Dominic Cummings Covid hearing


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  • #71574 Reply
    Jack

    Anyone following this? Some breathtaking information coming out now, Boris is quite bonkers:

    Boris Johnson offered to be injected with Covid on TV and called virus ‘kung flu’, report suggests
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-covid-dominic-cumming-b1854013.html

    Also generally, Cummings speak of a systematic incompetence by the government and especially by the health sec Matt Hancock which Cummings accuse of lying galore, from downplaying the threat, to hiding the real strategy of herd immunity and so on.

    What is your view on the handling of Covid in the UK and in general? What should have been the best strategy?

    #71583 Reply
    SA

    Jack
    Yes I am following. Pretty explosive stuff. I have been commenting here as this thread was started in March 2020 when the government was dithering about lockdown.

    Corona virus: Government takes the St Augustine approach.

    #71651 Reply
    Clark

    Jack – “What is your view on the handling of Covid in the UK and in general?”

    I’m utterly furious with the UK government for its negligence, corruption and cynicism. However, most governments have been nearly as negligent.

    “What should have been the best strategy?”

    What “should have been” the best strategy still is the best strategy – suppression of transmission by using short-term travel restrictions with proper trace, test and quarantine:

    endcoronavirus.org – Green Zones

    This is how China and Australia are successfully suppressing SARS-CoV-2. As soon as any infected people are discovered, no matter how few, they are quarantined, and the locality is immediately locked down with travel restrictions imposed. Tracing, testing and quarantine of their contacts are rigorously performed, until all further contacts test negative. Lockdown and travel restrictions are then lifted. This entire process typically takes around a week – as opposed to most other countries’ disastrous three-month lockdowns.

    The Daily New Cases graphs for China and Australia speak for themselves – China has prevented any major outbreak for fifteen months since their first peak, and Australia has been suppressing SARS-CoV-2 effectively since September 2020 – Worldometers:

    END coronavirus – it could be done in under two months.

    #71652 Reply
    Clark

    Jack, please forgive me if I seem overly critical; you used the past tense, but the pandemic is far from over, and I suspect that vaccines aren’t going to get us out of it because the virus keeps mutating whereas vaccine development, by its nature, always lags behind.

    The infection numbers in the UK are rising again, it’s the so-called “Indian variant” against which the AstraZeneca vaccine may be only 33% effective. We’re on course for another peak in a few weeks.

    At that point the choices remaining will be either another economically disastrous three month lockdown, or posting the army around hospitals to force countless thousands of covid-19 sufferers to die in the car parks.

    OR we could start a suppression strategy now.

    #71662 Reply
    Jack

    Clark

    I am right there with you, there have been an obvious negligence in the western world at large countering this pandemic.
    You have western european nations like the Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Belgium (and the US at one point?) that tried the herd immunity with disastrous result.
    Not only did these nations lie about their strategy to the public, the strategy, the very essence of this strategy is immoral, unethical (WHO pointed out this early on).
    The strategy of mitigation have been catastrophic, prolonging the case rate and have kept the health care system overwhelmed for over a year.
    Then you have nations like alot of eastern european nations that did pretty well early on in the spring of last year but opened up too quick in the autumn and got hit by the virus. Again the downplaying of the theat by authorities was much of the cause of this, making people last summer believe it was OK and the threat was over. There were also alot of propaganda about the alleged success of herd immunity strategy that fooled alot of people and authorities – until the authumn came and the mitigation nations were hit hard once again!

    Then you have nations like Norway, Finland that have fared pretty well, they chose the suppression strategy early on neighbouring Sweden did not and got a whole lot of more deaths and infected people.

    About the lockdowns: While the case rate do decline after some weeks with a lockdown there should have been more focus on what to do next after the lockdown like test and trace and sometimes lockdowns have been lifted too quick and early instead of lifting it in very careful phases.

    This is what Australia have done with success as you mentioned. People in europe have laughed off Australia’s tactic of closing down locally when there were like just a few cases popping up, but as one have seen, atleast up to this date – it has been working effectively. Australia have been living pretty much normal excluding some few weeks here and there past year. Compare that with any european nation!
    There were also early on scientific reports that quick, early lockdown and counter-measure was not only good for stopping the pandemic but also for the economy.

    Also I am sure that the majority of outbreaks stem from people that simply did not care about the rules, ultimately there is too much egoism.
    Of course one should not diminish the role restrictions could have on mental, physical health but I believe that shorter but harsher restrictions, lockdowns is inevitable.

    Another issue is that west have been rejecting lessons from asia let alone learning from their own mistakes, just take Cumming’s verdict and the response to it by the government. The verdict came too late but atleast he had the courage to admit he was wrong and partly responsible for the tragedy.
    Tragically I believe the west have not learned anything from the past year, if there was a new pandemic, they would use the same response once again.

    #71689 Reply
    Clark

    Jonathan Cook’s article about Dominic Cummings surprising turn of honesty:

    Dominic Cummings is our Machiavelli. With Brexit, lies served him. Now the truth does.

    “Cummings is the Machiavelli of our times. His self-serving honesty and self-criticism were perfectly calibrated to rehabilitate his image, win over doubters and stick the knife more deeply into Boris Johnson.”

    #71721 Reply
    Giyane

    Cummings is not Macchiavelli. Simply to quote the tension relieving jokes of the people in charge is just like saying that Alex Salmond boinging a female colleague’s wavy hair curls is sexual assault. Cummings is just as much a stupid piece of arrogance outside government as he was when he was in

    Not often I agree with a Tory, but when Gove said Cummings was supposed to be helping the PM , I agree with him. Where were Cummings brilliant solutions? Defying lockdown to get some covid antibodies injected into his own family? Being master of looking after No 1 is not Macchiavelli. It’s routine British political behaviour on the Left or Right .

    What does Cummings prove, except that he is a spineless specimen of flailing sleaze from a failed Thatcherite narrative that only self- interest makes the world go round?

    #71740 Reply
    Jack

    Giyane

    As you may already know, Cummings said in the hearings that he could have jumped the boat many times but also claimed that he somehow tried to change the system from within and thus if he quit – he could no longer have an influence on the strategy. If that argument is true or not is another question.

    Overall I think we should be grateful that Cummings spilled the beans on what has been going on behind the scenes.

    I do wonder if Cummings’ explosive hearing will have any effect at all. It is like most wrongdoings that, being exposed, people that are accused simply deny it, and then regular folks forget about it altogether after some weeks or even days.

    #71750 Reply
    Clark

    The Lancet – SARS-CoV-2 elimination, not mitigation, creates best outcomes for health, the economy, and civil liberties

    doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00978-8

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00978-8/fulltext

    Looking ahead, mass COVID-19 vaccination is key to returning to usual life, but relying solely on COVID-19 vaccines to control the pandemic is risky due to their uneven roll-out and uptake, time-limited immunity, and the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
    […]
    – History shows that vaccination alone can neither single-handedly nor rapidly control a virus and that a combination of public health measures are needed for containment.
    […]
    – With the proliferation of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, many scientists are calling for a coordinated international strategy to eliminate SARS-CoV-2. [12], [13], [14], [15]

    12 – Priesemann V Brinkmann MM Ciesek S et al.

    Calling for pan-European commitment for rapid and sustained reduction in SARS-CoV-2 infections – Lancet. 2021; 397: 92-93

    13 – Priesemann V Balling R Brinkman MM et al.

    An action plan for pan-European defence against new SARS-CoV-2 variants – Lancet. 2021; 397: 469-470

    14 – Oliu-Barton M Pradelski B Wolff GB et al.

    Aiming for zero COVID-19: Europe needs to take action.
    http://www.covid-greenzone.com
    Date: 2021, Date accessed: April 26, 2021

    15 – Fontanet A Autran B Lina B et al.

    SARS-CoV-2 variants and ending the COVID-19 pandemic – Lancet. 2021; 397: 952-954

    #71768 Reply
    Jack

    Clark

    Exactly. There should not be a trade off (lives vs economy) because quick action will save both lives and the economy to great extent.

    Another interesting article:

    “Politicians must be held to account for mishandling the pandemic
    At the very least, COVID-19 might be classified as ‘social murder’ argues BMJ editor”

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-02/b-pmb020321.php

    If it should be labeled as “murder” or not one could argue about but there is no denial than many governments was OK with picking the mitigation strategy and knowing full well that would cause alot of deaths.

    #71771 Reply
    SA

    “Exactly. There should not be a trade off (lives vs economy) because quick action will save both lives and the economy to great extent.”

    It sounds like a failure to understand capitalism to try and reason this that way. The frame of mind that you need to be in is:

    “We cannot be seen to be like those dictatorial Chinese and law abiding Asians who care about society at large because capitalism is about each man for himself because that is the way that when each is selfish they can advance the economy which is good for everyone even the beggars who can then receive the crumbs from the table of the rich. Moreover, it is important to get rich quickly and short term profit is more desirable than looking at unpredictable such as the long term economy, it is the here and now”.

    If you look at it this way you can understand why Asian countries have done so much better than almost all European and North American countries. India under Modi and Brazil under Bolsanaro are both also following the individualist Western selfish ways.

    #71776 Reply
    Clark

    From governments’ response to the pandemic, what should we expect for the climate and ecological emergency?

    It is imperative that we rebel against our governments. They have broken and wilfully continue to break the social contract. It’s down to us now.

    https://rebellion.global/

    #71786 Reply
    Jack

    SA

    Yes there is likely a whole lot of truth in that capitalist argument you made there, ultimately though believe it is a issue of egoism in the end.
    Quite a lot of westerners had enormous problems staying isolated during this pandemic, it’s like they cannot put up with any collective societal effort to lower the spread if it infringes on their right to go to the pub or whatever.

    Yes I do wonder what Asians are thinking when they watch us in the west during this pandemic. I bet in shock.

    #71789 Reply
    Clark

    “Quite a lot of westerners had enormous problems staying isolated during this pandemic…”

    Government and media have failed us. Where to start?

    Background – the “news” media daily undermines public understanding of and trust in science, and it drowns out critical thinking with sensationalism.

    That’s because it’s the corporate media; it can’t encourage critical and evidence-based thinking in its “news” articles, because (1) that would undermine the effectiveness of the advertising that funds it, exposing its hypocrisy – “here, go on holiday // it’s irresponsible to go on holiday during this pandemic”, “here, this plastic crap / fast fashion will make you happy and sexually attractive // any kids your sexual attractiveness results in will suffer horribly from the effects of over-consumption and pollution”, and (2) it would undermine the power of the media to influence voting patterns by its depictions of politicians personalities rather than their policies, voting records and records of honesty.

    Preparation – We had two whole months between Wuhan locking down and covid-19 becoming a problem in the UK. In that time the government and media could have (1) informed the public of social methods of stopping the spread, (2) encouraged the public to adapt their living arrangements into mutually supportive groups for the duration of social restrictions, (3) outlined the social restrictions exit strategy – “at present we have hardly any test kits, but we’re sourcing them. When we have many times more test kits than covid cases, we can move to a green zone strategy maintained by trace, test and quarantine. Green zones will need no restrictions.”

    Provision – the government promised money to businesses rather than the population. The ideology of “no work means no income” overrode common sense, forcing the most vulnerable on zero-hours contracts to continue working no matter how unsafe their conditions. Instead, a Universal Basic Income should have been implemented, and all fixed costs suspended by law – rent, standing charges, council taxes etc.

    Duration – due to the above derelictions of duty, most countries’ lockdowns have had to continue for several months each time. People and businesses can endure a week or two of lockdown quite easily, but three months is intolerable.

    Of course people had difficulty remaining isolated – no preparations were made, it wasn’t monetarily practical, and there was no end in sight. Instead, stupid phrases like “this is the new normal” were promoted by government and corporate media.

    #71790 Reply
    ET

    Now, we are headed for round three. If plan A fails resort to plan A. Or hide. It’s astonishing. It’s not just the UK, this brain dead approach, it’s almost everywhere. We are being so stupid for a few pennies that I almost think we deserve it. (Almost!)

    #71797 Reply
    Clark

    “It’s not just the UK, this brain dead approach, it’s almost everywhere.”

    It’s neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is nearly everywhere; it’s been spreading since the 1980s. “There is no alternative”, “leave it to the market”; there are only vestiges of government left anywhere on Earth.

    Can you imagine if World War II had been non-handled like this? The UK economy was transformed to oppose the spread of Nazism. Conscription, rationing, requisitioning, blackout, the Home Guard, barrage balloons, re-purposing of industry, Dig for Victory, re-homing all the city children to the countryside, bomb shelters installed in every back yard…

    If there’d been “no alternative” then, the UK would have been overrun by Germany within two years.

    #71798 Reply
    Clark

    “We are being so stupid for a few pennies that I almost think we deserve it.”

    If we learn from it, it’ll be a blessing. The pandemic is nothing compared with the climate and ecological emergency.

    #71828 Reply
    Jack

    Some new interesting stats on the new variants that having some increase in spread in the UK now:

    I think the variants is a bit tricky to judge, they do not seem to be more deadly from what I have seen but they seem to spread more easily?

    Most likely imo the variants wont lead to a big new wave as such we have seen earlier but one must be vary of this develop.

    #71830 Reply
    Clark

    The Delta variant – B.1.617.2, formerly “Indian variant” – is a worry. It spreads a lot faster, and vaccines give less protection, especially AstraZeneca. Both SAGE and IndependentSAGE are saying that it could lead to another peak that could exceed January’s:

    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.26.445838v1

    Here, we isolated infectious B.1.617.2 from a traveller returning from India. We examined its sensitivity to monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and to antibodies present in sera from COVID-19 convalescent individuals or vaccine recipients, in comparison to other viral lineages. B.1.617.2 was resistant to neutralization by some anti-NTD and anti-RBD mAbs, including Bamlanivimab, which were impaired in binding to the B.1.617.2 Spike. Sera from convalescent patients collected up to 12 months post symptoms and from Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine recipients were 3 to 6 fold less potent against B.1.617.2, relative to B.1.1.7. Sera from individuals having received one dose of AstraZeneca Vaxzevria barely inhibited B.1.617.2. Thus, B.1.617.2 spread is associated with an escape to antibodies targeting non-RBD and RBD Spike epitopes.

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