the airline sector. They were bad enough. But theme parks like Disneyland were equally vulnerable. (Do see South Park’s Cartmanland episode to get the basic idea). V-shape or no v-shape recovery, the economic damage is such that in the long run only government bailouts or nationalisation are likely to preserve such assets. A nationalised Disneyland, however, is not something I can realistically stomach. And so it was we decided to set off to Paris and bear the consequences of quarantine.Unfortunately, what we encountered upon arrival was worse than anything I ...

How Likely is a Second wave?

Paul Kirkham, Professor of cell Biology and Head of Respiratory Disease Research Group at Wolverhampton University Dr Mike Yeadon, former CSO and VP, Allergy and Respiratory Research Head with Pfizer Global R&D and co-Founder of Ziarco Pharma Ltd Barry Thomas, Epidemiologist Contents Executive Summary Background Mortality and critical care A complete event of the pandemic Epidemic outbreaks Population susceptibility Immunity threshold The PCR Test Expectations of a second wave Spain and France References Executive Summary Evidence presented in this paper indicates that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic as an event in the UK is essentially complete, with ongoing and anticipated challenges well within the capacity of a normalised NHS to cope. The virus infection has passed through the bulk of the population as a result of wholly natural processes and evidence indicates that in the UK and other heavily infected European countries the spread of the virus has been all but halted by a substantial reduction in the susceptible population. This has occurred because the level of infection required to introduce enough immunity into the population to reduce the reproduction number (R) permanently below 1 occurred at markedly lower infection rates and loss of life than had been initially anticipated. The evidence presented in this paper indicates that there should be no expectation of a large scale ...

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The UK's "Second Wave" is a Costly Myth Lockdown Sceptics contributor Will Jones has an excellent piece in the Conservative Woman about Matt Hancock's mysterious obsession with a "second wave" and the ruinously expensive steps the Government is taking to prepare for this non-existent threat. Here's his conclusion: A lockdown that was brought in without precedent or planning for three weeks to ‘squash the sombrero’ and relieve peak pressure on the NHS is still going on five months later. We face a future of continued social distancing and unpredictable new restrictions that are socially debilitating and economically disastrous. Even the much-vaunted vaccine is very unlikely to do more than mitigate the impact of the illness, making it a likely false dawn for those waiting around for it.Yet the World Health Organisation continues to call on governments to ‘do it all’ to ‘suppress, suppress, suppress’ the virus, holding up New Zealand as an ‘exemplar’. Britain, like Sweden, must reject this preposterous and nihilistic narrative. It is not possible to suppress this virus, as New Zealand is now discovering, but only to mitigate its impact while developing collective immunity and, ideally, returning to normal as quickly as possible. The measures introduced for this mitigation must be balanced against other risks and the high importance of normal, healthy living. Right now, the government ...

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Largest Anti-Lockdown Demo So Far The pictures from yesterday's anti-lockdown demo in Trafalgar Square are quite impressive. Some reports put the turnout at 35,000. The Express was one of the first newspapers to report on the protest. Pictures of the large crowds show people holding signs that read “coronavirus is a hoax”, “no to mandatory vaccines” and “masks are muzzles”.One person has claimed it is the largest anti-lockdown protest to date.The large numbers of protesters have filled the area beneath the National Portrait Gallery.Very few of those in attendance appear to be wearing face coverings.A flyer for the event said the protesters would be joined by "top professional doctors and nurses speaking out".Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, Piers, is also due to make an appearance at the event. The Express report was more even-handed than the report in the Metro, which began: Thousands of coronavirus-deniers have gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to protest against lockdowns and vaccination programmes. And the Mail was even worse, headlining its report of the protest: "More than 10,000 COVID conspiracy theorists gather in London as police arrest Jeremy Corbyn's brother Piers AGAIN: Huge crowd of anti-vaxxers led by David Icke gather to argue that virus is a lie spread in secret global plot organised by Bill Gates". A reader emailed me to tell me his impressions after ...

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Yet Another Bloody U-Turn "No but, yeah but... What does Nicola Sturgeon say?" Boris often sings the praises of the first-class education he received at Eton and Oxford. But the most valuable lesson he ever received was when he was taught to drive. After all, that’s where he learnt how to do a U-turn. The Prime Minister has now performed so many reverse ferrets he’s in danger of swallowing his own tail. Yesterday brought news of his latest pirouette – on face masks in schools. Since he returned from his camping holiday in Scotland, Boris has been on a mission to persuade parents it’s safe to send their kids back to school. "The risk of contracting COVID-19 in school is very small and it is far more damaging for a child’s development and their health and wellbeing to be away from school any longer,” he said on Sunday. But now he’s changed his mind – apparently influenced by Nicola Sturgeon's decision to make face coverings mandatory in Scottish secondary schools. Henceforth, kids aged 11 and older will have to wear masks in local lockdown areas. Not so safe, then. Talk about mixed messages! The Prime Minister’s default response whenever he’s asked a question of vital national importance is to launch into his Vicky Pollard impression: “No but, yeah but…” Let’s be ...

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