Lockdowns

Lockdowns Leave Toddlers Unable to Speak and Play Properly

Toddlers’ speech and motor skills have dropped sharply in the wake of the pandemic, official data show. The Telegraph has the story.

Experts said that repeated lockdowns had left young children without the chance to play and learn how to communicate, setting back their development.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) raised fears that the gaps being witnessed now could widen in coming years, with increasing numbers of children struggling at school because basic skills were never learned.

Assessments show that one in five children are not meeting expected standards by the age of two-and-a-half, with thousands likely to need help such as speech and language therapy.

The figures came amid warnings from speech and language therapists that they are facing increasing demand, with one in three saying referrals have doubled since the pandemic.

Figures published by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities show that 79.6% of children who received a review last autumn met the expected level in all five areas of development measured.

Across the preceding three-and-a-half years covered by the data, the figure was 83.1%, the Health Service Journal reported…

Communication skills suffered one of the most significant falls in performance, according to data. Just 85.3% of children hit the expected standard, down from 88.1% over the previous 14 quarters.

Dr Doug Simkiss, the chairman of the British Association for Community Child Health, said: “The pandemic reduced the opportunities for children to play with other children and highlights the importance of nurseries and early years settings for language development.”

Worth reading in full.

The Pandemic’s WFH Legacy is a “Catastrophe for the British Economy” Driving an “Epidemic of Inefficiency”, Says Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur John Caudwell has condemned the pandemic-induced work-from-home culture as “a catastrophe for the British economy” and an “epidemic of inefficiency sweeping the country” as he demands in the Mail that civil servants get back to their desks.

Up and down the country, large parts of life are not functioning as they should, causing enormous frustration as we carry out our daily tasks.

From delays of as much of three months for renewing a passport or driving licence to finding it impossible to speak to a human to pay a bill or make a complaint, the pandemic has left a trail of destruction that Britain is still reeling from.

And I’m sorry to say, this situation seems to suits some people rather well.

Part of the problem is the continuing trend for working from home, which some see as an absolute windfall that allows them to walk the dog, have a long lunch, look after the children and still collect full pay.

But there is something else, too: a growing sense of entitlement on the part of workers who believe that jobs exist for their own convenience rather than to serve customers or the public.

And it is the civil service who particularly benefit from this privilege of convenience.

Whitehall workers enjoy job security and generous pensions – and all for hours that allow them to clock off at five o’clock.

But while customers can hold private companies to account for sloppy service by simply going elsewhere, they have no such option for the Government departments that run essential parts of their daily lives.

Worse, their taxes pay the wages of our enormous public sector workforce, leading to a growing sense of resentment when they are put on hold for the umpteenth time – or simply don’t get put through to a human on the phone at all.

The sheer scale of the epidemic of inefficiency sweeping the country means Boris Johnson’s plans to tackle the overstaffed public sector by taking a knife to more than 90,000 civil service jobs in line with pre-pandemic levels is hugely welcome.

U.K. Covid Inquiry Proposes to Examine Vaccine Deaths

The Chair of the U.K. independent public Covid inquiry, Baroness Heather Hallett, has told the Prime Minister she wants her inquiry to cover vaccine side-effects and fatalities. The Mail has the story.

Very rare yet serious side-effects from the Covid vaccine could be explored in the forthcoming public inquiry into the pandemic.

It may also look into the struggle which affected families have faced in getting compensation.

Probe chairwoman Baroness Heather Hallett wrote to the Prime Minister last Thursday outlining the key areas under scrutiny – including pandemic preparedness, lockdowns, testing, PPE and care homes – which he will have to sign off before the inquiry can begin.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that she also asked if her inquiry can cover deaths and life-changing side-effects from the jabs.

While multiple studies have shown Covid vaccines to be safe – with more than 53 million Britons having had at least one dose and nearly 40 million receiving three – a small minority of people suffered serious health problems including blood clots and inflammation in the heart.

In the U.K., medical regulators have reported 438 blood clot cases and 79 deaths linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

More than 900 applications have now been filed for compensation over death or injury due to vaccines, with the total claims reaching £110 million. However, not a single payment has been made.

The inquiry seems unlikely to explore this issue properly if only because the data collected and published on it to date are so limited and poor. But it is reassuring at least that the head of the inquiry wants to cover it, and presumably the Prime Minister will not refuse permission. Good also to see pandemic preparedness in there – it will be interesting to see what the inquiry makes of the Government’s performance when assessed against its own plans.

Worth reading in full.

Do These Emails Reveal the Lockdown ‘Conspiracy’?

In April 2020, the New York Times published the Red Dawn emails – email threads that included many high-ranking officials in the United States, including Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Robert Redfield. They showed what officials and researchers were sharing with one another about the developing situation from late January. In a way, this is the ‘conspiracy’ that some suggest was going on to push the world towards lockdown, in that here we see what U.S. officials and researchers were hearing and saying in the run-up to the shut downs – though it isn’t exactly the conspiracy most have in mind. Rather, it shows researchers and officials scrabbling around to analyse the limited data, attempting to work out what’s going on and how to respond – plus some serious pushing for restrictions, with Carter Mecher and Eva Lee in particular making an urgent case for NPIs as early as January. As a taste of the alarmism, Mecher wrote on January 28th 2020: “Now I’m screaming, close the colleges and universities.”

Jeffrey A. Tucker at the Brownstone Institute has republished the emails for those who missed them or had forgotten about them. This is from his introduction.

Covid in Australia – a Doctor’s Perspective

There follows a guest post by a doctor in Australia, who prefers to remain anonymous, about his experience of the pandemic Down Under.

I entered General Practice 34 years ago in rural New South Wales. Needless to say, the changes since then have been immense.

In 1988, most GP’s admitted and cared for patients in hospitals, did regular house calls, delivered babies, performed surgery and practiced anaesthetics. Now, other than in remote rural locations, very few provide any of these services. As many patients inform me, most GPs seem to want to only look at their computers, order tests, prescribe drugs, give immunisations and refer to the specialists.

Twenty years ago, I underwent specialist training in Sports and Exercise Medicine, and now work purely in that area. I remain, however, registered as a General Practitioner. The Australian health system has plenty of similarities with the British system, though has a number of features which differentiate the two. In Australia, the vast majority of GPs work in the private system, working as contractors to health centres, being employed by private practices, running practices themselves, or in a dwindling number of cases working as solo GPs. Very few work as employees of the public sector or NGOs.

Each state has a Health Department, which can impose different regulations on GPs, such as Covid vaccination requirements, and runs the public hospitals in that state; the Federal Government also has a Health Department which oversees the registration of doctors, pharmaceutical benefits scheme and health budgets. Registration is governed by the Australian Health Professional Regulation Agency (AHPRA) via the Medical Boards. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) controls drug and device availability. There are both Federal and State Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) dictating policy settings. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is a lobby group representing less than 15% of doctors, but has political sway. Continuing education and training is provided by the Colleges – in the case of General Practice, this is both the Royal Australian College of General Practice (RACGP) and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACCRM).

Early on after the advent of the Covid vaccination program, the TGA banned prescription of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for Covid infections, partly as they were seen as possible threats to vaccine uptake. Recently, the prescription of hydroxychloroquine for Covid infections again became legal, though only in Queensland.

“The Government Does Not Plan to Close Borders or Stop Mass Gatherings During Any Pandemic” – Why Did Britain Throw Away its Pandemic Plan?

Of the many myths that have taken hold during the pandemic, perhaps none is more central than that the Government was caught out by Covid with no idea about how it ought to respond. Thus the extreme and unprecedented response of lockdown appears to many to be justified by this notion that ministers had little choice but to ‘play it safe’, and the subsequent experiments in social restrictions as we awaited and delivered a rushed vaccine and beyond are imagined as a heroic voyage into the unknown of how a government ought to respond to an ‘unprecedented’ disease.

In fact, though, the Government had a plan for what it should do, the U.K. Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011, and COVID-19 was well within the bounds of what the plan anticipated. As Dr. Noah Carl has noted, this was the plan the Government was following until mid-March 2020, with SAGE re-affirming at a meeting on February 4th 2020 that officials “should continue to plan using current influenza pandemic assumptions”.

While the strategy was focused on influenza, it expressly anticipated the possibility of a new SARS virus:

A pandemic is most likely to be caused by a new subtype of the Influenza A virus but the plans could be adapted and deployed for scenarios such as an outbreak of another infectious disease, e.g. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in health care settings, with an altogether different pattern of infectivity.

Italy Wears its Covid Scars Like a Badge of Honour

Genoa, one of the Italian playgrounds of the super-rich is a city of lap dog lovers. There is no shortage of dogs, or dog turds. But there does seem to be a shortage of poop bags and it was not uncommon on my morning run along the Corso Italia this week to see a face-masked dog walker allowing his dog to leave another infectious deposit of poo, walk away and leave it steaming in the middle of the promenade.

I have just returned from Italy where the proclaimed lifting of Covid restrictions refers only to the paperwork associated with entering and leaving the country. Masks are still very much in evidence and a great deal of this is self-imposed. If not actually wearing a mask, nearly everyone has a mask around their wrist, like a talisman of which they just cannot let go. Normality will only ever be regained when the metaphorical masks are lifted from the minds of the Italian people.

My regular visits to Italy have allowed me to observe over time the reaction of the country to the emergence of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Italy was quick off the mark in the early days of the global panic and, indeed, amongst the first to panic. I returned to the U.K. from Wuhan late in 2019 to discover I had left an epidemic behind me. While we only began hearing about the coronavirus early in 2020 it had already been making its way through the sick and vulnerable in Wuhan since at least November 2019, certainly coinciding with my five weeks in the city in November and December 2019. I had travelled on crowded trains and taxis, eaten in crowded restaurants and taught in packed lecture rooms with impunity. My initial reaction, and one which has not attenuated, was that this was just another virus, it would kill a few old folks like me and some of the more clinically vulnerable amongst us and leave the vast majority alive and unscathed. And that is exactly what happened.

Modellers Predict 1.5 Million Deaths in China if Lockdown is Lifted – But that is Less Than Half the U.K. Covid Death Rate

It appears that China has its own version of lockdown doom-modeller Neil Ferguson and his team. A paper in Nature from a team of Chinese and U.S. researchers has used a model to predict over 1.5 million deaths in China from Omicron should the country cease to impose its brutal controls. The following is from the South China Morning Post.

China could see more than 1.5 million deaths from a wave of Omicron infections without COVID-19 controls and the use of antiviral therapies, a new study has forecast.

A model by Chinese and U.S. researchers suggested that, given China’s vaccine efficacy and coverage, an unchecked outbreak that began with 20 cases of Omicron in March could “generate a tsunami of COVID-19 cases” between May and July.

Such an outbreak is projected to cause 112 million symptomatic cases, or 80 cases per 1,000 people, with 2.7 million of them requiring treatment in intensive care…

The researchers used a mathematical model to simulate a hypothetical Omicron wave in China based on data from the Shanghai outbreak.

“Should the Omicron outbreak continue unabated, despite a primary vaccination coverage of more than 90% and homologous booster vaccination [boosting with the same vaccine] coverage of more than 40% as of March 2022, we project that the Chinese healthcare system will be overwhelmed with a considerable shortage of ICUs,” they wrote.

They estimated that the peak demand of 1 million intensive care beds would be almost 16 times the existing total of 64,000 beds, with a shortage lasting 44 days.

“Eye-Watering” SAGE Models Had “Too Much Weight”: Another SAGE Scientist Recants His Lockdown Zealotry as the Winds Change

The U.K. relied too much on “very scary” SAGE models to decide on lockdowns, according to the man behind some of those very projections who repeatedly called for longer lockdowns. MailOnline has more.

Just months after SAGE predicted 6,000 deaths per day and called for a Christmas lockdown in response to Omicron, Professor John Edmunds said the models were only supposed to be “one component” of decision-making but were leaned on too much by ministers.

He accepted the models failed to account for the economic harm and the knock-on health effects that lockdowns caused. 

Professor Edmunds admitted that these harms “in principle” could have been factored into models “but in practice they were not”.

His remarks come as Britons face the harsh reality of two years’ of shutting down the economy and health service, with the NHS grappling a backlog crisis that has seen one in nine people in England stuck on an NHS waiting list for treatment and inflation at its highest point in 30 years. 

The epidemiologist, who was among the most outspoken members of SAGE, said some of the death projections in the model were “truly eye-watering”.

Speaking at a medical conference on Tuesday, he said: “The epidemiological model is only one component [of decision-making] and I wondered and I worried that we’d had too much weight.”

He added: “There is of course an enormous economic impact from many of the interventions and other indirect impacts on psychological health and so on. Now these in principle could be included but in practice they were not.”

Professor Edmunds called for the first lockdown to be extended in summer 2021, warning Britain was “taking a risk” by unlocking while still logging 8,000 cases per day and that the decision was “clearly” political.

And he warned against easing the third national lockdown in early 2021, warning it would be a ‘”disaster” and put “enormous pressure” on the health service. 

Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth and all that – but you can’t help feel the recantation is very convenient as we move on from the pandemic and people start to look back with more objectivity at all the crazy, costly things that were done in the name of ‘science’ and at the behest of modellers.

Worth reading in full.

“The Biggest Global Power Grab We Have Seen in Our Lifetimes”: How Serious is the Threat From the WHO Pandemic Treaty?

Later this month the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organisation, will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, and among its business are amendments put forward by the U.S. Government to the pandemic treaty, the International Health Regulations 2005.

The process of creating a new pandemic treaty or amending the existing one was announced in December (though the origins go back earlier) and was a response to a call from governments, including the U.K, for a strengthened global pandemic strategy coordinated by the WHO.

In a consensus decision aimed at protecting the world from future infectious diseases crises, the World Health Assembly today agreed to kickstart a global process to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organisation to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said the decision by the World Health Assembly was historic in nature, vital in its mission, and represented a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen the global health architecture to protect and promote the well-being of all people.

Many are concerned, however, that the U.S. amendments will transfer significant sovereignty over public health policy to an unelected and unaccountable global organisation.