...and any other matters that take our fancy
I would like to carry this over to the new thread because I think this aspect of the Covid-19 outbreak is the one that's going to come back and bite the media in the bum.MB Said :ITV reporting on trial treatments in UK. A woman who had recovered from Covid-19 was interviewed - looking remarkably well after being hospitalised with "anti-malarial drugs"...I bet it was chloroquinine...but of course the one thing they were never going to do is tell the viewers that (a) President Trump had championed this potential treatment and (b) our Chief Medical Officer was blocking emergency use of the drug. My response to MB : Trump will not let anyone forget that he was out in front on this.Two days ago, a democrat politician publicly thanked Trump for saving her life. She appeared on Tucker Carlson with her doctor and they both attributed the fact that she was getting better to Trump.I live in France and the hydroxychloroquine debate is raging here. Yesterday, Macron met with the Professor who has been testing the drug for weeks.The British media has been assiduously avoiding the subject of the drug. Even on Talk Radio and LBC where 3 hour programmes have been devoted to Covid-19 have avoided tackling the drug subject. Hundreds of doctors have been prescribing the drug as a Covid-19 anti-inflammatory all over the States and Europe. Holland has been stock-piling it for 2 weeks, and has started testing. India has banned export of the drug - where it is manufactured - so as to facilitate a supply for in country use. Trump will bang on and on about this, and the TDS media will have a lot to answer for.
Indeed, what annoyed me about the coverage was that the media presented Trump as having presented the drug as a "miracle cure"...playing to stereotypes about snake-oil salesmen, I would say. It was dishonest reporting. Yes, Trump was enthusiastic about trialling the drug in as many cases as possible. Why not? This disease is not going to be pushed back with hesitancy and caution.
Extract from “My 500 Second View of the Coronavirus” by George Gilder10 propostions 1. COVID–19 is just another respiratory virus like many others. Fearsome death rates are a function of testing biased toward acute cases and asymptomatic spread of the disease which lowers the denominator. The tests are flawed by false positives and false negatives. Asymptomatic spread is speculative in the absence of antibody surveys that measure immunity.2. All respiratory viruses end through herd immunity, whether through direct exposure or artificial vaccination.3. Social distancing, closed schools, and obsessive masking prolong the epidemic and ensure a second peak comparable to the first. By flattening the curve, they widen it and thus render it more menacing to more people.4. The more that young people get exposed, the better. They are the vessel of herd immunity. Closing schools delays the immunity and tends to expose vulnerably old and frail grandparents in the home.5. By delaying herd immunity and assuring secondary peaks in the fall, school closings and other lockdowns will increase the number of deaths among the co–morbid population of vulnerable old people. 6. As Briggs writes: “The H1N1 virus responsible for many deaths is still with us. The 2020 data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) affirms, “Nationally, influenza A(H1N1) pdm09 viruses are now the most commonly reported influenza viruses this season.” 7. Given the ease with which coronavirus spreads, it’s reasonable to suppose variants of COVID–19, like common colds and other respiratory distresses, including deadly pneumonia, will be with us for years to come. 8. Briggs and Wittkowski agree that most testing is mischievous because of false positives, especially in initial testing. Fewer are misclassifications of deaths due to the bug but there is a tendency to suppose that deaths with the virus are caused by it.9. The conclusion, says Briggs, “is that it’s nuts to implement large–scale testing on a population. It will lead to huge numbers of false positives — which will be everywhere painted as true positives — and more panic.”10. Although closing down the private economy may seem plausible to physicians and politicians, it is an extreme overreaction to viruses that we will always have with us and provides a dreadful precedent for future crises.
Ah, the daffodils. The BBC has done quite a bit on Wordsworth on Radio 4 recently, which makes a change. I listened to a couple of programmes on Wednesday mornings about his life and work. And they read The Prelude in instalments last week. It was tacked on to Woman's Hour. I didn't hear which bit of Tintern Abbey Prince Charles read out. Am not on iPlayer but maybe it'll pop up somewhere. Yesterday I looked for some of his short poems and came across this one: 'My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man; So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die! The Child is father of the Man; And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety.'Had forgotten, if I ever knew, that he'd written 'the child is father of the man'.
I've posted Prince Charles's reading of 'Tintern Abbey' below. It's a very fine reading of it.
And let's not forget Wordsworth started off as a lefty egalitarian who embraced a "host of daft ideas". So there's hope for everyone!
There is a video on the BBC website "How to celebrate some of the most important religious celebrations of the year - virtually"I thought that I would take a look. I t starts with the Jewish celebrations, which I found interesting and informative.Christianity was next. All went well until at the man speaks about "my husband!. WTF! I hit the "Stop" buttonHere is the BBC is promoting their homosexual agenda.https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-52234125/how-to-celebrate-some-of-the-most-important-religious-celebrations-of-the-year-virtually
The very last piece on the news section of Today – they slipped it in that Holby City have ‘donated’ their fully working respirators to the NHS. What?! They’ve waited this long to do the right thing. And they want to feel good and get a pat on the back?! Oh my word.
Why does the studio set require working respirators? Sounds OTT and another wasteful use of our licence money. I wonder how much the props dept spend on expensive medical kit for third rate actors?
Hang on...isn't one of the lead characters in Casualty called Charlie...is there something you're not telling us, Charlie...professional jealousy directed at Holby City by the sister soap? lol
BBC website claiming that in Scotland the number of Covid 19 cases is likely to be over 500,000,compared to the official figure of 5,275; no source is given. However if true this is presumably very good news. It would imply a very low mortality rate and similarly a very low serious cases rate;it would also suggest a significant level of community immunity is being built up leading to much slower transmission of the illness.This surely all points to a much less strict lockdown.
It's pretty clear from all we've heard that - as with climate - scientists' understanding of how the immune system works is less than perfect. So that's about 1 in 11 for Scotland...about 9%...double what I think the UK advisors are working to. That would be good news, for sure. "The more the merrier" is the rule. I'm only going on anecdotal evidence (like the knowledge that at least 5 of our elite CV team of politicians and advisors caught it!) and the views of some other scientists...We are told this is a highly infectious disease and that maybe (WHO's view) something like 25% of the infected are asymptomatic. It seems to me the disease would spread like wildfire, unless you could achieve 100% suppression from the outset and for several months, which you can't. I think it's more likely that 30% of the population have been infected already. Some scientists think it possible that even as early as 19 March " 68% of the population would have been infected by March 19"https://www.livescience.com/half-the-uk-infected-coronavirus-covid19.html(Contra the article, it's perfectly reasonable to assume only 0.1% of the population might require hospitalisation after being infected. That's within the ball park range of how coronaviruses affect human populations.)My hunch as well is that not all infected people produce antibodies or enough to show up on tests. There is a lot about how the immune system works that we just don't understand.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-52200473surely there must be a way to claim a portion of my license fee as a rebate for funding articles such as these...
BBC bosses are warning interviewers not to put ministers under pressure over coronavirus crisis says former Today presenter John Humphrys.“Why? If the questioning is well informed and polite, surely the tougher the better.” he goes on to say.Is this true or not, I don’t know. But it does confirm what we already know - that BBC journalists believe it is their job to hold the power and government to account. Since when did this become their mission in life? I think this is a big part of the problem with many of them (along with a big ego. Sopel, Hussein, Kuenssberg, Easton and the rest of them - it’s not enough to report facts anymore, they have to editorialise and ‘hold people to account’, with questions ‘the tougher the better’.
Charlie - Yes, it seems to me that they are driven by the need to 'shine.' But is that internally driven, or driven by pressure from their producers/line managers? I can think of one, well-loved, Midlands News presenter who was driven from her post to make way for a waspish harridan who seems to please her bosses by being utterly obnoxious with any interviewee of whom the Beebhive does not approve.
PS. Another part of the problem is that the Beeboids' judgment is seriously distorted by their visceral loathing of Boris and his cabinet.
The lovely Suzanne Verdee?....
Well spotted Charlie!
"along with a big ego. Sopel, Hussein, Kuenssberg, Easton and the rest of them - it’s not enough to report facts anymore"Indeed not. It's largely about building their personal brand. The weakly managed BBC has allowed and encouraged a cult of personality to superceed it's Charter commitments. Their personal branding allows them to write books, make after dinner speeches and so on, all on the back of license fee payers. IMHO 50% of any outside earnings should be refunded to the BBC. But more importantly, I'd prefer to see the "personalities" take a step back and allow us to see and hear the news for itself, not through the "analysis" of a iwannabethenextPaxman.
Radio 4 6pm news this evening, again PPE but simply no evidence only hearsay. Then number of deaths but no mention of plateau by Reeta. 15 minutes of propoganda.
How thick as a hack do you have to be to keep asking minsters and senior advisers about particular numbers of objects when they are generally responsible for strategy? The flames are constantly being fanned over the PPE issue. How will it help if some politician is defenestrated over the issue? Replace them with someone who needs a month to get up to speed? I did watch the daily briefing earlier and thought that PP did reasonably well under the circumstances. She stood her ground against some hostile questions. They have, though, become stereotypical and are hardly worth watching. The government, fully aware of the dire problems caused by extended and broken supply chains, doesn't want to reduce public morale at a time when the virus is peaking, and the press don't give a damn for morale, they sense blood and are going for it. Do others find it curious, to say the least, that well-salaried managers and bureaucrats within the NHS and Whitehall, whose main day to day responsibilities include contingency planning and resource provision, don't seem to enter the frame of the faux journalists we are not blessed to have? In terms of the future, a flicker of light appears in the sense that the modern, German, insurance based, mixed provision system seems to offer much better outcomes than the WW2 conceived command structure of the NHS, which lacks agility, innovation and leadership.
I don't really agree with your take. The facts are that the Government knew from various analyses and an exercise in 2016 that a pandemic was one of the greatest risks facing the UK. Apparently a "Pandemic Plan" was produced. We've never seen it. It is clear that the Government completely failed to prepare properly for a pandemic. It did not warehouse sufficient ventilators. It did not put in place any arrangements for emergency manufacture of ventilators. It did not warehouse sufficient PPE. It did not put in place any arrangements for emergency manufacture of PPE. Now, if the Government were to come out and confess these truths, I for one would be prepared to say, let's set that to one side then. But they have not admitted their complete incompetence. They keep talking about the "unprecedented" nature of the crisis. Unprecedented perhaps, but not unpredictable, since it was predicted by many people, including the Government's own advisors and it was understood to be high risk by the relevant Government ministers. Another point is that, the nature of the pandemic was clear from mid January - that's nearly 3 months ago. That's been plenty of time to put in place emergency manufacture of ventilators, PPE and testing material...but that sort of activity only began in mid March. So, in context, I think the media is acting on behalf of the people in querying the Government's record. Remember that even in WW1 and WW2 there was scathing criticism of Government in many areas including war policy and armaments production. We're not North Korea. People can and should criticise the government and ask difficult questions. That said, I am not an NHS Cultist, so have no problem with your observation that the German health system appears to be producing better outcomes, though in fairness Belgium with a similar system to Germany's and often thought of as the best in Europe has produced a worst outcome!
The BBC narrative is that rNHS is a wondrous, infallible, envy of world organisation staffed entirely by saints. All the people must show their devotion every week in acts of mass worship. Clearly therefore any shortfalls in equipment, diagnoses, treatment or outcomes are not the fault of rNHS. No, they are entirely the fault of the current Government (who've been in office 3 months and happen to led by a man the BBC hates).The BBC is loving the present situation. In their "key worker" positions they are unaffected whilst they push the lockdown harder, knowing it will have to be relaxed soon and when it is, that they can ascribe any death to Boris's decisions.In a few months time, the data will be available to analyse how national health systems fared in many different countries. We really could see who is the "envy of the world", perhaps it will be Germany. But if it is, I don't expect to hear about it on the BBC.
This Government, rather different to the two that preceded it, has been in office for three months. Let us, by all means, judge it on the events that have transpired in that time. It may be that they were slow out of the starting blocks when the contagion began to emerge; time will tell. We may also regret the lack of manufacturing capacity in this country to serve our needs at a time of emergency, which is simply highlighted by the fact that Germany, which has retained much of its manufacturing base, is able to supply sufficient PPE and carry out testing at will. We are all going to have to come to terms with the consequences of allowing the family silver to be sold off and most items outsourced to a cheaper jurisdiction because we always want to pay the lowest price for any item. What price that bargain now? I don't wish to absolve the Government from shouldering responsibility for the mess we are in, but I suspect, as I'm sure you do, that this debacle has many roots and has been a long time coming. Above all, though, I have long held the view that the BBC is the most dangerous organisation in our country and I detest it with a passion. Its obliteration from the face of the earth would bring me great comfort.
I'm with you Ozfan. The NHS employs 1 million people with an annual budget of £140 billion. It has a lot of managers and executives who are very well paid to make decisions about all of the things you and Monkey Brains are debating. Add in PHE who has over 200 employees earning over £100k and you should have enough management brains to ensure contingencies, plans and supply chains are in place.The government can't possibly manage a juggernaut like rNHS but it can ensure the leadership teams are up to the job.
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The media, always looking for a cheap and effective headline, quickly focussed on a perceived shortage of ventilators in the NHS, regardless of the fact that ventilators are a tool of last resort. For weeks, the public had been fed the narrative that all would be improved if only we'd got more ventilators. However, there's now a strong indication that ventilators are often being used to "park" relatively hopeless cases, on the basis that it's not good for morale to leave patients to die. (When Dr Sarah Jarvis was interviewed on the radio this week, she acknowledged that the probability of patients surviving a period on a ventilator was estimated at 100 - the patient's age, i.e. an 85 year old had just a 15% chance of survival once they'd been ventilated.)By the way, MB, the "Pandemic Plan" does exist. It's just that it was written in the expectation that the most likely cause of any Pandemic would be a flu-variant. The government's initial responses were dictated by a plan that simply was irrelevant in the current crisis.
How much do the PFIs that allowed many of the UK's hospitals to be built in their present form influence the NHS's decision-making? Is the acquisition of equipment such as beds and ventilators somehow tied into the overarching PFI budget? If so, this would explain the bureaucratic nightmare of supply chains and slow response. BBC journalism doesn't extend to an in depth investigation of the subject - the NHS is viewed from afar and celebrated without just reason.
Over recent years in my area the drive has always been to reduce the number of beds in the brand new hospital. Could it be that the number of beds (eg 'a 300 bed hospital') actually sets the format for a PFI funding scheme, and that by increasing the number of beds the NHS might trigger penalty clauses which in time would cost them dear? With so much money being poured into the NHS - a debt of £13.4 million? was written off a week or two ago - we should know how our money is spent.
Sceptical Steve, in terms of mortality, there is no difference between this pandemic and a serious flu pandemic. It seems more infectious than most flu viruses, that's all. All the things you need for a coronavirus pandemic (ventilators, expanded ICUs, additional hospital beds, PPE, testing kits, trained auxillary staff) you need for a flu pandemic.So I think criticism of the inadequcies of the pandemic plan stand (I note that Jeremy Hunt has gone strangely quiet since his role in pandemic plannning came under scrutiny).
Abendrot, No problem with agreeing that the BBC is the most dangerous organisation in the UK. Even if the Government had produced the best plan ever and implemented it perfectly it would still be carping, because it thinks "carping" equals "journalism" as long as the carpee is a "Tory" Government. If it's reporting on the EU, the carping miraculously disappears. Its really dangerous influence is in promoting very bad policies - eg unrestricted no-borders migration, racialised thinking, outomc egalitarianism, lone parenting and extreme feminism - with Marxist and pro-Sharia narratives plus opposition to free speech and democratic poll results (EU Referendum, Trump and Bolsanaro).
MB, I agree that all those bad (lunatic) policies are promoted by the BBC (you left out green fundamentalism). In current context I add that the BBC has long been at the forefront of shutting-down debate on healthcare provision in the UK. It's the NHS way or the highway as far as Beeb is concerned.
Yes, that was a grave ommission on my part Ozfan - probably because, since Coronavirus, the fact we are all going to die within five years because of global warming (as St Greta has assured us the "voices" warn her) seems rather unimportant and gets virtually no coverage on the BBC now. Yes, the BBC is in a kind of symobiotic relationship with the NHS...probably has been since episode one of Casualty first aired! I think they see some kind of logic in maintaining that the NHS, publicly funded, is the "best" health service in the world (arguable if not exactly persuasive)...in the BBC's mind that reads across to the BBC - it, being publicly funded, must be the best broadcaster in the world.
A sensible Prof addresses the issue of the Covid-19 mortality rate. Of little interest to UK MSM.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhjzBcP61qA&t=209sFrom Sky News Australia. To coin a new acronym to go with CCBGB...WCOSNBLSNA - prounced Wi-cos-ne-blisna. "Why can't our Sky News be like Sky News Australia!" An oft-heard cry. As the Prof notes, we are comfortable with a death rate of 0.1% for "ordinary" flu viruses, meaning we can see 25,000 deaths in one year in the UK alone sometimes. It's amazing how little interest WHO have shown in nailing down the mortality rate. What's the point in an organisation like WHO if it engages in guess work.
Always interesting to see the Worlometer figures:https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/Some notable points:1. Belgium's deaths have been soaring. Its death per million rate (311) now comparable with Spain (363) and Italy (322). UK's stands at 145, BBC don't do comparisons with mainland Europe because they would reflect well on us really - they just assert we are "following Italy's path" and look sombre. 2. Despite all the dark warnings about their "reckless" Coronavirus policies, Sweden - at 88 deaths per million - continues to do much better than the extreme Lockdown nations. The Swedes' figures were 35% lower than the UK's a few days ago but now this has improved even further - they are 39% lower now. 3. I continue to be greatly puzzled by Greece's figures - a very low 9 deaths per million compared with Italy's extremely high 322. What's going on? Could it be the BCG vaccine effect. I found online that "BCG vaccination is performed in all 1st grade children in elementary schools in Greece. " So it seems like they would have high level of BCG vaccination. Isn't out MSM's almost complete lack of interest in the BCG angle (Telegraph is an honourable exception) very telling. There might be a strong argument for an emergency BCG vaccination programme. 4. As we know from WW2, the USA may be late to a party, but when they get there they pull out all the stops. So it is with Coronavirus. They have now conducted 2,693,758 tests. Even allowing for the population difference, this has already surpassed France and the UK and they are catching up on Italy and Germany fast.
The BBC will ensure that in some way or other, however contorted, the EU members' response and efficacy is superior to that of the UK. I suspect they will lump all 'big governments' together - the US, China and the EU - to demonstrate that the independent UK has failed, and the Conservative government must be held to account.
This morning’s quote that the UK could be worst affected country in Europe is manna from heaven for the BBC. Once in a while something comes along that allows them to attack the government and defend the EU. Whether it is correct is now immaterial. It helps build the narrative Arthur highlights above. They wait patiently for such quotes then devour them like vultures, fighting over the spoils and picking over the bones for days until their hunger is satiated.
A reputable FT journo and analyst says today that deaths is per million alone isn’t the factor, the determining factor is population density and *effective* pop density, i.e how much people travel etc.The difficulty is that the pop density dynamic plays out at a local level, not a national one.
Charlie, if " ... the UK could be worst affected country in Europe" then I'm sure the BBC will ask many searching questions about the efficacy of the NHS.Hahaha. Not a chance; it will take it's usual "lack of Government support for the saints on the front-line" angle.
Agreed Ozfan, no matter how bad any event occurring within the NHS, it will never ever be the fault of the NHS. It can do no wrong for those who worship at its feet.
Emily Maitlis is getting praise in all the woke places for decrying the use of the term 'fighting' against an illness. She jumped on her BBC supplied high horse about this after Raab described Boris as a fighter. Now terms such as fighting against an illness or battling an ilness have been in common usage for a long time. It took its use in connection with a Conservative PM for Maitlis to saddle up.
"Because although we mourn every day those who are taken from us in such numbers, and though the struggle is by no means over, we are now making progress in this incredible national battle against coronavirus.A fight we never picked against an enemy we still don’t entirely understand.We are making progress in this national battle because the British public formed a human shield around this country’s greatest national asset – our National Health Service."Boris thanks the NHS [and tells Emily Maitlis that it is a battle].https://order-order.com/2020/04/12/watch-boris-thanks-nhs-workers-name-care/#comments
Just repeating a post from another thread, since I think people need to be aware of the apparent positive impact of BCG vaccination - probably explains why Greece's death figures are so low compared with Italy and Spain...they still have BCG vaccination at first grade, elementary school. Seems to protect the whole population:I am not a huge fan of vaccination and think the flu vaccine might have created fertile ground for a new coronavirus to develop. Generally we have become "vaccine happy" - reaching for the vax before the case is properly made. Big Pharma makes billions, probably tens of billions out of our vaccine culture.That said, vaccinations have their uses and have their place. It appears that the death rate from Covid-19 in countries with BCG vaccination is something like 6 times less than in those without it.https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/08/bcg-jabs-mean-six-times-less-likely-get-coronavirus-study-finds/We should be looking at this seriously. It might be a means to protect front line health staff and also to provide for a safe return to work more generally if people want to receive the vaccination voluntarily.
“The NHS is the closest thing the English have to a religion”. Nigel Lawson some years back...even truer today! Probably true of the Welsh and Scots as well.
Yes, it even has its own blasphemy laws. To speak out against the HNS is reprehensible - it could lead to excommunication. Beware!
I think Piers Morgan excommunicated someone for just such an act of blasphemy on Twitter didn't he? The NHS has not exactly covered itself in glory by its lack of preparedness for a pandemic. It's not just the Government that has a duty to prepare for such an eventuality. Why doesn't the NHSA have warehouses full of PPE and use/replenish them on a cyclical basis? We saw what happened in Salisbury re Novochik...if that had been a more devastating attack, thousands could have been affected. Didn't that occur to anyone at the top of teh NHS I am full of admiration for the nurses and the doctors working on the "frontline" (some war metaphors are allowed, while others are not it seems). But NHS management has been appalling. Have you heard any NHS spokesperson state clearly what PPE equipment is needed where. Most come out with gobbledygook. I would say the NHS's response to the pandemic has probably been about average in terms of what has been going on around the world.
Reports suggest the Treasury think GDP this quarter will decline by at least 33%. People need to take in what that means and understand this is just the beginning if we continue in lockdown. We could see GDP down by 50%. The word "unprecedented" is much overused at the moment. It is not unprecedented for pandemic pathogens to carry off 10,20,30,000 people in a year or more. We've lived through many such years. However the National House Arrest scheme AKA "The Lockdown" is totally without precedent and an economic downturn of 30% in the space of a few weeks is also unprecedented. And we will see incredibly harmful and damaging consequences which are also unprecedented. If people think they can tax rich people to keep everytthing going, think again. The last thing rich people are going to do is hang around in the UK if we are in lockdown when there are other attractive places around the world open for business. We need to get real and accept that this absurd "war" on a virus cannot be "won" by means that cause us irreparable damage. As I suggested before the Lockdown is the equivalent of sending the whole of the RAF up in the skies to bomb London during WW2 because we know there are German spies at work in the capital.
Sweden's death rate per million population re Covid-19 continues to improve in reltion to the UK's. They now have 41% fewer deaths than the UK, with no total lockdown, just sensible control measures. I hope they continue to resist the calls from the Lockdown Cult to fall in line and damage their economy as we have ours.
Do we know, MB, what is Sweden's policy on BCG vaccination?
Just found this which is rather useful: www.bcgatlas.orgSweden has not continued with national BCG vaccination. The real difference can be seen in the countries that have retained national BCG policies - China, Russia, Poland and Greece for instance are all very low in the deaths per million. Looks like this explains why Africa hasn't been badly hit.
I think that as the positive figures continue to gather pace the speed at which the lockdown is starting to crumble will likewise gather pace, leading perhaps to a "Berlin Wall" collapse. The UK will be forced to react to what other nations are doing even although our figures seem to be surprisingly bad. Don't forget also that each of the constituent parts of the UK could pre-empt a UK wide decision (not likely to happen in Scotland where Nicola Sturgeon seems keen to talk up a prolonged lockdown). The news in general and in particular the BBC does seem inclined to present everything in as negative and frightening a light as it can which is slowing but not fully preventing growing public awareness of the many damaging aspects of this lockdown. My best guess is that lockdown will be history well before May payrolls are due to be made up.Incidentally could the generally improving figures be indicative of the seasonality that many believe/hope that this virus will exhibit?
Sturgeon has a comfort blanket of England’s never ending money to bankroll her policies. The EU should take note.
The Government has the option under legislation, I believe, of taking back control of the NHS from Scotland and Wales in an emergency. If this isn't an emergency I don't know what is. I for one am heartily sick of Sturgeon's posturing, and her cynical attempts to be one step ahead of the UK Government. It's time there was some pushback on this "have it both ways" devolution (or, in Scotland's case, paid-for virtual independence).
MB- "...cynical attempts to be one step ahead of the UK Government" - aided & abetted by the BBC, which, as Charlie pointed out a couple of weeks ago, is eager to foster nationalism.
I think that there is plenty of past evidence that Sturgeon is a control freak which might suggest, in the right circumstances, despotic tendencies. However once this lockdown finishes she faces a potentially very damaging parliamentary enquiry into her conduct and also had the prospect of Alex Salmond seeking revenge. Nevertheless the BBC are granting her a daily broadcast news conference with virtually no balancing or alternative views of other Scottish politicians. It is in Sturgeon's interests to keep the lockdown going; as for the economy, well she has often demonstrated that economics are not her strong point.
Her only strength is nodding-dog virtue signalling that leaves one feeling distinctly queasy at its opportunism.
French radio quotes Macron as saying that French lockdown will continue until, at least, 11th May. Schools, cafés & restaurants to remain closed until then.
That guy must really hate the French. 11th May will be 8 weeks after the Lockdown started...demonstrating what a complete failure it has been. Is he trying to finally kill of the French nation?
BBC teletext reporting, on business pages, that South Asia is facing economic disaster due to the virus. Also reporting that UK theatre and film industry will struggle to survive the virus. This is the reality of lockdown and it is hard to see how the French economy can survive. This must surely pose serious questions for the EU. Where is the money going to come from to meet the huge costs of rebuilding the economy of France and other EU nations? Will Sweden be expected to dramatically increase their contributions, or perhaps the relatively lightly affected Poland and Hungry? Will the French people meekly accept this; indeed will the British if our Government attempts a similar extension?
It's very difficult for ordinary members of the public faced with experts who make assertions claiming they are based on hard evidence, especially when we are repeatedly told that lives are at stake and we begin to hear of people who have died (six degrees of separation means it doesn't take that long when there is a pandemic). But where is the evidence that lockdowns "work"? Nowhere!! If anything the evidence is that they don't work. It's a bit like the argument over prison...yes, if you keep a prisoner locked up he can't commit a crime but are the overall effects of prison positive in helping reduce crime? Hmmm...the reverse seems to be true - the higher the prison population, the higher the crime rate! Everywhere we look, it is the countries with the highest rate of death for their population that have the most stringent lockdowns. So the real relationship is the other way round: a high level of deaths leads to lockdowns being implemented. They are only marginally effective and lead to many negative consequences, not least destruction of your economy.
....and in the UK Dominic Raab says that the Government does not expect to make changes to the UK lockdown this week. In my view this is a bad mistake. If lockdown worked we should have seen a big drop off of cases by now; equally we should have seen numbers skyrocketing in Sweden.
I agree. It looks like lockdowns have only a marginal effect in flattening death rates. it seems likely that countries like Greece, Poland, Russia, China and African states appear to be doing well because of national BCG vaccination, not lockdowns. Countries like France, Spain and Italy which have opted for strict national lockdowns have had the worst outcomes! Things may be made worse by creating mass hysteria - old people are sent to hospital without need, and then become sources of cross-infection. Some of the practices in hospitals appear dangerous - putting patients so close together as we saw in Italy and Spain. Old people deprived of social contact may become demoralised and so succumb to lung infections more readily - as Covid-19 is around, it will be one of those infections. No one knows for sure, but we do as you indicate have the counter-example of Sweden, with the Lockdown Cult cannot deny has done much, much better than the UK, Italy, Spain and France despite not opting for a full lockdown. This is a bizarre state of affairs though. The MSM tell us that if a lockdown isn't working that just shows you need even more severe lockdown to make it work...but in countries where there are incredibly low death figures, the lockdown is definitely working even though there has been none of the classic rise and plateauing you would expect if the theory was right.
The problem with reporting issues around the "NHS" is that it exists in four different forms in each part of Britain (it's not even called the NHS in Wales, but the assembly re-branding could have gone better). Each version is run by Conservative,Labour,SNP, and the irish parties, so a shortage of PPE in London is not due to the same factors as a shortage in Cardiff. The BBC can't or won't accept their is no longer (and hasn't been for 15 years) a single UK NHS, it was broken up by new labour.
Yet again, Sweden's position on deaths per million through Covid-19 improves against the UK. Deaths in Sweden are now 52% below the UK death tally. Sweden's position has been improving for several days now. According to the Lockdown Cult, Sweden should be suffering horrendous death rates by now because of their failure to apply a full national lockdown as seen in Italy, Spain, France and the UK.
Direct comparison between the UK and Sweden is misleading because the measurement of 'deaths per million' takes little account of overcrowding and occupancy rates for housing in big cities.Sweden's population is 10.23 million (2019) with Stockholm's given as 1.633 million of which 19.6% were born abroad: that is 320,000.The UK population is 66.65 million with London's given as 8.982 million of which 35% were born abroad: that is 3.144 million.IMO, overcrowding in big cities and high rates of housing occupancy are the factors causing the virus to spread. I believe there is a link between a high foreign born percentage of inhabitants and overcrowding, which has been allowed to continue despite the lack of housing provision - in London and other big cities. By this measure, Stockholm does not match the profile of other big cities.
The same goes for New York. With a population of 8.399 million, 37% of the population were born in another country: that is 3.107 million. New York also suffers from overcrowding and high rates of housing occupancy.
MB Thanks for digging out the bcgatlas info.It seems clear from this that bcg vaccination cannot be the explanation of Sweden's low C-19 death rate - the country gave up routine vaccination in 1975. I've been wondering if, perhaps young people might be the key vector responsible for spreading the disease to their, more vulnerable, families.If you google 'Why so many young Swedes live alone,' you will be taken to a 2019 BBC article, which throws fascinating light on what the key difference may be.
This ties in with Artur's points, above.
The population of Greater Athens, given as 3.153 million, has been stable since approx 1980, and has been in decline over the last few years. The lack of recent overcrowding and stable population in their principal centre of population may give a clue as to why the virus deaths in Greece as as low as they are.
Seoul is another city to evaluate - out of a population of 9.733 million, some 2% were born abroad - though this has been increasing from a historically very low base since 2000.The gross figure of population increase for these cities from a foreign born population and the resultant overcrowding and lack of housing provision might give a measure of the likely susceptibility to coronavirus spread.
It is surprising to see that Greater Athens' population is so stable, when one considers Greece to be the destination for so many immigrants from north Africa etc. It looks as if their ultimate destination is further north. Tied into this might be the reason why Greece's virus deaths figure remains low.
Sis - Sweden's death per million population is low in comparison with UK, France, Italy and Spain but much, much higher than Greece and Poland. So I think the BCG vaccination policy may well play a part. Yes I think the mixing of young and old does play an important part in this. Seems to have been a factor in Italy where young people are oftee found in the same household as much older people. But of course that's true of Greece as well, and it seems to have had very little effect there. Arthur - I think the deaths per million stat is useful as a measure of overall impact.It's not perfect - not least because different countries use different definitions of what a Coivd-19 death is. But it is a useful corrective against misrepresentation by the BBC and others who like, for instance to present the USA as suffering the worst impact on the planet, when in fact they are doing much. much better than the largest EU states and the UK. I agree with you that population density in cities and also in terms of accommodation (numbers per household) plays a part.Italy was vulnerable on both scores. Yes Greece is definitely not the destination for migrants - it's a staging post for getting to the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and the low oountries!
On the BBC News channel this lunchtime, Joanna Gosling was interviewing a care home spokesperson, who said that 'the government' should remove VAT on PPE that care homes bought. My understanding is that many, if not the majority, of care homes are owned and operated by charities, and that charities enjoy a wide range of VAT exemptions. This broadcast was to include the BBC World audience, and gave a seriously inaccurate slant on the news. Sloppy journalism again.
+++PLAGUE WATCH+++Just lost a long draft post - didn't appear. To summarise:1. Prof Martin McKee (London School of Tropical Medicine and Public Health) was exposed on Sky News for misleading viewers by giving the impression that the current death rate during the crisis is 8 times the norm - credit to Adam Boulton for elucidating that McKee was just indulging in some statistical hokum and the "8 times more" was totally misleading. I looked at McKee's Twitter Feed. It was distrubingly politicised for someone claiming to be a distinterested responsible public health academic. It was full of anti-Conservative, anti-Boris, anti-Trump, anti-Brexit material. His feed is emblazoned with the flag of the EU. He is extremely pro EU. You wonder about his motivations when he intervenes in debates on how we should respond to the Coronavirus. Although he poses as a far sighted sage, his twitter feed had nothing to say about Covid-19 until late Jan when he retweeted something from the BBC. 2. My other observation of the day was that I saw a TV ad from WHO on Channel 4 I think it was. WTF is WHO doing putting ads up on our TV channels? This is political meddling. The advert was advocating continued total lockdowns and making cynical appeal to past sacrifices. Does WHO advertise like this in the People's Republic of China I wonder? Message to WHO: stop your Marxist meddling in our politics.
Biden accused in graphic terms of a very nasty assault on a female staffer...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuiDi1FTSQQNothing on BBC yet and Jon hasn't mentioned it on his Twitter Feed. Odd that...Of course they are highlighting Bernie Sanders' endorsement of Biden. Remember the BBC's official policy is that all female victims of assault should be believed when they come forward and make allegations. They have reiterated that time and again.But, for some reason, it appears they are not keeping to that policy on this occasion. Again, odd...
The New York Times reported it then deleted it following an outcryhttps://twitter.com/donaldjtrumpjr/status/1250081843820613633?s=21
And of course Biden just loves hair sniffing https://twitter.com/titaniamcgrath/status/1249803459597144066?s=21
BBC very happy to report that St Obama has laid his hands on Biden...so to speak, not in the way Biden would lay hands obviously.
And the NYT CEO is the ex BBC DG Mark Thompson accused by two members of staff of aggressive arm biting - but never disciplined, so he knows a thing or two about cover ups:https://www.theguardian.com/media/2005/mar/24/broadcasting.bbc
What makes the news on the BBC website? Who decides the priorities?Is it scare mongering or just simply reporting the facts behind the biggest stories?The top ten headlines right now seem to tell their own story. It’s no more than a red top rag chasing readers with short reports that are lacking fact and analysis but majoring on sensationalism. They also tend to take a negative and pessimistic view.1 One in five deaths linked to Coronavirus2 Older people being 'airbrushed' out of figures3 Hundreds of extra UK deaths revealed 4 Economy could shrink by record 35%5 Nurse paid ultimate price through lack of PPE6 Next website halts orders hours after reopening7 Ofcom assesses Eamonn Holmes 5G comments8 Sturgeon concerned at PPE claims9 Measles resurgence fear amid coronavirus10 Trump claims 'total' power to lift lockdown
**BBC Fake news alert**One of the main headlines today is that the economy will shrink by 35%.Even the headline is misleading because that 35% is a forecast for the quarter ending June by the OBR.The OBR report also forecasts a 12.8% fall in 2020. It also predicts the biggest economic bounce since 1704: a 17.9% jump in 2021.Of course it is no surprise that neither of these figures make it to the BBC report.
+++PLAGUE WATCH+++BBC News spreading Fake News as per usual. They lead into a report saying that the USA has had the worst reported number of cases in the world. Innocent viewers will assume this means the USA is the worst performing of all countries in the world with respect to Covid-19. That's the Fake News the BBC wants you to take away. The reality is that at 76 deaths per million the USA is doing way better than Spain (386), Italy (348), France (241) and even the UK (178). Meanwhile, much to the chagrin of the Lockdown Cult followers at the BBC, Sweden continues to perform even better - now recording 59% fewer deaths per million than the UK.
The BBC have been playing that particular stat trick for 2 weeks. It annoys me, but I have to keep reminding myself that their behaviour annoys thousands of other people too. Their hubris and blatant displays of animosity and loyalty is beyond the pale. They spent today tidying up and re-educating the public on Fauci's clarification last night, which flattened Sopel's (et al) desire to drive a wedge between the Federal Govt. and Fauci's advice. Having seen both the live broadcast and the consequent BBC reports, I can assure those in doubt that the BBC is not 'making mistakes'. It's an increasingly pernicious organisation.
The BBC TV 9am News (aka the 'Derbyshire Show') made a two-pronged attack on the Government: 1. The number of C-19 deaths in care homes was not being reported and, 2. the Government had failed to avail itself of the opportunity to join a Europe-wide consortium to purchase PPE equipment. This, latter claim was repeated on subsequent news bulletins, at least in the morning.By the 6pm News, the claim had disappeared. So, what happened, BBC? Did you get your facts wrong, and, if so, why have you not published a retraction and apology?Oh, a supplementary question: Why is Ms Derbyshire being allowed to treat the 9 AM News as if it were a chat show, called 'Derbyshire?'
Yes, VD has further blurred the boundary between news and views on the BBC.
:::NEWSNIGHT WATCH:::Mad Jared Diamond desperately trying to convince us that Climate Change is more important than Coronavirus. Try telling that to people about to lose their job, their Gran, their house, their business. Climate Change, if real, is manageable. Some pandemics are not manageable in the same way. This one has been difficult. Others might be even worse in the future, especially if we keep using vaccination to create environments for new pathogens to emerge. Mad Kirsty Wark talking about a "resurgence of the Arab Spring"...FFS - do they never learn? There was no Spring. It was a Muslim Brotherhood uprising against what were perceived by locals as Arab secular regimes. Breaking News...Kirsty and Gabriel outraged that Trump has suspended WHO funding. Kirsty's face a picture of Guardianesque outrage.
Something I find puzzling about this outbreak...Why aren't the secondary outbreaks as strong as the first wave? The experts tell us that the number of people infected (well this was within the last two weeks) is between 1 and 14% (depending on country). I think the WHO average is 4% but Scottish Government say Scotland has 11%.So official figures suggest anything between 86% and 99% of people have NOT yet been infected. So why, when you lift the Lockdown doesn't the virus just simply resume its exponential rise? How on that basis could you ever lift the Lockdown (according to the logic of the Lockdown Cult)? Surely if you have a highly infectious disease (much more infectious than regular flu) with something like 25% (according to WHO) being asymptomatic, then as soon you lift the Lockdown you will be back to exponential growth. I am posing the question, but I don't really believe in the terms as defined. I think all the evidence suggests that it is the first round of infection that is decisive. I suspect we were all being subjected to low levels of infection from January onwards when we went shopping, down the gym, attending a sports event, meeting family members etc. pretty much all the time. But it is the people who are physically weak - either through ageing or underlying illness - who develop acute symptoms at this stage following a full blown infection (in other words just a tiny virus load will be enough to get in their system and take control of their bodies, whereas healthy people have outward facing defences that can ward off infection from low level virus loads). Of course quite a lot of people develop the full blown infection (so maybe the 11% suggested in Scotland) but most will be healthy and they don't all die. Only the really weak people die. So, then if you relax the Lockdown you don't get a really strong second wave of deaths. You get a second wave of infections but far fewer people die because those who couldn't resist infection from small virus loads have already been carried off. The remaining population can resist infection from small virus loads. So if my theory is correct, the infection really does go through the elderly and vulnerable like a scythe at the beginning and short of locking down absolutely everything and turning us into troglodytes there is really little you can do about that. It's a new virus and eventually everyone is going to be exposed to it. Theoretically you might be able to reduce the death rate by making all elderly, very fat or unhealthy people totally self-isolate by law and never see their families. You have to ask is that really how we want to live..."Your Mum's fat - you can never see her again." I might just be restating what is known to epidemiologists but if so the media are distorting the message - because we are told the virus is like some crazed escaped animal which will be on the loose again doing the same amount of damage.
Heard something on Sky - think it said there was a Dutch-German survey showing an infection rate of 15%. So 85% of people have NOT been infected.
Gotta love the Trump! Suspending WHO funding is a master-stroke and launching an investigation into them is a brilliant bit of icing on the cake. The BBC, Guardian,CNN and all the rest will be outraged but by their actions we will see how they line up with the pro-Communist China, pro-Globalist coalition. Another win for Trump.It's a great opportunity for Donald to put clear water between him and the Democrats. I doubt the Dems can bring themselves to criticise WHO so it will be a big win for Trump - showing yet again that he is a master tactician. I saw that ad from WHO - political meddling - on Sky a little while ago. It's outrageous it's being shown here. It's pure politics. Decisions about lockdowns are political matters for government not for the WHO. WHO can make recommendations to government, it can't - or shouldn't - interfere in government decisions through direct influence on public opinion.
I couldn't agree more. When I heard it on the news at a late hour and half asleep, I gave an inward cheer. Who else but Trump would do it? He's damn right to kick out and upset the apple cart. Now the main money's gone, will Mr Suck up to China change his tune and will he take the begging bowl to China?From the very beginning, when I knew nothing of the WHO or their spokesman, it stuck out a mile that every time he appeared, he seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time paying tribute to China and emphasising that no criticism should attach to the Chinese government. I had no idea who he was, where he was from, what he knew of China or why he was so anxious to butter it up. It turns out there's quite a lot in the background to explain it. And the WHO is just another international organisation corrupted by politics and money and run by feather-bedded lackeys like him.
You know that thing middle class families used to do back in the 18th century of a Sunday afternoon - pop down the local lunatic asylum to enjoy watching the antics of the inmates...well I must confess to doing the equivalent in the 21st century - checking out John Sweeney's twitter feed. Yes, our John appears to be enthusiastic about the Obama-blessed Biden candidacy...What could possibly go wrong with the campaign of a confused, senile, gaffe-magnetic, female hair-sniffing, girl-groping accused-rapist candidate... eh, John? Or to put it in context, what could ever go wrong with the career of a well respected Panorama journalist at the BBC?
Peter Hitchens telling some truths - to power I guess...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DmfA6D_02M
The problem we have today is group-think from narrow minded (in the sense they only see things within the confines of their own field of activity) seemingly clever people who do not see the big picture and the unintended consequences of their advice/actions.As an example we have the Abortion Act 1968 to prevent a small number of unfortunate women who had botched back street abortions... all so well meaning but it has blossomed (if that is the right word) into another money making venture for those not using very much cheaper birth control methods, and is no longer being done to prevent some deep psychological and physical damage to both mother and child. The unintended consequence of the well meaning Abortion Act is that millions of unborn children were cut out of mothers and the supply of children to adopt for those desperate for a child has dried up, so that millions are being spent on IVF (another money spinner).So also the Covid19 lockdown is an attempt to "solve" a problem which will have the unintended consequence of many jobs being lost, businesses going bust, huge government debt paid back by the next generation and perhaps be shown to be quite ineffective if we don't have the herd immunity needed for the secondary or tertiary outbreak. Plus of course China will gain economic and military dominance over the world and that from a Communist dictatorship whose goal is world domination and the extinction of democracy and freedom of speech, thought and religion.
just heard on Today a professor Lawrence Gostin criticising Trump for ceasing funding of WHO. No mention of what this man said earlier in January - Gostin chairs a World Health Organization project on the law and ethics of public health strategies for pandemic influenza and is leading a drafting team on developing a Model Public Health Law for the World Health Organization.In a January 25, 2020 interview with NPR, Gostin argued against travel restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, stating, “The risk is extraordinarily low for people in the United States.”
According to the Daily Mail, he was on Today, delivering one of those expert 'warnings': 'Director of the World Health Organisations's Center on Public Health and Human Rights, Professor Lawrence Gostin warned that if Covid-19 gets 'out of control' in African countries, Europe and the US could see second, third and even fourth waves of the illness.'Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday, Professor Gostin said: 'Covid-19 is about to march through sub-Saharan Africa and perhaps the Indian subcontinent like an avalanche.'I rather like the image of a marching avalanche. Is that a warning or a threat, Prof?
Someone should ask him if he thinks Africans all still live in mud huts and travel by goat. Why should the virus be taking so long to get a grip on Africa? They have jet travel to places like Beijing, London, New York and Amsterdam...even better for the virus they have hugely crowded urban sprawl, extreme poverty, corruption and lax health controls. Why on earth wouldn't Covid-19 already be on the march across Africa? When any prognosticator uses the phrase "about to" my sceptical antennae start waving!
MBCan I just offer up my thanks for all your hard work, hard thought and input? I come to you every morning for my ‘reality check’ and to put this strange world into perspective. I really miss you on the odd days when you haven’t posted much. You make me think, you make me smile and, above all, you are keeping me sane. Thank you.
I would urge any contributor to this site to have a go at providing a guest post now and again. This would help maintain the structure of the site as ITBBCB? Comments make for interesting reading, but the open thread has taken over somewhat from the site's purpose. It's easy enough - just send an e-mail with your piece and images if needed to either Craig or Sue's e-mail and they will do the rest.I also enjoy MB's comments for their carefully considered content and also for the impeccable use of language, spelling and grammar.
Thanks guys. It's a shame that our MSM are so narrow in their analysis - really they just keep the narrative going, whatever the narrative happens to be. We end up relying on each other and a few sites like the "other channel" - Biased BBC - to bring us the "news in full". A for instance: today there was a link on Biased BBC to a local newspaper report from Luton about an armed gang fight in Luton involving large gangs of young thugs. None of them social distancing of course. Given that our main TV channels get highly agitated over a couple of sunbathers out on in a park during the current crisis, you would think this huge and violent example of "Covidiocy" would be the main news on those channels. Think again! (BTW although the report related to events on Easter Sunday, they only appeared on the local newspaper website yesterday.)Nothing on ITV news tonight,and I suspect probably the same on BBC News - especially as the story doesn't even feature in the local regional page. Another aspect to the story: although the Police have made clear they will come down heavy on any instances of mass defiance re the rules on social distancing, they arrested no one, despite being in attendance. I don't even need to tell you why there is such a lack of interest in this story from the media...
I saw a photo of that fight somewhere - probably the Mail - but didn't read the article.
Arthur T - agree with your advice but if I try to comment using my PC the comment simply disappears never to be seen again when I hit the publish button. The subscribe to Post Comments option simply brings up a page of gobledegook. Oddly however I have no problems if I use my Kindle!
Yes, blogger is hopeless. I can’t post on a MacBook. It just disappears too after spending ages typing it (if it’s a long post). I can only post using my phone.. along with fat finger typos
I tried using Blogger to enter comments, but on the grounds that Google doesn't need to know any more about me, I now use a domain name on the Name/URL option.
You're not the only one who has been having this problem. I have a feeling it's connected with cookies on your device, but I'm too much of an tech ignoramus to elucidate any further.
I have had this site refuse comments many times, (the comment box just goes blank, otherwise there is no indication that it isn't happy). I have managed to get it to work by leaving the current topic and going to another and then returning.'Just in case', having written a coment, one can always try and take a copy before clicking a button and then paste it in again if it all goes wrong.It also seems to be more reliable to always 'preview' first but that might just be chance as it is hard to carry out rigorous trials, especially when most times the site works!
This morning's Daily Telegraph has a very sombre headline regarding the damage that lockdown is doing to the UK economy. At least one news vendor seems to be wakening up to reality, arguably a particularly important one given its political leanings. Raab's comments earlier this week were to the effect that lockdown will continue; can we hope that he might find that there is less support for this than he believes within the Government? Also am I making the mistake of seeing what I want to see or am I correct in detecting that the public mood is becoming less supportive of lockdown?My understanding of lockdown was that it was to buy time for the NHS, to prevent it being overwhelmed. Additional capacity has now been installed and is apparently barely being used so lockdown should as a minimum be considerably relaxed. Otherwis we have moved from a medical lockdown to a political lockdown
I agree Guirme - that's the only real logic for the lockdown: in order to buy time because no proper pandemic planning had taken place. As you say, we now have the emergency care in place. It's important to remember we probably still have something like 5 million people still going into work: health services, care services, fire, police, a lot of local government, energy sector, a lot of the civil servce, agriculture, food processing, food retail, construction etc. It's not as though there is no activity. And most of those people will be returning to families or multi-occupied premises. Maybe something like 10-15 million in the country (workers and families) are in that sense outside the lockdown already. The sensible thing to do will be to allow some retail outlets to re-open but with social distancing rules still in place. Also schools should have a phased opening. Reopen some outdoors amateur sports facilities as well. Older, obese and medically vulnerable people will need to be strongly advised to remain socially isolated while community immunity is built up. I am not sure that our PC medical gurus have even advised obese people to engage in strict isolation but, really, the evidence strongly suggests they should. Although Starmer is deeply unimpressive in many ways, I do agree with him that the public should publish a plan for returning society to normality. It would help build confidence. Every extra day of doubt kills businesses up and down the country.
The BBC Scotland story linked to below is well worth reading as it surely must cast doubt on the accuracy of the death from Covid statistics. Also why should there be a surge in non Covd deaths? Is this an unintended consequence of Government strategy?https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-52292001
My next door neighbour has cancer and it is an aggressive type. At the beginning of the year his consultant said he needed to travel to London for special treatment at the Royal Marsden otherwise he probably wouldn’t make it to the end of this year. When Covid struck, his treatment was cancelled.He now fears it may be to late to slow the spread and had been told no new dates for treatment can be arranged at present and they will be back in touch. I have a horrible feeling that many others are in a similar position with a variety of serious illnesses and that they could die as a direct result of cancelled or delayed treatment. They will be part of the virus fallout but will not be recorded as a covid statistic. It could be much bigger that covid deaths but we will never know. Scandalous and tragic for my neighbour and others like him.
ONS report a huge spike in excess mortality against a fivc year average for Week 14 (up to 3 April) of over 6000, nearly all attributable to Covid-19.However, earlier in the year in nearly all weeks there was lower than average mortality. So, overall in the year so far excess mortality has been only 2240. I would guess we must expect to see excess mortality running at something like 6-7,000 in weeks 15 and 16 and well above the average for some weeks thereafter. But it's not impossible we'll see some balancing after that if many of these Covid-19 deaths are short term "early" deaths - ie the virus is ending the life of people who were already very close to the end of life and would have succumbed within 6 months. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending3april2020
Any news report that fails to mention excess mortality to date is really Fake News, I would say, designed to sustain a narrative not to illuminate the truth.
Remember the story of the boy who murdered his parents and then claimed from the orphans' fund? That's true chutzpah for you. You might have thought Prof Ferguson would have crawled in a hole in shame and mortification at having told us 250,000 would die from the virus unless we had a mass total lockdown. But the guy has chutzpah in abundance!https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52308201Now Sweden hasn't had a mass total lockdown. So on the basis of Ferguson's prediction for the UK you would expect them to have a death toll of one sixth of 250,000 (to account for population) Their actual death toll from Covid-19 would be about 42,000. It's actually just over 1300 so far. It would take them 313 days at the current death rate to reach Ferguson's predicted total. That ain't gonna happen. Sweden's deaths per million figure remains something like 45% below the UK's, despite the lack of a total lockdown. And remember of course that these are not excess mortality figures. 90% of Covid-19 deaths in the UK are in people who already have serious health conditions. The excess mortality figures will likely be at least 50% lower in a year than if we were simply adding Covid-19 deaths to the average mortality. So a figure of 20,000 Covid-19 is likely to translate into only 10,000 excess mortality cases, possibly even less than that. Ferguson seems to have a lot of influence on Government policy. Why? His predictions are wild and panic-inducing. He is a total liability. Where are the sane and sober counsels of advice?
From today’s Telegraph;Europe’s only research scientist-led country, Germany – Angela Merkel was a physicist – is looking to remove lock-down measures altogether. At the same German virologists publish in the most epidemiologically complete case study, the town of Heinsberg, that all infections came from prolonged contact in enclosed spaces, especially where dancing and singing occurred – direct exchanges of firm touch and heightened breath, rather than sharing table-surfaces, glasses or door-handles.It is those same German studies which have given the one true ray of hope, which is that the mortality of the virus is around 0.37%, less than a tenth of the 4% figure people like to bounce around on social and traditional media, citing the deeply questionable WHO. Why aren’t British journalists looking to our own per-review medical journals, like The Lancet and British Medical Journal, whose overview articles conclude it is less than 0.99% at the most?
Lol - promotion of community singing as a cure for all ills is a central plank of the BBC belief system along with the quaint notion that boxing clubs cure teenage delinquency! That sounds like a v interesting survey. German scientists have been among the most impressive in this crisis, so it should be taken v. seriously. But I am sure many other experts will question the findings which do seem a bit counter-intuitive in some respects. My view is that the mortality rate will continue to decline, as the virus has picked off the weakest at the start. I think the virus was everywhere in the UK within a few weeks of the Wuhan outbreak if not before. If you look at those experiments they do with fluorescent material on people - it doesn't take long for one person to spread material throughout a house, a shop and office. We are a nation of nose touchers...even epedemiologists, professors and doctors on TV, I've noticed. Supermarket checkout staff particularly like to rub their noses in between handling your items! lol With something so infectious, it would be everywhere very soon. Yes, you might not get a huge virus load from hard surfaces, but we are told it can survive on such surfaces for up to 72 hours. I'll try and find a link to the Heinsberg study.
According to this report from BBC News coronavirus contributed to just over half of this extra 6000 spike.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52278825Could it be that the other half are related, to some extent, to collateral damage following the lock-down? (e.g. the case referenced by Charlie above)What I find profoundly unsatisfactory about the daily briefings from Downing Street is the one-dimensional emphasis using graphs and charts to show, for example, a correlation between reduced public transport journeys and the beginnings of a levelling off of the infection and death rates. All well and good, but what would be really informative would be to superimpose a graph (they are adept at computer graphics) showing increased deaths, or instances of ill health, during these same periods but not clinically connected to the virus. In the fullness of time graphics of adverse effects could dwarf those showing consequences of the virus. e.g: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27796628In the daily briefings they are proud of the spare bed capacity in the NHS but does this tell the whole story? NHS England have said that currently 60% of beds in acute hospitals are occupied whereas last year the equivalent was over 90%. Is this because deserving patients are being side-lined? It does not seem credible that so many beds were being unnecessarily occupied previously.
Belgium is an interesting case. It's been on total lockdown for over a month now - 33 days and it just saw the most tremendous spike in new cases. It's death per million rate has been rising alarmingly in the last 10 days - and is now the highest in the world (excluding micro states like San Marino).https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/(If you click on the top of the deaths per million column you will see how badly Belgium is now doing.) Why are the BBC and the rest of the MSM ignoring this? Because it doesn't fit in with the "Lockdowns Work" orthodoxy, that's why. Belgium is completely busting the Lockdown Cult's core belief. Also of course, "Europe" (=the EU) must do better than the UK, mustn't it? That is part of the "Do Down Trump and Boris" narrative: Europe always does better than the UK and the USA, even when it doesn't. :) Even worse, Belgium has a large urban migrant population, with a high percentage of Muslims, living in very crowded conditions (25% of Brussels' population is Muslim). That's a "good thing" as far as the BBC is concerned so they don't want that associated with a "bad thing" (viruses). All good reasons not to cover possibly the biggest Coronavirus story in Europe at the moment...aren't our media wonderful?
Katya Adler is based in Brussels. I just checked her twitter feed. You'd think she might have noticed how bad things have got there. But no. She retweeted someone else referring to the number of care home deaths (probably with a mind to whipping the UK government) but nothing about how Belgium is now leading the world in Coronavirus deaths. (She also did her usual thing about puffing up the EU's negotiating position on Brexit, in particular the need for an "extension" of the transition period. Of course. That's her job: Official Spokeperson and Representative for the EU.)
Laura K has been putting out a skewed version of the social care story:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-52304918... 'Coronavirus: Social care concerns revealed in leaked letter.' ...The letter 'that the BBC has seen' comes from a charity ADASS. As with all public sector funded charities the question of who funds them is never addressed. A senior spokesperson from ADASS was given free reign on the BBC lunchtime news - claiming the government's response to deficiencies in social care were 'a shambles'. The letter, Laura is keen to tell us was written on Saturday.If you look at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/national-action-plan-to-further-support-adult-social-care-sector... 'National action plan to further support adult social care sector' ...This was published on Published 15 April 2020.You will see that not only is there a clear set of proposals that Laura fails to mention - not only that, but she doesn't refer to the action plan at all - but also that she waits until today (when the action plan was launched yesterday) to refer to a letter written last Saturday.Also, the action plan refers directly to ADASS as contributors to the plan. No doubt, ADASS preferred to get their retaliation in before the action plan was published, but Laura, slow off the mark, waited - trotted out ADASS's line and failed to mention the Government's action plan. This typical agenda-driven journalism.
It's not really a charity - it's a trade union of local government directors of social services. That said, it seems odd to me that the Government is having to develop an action plan during the middle - indeed near the peak - of the virus crisis. What does that tell you? That the Government was woefully unprepared. I don't think they can wriggle out of that. And neither can people like Jeremy Hunt who really should have been developing the preparations in previous years.
It also raises the question of how effective the CQC is when they inspect these premises regularly.
I see that Robert Buckland is taking one for his colleagues on QT tonight. The BBC has set that up very nicely. The doctor is allowed to speak forever, as is Lisa Nandy. Without excusing the Government, or those who preceded them, I don't think it would have mattered who was in power over the last ten years or so. The fact is that Labour would never dream of carrying out the fundamental review and reorganisation that is required and the Tories are terrified of being accused, as they often are, of selling off the NHS. Looking at the way in which Germany's healthcare system appears to be working, I would say that a healthy dollop of privatised medicine in combination with an obligatory insurance scheme seems to work a treat. The problem is deeper than that though. All our institutions, and I include particularly the NHS, police and civil service, once regarded as reasonable models, have fallen a long way from grace. As well as institutional problems, there are structural issues. Germany has a federal structure, with each state ensuring it meets the needs of its citizens. In that way, for example, each state will have its own laboratories and so on. We are, unfortunately, dominated by London, so the quality of resources elsewhere is not optimal. Furthermore, we have a dangerously high reliance on supply chains, as we see, regrettably, every day.Has it struck anyone as rather curious that the BBBC has never once, to my knowledge, raised the responsibility of the owners of care homes, who make rather a good living from the considerable fees paid by their 'guests'?
Yes, it's absurd to pretend as the BBC does that NHS Management and Care Home owners have no legal or ethical responsiblity to ensure their staff are protected. Even if they didn't have a plan in place prior to 2020, it has been clear since the first part of January that a pandemic was on the way and that medical or care staff were at risk as well as the elderly.
This tweet from John Simpson on 4 Feb is revealing. He is basically accusing his fellow citizens of being racist for staying away from Chinatown in the very early days of coronavirus way before lockdown. The first comment is from Hugh Sykes agreeing with him.https://twitter.com/johnsimpsonnews/status/1224784762386157574?s=21
Of a piece with Pelosi and Democrat Mayors in the USA urging people to continue visiting Chinatowns back in late January. Also of a piece with the Mayor of Florence backing the "hug a Chinese person" demo after the Coronavirus outbreak began. For PC globalists their "diversity" ideology is more important than people's health, people's culture built up over centuries, children's happiness, family life or just about anything else you care to mention. Of course, we know the PC Globalists have embraced Lockdownism now but only universal Lockdownism. Everyone has to suffer equally. They want Lockdowns now but opposed Trump's "racist" border closures, designed to prevent the spread of the disease from China to the USA.
Guido has a piece on BBC News from last night - another example of the BBC sneaking activists under the radar to provide the nation with their unbiased views - https://order-order.com/2020/04/17/bbcs-nurse-worried-ppe-left-wing-activist/
I reckon the producers/editors know all too well and the guests aren’t selected at random. I’m sure they all follow each other on twitter and inhabit the same metro left echo chamber. Guido and others often find them out but the BBC don’t care and carry on as normal cultivating that narrative.
This is very telling, especially the very last sentence.From The Telegraph today;The Prime Minister did make a coherent case for lockdown. The modelling suggested that the NHS was about to be overwhelmed by demand for intensive care beds, so we all needed to stay home to “buy time” for the health service to scale up. We’d hunker down meanwhile.The forecasts, then, were terrifying. One MP told me that his local hospital had just eight spare critical care beds, and had been told it could soon see hundreds of patients needing ventilators. Operation Scale Up began.It was a huge success. Official figures have not been released, but I’m told that even last week - when daily deaths were at their worst - Covid patients occupied about a third of all intensive care beds. Those with other ailments occupied another third. The final third lay empty. Some MPs have concerns about how this happened, about how many patients were discharged - or denied treatment - to create space. But at the time, NHS staff were told to do whatever was necessary to prepare. Its mission was to prepare for a Wuhan-style Covid onslaught.The onslaught has simply not arrived in the form that was feared. Thousands of the beds that were cleared remain vacant. The NHS Nightingale pop-up hospital in London has a capacity of 3,600 beds but, at the last count, barely two dozen patients. Of the 91,000 available beds in the NHS, 37,000 lay empty as of last weekend. The Health Service Journal, which got hold of the figures, says this is four times more empty beds than is normal for this time of year.
Thanks Charlie - yes, very telling. And very telling that the Government keeps hiding these figures. There is no case for a continued 3 week total lockdown. The time to start relaxing controls is now. The elderly, those with serious or multiple health conditions and the clinically obese should be advised to continue self-isolating and should be supported in that. A degree of social distancing should be encouraged e.g. when shopping. But, for the sake of our health, our future and our children's future, we need to restart the economy now.
“The number of deaths due to the disruption of cancer services is likely to outweigh the number of deaths from the coronavirus itself over the next five years.”– Richard Sullivan, professor of cancer and global health at King’s College London (The Times)
The Belgium death toll continues at an alarming rate - with 445 per million, pulling ahead of both Italy and Spain. UK's figure is less than half Belgium's at 202 and the USA is on only 105. Belgium's latest daily figure at 306 would be the equivalent of of over 1800 in UK population terms. Belgium has of course been on lockdown for over a month now, and still we see these horrendous figures. Of course the BBC and MSM will be straight on this important story won't they? Er - no. Nothing on the BBC's Coronavirus or Europe pages on the website! They cover just about every other country in Europe, but not Belgium. Aren't our media grand?
I wonder why everyone is so reticent about reporting what is going on in Belgium?
The Belgians as a nation are probably the truest to the EU ideals.
Or Molenbeek is a hot bed.
I think it's a combination of things, Charlie. Something must set off their PC alarm systems. They can probably sense this story is a threat to several important narratives:1. "High Muslim migration and mass immigration are to be welcomed." As you suggest, if this is a health problem centred on Molenbeek, that could be problematic for the BBC and its pals. 2. "The EU does things better than the UK". Having Belgium along with Italy, Spain and France, ahead of the UK in deaths per million is embarrassing. 3. "Lockdowns are proven to work." Having such a huge spike in cases and deaths after a month plus of lockdown in Belgium is, to say the least, highly damaging to the Lockdown Cult. 4. "Listen to the experts and everything will be all right." The experts will be shocked by what's happening in Belgium but no one must see their shock. That will damage public confidence.
I think one of my earlier FOI attempts/exemption blow offs was a breakdown of 'news stories' published/broadcast as a result of contact inbound from PR or in-person quoted subjects vs. those derived by contact made by BBC 'reporters', and the bases these were made, between being sourced purely via research to on-file 'experts', and how these were selected and preserved.
In plain English please, not via a random word generator.
The BBC will always claim exemption under Part VI of Schedule 1 of the FOI - its liability only being "in respect of information held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature. "
Anon, Indeed.Charlie, as you asked so nicely, it would be wasted on you.
I just saw the trailer for BBCs Big Night In where Lenny Henry says he is going to lift the nations spirits with a whole night of entertainment featuring Catherine Tate, Gary Barlow, Zoe Ball and Matt Baker. I’m really looking forward to that side-splitting A list line up.
Isn't that the sort of casting Lenny is wont to complain about?
It'll be really funny this time, though: Lenny's going to white-up and burst through doors, shouting "Katanga!"
Hang on a minute, Sir Lenny of Henry is funny by just opening his mouth and talking in a loud mock Jamaican patios. I wish he would just stick to advertising Premier Inn and stay in permanent isolation in that purple bed.
"...talking in a loud mock Jamaican patois".Jim Davidson was good at that as well, wasn't he?...presumably he too gets his own programmes on the BBC! :) Or do they think possibly that 45 years is a long time in show business and he's had his day...unlike Sir Lenny Not At All Funny Henry who has to be indulged into his nineties.I think I was mildly amused by his Rastafarian Police Constable routine about four decades ago but since then? Embarrassing acting forays and political agitation/emotional blackmail (literally) to keep himself employed.
Lenny Henry also appeared with the Black and White Minstrel show when he started in showbiz.I expect that it has been deleted from his current CV Anne G
Looks like the Belgians, obviously desperate to get out of this trap of their own making are going to start changing the rules, to bring down the death figures from Covid-19...hmmm...nothing suspicious there! lol This is a typical EU response: "The news is bad...let's change the news." https://www.euractiv.com/section/coronavirus/news/belgium-says-transparency-explains-high-virus-death-toll/It's a confused picture but it sounds as if they are constructing a cover story, because whatever the methodology, presumably it has remained relatively stable up to now, so that there still should not have been a spike in cases and deaths given they are over a month into a lockdown. It sounds as if they government wants to redefine the problem away, so that they can declare the lockdown a success and lift it. I hope to God we don't find ourselves in this situation - well we almost are already - trapped by Government rhetoric and a stubborn refusal of the figures to improve. What happens then? Do we continue the lockdown and totally destroy our economy, see people starve, cancer patients die? What will we tell our children? "Sorry kids - we burnt down the house - your inheritance is a pile of ashes." I see the Mail has now picked up on the story: So even if the BBC isn't interested some media are! Wall St Journal have also picked up on the story. The Mail - being part of the Lockdown Cult - is spinning the story to make it sound like Belgium is being honest and other countries are hiding the true totals. Hmmm...I really don't think that is what is going on. The UK is supposed to be a bit lacking in recording Covid deaths in care homes. If you look at UK figures for Week 14 the difference between actual pneumonia/flu death figures (which it is a fair bet would be the alternative "cause of death" on a certificate if Covid-19 was not entered but the patient died of respiratory failure) and the 5 year average for the same week, it's only about 300. So even if all those deaths had been misascribed to pneumonia/flu rather than Covid-19 (highly unlikely - people die from different pathogens all the time) then that would be about 9% of the Covid-19 total. Is it really going to be much different in Belgium? I doubt it. I think this is a classic bit of misdiretion to take our eyes off the main glaring fact: the lockdown has not worked. Deaths have spiked. Cases have spiked.
In the absence of widespread and reliable testing, a team under Professor Tim Spector from Kings College has been polling the general public to get a feel for what is actually happening in the real world. (Their results have been shared with the NHS and published on covid.joinzoe.com.) Their considered view is that the pandemic peaked in the UK at the end of March, where they estimated that about 2 million people were infected. Since then, they have been reporting a steady daily drop, such that their estimate of the total number of cases was down to 582k on 15 April. This is based on observation and reporting of symptoms, rather than blood tests, although this is not necessarily a major flaw, because the current blood tests seem are not widely available for the population as a whole, and have been shown to be somewhat unreliable.
:::NEWSNIGHT WATCH:::Last night we had the spectacle of YET ANOTHER David Miliband interview on the BBC. As always if followed the same old pattern: soft-lob questions enabling Miliband to knock the ball out of the ground...except he's quite incapable of any such bold move. Nope, just the usual doggy-doo pile of platitudes from the BBC's "King Across the Water".There was also an item that sort to link Brexit and Covid-19 via economic impact. The whole thrust was pro-EU and pro-extension. Last night and tonight and most nights there was Deborah Cohen. Now I used to be rather dismissive about Our Debs...she seemed to make rather unstable mountains out of molehills that would have been best left as molehills. But, fair play, I think (a) she has been exemplary in her workrate since Covid-19 hit and most of her reports are now interesting and illuminating which one can't say about many of the her colleagues. Talking of colleagues, there was a classic Lewisism from Mr Goddard tonight referring to "our colleagues on the Guardian"...yep - and I bet the Guardian crew refer to "our colleagues at the BBC"!"BBC, meet Guardian""Oh, we've already met - we go back a long way..." A last thought, Kirsty Wark very enthusiastic talking about how the virus crisis can be exploited to further socialist politics. Matia couldn't agree more. Danny Finkelstein yet again proving v. weak in debate with Matia Fahnbulleh (always an impressive TV performer). Finkelstein is a real Cameronite isn't he? - thinks he can just agree with everyone as long as he reminds them every now and again that things need to be paid for. It's a dangerous political strategy - failing to engage ideologically with the enemy. It makes it appear like you agree with their principles...perhaps you do but I doubt it in Danny's case. Equality of outcome is not a desirable state to strive for. State control of all economic activity is not a desirable policy. Making a fetish of an organisation - the NHS - is not a rational approach to life and is bound to lead to bad decision making.
sort = sought of course!
Don't know how you bear to watch Newsnight so regularly MB! Didn't Samira A used to complain about the number of "unelected" Farage's appearances on the BBC? There's no semblance of excuse for the number of times we hear from Milliband D. Just in your face boosterism of a Blairite from the Blairite BBC.
Almost a retraction of fake news by the BBC;https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52333540Not quite though, I thought the original headline of "NHS boss asks for Barbour and Burberry to help with PPE" or similar, sounds a bit like "NHS boss needs snacks for workers, appeals to pret-a-manger"...
A lot of people on Biased BBC smelt BS on that one! And so it proved...But it is hugely concerning that we still have doubts over PPE for front line staff - with a report now that the Government has revised its guidelines to allow for substitute garments in some contexts, owing to PPE shortages.
I'll think on that when I'm required to clap for NHS workers (including supplies department managers ?).
BBC - "Trusted news." Yeah, right!
Good interview with Peter Hitchens. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogeVM3JsJoMNew Culture Forum is one of our best media platforms for sensible discussion of contemporary issues.
Interesting. John Humphreys has done a piece in the Daily Mail asking "are we Lions led by Donkeys?". In it - which is typical for a BBC hack -he tries to stir up public feeling against politicians. Yet if you look at the best rated comments all are supportive of the government, most saying everyone is doing their best in difficult circumstances. The vitriol in the 1000's of comments is all aimed at journalists saying they have disgraced themselves during this crisis and trust has never been lower.Maybe the Daily Mail readers are the bell-weather for an electorate sick and tired of the BBC, Peston, Rigby and the politicising of TV news gathering.
As soon as parliament is back in its new virtual form, we should expect increasingly loud cries from Beff, Pest and Doomsberg for a GNU - with Starmer as the Trojan horse - there to delay or possibly prevent Brexit. After all, his shadow cabinet is stuffed full of Remainers.
'prevent Brexit' I meant by delaying the transition period indefinitely.
More like sheep misled by donkeys. Staying at home is hardly climbing into a Spitfire to take on the Luftwaffe or going over the top at the Somme. Of course many frontline medical, care and other staff are showing great courage and fortitude. I do salure them. But the Great British Public haven't exactly covered themselves in glory, being only to happy to surrender their liberties, no questions asked. It sometimes feels like people would be happy with a Chinese-style dictatorship: mass demonstrations of emotion, no free speech, and officially approved narratives presented by the media.
Yes Arthur. They are the main cheerleaders for unelected and partisan agenda driven media. They are the real enemy of the people with the relentless promotion of carefully chosen narratives that undermine the very fabric of our society.
Tweet from Jeremy Vine - he's on BBC message:... 'Should we delay Brexit? Talks have restarted via videolink between EU negotiators and the UK. But isn't the whole thing just a distraction with the pandemic going on? Should we tell the EU we can't leave any time soon? #JeremyVine' ...
You can always rely on Vine to show his true colours. The archetypal BBC metro- liberal.
Vine is an ignoramus. We have left the EU. Brexit has happened. He means, "Should we extend the transition period?".
Shouldn't the BBC and other media organisations be bringing in a new phrase on the model of "despite Brexit" ie "despite the Lockdown". So we would have "despite the Lockdown deaths continue to spike in Belgium". As it is, Sky for one seem to be running with the misdirection narrative on Belgium. If you'd seen the report from Belgium (where they have just allowed the opening of DIY stores and other outlets)you'd have assumed that the Lockdown had gone well and the only reason Belgium had such high figures (not mentioned that they are the highest in the world on deaths per million)was because they were so honest and transparent about deaths in Care Homes being attributed to Covid-19. This is the misdirection and obfuscation being practised by the Belgian government, no doubt with the aid of the EU. The truth is:(a) The Belgian medical profession and Government have their practices regarding recording of Covid-19 deaths. All countries do. But these practices have not changed in any radical way, so regardless of whether the Belgians adopt best practice or not, one can still follow trends - upwards and downwards based on their recording practices. (b) So, regardless, there was a huge spike in cases and deaths after more than a month of Lockdown. That is simply what happened. All the talk about recording practices (that haven't changed) is irrelevant to the trend.The fact the spikes occurred is simply not allowed for in Lockdown theory. It means either the Lockdown is being flouted on a huge scale (no evidence for that) or the theory is wrong.
The things I don’t understand are:Why is it hitting Old Europe the hardest, are we better at recording cases and deaths or is their a genetic or social reason? (USA is originally a colony of old Europe emigres)Is it lockdown that slows transmission or is it that only 20% of the population is susceptible to catching it?Is it a general lockdown or 14 day isolation of those showing symptoms that is most effective In slowing transmission?Worldwide we have not seen it run rampant through an entire population as the models predict - why not?Is it virus we just have to live with rather than hide away from it?
Overcrowding in big cities coupled with high numbers of people per household are IMO the reasons for spread of the virus. Social isolation in these conditions is impossible. In a lockdown, these conditions actually encourage the spread. Lockdown in rural and less populated areas will work effectively - but then, incidence appears lower anyway - again IMO.
Why didn't it take hold in Athens then?
Because Greater Athens has a stable, reducing population with most migrants, who might otherwise cause overcrowding, travelling onward.