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UK News Soaring infections and deaths... but do the claims justify lockdowns?

03:15  16 october  2020
03:15  16 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

More than 400,000 people caught Covid-19 at peak of first wave

  More than 400,000 people caught Covid-19 at peak of first wave The Cambridge academics also revealed with their model that the R rate is above one in every region of England except the South West, where it may be as low as R0.86.Cambridge University researchers, whose estimates feed into No 10's advisory panel SAGE, believe 47,000 people are currently catching the disease every day in England. This is in line with a separate government-run coronavirus surveillance scheme, which claimed the figure was 45,000 on October 8.

Truth about the claims scaring us all to death : Soaring infections , teeming hospital wards, and terrifying death rates but do the numbers justifying crippling With half of Britain set to be plunged into stricter lockdowns from midnight tomorrow, you could be forgiven for thinking that, amidst all the

He made the comments on Thursday when asked about the anti- lockdown Great Barrington Declaration that was published earlier this week. The declaration, which was written by experts at Oxford, Harvard and Stanford, calls for the protection of people most at risk of dying from Covid-19.

chart: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

With half of Britain set to be plunged into stricter lockdowns from midnight tomorrow, you could be forgiven for thinking that, amidst all the doom and gloom, the threat of Covid-19 has never been so severe.

But as ROSS CLARK reveals, things might not be anywhere near as bad as the fear-mongers would have you think…

Claim: ICU beds in Liverpool are already 95 per cent full

Reality: Fewer ICU beds are occupied than last year

England's Covid-19 R rate DROPS for second week

  England's Covid-19 R rate DROPS for second week The UK's chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance said in a TV briefing today that social distancing and lockdown rules are keeping the R rate lower than it was in the spring outbreak.But the Government's chief scientific adviser warned that the epidemic is 'growing everywhere' and that more action must be taken to bring down the R rate, which is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.5 for the UK meaning cases will continue to surge exponentially.

But Mr Wallensten claimed 'herd immunity' was never a goal in itself, despite officials indicating it was on a number of occasions. He said Swedes have not become tired of the restrictions because they have remained the same throughout the whole pandemic in order to avoid confusion.

Falling infection rates since lockdowns were lifted in Europe and the US suggest that the virus 'likely has its own dynamics' which are 'unrelated' to Coronavirus lockdowns have failed to alter the course of the pandemic but have instead 'destroyed millions of livelihoods', a JP Morgan study has claimed .

On paper the 95 per cent statistic, revealed earlier this week by Liverpool city councillor Paul Brant, conjures up a disturbing image of overflowing hospitals and inadequate care.

So rest assured that it bears no relation to reality. Indeed on Thursday, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust dismissed Mr Brant's claim, insisting that its units were only 80 per cent full with just 47 of its 61 critical care beds occupied.

That may still seem high, but it is actually perfectly normal for ICU beds to be full at this time of year.

chart: Half of Britain are set to be plunged into stricter lockdowns from midnight tomorrow. But ROSS CLARK says things might not be as bad as the fear-mongers would have you think © Provided by Daily Mail Half of Britain are set to be plunged into stricter lockdowns from midnight tomorrow. But ROSS CLARK says things might not be as bad as the fear-mongers would have you think

Last year, for example, 51 out of 59 ICU beds in Liverpool's hospitals were full, while in 2018 it was 52 out of 59 beds.

More than 26,000 excess deaths in private homes since March

  More than 26,000 excess deaths in private homes since March Figures from the Office for National Statistics show since March there have been 24,000 excess deaths from coronavirus in England - at 79,000 - compared to an expected level of 55,000.Between March 20, the week lockdown started, and September 11, a total of 86,000 people died in private homes rather than in hospitals or care homes, an Office for National Statistics report revealed today.

Researchers expect 15m additional cases of domestic violence for every three months that lockdown is extended. They also estimate that the disruption to Researchers also project that up to 44 million women in 114 low and middle-income countries will be unable to access contraceptives if lockdown

Many conservative publishers now claim the lockdowns weren’t necessary because they worked. Sadly, we are still dealing with conservative indy media The only reason the daily deaths are falling is because the lockdowns worked. Because the virus spreads through community infection , separating

Meanwhile, if there is a surge in demand for intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients, let's not forget how quickly the NHS was able to repurpose general and acute care hospital beds during the first coronavirus spike.

In fact, only on Thursday Liverpool's Aintree University Hospital revealed that it has already fitted 40 beds with ventilators and a further 30 beds with specialist CPAP breathing equipment.

Claim: The Covid-19 death rate is actually high

Reality: It really isn't

Such fears date all the way back to March, when the World Health Organisation morosely announced at a press conference that the virus had a mortality rate of 3.2 per cent.

But that figure was based on a crude calculation that divides the number of deaths by the number of confirmed cases of infection.

As we know from antibody tests, which show that many people have had Covid-19 without knowing it and without being tested, most cases have actually gone unrecorded.

Europe faces more curfews, restrictions as virus cases swell

  Europe faces more curfews, restrictions as virus cases swell ROME (AP) — Italy's three largest cities and dozens of regions of France face curfews as authorities try to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Europe, where most countries are now imposing or mulling new restrictions on activity in response to rapidly rising caseloads. A midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew in Italy's Lazio region, which includes Rome, begins on Friday and lasts for 30 days, under an order signed Thursday by regional governor Nicola Zingaretti. He was seriously sickened with COVID-19 when Italy became the first European country overwhelmed by an outbreak early in the pandemic.

In justifying those claims , numerous commentators correctly pointed out that Sweden's Perhaps more pointedly, in countries that imposed some of the more draconian lockdowns in the Western But peak infections in Sweden occurred roughly a month after that study even as deaths there continued

The variability in death trends across regions has fallen sharply since the beginning of the epidemic and remains low. The paper’s conclusion is that the data trends observed above likely indicate that nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) – such as lockdowns , closures, travel restrictions, stay-home

To accurately work out the death rate, we must focus on something called the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) – which is the number of deaths divided by the number of actual cases.

Scientists at Imperial College London originally estimated the IFR for Covid at 0.9 per cent, and an updated estimate has put it at 0.66 per cent.

And many even believe the figure to be far lower.

One paper published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation this week by John Ioannidis, a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, reviewed 61 studies from around the world that have calculated the IFR.

His analysis shows that their median – the middle figure – value for the IFR is 0.27 – suggesting that only four in every thousand people who have been infected with Covid-19 have died from it.

Claim: A second spike could cause twice as many deaths

Reality: Far fewer people are dying now

This disturbing claim dates back to a report from July by the Academy of Medical Scientists – and commissioned by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance – which estimated there could be 119,000 deaths if a second spike coincided with a peak of winter flu.

Weekly coronavirus deaths rise by more than half in seven days – ONS

  Weekly coronavirus deaths rise by more than half in seven days – ONS There were 215 deaths registered in the week ending September 25 that mentioned ‘novel coronavirus’.There were 215 deaths registered in the week ending September 25 mentioning “novel coronavirus” – 2.2% of all deaths in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

We are doctors, not God. Autopsies are rarely performed and even when an autopsy is done the actual cause of death is not always clear. As GreatGameIndia reported earlier, currently the world finds itself in the state of a deadlock. Entire nations have been brought under lockdown with no exit strategy.

This is the moment a group of large rats are seen crawling along a wall in South Yorkshire. The incident was filmed by an unnamed mother who lives in the Darfield area of Barnsley, who has claimed the local council aren't fixing the problem.

Yet to reach that figure, the so-called 'second wave' would have to get significantly worse than it currently is.

a group of people sitting at a table with wine glasses: On Thursday, only 138 people died who had tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 28 days. Many of the most vulnerable people will ¿ sadly ¿ have already died in the first peak (file photo) © Provided by Daily Mail On Thursday, only 138 people died who had tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 28 days. Many of the most vulnerable people will ¿ sadly ¿ have already died in the first peak (file photo)

On Thursday, only 138 people died who had tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 28 days.

In comparison, at the height of the epidemic in the spring there were more than 1,000 deaths a day.

Such an improvement is hardly surprising given that treatments have improved and that many of the most vulnerable people will – sadly – have already died in the first peak.

Claim: The current wave of infection will tear through the elderly

Reality: We are far better prepared this time around

In response to the signing of the Great Barrington Declaration by more than 3,000 scientists last week – which called on governments to abandon one-size-fits-all lockdowns in favour of targeted shielding – Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, described the claim that 'the elderly can somehow just be fenced off from risk' as 'wishful thinking'.

Of course, the elderly are considerably more vulnerable to Covid-19. Indeed, the average age of a coronavirus victim, according to analysis by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, is 82.4 years.

Coronavirus lockdowns 'may kill MORE than herd immunity'

  Coronavirus lockdowns 'may kill MORE than herd immunity' An Edinburgh University study examined various lockdown-style scenarios and found that while they might protect hospitals, they could also prolong the pandemic and prevent the build-up of herd immunity. The scientists concluded that coronavirus required a different strategy from a flu epidemic – and the focus should be on shielding the elderly and vulnerable.Lead author Professor Graeme Ackland, from Edinburgh University, said: ‘Unless a vaccine magically appears and is rolled out across the entire population in the next six months, then shutting down society is unlikely to reduce overall deaths.

But does this really warrant widespread panic? After all, it is significantly higher than the average age reached by people recorded as dying from all other causes, which is 81.5.

And don't forget that a large portion of deaths among the elderly patients in the spring occurred because they were discharged from hospitals to care homes without being tested, and also because care home staff – many of whom didn't have adequate protective equipment – were working across several care homes.

But now, elderly patients are routinely tested before being discharged to care homes, and the Department of Health's winter plan has banned staff from working in more than one care home setting, which should help stop the spread of Covid-19 from home to home.

Claim: Hospitals are less prepared than this time in March

Reality: Doctors are far better equipped to fight the virus

An unnamed doctor at the Royal Liverpool Hospital was quoted on Thursday as saying that 'before the first peak, elective surgery was curtailed so the hospital was pretty empty, staff were redeployed. [But] this time, there was no real curtailment of any elective work.'

a group of people standing in a room: It is undeniably the case that intensive care doctors have learned a huge amount about how to treat Covid-19 over the past few months (stock photo) © Provided by Daily Mail It is undeniably the case that intensive care doctors have learned a huge amount about how to treat Covid-19 over the past few months (stock photo)

Yet before we start jumping to any apocalyptic conclusions about the readiness of our hospitals, it's worth remembering that this is just one view of one doctor in one hospital.

Contrary to his panicked statement, it's undeniably the case that intensive care doctors have learned a huge amount about how to treat Covid-19 over the past few months, such as when and when not to put patients on ventilators.

Covid death toll rises by 150 - nearly double last week's increase

  Covid death toll rises by 150 - nearly double last week's increase Britain's death toll jumped 85 per cent today compared to last Saturday when 81 fatalities from the virus were announced. But Covid-19 cases only rose six per cent in a sign the second wave is slowing.Department of Health statistics show the grim milestone hasn't been reached since June 10 when 164 lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths were announced.

Claim: There's no such thing as immunity

Reality: The chances of reinfection are low

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a 25-year-old man in the US caught Covid for the second time, leading the University of Nevada's Dr Mark Pandori to warn that there could be 'significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity'.

But it's worth noting that researchers in Nevada have admitted that they are not entirely sure that the patient was actually reinfected.

Instead, they say, there's a chance that the virus from his first infection had lain dormant and become reactivated inside his body.

More importantly, if being infected with Covid-19 did not give us immunity, at least for the short term, we would know it by now.

After all, there must be a reason why hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered from Covid-19 are not suffering second and third bouts of the disease.

Claim: We will never get to herd immunity

Reality: We shouldn't rule it out

Speaking to the House of Commons earlier this week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock made the preposterous claim that 'herd immunity is a flawed goal without a vaccine, even if we could get to it, which we can't'.

He backed this up by suggesting that a number of infectious diseases such as measles 'never reach herd immunity'.

Since then, Mr Hancock has been corrected by Harvard University's Dr Martin Kulldorff and Stanford's Dr Jay Bhattacharya – who have pointed out that in the days before a vaccine, outbreaks of measles did end before everyone got infected, due to herd immunity.

a man and a woman sitting on a bench: Elderly patients are routinely tested before being discharged to care homes, and a winter plan has banned staff from working in more than one care home setting (stock photo) © Provided by Daily Mail Elderly patients are routinely tested before being discharged to care homes, and a winter plan has banned staff from working in more than one care home setting (stock photo)

Meanwhile, although the Government's scientific advisers have claimed herd immunity could be reached if around 60 percent of us have been infected, other scientists believe the figure to be much lower.

WHO fears drastic increase in the number of deaths after global corona wave

 WHO fears drastic increase in the number of deaths after global corona wave Geneva (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) fears considerably more deaths worldwide after the rapid increase in corona infections. © Reuters / DADO RUVIC A 3D-printed coronavirus model is seen in front of the words coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on display in this illustration Currently around 5000 people with or from the coronavirus die every day, said the leading WHO -Scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Wednesday.

According to modelling by Gabriella Gomes of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, we could gain herd immunity when just 10 to 20 per cent of us have had the disease.

Claim: 'Long Covid' may leave millions suffering from symptoms for years

Reality: Serious cases are very uncommon

According to a report published by the National Institute for Health Research on Thursday, there could be 'significant psychological and social impacts' on people living with long-term Covid-19, where their recovery is drawn out.

But while the phrase 'long Covid' may have a terrifying ring to it, it's essential to note that delayed recovery is not uncommon with viral illnesses.

Meanwhile, don't be fooled into thinking that such a prolonged reaction to Covid-19 is common. In fact, many people infected with Covid-19 – up to 80 per cent according to some studies – don't suffer any symptoms in the first place.

Claim: Only a 'circuit breaker' will stop virus

Reality: It will only delay the inevitable

On Wednesday, Claudia Paoloni, president of The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, grimly warned that 'we find ourselves in an inimitable situation in that [locking down the entire country for two weeks will] buy ourselves some time' and suppress the virus.

Moreover, Matt Keeling, a mathematician at the University of Warwick, recently estimated that a two-week circuit breaker could save 8,000 lives.

Yet even Sage, the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies which called for a temporary circuit breaker lockdown three weeks ago, admits that doing so would only delay the epidemic by 28 days.

In other words, if we locked down tomorrow, by the end of October we would merely be back with the infection rate we had at the beginning of the month.

a man wearing sunglasses taking a selfie in a car: The current number of recorded infections, 19,000 on Wednesday alone, is at its highest ever. But that's because we are carrying out more than 250,000 tests a day (file photo) © Provided by Daily Mail The current number of recorded infections, 19,000 on Wednesday alone, is at its highest ever. But that's because we are carrying out more than 250,000 tests a day (file photo)

Claim: By locking down more quickly, the Scottish and Welsh governments have handled the pandemic better

Reality: The results have been the same

Certainly, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Mark Drakeford have seized every opportunity to attack the Westminster Government and remind us that they are doing things better.

But while England was briefly recording significantly more cases and deaths than Scotland and Wales in the summer, that's no longer the case.

In fact, recent analysis of the figures shows that there's little to separate the three countries.

Over the past seven days, England has had on average 230 new infections per million inhabitants, while Scotland has 205 and Wales 213.

Claim: Infections are running higher now than when Britain went into lockdown in March

Reality: There is an increase in cases — but only because we are testing more

Yes, it's true that the current number of recorded infections – 19,000 on Wednesday alone – is at its highest ever.

But that's principally because we are now carrying out more than 250,000 tests a day – compared to less than 6,000 a day in mid-March.

Even in April, fewer than 10,000 people a day were being tested in Britain.

So while the number of positive tests coming back may seem significantly higher now, we are detecting more cases because we are testing more.

The Denial by Ross Clark is published by Lume Books

Read more

WHO fears drastic increase in the number of deaths after global corona wave .
Geneva (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) fears considerably more deaths worldwide after the rapid increase in corona infections. © Reuters / DADO RUVIC A 3D-printed coronavirus model is seen in front of the words coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on display in this illustration Currently around 5000 people with or from the coronavirus die every day, said the leading WHO -Scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Wednesday.

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