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January 17, 2021 at 12:41 #65283N_
Sit still and get jabbed, just like these people “from all walks of life” in the photos.
And pieces that don’t refer to “experts” seem few and far between nowadays. I first noticed this a few years ago when I read that “experts” were taking some view or other on what the rump of Britain would properly be called were Scotland to secede. I mean seriously how can anybody be an “expert” on that? They can’t. Most references in the media to “experts” mean “shut the f*** up – we’ll do your ‘thinking’ for you – don’t get ideas above your station, council trash plebfaces”.
This is from Wales Online today, in a presumably mostly cut-and-paste job reporting that the government says that the lockdown might be lifted in March, just so long as we are all good boys and girls and don’t fall in with the wrong crowd, with the conspiracy theorist saboteur germ spreaders:
“The move would mean lockdown restrictions starting to lift in England after a review on February 22 – as Boris Johnson announced when he put the country into lockdown at the start of January.
Experts have made it clear not all lockdown rules will be lifted at once, with some measures needed until the autumn.“
The local-media cut and paster here, or perhaps the author of the original words in Whitehall, clearly doesn’t have a clue what the word “expert” means. It’s supposed to mean somebody with experience and knowledge who forms an informed opinion on something, you idiot, not a person who reports what the government’s policy is.
But no hack loses his or her job by putting the words “Experts say” in front of whatever that day’s message is.
This is a technique for discouraging people for thinking for themselves. I know that’s an obvious statement to make, but unfortunately the observation is rarely made.January 18, 2021 at 11:45 #65361N_
Or try this: “When and how will I get a Covid vaccine in the UK?” asks a headline in the Guardian. Ever get the idea you are being influenced, being slipped an assumption indirectly? Next they will probably offer to give your children a meal at the vaccine place, so long as they eat it sitting regimented with other children and not with you. Another major newspaper is telling officials and influencers what 10 objections they might encounter and how to swat them. (That’s how car salesman are trained too.) Woe betide anyone who simply doesn’t trust the government or big business, and who won’t be convinced by a twerp spouting that he or she should, some junior official who probably can’t do joined-up writing and who hasn’t got a clue that Facebook and Google are advertising companies.January 19, 2021 at 16:29 #65493N_
(Mods – May I request that you remove the words “notion of experts” at the end of the title of this thread, because then the thread can cover everything to do with the tone and subtext of SARSCoV2-related propaganda in Britain. I realise you want threads to be more tightly focused than before, but I guess there is a limit somewhere.)
[ Mod: Agreed. The text ” – notion of ‘experts’ ” has been duly excised from the title. ]
The Guardian today wrote up a report from the Office of National Statistics saying that the “data shows 12.1% of population would have tested positive” for “coronavirus antibodies” in December. Like the rest of the media they are doing nothing to “educate” people on what a “coronavirus” is, nor on how the authorities conduct covert testing on samples of the population for many sorts of viruses and bacteria, as one might expect as a matter of defence policy, defensive biological warfare, and the research and development of offensive biological weapons. But never mind that for a moment. Let us assume they ARE using the term “antibodies” in a clear way and that basically they are saying that tests on population samples suggest that in December 2020 12.1% of people in Britain had antibodies against the 2019 strain of the SARS virus known as SARSCoV2 (or perhaps just against SARS in general, but that doesn’t matter). The article of course comes with a strong MESSAGE as one might expect. That message is that the REST of the population is still at risk, and therefore we’ve all got to obey lockdown rules and “be with the programme” regarding the mass vaccination campaign.
And that is total BULLSH*T. Why? Because many people have defeated this virus with the FIRST LINE of their immune defence, which doesn’t involve the production of specialised antibodies. (Anyone who is in any doubt about that statement should ask why the schools were shut.)
Later in the article they “interpret” the 12.1% figure as meaning that “An estimated one in eight people in England had had coronavirus by December”.
What absolute rubbish … it doesn’t imply anything of the kind … but no editor ever got the sack for noticing.
Professor Danny Altmann from Imperial College screams the Big Pharma message: apparently “while the percentage of people expected to test positive for antibodies to the coronavirus has risen slightly, Altmann said it was not rising quickly, meaning natural herd immunity had not developed and that vaccines remained crucial to tackling the disease.”
What a lying a*sehole, who clearly knows which side his career and research grants are buttered on.
The authorities must also of course have an estimate of the proportion of people who have been infected with this or that level of SARSCoV2 viral load (totally different from the proportion who show the antibodies), but as far as I am aware they are keeping quiet about it. Let’s not hold our breaths waiting for Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth or Keir Starmer to ask Matt Hancock or Boris Johnson what the estimate is.
It could easily be 80% or 90%.January 19, 2021 at 16:38 #65495N_
The proportion of the population in Britain who are school pupils is about 15% for starters. Most of them have probably already had SARSCoV2 and not noticed. If your immune system bashes the virus away fast without calling out antibodies, you don’t get any symptoms.February 26, 2021 at 19:35 #68033SA
Where exactly do you get your knowledge of immunology from? It is a bit arbitrary and at the same time dogmatic. But from past fork, you don’t really indulge in discussion, just assertions of dogmatic factoids.February 26, 2021 at 23:08 #68055Clark
N_ seems to have been doing precisely what N_ criticised journalists for doing – ignorantly parroting “experts”, in this case Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta and pharmaceutical boss Mike Yeadon, both of whom proved themselves utterly wrong by predicting in autumn 2020 that there could be no UK second wave.
N_ unfortunately displayed an even lower degree of critical thinking by parroting these two’s arguments during the UK’s second wave.
I disagree with Professor Danny Altmann from Imperial College that “vaccines remained crucial to tackling the disease” because the duration of effectiveness of vaccines cannot be determined until a long enough time has passed, and new variants may evade any immunity that vaccines impart. Only time will tell. The surer method is to stamp out the virus with brief but stringent social measures; China, Australia, New Zealand, the Isle of Man etc. have already succeeded in this, proving its effectiveness. This works for all variants, and it’s much quicker than mass vaccination; under two months:February 27, 2021 at 05:49 #68114SA
That’s all very well and good but that train has already left the station long ago. If ever we were going to stamp out an epidemic or a pandemic you do it in the beginning with stringent measures and with honesty and with consensus and trust. None of this is going to happen here, so Professor Altman is just being realistic and vaccination seems the only way out. One of the factors that is a feature of all or most of the vaccines is that they can be tweaked to reflect any virus mutation causing escape from antibodies. Anyway immunity is notable absolute yes or no but some background immunity will be there to reduce the disease severity.
There are other developments too. Mortality after hospital admission is almost half of what it was at the beginning, as hospitals and doctors begin to understand the disease better. I am afraid it is too late to rely on isolation and masks and so on, especially in a country that cannot even control its borders properly when it should and which fails to have a functional test and trace system.February 27, 2021 at 05:52 #68115SA
And I should also add with a totally dysfunctional political system and a spineless opposition fighting its own members.February 27, 2021 at 11:13 #68138Clark
SA, the history of attempted vaccines against coronaviruses is not encouraging. Vaccine attempts against SARS and MERS have failed, as have vaccines against the four common cold coronaviruses. Veterinary science provides another long list of failures.
Ironically, this could work out just as the conspiracy theorists have been predicting; just an infinite money-spinner for Big Pharma, life-long injections for the entire population every six months.
Capitalism feeding on the results of its own incompetence.February 27, 2021 at 11:20 #68139Clark
And it’s not too late to stamp out SARS-CoV-2. China and Australia both succeeded from infection levels comparable to and even locally greater than those seen in the UK.
Those opposed to covid vaccination need to take responsibility, because our governments aren’t going to. The problem lies in displacing personal and social responsibility onto the authorities.February 27, 2021 at 16:10 #68164Goodwin
I wouldn’t believe a word coming out of China and Australia a) is the rse end of the world and, b) has managed to enforce a far more draconian lockdown than would be tolerated in the UK.February 27, 2021 at 19:07 #68175SA
You can believe what you like but there are many indicators that China and Australia have managed to suppress the virus.
But I do not agree with Clark that “China and Australia both succeeded from infection levels comparable to and even locally greater than those seen in the UK.”
When China introduced the lockdown in March 2020 there was a total of about 80,000 cases and this in a country with 25 times the population of UK. Early on they introduced a total ban on travel, which to this day we have never done and will never do. Australia at the peak of their 2nd wave in late August had 27,000 cases with a population of just under 40% of that of UK. There is no way this government is going to impose these stringent measures.
AS to vaccines, yes this is a common theme that has been taken on by the covid deniers, that there has not been a successful vaccine against corona viruses. But there have been a lot of background work going on but of course because of the containment of both SARS and MERS, research became rather low key. But many companies have been primed to start this research again. I think we now have proven efficacy of the vaccines in the trials, but more recently also real life evidence that the vaccine works and protects and reduces transmission. There may be loss of efficacy with mutations, but this will not translate to figures of zero effects. Also the vaccines can be quickly tweaked.
As to big pharma cashing in, this is the real issue. But at least Astra Zeneca is now getting the vaccine produced under license and selling it with minimal margins, and there are vaccines from Russia and China and those produced under license in India to distribute to third world countries. Relying on vaccines is not ideal but we have seen that our ‘democratic’ individualistic societies cannot relinquish the selfishness that has been born since Maggie Thatcher transformed society for the worse.February 28, 2021 at 10:19 #68284Clark
SA, you need to think this through.
The problem with covid-19 is not so much its mortality rate as its fast spread; it can overwhelm typical health services by a factor of ten or more. With hospitals overwhelmed, the advances made in treating the disease are worthless, and all other healthcare is crippled.
So thinking mathematically, the critical factors are: how long does it take to vaccinate an entire population, and how long does vaccine immunity last before booster shots must be given? These two give us a ratio, which is the proportion of the population that will have vaccine immunity at any time. We have a good idea of the first one. The second will only be discovered next coronavirus season. We could be OK, or we could be completely stuffed. Again.
And mutation of the virus makes it worse. Yes, vaccines can be “tweaked”, but each tweak takes time, and with each tweak we are set back to safety testing. Meanwhile, the virus has no such delays and ethical constraints.
Personally, I don’t want to be having to take a briefly tested new vaccine once or twice a year. I’d rather have a couple of months of strict lockdown and get it over with.
The success of our badly implemented, very partial “lockdowns” proves that we can rapidly stamp this out. It’s not even very difficult; during restrictions, infection rates fall almost as fast as they rise when there aren’t restrictions.February 28, 2021 at 10:43 #68285Clark
Keeping infection numbers low is crucial. My friend was watching the tennis from Australia; Melbourne I think. In the middle of a game, an announcement came over the sound system – the public must clear the court; immediate lockdown. Nine positive tests had been discovered – not nine deaths, not nine hospital admissions; just nine positive tests. The city was immediately locked down – and not the whole of Australia.
But just five days later, restrictions had been lifted again and the spectators were back at the tennis. With only nine positive tests to follow up, track, test and quarantine had been performed in that time. Fifty or so people had been quarantined, and general restrictions were lifted.
I was impressed. That’s how to stamp out covid-19; hit it hard and fast, deprive it of the chance to spread.February 28, 2021 at 10:58 #68286Clark
Thinking mathematically again, covid-19 can overwhelm the entire health service by a factor of ten or more, so the vaccine immunity ratio needs to be 90% of the population or more to prevent health service overload.
That’s a big challenge.February 28, 2021 at 11:15 #68287ET
A piece in The Irish Times about how Ireland blew it after achieving such good results initially.
Clark, I believe you are correct, if EVERYWHERE went into strict lockdowns and all borders were closed for 6 weeks it could be eliminated but it would have to be everywhere and to the same effectiveness. That just is never going to happen across all countries on the planet at the same time, at least, not unless the situation becomes an extinction level event.
If some countries do it, which some have, once they re open borders it’s going to get back n seeded from those countries that didn’t lockdown.
Here on IOM we have had another cluster of cases related to ferry staff whom they hadn’t vaccinated. They have tracked and traced well but there are two “unexplained” cases.February 28, 2021 at 12:52 #68292Clark
ET, that’s why Green Zones:February 28, 2021 at 14:38 #68306SA
I am fully aware of your arguments but there is a huge difference between what is theoretically possible and what is achievable in reality. The prolonged lockdown since before Christmas has led to a slow and gradual fall, but the levels are still high. AS far as I know there is no intention whatsoever in stopping all air traffic and closing borders.February 28, 2021 at 15:49 #68310ET
It’s not that I disagree with the concept Clark, I just don’t think it’s even a remote possibility that governments would agree to it.March 1, 2021 at 10:03 #68352Clark
Well we can opt to start practising now, with the weather on our side for months ahead, or, possibly, let SARS-CoV-2 force us into lockdowns again next winter when we’re all indoors breathing each other’s air… Eggs and baskets.
But I agree, it’s unlikely that our highly advanced governments would try anything so cheap, safe and reliable when they haven’t even encouraged us to open windows.
Places that enforce a zero infection rate require the shortest periods in strict lockdown; just the few days it takes to trace a handful of infections. People and businesses withstand such short stoppages far better than prolonged weeks in semi-lockdown. Long term, if vaccination turns out not so great, places pursuing zero covid will enjoy economic advantages, and as green zones proliferate red zones will suffer increasing exclusion.