SARS cov2 and Covid 19

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    Britain has imprisoned most of the students at Manchester Metropolitan University. More universities look likely to follow. Even Adolf Hitler didn’t do anything like that.


    The schools and universities should never have reopened. The state only reopened them because

    a) the banks want their debt “entitlement” for 2020-21;
    b) the drug companies want the SARS strain to spread, as public relations for the “vaccine”;
    c) so do the surveillance companies (e.g. Apple, Google).


    Public Hygiene News
    The British government has made it illegal for pubs to allow dancing. They just announced the law on Sunday night. They didn’t bother passing it through parliament.

    It’s moved on from having the effects of a war without an actual war.
    We’ve now got some of the effects of famine without having a famine (yet).
    In a famine, family relationships weaken and get duller, and people have less energy and hope. (Oh and eventually they die.)

    There you go, Greens – this is the population control you always wanted.


    Most media sources aren’t naming the law. Here it is: The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Undertakings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

    The law now dictates that in a pub the management must ensure that

    * “no person joins another group”
    * there is no dancing.

    Is saying in a loud voice “down with the government” allowed?

    It’s kinda diffcult not to agree that there ought to be an Anti-Lockdown Party. But it would of course be banned, or in the unlikely event that it wasn’t banned it would be stuffed with loonies who like to go on about Hillary Clinton and “pizza”.

    Anybody who doesn’t realise that food shortages are almost certainly coming is a complete idiot.


    N_, this part of the site is called the “Discussion Forum” yet you have repeatedly avoided discussion with both myself and SA, and continued to post claims as if they had not been refuted. Are you willing to engage in discussion? If not, I think you should be prevented from posting, because disinformation that accelerates the spread of covid-19 increases death and suffering.

    “Anybody who doesn’t realise that food shortages are almost certainly coming is a complete idiot.”

    I rent a cottage on Writtle Park Farm near Ingatestone in Essex. The harvest here was successfully gathered in, though the wheat yield was low due to exceptionally low rainfall throughout Spring. All the fields have now been ploughed, and today I saw seeding in progress. Farm work here has not been affected by the covid-19 restrictions and there is no obvious reason that it would be. On what basis do you predict food shortages?


    Yes N_ behaves as if he is above discussing with us inferiors. This rather self entitled aloofness belongs much more to elitists than to socialist Marxists. I wonder.


    I assumed it is a he mainly because I don’t think women ever behave like this!?


    There are two aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A health aspect and an economic aspect. The health aspect should have been entirely left to the medical and allied professions to deal with and to advise the government to introduce the appropriate public health measures. The government on the other hand should have taken a back seat but led on ameliorating the economic consequences. The net result of the current situation is that the pandemic has been politicised beyond belief and some opinionated people claim to know more than scientists and doctors and HCPs. The government has even appointed a non scientist, a failed business person, to head a new biosafety organisation after dismantling Public Health England in the middle of the pandemic. The person’s main qualifications for this being that she is a great horse riding friend to the health minister and a previous PM. If this reminds you of post soviet states corruption and nepotism it will not come as a shock when you also know that the great Russian oligarchs who have settled here are also great tennis playing chums with our great absolute leader. Millions have been lavished on masks that are useless and test and trace that traces nobody and sub performs numerically chronically for testing. These awards to their cronies who have no experience in these sort of provisions go unremarked upon by our great socialist revolutionary opposition leader who congratulated himself as the architect of the failure of his party’s performance in the last elections, and revealed proudly his part in it and publicly gloats about it.
    No this is not a central Asian dictatorship , it is 21st century Britain.
    I digress. The government should have had the imagination to deal with a novel pandemic in a novel way, but failed, reverting to the tried and tested graft that is otherwise known as neoliberal capitalism where disasters are opportunities for the rich to make more money. The new normal is nothing of the sort it is not “we are all in it together “ it is survival of the richest who get even richer. A novel way of looking after the population would have created some sort of mass employment for everyone instead of squandering money on failed projects and sleaze and bankers.
    But then that looks dangerously like socialism.


    Anti masks and covid-19 restrictions associated with the far right:

    N_ is still posting elsewhere, so presumably therefore is avoiding discussion here.


    Clark, here is an article which may perhaps be of interest to you! I thought it most enlightening.


    Steph, thank you. It indeed seems an excellent article; very interesting information about clustering and super-spreading, and some excellent ideas for testing – testing wastewater to easily and cheaply test whole communities for a cluster, how to best deploy limited numbers of tests, and tracing contacts backwards to find clusters.

    It also answers N_:

    “Is saying in a loud voice “down with the government” allowed?”

    No, and especially not indoors. But spray chalking it onto walls and pavements is highly recommended 😀


    My favourite snippet from that article:

    “Sweden […] simply doesn’t deserve this oversize place in our debates assessing different strategies.”

    Sweden has been used throughout merely as anti-lockdown propaganda. It was never as successful as was pretended, nor as liberal.

    Lockdown is a blunt instrument, but it’s at least ten times better than no instrument at all. The advantages of lockdown are to gain time to learn the sorts of things in that article, and to create the conditions in which they can be applied and effective.


    The article is useful as Clark says in pointing out that backward tracing is probably more important than forward tracing. But R0 is not fixed in time and is merely a crude mathematical tool used for guidance and should never be handed to politicians. The superspreaders and the different rates of transmission in different situations may skew the data but nevertheless there are still lots of basic facts that need to be worked out with this virus. Spread amongst politicians seems high anecdotally because it goes with the job, they have to interact with many people. Superspreaders therefore are in a large part, not biologically determined to be so but are just social butterflies more likely to spread disease than someone who is a recluse.
    As to why our governments are not succeeding, it is simply because there is no will to carry out two basic actions. A robust test and trace system is still not in place, because it has been politicised and instead of being handed over to MHPs became a capitalist opportunity to throw money at their cronies. Ideally it also involves local networks, something the Tories went into a lot of trouble to demolish over the last 10 years. Local councils are mainly now impoverished and inadequate in effecting large scale coordinating emergency measures. The second point never seriously discussed is the issue of ‘self isolation’ which is a completely different concept from medical isolation. Self isolation is necessarily a voluntary process. And it is so deliberately because it takes away all responsibility from the government and blames individuals. If you self isolate you have to do so in your own family space, and the majority of family spaces do not have the luxury of two bathrooms and toilets, let alone sometimes enough bedrooms or space to have effective isolation. Secondly self isolation means also self care and self catering in supplies and also in earning. The cycle breaks down because many are unable to survive if they rigorously self isolate. This creates a social unrest and feeling of resentment against all government measures including now the wearing of masks, adopted as a form of defiance through non-observation. True medical isolation removes much of this by infected individuals being cared for until they are non-infectious. This is the secret of the success of many ‘authoritarian’ countries, especially when there is still strong social and medical universal support as a payoff. Nobody now talks of China, despite their success. The secret of China and others is the combination of an authoritarian regime, a fairly compliant, accepting and obedient population with a modicum of respect for elders, and as a payoff, a major state backing for looking after the health and well being of the population as a whole.


    Some erstwhile ‘socialists’ are now in the forefront of’Covid-defiance’ to carry out the supposed socialist agenda of protecting people against the power of the state. Basically this relies on the belief that government have deliberately overinflated the risk of a virus that only ‘kills the elderly with multiple co morbidities who will die anyway’ In order to produce a ruinous situation in which the nefarious aims of control over the population and rule by decree which will benefit the rich. Because there may be some truth in some part of this narrative, does not make this Covid-defiance any more socialist and places those erstwhile socialists firmly on the same side as the the budding Fascist movements using Covid-defiance as a populist nationalistic tool.


    Warning – the current infection density in the UK appears to be similar to that on March 23 or 24.

    I have based this on the death figures rather than the infection figures, because the increase in testing is leading to a much greater proportion of infections being detected than in March.

    The better news is that numbers now are rising only about half as fast as then.

    The bad news is that in March, we were just coming into the good weather whereas now, we have six months of being indoors ahead of us.


    Glad you found that article of interest!

    ‘Lockdown is a blunt instrument, but it’s at least ten times better than no instrument at all.’

    I don’t really think that is actually measurable, is it?! As always Clark, you are still not plugging the considerable risks associated with lockdown into the equation, only the gains from lockdown.


    The basic problem is what is lockdown. Where done properly it has been effective. There are few cases in China. Of course lockdown is extreme and others have managed better with less severe measures. But one common element in those who succeed is testing and tracing and proper medical isolation and support, not asking people to self isolate and infect their families. The problem in Britain’s is that the public face of lockdown is overemphasised for political reasons.
    There is also the false dichotomy that there is a tension between the economy and public health. You cannot run an economy with many sick and self-isolating workers, you are just postponing problems.
    Also there has not really been a long term clear strategy that this government has come up with. They even contradict their own advice. A long term strategy with clarity rather than on-the-hoof daily briefings preferably led by scientists and medics and not politicians.


    And another point which is rightly brought up in COVID-19 denial websites. Everyone now talks about the number of cases whereas they should be talking about number of positive tests and probably also number of hospitalised cases and deaths related to COVID-19 as Clark has mentioned. Asymptomatic individuals who test positive for SARS Cov2 do not have COVID-19.


    Steph, I am appalled with the dross that the UK government has served up; I’m furious about it. We have had all summer to restructure; they have come up with nothing, and as a consequence we’re going to need lockdown again.

    The correct way to counter covid-19 is to compartmentalise into communities, and to provide proper quarantine facilities, not voluntary self-isolation which pushes responsibility onto individuals. Quarantine is of course mandatory, but it also requires the authorities to care for people until they’re no longer infectious, not tell them to look after themselves as best they can and try not to infect their housemates. And as SA points out, October 4 at 06:15 above, central government has spent decades progressively trashing all local capability and robbing local government of the necessary legal powers.

    Lockdown is the last defence before hospital overload, with consequent death and suffering on a scale unimaginable from our privileged, pampered normality. Anything between half a million and two million deaths over the course of maybe two months. True, most of these would be elderly people, but with so many ill less than a tenth could be hospitalised, so they would die struggling for breath, suffocated by fluid in their lungs, each of them over the course of a week or two. That is no way for people to end their lives, with no medical support, no drugs for the pain and anxiety, and an acute lack of care provision; this must not be permitted to happen. Think I’m exaggerating? In the first UK wave, around 50,000 people died but only one in twenty of the population were infected (as found by antibody tests), so had the entire population been exposed that works out at around a million.

    But as I said, lockdown is the last resort. The very fact that we need it is due to gross negligence.

    Back in February, when the WHO sent out the warning, the borders should have been all but closed, with entry permitted only with strict quarantine. Local outbreaks should have been suppressed with local lockdowns. There simply weren’t enough test facilities to deal with it any more gently. The point of such measures is to buy time in which to (1) greatly increase test facilities and (2) compartmentalise society.

    The point of compartmentalising is to establish zones; Green, Amber and Red. A zone is graded Green when it has had no community transmission for two weeks. Amber is no community transmission for two weeks, but new cases have been detected through contact tracing, OR travel is possible with a Red zone. Green zones don’t need restrictions, and people can travel between them. The whole of New Zealand achieved Green status throughout our entire summer, which is New Zealand’s winter! The concept is explained here:

    We must not treat covid-19 like the flu, because we don’t even know its long term effects yet. We have less than a year’s experience with this virus. Have you heard of ADE, Antibody Dependent Enhancement? It is possible that getting infected for a second time could be far worse than the first time, for a proportion of those infected or even for all. Or getting infected again but with a certain variant could be far worse. ADE could mean that vaccines actually increase people’s risk on becoming infected, because vaccines work by stimulating antibody production. All this is just not known yet, but the covid-19 virus SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense betacoronavirus, and these can display ADE:

    Wikipedia – Antibody-dependent enhancement

    Covid-19 is nothing like flu. True, both are contracted through the respiratory system, but as well as lungs, covid-19 can attack blood, internal organs, nerves and brain. Stat News:

    Seven months later, what we know about Covid-19 — and the pressing questions that remain

    It’s not just the lungs: The Covid-19 virus attacks like no other ‘respiratory’ infection

    And what if it turns out that covid-19 does not impart immunity, or immunity wears off after a year or two? Should we just let this virus roll on, wave after wave, killing say 2% of the population each time? Should we have not bothered wiping out smallpox?

    The problem isn’t lockdown, it’s TINA, “There Is No Alternative”, the incessant mantra of neoliberalism we’ve all had drummed into us for forty years. What if the world had been wedded to TINA in 1939 like it is now? The UK was completely transformed to fight Nazism. Rationing was imposed or people would have starved. Conscription was imposed or the Nazis would have gone unresisted. Bomb shelters were dug into every garden or the Blitz would have killed far more, and manufacturing was converted into war production. This wasn’t done to trash the British way of life, it was done to save it from the Nazis. Think my comparison is exaggerated? Remember that the 1918 to 1920 Spanish flu killed more people than did WWI, and its second wave was seven or eight times more deadly than its first.

    The government has abdicated its responsibility in the social contract, and lockdown is the result. The objective should be to restrict the least number of people as effectively as possible, which requires providing them with care. But through neglect the government defaults to restricting the greatest number of people almost as ineffectively as possible, thereby trashing both the population and the economy – for ultimately, the two are the same.


    So you appear to be advocating state-enforced isolation now?!! You seem to have rather scant regard for human rights Clarke. In a perfect world perhaps this would all make sense. Nobody would manipulate situations to their own advantage, everyone would show the utmost respect to their fellow human beings and all would end their days in a peaceful slumber.
    All of life is a trade-off isn’t it, this risk verses that risk. In this instance the price of protecting ourselves is way, way too high in my opinion. You mention smallpox which is an excellent example. Nobody extracted the kind of costs, emotional and economic, that we are paying now in order to eradicate smallpox did they?


    Provisions for quarantine in emergencies are enshrined in international law. Human rights include the right to be protected from unnecessary dangers by others; do you oppose speed limits, driving tests etc?

    Steph, I don’t like to mix political argument with scientific / rational argument. It particularly upsets me when people play down a danger to promote a political position. Yes, governments are doing shitty things. That does not mean I’ll condone waterboarding a million old folk to death; it means I’ll vote and act to improve government.


    In any organised society there are tradeoffs. Personal freedom does not mean freedom to subject others to danger as Clark states.
    In public health matters and in other matters of life or death such as war personal freedoms are bound to suffer. In the case of a pandemic the authorities to deal with these should be measured and directed only to the purpose of diminishing the risks of contagion. That is a small price to pay. Your assertions that everyone should consider others and we all live happily ever after are utopian as we have clearly seen in the defiance some are showing in respecting rules that will help all.
    That we have an extreme right wing government making rules that increase police powers is unfortunate and should be fought separately from relatively benign powers to limit freedom for health reasons.


    “In this instance the price of protecting ourselves is way, way too high in my opinion.”

    We don’t even know what the risks are yet. Our first winter of living with covid-19 is fast approaching. The Southern Hemisphere winter that’s just past tells us little, because only 10% of the global population live there, and covid-19 arrived later there; the dense clusters of high population are all in the Northern Hemisphere. We can’t asses the price until we know the risk, but we do know that it will be realised in death and suffering.

    However, I agree we’re paying far too much in the UK, but that is because the government tried to pay nothing at all, so we ended up with “lockdown”. But even that wasn’t done properly; it was weeks late which made it last months longer than should have been necessary, there was minimal local food distribution which would have further reduced cross-infection, money was lavished on big corporations while people were left to struggle, key workers were not placed on the “four days work, ten days off” protective temporal isolation routine, social support bubbles were not implemented until far too late, and there was zero leadership; it was an utter shambles. And unforgivably, here we are again, over half a year later, and none of these provisions have been made.


    Steph: “You seem to have rather scant regard for human rights Clarke”

    Really, Steph? I have assisted Craig Murray for over a decade. For several years I moderated this site single handedly. If you look at the penultimate paragraph in this article:

    Media Freedom? Show me the MSM Journalist Opposing the Torture of Assange

    “Given these restrictions, I was very conscious I may need to queue from 5am tomorrow, to get one of the 4 public places, if I drop off the family list. So I went this morning at 6am to the Old Bailey to check out the queue and work out the system. The first six people in the queue were all people who, entirely off their own bat, without my knowledge and with no coordination between them, had arrived while London slept just to reserve a place for me. I was swept up by their goodness, their trust in me and by their sheer humanitarian concern about Julian and the whole miscarriage of justice. I chatted cheerily with them for a while, then came back to write this, but just got round the corner when I burst into floods of tears, overwhelmed by all this kindness.”

    Me and a friend of mine were two of those six people. We had spent the preceding week camping without permission in Brockwell Park, so that we could participate each day in Extinction Rebellion’s London actions, doing our best to protect human rights in the future that young people will have to face. Since you made this personal with your slur about me, what have you been doing to help, Steph?


    A confusing trend has now taken hold of reporting the epidemic. All the announcements and reports now talk about cases of Covid 19. This is inaccurate and misleading and has been used by conspiracy theory websites and Covid-deniers as a way to underplay the seriousness of the pandemic. What should be reported daily is the number of individuals who have a positive test for SARS cov2 as many of those, who are asymptomatic or who have very mild symptoms, do not have Covid-19, the disease. This is an extremely important distinction as, with an increased number of tests rolled out into the community, there will be a larger number tested and a fewer number who are ill. It would also be useful to report the daily number of hospital admissions that are Covid-19 related and also the number of deaths related to the disease and these will be more helpful in strategic planning.



    In the past few days I have been to several places where I have been encouraged to register my visit using “the NHS app”. [1] These have included cafes and an art exhibition. In some establishments the encouragement consisted of a person just inside the door asking “Do you have the NHS app?” In the others there were notices up on the perspex screens, or on cafe tables, carrying a big QR code. Whenever I was asked if I had the “app”, I replied “no”, and the alternative was then to give or write my name and phone number. [2] I gave false ones. When there were only the notices, nobody asked for any information at all. Everyone else whom I heard being asked whether they had the “app” also said “no”, and I didn’t see a single person scan the QR code from a notice.

    In one shop a woman sprayed my hands with sanitiser. [3] I checked the bottle and it said 70% alcohol, but I do not believe the alcohol content was anywhere near so high because there was no alcoholic smell. I have some homemade sanitiser made from ~100% isopropanol mixed with ordinary hand cleaner bought in a supermarket to give a liquid that is 80% alcohol and the smell is immediately noticeable. I wonder how many shops and other places are refilling the bottles with any old cr*p that says “good for your hands” on it.

    This is classic “nudge” stuff (to use a term that has now possibly become dated).


    1) Calling something “NHS” to trick people into accepting it is how Leave won the Brexit referendum.
    2) What happens if a person says they are not on the phone?
    3) I resisted offering the woman advice on how she could strengthen her immune system.



    “What should be reported daily is the number of individuals who have a positive test for SARS cov2 as many of those, who are asymptomatic or who have very mild symptoms, do not have Covid-19, the disease.”


    But how many of those who ARE reported as having died “with” Covid-19 (the mainstream media often writing “from” instead of “with”), or who are reported only as ill with it, HAVE tested positive for SARS-CoV2? The best-known Covid-19 symptoms are flu symptoms. (I realise flu-type viruses are not coronaviruses. Indeed they are not even in the same phylum. Just talking about the symptoms here.) There is no test for Covid-19. Those with a bad case of flu and who are “lucky” enough to be allowed into a hospital are at risk of catching pneumonia from inside the aforementioned sacred building, giving them lung problems which also arise when illness caused by a SARS-CoV2 infection takes a turn for the worse. They shouldn’t be diagnosed as having Covid-19 until they’ve been tested for SARS-CoV2.

    I heard that the number of people reported in Britain as dying from flu has fallen dramatically, but haven’t found time to check.

    It sounds like it’s “lie a minute” time at the Office for National Statistics. Their suicide stats come with the disclaimer that “The lower number of registered deaths in the second quarter of 2020 likely reflects delays to inquests caused by the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the coroner’s service in England and Wales.” They also say “All deaths caused by suicide in England are investigated by coroners. Given the length of time it takes to hold an inquest (around five months), we do not currently know the total number of suicides that occurred during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

    What a cop-out! Is there no way this oh-so data-sussed government can get an indication of whether or not more people topped themselves under lockdown and more people are topping themselves under the present regime of restrictions than would otherwise have been the case? If this kind of information is not considered FUNDAMENTAL to a consideration of the merits and drawbacks of different “grades” of lockdown, and of other policies related to the pandemic, then the government and its “health experts” are UTTERLY TAKING THE P*SS. Suicide and the level of mental health generally are public health issues as much as any viruses or bacteria are. Seriously, there’s no reporting system for likely suicides, only one for “definite” suicides as recorded by coroners? Five times as many people may be killing themselves and the authorities wouldn’t know anything about it, because coroners haven’t been doing much work recently? I don’t believe that for one moment.



    Data obsession in the time of a pandemic can damage your health. The most important information that is needed is: number of daily admissions to hospital related to Covid-19, and number of daily deaths due to covid-19. Anything else, died with rather than of, suicide rates, and so on are not easy to get. Thus for example today’s data shows hospital admissions due to Covid-19 was 5,608 which was up by 1729 from last week. Daily deaths were 150, up from 69 last week. (Source dreaded Guardian website but this bit not behind a registration wall). The other figure that is important is the excess mortality rate which is found here. The overall mortality is raised but looking at the weekly mortality we can see that the main effect for all age groups above 14 years are almost confined to weeks 10-20 of this year. Of course at present we do not know the effect of the second wave on mortality.

    Talking of which, there appears to be evidence that the CFR is lower this time round. Even those admitted to intensive care seem to be surviving better. I heard an intensive care Dr today on Sky explaining why this may be happening, the hospitals are better at dealing with patients (I paraphrase), at triage and streamlining, at ensuring adequate and appropriate staffing and at dealing with covid-19 and its complications, She quoted that patients admitted to ITU now have, I think, 80% chance of surviving, compared to figures nearer to 50% in April-May. Some advances include, the use of dexamethasone, the actual procedures adopted in ITU, and the reduced use of ventilation in favour of CPAAP which is less invasive and probably gentler.

    Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Yes but that is in about 3-6 months according to one expert from SAGE. There are two promising new lines: treatment with monoclonal antibodies, something which Trump had, with miraculous results, and the other is the possibility of the development of a vaccine.

    I do take your point about the App. If it was a genuine NHS App, I would not hesitate to download it but a Dido App! No thanks. Not only do I object to that for obvious reasons but there has been a total failure to show that this has had any effect. Now the UKG is threatening positive people with the police, whereas normally a friendly visit from the local public health official would do the job.


    Two aspects of the apparent conflict between authorities in Manchester and the cental British government deserve mention:

    1. Not only are criminal gangs extremely powerful in Manchester, but they make much of their profit in areas of business that don’t fare well during lockdown: illegal drugs, the hospitality sector, and property deals. On the other hand, of course they will be making a big slice of the action wherever the authorities are handing out coronavirus money, but I doubt that that kind of income stream has even come close to compensating for their lockdown losses given that a) illegal drugs are such a big part of the economy, and b) they make money from all sorts of state “development” and “enterprise” stuff even when there is no lockdown.

    2. A narrative about regions of England versus the government is beneficial for those who want to promote regionalism with a view to reorganising the British kingdom such that not England but regions of England are put on the same level in some contexts as Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Part of the prep work for devolved English regional parliaments for example would be to gear people up to voting in their elections, and there’s nothing like a bit of “conflict” (“Boris doesn’t know what life is like north of Watford”, etc.) for encouraging that. In any forcible mass vaccination, many “identity” stops will be pulled out, very probably including “being a northerner”.


    From the Daily Heil (sorry, but this is important, and if the Heil are printing this for their readers then a proportion of their readers must be saying this kind of thing among themselves, which means they have recognised this aspect of what’s going on, so where is the left – too busy eating foccacia and sticking painted “NHS” rainbows in their windows?):

    Dead at 31 after her chemo was ‘paused’ due to Covid: Abandoned by the NHS, they are the cancer sufferers fighting for their lives“.

    The mass slaughter that is being perpetrated in Britain by the British government under cover of the latest SARS strain is NOT confined to residents in old people’s “care” homes.


    Another aspect of the “Manchester story” – related to the idea of regionalising England in order to integrate Scotland and Wales (Northern Ireland will remain a special case) – may be that Dominic Cummings wants to “sort out” local government. Bismarck would obviously not be his model here, but the French “departments” (each with their own two-digit number which, until 2009 appeared on car licence plates) might be. It was actually introduced in 1790 but he can think of it as Bonapartist if he wants. Practically nobody who hasn’t got their fingers in the till thinks that the current set-up in England, with metropolitan councils and both “unitary” and “non-unitary” non-metropolitan ones, is anything other than a mess. Cummings himself hails of course from the north and doesn’t particularly like southern softies who haven’t run nightclubs or done “business in Russia”, but that doesn’t mean he’ll appreciate local business interests and the authorities they control in places like Manchester standing up to him. It will be interesting to see what happens. This may turn out to be the first large-scale use of the British army for “keeping public order” in the coronafascist epoch.

    Info and thoughts on what’s happening in other places, such as Wales, would be welcome.


    I think it’s extremely unlikely there will be any “forcible mass vaccination”. It isn’t even yet known whether any vaccine can impart a worthwhile period of immunity, nor indeed whether the risk of Antibody Dependent Enhancement rules out effective vaccines altogether.

    The Mail story is just the usual anti-restrictions propaganda from the Right; they attack anything that impedes flow of profit to the richest. What were the health authorities meant to do? The government left the borders open too late and applied restrictions too late. In March, the health authorities were facing an impending tsunami of covid, staff shortages from both infection and increased demand, and hospitals likely to become infection hot-spots – remember that as late as mid-March, the government “plan” was to do nothing and let it rip through the population. Cancer sufferers, and chemo patients in particular, are vulnerable to infection; keep’em coming into hospital for treatment, when staff are the most likely infection vector?

    Still, when the fatalities are mostly old people it has been popular to just write them off, “they’d have died soon anyway”, but apparently different logic applies to cancer treatment – when it suits the Right-wing media.


    SA, October 18, 10:51, #61615:

    “the CFR is lower this time round. […] patients admitted to ITU now have, I think, 80% chance of surviving, compared to figures nearer to 50% in April-May.”

    This is good news, but it makes it even more important not to overwhelm the hospitals. In April/May, the death rate would have doubled had the hospitals been overrun (100% / 50%), but now the death rate would increase by a factor of five (100% / 20%).

    It has been fashionable in the anti-restriction propaganda to cite an IFR Infection Fatality Rate of around “just” 1% (“99% survive”), but this is the IFR with treatment. The “raw” IFR was – and will remain – nearer 2.8%, over 1.8 million people in the UK.

    In our favour, the rate of spread has been much lower so far during this increase, making it easier not to overrun the hospitals.


    You spoke too soon! Our host has now published on the main thread as you know, and the conspiracy theorists are flooding in.


    Yes the conspiracy theorists are flooding in, and they’re presenting dubious testimony from alleged experts proclaiming that there’s no virus, or if there is a virus it’s harmless, and the tests for it are made up anyway, etc. Of course these commenters know diddly-squat about what they’re commenting on and haven’t checked whether their extraordinary revelations withstand any critical scrutiny: they’re just copying stuff posted on other covid-conspiracy websites – and trying to drag Mr Murray’s blog down to the same level in the process.


    In the discussion in the main webpage on Covid-19 and fearmongering, there was a discussion started by someone calling him (her) self John Piliger about an interview with Mike Yeadon. This prompted a discussion and I responded in that thread but would like to elaborate a bit more here.

    Mike Yeadon’s basic hypothesis is that SAGE got it all wrong, because there is an absence of immunologists and virologists and a preponderance of mathematical modelers and herd psychologists (sorry my term) in SAGE. This has led to a rather skewed discussion and recommendations. I basically agree with this, having discussed the folly of relying on mathematical modelling as a main tool to combat a new pandemic, rather than on reflex applying traditionally tried and tested, pre-prepared plans for dealing with the pandemic. The aim would have been to reduce transmission to near zero, something achieved by China, New Zealand and Australia and others. This would have been a single bite at the cherry as wider transmission make any measures more difficult to implement. Just to recap: an early use of PPI amongst frontline workers, widespread testing and tracking followed by effective supervised isolation was what was needed. The first lockdown was merely effective at ‘flattening the curve’ to buy time, but no more than that, and the time bought has been squandered; not entirely, because the NHS has become more stream lined to deal with cases and some treatments and better management is leading to improved survival. I maintain that it is now too late to apply lockdown, unless it is really draconian, which would be unacceptable- so it is too late to apply another lockdown. Other measures need to be taken. And this highlights the on the hoof nature of the decision making in this pandemic, that our government and its advisers have taken. A detailed long term plan with targets and regular reviews was needed, and strong involvement by all parties and local councils and public health. Instead there was a centralised, inefficient and privatised response.

    To return to Mike Yeadon. Of course he has a point but there are also some problems with what he says. He says that SAGE made two errors.

    • Error 1: Assuming that 100% of the population was susceptible to the virus and that no pre-existing immunity existed.
    • Error 2: The belief that the percentage of the population that has been infected can be determined by surveying what fraction of the population has antibodies.

    He then analyses these. He states that the first error assumes that because this is a new virus

    It’s ridiculous because while SARS-CoV-2 is indeed novel, coronaviruses are not. There’s no such thing as an ‘ancestor-less virus’. You will recall at least two, then-novel coronaviruses in the recent past: SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012 (Zhu et al, 2020). While they didn’t spread worldwide, they are very similar, both at a sequence level and at a structural level, to SARS-CoV-2.
    But there’s much more than these infamous coronaviruses. For reasons I don’t understand, given the significance of what I’m about to tell you, none of the so-called medical correspondents and science journalists on radio and TV have ever (as far as I know) spoken of the four, endemic, common-cold inducing coronaviruses. It’s well understood by clinicians and scientists who’ve spent any time reading the scientific literature that at least four coronaviruses circulate freely in UK and elsewhere where they’ve been studied. They have names: OC43, HKU1, 229E and NL63 (Zhu et al, 2020). .

    There is the assumption therefore that there is some background immunity to SARS Cov2 because of some similarities to other coronaviruses. And even if this cannot be shown by cross reacting antibodies, Yeadon states that this may be due to innate immunity and cross reacting memory T cells and that this has been shown for other viruses. In the case of corona viruses, this cross reactivity may be due to the similarities in the spike protein between the different viruses.

    There is some evidence for this cross reactivity in antibody testing as

    Sequence similarities of the common viral proteins between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV
    or LPH-CoV (229E, NL63, OC43 or HKU1). The polyprotein 1AB, and spike (S), membrane
    (M), envelop (E) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins

    But the problem arises with inconsistencies with therefore arguing about the rates of antibody positivity, reported by the NHS/Imperial College study of 7%, and that of Ioannides in Santa Barbara of more like 30%. If you argue that one is an underestimate and the other is an overestimate then you will need to explain why. Are there methodological errors? Was the Ioannides test less specific, the NHS less sensitive, or perhaps less cross reacting, or was it a genuine difference in population exposure? If the antibody test is unreliable, why do we believe one set of figures and not the other? Yeadon makes no such attempt at explaining, he merely states that he thinks the NHS figure is wrong. When two sets of studies give different results it is important to know why, rather than to assume that one is right and the other wrong as it suits you.

    To turn to the second supposed error by SAGE. Yeadon produces two charts: on the left is one reflecting what SAGE believes that 7% of population is infested and 93% susceptible. On the right is another chart with figures postulated by Mike Yeadon as follows:

    • 30 percent prior immunity (assumed)
    • As many as 32% infected (presumably from Dr. Ioannides’ figures)
    • Only 28% susceptible.

    From these figures Mike Yeadon states that he therefore thinks the pandemic is virtually over in the UK and is now just doing its rounds about the country, and there shall be no second wave.

    Some of this may be true but we would need more robust reasons to believe this, hard figures, especially about this 30% and 32%. We need to know if there are genuine geographic and ethnic and other genetic susceptibility and many other factors. Measurable antibody T cell and antibody responses may or may not be different or may or may not be protective.

    In fact there may be other observational data to suggest that there may be geographic and environmental and ethnic factors that may lead to variability. The pandemic seems to have hit hardest in Europe and North and South America, but much less so in Asia and perhaps also Africa, although the data there may be more difficult to get. Some countries have had very few cases and deaths, notable amongst them are Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand. I do not have information as to whether these countries applied particularly stringent rules, I could be advised. On the other hand BAME communities seem to suffer more from the burden of the disease in the West, suggesting that the difference is not genetic and that other factors may come into play. Could it perhaps be that there is more prevalent cross immunity with other corona viruses in Asian countries but not in Asian communities in the West where exposure to some of these viruses is less common? I have no idea but this could be looked at.

    In conclusion, I agree that the constitution of SAGE should be looked at to be more inclusive, I also think that the public health aspects should be left to experts and not politicians, but I do not believe that this pandemic is over. Only time will tell.


    Mike Yeadon:

    “For reasons I don’t understand, given the significance of what I’m about to tell you, none of the so-called medical correspondents and science journalists on radio and TV have ever (as far as I know) spoken of the four, endemic, common-cold inducing coronaviruses.”

    See? Science is really a conspiracy. Which is exactly the perspective that James Delingpole has been pushing trying to wake us up about for decades regarding the icecaps melting away great Global Warming Swindle.


    I wrote the above with no knowledge of Delingpole. I am glad that at least I was not ‘biased’ when I wrote what I wrote.


    SA – I am glad that you were not biased too! It is good to try and look at what people have to say objectively. Only in that way do we move forward. There is such a widespread tendancy to tenaciously hang on to one’s own viewpoint and simply discount any differing perspective by discrediting the proponent in some way. ‘Ah well, he’s spoken on RT’. ‘Yes, but he spoke in favour of the IRA’. ‘But his reasearch was funded by a tobacco corporation’ And on and on. No matter how tenous the link, these things seem to be quite sufficient reason to simply discount whatever is being said. I’ve seen it over and over again.
    Thank you for your post re Mike Yeadon. As you say, quite a short time will tell I think.


    It’s clearly Yeadon who’s biased, or he’d publish in the scientific literature as scientists should rather than hinting directly to the public that science is a conspiracy. Delingpole has for decades consistently denigrated climate science as a conspiracy, so it’s unsurprising that he offered Yeadon some publicity. They appear to be collaborating in prioritising profit above human and ecological welfare by promoting public distrust of science. Both have made a lot of money from the current commercial system.

    Publishing in the scientific literature and forums exposes propositions to expert scrutiny. Publishing directly to the public influences public opinion and behaviour without expert scrutiny. As such, it is a form of propaganda. Hinting that science is a conspiracy is an effective cover story for not publishing in the scientific domain.

    Is this what you’re advocating Steph? Do you wish the public to be influenced by certain highly specialised arguments, insulated from the appropriate context which would provide equally technical scrutiny? If so, why?


    Did the government assemble the SAGE committee? I could be suspicious of government motives, in that mathematical modellers are far more easily dismissed and mathematical models far more vulnerable to denigration than a board of epidemiologists, virologists and immunologists would be.

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