Coronavirus: Only an Anecdote 904

Today’s shocking evidence by Prof. Neil Ferguson that, had lockdown been implemented a week earlier, the death toll would have been halved, has the ring of truth, although it must remain a surmise (and I am aware of his past record).

But I want to give you an anecdotal example from my own family of the extraordinary government laxness at the start of this pandemic.

Whilst I was in London during February covering the Assange hearing, Nadira attended the Berlin Film Festival. She has produced a feature film in Iran, currently in post production, which she was there to promote. She therefore spent almost the whole time in the company of people from Iran involved in the film.

In very early March, a week or more after her return, Nadira developed a bad fever and pneumonia like symptoms. I advised her to call 111. It is important to remember that at this time Iran was well known to be a major epicentre of Covid-19. Nadira was phoned back by a Covid-handler from 111, and she explained the situation to him. He said that she just had seasonal flu and that Germany was not a risk for Covid-19. She explained that she had been the whole time with people newly flown in from Tehran. He stated that unless they were showing symptoms, there was no risk of infection. He said Nadira did not need a test or to self-isolate.

When I got back from London, Nadira took to her bed and remained there for a week, which is simply unheard of – she never gets sick. Cameron developed a nasty cough and we kept him off school for over a week.

Two things are in retrospect striking. The first is that Nadira complained bitterly, and continued to do so for some weeks, that she had completely lost all sense of taste and of smell. We had been gifted a particularly good bottle of wine and I thoughtlessly opened it, rather than wait until she could enjoy the taste too. At that time loss of taste and smell was not a reported marker of covid-19.

The second striking fact is that we now know that the real reason that the 111 service was so adamant to Nadira that no testing was required, is that there was in fact no available testing capacity for anybody who was not Prince Charles. That does not explain why Nadira was told she did not have to isolate. Nor does it explain why in early March NHS Scotland could not grasp the difference between being in Berlin, and being in Berlin with a group flown in from Tehran.

It is worth noting that Nadira flew back in to Edinburgh, very likely carrying Covid 19, precisely two days before the controversial Nike conference. Nadira is just one person, and I am prompted to tell the story (with her permission) by Ferguson’s admission that the failure to do anything about the thousands of people returning from Italy had seeded the virus substantially. That is only a part of it. The refusal to take seriously and test members of the public who believed, with sensible reason, they may have contracted the virus abroad, plainly contributed to the UK’s higher death rate (let alone the failure to bring in airport screening).

Of course, until an antibody test is made available, we have no evidence it was not indeed just the flu which Nadira and Cameron had. To complete the family story, I did not develop pneumonia but did come down with a number of acute symptoms of which the most startling was sleep. About ten days after I returned to Nadira from London, I went through a period where I just could not wake up: for about five days I was sleeping 20 hours a day in a proper, deep sleep. I also found I could not type to blog. I could not control my fingers, while after ten minutes of typing my hands became extremely painful and I literally could not move my thumbs at all. I had all kinds of worries, from arthritis to Alzheimers. It was only later I discovered this arthritis like condition can be a coronavirus symptom too. It now seems to have thankfully cleared up.

At precisely the same time my daughter, who lives with us, came down with eye infections so bad she was off work for a fortnight while they were treated by the Edinburgh Eye Clinic. There is some evidence now this too can be a symptom of Covid-19, though the same can be said for a huge variety of symptoms.

The only member of my family to have been tested was my sister-in-law, who works in the NHS. She was extremely ill and hospitalised for a considerable period. She self-isolated and avoided admission perhaps overlong, not wanting to be a burden on her own hospital. In this self-isolation period my brother continued to look after her and to share a bed, and yet he has at no stage exhibited any symptoms.

This is all only anecdotal. Only one of the family ever was tested, even though Nadira very much ought to have been and wanted to be. It interests me that only Cameron ever developed a cough – even my sister-in-law who was hospitalised for weeks never coughed, even though both she and Nadira had breathing difficulties. My daughter and I had completely different symptoms again. The only common symptom to us all was fever. My brother, who cannot have avoided catching the disease, had no symptoms at all.

Anecdotal evidence is not without value. What the story of my family does show is that government negligence caused the most serious failure in diagnostic capacity compared to better organised countries, and thus the abdication of any possibility of effective track and trace right from the start. That seems to me a sufficient illustration of why the UK death rate has been so high.

I wish to thank all of those who tuned in for the first procedural hearing in my Contempt of Court trial. I realise it was not too gripping but please do not give up and do stay with me through the procedures as they get more dangerous. Julian Assange’s case has been marked by terrible abuse of procedure. I am severely constrained in what I can say, but I may perhaps say that today was a most happy contrast to the handling of Julian. I have no doubt your presence with me helps; and it is a massive emotional support.


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904 thoughts on “Coronavirus: Only an Anecdote

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  • Steve+Hayes

    Craig, have you ever heard of the concept “cognitive dissonance”? I ask because you are in favour of the lockdown and you claim to be opposed to authoritarianism. Yet there is nothing more authoritarian that the lockdown. The Coronavirus Act 2020 (and its associated Regulations) are fascist. We have been deprived of our rights and liberties to an extent that is unprecedented. Here’s brief list of the violations:

    • glenn_uk

      Utter nonsense. There is nothing ‘fascist’ about a rational response to a public health emergency.

      • nevermind

        I agree Steve, the powers they gave themselves, without MP’s say or debate and or electoral mandate could be the first steps to fascism. We shall see in the coming weeks how the police will ‘police’ right wing protesters protesting against the black lives matter movement.
        The video from Ipswich showing an argument after police stopped a couple of black people whilst parking in their drive, showing the chief constable searching for a reason, reiterating that these two were ‘stopped for legitimate reasons, but she could not say what they were’…. this video makes it perfectly clear that the police has a problem when it comes to applying the law, that they are more likely to follow up on and or arrest along their prejudicial understanding of their local society, than have a more multicultural and emphatic equal attitude towards those they suspect of parking in front of their own house….

        • bevin

          Do you honestly think that the ‘first steps to fascism’ were taken earlier this year? Do you live in a liberal dreamworld in which the thoroughgoing authoritarianism of class society only becomes worthy of attention when a few, temporary, extremely conservative and popular regulations to halt the progress of a deadly plague are imposed on you?
          Strikes are illegal. The tax system is designed to milk the poor and miss the wealthy. The media is dominated by a malevolent and greedy oligarchy, allied to US imperialism. Political demonstrations are broken up, violently by armed police. The disabled and unemployed are reduced, virtually, to begging. The number of homeless rises continually and will continue to do so. The number of those dying of malnutrition, hypothermia and suicide is at levels not seen in ninety years. There is no effective political opposition now that the Labour Party, after a short and partial respite, has been recolonised by imperialists.
          And you see, in the imposition of health regulations in the middle of a pandemic, signs of incipient fascism. And threats to freedom.

          • Mr V

            I couldn’t say it better myself. You have all the trappings of fascist regime creeping in yet entitled children think vaccinations, face masks, and social distancing, all to stop extremely dangerous, invisible enemy that doesn’t care what you think about it, is somehow the bad part. Ditto with climate change, maybe we had a few too prosperous years in our lifetime if we think having a haircut and insanely inefficient, gas guzzling SUV are “rights” and responding to urgent crisis is somehow “fascism”…

      • Loony

        Absolutely Glenn – It is all perfectly reasonable for it to be illegal to attend funerals but perfectly legal to gather in large groups and destroy statues. it is beyond obvious that children should be allowed to attend zoos and safari parks but be prevented from attending schools.

        As for the national response of discharging coronavirus patients into care homes well what could serve as a better example of caring

        • glenn_uk

          As usual, you mix together a hodgepodge of whinges – some justifiable, others not – and present them as if they were all the same policy being promoted by a single person.

          A drive-by of right-wing talking points, a “cor-blimey-gov’ner” monologue, with all the coherence of a particularly confused Daily Sport-reader.

          • Ian

            Yes, he is the random generated alt right talking points generator. With the intellect and subtlety of Trump.

          • Loony

            What whinges do you have in mind?

            The OECD forecasts that the response of the UK to the coronavirus pandemic will result in disproportionate economic harm to the UK versus other comparable countries.

            It is to be expected that economic harm will, as normal, disproportionately effects the poor – both the poor within the UK and the masses of poor outside of the UK who the UN estimates to be facing near term famine.

            It is highly informative to learn that anyone opposed to the economic rape of the poor or who would prefer to live in a world without famine is merely a member of the alt-right who all right thinking people are urged to despise.

            Yeah so bring on the famine, the death and the misery for only through the cheering for manifestation of such horrors can a person prove their virtue.

            It is all mad and the UK population would seem to be rivalling the population of North Korea in terms of capacity for logical thought.

          • Ian

            Your concern for the poor is about as convincing as your pseudo intellectual attempts to occupy the moral high ground. How you love to put fatuous comments in the mouth of others with your barrel scraping tub thumping. Keen to sneer at the UK at every opportunity, funny you neglect your own backyard and beloved Trump.

        • Giyane


          Employment in this country is lees well paid and less skilled than in comparable France. The Tory decision to outsource manufacturing to the Far East created this situation, and the reason for doing it in the first place was to destroy union power and employee rights.

          Whst do these bonkers Tories do when Cov19 devastates these casual jobs they created? Attack China. Pretend the virus has gone away. Threaten the EU. Invite US to degrade food standards. Sell off the NHS . Bypass Privacy Laws.

          I am quite sure Maggie did not intend any of this nonsense, but during the long reign of Blair and Brown all intelligent Tories went into banking or business, and their strategy of controlling us by reducing our manufacturing industry has backfired.

          Johnson said today that the British people will survive because they are outgoing and friendly. He has no idea how stupid that sounds when the virus has killed off close contact and sitting on planes. Like the captain of an aircraft announcing mid flight that the wheels had dropped off, but he / she was sure they would be able to find some way to land.

          • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

            “Now please sit back and relax as you enjoy the special giant pancake prepared by our charming flight crew”.

        • Mr V

          I like how alt righters were all “fake news”, “it’s just less bad cold” or “muh haircut is more important” but as soon as people with a cause serious enough to worth fighting (and dying, which a lot of them did in the past, BTW) for began protesting the right wing of the political scene started screeching Covid is now worse than Ebola and that protesters should go home. Gee, how quickly you can execute 1080 turn, especially defending statue of a monster with seas of blood on his hands. No racism or xenophobia there, no sir, just sudden newfound respect for public heath, eh?

  • Godfree Roberts

    America’s CDC took a much harder line on testing for Coronavirus: it banned testing until March 3 then released faulty tests (then blamed China).

  • CW

    Well did SAGE and Professor Ferguson scream for a lockdown earlier than the government did it? Was the problem in fact with the scientific advice and with the pre-existing emergency pandemic plans that the government was following?

    Britain’s pandemic plans were designed long ago for flu. This is significant. Flu has a very short incubation period, and it is a disease that was regarded as impossible to stop by social measures. The pandemic plans from at least as far back as 2005 simply assume that the first wave of a mutant flu will spread through the population and that nothing much can be done about it, and there may be hundreds of thousands of deaths.

    From this defeatist assumption, it follows that large-scale testing, contact-tracing and travel restrictions are pointless, because most people are going to get it. Instead, try to shield the vulnerable, and during the first wave, and hope for herd immunity, which was the government’s initial policy, as advised by the scientists.

    What I’m getting at is that there doesn’t seem to have been any emergency plan involving lockdown, and after our lockdown, there had to be a complete policy u turn to develop mass testing, tracing etc when this had not been planned for. The government has ultimate responsibility because they were in charge – but the politicians may simply have been following their scientific advice…

    • Greg Park

      Ministers said publicly early on that they would be pursuing a herd immunity pilicy, including Johnson when he said we were all going to lose loved ones. It was only public outrage at their plan that forced a lockdown. An inconvenient fact that is necessarily missing from all the conspiracy narratives.

      • CW

        Indeed – but in doing so they were following the long-laid plans and the best available UK medical advice. It was last-minute changes in model predictions as a result of longer-than-anticipated hospital stays in Italy that forced a change, when it became absolutely clear that the hospital capacity could be completely overwhelmed.

        You can blame the government for many things, but in this case the primary culprit seems to be group-think from UK scientific advisors…

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    BBC Shortbreads attack dog, Sarah Smith has yet another go at Sturgeon over testing of Care home staff. Sturgeon’s response includes “as I’ve said before and people LISTENING will have heard …”. Ha! That’s her telt.

    • Ian

      It’s an opportunity to stoke the culture wars of which brexit was a prime example. Trump/Bannon/Cummings/Johnson have based their careers on it. Johnson is a shallow opportunist, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the No 10 office manage his tweets. He could care less about history or statues, but when there is some political capital to be made he will be on it. Never mind all the other stuff he ignores and can’t be bothered to address from his bunker.

      • Greg Park

        Agree, but Johnson is also an instinctive defender of the Empire, almost as much as Gove is.

        • Ian

          True, he has absorbed the public school ethos well – whose function had been to supply administrators, officials and officers for the maintenance of the Empire and its economic expropriation of the colonies. Combine that with his lazy schoolboy impression of the tales of derring-do and pacification of the ‘natives’ which he clearly identifies with.
          As far as history goes, despite supposedly writing a book on him (largely written by his ‘consultants’) he doesn’t seem to have learned much about Churchill’s role in the Bengal famine, continuing to force them to export rice while they starved to death, 3 million of them. His only response :”why is Ghandi still alive then?” He was brutal.

    • nevermind

      Thanks for that odious interlude Mary. I feel I have to counter this with a quote by Einstein from a 1947 essay, just to bring some balance to Johnson’s primitive and reactionary missive. Shall now be wearing a black glove for all of our local XR actions.

      “There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the ‘Whites’ toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out…⁣

      Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.”⁣…/c…/p15037coll17/id/886⁣

      • Mary

        Thanks for responses. He’s a piece of work. He also talked about the protesters ‘damaging public property’. He seems to have forgotten his days at Eton when he and other louts did the very same and also wrecked restaurants and intimidated the staff.

        He is shown in the photo on here.

        ‘The woman said: “The whole culture was to get extremely drunk and exert vandalism. Every time someone was elected, they had to have their room smashed to pieces. People talk about the Bullingdon Club ‘trashing’ places, but it was serious criminal damage.”

        One incident she recalled at Magdalen College involved “a large galleried room that had just been refurbished with expensive wood panelling. Every piece of furniture that could have been broken was broken, every liquid sprayed around the room, the panelling was cracked, and everything was piled in a heap in the middle of the room. The college door to Magdalen was smashed to pieces.

        “I remember the clerk of works looking at the mess in complete dismay. The college had spent a great deal on the refurbishment. All the students who heard this late-night destruction were terrified, I remember.” Bullingdon members “found it amusing if people were intimidated or frightened by their behaviour. I remember them walking down a street in Oxford in their tails, chanting ‘Buller, Buller’ and smashing bottles along the way, just to cow people.”’

        • Giyane

          Mary , so George Floyd’s murder really was a deliberate diversionary attack from a desperate Potus. And the full military attire of the US General was the backstop in case it went too far.

          Trump and Bojo frozen with panic might look like excellent statues to chuck into rivers.

  • andyoldlabour

    The first case of Covid-19 in Germany was 27th January. The first batch of multiple cases was in Baden Wurttemburg in middle February from people arriving from China, Iran and Italy.
    I think the UK government had already decided on “herd immunity” despite denying the fact.
    We made no attempt to close our borders, isolate travellers from abroad, introduce a proper lockdown.
    To this day, multiple flights are arriving full of passengers from the US and other areas which are rife with the virus.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      It’s not a contradiction to say “I don’t know what the R number is but it’s too high”. The first part of that statement is an objective observation (in fact, the scientific body responsible do give an “estimate” for R in a 0.2 range (in Scotland, currently 0.6 to 0.8)). The second part of the statement is a subjective opinion. For the record, I disagree with Sturgeon. I don’t favour achieving a very low (estimated) R value before substantially releasing lockdown, I would target attaining “herd immunity” by say end of September (which will not of course happen if we use continued lockdown to the point where the pandemic is almost totally suppressed).

    • Ian

      You’re the one making a twat of yourself, posting the amateur hour UK Column News from a month ago. Laughable.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Ian June 12, 2020 at 17:03
        Facts too daunting for you? Never mind, you can always retreat to the MSM.

        • Ian

          yes, it must be either/or in your world. Funny how people who proclaim their virtue in condemning the entire MSM without exception believe whatever niche alt news site they can find. Some critical faculty that.

        • Clark

          Er, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Sun all took to quoting UK Column almost verbatim regarding Ferguson etc. Are you sure that UK Column, Off-Guardian etc. aren’t where the MSM seed the ideas they wish to amplify later, after a talking point has been established? UK Column were very helpful with pro-Brexit talking points.

          • Ian

            The Covid crisis has certainly flushed out the prejudices and assumptions of the alt news sites, and the paucity of their ‘research’. UK Column News looks like a parody of a news show, from somebody’s garden shed.

  • Forthestate

    I think another major reason for the UK death rate being as high as it is is the lack of PPE. The same was true for Italy, Spain, France, the US and the other members of the neoliberal order who have spent the last decade running down their stocks, in Europe largely on the advice of Neil Ferguson, who told them it was statistically safe to do this. We were running down stocks of PPE throughout the decade, and right up until the outbreak of the pandemic. If medical staff cannot change their PPE after treating an infected patient, they will infect other patients, and that is what happened in hospitals and in care homes where most have died. The medical staff became the carriers, and admission to a hospital or a care home meant significantly increased risk of death. This is anecdotal, but very relevant: the mother of a friend of mine, who is 91, was admitted to hospital in the last month for a leaking bowel. After about two weeks, she contracted COVID-19. her daughter pointed out that no one had been to visit, whereupon the hospital informed her that she was almost certainly infected by the staff. Although not the only factor, it is notable that those countries well supplied with PPE (China, Vietnam, Taiwan), and those with better supplies than ours (Russia, Germany, Kerala in India) have lost far fewer people – none in the case of Vietnam. It’s also true that all of these countries tracked and traced.

    • Michael Hughes

      The NHS conducted “Exercise Cygnus” in 2016 to test their response to an epidemic. The results showed up many deficiencies. The report was shelved and nothing was done to address those deficiencies. Nuff said.

    • James

      Well – I’m inclined to agree with Ferguson that the overwhelming factor was calling the lock-down too late.
      I follow the daily figures on this page
      and it seems to me that the uk figures really have been coming down steadily – both daily number of deaths and daily number of new cases – since the lock-down was introduced and probably as a result of the lock-down. Note – they test much more now and hence are much better at detection – and even with this, the number of daily new cases is still reducing.

      If the UK had had a better `initial condition’ and had started the lock-down earlier, then the figures would have been better – I don’t believe that any of the other considerations really made much difference.

      I’m reluctant to criticise the government too much because I made the same error – in the beginning, I really thought that the idea of a lock-down was a load of bollox, because of all the collateral damage it did – particularly to the education of children and young people.

      But I believe that Ferguson is right on this one – if the lock-down had been called two weeks earlier, the peak would have been at a much lower level and the lock-down could have been eased much earlier, with hugely reduced number of deaths.

      • Bayard

        “I really thought that the idea of a lock-down was a load of bollox, because of all the collateral damage it did ”

        The “lockdown” is not monolithic, it is a rag-bag of measures, some of which worked and some of which were always going to be pointless. It also had some major omissions. Unfortunately the measures that worked are being used to justify the pointless and expensive ones, which caused most of the “collateral damage”.

      • Forthestate

        “I’m reluctant to criticise the government”

        Forgive me, James, but I can’t think of anything that sums up the English malaise more perfectly. When the highest death toll in Europe and, for brief periods, recently, the highest daily death toll in the world, leaves you reluctant to criticise your government, which has spent ten years preparing for this catastrophe by stripping down our health service to the bone, I know why I gave up any hope for this country’s future without a long and arduous period of great suffering; this country has the government, and the death rate, it deserves.

        • Colin Smith

          The health service was not over stretched at any point, apart from extremely marginal effects in one or two local circumstances. Far more could have been treated and tested earlier but were not because the onus was on protecting the NHS rather than have the NHS serve the ill.

          The problem was the amount of seeding of the virus in total numbers, and geographical distribution, and the UK and Scottish centralisation of politics and economy in London and Edinburgh which means there are far less isolated regional economies.

          Lack of a scaleable testing infrastructure and central command refusing to give up control or adapt their inadequate procedures in place were almost criminal.

          • Forthestate

            “The health service was not over stretched at any point”.

            What an extraordinary comment. Firstly, I wonder what the frontline staff at the epicentre of this crisis would have to say about that – I wonder how many felt they were not over stretched – and secondly, the reason why the NHS did not suffer more than it did was because 15,000 patients were sent, untested, into care homes, which were not so much overstretched, as overwhelmed. So the crisis was transferred, where it would, for a while, attract the least attention. This was deliberate policy in order to mitigate the damage to the reputation of those responsible for the NHS currently, and over the last ten years.

  • John Goss

    We are being lied to big style by the same authorities that gave you the Skripal case. Never before has a virus forced a government to close down its economy. People have bought into this indoctrination and are so entrenched in their beliefs that even now, when the virus has just about run its course, they still perpetuate what the state has implanted in their brains.

    You only have to ask yourself why there are three times as many deaths in the US from COVID-19 than anywhere else in the world and you are part way towards an answer. It is not because Americans are more likely to die from the virus. This is a nurse from a US epicentre for COVID-19 cases. She sneaked a camera in, brave woman, and here is the result of what was happening. Perfectly healthy (mostly poor) people without COVID-19 are being put onto ventilators with DNR instructions coming from above (but nobody knows exactly how far above).

    • Republicofscotland

      So John are you implying that the state is deliberately killing the poor folk and using the virus as an excuse? Or that they are killing poor people and the virus never existed in the first place? And/Or are you intimating that there’s no virus at all, and all the countries around the globe that have had deaths from the virus actually killed their people? Or are you saying the whole pandemic is a cover up for something else and nobody has actually died at all?

      • George+McI

        John said “…when the virus has just about run its course…” Therefore he is saying that the virus is real. As a real virus, it kills. Therefore none of your four possibilities holds.

        • Carl

          The guessing game as to what the great John Goss knows goes on…. when will he name names, country by country?

          • glenn_uk

            My guess is never. But that’s because this Grand Conspiracy is so deep, it’s managing to suppress all the names of everyone involved!

      • John Goss

        I use the official figures from Johns Hopkins university regarding confirmed cases and deaths. I cannot confirm their accuracy but they seem to be the only full worldwide analysis available.

        As the blog is about anecdotes, after a game of golf I try to shake hands with other members of the club but nobody wants to take me on. This is what has happened in a previously rational society. Until we get back to normal this nonsense will persist as long as

        Nobody is supposed to touch the flag. The hole is no more than half an inch deep and the ball can roll in and out rather than drop. Competitions are not allowed.

        I have asked how many members have had Covid-19 and the answer is none. One of our members died recently and his funeral is on Tuesday. He was a nice cheerful man who loved golf but has not played for years due to illness, He used to come round for the banter afterwards. But because the course and facilities were closed he died without even having his usual social interaction.

        I am not now, nor ever if I have the power, going to be dictated to over this or any other virus. I did not do lockdown over flu, ebola, AIDS or shingles. This is just another virus. But measures imposed are bringing down world economies. Next year or the year after when jobs are scarce, poverty is rife and people are dying from poverty-driven diseases all those who have cow-towed to social-distancing and lockdown measures and followed the ever-changing government guidelines to bring down world economies may see the wisdom of those of us who are convinced that the whole plan is designed to enslave society and reduce the population. Till then I guess we will have to live with what is being imposed on us. It will give me no pleasure to be right.

        • glenn_uk

          JG: “[…] after a game of golf I try to shake hands with other members of the club but nobody wants to take me on.”

          That’s because they’re not idiots.

        • DunGroanin

          John I know a couple of peeps who are HIV positive and would love to have latex free sex – you up for it?

    • Ian

      You only have to ask yourself why a number of countries have addressed the public heatlh threat in a rigorous and timely manner which has left them functioning and relatively virus free. Nothing to do with big conspiracies.

      • glenn_uk

        No, no, Ian – you’ve got it all wrong.

        The conspiracy was that All Governments (©) should destroy their economies together, impoverish their citizens, fail to educate their children, and introduce strict social controls forever.

        There were these pesky youtube videos of brave, noble truth-tellers (every one of them a discredited crank, but give them a break!) telling us it was a hoax, and the Massive Conspiracy somehow couldn’t prevent it. Never mind.

        This was going to plan, and tens of thousands of people obligingly died, together with massive number of crisis actors. Doctors, nurses, scientists, statisticians, governments and public servants at all levels were in on it.

        Things were going marvelously, but then those dastardly Germans spoiled it all! They pretended to have got over infections, and South Korea, Taiwan, and even New Zealand started getting life back to normal. The restrictions were lifted! Education began again! Their economies restarted!

        Traitors. But the rest of the world is sticking to the plot, just hoping that really, really smart people like Goss won’t rumble them.

        • andyoldlabour


          Again I find myself in total agreement with you. The thought that every country in the World is working with everyone else to destroy their economy is just mad. It is as if someone thinks that it is just the UK economy which is going to be destroyed. This virus is very real, it has probably mutated several times, it produces widely varying symptoms – total destruction of the lungs and other organs, sepsis, loss of taste and smell, headaches, muscle fatigue etc.
          The real death figures for the UK are probably around 60,000.
          The UK was slow to act, didn’t have a plan and changed its tactics several times. It made no effort to close borders or quarantine people coming into the country. We had no track and trace form the word go – now is too late.

          [ Mod: Yes. Craig’s directions are to delete any conspiracy theory that “no reasonable person could believe”. In essence, any comment that implies wide-ranging clandestine schemes for which there is a lack of credible evidence (“Ah, but it all secretly stems from this … “), is to be deleted without explanation.

          Of course the problem lies in determining what is reasonable. Everyone who believes a conspiracy theory thinks it’s reasonable – despite what the majority (the “sheeple”) think.

          In this case, John Goss was complaining persistently, on this blog and on other sites, that he had been banned (he hadn’t) and that his views were being censored, so we thought we’d let this one run free for a while. Views from other readers and commenters are welcome. ]

          • Despair!

            I don’t know why it’s so hard for so many otherwise dedicated non MSM, alternative thinkers to recognise that the WHO, imperial college and many other research bodies, most scientific journals and much of the MSM are funded by bill gates/big pharma/elite interests. It is pretty clear that once the power is in place at the top it would take a very brave govt to go against the direction of the WHO and the medical establishment. So you have to have a lot of trust the WHO and the medical/scientific establishment are wholly impartial and not subject to the influence of their backers. And a great deal of acceptance that skewing data and focusing on the fear 24/7 is just an inevitable by product of an out of control media rather than a concerted subsisted attempt to manipulate the minds of the masses on an unprecedented scale. To be a COVID skeptic does not mean you deny a virus exists; surely on any rational level it’s evident to anyone not beholden to the mainstream narrative that there’s a whole lot more going on here than we are being programmed to believe?

          • Lev Ke

            John is a beacon of sanity, together with quite a number of other people here, in a field of fauxgressives who pretend to be reasonable and alternative while simply being snugly stuck in an old paradigm.

            Following where reason, facts and the search for truth takes you without prejudice and limits is apparently so utterly scary that it’s beyond the capability of most, still.
            But once the numbers get higher (and they clearly are rising), it will be less scary. Whether the fauxgressives will simply change to the majority view because of the need to belong to the herd or because they understood something remains to be seen.

    • Clark

      “Never before has a virus forced a government to close down its economy”

      Social restrictions to contain epidemics has been standard practice for centuries:

      “People have bought into this indoctrination and are so entrenched in their beliefs that even now…they still perpetuate what the state has implanted in their brains.”

      Blah blah blah… Yes John, you’re just so much brighter than all us stupid sheeple… The state can go stuff itself; it let tens of thousands die unnecessarily. Me, I’ll get my info and shape my understanding from international scientific and statistical sources; our wonderful modern communication systems make that very easy.

      “when the virus has just about run its course…”

      Wrong again. Well over 90% in the UK have not yet been exposed to this virus.

      • John Goss

        “Wrong again. Well over 90% in the UK have not yet been exposed to this virus.”

        Making it up again Clark. Nobody knows how many have been exposed to the virus. The Oxford model suggests 50% have already been infected but since everybody cannot have a test it will be some time before we know.

        It’s no good going off on your “Wrong again” rants if it is just a figure you’ve picked out of the blue again.

        • glenn_uk

          You have some cheek talking about picking numbers out of the blue, when you cherry-pick like this. Note your quote – from all the way back in March – is not quite the solid case you claim. Did you read it?

          —start quote
          According to hypothetical modeling from Oxford’s Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease lab, half of the population of the United Kingdom may have already been infected with the coronavirus.
          —end quote

          It goes on to say IF this is confirmed with follow-up studies, then a majority would not be hit that hard. Did you check for follow-up studies, or are you satisfied with the speculative headline and left it at that?

          If you find one dubious speculation, or one crank, that agrees with your pre-decided point, that’s good enough for you it appears.

          • John Goss

            So you know how many have been infected?

            Of course anybody who does not follow mainstream opinion is a “crank” in your eyes. Poor Copernicus. Poor Kepler. Poor Newton. Poor Einstein.

          • glenn_uk

            Same old same old, John. It’s rather sad. All you can do is make this tired accusation instead of responding to the point at hand.

          • John Goss

            It was a response to the point in hand. And I said it before “since everybody cannot have a test it will be some time before we know.” Another study will not help. “If it cannot be reproduced by experiment, it’s wrong.” Tests are needed and it is tests that the government has particularly shilly-shallied over in the last three months. It is all part of keeping us in the dark.

          • glenn_uk

            No, it was not “a response to the point at hand”. That is another falsehood.

            You referred us to that Oxford speculative model. I took the trouble to actually read it, and understand it, which is far more than you ever did. You saw the headline and decided you liked it.

            When I point out how speculative and tenuous the hypothesis from last March actually was, you decide to insult me with your bullshit about the MSM.

          • Clark

            Tests are needed for contact tracing and quarantine, but England is in no position to implement that strategy because we still have over a thousand new cases a day detected by tests, so we must have say 5000 to 10,000 actual new infections per day. You can’t contain it with that much of it in the wild and over four fifths of it going undetected; you need to get it down to single or double figures before you can isolate individual cases, like countless other countries have managed; all the countries in green on this page:


            The restrictions were imposed too late, they were overly authoritarian but inadequate and unintelligent, and people were sent back to work and onto public transport before the numbers were low enough. We were never given masks and proper quarantine arrangements were never made.

            It’s not bloody rocket science. If you get rats in your house you wipe them out; simple as that. If you just cut them down a lot and then give up all your efforts were in vain. If you put out a fire you have to extinguish it completely; it’s no good putting it mostly out and then going back to normal.

        • Clark

          Not picked out of the blue. There were massive, controlled antibody tests in Spain and New York immediately after the peaks there, while antibody responses were still fresh. They confirmed the predictions of the models to within a couple of percent. So did the outbreak aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where everyone was tested.

          That old Oxford study received massive criticism in the scientific literature. That, and the Stanford study that OffGuardian etc. keep banging on about, are outliers, meaning that they differ greatly from the consensus. Picking outliers is called cherry-picking.

          • John Goss

            You said: “Well over 90% in the UK have not yet been exposed to this virus.”

            You then produce a Spanish news article reporting the first findings of research in Spain and a New York Times news article that suggests one in five people in New York may have been infected by the virus.

            Even the Spanish article does not as far as I could see relate to 90% not having been exposed to the virus. What it says is that findings suggest that 90% of infections have gone undetected.

          • Clark

            New York got covid-19 really bad, something like 1 in 500 died, due to around 1 in 5 being infected.

            Look closer at the Elpais article. Well not even closely actually; just the headline will do:

            Antibody study shows just 5% of Spaniards have contracted the coronavirus

            And yes, there are usually about ten times as many actual infections as infections detected by testing. For the numerate, there’s really no mystery in any of this; it’s a very similar pattern in country after country.

          • Clark

            Here’s the unfairly maligned ICL model for Spain:


            Look at the bottom:

            “Total Infected – Posterior model estimates of percentage of total population infected as of 2020-05-04: 5.5% [4.4%-7.0%] (mean [95% credible interval]).”

            So ICL’s mean estimate was 5.5%, and antibody studies found 5%. Pretty good modelling I’d say.

          • John Goss

            Clark I am not sure you understood it. What it is speculating is that of those that have COVID-19 90% have not been detected. It is not saying that 90% of the Spanish population may still get it, which is what you implied in answer to “the virus has just about run its course.

          • Giyane

            John Goss

            When South Africa was reported to have massive delays in processing covid swab tests , they let out the possibility that by the time the swabs were dealt with, the patients would probably have stopped being infectious. The swabs would anyway have become inert so would be unreliable.

            If that’s right, then I think the lull is because the large number who have been infected are no longer contagious. Only in communities that have refused to obey the lockdown, carried on letting themselves be showered by spit from their friends etc, will the circulation of active germs cause new infections.

            So unfortunately I think I disagree with both of you. We need everybody to strictly continue lockdown social distancing , use gloves and masks etc but apply the rules right across the economy.
            Bojo imho is right, but people who refuse to follow precautions might mean that everybody else’s efforts and sacifices don’t have any effect.

            I definitely don’t think the virus has gone away, nor will it until everybody keeps to the rules.

          • Clark

            John, everyone who hasn’t had covid-19 can catch it. The antibody tests in Spain showed that only 5% of the population had had covid-19, therefore 95% could still catch it. So far from having “run its course”, in the areas tested, covid-19 could yet get nineteen times worse.

            Giyane, yes, a minority ignoring the rules would keep passing it on to people who have never been infected, whereas the way to drive it to extinction is for everyone to be very strict.

    • Republicofscotland

      John after watching a bit of your link, I’m quite suspicious of the ex-soldier, and FEMA operative now a nurse, something doesn’t in my opinion sit right with her. The hospital mentioned was in New York I think, Mayor Andrew Cuomo, has over the last few months called out quite a few powerful individuals, including US senators and even Donald Trump for not assisting NY enough during this pandemic.

      Cuomo’s stock has risen for openly saying such things, it could be powerful enemies in Washington want to see him out of office it wouldn’t be the first time a video has been manufactured to discredit someone or other, such as the fake barrel bomb, and chemical attack in Syria.

      • John Goss

        Then why RoS does the US have three times the death rate of anywhere else? Why would she smuggle a camera in to warn the world what is going on. I suggest you watch it all. Tell me if you think her tears were genuine over the death of that young man who did not need to die.

        • Republicofscotland

          We cannot say for sure John what the real death rate from the virus is in say China, nor can we say exactly as the virus is still active, what the death rate will be per head of any population to ratio in any country around the globe just yet.

          I don’t doubt for one minute that people have died from this virus through medical, or political negligence, it would be very naive of anyone not to think so. As for poor Americans who don’t have the virus put on ventilators, what purpose would that serve? Yes there are millions of poor Americans who are seen as a drain on the nation and are seen as expendable by the current US adminstration, I’d have thought though that if this murder of poor folk in America was as widespread as you think, it would appear it’s just the one hospital for now, that other whistleblowers from all across the 50 States would be coming forward by now, but I can’t say I’ve seen any of them yet.

          Could it be John that in this particular case that with regards to this hospital that negligence, misdiagnosis, and the sheer number of patients have overwhelmed the fatigued staff and terrible mistakes have been made, with regards to a number of individuals. Of course we have to remember that Trump also didn’t act swiftly enough to enter lockdown, which in my opinion has led to an explosion of Covid-19 cases in the US. Across the border in Mexico many deaths have occured in the under 50’s due to obesity and diabetes, I’d imagine that scenario is scaled up in the United States.

          In saying the above John, I also like to keep an open mind.

          • John Goss

            Thanks RoS for a reasoned comment. I don’t know what is happening in the US. What I do know, and Craig will confirm this, is that whistleblowers put their whole livelihood, if not their lives, at stake when they decide to go public. I don’t doubt she went through a lot of soul-searching.

            By the way. I got the link from a doctor.

      • John Goss

        Also RoS my understanding was that she had been working in nursing all her working life, so she was in some medical unit because she mentions somewhere that she had never seen anything like what was going on in the epicentre in her whole nursing career even when she was working in (Iraq?) but I’m not watching it again to confirm it was Iraq.

        I don’t doubt Snopes and Politfact are working out some means of discrediting it. That’s what they’re paid to do.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Republicofscotland June 12, 2020 at 17:35
        Surely not THIS Andrew Cuomo?
        ‘Forcing nursing homes to take coronavirus patients is just insane — and evil’:
        In one Care Home, the first hospital discharges arrived, and were accompanied by 5 body bags:
        ‘Coronavirus patients admitted to Queens nursing home — with body bags’:
        ‘…Within days, three of the bags were filled with the first of 30 residents who would die there after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Health Department handed down its March 25 directive that bars nursing homes from refusing to admit “medically stable” coronavirus patients, the exec said.
        Like clockwork, the nursing home has received five body bags a week — every week — from city officials.
        “Cuomo has blood on his hands. He really does. There’s no way to sugarcoat this,” the health care executive added…’

    • glenn_uk

      JG: “We are being lied to big style by the same authorities that gave you the Skripal case.”

      Which authority is that? This is a worldwide event, a pandemic – not some local case. You think the “same authorities” are operating in Germany, Cuba, India, the US, China and Russia?

      JG: “You only have to ask yourself why there are three times as many deaths in the US from COVID-19 than anywhere else in the world […]”

      A much larger population, and appallingly bad management from a right-wing moron, who pretended that C-19 was nothing but a hoax! Just like you’re doing now!

      • John Goss

        The way COVID-19 has brought down society is the hoax angle. The Ron Paul Institute said it from the start. The virus exists, but the need for lockdown was unnecessary, (proved by Belarus and Japan). Viruses run their course. We don’t lockdown over flu, or shingles or any other virus. They are all killers to people with weakened immune systems.

        • glenn_uk

          Ron Paul is a racist, ultra-right wing libertarian who doesn’t give a flying frig about people. That’s why he’d like everyone to go straight back to work, because he cares nothing for their well being. If they die they can be replaced, screw them.

          Damned white of you to lend him your support.

        • Clark

          Belarus is just suppressing the death figures:

          “The pandemic has driven something of a wedge between Russia and Belarus. The Kremlin has publicly worried that Belarus’s lax approach could “bring a sharp increase in the number of those infected” and this week Belarus revoked the accreditation of a Russian state television news crew after a report about rising coronavirus deaths in the country.

          – Sergey Satsuk, the editor of Yezhednevnik, an online newspaper that is well known for its investigative reporting on the country’s healthcare system, was arrested on 25 March and is facing up to ten years in prison on a corruption charge after criticising the president’s relaxed approach to the Covid-19 epidemic.”

          Japan’s “cluster based approach” is more interesting:

          but Japan is not without restrictions, and has distancing measures that are complied with voluntarily:

          The Diplomat:

          On February 28, 2020, acting without legal basis, Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki declared a state of emergency and called on residents to refrain from going outside. Residents took the call seriously, and are responsible for the success of the cluster-based approach. Following its success in Hokkaido, the cluster-based approach was adopted nationally. On February 25, 2020, a Cluster Response Team was established in the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

          – Another key to the Japan model is the social distancing method known as “the three Cs,” referring to closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with many people nearby and close-contact settings such as close-range conversations.

          The Guardian:

          – Museums, theatres, theme parks and other attractions have been closed for months. Japan’s professional football league suspended matches three weeks before 150,000 people attended the four-day Cheltenham horse racing festival in Britain.

          – Rugby and baseball leagues followed suit, delaying the start of their seasons, while sumo authorities decided to hold the recent spring tournament without spectators for the first time in the sport’s history.

          • glenn_uk

            I did wonder about Belarus, and posted a link earlier suggesting a lot of C-19 deaths were being falsely attributed to pneumonia instead. Vodka and saunas cure C-19, according to their denialist president.

          • John Goss

            Or is it our governments that are manipulating figures to make those who die of pneumonia, chronic heart disease (a massive killer) and other illnesses Coronavirus deaths? According to the nurse who sneaked a camera into a Covid-19 epicentre in the US (linked in a comment of mine above) the epicentre receives a bundle of dosh for every cadaver labelled a Covid death.

          • Clark

            I see what you did there John. You seemingly blamed the UK government, but actually you effectively accused the UK medical staff (because they’re the ones that fill in the “cause of death” line), and you did so on the say so of one witness – of treatment in the US!

            Keep up the good work, John; classic construction!

          • Clark

            “Or is it our governments that are manipulating figures to make those who die of pneumonia, chronic heart disease (a massive killer) and other illnesses Coronavirus deaths?”

            No. Misattribution of cause of death wouldn’t inflate the overall death rate. Here is the overall death curve:


            It has a big hump in it. Something caused that hump.

            If you say it was the lockdown, well, the hump started to subside while the lockdown was still in force. You’d also have to be saying that doctors were misdiagnosing suicide, death by boredom etc. as lung damage, heart failure, renal failure, blood clotting and other ways that covid-19 is known to kill. In Italy, cities in lockdown but without a major covid-19 outbreak showed a lower death rate than the average.

          • mrjohn

            The Japanese constitution prevents the government imposing a lockdown, the Japanese political system also prevents this because they are a bunch of grifters with their hands in the till. However, companies did mostly switch over to remote work where possible, pretty smoothly because most of us only remotely work at the best of times. Where this wasn’t possible, people moderated their activity and took pragmatic precautions. We are used to large scale crisis, earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, landslides, volcanoes, so there are ingrained habits which guide us.
            My little bit of Tokyo is blessed with parks, riverside walks and nature reserves, and for a while it was more crowded outside my front door than the platforms of Shinjuku station, through which I normally commute.So I think it is impossible to compare countries meaningfully, reality is too complex.
            I think one reason Japan seems relatively unscathed is the prevalence of automatic doors, as I understand it, the virus is spread by people touching surfaces, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes, so not touching doors in the course of your day is a safeguard, Consequently, rather than stipulate everyone gets a vaccine, which has all kinds of implications for civil liberties, I recommend we focus our attention on installing automatic doors in public spaces.

            Always remember, the numbers keep the score, they don’t steer the ship.

          • Clark

            mrjohn, thank you for recounting your direct experience. Many commenters apparently just swallow the alt-propaganda that in Sweden, Japan etc., since there has been no stay-at-home law, the population have made no changes in their behaviour.

            “the numbers keep the score, they don’t steer the ship.”

            True, but from the numbers and a bit of common sense, we can each check the navigation for ourselves. Many commenters seem to think that the best we can do is choose between opposing opinions.

    • Clark

      John Goss, June 12, 14:31 – “You only have to ask yourself why there are three times as many deaths in the US from COVID-19 than anywhere else in the world”

      In a word: Trump.

      First Trump said it would be no problem, that there were a handful of cases and there would soon be none. When he could no longer deny the problem, he blamed China for his own poor response. When states tried to introduce social restrictions, Trump opposed them. Badly paid workers have no economic option but to work in infectious conditions, and yeah, the profit-oriented health system isn’t helping either.

      Everywhere with the worst death tolls have the most right-wing governments. The US and UK are doing very badly, but it’s much worse in Brazil under Bolsonaro than the numbers suggest because they aren’t doing enough tests.

      • glenn_uk

        The Republican states aren’t doing so well right now. Their governors were C-19 denialists, and are still ramping up to the peak. This just came out:

        States which have closed late, opened early and are not imposing restrictions like masks, distancing measures and so on, are being hit the worst. Florida had 1000 new cases on Tuesday, nearly 1700 on Thursday and over 1900 today:

        But who cares about facts, right? The above can be dismissed by denialists as “MSM”. Goss, I mean, Gosh – how effortlessly the truth can be waved away when it doesn’t fit the narrative.

      • John Goss

        So you did not watch the video of the nurse to see what might be a contributory factor as to why there are so many more deaths in the US?

        • glenn_uk

          I don’t “do” videos, as a general rule. They waste enormous amounts of time, and referring each other to them doesn’t substitute for an actual discussion. Speculating about whether someone might or might not have “looked genuine” hardly compares with large amounts of hard data, does it?

        • Clark

          Deaths are an effect. The underlying cause of the high death rate is the high infection rate.

          Generally speaking, medical staff don’t like their patients to die. Covid-19 is new, and medical staff have been learning very quickly how best to treat it. Overloaded staff make more mistakes. New York had covid-19 really bad; staff were severely traumatised, so I’m not surprised that some made very emotional videos. A profit-orientated health system never helps, but any doctor ordering nurses to kill patients for money would be hounded out of the ward PDQ; that’s just human nature.

        • fwl

          John I don’t often agree with you – even on golf (it’s fine to leave the flag in and maybe leaving it in actually makes you concentrate that bit harder and relax as you make the put) but that Erin Marie Olszewski video is very persuasive.

          Thanks for posting it. It is definitely worth watching all the way through.

          People get institutionalised very easily and we can easily all find themselves doing the wrong thing.

          Once a hospital starts thinking its okay for people in a certain category to die whether its a certain condition or an age they cease to treat them as humans. We have been doing it with the elderly. We treat battery farmed animals as if they are objects.

          She seems to know her stuff and she knows jokes, laughing, sun, fresh air, sea and good mental health are things that work.

          The video touches on but then doesn’t elaborate on public hospitals getting $29K per medicare patient and then going for the full invasive treatment. Bizarely it seemed the Florida private hospital she worked at before was successfully treating everyone on what are presumably cheaper treatments – without vents and with zinc and Oxychlorine.

        • andyoldlabour

          John Goss

          John, the death rate in the UK from Covid-19 is far higher than the US at 611 deaths per million to 353 deaths per million. The UK has the 4th highest death rate in the World from this virus after San Marino, Belgium and Andorra.
          Our government should be ashamed of themselves.

  • ET

    On co morbidities and coronavirus deaths………………………..

    I’ll cite sources at the bottom of this post so you can all verify them. The percentage of all deaths up to June 2 in England hospitals who tested positive for coronavirus by age group: 0-19yo 0.06%, 20-39yo 0.75, 40-59yo 7.8%, 60-79yo 38.1%, 80+yo 53.2%. So, over 90% were in the age group 60+.

    Looking at pre-existing condition prevalence in the general population as a whole. 62% in age group 60-64 will have one or more pre-existing condition, almost 70% in age 65-69, 77% age 70-74, 83% age 75-79, 88% age 80-84, 92% age 85-89 and it gets higher the older you are.
    In this age group there is a high prevalence of a pre-existing condition and the figures follow the same trend for likelihood of having two pre-existing conditions. If you are in this age group ie. over 60, and you die from whatever cause you are very likely to have a pre-existing condition.

    Taking an example of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. as this was the most recorded pre-existing condition related to coronavirus deaths, recorded in almost 20% of cases (19.6%) in England and Wales for March and April 2020. In the 60-75 age group prevalence is low-ish, in males and females, at approx 2%. Prevalence begins to increase from age 75 onwards, especially in females, with 4% age 75-79, 7% males, 9% females age 80-84, 13% male, 16% female age 85-89 and higher still in older age groups. See Graph:

    Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is a pre-existing condition in 1.7% age 60-64, 3.8% age 65-69, 9.7% age 70-74, 19.6% age 75-79, 26.2% age 80-84, 33.4% age 85-90, 33.9% age 90+
    Although Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is a pre-existing condition in a higher percentage of coronavirus deaths than accounted for by it’s general prevalence in the population is it only by a small margin and is reflective of it’s prevalence in the general population.

    The next most prevalent pre-existing condition is Ischaemic Heart Disease or Coronary Heart Disease (IHD/CHD). Prevalence figures for IHD are 7.6% age 60-64, 11.1% age 65-69, 15.8% age 70-74, 21.2% age 75-79, 26.4% age 80-84, 29.9% age 85-90 and 30% age 90+ See graph:

    Ischaemic Heart Disease is the second highest recorded pre-existing condition in coronavirus deaths at 11.3%. It is recorded in 12.5% age 60-64, 12.4% 65-69, 13.3% age 70-74, 13.9% 75-79, 14.2% age 80-84, 11% age 85-89 and 7.5% age 90+.

    The picture for IHD is that as a pre-existing condition it’s prevalence in the general population is HIGHER than in the population who died having tested positive for coronavirus.

    I realise this is a very dry and boring post and the data is from a mix of sources. However I think the overall picture will be similar across the UK and Ireland. So what is the point of my post? Well, here it is.

    STOP with the bollocks that all these excess deaths are caused by co-morbidities and not coronavirus. If you are over 60 and you die from whatever cause, run over by a bus, fell out of an aeroplane without a parachute, cancer, heart failure, infection, whatever it is you are very likely to have at least one pre-existing condition. You are pretty likely to have two pre-existing conditions.

    The pre-existing conditions associated with covid-19 deaths are reflective of said pre-existing condition’s overall prevalence in the population as a whole for that age group. I am not saying that co-morbidities don’t have some contribution but to choose a much bandied about phrase, most of the coronavirus deaths will have died WITH pre-existing conditions and not OF them.
    It’s sad to see so many people happy to write off people as they were going to die anyway because of highly prevalent pre-existing conditions.

    (The graphs are from above)

      • ET

        Yes they are……………

        Here is a graphical analysis of the NHS fatality data, broken down by age group and presence/absence of co-morbidities. 95% of fatalities had 1 or more co-morbidities. The average was 1.8 co-morbidities, so most had 2 or more (typically diabetes, dementia, chronic heart issues). Only 5% died ‘from’ Covid. The rest died ‘with’ it
        The implication from that post being that 95% of the coronavirus associated deaths were because of co-morbidities and not the virus.
        And , suddenly, in April 2020, a largeer than ever excess of people with these pre-existing conditions just upped and died and it had nothing to do with coronavirus.

        • Gav

          You misunderstand. At least that’s the implication, or perhaps it’s my inference. Difficult to tell the difference sometimes.

          They’re not ‘writing them off’ – it’s merely a change in what is regarded as the cause of death. You seem to attribute a caring nature only to those who think they died of the virus. The only care I’m seeing is how well it backs someone’s argument.

          • ET

            Sorry, but that is not the optics. The argument is that 95% of those that died who tested positive for coronavirus had one or more co-morbidities and that they were at death’s door, with one foot in the grave because of those co-morbidities and therefore would have died soon anyway and coronavirus simply hastened their deaths by a small margin of time. They died with coronavirus and not of coronavirus. Very sad but they were going to die soon anyway.
            THAT is trivialisation.

            This is self evidently bullshit. How come this huge excess death rate, suposedly 95% of it due to co-morbidities that have existed in the population for years only managed to happen over a few weeks in 2020 and not any other year? Coincidentally when there was a new virus infecting patients in 195 countries all with similar clinical pictures? (At least in the hospitalised group, Craig’s anecdote about varying symptoms acknowledged)

            The “writing people off” is in the trivialising the effect coronavirus had on these people, ie. DEATH and explaining away their deaths as being due to co-morbidities and downplaying at every turn the seriousness of the virus for many. Many of these peopl;e who died may have continued to live many years if coronavirus had not taken them.

          • ET

            Not to mention, suffocating to death slowly over a number of days is a damn shitty way to die.

          • Bayard

            They were all going to die anyway, and given their age of many, for them that day was never far off. What we are talking about here is not people dying, but people having their life shortened and the question is by how much. Everyone who dies of COVID isn’t going to die of anything else so the figure for the total deaths for all causes should soon drop below the five-year average. By the end of the year we will have a figure for total deaths in the year from all causes and can compare it to the five-year average to see the number of excess deaths. That will be the only way we will be able to tell if there was a significant shortening of life due to COVID.

          • Clark

            “By the end of the year…”

            This isn’t nearly over yet; the UK is still on 200 deaths per day. Even if that falls linearly to zero covid deaths over the next 365 days, that still averages at 100 per day or 36,500 over the coming year, and there will still be over 90% of the population yet to be infected.

            You’re not going to see your drop in averages for years yet; stop trying to play this down.

          • Clark

            Gav, look what Bayard wrote:

            “They were all going to die anyway, and given their age of many, for them that day was never far off”

            Sick old bastards, let’em die! Trash the restrictions and let’em die all at once, out of hospital where they can choke for five days with no oxygen and no morphine. Sick old sods; save the bloody economy for Christ’s sake, I want my pub and football!

          • Gav

            Since the ‘reply’ function has been removed from your post below, ET…

            You’re just continuing to fluff up your straw man. There’s no trivialisation. Conflating disbelief with cold-heartedness is quite galling considering it is the possibility of cynical manipulation (or outright creation) of these figures which causes people to disbelieve.

            But we’re going round in circles. Which is strange as our heels are dug in.

          • Gav

            @ Clark

            What a conveniently cruel intervention from Bayard that was. A little below the sophistry of the age requirement for Lego.

          • Bayard

            Gav, Clark, I’m sorry, I hadn’t realised that those old people who were killed by COVID-19 were actually immortals who, in the normal course of things would have lived forever.

          • Clark

            Bayard, you wrote:

            “the figure for the total deaths for all causes should soon drop below the five-year average.”

            and that is wrong, because covid-19 is still killing large numbers of people, and will continue to do so unless the infection rate is greatly reduced.

            We’re all going to die eventually, and covid-19 doesn’t kill just the old. We can crush covid-19 to a controllable level with a few weeks of self discipline. Or we can choose a vast wave of painful, unmitigated suffering until death for at least half a million but probably several times that. Or we can carry on as is, socially and economically restricted but at least able to offer a decent quality of death. I vote for crushing it fast.

    • Clark

      ET, thank you for proving that numeracy is not yet entirely dead. Though it may be among humans, me not being sure of my ancestry… 🙂

      • ET

        Shame my proof reading isn’t up to scratch…………….but thanks for the compliment. It took me a while to compile the figures.

  • Lev Ke

    It’s impossible to read through all the posts of these Corona Religionists. Believing “Science” is now purely religion: don’t think, just accept what the clergy says! You cannot understand anything in this matter, poor lad, it’s too complicated for you. Listen to the “Scientists”, they will tell you what to believe! No questions, no critical thinking: BELIEVE THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA!!! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
    The Middle Ages have never been more alive than today.

    I’m only interested to know if anybody posted anywhere any report of the first day of the court case hearing. Is there any blogger anywhere that published an account?

    • ET

      So you refuse to look at any facts and choose what you want to believe regardless? Who is the religionist?
      The ONS deaths data is about as hard evidence as you can get. You are either dead or you are not, it ain’t that hard to tell.

    • Clark

      Lev Ke, if you are incapable of understanding scientific arguments, learn how. Waffling that others can’t understand science is irrelevant, erroneous and presumptuous.

      • glenn_uk

        He’s not incapable of understanding it, he’s just too lazy to bother, and the facts don’t suit his narrative.

        He thinks everyone else is the same – including scientists – and that they just make things up to suit them.

        I’m not sure scientists make things up – lie in other words – to keep aeroplanes in the sky, and the Internet working, but apparently they do (according to denialists) when it comes to facts they don’t like.

  • ronan1882

    Is it safe for Britain be racing out of lockdown?

    On 1 June Oxford University published a ‘Lockdown rollback checklist’, which analyses whether countries meet WHO recommendations for rolling back lockdown.

    The UK appears in 192nd place in a league table of 195 nations.

  • pete

    Craig’s post reveals the heartlessness behind the governments reaction to the Covid19 pandemic. Calling a 111 non-medical agent who goes through a limited checklist of Covid19 symptoms to determine if you are potentially infected is bound to be inadequate. It is intensely puzzling to me why so many commentators to his post deny that the pandemic is real or stress the need to carry on regardless. The argument over the figures is particularly sad, as if the distinction between dying with or dying of the virus is somehow crucial. In Florida Rebekah Jones who was fired for updating the Covid19 death data, refusing to massage the figures in order to bring forward the date for reopening the state of Florida.
    We are nowhere near the state where we can rely on ‘heard immunity’ relaxing the lock-down rules at this stage, see
    We need fewer opinions and more science.

    • Gav

      It’s not puzzling; it’s complete distrust. As tempting as it is to give in to Vox’s august science-and-health articles.

    • J Galt

      In the UK you’re more likely to be fired for refusing to massage the death figures up rather than the other way round!


      For every bought and paid for government white coat there are plenty, many better qualified, scientists who are pointing out the lunacy of this absurd lockdown, have a look at what Professor Dr Sucharit Bhakdi, former head of the Institute for Medical Microbiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, one of the most cited medical research scientists in Germany has to say of these disastrous lockdowns. I would trust him over the frankly sinister Professor Neil Ferguson.

      • Loony

        It could be a mistake to consider the lockdown to be either lunacy or absurd. Rather it all seems to be working out pretty well.

        Consider that the billionaire class have enriched themselves by a further $500 billion since the advent of the pandemic. Nice money of you can get it – and there is more to get yet, so why would you want the crisis to end?

        Luckily for the billionaires there exists a reservoir of “right on” folk interested in social justice. They can be coaxed out onto the streets to do a bit of damage and hopefully make sure that coronavirus infection rates continue to occur – thus prolonging the conditions under which rich people get richer.

        Then you have the more traditional left wing types who are all in favor of public services. Most of these people have either been neutered or converted to the cause with alarming speed. In the UK you have people outside their front doors cheering and whooping for the NHS. This would be the same NHS that predicts by by the end of the year it will have waiting lists of 10 million people. Whatever the NHS is it certainly cannot be a health service if it is denying treatment to 10 million people.

        Next up you have the police. These people are rapidly assuming the role of public enemy number one. There are increasing calls to defund the police. Well what can the rich do other than bow to public demand – just a pure coincidence that money diverted from the police will end up in their own pockets.

        Then you have education – or rather you don’t have education. More money that can be diverted to the rich.

        Everyone wants more public transport – except suddenly they don’t. They have been comprehensively terrified of catching some dreadful illness from buses, trains, metro systems etc. More public spending cuts that can be made as a consequence of bowing to public demand. I wonder where that money will end up?

        The final nail in the coffin of the mendacity of the rich and the gullibility of the poor is the nature of current protests. Statues depicting historic slave owners are all the rage for the peoples rage. The UK government estimates that up to 100,000 people may be being held as slaves in the UK today. These 100,000 are no-ones rage. No-one cares and no-one is interested.

        The power of the media is used as cudgel to beat down anyone that wants to form an intelligent understanding of what os going on and to whip up the rage of the masses against such people. Consequently anyone espousing the foregoing points will be dismissed as a racist, a fascist, an alt-right, sympathizer or a neo Nazi – and all because someone has the temerity of questioning the sanity of transferring the wealth of the world into the hands of a few thousand people.

        History will not be kind to the lackey’s and losers lining up to cheer on the kleptocracy.

        • glenn_uk

          Yet another rambling, disjointed “cor-blimey-gov’ner” selection of right-wing talking points and selected whinges. I wonder if anyone bothered to read it all.

          • Loony

            I applaud your honesty. Not many people would be prepared to admit that they hate the police, public transport, and eduction and health provision for poor people.

            It is unquestionably brave for you to metaphorically spit on the estimated 100,000 slaves currently at work in the UK.

            Whether any of this makes your opinions admirable are of course for others to determine.

          • glenn_uk

            This is another in your – albeit small – trick-bag.

            Whatever a person says, pretend instead it’s an admission of great callousness, greed or falseness.

            Who knows, perhaps an unwary reader might not look back, and would fail to see at once your deception.

          • John Goss

            I read it. I suspect those who did not read it would call it something like a “rambling, disjointed “cor-blimey-gov’ner” selection of right-wing talking points and selected whinges.”

          • Loony

            No Glenn.

            I made various points concerning the response to coronavirus, and how that response has been designed to enrich the already fabulously wealthy whilst simultaneously garnering public support for the dismantling of public services.

            You responded that these were all right wing talking points. Taking the full gamut of your posts over an extended period of time it seems reasonable to conclude that you are not in favor of the “right wing” or their “talking points.”

            It therefore follows that you are in favor of dismantling public services and that you are extremely ill disposed to the plight of poor people who seeing what little they possess sequestrated and handed to the wealthy.

            The only other possible conclusion is that you are either unable or unwilling to develop a logically coherent argument.

        • Dom

          The giant handout to the billionaires was the work of your ludicrous idol Trump. You’re supposed to be praising it and claiming it will trickle down.

          • Loony

            Facts are so inconvenient – but no need to worry a veritable rewriting of history is underway so all will be well in due course.

            However to get ahead of the history destroyers for one brief moment: Perhaps you recall President Trump warning that the “cure cannot be worse than the problem itself” Here is the NYT to refresh your memory


            If you write to the NYT and explain how such stories could adversely impact the love and admiration for for the multi billionaire Carlos Slim then I have no doubt they will readily remove this story.

          • glenn_uk

            Are you just spitting this stuff out randomly? Because it’s got zero to do with the post you’re replying to. And you do this rather too often to just be an error.

          • Loony

            Oh dear Glenn.

            Someone called Dom suggested that the “giant handout to the billionaires was the work of…Trump”

            My thesis is that the shuttering of the economy provided cover for this vast transfer of wealth. If this idea is correct then it follows that anyone opposing the lockdown also opposed creating the conditions that allowed for the further enrichment of the billionaire class.

            I provided evidence to suggest that Trump opposed shutting down the US economy and hence opposed the enrichment of billionaires – and that Trump explicitly warned of the dangers of the strategy.

            So far from spitting things out randomly that have zero to do with the post to which I am replying I have in fact provided a precise and evidenced response. In other words i have done the exact opposite from what you claim. I would have hoped that something this simple would not have required clarification.

          • Clark

            Disaster capitalism thrives on disasters; the nature of the disaster doesn’t matter, because the government has to fix it whereas the private sector has no responsibility to do so – that’s what “private” means. The government’s only option is to “borrow” from the private sector (ie. all those excess accumulations of wealth they failed to tax), which incurs interest, so capital attracts income for nothing.

      • ET

        “In the UK you’re more likely to be fired for refusing to massage the death figures up rather than the other way round!”

        And you earth shatterring evidence for this is…………………….?

        • J Galt

          A wee bit of speculative humour on my part to illustrate the point that our political class both high and petty (witness the imbecilic councils painting stupid signs on pavements) are well aware on which side their bread appears to be buttered and are happy to join in the scare-fest.

          Infections and deaths in the UK peaked in mid April (Office of National Statistics) well before the lockdown could have had any affect. The lockdown has not saved a single life, however it has destroyed life, both now and in the near future – do you care about the thousands who will die from late reported and treated cancer due to the lockdown you support?

          I notice you ignore the second more important part of my post regarding the distinguished Prof. Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, I wonder why?

          • Clark

            J Galt, your model is impossible. Peak deaths couldn’t coincide with peak infections, because death occurs weeks after infection.

          • Clark

            It’s nothing to do with ONS; your model is simply impossible. Detected infections aren’t total infections; only a small proportion are ever detected. The death peak inevitably tells us when the real infection peak was; there’s no getting away from that, because people don’t drop dead immediately upon inhaling a virus; there’s a well quantified delay.

            And I don’t care how good a doctor you care to quote; the numbers speak for themselves. I don’t need anyone with letters after their name to interpret data for me thanks, and if you practised interpreting data you wouldn’t need to either 🙂

  • Mike Davies

    Just to point out that this series starts on Sun 14th at 21:00 on BBC1 and continue for 3 nights. It remains to be seen whether any actual info is released or whether they are just a flannel wash…

  • bevin

    The saddest aspect of the comments made by John-golfer- Goss and other formerly rational people is that for years theirs have been voices of sense and compassion refusing to buy the warmongering propaganda of the ruling imperialist class.
    This has led to a suspicion of officially sanctioned information that has become a positive appetite for unsubstantiated claims of bad faith, and false claims.
    The reality is that Mr Goss, and his many supporters here, are on the same side as the Koch Brothers in the United States, Bolsonaro and his fascist supporters in Brazil, the meat packing firms which insist on workers risking their lives in unsafe conditions, and politicians of the extreme right, Trump, Johnson, the Alternative for Germany and an International of antisocial supporters of property rights.
    There is a world of difference between rejecting the obvious lies behind official claims in the Skripal case and the clear, undeniable-and to the ruling class extremely damaging- reality of an actual pandemic in which hundreds of thousands have already died, in agony, and millions more will do so.

    • glenn_uk

      Indeed, Bevin, indeed.

      It’s astonishing to see “hugs of death” Goss – who used to be a good guy – referring us to miserable racists, neo-cons and Trump stooges as if that was far preferable to the “MSM” he dismisses without thought.

      I have pointed out to him a number of times that he is in quite detestable company, and is acting as a useful idiot for corporate power. However, he prefers to believe the lies of cranks to the truth being told by honest medical professionals.

      Maybe he realises how he has been duped, but is too far in to admit it. All the same, he’s slowly tying himself in knots for everyone to see.

    • Jack

      While I disagree on Mr Goss on this subject, no need to call people fascists as soon as they dont agree with your own views – that is fascism if anything. And the guilt by association (Bolsonaro, Trump, Johnson, Afd)? Come on.

      • glenn_uk

        Jack, if I thought John was really a fascist, I wouldn’t bother with him at all.

        Someone who likes fascists, talks about them a lot, promotes their views and refers us to their works all the time is… well, a bit misguided shall we say. And I think it’s important to point that out to them.

        Trouble is, In John’s case, he doesn’t want to know.

      • John Goss

        Thank you for your support Jack regarding fascist taunts. When Habbabkuk (Charles Bostock et al) and others now gone or commenting under other names used the blog I used to get taunts of being a Stalinist. Mary got even worse without any intervention. The mods have done a good job in getting rid of them.

        As the old cliche goes I would defend your right to disagree with me.

    • John Goss

      I used to think that having taken the epithet bevin you had some empathy with the man who gave us the NHS, and certainly some of your former comments have suggested that. Recently I have reached the conclusion that you are a union man. I got there because I know the teachers’ unions are questioning going back. Am I right? On this issue I think the unions are wrong.

      As to you, glenn_uk and Clark who try by implication to label me a fascist I am surprised the mods have not intervened.

      “There is a world of difference between rejecting the obvious lies behind official claims in the Skripal case and the clear, undeniable-and to the ruling class extremely damaging- reality of an actual pandemic in which hundreds of thousands have already died, in agony, and millions more will do so.”

      There is no pandemic now. Hundreds of thousands have died but millions more will not die, even with the massaged figures. Most countries are reporting less daily infections and many countries are returning to a near normal. The media and those who own media outlets have used it as a nasty piece of propaganda which has benefited the likes of the Koch brothers, Bill Gates, George Soros and the likes. You are another person I never expected to fall for this. But in the future when Big Pharma and those to whom the profitable sides of the NHS have been hived off, you will have time to reflect on whether you may have been campaigning for the wrong side.

      • Clark

        I don’t think you’re a fascist John, but I think you’re being a useful idiot. The ideas you’re supporting are the ideas of the right. Bevin sees it, as do me and Glenn. Just up-thread, you were actually commending the Ron Paul institute. That should be like a big red light flashing behind your eyelids. Time for a few deep breaths…

        • John Goss

          Ron Paul is a politician so there are bound to be flaws and things you don’t agree with. He often voted with the Democrats. But his institute called this hoax a hoax from the start and he has to be given credit for that.

          By the way calling someone a “useful idiot” is also a nasty thing to say and I’m sure you would not like it.

          • Loony

            In these strange days it is hard to know who is a useful idiot and who is just an idiot.

            In the US all of the usual people of virtue have spent moths fetishizing coronavirus and blaming Trump and the “alt-right” for having no concern for human life. Suddenly it is discovered that racism is a much bigger issue. and so people must be encouraged to protest the virus of racism. There is a lot of media coverage regarding the merits or otherwise of tearing down statues. Oddly there is no media coverage of the 70+ coronavirus testing centers that have been burnt to the ground.

          • glenn_uk

            Ron Paul is – as I’ve already told you – a racist, a Laissez-faire free-market capitalist, and a far-right libertarian who does not believe in any social support, detests -all- regulations, and thinks if companies want to maim their workers, poison the environment, provide toxic food to consumers etc. etc., then they should be free to do so, because The Market will sort it out.

            His son Rand (named after Ayn Rand, the sociopath who brought us Objectivism) wants businesses to be free to exclude anyone they don’t like, such as people of colour.

            This is just the start of it with this guy.

            So yeah – he has a few ‘flaws’, for sure.

            And you are promoting him and his philosophies here. Get it yet?

          • Clark

            Better than being a fascist though, eh?

            John, the numbers are all publicly available, and it isn’t very hard to make sense of them. Covid-19 has our activity over a barrel. We can carry on as normal, letting it use us as hosts, giving it the chance to learn better how to exploit human biology, and letting it choke half a million or more people to death over the course of a month and inflict renal and neurological damage on several million more, or we can scale our activity right back, and thereby drive it extinct. The latter takes five weeks of rigid self restraint, and a whole load of countries have done it already.

            Or we can carry on as we are, prolonging the agony and giving it all the above but with palliative care for the afflicted.

            I’m up for the five weeks.

          • glenn_uk

            @Loony: Yeah, funny you should pop up complaining about protestors opposing racist policing. Very odd.

          • John Goss

            glenn_uk who do you think you are?

            Because the Ron Paul Institute puts out something I agree with does not necessarily make me a supporter of Ron Paul. Because President Trump says something I agree with does not necessarily make me a supporter of Trump. Get it!

          • Clark

            But John, it does mean you’re supporting their positions, so like I said, that should be a bright red flashing light warning you to double check your underlying assumptions.

          • Nick

            Glenn uk
            Serious question
            Given that the 4 police involved in that shocking murder consisted of 2 white policemen,one asian and one black,can you provide your evidence that it was “racially motivated” rather than old school American police brutality.
            Be cause when an incident like that happens and “racist” is the default setting before evidentially proved it says something about the mindset of the accuser.
            Btw I’m not saying it is not…but at moment that it was racially motivated is not ascertained. Only that brutality led to death.

          • Clark

            Nick, it’s institutionalised racism. That’s why blacks are hugely overrepresented in the prison population, and in bad, badly paid jobs, and suffering disproportionally more from covid-19, and concentrated in poor housing, and any number of other metrics.

            The ethnic mix of the officers doesn’t matter, because there is far less comeback when victims are black. Same with so-called black-on-black violence – some crimes are policed more vigorously than others, and black victims matter less where racism is institutional.

          • Clark

            Nick, here’s an example from the UK. Kemi Badenoch is a black woman, and the Conservative Equalities Minister:

            On ‘institutional racism’ – a phenomenon that affects minorities in Britain – she has been reported as saying that she doesn’t recognise it . On former mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith’s Islamophobic campaign? She helped run it. On the black community? She doesn’t believe that it really exists. On American racism? ‘We don’t have all the horrible stuff that’s happened in America here,’ that was what Badenoch said in 2017.


      • John Goss

        Just as an addendum Ernest Bevin when I was a toolmaker I left the right-wing AUEW (AEU) and joined the left-wing TGWU out of belief (not because the fees were less). I have not changed. Society has though and unions no longer have the leverage they once had. It worries me that in segregating us (social distancing) the real Gaffers have achieved the gaffers’ motto of “divide and conquer”. We cannot any longer question the narrative.

        • glenn_uk

          This is unbelievably stupid. Social distancing is to PREVENT THE SPREAD OF DISEASE, ffs, not to achieve some – what? How can you be so daft?

          • glenn_uk

            I find your promotion of right-wing propaganda, not to mention your encouraging behaviour that will result in misery and death, to be objectionable too.

          • John Goss

            I don’t promote right-wing propaganda. Sometimes right-wing institutions agree with what I believe. You are trying to make me out to be something I am not because it brushes the crest of your ego. It would be like me suggesting you were right wing because, like Boris Johnson, you agree with these ludicrous nonsense measures being imposed on us. I don’t do that. You remind me of Habbabkuk.

          • Clark

            “It would be like me suggesting you were right wing because, like Boris Johnson, you agree with these ludicrous nonsense measures being imposed on us.”

            Er, the Conservative government wanted to go for a “herd immunity” policy (which you support, John) through minimal mitigation, until the unfairly demonised ICL team (“Ferguson” in the right-wing press) pointed out that this would cause half a million deaths. Boris Johnson went round proudly shaking hands (again, just like you John) in defiance of health advice his own government asked , and promptly caught a very nasty dose of the supposedly non-existent covid-19, which seems to have scrambled his brain. The government continued to procrastinate as long as they could; we had the latest restrictions in Europe securing the second highest death toll in the world, so far.

            John, I can’t fit a cigarette paper between your position and the Tories’. Could the “MSM” be having more influence on you than you believe? Subconsciously, perhaps? Personally, I’ve banned it from my home; what’s your policy towards it? Please answer.

        • John Goss

          We cannot any longer question the narrative. There have been no alternatives to the narrative for a full three months. It is a virus not a plague.

          • glenn_uk

            You can no longer question the narrative? What do you think you – and your fellow travelers – have been doing for the past few months?

          • John Goss

            I have only just returned to commenting after more than a month’s break. You’ve been supporting mainstream indoctrination all that time and long before. You continue to do so. I defend your right to have your say.

            This virus affair has split opinion. The plan has achieved already much of what it set out to achieve. Divide and rule.

          • Clark

            “You’ve been supporting mainstream indoctrination all that time…”

            Now, now John. Some of us can read a graph, you know. You should try it.

          • Clark

            “I defend your right to have your say.”

            John Goss, 2020.

            “I don’t mind people acting like idiots so long as they don’t mind me taking the piss out of them”

            Jake Thackray, 1973.

      • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

        @John Gross
        Much as I admire Ernie Bevin, very much a union man, I think it is to Nye Bevan(and’The Citadel” )that credit must go for the NHS,and the compromises that led to a top-down consultant -led system rather than a grass-roots public health system..

  • Mark Golding

    For a few it is manifest that this manipulated virus creates a fear-based uniformity that is calculated to impose a culture of death over the celebration of life. A demon no less. I believe to exorcise this fear and break out of this cynical government-induced servitude we must
    write about the positives, the survivers and not argue the negatives, the death rates else we may squander our maintenance of liberty, dignity and humanity.

    The masters of deception want us on our knees; remaining upright shapes up our vision, our awareness and manifests our love of love and life.

    • John Goss

      It’s always welcome to hear a voice of wisdom Mark in a world of darkness. We are losing touch with our love of love and life because of this fear-driven manipulation of a virus.

    • Crispa

      Mark Golding: “A demon no less”. That phrase strikes a chord as I have thought myself of the way in which the invisibility of the virus and how in which it is being ingested into the modern psyche is very much comparable to the construction of the delusional belief systems that have acquired Authority – usually Religious but here Scientific and have resulted in the persecution of witches, Jews, black and dissidents such as John Goss in this post for speaking up against the orthodox view. I think the coronavirus panic has resulted in a global neurosis in which there is a patina of rationality in the key decisions and actions that cover an underlay of complete irrationality. To be anecdotal, my 5 year old granddaughter earlier today recounted her two days of returning to school as a reception year pupil. A novelty to her of course, which she enjoyed as such. But she is now going two days a week and is placed in a “bubble” of 7 children from her usual class of 30ish, allowed to interact with other children in her bubble but not with children in the one other bubble attending (different break times) and with meals etc served at her desk. Other children in the class attend Mondays and Tuesdays leaving Wednesday free for a “deep clean”. This is occurring in a community in which people have been rigorously self-isolating for three months with little or no contact with any infection , which could be easily identified and dealt with if it had occurred given the information about it and people thinking 2 metres means 20 or more to the point where I want to shout at them “I am not a leper”. This is not educating children it is pointless to carry on in this way – totally absurd – and I am one of those in the so-called “vulnerable group”. I can carry out my own risk assessments thank you.

      • John Goss

        Crispa, the children (those least likely to suffer ill-effects if they catch COVID-19) are the ones who are really suffering. It is cruel to stop the natural social interactions of children and teachers. When we were young and something of interest, perhaps a new addition to the aquarium, arrived the teacher would say “Now, gather round children”. With these “new normal” measures they are being taught to abandon their basic instincts, taught to become alienated – the first step towards becoming psychopathic – and love and care is being replaced with a clinical segregation of children and their classmates. You have every right to feel as you do. You clearly have a heart.

          • Nick

            There appeared to be no reply above so I’ll put it here.
            I didn’t ask about institutional racism
            I asked for evidence that Derek chauvin killing a black civilian was racially motivated
            Racism should not be the default setting
            Police is stated in USA are trained by Israeli forces and it shows…with an attitude towards the public at large like that of Israel to the Palestinians.
            Cops in America aren’t that discerning when it comes to killing civilians. The common denominator seems to be poverty with poor white people 2 1/2 times more likely to be shot dead than any other group. The problem,as Craig succinctly alluded to is that the police seem to get immunity from their actions. Like the poor 6 year old white autistic kid gunned down by 2 black officers in Michigan. Both cops were cleared of charges even though they put 18 rounds into the car for no reason other than the boys dad refusing to stop. The boy received 5 shots to his body even though the car was stopped and the father had his hands in the air.
            Yes there is institutional racism. Hopefully future generations can grow up without the prejudices of previous generations,whatever their race.
            But let’s not get lazy
            Judge every incident on merit before calling it racist.
            For example..I’m caucasian. A friend of mine Raj,who is from Dehli originally,runs a chain of shops locally. Lovely guy,always talk cricket with him. And he’s well liked by the mainly white community because he’s a nice guy.
            His brother is a miserable tube who no one likes. Horrible nasty individual. Is it because he is Indian that locals detest him,or the fact he’s a dick. Am I racist because I can’t stand him? Because it seems these days I would be considered to be so….

        • pete

          “A demon no less.”

          I feel sure the topic has drifted hopelessly off course and we are now in conspiracy plot territory. Manipulation of scientific argument for the furtherance of repression vs limits of free speech and individual liberty.

          I wonder if you folk have heard of the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment, Jane Elliott’s examination of demonising one group against another. How people can be manipulated by irrational rules. It’s a crude experiment * but it does demonstrate how you can use a falsehood, a lie or a myth to turn one section against another. It was a tool used by the Fascists but its history is older, in the last century articulated by Sorel: see
          I hate to say this but this is where your discussion is leading, beware.


          • Mark Golding

            Falsehood, lies and illusion or myths are the tools of deception. The devil is in the detail. The detail can be for instance the illusion that weapons make the battlefield safer spelled out by Lord Privy council Hoon and company who marched to the ‘war on terror’ – an earlier plot to ignore and control the aware. Sanctioned by Hoon the devil here can be the cluster bomb dropped/fired on populated areas during the invasion of Iraq. Yellow in color to match food parcels the bomblets hung from olive trees to attract children and explode, ripping hands and arms. The screaming bleeding children manifest a fear so great it totally destroyed the will to resist. This, of course, was the intention.

            A demon no less, the provenance by which the aware judge the actions of our government and which keeps the receptive sentient amongst us from manipulation.

      • Despair!

        As a long time silent viewer of this blog, I am reading all these comments with incredulity and utter despair. The very same people who for years have called out the manipulation and lies around the war on terror and how the power structures behind it run deep and hidden throughout – the same people all now falling hook line and sinker for the War on Health. Covid is a killer virus, just as saddam was a very bad man: there is no scope for nuance here: you are either with us or against us. The independent scientists are there telling the govt what we need to do to stay safe – just like the intelligence services are for the war on terror! And the media duly report it to us, the frightened masses – fearlessly bringing us the truth in a terrifying world.

        • Clark

          “The independent scientists are there telling the govt what we need to do to stay safe – just like the intelligence services are for the war on terror!

          The difference is that the wars were argued for on the basis of secret “intelligence”, whereas the effects of covid-19 are right out in the open, in countries across the world for all to see. I don’t need the opinions of any scientists, independent or otherwise; I can read the data, graphs and effects upon countries’ healthcare systems for myself.

          The nuance is in how to respond; there are sensible and humane social behaviours that would crush covid-19 fast, or there are stupid half measures and excessive authoritarianism with varying effects.

          Keep a safe distance. Wear masks. Move retail outdoors. Don’t crowd. Work from home. Keep public transport sparsely occupied. Attend work four days on, ten days off. Set up quarantine. Do lots of tests. Don’t travel between cities. And to politicians; force employers to facilitate those measures.

          • Despair!

            …and ignore the wider implications of this approach – dehumanising youngsters, remote education, acceptance (nay demand for!) mandatory vaccinations, global digital identity and social credits.

          • Despair!

            “The difference is that the wars were argued for on the basis of secret “intelligence”, whereas the effects of covid-19 are right out in the open, in countries across the world for all to see. I don’t need the opinions of any scientists, independent or otherwise; I can read the data, graphs and effects upon countries’ healthcare systems for myself.“

            And therefore note that this spike in excess deaths is still not an unprecedented event in population percentage terms?

            And if you are basing it direct on stats – no medical interference required – how do you account for the fact as someone noted above – the excess figures are limited to 6 countries? Why has this global pandemic not spread and killed across the densely populated poverty stricken slums of the developing world?

          • Clark

            “acceptance (nay demand for!) mandatory vaccinations”

            I can’t think of a government that has demanded that. I think voluntary vaccine uptake will be high. I’d be glad of a vaccine, so long as it looks safe and effective.

            “note that this spike in excess deaths is still not an unprecedented event in population percentage terms”

            The restrictions banged a lid on it. The most recent precedent was 1918-1919:


            Note that the flu seasons don’t rise as fast, and they have considerable duration, whereas covid-19 went up like a rocket until the social restrictions turned it sharply back downward.

            “how do you account for the fact – the excess figures are limited to 6 countries?”

            They’re not, but some counties got it particularly bad through being ill prepared, and being late in giving public advice and/or applying restrictions. Quite a few countries have done really well.

            “Why has this global pandemic not spread and killed across the densely populated poverty stricken slums of the developing world?”

            Did you notice that in the UK, lots of politicians, celebrities and sports stars got it early on, before it was common in the general population? It’s the people who travel; covid-19 gets about the world by air travel, so the poorer countries got it slower. The obvious exception was Iran.

            Some poor countries have poor monitoring so the numbers haven’t really shown up yet. Some have little transport, or less of their population are in dense cities, and those cities are less active. But some countries are doing remarkably well; they took the UN warnings seriously, made preparations, applied restrictions early, and some have been very creative in their responses:


            Instead of accepting other people’s claims that it’s a big political conspiracy, why not look into the data? The real story is far more complex and interesting.

          • Despair!

            “I can’t think of a government that has demanded that. I think voluntary vaccine uptake will be high. I’d be glad of a vaccine, so long as it looks safe and effective.”

            Won’t be governments demanding it. It will be us – the cowering terrified people – once we have been sufficiently conditioned to believe it’s our only way out of this mess. We are really not very far away it seems from “voluntary” vaccines without which you will not be allowed to travel/use public transport /go to school. Just gotta wait for the vaccine – public acceptance is pretty much there.

            “The restrictions banged a lid on it.”

            So you keep saying. But there are many scientific studies/medics also arguing it’s a natural decline – nothing to do with lockdown (although it’s hard to find them in big pharma funded publications or indeed on social media of course as they are considered peddlers of fake news).
            “Note that the flu seasons don’t rise as fast, and they have considerable duration, whereas covid-19 went up like a rocket until the social restrictions turned it sharply back downward.”

            Everywhere? And anyway the argument isn’t necessarily whether it exists – but whether it was/is so serious to warrant the effective loss of fundamental rights to earn a living/socialise/receive an education of some 2 billion people….
            “They’re not, but some counties got it particularly bad through being ill prepared, and being late in giving public advice and/or applying restrictions. Quite a few countries have done really well. “

            This is nonsense. A pandemic is a pandemic. We know different countries are testing and recording in wildly different ways – so to say some countries have done well In managing the spread is currently meaningless. “Well” against what globally consistent standard? There is none. But excess deaths suggest only a very few countries are particularly badly hit. And as per the point below – if you believe it is solely the efficiency of the containment that has dictated the excess mortality rates – lockdown/distancing/ppe /track and trace – how does this stack up against the fact that it has not spread dramatically and exponentially in the poverty stricken areas of the world where it is present?
            “Did you notice that in the UK, lots of politicians, celebrities and sports stars got it early on, before it was common in the general population? It’s the people who travel; covid-19 gets about the world by air travel, so the poorer countries got it slower. The obvious exception was Iran.”

            Your argument just doesn’t stack up – It’s there – it’s already there – in say for eg India Brazil and SA – as we hear every day (along with the headline news the number of deaths in Brazil has now surpassed Britain – with no mention of our vastly different population numbers of course because that would then beg the question why are we looking in absolute terms rather than relative percentages). But as far as I can tell from our MSM – it has not ravaged the slums favelas and shanty towns of these countries in the same way it did the UK or Lombardy. Why?

            “Instead of accepting other people’s claims that it’s a big political conspiracy, why not look into the data? “

            You could absolutely argue that either way. In circles ad finitum.

    • Watt

      Well, Mark, it was mooted somewhere, at the start of this lockdown time, that perhaps up to 5 lockdowns might be needed to bring the populace properly onto their knees. One ongoing, 4 to come.

      • Clark

        Five shit “lockdowns”, or one proper instance of genuine leadership: “Here are the daily infection figures; we have to reduce this number every day until we force it to zero”. See above.

  • Clark

    “According to the political scientist Michael Barkun, conspiracy theories rely on the view that the universe is governed by design, and embody three principles: nothing happens by accident, nothing is as it seems, and everything is connected”

  • N_

    Loss of taste and smell is normal with the common cold, which is also causes by coronaviruses. So many people I’ve spoken to seem to have forgotten this.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ John Goss June 12, 2020 at 23:59
          Here’s another NY nurse backing up your earlier link:
          ‘Nicole Sirotek’:

          Who needs morality, when you can make bundles?
          ‘Coronavirus fact check: Hospitals get paid more if patients listed as COVID-19, on ventilators’:

          ‘…Jensen said, “Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it’s a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they’re Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000. But if it’s COVID-19 pneumonia, then it’s $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000.”
          Jensen clarified in the video that he doesn’t think physicians are “gaming the system” so much as other “players,” such as hospital administrators, who he said may pressure physicians to cite all diagnoses, including “probable” COVID-19, on discharge papers or death certificates to get the higher Medicare allocation allowed under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Past practice, Jensen said, did not include probabilities.
          He noted that some states, including his home state of Minnesota, as well as California, list only laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses. Others, specifically New York, list all presumed cases, which is allowed under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of mid-April and which will result in a larger payout….’
          Just the stroke of a pen, or a tap on a keyboard, and instead of $5,000 the hospital gets $13,000; another stroke or tap, and the hospital gets $39,000.
          Trouble is, once you’re on a ventilator alleged to have covid – 19, odds are you’re a gonner. Even if you survive against the odds, your lungs have almost certainly been damaged beyond repair.

          • ET

            Thats great and all but only pertains to USA. You can bet your bottom dollar that insurance companies are all over this like a rash.
            It doesn’t explain or have any relevance to what happens in the NHS or most other European health care systems where they don’t get paid per diagnosis in that way.
            A fee per service health care system will always encourage over testing and over treating and manipulating the facts as best you can for the most money. Insurance companies have many ways to counter it though.

          • Clark

            In the UK survival rates are increasing as medical staff are learning how best to treat covid-19. I expect the same is happening in the US.

          • glenn_uk

            Paul: “Jensen said…”

            Jensen is a very far right-wing Republican Senator who wants to suck up to Trump.

            Good job, Paul, promoting far-right propaganda. Yet again.

            So you think they’re all in it for the money – what, in the UK too? Everywhere in the world? Just because *some* medical organisations in the US are *allegedly* profiteering.

            But that’s good enough for you, because it fits your conspiracy narrative. And if you’re promoting far-right US propaganda, who gives a damn, eh?

          • Paul Barbara

            @ glenn_uk June 13, 2020 at 02:01
            That is just a factual report . It is very easily verifiable, if you doubt it, that those are the amounts given out ion the States he mentions. I detest both the Repugnant T’rump and the ‘Fondlin’ Dementiac’ Demoprat.
            Nearly 330,000,000 people, and they come up with those two a^^holes.
            I see no hope for the US, or for the UK, now that Jeremy Corbyn has been scuttled.
            The power-brokers have got everything sown up, and the people where they want them, at logger-heads with each other.

          • Clark

            “The power-brokers have got everything sown up, and the people where they want them, at logger-heads with each other.”

            Yep. I’ve been trying to cooperate with you for nearly a decade now, and I have got precisely nowhere.

          • Clark

            “Just the stroke of a pen, or a tap on a keyboard, and instead of $5,000 the hospital gets $13,000; another stroke or tap, and the hospital gets $39,000.”

            Yeah, right! But what have we heard from doctors, over and over again, ever since January? “There aren’t enough ventilators to go round!”.

            And the insurance companies are just falling over each other to pay out, are they? If a hospital claims for ten times as many patients as its ventilator capacity, they just pay out, right?

            Oh, but there’s a way around that; the administrators can instruct the doctors to ventilate badly to kill each patient fast, so another can be substituted and another claim made. So doctors just do this; after all, killing people is what they became doctors for, because the military, police force and local drugs gangs wouldn’t take them. Not a single one of these doctors speaks out that their hospital has just been ordered to become a death camp. No, everyone is evil apart from the conspiracy theorists and their favourite and universally right-wing politicians. Funny, that…

            “Logic is lost in your
            – Cranial abattoir…”


        • Clark

          covid-19 is not like a common cold. It is a type of SARS. It causes characteristic lung damage that can be seen on scans. It causes blood clotting and neurological damage. It can attack multiple vital organs. Many sufferers need oxygen support and/or renal support.

          It is a very nasty disease and we should stamp it out, not pretend it’s trivial.

    • ET

      I pretty much agree with this. Some right wing ideas work and some don’t and some left wing ideas work and some don’t. It is time we all started to govern on evidence basis of what works and what doesn’t.
      It is time to ditch the right/left paradigm.

      @John Goss and others
      The Ron Paul Institute is one of my regular reads. I like their advocacy of a non interventionist foreign policy, audit the Fed, their views on the welfare-welfare corporatocracy and I have to say on an individual basis I agree with the libertarian philosophy of “allow me to do whatever I want as long as it isn’t to the detriment of anyone else”.
      I don’t agree with their health care policies and specifically don’t agree with their coverage of and ideas about coronavirus. It is not similar to a flu in terms of herd immunity, transmissibility or infection fatality rate. It has caused an unprecedented (in living memory) spike in deaths. I can’t logically see any justification in calling it a hoax.

      • glenn_uk

        ET : There _is_ a logical justification in calling it a hoax.

        C-19 gets in the way of business. If we pretend there’s no problem, why, we won’t have to pay people for not doing hazzardous jobs. We’d have to pay good money to get around this public health danger, business will suffer, and we might even have to ask the very rich to start paying their fair share for a change.

        Can’t have that. So let’s pretend everything is normal, we’re open for business, C-19 is a hoax, and let the useful idiots work for us – tell them it’s a “deep state” thing. Agenda-21. Bill Gates. Vaccines.

        It’s working pretty well with climate change denial, right? Which is no less of a disaster for us all. But let’s ignore that too, for the immediate benefit of the bottom line.

        • ET

          I don’t think John is motivated to call coronavirus a hoax by financial gain, at least not for himself. I don’t understand what his motivations are and I don’t understand how anyone can not ascertain from the ONS all deaths figures that there was a large spike in deaths in April, far in excess of any excess winter deaths spike in the last 15 years. I posted a graph in a previous post which depicts that spike in an “in your face” way. Unless numbers of deaths are being fabricated, which is absurd.

          An argument is that lockdown caused the deaths. I am fairly certain that there will be fatal consequences because people missed cancer screening, missed out on surgical procedures, didn’t go to A+E out of fear and mental health issues. However these deats, in the main, will happen further down the road. Also, many other countries with similar or more strict lockdowns, such as Greece or Germany didn’t show such an excess in deaths. Perhaps John, you could summarise your reasoning?

          • glenn_uk

            ET: I don’t think for a moment that John isn’t being honest, to himself at least. He’s severely misguided of course. A great suspicion of government is healthy, but when they tell you it’s not a good idea to step in front of a train, that doesn’t mean they are not correct. Public health advice should not be dismissed – it’s extremely arrogant of him to presume he knows it’s a Grand Plot in the middle of a pandemic, and encourage people to behave as if there was no danger.

            As mentioned before, John is so deep into it now, it’s probably too terrible for him to admit he’s been irresponsible. Personally, I would be more than happy to have admitted months ago, that boy! Did I ever over-react to that! This C-19 was nothing but a hype, thank F- there was nothing to it. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of deaths later, that does not seem to be an option. But it is for John Goss! Perhaps he could tell us why.

    • U Watt

      1979-92 Hard Right in charge
      1992-97 Centre-Right in charge
      1997-2010 Centrist in charge
      2010-15 Centre-Right in charge
      2015-19 Right wing in charge
      2019 onwards Hard Right in charge

      This country has gone to the dogs and I blame the bloody lefties.

      • glenn_uk

        “This country has gone to the dogs and I blame the bloody lefties”

        Why not blame the centre-right/hard-right who you quite rightly identify as causing the problem?

      • Clark

        Thanks U Watt, that gave me a chuckle.

        But maybe someone being in charge could be the problem? Like, we all have free will, we all have to decide, every waking moment of our lives, because even choosing not to decide is a decision. There’s a certain perverse logic of abdication in electing the Right, because they will at least tell everyone what to do, whereas choosing the Left implies participation.

        Listening to people argue, it’s notable how much of it is about blame. No one wants to be to blame, but lots of stuff is obviously wrong, so people tend to be keen to find someone to blame, recent examples being “Ferguson” or “China”, or those good universal fall-backs “the government” or “the PTB and their MSM”.

        But for every action there’s a reaction, and if one often feels the urge to blame, maybe one will also avoid blame by letting someone else make the decisions.

  • glenn_uk

    @John: You say you offer a handshake all round after playing golf, but it’s always refused

    Isn’t that a bit of a nasty thing to do?

    Even given your narrative – that you’re so much more clever and well informed than everyone else, so you see through this “hoax”, and there’s no danger whatsoever in everyone behaving this way – it’s still putting your comrades in a very awkward position.

    It’s difficult to refuse a hand being offered to you, it’s socially uncomfortable. It’s embarrassing, and makes the person refusing look as if they have something against you.

    But you think it’s amusing, to put people in this position?

    Think of it from their perspective. Not being as clever as you, they’re taken in with the “hoax” that hundreds of thousands of people have died and are dying of C-19. They believe medics and take social distancing seriously, because they’re afraid their families are in danger, and society as a whole, if they’re irresponsible and pass the virus around.

    Because they are stupid – these people you play golf with – they don’t know it’s all some mysterious plot, a worldwide conspiracy, that you know all about but cannot explain. Maybe they don’t like right-wing extremists, so they’re not privy to your sources.

    Given all this, are you not being a bit cruel, making the socially distancing imperative even more awkward for these poor fools you deign to associate with?

    Why do you do this, offering the unwelcome assault of hugs and handshakes which sane people know to be potentially deadly?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ glenn_uk June 13, 2020 at 02:22
      On the BLM Demo last Sunday I didn’t distance, or wear a mask. I shook the hand of a Black guy who offered his hand, and kissed the hand of the female accompanying him. I would happily go in a pub, if they were open.
      But I ain’t stupid – if someone was coughing and spluttering, I’d certainly try to keep my distance, and I wouldn’t need a measure. I gave out about 200 double-sided A4 pages I’d printed out re the virus, and not many people refused to take one. I never did like ‘Simon says’ (or ‘BoJo says’):

      • Clark

        “But I ain’t stupid – if someone was coughing and spluttering…”

        For some reason covid-19 spreads like wildfire, whereas its closest relative SARS was much easier to contain. Now why’s that? Can it be another lie by “the PTB and their MSM”? Or is it what those who’ve bothered to study covid-19 have been telling us since January – that each infected person spends four days infectious before getting any symptoms, whereas SARS sufferers were easily noticed.

        “I ain’t stupid” – no; just wilfully ignorant.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Clark
          ‘… no; just wilfully ignorant.’
          Compliments fly when pigs meet.

  • Monster

    We’ll look back on this hoax in a couple of years time amidst our trashed economy and puzzle about the role of disinformation. There’s a film out, or coming out, about the Skripal hoax, in the same vein as the films about Chernobyl and other state controlled events. We can expect Virus: the movie in due course. Disinformation is a science which is better than any virus because its poison is not manifested as ill health, although that’s an intended side effect, but administered through information distortion by approved scientists, MSM, blogs and controlled social media. The only cure is education and a solid sense of community. Sad to say, but China and Russia lead the way in education (free), healthcare (free), state funded community structures and of course economic power.
    I stand with John Goss, who is taking a bit of a bashing here. I wonder why.

    • Sarge

      Can anybody explain why governments as disparate as those of the United States, Venezuela, Britain, Cuba, China are conniving in the hoax pandemic, and who persuaded them all to go along with it?

      I only make the request because to my knowledge not one hospital administrator, government official or even opposition figure in any of the hundreds of nations affected (or pretending to be) has yet broken cover and said it is all a hoax.

      Is this because the millions of individuals perpetrating the hoax worldwide have all been promised big money so long as they keep their gobs shut?

      Ignore if questions are inconvenient.

    • Tatyana

      You take Russia and China as an example. I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that I consider to be the key for differences with Western countries. This is the system that brings people to leadership.

      As I learned earlier from discussions on this site, in the UK any person able to pay 500 pounds to become a candidate (and then serious financial investments into the election campaign are required). That was considered democratic.

      The Russian system of local elections, where the candidate must collect signatures in his support, provoked heated disapproval and was regarded as an “obstacle to democracy” (we discussed the last summer Moscow protests). And this caused me wonder what IS democracy, if not desire, choice, support from the population?

      Now, rather long reading, I’m sorry.
      An interesting review describes the Chinese election system, they called it “meritocracy”.
      I translated some parts for you. The source in russian is here:

      … The head of a village (lower administrative unit) is elected by direct vote by local residents …

      … The head of the city district or county in the countryside is elected from among the heads of villages or neighborhoods. Only the best will be allowed to take part in the elections – each district is analyzed – the situation, order, cleanliness, garbage collection, and other points. There are no direct elections at this stage.

      … Only the best governors are allowed to go to higher positions – the region’s economy, jobs, poverty alleviation, the environment, etc. are evaluated.

      … Unknown people are not allowed to run for elections; in principle, this is impossible. Even if he is the best friend, son, classmate of an influential person – nobody allows him to be dragged into power.

      … the current Chinese president – yes, he IS the son of an influential man. But. At the beginning of his career, during the cultural revolution, he cleaned pigs stables. At the same time, he remained in the Communist Party, was an activist, became the head of the village, went through all the steps – and eventually became president. After 30 years of an impeccable career.
      … By the way, he ruled the Zhejiang province … the successes of Alibaba … and the international trading city of Yìwū are his merits. He made Zhejiang the third province in China in terms of GDP and standard of living.

      … And who is Trump? A businessman who went bankrupt three times? Well, he could still be made the head of a village. If people chose him. And if he passed the exam. Let him deal with the organization of garbage collection – and then we’ll see if he is better in this, than other heads of villages and whether he will go further.
      A person with such experience in the presidency? That’s ridiculous.

      … in the West they choose “the lesser of two evils”, and in China it is customary to choose “the best of the best”.

        • Tatyana

          Thank you, Ian. I try to contribute something useful to the discussion, not only jokes and sarcastic comments 🙂

          I admit that the description of the Chinese system is idealistic and its real application must have flaws. But for my Russian taste, the essence of the idea is very good.
          The most important aspect for me is the promotion of those officials who have already proven their effectiveness. Because I’m damn tired of the fact that every four years a new man appears, with his new projects. After the term is over, the follower reveals the corruption schemes of the predecessor.
          But we again and again find out that the whole family of a corrupt man has already moved to a country that does not give out criminals to the Russian police. And so my country is losing enormous resources. The population works, and works on, and keep working again, but a noticeable return on our taxes is not visible.

          I’d prefer something more permanent and more controlled, than this constant touring of officials.

          • Tatyana

            By the way, an after-thought
            Maybe you in your western countries don’t consider the frequent change of officials to be wrong. Because your ex-officials remain in your respective countries after the resignation, so you can easily prosecute them for violations if you wish.
            Unfortunately, this is not the same in Russia.

      • Blue Dotterel

        In the 70s when I was living in Canada, I worked for the election of a MP in a local “riding”. The local members of the party (NDP) voted for the local member to represent them in either the federal or provincial parliament, depending on the election. Thus members of parliaments, for the most part, were selected from local members put forward as representatives of the community, or a sort of bottom up, democratic selection.

        These days; I understand that selection for representatives tends to be made more top down, that is selected by the party bureacracy or the party leader, rather than the local riding members. This is, of course, less truly representative and less democratic than the former method.

        This method isn’t quite as rigorous as China’s appears to be, but at least in an election way back when, you local representatives, generally known, at least to their party membership, running for parliamentary elections in a local riding, or election district. Today, the is a greater propensity for parties to “parachute” in perferred candidates from outside the local area into “safe ridings” to guarantee their elections.

        Perhaps, this is a problem in the UK/Scotland as well.

      • Piotr+Berman

        “Generally speaking, a stable (конюшня, stajnia) is a timber building that is used to house horses. A cow barn (коровник, obora) is also usually made of timber” While a website “How to farm pigs” says “The pigsty (свинарник, chlew) should be comfortable for the pigs: good ventilation and ample shade, no overheating, no smells, no draft and no dampness. The building should be constructed with its length axis in an East-West direction (protected from sun and rain).” I put Russian and Polish in brackets.

        • Tatyana

          Thanks, Piotr, this is droll 🙂
          I also remember the pigs from my grandmother’s village, their names were Mishka and Borka. Mishka got his name because it had a spot on his face. Folk humor in live action, you may know 🙂

          By the way, human prototype of the Mishka pig is a vivid illustration of my idea, he settled in Germany after his resignation. Though me personally think that Mishka the Pig is undeservedly considered better choice for Bratwurst, comparing to the ex-president, because the pig was far less fat, yet much more deserving calm and secure retirement life.

      • Bayard

        Tatanya, unfortunately, only Western style democracy (which no ancient Greek would recognise as a democracy, they would call it oligarchy) is considered to be “democracy”, even though it is, in fact, an elective dictatorship. The only influence the people get in running the country is, two to three times a decade, to choose the men and women who might choose the men and women who run the country. They don’t even get to choose the men and women from whom the men and women they choose to possibly choose the men and women who run the country are chosen from.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Tatyana June 13, 2020 at 08:46
        ‘…and in China it is customary to choose “the best of the best”.’
        And in Russia, if Vlad is anything to go by. And the Foreign Minister is a diamond too.
        (Sp) Nadzarovdja!

    • Watt

      I also stand with John Goss, and of course with yourself and indeed a fair few others. There are, however, a number here who without shame, seek to poison the well(of debate), and then others more subtle in their disruptive tactics. Hey Ho!

  • Willie

    Maybe some one can answer this.

    Why was it in middle March 2020 was it that HM Government we’re running full page adverts to say that the government were well prepared for the Coronavirus and that people could help by sneezing into a tissue, dispose of tissue and regularly wash hands.

    Doesn’t exactly sit with the fact that only a few weeks later the entire country had to effect a panic lock down.

    Nor does it sit with the utter lack of adequate supplies of PPE or any form of testing.

    We’re these expensive adverts just a pack of lies. Seems that they were. And for the sixty thousand, many of whom need not have died, and around half of them in care homes, are we to just laugh off their deaths as expendable poor old souls.

    Answers please, and especially from the Tory voters.

    • ET

      Misjudgement, willful or otherwise.
      Managing in a way designed to increase their popularity/electability rather than managing for best public effect.
      Trying to protect the economy (not an unreasonable goal) and manage an outbreak of a new disease/virus whose consequences they were underestimating at the time. They didn’t balance the two priorities well.
      Feck it, sure it’ll be grand management style.
      Who knows?
      Both Boris and Hancock, even now, seem to be completely out of their depth.
      Take your pick.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Willie June 13, 2020 at 12:48
      Can’t say I’m a Tory voter (so put that rope away!) but it’s obviously all Corbyn’s fault, for allowing the smears and smearers to basically remain unchallenged, and allow the predators to steal the election.
      And secondly, it’s the fault of the ‘Labour’ Party who don’t know their a** from their elbow, and take their direction from the MSM ‘Pied Piper’.

  • DunGroanin

    I wish to congratulate Bozo the Clown PM for taking the anniversary of Grenfell tragedy so seriously by transforming Churchills statue into a Grenfell and extending it across the country to other Imperialist statesmen.

    I trust he will make it permanent and fill it with concrete as a permanent memorial.

  • Piotr+Berman

    Self-isolation of all with flu-like symptoms, or better, state provided isolation (so families could be spared) is not a lockdown. Same with masks. Low-tech measures were taken by Taiwan, Japan, Korea, China outside Hunan province, and they reduced the spread.

    Seems that Murray family was a bit lucky. Immune response has a large component of randomness, both innate and adaptive immune system may treat suspicious proteins of viruses with a liberal approach, “never seen it to do wrong” or vigilant, “I have seen something similar when wrong stuff was happening” (a past common cold with a relatively innocent corona virus) or “hm, this is surely a virus, I will whack it just in case”. “I have seen something similar” is based on breaking suspicious proteins into fragments, and in the resulting antibodies may be helpful in the future or not. More frequently, they are helpful, but a minority can die. For COVID-19, this minority is larger than for other influenza, corona viruses etc.

    The experience of the last 102 years shows that COVID-19 is not the most nasty variant of usually “innocent” viruses. As a national immune system, NHS and other branches of the government did not develop proper response.

  • Blue Dotterel

    “According to the Beijing government’s press conference on Saturday, of the 517 samples taken at the Xinfadi Market, throat swabs from 45 individuals tested positive for the virus. Another person from a local food market in Beijing’s Haidian district also tested positive.”

  • Republicofscotland

    Mike Pomeo the US Secretary of State has said the US will impose sanctions on the members of the (ICJ) International Court of Justice, because the court is looking into US activities of its personnel.

    This is just unbelievable, the Great Satan (USA) wants to act with impunity around the globe, and when it looks like a international body wants to hold them accountable, the tired old sanctions chestnut is once again rolled out. The self appointed world police the US, need a taste of their own medicine.

    • ET

      Agreed but how?
      I’d like to see major nations and the EU sanction USA trade until they fix this extraordinary arrogant “American Exceptionalism” doctrine but I can’t see it happening any time soon. And make solid moves to move away from the dollar as world currency. There are moves in that direction and as far as I am concerned it can’t happen soon enough. But will it be enough?

      • Paul Barbara

        @ ET June 13, 2020 at 18:09
        ‘…And make solid moves to move away from the dollar as world currency….’
        There were, and continue, strong moves in that direction. Iraq, Russia, Libya, China, – and we see the results. Wars, and ‘Enter the Virus’ (or Dragon).
        ‘Train ticket to Birmingham, Sir? Certainly. May I see your papers’ (Covid Passport)?

    • Laguerre

      Trump will end up sanctioning everybody before he’s finished, including Britain when it annoys him. It’s his one and only tactic. He doesn’t do war, apart from a one night bang that won’t lead to a continuing commitment. So, everybody sanctioned is much the same as nobody sanctioned; you just ignore him. Even I am sanctioned; I can’t go to the US because I’ve got the wrong stamps in my passport. I couldn’t care less. I’ve done the US. I’ve been a visiting professor in an Ivy League outfit, and the US is becoming a more and more isolated inward-turned country. It’s what happens when you elect a populist president.

      • Clark

        Thanks for another chuckle Laguerre. “…apart from a one night bang that won’t lead to a continuing commitment.” It’s about his only good point, and I do wish he’d turn into a pizza.

      • Laguerre

        On a slight tangent, I was very interested by a write-up of the bio of Fiona Hill, Trump’s former(?) expert on Russia, of British origin. Bright woman, by the sound of it. Her definition of populism resonated with me.

        “In her view populist governments are useless at handling complex problems of governance, almost by definition. If leaders are fit to govern, they generally don’t need populism to get elected.

        “It’s all about style and swagger and atmospherics, with superficial solutions to things, with lots of sloganeering, and obviously dealing with a pandemic is pretty methodical and boring. It requires an awful lot of planning and logistical organization and you can’t just sort of do it on the fly with an ad hoc coalition.””

        • nevermind

          this explains Merkels popularity. Laguerre,shes not loud, a scientist by degree and she listen’s to others.

      • Tatyana

        He he he 🙂 sanctions 🙂 Trump the Sanctioner 🙂

        The largest US refineries are designed for sulphurous oil, such as mined in Venezuela and Russia. US refineries can’t work on light grades, such as from Texas.
        In January, Trump imposed sanctions against Caracas and thereby reduced the purchase of oil in Venezuela. Thus, american refineries had to switch to Russian oil. Perhaps that was the really expected result of the sanctions, but I doubt it 🙂 Here in Russia we call this type of sanctions “shooting at one’s own leg”.

        I recall Trump boasted that Saudis are his friends and boasted he can ask them to accomodate the oil price. I guess that was exactly what was done in March. Saudis decided to punish Russia for disobedience in OPEC negotiations, and decided to flood the whole world with cheap oil 🙂
        He he he kekekek 🙂
        It was just the right moment that the american contracts for russian oil came in, handy. For the first time, the russian Urals oil yhis April cost more than Brent!

        They say that the Americans have reduced their oil wells by 70% already, and, they say the US seaports hardly accommodate arriving oil tankers.
        They also say that the underbidding policy cost the Saudis very expensive. Saudis had to cancel the wellfare payments for the poor, and also had to increase VAT 3 times. Because they plan their state budget at $80 oil price, while russian is $40. But who cares to calculate that beforehand, eh?, when the task is to “punish those pesky Russians” 🙂

        Well, this is the price of inability to seek a compromise with partners in the global market, I believe. Sanctions or dumping never brought good results.

        That infantile boy Trump! He must really believe he is a good presindent. That naive boy bin Salman, he can’t distinguish between a friendship and a bending down 🙂

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Laguerre June 13, 2020 at 18:47
        As I see it, the sooner he sanctions Britain the better.
        There will be that much more chlorinated chicken and hormone-filled beef and dairy for the prat to tuck into, and we’ll be stuck eating the flounder (sorry, BoJo).
        If he played a straight bat, we would already be sanctioned to the hilt, and persona non grata, through our ‘support for terrorists’ (‘White Helmets’, for openers).

    • Clark

      Ah, but don’t you realise that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the evil United Nations? You know, the ones who want to kill us all under their Agenda 21 sustainability initiative depopulation programme by means of their WHO vaccines for Bill Gates? RoS, you’re so dumb, just lapping up the MSM for the PTB. Wake up! like all those conspiracy theorists (keyboard) warriors for Truth who believe all the same conspiracy theories Truths as Trump tweets about, but would never support Trump! Grief, has the Deep State eaten your brain?!?!

  • Tatyana

    RT reports you have a protest in London
    Happy to see you’ve got fountains, similar to those in my city 🙂 we suffer 35 Celsium heat this week and fountains are really helping. Also, I see many people in your squares don’t wear masks already, that must mean London is out of the lockdown already? Cheering news, because we have another drop in restrictions, too. We are free to travel inside the region since yesterday, and the parks are open, too. Just took the bike from the repair and going to explore the city 🙂

    • Clark

      That’s Trafalgar Square in central London. It’s a Black Lives Matter protest, supporting the protestors in the US, and protesting that the death rate from covid-19 is twice as high among non-whites.

      Extinction Rebellion occupied Trafalgar Square for a week last October; me and my friend Steph were among those who stopped the traffic, just near where the Hare Krishna trolley is giving out food at 50 seconds. We camped right next to one of the fountains. I’ve spotted a friend of mine in this one:

      Masks are not compulsory in public here; in fact the government dithered for weeks about whether they were helpful at all. Restrictions have been reduced; the “stay at home” order has gone, and lots of people have had to go back to work, but public gatherings, pubs and restaurants are still closed.

      • Laguerre

        I thought the BLM demo in central London was cancelled, and it was the far right who were demonstrating in Parliament square, attacking the police, although theoretically they’re on the same side. Evidently the far right were there for a fight, and they had it, even if the opposition they intended to attack wasn’t present.

        • Clark

          “Officially” it was cancelled, but loads of the people in the video Tatyana linked were non-white and/or riding bicycles, and peaceful. The video is five hours, so maybe the far right appear at some point I didn’t see.

      • Tatyana

        Thanks for sharing, Clark! it’s very curious. your protest is more like a festive city event! it was nice to see that the boho style clothes are in trend in London. but it was difficult to understand what the weather was like, because people had warm jackets on them and sat right on the stone pavement at the same time. Do they bring tourist carpets with them, or is this square heated from under the pavement?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Tatyana June 13, 2020 at 20:12
      Already? Getting worried about you.
      I was at the Demo yesterday; tried to inform the police protectin Churchill’s boarded=up statue about Churchill’s part in fomenting WWI. I think I got through to some of them.
      I then went and sat down next to a guy who obviously was on the side of the Opposition (Right-wing football hooligans). He said ‘Where are the c*nts?’, and I smiled disarmingly and said ‘Who?’. He then litterally fell backwards onto the Parliament Square grass, and I playfully slapped him on the leg.
      Teh Black Lives Matter group were restricted to Trafalgar Square, and the Football Protectors of English Heritage (statues) restricted to Parliament Square, but when I was on the way home I saw there were problems around the route to the nearest Metro Underground station, so cut around to Parliament Square.
      The Police, though forceful when necessary, were, as I have usually found them on Demos, admirable.
      Unlike in the States, France, and probably in Russia.

      • Clark

        Thanks for this report Paul, and thanks for being there.

        “Teh Black Lives Matter group were restricted to Trafalgar Square, and the Football Protectors of English Heritage (statues) restricted to Parliament Square”

        Thanks. This makes sense of what I saw in the RT video.

        “The Police, though forceful when necessary, were, as I have usually found them on Demos, admirable.”

        On the video I saw a load of Territorial Support Group arrive at Trafalgar Square. They all organised into rank and file, stood around for a couple of minutes, the officers came back from somewhere and gave some orders, and then the whole lot all got back into their vans and left. I’d been worried there for a minute.

        Tatyana, the Territorial Support Group are the main ‘tough’ units; if cops are going to do baton charges etc. it’ll most likely be the TSG.

  • Dave

    Good article in Telegraph today by Toby Young confirming Boris acted against expert advice in ordering the lock-down, but used the ICL report (pretending it recommended a lock-down) to order one for political reasons.

    • Ian

      Toby Young. Lol, the parade of rightwing apologists and conspiracy hounds carries on. No critical faculties necessary.

    • Clark

      Well it’s obviously demented rubbish then. The capitalists want profit from people out working and shopping, whereas social restrictions have been used against epidemics for centuries.

      • Dave

        Except after years of austerity, to balance the books, (but actually to keep within the rules for joining the Euro-currency) the government finds £300 billion to give millions of people paid gardening leave. Clearly closing the economy, as opposed opening the economy, is proving very profitable for some, in the short term, but wrecking the economy will undermine the prospects of Brexit, which is a political objective behind the protracted lockdown.

        • Clark

          But the UK has already left the EU, and was never going to join the Euro anyway. You’re tying yourself in knots. See that chap over there? He’s called Occam, and he’s got a very good razor for sale.

          • Gav

            I think Dave might be slightly myopic in his concerns, but Occam’s razor – the simplest solution is most likely the right one – was a philosophical theory created to defend divine miracles, Clark. As in, don’t let the explanation become too complicated or we’ll lose their credulity.

            Also, it’s ‘not considered an irrefutable principle of logic…..for each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there may be an extremely large, perhaps even incomprehensible, number of possible and more complex alternatives.’

            A gift to the glib it certainly is, though.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Dave June 13, 2020 at 23:20
          £300 billion? What a waste! Think how many ‘go-faster’ stripes could have been painted on Polaris subs with that kind’a money.

  • FranzB

    CM – “What the story of my family does show is that government negligence caused the most serious failure in diagnostic capacity compared to better organised countries, and thus the abdication of any possibility of effective track and trace right from the start.”

    According to this story, test and trace was abandoned on March 12th because of the prediction that there would be over 1 million Covid cases in the UK –

    But, since the peak in deaths in hospitals was probably around April 8th, then it’s probably the case that the peak in infections that lead to those hospital deaths was probably in the 1st and 2nd weeks of March. The problem was that the headline figure includes reported deaths that had happened over previous weeks. If the epidemiologists tracking this actual data had been consulted perhaps this disastrous lockdown could have been avoided. Infection rate was probably dropping before the lockdown was announced.

    • Clark

      The article that you’ve linked to does not say what you’ve written in your second paragraph, and regarding the “lockdown”, David A Leon, the lead author says pretty much the opposite:

      David Leon said: “The fact a peak may have been reached on April 8 is not an argument for relaxing social contact. In fact, the opposite. Communicating clearly to the public that there has been a peak in mortality at the end of the first week of April might motivate people to persevere with the lockdown as they will then appreciate the sacrifices being made in lockdowns are paying off.”

      The article makes no mention of the peak in infections, so I assume you made that bit up, and the four to five weeks you’ve chosen looks like a gross exaggeration to me. Nor does it say “that the headline figure includes reported deaths that had happened over previous weeks”. Rather, it says:

      “the numbers announced each day relate to deaths that occurred over an extended period of days in the past”, and “around 90% of deaths occurring on a particular day are reported within 5-6 days of occurrence”.

      • Clark

        “Infection rate was probably dropping before the lockdown was announced”

        I see absolutely no likelihood of that; the virus wouldn’t just change its mind about infecting the rest of the population. Had it started having difficulty encountering potential hosts naive of immunity the top of the infection curve would have curved to a plateau before falling, like the flu curves. Instead we see a sharp rise immediately followed by a sharp drop, as the effect of the social restrictions upon infections worked through to the mortality rate:

        • Giyane


          In every city in England it’ s been obvious that the Eastern Europeans fom Romania and Bulgaria don’t do lockdown, while the Pakistanis and Indians have taken lockdown vey seriously.

          Since these communities live side by side and often one group rents houses from the other , I am afraid that next week will bring all rhe good guys and bad guys together, wasting billions of Rishi furlough, and delighting Boris, Trump and John Goss.

          Nor will it be possible to prove who caused the problem. In fact the problem was pre-planned over a decade ago by Labour politicians who saw Eastern European immigration as a way of breaking up what they was as Asian ghettos.

          Add to that the BLM demonstrations which may well have been deliberately caused by Trump to confuse the evidence of his own failure to control the virus, and what you get is a 100% politician- made disaster, as ineed most disasters are.
          As for the Chinese permitting animal torure in the form of live bush meat markets, and it becomes a nicely rounded global catastrophe created only by the laissez faire of politicians.

          Home sapiens?

          • Clark

            “Add to that the BLM demonstrations which may well have been deliberately caused by Trump…”

            I’m not sure I’d credit Trump himself with conscious deliberation on any level, but the bunch of media manipulators who helped make him president are another matter.

      • FranzB

        Clark – “The article makes no mention of the peak in infections, so I assume you made that bit up,”

        I listened to the BBC radio 4 ‘More or Less’ programme recently (presented by Tim Harford). He interviewed someone involved with this study of deaths in hospital and he made this point about the peak of deaths being on April 8th. Harford was obviously taken aback by this and said (from memory) that this meant that the peak of infections must have occurred well before the lockdown, to which the interviewee agreed.

        More or Less is worth a listen – Harford rubbished the various claims around antibody tests this week.

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