8 December 2021 – today’s press releases

  • PM press conference: Inquiry must look into all Downing Street parties
  • Covid pass app crashes days before vaccine passports introduced

PM press conference: Inquiry must look into all Downing Street parties

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called for the Cabinet Office inquiry to be extended into all parties that took place in Number 10 last year, along with any that took place in other government departments.

It comes after Boris Johnson confirmed at a press conference today that he has only asked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to look into the party that took place on December 18 last year, not an earlier gathering that the prime minister allegedly attended on November 27.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

Boris Johnson has already done huge damage to public trust. Now he’s making things even worse by dodging scrutiny about claims he attended other parties at Downing Street.

The official inquiry must be widened to look into all the parties held in Downing Street last year and in any other government departments, including those that the prime minister allegedly attended.

The public are rightly furious that Boris Johnson thinks the rules don’t apply to him. They deserve answers, not a Whitehall whitewash that lets the prime minister off the hook.

Covid pass app crashes days before vaccine passports introduced

Responding to reports the NHS Covid pass app has already crashed following the announcement the government will introduce Covid passports from next week, Liberal Democrat Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The Government’s Covid ID cards plans have already descended into a shambles on the same day they were announced.

This chaos is leaving people unable to access the Covid pass app, just days before they will need to start using it to attend events. Ministers must fix this mess now before people are shut out of events simply because the government’s app doesn’t work.

It shows that Covid passports are not only illiberal but unworkable. The Conservatives may be able to organise a party in Number 10, but they can’t roll out Covid ID cards without them crashing.

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100 Comments

  • John Marriott 9th Dec '21 - 9:17am

    It would seem that the alleged ‘party’ at No 10 involved mainly staffers, the kind who appeared to be having a laugh at the leaked video of the press conference rehearsal. Now I just wonder how many more ‘illegal’ parties took place elsewhere during that period. John 8:7 comes to mind. There are enough ‘lawbreakers’ out there. You see, we moan about the government; but who voted them in in the first place? Here’s another Bible quote, namely Galatians 6:8.

  • John Marriott 9th Dec '21 - 11:03am

    I’ve just had another thought. I was quite surprised when Allegra Stratton was surprisingly moved from her Press Secretary rôle last Summer to be press spokesperson for COP26. Did someone back then know that something had happened on the run up to Christmas and that a video might be going the rounds? Or am I just being paranoid?

  • Helen Dudden 9th Dec '21 - 11:21am

    Since, all these lock downs started many things have changed.
    Capitalism is not an unselfish act, it’s a self serving act.
    I personally, find it difficult to accept the thoughts on how we should accept situations without question, there is a lack of emotional empathy for the suffering of those around us.
    I don’t know how many parties were given, but I do know that I find the accounts of lack of medical treatment for those seriously ill distressing. How many thing’s have sunk to a level of not caring.

  • Chris Moore 9th Dec '21 - 11:31am

    Covid passports “unworkable”?

    Come on, Alistair, they work perfectly well in France and Spain, to take just two neighbouring countries.

  • Helen Dudden 9th Dec '21 - 11:40am

    Any of the injections do not offer full protection in many areas. Passport or not you can pass on the virus.
    Of course viruses change, and the new mutation is not so severe. It would be useful to find a level to live at where some are not being pushed close to the edge, mentally. Stress is the cause of ill health.

  • David Goble 9th Dec '21 - 12:10pm

    @ Chris Moore. As you say, the Covid passport system seems to work satisfactorily in other countries; what we have to remember is that some of them are in the EU and, therefore, are unmentionable!

  • Chris Moore 9th Dec ’21 – 11:31am:
    Covid passports “unworkable”?

    Seems a fair assessment if their objective is to reduce infections. Current vaccines only give partial protection against infection and consequent transmission of the virus with such efficacy dropping to below 50% after a few months. ONS survey data shows that a higher proportion of the unvaccinated have antibodies from a previous natural infection. Data from Israel shows that infection confers better immunity than vaccination alone. Vaccine passports may therefore engender a false sense of safety. There may also be a displacement effect: those prevented from attending an open-air football match may instead watch the match in a crowed poorly-ventilated pub or with friends. Vaccine passports don’t make scientific sense and distract attention from other measures which could be effective.

    Come on, Alistair, they work perfectly well in France and Spain, to take just two neighbouring countries.

    Daily cases have risen rapidly in France and are now higher than the UK…

    ‘Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people’:
    https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&facet=none&pickerSort=desc&pickerMetric=new_cases_smoothed_per_million&Interval=New+per+day&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=GBR~FRA&Metric=Confirmed+cases

    As with other countries, the number of cases in France would be even higher if they did as much testing as the UK. Spain’s restrictions vary by region, but most now appear to have been relaxed…

    ‘Green pass: Which countries in Europe require a COVID vaccine pass to get around?’:
    https://www.euronews.com/travel/2021/10/12/green-pass-which-countries-in-europe-do-you-need-one-for

    Madrid has taken a huge step towards normality, allowing indoor hospitality venues to operate at 75 per cent capacity and outdoor spaces at 100 per cent. Restaurants can also operate until 2am and nightclubs and cocktail bars until 6 am, just like before the pandemic.

    Murcia has also reopened nightlife venues and 6 people may dine together indoors.

    The Valencian Community has removed the curfew completely and nightlife venues can operate until 3am. Bars, restaurants, and cafes need to stop serving at midnight.

  • Barry Lofty 9th Dec '21 - 3:15pm

    [email protected] Yes there is always a case for comparison in whatever stance governments around the world take to prevent the spread of old and newer forms of Covid but it seems that for all the scientific knowledge out there, no one is a 100% sure if any particular restriction is fool proof and so, as someone of certain age, I would rather be safe than sorry and behave responsibly for all our sakes in any environment and pursuit we wish to participate in and hopefully, sooner rather than later, the clever scientists solve the problem of this awful virus and allow us all to return to some normality.

  • With an estimated 10,000 Omicron cases already in the UK and Considering how fast this new variant spreads, doubling every 3 days (without any NPI’s in place) and prior infection and vaccination does not offer enough protection from re-infection (though hopefully effective against serious illness) and With 6 Million + people unvaccinated in the UK.
    Even if 10% of those unvaccinated developed a severe illness requiring Hospital treatment that’s 600,000 Hospital beds which we obviously don’t have
    And if 1 % of those needed ICU beds thats 60,000 ICU beds, which as I am sure you all know, we also do not have….

    Those Numbers put US ALL at risk no matter what our vaccination status as it puts public health as a whole at risk and the NHS service for which we all rely on, especially if those 6 million people all come into contact with this virus in a relative short period of time and all needing treatment around the same time. Its obvious to see why the Government has resorted to plan (b)

    If covid passports and restrictions on the unvaccinated are what are needed to encourage more people to take up the vaccination in order to reduce the amount of people catching “severe covid” and putting Critical NHS resources a risk, then bring on the restrictions I say. I see nothing Illiberal in that when this is a public health measure and one of the first rules of Liberalism is to do no harm to others

  • I strongly agree with Matt.

    According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), over 2.2 million clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people in England have been advised to shield, with a further 236,000 on the shielding list in Scotland – of whom I happen to be one. There is a similar proportion in Wales.

    People who were advised to shield during the first wave of the pandemic were eight times more likely to get Covid-19. These people were also five times more likely to die from the virus according to a study which examined the outcomes for patients advised to shield in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) between March and May.

    I strongly disagree when Alastair Carmichael and Alex Cole-Hamilton make opposition to ‘Vaccine passports’ an article of faith for Liberal Democrats. Sorry, but this is highly irresponsible and lacks any understanding of the real fears and sensitivities of nearly three million people in mainland UK…. not to mention it echoes the so called ‘libertarian’ right wing of the Conservative Party.

    I urge Alex and Alistair to reflect on this and to think again.

  • matt 9th Dec ’21 – 3:52pm:
    With 6 Million + people unvaccinated in the UK.

    Most of those will have some level of immunity due to a previous infection. While reliable data on relative immunity has yet to appear, given the number of mutations in Omicron’s spike protein it’s a reasonable assumption that prior infection will confer better immunity than current vaccines alone.

    Its obvious to see why the Government has resorted to plan (b)

    Not obvious to me. It looks like another example of ‘Something must be done. This is something. Let’s do it’. As data from many countries shows, vaccine passports and related restrictions do not prevent the rapid spread of even the Delta variant. There’s no reason to believe they will impede Omicron.

    If covid passports and restrictions on the unvaccinated are what are needed to encourage more people to take up the vaccination in order to reduce the amount of people catching “severe covid” and putting Critical NHS resources a risk, then bring on the restrictions I say.

    Postcode data shows low vaccination rates are mostly in ethnic minority areas. If the objective was to encourage more people to take up vaccination then vaccine passports would be required for religious venues. Being permitted to enter nightclubs is of no incentive to people who never go to such places.

    Research suggests that for some groups vaccine passports may be counter-productive…

    ‘The potential impact of vaccine passports on inclination to accept COVID-19 vaccinations in the United Kingdom: evidence from a large cross-sectional survey and modelling study’ [June 2021]:
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.31.21258122v1

    Overall, we find that the introduction of passports for either domestic or international use has a net negative impact on vaccination inclination, once we control for baseline vaccination intent.

  • Sorry Jeff

    I do not agree, first of

    “it’s a reasonable assumption that prior infection will confer better immunity than current vaccines alone”
    Assumptions do not cut it during a national public health emergency and we need solid data and facts. Hence the reason why temporary measures being imposed to slow the spread is sensible in order to allow the scientists time to come to a definitive conclusion, the cost of not doing so because “oops sorry our assumption was wrong” could cause catastrophic costs to the economy & Public health as a whole.

    Jeff
    As has been observed in many countries, vaccine passports do increase uptake….France had a very slow uptake of vaccines until Macron announced the “health pass” and an unprecedented 3.7 Million booked their jabs following the televised address, another example was Australia who got off to a very low start. So I do not agree with your conclusions.

    There is not much I agree with, with Boris Johnson, however, when he says that we have to have a national conversation about the millions of people who remain unvaccinated, I agree with him…. We can not have a situation that goes on for ever where we are having to chose between protecting the economy and public health….

    As I stated in a previous thread, people really do not see how perilously close the NHS came in 2021
    On January 24th 2021 the UK had 4077 people on mechanical ventilation beds
    https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare?areaType=overview&areaName=United%20Kingdom
    considering the UK only has 5,900 critical care beds, of which only 70% are for adults (4130) the rest are for Paediatric and Neonatal
    https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/nhs-hospital-bed-numbers
    When looked at this way, surely even the most ardent anti-lock down types can acknowledge just how close things were for the NHS.
    Yes they expanded ICU capacity to cope under emergency measures by converting Surgical wards to ICU wards etc, however, this is at the expense of elective surgery, hence the reason we have so many people with delayed treatment.

    If a significant proportion of the unvaccinated are going to cause those kind of risks to public health, then I am sorry, something has to be done to address that…if that is more sticks to encourage uptake, then that’s what it takes…

  • I wouldn’t like the UK to go to like Singapore where they start saying unvaccinated have to start paying for their own treatment if they catch covid……
    But our health system is in a mess, millions of people are waiting for urgent life saving / changing treatment, but they cannot have it because too many hospitals are dealing with covid patients, even now almost a 1/4 of ICU beds are taken up by covid patients and we are not even in the peak of Winter Months, so more and more elective surgery has to be cancelled…..something has to change Jeff, so how do you do that?????

  • matt 9th Dec ’21 – 5:57pm:
    Assumptions do not cut it during a national public health emergency and we need solid data and facts.

    Yes, that assumption is based on “solid data and facts”. It’s already been shown that natural immunity confers better and more durable protection against the Delta variant than vaccination alone. A natural infection exposes the body’s immune system to all 28/29 proteins on the virus rather than just the spike proteins that the vaccine targets. Omicron has more spike protein mutations so it’s safe to assume that a previous natural infection will confer at least as good immunity as it does for Delta…

    ‘Comparing SARS-CoV-2 natural immunity to vaccine-induced immunity: reinfections versus breakthrough infections’ [25th. August 2021]:
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.24.21262415v1

    Conclusions This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity. Individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant.

  • Peter Martin 9th Dec '21 - 7:58pm

    @ Jeff,

    “It’s already been shown that natural immunity confers better and more durable protection against the Delta variant than vaccination alone.”

    You might have a point there, Jeff. According to the latest statistics some 146,000 people in the UK and over 5.3 million people worldwide now have absolute immunity from not only all current forms of Covid, but from all present and future forms of everything else too!

  • @Jeff

    How many of the 6 million + unvaccinated have had covid?? and now have some “natural immunity” as you call it. Do we know for certain or are we just guessing??? Do we know the exact age and demographics of these people? Do we know their risk factor of developing severe disease??

    Please come back with some factual figures for me that will put peoples mind at rest and show us there is no need to worry and there are not significant numbers involved that will put our very limited ICU resources at risk and will further delay the 6 million people and rising who are waiting for in many instances urgent life saving / changing non covid treatment and operations…..

    I would love to be able to revaluate my opinion and be not so scared for our public health system and concerned for the millions of people who are suffering due to delayed treatment

  • The thing that really gets me

    Antilock downers were all for throwing a “ring of steel” around the elderly and vulnerable and asking them to lock themselves away indefinitely and allow everyone else to go about their life as normal so they can enjoy their freedoms and liberty and that was “Liberal, because this virus was apparently only deadly to 1%, so that is ok”

    But now the same people say, don’t you dare suggest putting a rope barrier up to the chosen unvaccinated “around 10%” and limit their freedoms, just because they might get severe covid and pose a risk to public health system that everyone else relies upon, that is illiberal….

    The Irony is astounding, but I don’t know why I am still surprised by it all

  • @Jeff – ” It’s already been shown that natural immunity confers better and more durable protection against the Delta variant than vaccination alone.”
    Depends on what you mean by “better”.
    I read your claim to actually mean that having been vaccinated and having had CoViD19, a person will, in general, have better immunity than someone who has only had CoViD19 and no vaccine or someone who has had the vaccine but not had CoViD19.

    From direct personal experience, getting vaccinated and then contracting CoViD19 is a better outcome than contracting CoViD19 before receiving a vaccine dose. However, I note the preprint(*) study you link to didn’t assess this permutation – which will become the most common in countries with high takeup of vaccinations.

    I also note that the post-infection guidance has changed with Omicron, based on what has been seen in S.Africa. As it seems recent illness from prior variants of CoViD19 isn’t sufficient to give someone immunity from the Omicron variant, although they are more likely to only get mild symptoms. So whilst I have a valid CoViD19 pass, the guidance is that I should still do regular LFT’s and PCR’s even though there is a reasonable risk these will give false-positive results due to my recent infection… So it would seem that Omicron is already invalidating one of the findings/conclusions from the study; the fun and games of real-time science!

    (*)”Caution: Preprints are preliminary reports of work that have not been certified by peer review. They should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.” [medrxiv.org ].

  • Roland 9th Dec ’21 – 9:26pm:
    Depends on what you mean by “better”.

    I consider “longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization” as stated in the cited paper, to be better.

    I read your claim to actually mean that having been vaccinated and having had CoViD19, a person will, in general, have better immunity…

    Not my claim; it’s the evidence from numerous research papers. Your reading is correct, but the cited paper compared three groups:

    (1)SARS-CoV-2-naïve individuals who received a two-dose regimen of the BioNTech/Pfizer mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine, (2)previously infected individuals who have not been vaccinated, and (3)previously infected and single dose vaccinated individuals.

    From direct personal experience, getting vaccinated and then contracting CoViD19 is a better outcome than contracting CoViD19 before receiving a vaccine dose.

    Yes, that’s much the best way. However, the discussion here is about the unvaccinated. I pointed out that most of those have, by now, acquired immunity from previous natural infection.

    …it seems recent illness from prior variants of CoViD19 isn’t sufficient to give someone immunity from the Omicron variant, although they are more likely to only get mild symptoms.

    That was the case with previous variants too. Neither previous infection (with any variant) or vaccination (with any vaccine) confers sterilising immunity (that is full protection against infection). Immunity is always partial. What we are concerned with in this discussion is keeping people out of hospital (for the reasons Matt details). That is immunity from hospitalisation and is largely determined by T-cell/memory B-cell response rather than antibody levels. Based on the evidence from previous variants, natural immunity is likely to be better at that than vaccination alone, because the body’s immune system has been exposed to the whole virus. Acquiring immunity by both vaccination and subsequent natural infection – so-called hybrid immunity – is likely to confer even better immunity.

    Preprints are preliminary reports of work…

    Preprint or peer-reviewed, all research papers need to be considered on their own merits. With Covid, almost all the published data which appears in the media and which SAGE and other bodies use to make decisions has not (yet) been peer-reviewed.

  • Liberty for all involves a balance between rights and responsibilities. As it stands, the unvaccinated are making more restrictions on our lives inevitable through needing to implement more and more non-pharmaceutical interventions due to the pressures on the NHS and public health as a whole, I think that is the crux of what Boris Johnson was getting at and the reason why we need a wider public discussion on the way forward .

    And that is why It is time we imposed some restrictions on them.

  • @Jeff

    It seems as though if we look at South Africa for your analysis on natural infection compared to vaccination confers better protection, does not stand up to scrutiny on the ground in SA where hospital admissions are rising by 170% in a week in relation to Omicron and SA is supposed to have largely high numbers of people with “natural antibodies” due to high levels of natural infection to previous coronaviruses

    From
    “Glenda Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council, said there were far more unvaccinated people among current hospital admissions.”
    On the Pfizer vaccine, she said: “We are seeing this vaccine is maintaining effectiveness. It may be slightly reduced, but we are seeing effectiveness being maintained for hospital admissions and that is very encouraging.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2021/dec/10/covid-news-live-australia-to-offer-jabs-to-children-aged-five-to-11-us-omicron-cases-mostly-mild-cdc-chief-says

  • The unvaccinated are only around 12% of the UK population and younger than average overall. I cannot see how they would overwhelm the NHS and there is no real evidence that Omicron would change that (the rise in cases in SA might have happened anyway).

    If the NHS is overstretched at the moment that is likely to be to due to the health effects of lockdown and GP’s not seeing enough people in person. Furthermore, some people need hospital treatment due to rare vaccine side effects.

    It is time to stop the unjustified scapegoating of the unvaccinated and I applaud the Lib Dems for their stance.

  • John Marriott 10th Dec '21 - 9:48am

    @Jeff
    From what you have written so far it would seem that you are advocating the concept of herd immunity. So, do we just abandon further vaccine programmes, allow the disease to let rip and just put up with all the further deaths that will surely occur?

  • @Marco

    There are about 1 million over-60s who are not fully vaccinated according to the guardianhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/13/fully-vaccinated-people-account-for-12-of-englands-covid-19-deaths
    I have seen figures previously that mentioned 5 million over 50’s, but I cannot find reference to that again, so I will just have to go off the figures for over 60’s for now.
    1 million unvaccinated could equate to 100,000 developing severe covid and needing hospital admission and 1 % of those needing mechanical ventilation equates to 10,000 ICU admissions….clearly we do not have capacity for that and that is before we even start getting down the age groups of the remaining unvaccinated people who could require a hospital admission due to severe covid.

    No matter what way you try to spin it Marco. This puts the health service and us ALL at risk. It means more delays to elective surgery and people who need life saving / changing treatment and it also puts accidents and emergencies at risk

    “If the NHS is overstretched at the moment that is likely to be to due to the health effects of lockdown”
    Marco, I have given you the FACTS for the number of ICU beds available in the UK to adults and I have also given you the figures for the number of people with covid on mechanical ventilation during the peak in January 2021, how do you possibly dispute that when it is there in black and white for you to see??? That is why elective surgery had to be cancelled.. It is not lockdowns cancelling elective surgery, it is the sheer number of covid patients needing ICU beds that means elective surgery has to be cancelled, can you not see that??

    Even now, Covid Patients are once again taking up almost a ¼ of all available ICU beds and we are not in the peak of Winter months yet… I really struggle to fathom how you cannot or will not understand this and instead try to spin everything as being the result of lockdown rather than covid itself…

  • Andy Boddington 10th Dec '21 - 2:33pm

    @Matt You are referring to data that is three months out of date. On 8 December, there were an estimated 237,000 people in England over 60 without 2 doses; 760,000 over 50s. There will be smaller numbers in Wales and Scotland. This is still far too many but not 5 million over 50s.

  • @Andy

    As I said in my last post, I could not find the articles where I had seen it mentioned before about the 5 million + unvaccinated, but I did find the guardian article which mentioned the 1 million over 60’s. And yes you are right that was 2 months ago and as you point out those numbers have now come down.

    It would be nice to have more up to date confirmation of what those actual numbers are, but even going on your basis of 765,000 over 50’s ( That is far to many) as it still equates to the possibility of 76,000 severe covid infections requiring hospital treatment and 7,600 ICU admissions ( we dont have those resources available to us) especially if this new variant takes the trajectory that many scientists are fearing and doubling at a rate of every 2-3 days…….

    If that happens we are in a real mess by mid January should those unvaccinated all start requiring assistance around the same time….Hence the reason why Governments around the world are putting on the breaks until more is known and that seems entirely sensible to me.

    To many people seem to think that you just can magic extra ICU beds and staff out of thin air and these covid numbers should have no effect on elective surgery and those requiring emergency non-covid related accidents and illnesses.

  • @ Andy Boddington. Could you please give the source for your comment, Mr Boddington ?

    The Guardian on Tuesday (as mentioned by Matt) this week gave detailed figures for vaccination completion for both Scotland and England as published by ONS (office for National statistics). Suffice it to say the numbers for Scotland showed a more universal completion than did those for England.

  • @Andy
    3 days ago https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/07/as-many-as-6-million-eligible-britons-may-not-have-had-a-covid-jab-who-are-they

    “However, there are still big disparities in vaccination uptake at a local level, even among older age groups.

    In some local authorities, virtually all adults aged 60-plus have received two doses of a vaccine. However, in Westminster, only 68% of the 60-plus population are fully vaccinated, the lowest in the country. The other areas with the lowest vaccination rates are also in the capital: in Camden, Tower Hamlets and Kensington and Chelsea, at least a fifth of those in the 60-plus age group have not yet received a second dose”

    I accept there are disparities across the UK that makes this difficult to know exactly how many people (especially those in the most vulnerable categories) are still unvaccinated, but I think we can agree that even using the most conservative figures, this still poses a very significant risk to public health and we need to have a national conversation about this, as Bumbling Boris has said.

    We all dislike lockdowns and we all want life to get back to normal as quickly as possible, however, when there is a real risk to public health due to the amount of people who are still unvaccinated and are at an increased risk of severe infection and taking up limited NHS resources and ICU capacity, which then puts everyone else and especially the millions of sick and disabled people who are still awaiting hospital treatment at risk, then what do we do? What’s the answer?

    The choice is to
    (a) To give up and do nothing, just allow the virus to rip and allow nature to takes it course and cause devastation to the NHS, public health as a whole and christ knows how many covid and non covid deaths

    (b) We keep going backwards and forwards with either lockdowns or other NPI interventions as and when required to limit the spread and reduce Hospital admissions and deaths

    (C) or we start using some sticks to encourage more take up of vaccination to reduce the amount of those getting a serious infection

    If someone is able to come up with a (D) I would be more than happy to listen, but I hope we can all agree, with the exception of the usual hardcore covid deniers (A) is not an option

  • @ Matt

    The article you linked to suggests that in every age group over 35, around 85%+ are double vaccinated. The NHS wasn’t actually overwhelmed even when nobody was vaccinated and plenty of over 50’s were going to work so why would it be now? ICU capacity isn’t fixed at a permanent level and the government and NHS have had nearly 2 years to radically expand it.

    Yes in some areas especially in Inner London the rates are lower but it must be recognised that the lower rates of uptake among BAME communities is due to various factors including lack of trust in authorities. We absolutely must not make that worse with vaccine mandates that create an apartheid style system. Maybe the messaging just needs to be better?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 10th Dec '21 - 11:00pm

    Matt

    The usual eloquence and understanding of detail

    David

    The usual common sense and force of argument

    Elephant in the room, though is travel abroad and within this country.

    If New Zealand did not move to be now more like us, they would have closed off for a few years and ridden it out!

    We must ask the obsessed with foreign travel, holidays, conferences, most of whom are in receipt of two jabs, why not stay home or local?

    Liberalism is individuality as a personal philosophy, it is not individualist self indulgence. It is localism too. The move of Liberalism to be in favour of anything abroad must be great, there is no such thing as too many people coming here, it is not possible to be overcrowded, migrant ships are no problem, vaccine passports are illiberal, all and why not hard drugs ought to be decriminalised, this has replaced the common sense, which was Liberalism, far too much.

    I do not think vaccine passports are very effective. But they are not illiberal. I do think closing the borders by every countrey b ut for emergency travel would have done much, with keeping all venues closed like theatres, cinmemas, pubs clubs, sports venues, all this would, have, in my view, by all countries, with an international bail out and subsidising of all poorer, beaten the virus and with a mass vaccine programme especially in underdeveped countries.

    I belive we accepted this and many of us who are suffering real isolation by staying home mostly, and working from home, and not going out, should be rewarded and instead are called paranoid.

    We are in fear, of those who are loud, and libertarian and in the Tories, more or less, from the back benches, in power!

  • @Andy Boddington

    Thank you for the correction earlier, I dislike getting my figures wrong as it is never my intention to give misinformation… It has been driving me nuts all day where I got the figure from for over 5 million 50+ being unvaccinated and I have been searching and searching all day for the source of that info and I believe the error I made was, it was not 5 million unvaccinated. It was 5 million over 50’s yet to be “fully vaccinated” as in had their booster Jabs.
    Given that we now know that 2 doses of vaccine are not effective enough to ward of infection from Omicron, alarmingly more so for the Astra Zeneca which was more widely used in the elderly and care homes and given that there are at least 765,000 over 50’s who have not had a vaccine at all…..
    Then clearly as I keep saying, you can see why alarm bells are ringing in government and they have decided to put on the breaks (though not nearly hard enough could be argued by some)

    Even the most Hawkish of Government Ministers are now concerned, after all you could not get more Hawkish than the new health secretary Sajid Javid, especially when he was on the back benches, it soon becomes a different story and you and your department are directly responsible for millions of lives and protecting public health, though why he is so absent from the air ways now is a mystery.. He has clearly seen the data and is rattled, but does he have the courage to stand up to the back benches and the CRG.
    We seem to have the top brass in Government thats gone AWOL at the worse possible time

  • Andy Boddington 11th Dec '21 - 7:33am

    Thanks Matt. The definition of what “fully vaccinated” means has shifted from two doses to three doses. Four are planned for people who have weakened immune systems. To help the discussion, I have uploaded the latest vaccination data for England:
    Vax Data England

    It is worth noting that there are two objectives in vaccination. One is to reduce the number of people getting the disease. The other is to reduce the severity of the disease to reduce long term health consequences and hospitalisation. Severity is lower among younger people but they seem to be the most active in transmission.

  • Nonconformistradical 11th Dec '21 - 7:39am

    “We must ask the obsessed with foreign travel, holidays, conferences, most of whom are in receipt of two jabs, why not stay home or local?”

    And maybe also ask the same people what their carbon footprints are…?

  • Chris Moore 11th Dec '21 - 8:50am

    Jeff, thank you for your long response to my post pointing out that COVID passports certainly aren’t “unworkable”, as they have been in use for many months now in France and Spain and other countries.

    Another question is how effective they are. That is the question you’ve tried to answer. Whatever the answer to that question, they are certainly “workable”.

    Are such passports an infringement on liberty?

    For the vaccinated like myself, they are a minor inconvenience. For my anti-vax friends in France, they are restriction on their liberty. No going into bars and restaurants.

    The elderly and those with chronic health conditions – a significant percentage of the population – are rightly concerned about the risks of going into bars/restaurants etc. I believe others in society should accept the inconveniencies and restrictions of covid passports and vaccinations for the benefit of the more vulnerable.

  • @Andrew

    Thank you for post that link, that is useful

    And as can be seen there are still far to many people unvaccinated, especially in the over 50’s who are more vulnerable to serious disease and pose a significant risk to the health service.
    Then on top of that, we have millions of people desperately needing a Booster, due to this new variant.

    As I keep saying, this new variant appears to now be doubling every 2 days, that has the potential to put the health service under considerable risk, especially when it reaches authorities that have very low vaccination rates for over 60’s…..

    So what do we do?

    We have got to start getting vaccination rates up, in order to prevent as much serious disease as possible, not just to protect the person who is at immediate risk, but also to protect health services that the rest of the communities relies upon…

    Do we mandate vaccines in people over a certain age or who live in a community with low uptake?
    Do we put restrictions on unvaccinated people who live in certain communities with low uptake and are at more risk???
    That would be discriminatory and logistically impossible, none of that works and you need to have blanket approach to cover the entire population under a “public health measure” It is not Illiberal at all, it has been done before for Polio

    No matter how much the likes of the Marco’s want to deny the dangers this poses to the NHS and too public health as a whole and indeed the economy, by these constant back and forth mitigation measures to slow the spread…. We have to reduce the amount of people getting serious covid illness and needing hospital / ICU treatment and the only way to do that is to start mandating Vaccines, or to impose restrictions on the unvaccinated,
    If you have another solution that is workable then I would be happy to hear it

  • @Marco

    “The NHS wasn’t actually overwhelmed even when nobody was vaccinated and plenty of over 50’s were going to work so why would it be now? ICU capacity isn’t fixed at a permanent level and the government and NHS have had nearly 2 years to radically expand it.”

    I have gone to the effort and provided links with factual statistics on the availability of ICU beds in the United Kingdom and the number of covid patients that was on mechanical ventilation in January 2021… I am pretty sure that a child in year 3 can do the maths and work out what this means.
    As you have had it explained to you numerous times over the last couple of years, In order to expand ICU capacity, Surgical wards had to be converted into ICU wards.
    (Please explain how a hospital carries out elective surgery, when it has converted it surgical recovery ward into an ICU ward???)
    Acute medicine wards had to be converted into Covid only wards…..
    Seriously sick NON-COVID ICU Patients had to be kept separated and in totally different ICU Wards from COVID ICU Patient for what should be obvious reasons….
    And the logistics of doing all that means, more and more elective surgery having to be cancelled, hence part of the reason why hospital waiting lists have soared

    I have provided you links and statistics setting out my side of the argument which shows the pressures that the NHS was under…. How about you provide some stats that shows the NHS was not overwhelmed to back up your claims instead of just spouting an opinion and expecting people to take your view point as gospel….
    We have been waiting for 2 years and all I have seen so far from you is the Great Barrington Declaration, so I will not hold my breath too long waiting for something informative 

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Dec '21 - 1:38pm

    It takes quite a significantly different approach, for me to part company with those in favour of doing more.

    Mandatory vaccines is it.

    Matt, dear friend, this is not like the polio scenario. Take this once, and you never ever got polio. None of these vaccines are comparable. Why are the govt doing pfizer only as so called booster? Because they dare n’t admit the Astra Zeneca was poor and dangerous and only the “made in England,” explains the rush to use it.

    I think even the rush to third, fourth does wrong. We hear the being sick with Omicron is far less serious rthan previous Covid. So why not say this, yes to restrictions, yes to closing mass gatherings, yes to distance as the norm a while longer, but no to mandating any vaccines, please. Had only Astra Zeneca been the vaccine, I might not have taken it even if mandated, my wife more so, as she once had a serious reaction to similar vaccine. We had to push and persuade to get Pfizer, and had no problems from it, two of those were ok. But when the clot incidents were swerpt under the political carpet, sorry, talk of madates, no, in a Liberal party. Prove it safe first. Three does of pfizer, maybe, but of others , no way!

    I belive it better to close things than rush treatments. Similarly vaccine passports are okm for events and meeting, but not for entering hospitals or essential shops. Human rights to not be injected with something new, must be respected. Human rights to enter pubs, clubs, theatres, are not the same.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Dec '21 - 1:39pm

    Dear Matt

    Apologies, new keyborad, many errors!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Dec '21 - 2:05pm

    Noncomformistradical

    Thanks for wading through my pieces here, getting used to new operating system, chromebook and windows on two devices!

    Yes of course the up side of the stay home, stay local view I take now, or in general where possible, is it reduces the Covid virus and climate footprint.

    For all the talk of damaging business, it is odd wer’e not hearing the e bay independent sellers who have been on a roll!

    I have not been in a shop since covid emergency started. All online shopping.

    As a vegetarian, non drinker, non smoker, non driver, who flies rarely , I think I and those like me ought to be given more than the knowledge we are not damaging the planet. As someone who is in a small one bedroom flat, it is outrageous what we pay for heating it, electric, and supposedly good heaters! Subsidising those who do little damage, if in low income category, with fuel allowances and subsidising healthy eating, ought to be party policy!

  • My dearest Friend Lorenzo.

    I have to disagree on the Astra Zenca vaccine being poor and dangerous…https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n931

    The risk of a blood clot from AZ was around one case per 250 000 people vaccinated—0.0004%—and one death in a million.

    Compare that to between five and 12 people in every 10,000 will get a blood clot while using CHC Birth control each year, and yet we do not suddenly ban Birth control Pills.

    In fact you are more likely to get a blood clot from taking a long haul flight than you are from vaccination.

    About 100 000 people usually develop blood clots every month in the EU, and 3000 cases a month are thought to occur in the UK for a whole host of reasons.
    And of course, you are far more likely to develop blood clots from an actual covid infection than you are vaccination.

    The AZ vaccine has been proven to be safe in this regard when compared to other approved medical treatments

    The arguments over AZ were purely political in my opinion which caused untold deaths globally, poorer countries ended up seeing AZ vaccine as unwanted inferior donations from richer nations which resulted in more vaccine hesitancy….it was and is tragic

    Had more countries around the world had access to vaccines sooner inc AZ, (maybe) we would not have seen this new variant take hold….

    I know in an ideal world it is your preference to close down all International Travel and for every country to impose a zero covid policy and by the use of lockdowns whatever, to totally eradicate covid??? I think that is the point you are making?
    I wish that were possible my friend, but I believe that is no longer possible, maybe it would have been 2 years ago at the very start of this pandemic if countries had been more open and transparent and worked together (but they didnt) and I am afraid it is to late to be the genie back in the bottle…. This is too far seeded now with so many variants and constantly evolving.
    The best hope we have now is vaccinations until this virus does the rounds multiple times, hopefully becoming less virulent each time until we have something more akin to flu or the common cold.

  • That means until then, we are going to have times when health care settings around the world not just in the UK, are going to come under considerable strain and the only way to combat that for now is through vaccinations to try and reduce the amount of people who develop a severe case of disease needing in patient hospital treatment, Its either that or we just keep going round and round in circles implementing NPI at times of high prevalence to lower the peak. How long can people go on like that for????

    So as much as I love you my dear friend Lorenzo, on this one we have to disagree, as the only way out as far as I can see, is either mandatory Vaccination, or a lot of sticks and restrictions on the unvaccinated in order to “encourage” more take up

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Dec '21 - 3:32pm

    Dear Matt

    As ever not merely dear as a friend but admired for your efforts!

    Of course my description of the Astra Zeneca was flippant and wrong if you mean in compared to other medicines or pills for other conditions or reasons for taking those. I mean in comprison with pfizer, in my opinion, a far safer and far more effective vaccine. I do belive there were political reasons the govt clung to Astra Zeneca, but they were in my view pure vaccine jinoism more than your far more intelligent reasons to utilise it beyond where and when I would have scrapped it for pfizer or moderna.

    I belive that we cannot and must not and importantly, need not mandate the vaccines. We gain little if we did this, as we wopuld have political civil war, in demonstartions out of hand. And we gain less medically, as we do not know the vaccines are going to deal with Omicron yet. My view is that a vaccine passport for non essential things is ok. But as colleagues reveal, it is quite feeble as a so called solution. I feel we ought not give up on my, as you correctly say, favoured solution.

    If we had the level of travel of the hundred year ealier period, with a virus far less lethal than the 18 flu, we copuld have defeated covid.

    Meanwhile people think I am a celebrity… worth mixing !

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Dec '21 - 3:47pm

    Also Matt, as so few in this country are as hesitant on vaccines, and as they are not likely to be those mixing in clubs, bars, etc, why passports ought to do much, escapes me.

    Most of the spread is by the vaccinated.

    Of course your concern is correct, ie for the NHS. There, yes, those who refuse the vaccines might get more sick, hence more pressure. This, as much with you on this here as always, I agree on. But my opinion is that if all we do is dither on general restrictions and if we cease to discourage mixing, we cannot really persuade those who refuse the vaccines, as we cannot bar them from shops or services that are essential, so many might say, who cares about clubs, or pubs, and not be persuaded.

    My opinion is if someone is so against vaccines, they have no right to be in a masss gathering, but do have the right to go to a shop or hospital for healthcare.

    We need to persuade not cajole. But my preference is to do the better thing, close mixing down again almost as before. No more than three or four , no pubs, clubs, bars, theatres, a longer while!

    I think is everyone suffers a little less freedom, we deal better with this than singling out a minority for a punishment.

    Believe me , I have less sympathy for an iresponsible clubber vaccinated, than a decent vaccine sceptic, at home safely.

    I of course have even more kinship with a responsible vaccinated individual or family, staying home more!

  • To be clear Lorenzo.

    Mandating Vaccines is not my preferred option at all.

    I am just trying to stimulate debate because as said by the PM (one of the only things I agree with what he has said) , we do need a national discussion on the way forward and I was setting out what options I think there are available to us https://www.libdemvoice.org/8-december-2021-todays-press-releases-69320.html#comment-564230 , I do wish others would set out further options they think we should consider and start having some serious debates.

    If it were possible to stamp out covid completely, by having all countries stop international travel for a month, ensure everyone had enough for provisions for say a fortnight, then completely lockdown everything and everyone for a fortnight ( Apart from medical and emergency services) in order to break transmission entirely. Then I would have been all for that. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s any longer possible or possibly even feasible from the start…. Therefore we have to look at what other tools we have available to us now, in order to reduce the amount of “severe illnesses” which is putting health services at risk around the globe…..Until such a time that covid just becomes something akin to flu or common cold and is more manageable.

    My feeling is that the only way to do that is to encourage more people to get vaccinated, by use of sticks, restrictions on unvaccinated and venues etc, paying people to get vaccinated, whatever it takes……

    But allowing Libertarians to dismiss any form of mitigation measures or restrictions and to put their liberty above all others, and, to constantly attempt to pretend and mislead people, that public health and institutions was as is never at risk, can not be allowed to happen….To lock away the elderly and vulnerable indefinitely because that was the only option left to them because society abandons them and to allow this virus to rip and take its natural cause, it is not an option and I will always argue most strongly with anyone against that.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Dec ’21 – 1:38pm:
    …the Astra Zeneca was poor and dangerous and only the “made in England,” explains the rush to use it.

    That’s an extraordinary claim to make and would require extraordinary evidence to support. The AstraZeneca vaccine is not “poor and dangerous” – it uses a well understood and proven adenovirus vector method. It has been made available royalty free and is made all over the world ‘at cost’ having being distributed to over 170 countries. Reported issues with blood clots are rare and in most cases likely caused by Inadvertent Intravenous Injection due to not aspirating the syringe before injecting.

    The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) result in a higher initial antibody level which confers better protection against infection. But, that doesn’t last. Without ‘boosters’ every few months the antibody levels wane reducing protection against infection to a similar level as the AstraZeneca. That model may well suit businesses which are now collectively making a $1,000 a second profit from the mRNA vaccines, but is it sensible for public health care or for building community immunity?

    As always, the things which are counted don’t always count and the things which count are not always counted. Measuring antibody levels is relatively easy to do with a simple blood test. Determining T-cell/memory B-cell immunity to an antigen like SARS-CoV-2 requires sophisticated and expensive laboratory work. Consequently, its rarely done. There is growing evidence that the Oxford / AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 adenovirus vector vaccine gives more durable long-term immunity via T-cells.

    For a discussion of why this may be so…

    ‘Does AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine give longer-lasting protection than mRNA shots?’ [29th. November 2021]:
    https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-11-astrazeneca-covid-vaccine-longer-lasting-mrna.html

    So the key questions are: does AstraZeneca’s vaccine produce a longer-lasting T cell response than the mRNA vaccines? And might this be one reason why the UK, which relied heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine, has a more stable hospitalization rate than other parts of Europe?

    For a discussion of Inadvertent Intravenous Injection…

    ‘Need for vaccine aspiration confirmed, why is this not being done’ [3rd.December 2021]:

  • “Most of the spread is by the vaccinated.”

    I am not sure that is actually supported in evidence Lorenzo.
    If you look at the figures over the last few months, by far the greatest proportion of people infected with covid are those in the younger groups ( especially school children) and 18-25 year olds, people who tend to be unvaccinated or only had 1 dose.
    The number of infections have been far less for the older population.

    You do not feel as though Vaccine Passports would have much effect.
    However…. Just like when we had to put in mitigation measures to bring down the “R” rate. Rarely is a single measure on its own enough to have an impact.
    i.e closing schools, mandating masks, 2m rule etc.

    It takes a combination of measures together in order to have a desired effect and thus I believe will be the same in order to get vaccination numbers up (which is still my belief is the only way out of this for now Until this virus becomes less virulent and or more better proven antiviral treatments come on board ) ….
    Vaccine Passports to enter venues, paying people to take vaccinations, making vaccination a condition of entry to ALL countries or to travel, etc

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Dec '21 - 5:06pm

    Jeff

    You are often correct on figures and yes facts are often figures, in practice. I belive that from the extensive reading I did on deciding re: vacciation, Pfizer is safer to take regardless of whether its better on your meaures. I feel that the profit odds, ie profit vs non profit, are not relevant here, as no public money funded pfizer, and lots did with Astra zeneca. A pandemic costs money , govts have money, taxes, fund govts, so as nothing is more valuable than health, it is needed, it is funded, simple as that in my opinion.

    Of course if Astra zeneca is shown to be safe, and is obviously mostly, safe, it can be used. It is so far deemed useless for the new variant from reports.

    Matt

    I meant the vbaccinated are spreading it by virtue of the numbers, most arte vaccinated, the spreafding is by people , yes, as ever on and off planes, nearly all vaccinated and forcably by airlines often requiring passports, of both types!!

    I favour all for one, one for all, as my preference.

    All give up traditional so called freedoms for as long as it takes with, and you are correct Matt, other ways added as well.

    I am no expert but have done as much research on this as anything since my degree thity years ago, and my view is, New Zealand as was, was as good as it gets on this, though, since abandoning the isolationist method in favour of passports, cercian , is fsailing now compared to then.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Dec '21 - 5:08pm

    Apologies, again becoming used to a new device! Typos!

  • @ Matt

    Your “facts” are essentially speculation about how many people might need hospital beds going forward but I don’t see any evidence about previous occupancy rates.

    Of course you don’t factor in that many of the unvaccinated will have caught Covid and have natural immunity from that, and the high levels of immunity in the population will keep case levels manageable and protect them as well.

    Even people who don’t agree with my views on this are getting fed up and wondering what the point was of the vaccine rollout that cost £bns and vast resources if we are going to pretend that the vaccines never happened.

  • matt 10th Dec ’21 – 8:14am:
    It seems as though if we look at South Africa for your analysis on natural infection compared to vaccination confers better protection, does not stand up to scrutiny on the ground in SA…

    Actually, the first (small) study from South Africa suggests that prior exposure to the nucleocapsid proteins, as occurs with a natural infection, does confer better protection than the vaccine alone…

    ‘Omicron significantly reduces Covid antibodies generated by Pfizer vaccine, study finds’ [8th. December 2021]:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/12/08/omicron-significantly-reduces-covid-antibodies-generated-pfizer/

    Early data suggests people who have had Covid have more protection that just those who have been vaccinated

    ‘SARS-CoV-2 Omicron has extensive but incomplete escape of Pfizer BNT162b2 elicited neutralization and requires ACE2 for infection’ [9th. December 2021]:
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.08.21267417v1

    The results we present here with Omicron show much more extensive escape. However, escape was incomplete in participants with higher FRNT50 due to previous infection. Previous infection, followed by vaccination or booster is likely to increase the neutralization level and likely confer protection from severe disease in Omicron infection.

    …where hospital admissions are rising by 170% in a week in relation to Omicron…

    But confirmed cases have risen by a much larger percentage (and infections will have risen even faster). Also the South African figures for hospital admissions includes people who were admitted for other (non-Covid) reasons and then tested positive for Omicron after admission. So far, Omicron symptoms are “far milder” than for previous variants with a much smaller percentage of patients requiring oxygenation (10%) or ventilation (2%). Dr. John Campbell has been looking at the figures…

    ‘Good fortune with omicron’ [11th. December 2021]:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2vI4XczqZ8

    Covid-19 may be effectively managed at a primary care level with the exception of certain cases requiring admission to tertiary facilities.

  • @Jeff “However, the discussion here is about the unvaccinated. I pointed out that most of those have, by now, acquired immunity from previous natural infection.”
    From the lack of supporting science, and from your own arguments about previous infection, I suggest this claim is a figment of your imagination.

    >“What we are concerned with in this discussion is keeping people out of hospital”
    The overwhelming evidence is that even a single vaccine dose, massively reduces the odds of this outcome; although we’ll find out in the coming weeks just how effective the vaccine is in keeping Omicron cases out of hospitals. So perhaps we simply require those wishing hospital treatment for CoViD to give their NHS number, enabling their vaccine status to be determined and admission refused if no record of vaccination is found, because as you argue they will be better off.

    From what I’ve seen, because of the advances that have been made, many are in “CoViD denial”, specifically, regard CoViD as something akin to the common cold and so nothing to worry about, until they actually contract it… Even those who have been vaccinated can be over-confident and discover that yes the symptoms and (obvious) illness are mild and short-lived, it can have a sting in the tail that can take several weeks for the body to recover from.

  • @Marco

    “Your “facts” are essentially speculation about how many people might need hospital beds going forward but I don’t see any evidence about previous occupancy rates.”

    Still waiting for you to provide evidence that counters the links to the papers that I sent you……

    Its quite simple Marco
    https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-021-10427-2
    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30264-3/fulltext

    24.4% of the UK population were at risk of “severe covid” due to a record of at least one underlying health condition
    And since I was talking about “unvaccinated” individuals 765,000 unvaccinated over 50’s Just by applying the averages of population living with 1 underlying health condition of 24.4% that equates to 186,600 of those living with an underlying condition that puts them at risk of severe covid, however, I did not take a figure of 24.4% and went for a far more conservative figure of 10% developing severe covid and needing hospital treatment which equated to a possibility of 76,000 Hospital admissions and 1% needing ICU Treatment.
    Considering what sage are now forecasting even in their best case scenario for hospital admissions, clearly I was being ultra conservative in my numbers

    To date 608,216 have been admitted to hospital with Coronavirus

    Over 2 Million people in England alone are living with long covid .

    But it does not matter what facts figures, statistics and opinions you are presented with Marco, you are a covid denier, you cannot even accept the figures given to you for ICU capacity and how it was reached in jan 21even though it is there for you to see in black and white

    I have asked you to produce evidence to counter my evidence that I gave you that the NHS and ICU was under pressure and you have not provided a thing, only a social media fed opinion. As I have said before unless its written by the GBD or its authors it not worth reading huh?

  • Roland 12th Dec ’21 – 2:54am:
    From the lack of supporting science, and from your own arguments about previous infection, I suggest this claim is a figment of your imagination.

    Back in September, I calculated that more than two-thirds (68.3%) of unvaccinated Scottish 16-24 year olds had Covid antibodies. These must have been from a natural infection. So most of those unvaccinated youngsters had some acquired immunity. Today, that percentage will be much higher. ONS data from mid-summer showed that 85.6% of Scottish 16 to 24 year olds had antibodies with 54.6% having been vaccinated. Therefore, 31 out of every 100 (85.6%-54.6%) were unvaccinated, but had antibodies from a previous infection. That is 68.3% of the 45.4% who were unvaccinated.

    ‘Covid-19: 80% of young adults in UK are likely to have antibodies, data suggest’ [2nd. September 2021]:
    https://www.bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n2162

    In England 85.4% of 16-24 year olds would test positive for antibodies, the survey suggests. The corresponding estimates are 85.6% for Scotland, 83.9% for Wales, and 80.4% for Northern Ireland.

    The overwhelming evidence is that even a single vaccine dose, massively reduces the odds of this outcome; [hospital admission]

    Yes, by about 90% for Delta and earlier variants. Evidence shows that previous exposure to the virus via a natural infection also confers similar or better protection.

    …although we’ll find out in the coming weeks just how effective the vaccine is in keeping Omicron cases out of hospitals.

    Early evidence from South Africa shows that Omicron causes “far milder” symptoms than previous variants. Even with 57% of adults unvaccinated and no third ‘booster’ doses yet given, hospitalisation percentages are much lower than for Delta and of those admitted only 10% require oxygenation and 2% ventilation (Source: Netcare).

    While antibodies provide some resistance to infection, it’s the body’s T-cell immune response which mostly protects against severe disease and hospitalisation. The UK has a high prevalence of T-cell immunity induced by vaccination and previous infections. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been extensively used in the UK, is thought to confer more durable T-cell immunity. While the UK spread of Omicron will be rapid this may be beneficial as it adds to community immunity against other variants.

  • matt 9th Dec ’21 – 5:57pm:
    France had a very slow uptake of vaccines until Macron announced the “health pass” and an unprecedented 3.7 Million booked their jabs following the televised address,…

    Correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation. Vaccine passports have caused much aggravation in France, with riots in the streets, widespread civil disobedience, and likely much loss of support for other public health measures that may be needed in the future. It doesn’t appear to have done them much good: they now have near identical first and second-dose vaccination rates to the UK, but have only administered half the percentage of third (‘booster’) doses, have twice as many confirmed cases per million, and more than twice as many Covid patients in ICU per million as compared to the UK…

    ‘Number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care (ICU) per million people’:
    https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&facet=none&pickerSort=desc&pickerMetric=new_cases_smoothed_per_million&Metric=ICU+patients&Interval=New+per+day&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=GBR~FRA

  • Chris Moore 11th Dec ’21 – 8:50am:
    Another question is how effective they are. That is the question you’ve tried to answer. Whatever the answer to that question, they are certainly “workable”.

    If you consider consequences such as displacement (people swapping well ventilated football grounds for crowded pubs) as consistent with being “workable” maybe, but they are not “workable” in the sense that they will ‘work’ to reduce the spread of Omicron.

    I believe others in society should accept the inconveniences and restrictions of covid passports and vaccinations for the benefit of the more vulnerable.

    What benefit? Neither vaccine passports or vaccines are going to make any material difference to the spread of the Omicron variant. This virus is highly infectious and primarily spread by aerosols which, in poorly ventilated indoor spaces like bars and restaurants, can hang in the air for hours waiting for a new host to walk into it. Short of wearing a full military gas-mask with P3 filter it isn’t realistic to avoid exposure. If someone is clinically vulnerable then they need to shield while the Omicron wave passes through the population – which isn’t likely to take long (parts of South Africa already appear to have peaked). Rather than waste resources on futile gestures like vaccine passports it would be better to focus on supporting the clinically vulnerable by prioritising them for third (‘booster’) vaccinations, ensuring that they are able to get groceries and medicines delivered, and, if safe, fast track the approval and deployment of AstraZeneca’s EvuSheld PreExposureProphylactic (PrEP). And, what should have been done from the start: launch a public health campaign to encourage everyone to take a high-dose vitamin D supplement of at least 4,000 IU per day (more if obese or with melanin rich skin) for which there is now abundant evidence of efficacy in protecting against severe Covid.

  • @Jeff

    The French like to protest and riot at the drop of the hat, it’s a national sport for some You cannot discount the fact that upon Macron announcing the covid passports there was a sudden influx of bookings.

    “parts of South Africa already appear to have peaked” I think you may need to go back and look… South Africa had a problem in reporting “South Africa confirmed 18,035 new cases of Covid in the past 24 hours, but the total was bumped up to more than 37,000 to account for the positive tests not previously reported.

    ‘Today we report 37,875 new cases, which includes 19,840 retrospective cases & 18,035 new cases,’ the NICD said in a statement today, before calling out public laboratories it said were to blame for the unreported tests.” The authorities have said there are more to come https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10302439/Covid-chaos-South-Africa-country-finds-19-000-unrecorded-cases-President-tests-positive.html

    That is the problem when you start drawing conclusions to early as though gospel evidence… This new variant was only detected a matter of weeks ago, we do not know for certain how it is going to play out in SA yet alone in the UK, since we only recorded our first case 2 weeks ago….. It normally takes a couple of weeks from infection for someone to end up in hospital if that is going to be the trajectory of their particular infection and in some cases another 2 weeks before some sadly die….So it is far to early in the uk to know what is going to happen, its going to be another 2 weeks before we start seeing hospital admissions rise, if it goes the same way as previous waves, hence the reason why scientists were calling for brakes to be applied whilst the investigate and learn more….That seems entirely a sensible and responsible approach considering the stakes of getting wrong…..

    Unfortunately, we do not seem to have enough sensible people in Government, egged on by a rather loud Minority who put individual Liberty above collective liberalism and social responsibility

  • John Marriott 10th Dec ’21 – 9:48am:
    From what you have written so far it would seem that you are advocating the concept of herd immunity.

    The virus is now endemic so we’re going to have to learn to live with it – at least for the next year or two. So we need to acquire community immunity (so-called ‘herd immunity’) in order to function. Early data shows that Omicron is far more transmissible than the Delta variant with a doubling time of around two-days. It appears to have a high level of escape from prior immunity. As with Delta, the primary means of transmission is via aerosolised virus: in poorly ventilated spaces or still air it can hang in the air for hours waiting for new hosts to walk into it. It will be hard to avoid unless people shut themselves away or go out wearing a military gas-mask with P3 filter and NBC suit. Vaccine passports are a futile gesture as most transmission will occur between those who are already vaccinated.

    So, do we just abandon further vaccine programmes, allow the disease to let rip and just put up with all the further deaths that will surely occur?

    That’s a false dichotomy. Vaccination is the best means to obtain ‘community immunity’. Better still is what’s called ‘hybrid immunity’ – being both vaccinated and having had a natural infection (preferably in that order). So far, it appears that Omicron has evolved to be both more infectious and “far milder” in symptom severity. Once this Omicron wave has swept through the population we may then have a high-level of immunity against any future variants – hopefully Covid will become similar to a cold.

    For an informative summary of the situation see Dr. John Campbells video…

    ‘UK Omicron emergency announced’ [12th. December 2021]:

  • @Jeff

    I think it is important to be transparent as possible when it comes to referencing someone using the term “Dr” when they are providing “educational” material in regards to covid, so as not to mislead…
    “Dr” Campbell area of expertise is as far as I know “nursing” Campbell received a diploma in nursing from the University of London and Bachelor of Science in biology from the Open University. He subsequently earned a Master of Science in health science from the University of Lancaster and a Ph.D. in nursing education from the University of Bolton.
    I am not questioning his knowledge of viruses, however, considering the topic, it is important that people are open and transparent about their areas of expertise

  • Jeff – Good explanations about immunity and vaccine mandates, thanks for that. Hopefully people will read and take note.

  • So now we sadly have our first confirmed death of omicron in the UK..
    Whats next from the likes of the Marco’s ??? Its only 100 or 1000 or 10,000
    When do the excuses and denials stop??/

  • matt 13th Dec ’21 – 12:13am:
    “parts of South Africa already appear to have peaked” I think you may need to go back and look… South Africa had a problem in reporting…

    My words were “parts of South Africa”; you’ve cited a report of missing cases for the whole of South Africa. Let’s look at Gauteng Province which is the epicentre of Omicron. It’s the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces, but highly urbanised with over a quarter of the population. It contains the largest city, Johannesburg, and the administrative capital, Pretoria. Here’s the current data…

    ‘Gauteng COVID-19 visual analytics platform’:
    https://gpcoronavirus.co.za/#cases/province.GP/Cases

    After you close the pop-up window you will see a small barchart: “Change per day”. This shows the number of daily cases. If you click on the “Week” button at the top-right of the barchart it shows a small fall in cases from the previous week. While that might be an artefact of testing – missing data or a smaller percentage of actual infections being confirmed – cases do “appear to have peaked”.

  • matt 13th Dec ’21 – 12:13am:
    “parts of South Africa already appear to have peaked” I think you may need to go back and look… South Africa had a problem in reporting…

    Just three weeks on and all provinces in South Africa have peaked…

    ‘Gauteng COVID-19 visual analytics platform’:
    https://gpcoronavirus.co.za/#cases/province.GP/Cases

  • matt 13th Dec ’21 – 9:29am:
    I think it is important to be transparent as possible when it comes to referencing someone using the term “Dr” when they are providing “educational” material in regards to covid, so as not to mislead…

    The ad hominem quotation marks are inappropriate. Dr. Campbell has over 40 years experience as a Registered Nurse and 27 years as an educator, latterly as a Senior Lecturer in Nursing Studies at the University of Cumbria. He is the author of two textbooks: Campbell’s Physiology Notes and Campbell’s Pathophysiology Notes. He’s been making educational videos for over 20 years and uploading to YouTube for 10. During the pandemic he has posted daily updates and information on Covid. Rather than presenting his own knowledge or opinions, he mostly analyses and explains data from official sources and research papers. He also interviews medical practitioners, nurses, academics, researchers, and people with personal experience of Covid health issues. His mantra is: follow the evidence wherever it may lead. He outlines his background, qualifications, and experience in the ‘intro video’ on his channel…

    Campbell Teaching:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Campbellteaching

    Earlier you cited an article published in the Daily Mail. In the interest of transparency perhaps you could tell us what background, qualifications and experience the journalists who wrote it have? Do they have a scientific education? Do they have an understanding of the concepts they write about?

    Consider this paragraph from the article…

    Using South Africa’s Gauteng province – its Omicron ground-zero – as an example, he said the likely explanation of the low death rate was that 73 percent the region’s population was either vaccinated or previously infected, giving T-cell immunity. The majority of those hospitalised with severe Covid, he said, are vaccinated.

    Do you think that is correct?

  • @Jeff

    I’m curious, do you trawl old articles that you were involved with and wait for the dust to settle ( 3 weeks on this occasion since the last comment) then slip in a new comment hoping it would go unnoticed so you can get in the last word????

    And as for “Dr” Campbell, it is yourself who keeps posting his material on here as though his word is gospel, I was suggesting that you should be transparent in your links when referring to someone as a Dr who is producing material on Covid as it could be misleading, I do not have the time or the inclination to research someone’s credentials 🙂

    “Earlier you cited an article published in the Daily Mail. In the interest of transparency perhaps you could tell us what background, qualifications and experience the journalists who wrote it have? ”
    The article I referenced was about retrospective cases that had been unrecorded previously and SA readjusted the figures, It was public information, I do not think the Journalists needed a PHD is epidemiology to record that surely?? I referenced nothing else in the link to the article, so I am unsure what point you were trying to make

  • Maybe you could explain something Jeff

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#c-europe%22

    UK reports around 160k cases and has 868 people classified as currently critical

    SA reports 10k cases and has 546 classified as currently critical

    Is the disease therefore more serious in SA???? As it would appear more people are in a critical condition with a fewer number of cases than that of the UK

    UK carried out 5,910,218 tests Per 1 million population
    SA carried out 352,259 Tests per 1 million population

    I am always weary of comparing countries covid statistics, especially when there are totally different demographics involved and nowhere near the same amount of testing and reporting

  • Andy Boddington 3rd Jan '22 - 6:29am

    @Matt It is not a difference of testing. It is a difference of vaccination rates. It is known that vaccination reduces the risk of getting Omicron, reduces the risk of hospitalisation and reduces the risk of critical care. 69% of people in the UK have had two doses. 26% in South Africa. There will be other risk factors when comparing countries. Covid rates

  • Peter Martin 3rd Jan '22 - 9:33am

    @ Andy @ Matt,

    “It is not a difference of testing. It is a difference of vaccination rates.”

    Both are significant factors. Another big factor is the younger average age of the SA population. It is summer in SA, so people there are more likely to be out in the open, and have their windows open. The criteria for putting someone in intensive care may not be the same in both countries. It is impossible to quantify each one, especially if they are tending to have opposing influences on the overall figures.

    Andy is quite right to emphasise the importance of vaccines though. Covid deniers go around saying that vaccinations don’t prevent transmission. This is literally true, but designed to mislead. They do substantially reduce the rate of transmission.

    As Dr Jetelina explains:

    “…. vaccinated people do not spread the virus as much as unvaccinated. Not even close. Here’s how it works…”

    https://yourlocalepidemiologist.substack.com/p/how-vaccines-reduce-transmission

  • @Andy

    But Jeff keeps arguing that SA has very low rates of infection and hospitalisation because of natural immunity due to previous infections of covid which according to him is better than vaccination…So I would like to see him explain the figures

  • matt 3rd Jan ’22 – 11:51am:
    But Jeff keeps arguing that SA has very low rates of infection…

    I have never argued that. Infection rates in South Africa have been huge as the Omicron variant escapes immunity from both vaccination and prior infection. Here’s what I said in my response to John Marriott on 13th. December in this very thread, just above…

    “Early data shows that Omicron is far more transmissible than the Delta variant with a doubling time of around two-days. It appears to have a high level of escape from prior immunity.”

    …and hospitalisation because of natural immunity due to previous infections of covid which according to him is better than vaccination…

    There is some evidence that prior exposure to the nucleocapsid proteins, as occurs with a natural infection, may confer better protection from severe symptoms than the vaccine alone as shown by the evidence I cited in my Comment of 11th. December in this thread, above…

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/8-december-2021-todays-press-releases-69320.html#comment-564285

  • @ Jeff

    Still waiting for an explanation on how SA has such a high rate of Critical conditions to cases compared to the uk…..

    I seem to recall you making the arguments before that SA was not seeing large amounts of hospitalisations due to them having this supercharged immune system from natural infection….. So why then are so many classified as critical on such small numbers as compared to the uk????? Something is a miss surely …..

  • @Jeff

    ” Infection rates in South Africa have been huge as the Omicron variant escapes immunity from both vaccination and prior infection”

    Really looking at the “reported” figures for SA
    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/south-africa/
    A compared to those of the UK https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk/

    I would not call SA case numbers huge at all, that is unless we believe there is something wrong with the numbers due to lack of testing and reporting….

    I cannot think of any other reasonable explanation as to why they would have such a higher rate of critical cases ratio to infection rates compared to other countries

  • matt 2nd Jan ’22 – 11:04pm:
    I am always weary of comparing countries covid statistics, especially when there are totally different demographics involved and nowhere near the same amount of testing and reporting

    As one should be. Demographic differences are the least of the problems in attempting to compare omicron severity in South Africa with the UK. Those Worldometers’ figures are misleading for several reasons…

    1. The omicron wave in South Africa is three to four weeks ahead of the UK. So one would need to compare today’s South African hospitalisation figures with those of the UK in three to four weeks time. Currently, almost all UK Covid patients have delta variant. That will change over the next few weeks.

    2. Reported case numbers only capture a fraction of the number of UK infections and a much smaller fraction in South Africa where they have stopped testing unless people are ill. For various reasons many people don’t get tested. For most people omicron symptoms are similar to a common cold. The majority of infections are asymptomatic so most aren’t aware that they have it (although they can still transmit). In both countries, Omicron is now everywhere – floating in the air in poorly ventilated shared spaces and outside in still air. Better to compare using whole population numbers (about the same).

    3. Hospitalisation numbers are misleading. The majority of patients with Omicron are incidental admissions – admitted for some other reason and then tested positive or caught later in hospital…

    ‘Just one-fifth of new Covid hospital patients are true cases’ [28th. December 2021]:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/12/28/covid-hospital-data-should-treated-caution-many-patients-admitted/

    The most up-to-date NHS data show that on December 21, there were 6,245 beds occupied by coronavirus patients in English hospitals – an increase of 259 from the previous week.

    But within that increase, just 45 patients were admitted because of the virus, with the remaining 214 in hospital for other conditions but having also tested positive – so called “incidental Covid” admissions.

    Better to compare on the percentage of Omicron patients needing oxygenation or ventilation, the former being a more objective criteria as blood oxygen levels are routinely measured for Covid.

    If you watched Dr Campbell’s informative videos (maybe while eating a meal) you’d know all this.

  • @Jeff

    Think you should look for more up to date stats.

    https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare?areaType=overview&areaName=United%20Kingdom

    As of the 3rd January 14,210 are in England hospitals with Covid
    The latest daily admissions figures available was on the 1st January 1819

    I cant read your telegraph article as I refuse to subscribe to that trash, but the figure of 1/5 being the “true cases” seem totally implausible.
    I believe the figures that were released before by public health England said that around 20% of Hospital admissions were for people being admitted to hospital for other reasons and were found to be incidental and I believe this rose to 30%

    However, I would also point out that it is kind of irrelevant because to be admitted to hospital for an overnight stay, someone has to be pretty ill in the first place, be that for say Asthma, Crohn’s disease, Diabetes whatever…..And as we know having an underlying condition can make you extremely ill if you were to catch covid and so….Although a patient may not have known that they were covid positive in the first instance of going to hospital, having covid that could worsen with their primary underlying condition “could” put them at risk.
    Also not forgetting that anyone with covid obviously needs putting in a covid isolation ward and the more and more people in hospital with covid, turns into a logistical nightmare for hospitals, keeping covid away from very sick and vulnerable people in hospital who clearly not afford to be catching covid whilst already battling illness and diseases.

    Fortunately, Vaccines do appear to have substantially broken the link between hospitalisations and deaths and Omicron does seem to be less severe, however, rates are starting to rise in the over 60’s and we do not know for certain what effect it is going to have once it starts reaching the more vulnerable groups…. But the point still remains, sick and vulnerable people in hospital regardless of their vaccination status cannot afford to be catching even a mild case of covid whilst they are in hospital battling other illnesses, that should be blatantly obvious to everyone

  • @Jeff

    To reinforce the point I made earlier, just came away from watching the press conference and the latest data https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/bb564e4c76e5c64532fb8888b70f59375f480807/0_0_948_1090/master/948.jpg?width=620&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=954a31a4a4739644bd38f5252ba44c91
    from Public health England for people in Hospital up to the 28th December
    8321 beds were occupied by covid patients
    of which
    5578 were being treated primarily for covid
    2743 were being treated primarily for other conditions

    So I think that goes to show that your point earlier about only 1/5th of hospitalisations being the “true cases” is totally wrong and reinforces my own opinion of why I dont and wont subscribe to the telegraph news paper

  • matt 4th Jan ’22 – 4:06pm:
    Think you should look for more up to date stats.

    The quoted NHS data was to evidence the point I was making – that most Omicron patients are incidental admissions and therefore the number in ICU is no longer a good measure of disease severity (as many, if not most, of those patients would still be in ICU even without having Omicron).

    I believe the figures that were released before by public health England said that around 20% of Hospital admissions were for people being admitted to hospital for other reasons and were found to be incidental and I believe this rose to 30%

    Public Health England was dissolved on 1st. October. The figures you quote were for Delta where the majority of Covid patients were admitted for complications due to the virus and only a minority had been admitted for other reasons – incidental admissions. With Omicron, the situation both in South Africa and now the UK, has reversed. Only a minority of patients with Omicron are being admitted for complications due to the virus. Most of the increase in Covid patients (80% in the NHS data reported by the Telegraph) are incidental admissions who were admitted for other reasons and, when tested, found to have Omicron or caught it later in hospital. This is because Omicron is much more prevalent than Delta and causes milder disease (not least due to community immunity from vaccinations and prior infections with earlier variants).

    …I would also point out that it is kind of irrelevant…

    It’s very relevant to your original question about comparative disease severity between the UK and South Africa. If people with comorbidities would still be in ICU even without having Omicron then counting the number of patients in ICU with Covid is no longer a good measure of disease severity. That’s why I suggested using the percentage being oxygenated or on ventilators as a better measure.

    Using your earlier link, the graph of ’Patients in hospital’ shows a recent rapid rise due to Omicron, but look at the bottom graph showing the ‘Patients in mechanical ventilation beds’ – it remains flat…

    ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK’:
    https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare?areaType=overview&areaName=United%20Kingdom

  • @Jeff

    Your stretching lol.

    The graphs I showed you released yesterday and as pointed out by Sir Chris Whitty debunked the false claims that only a 1/5 of patients entering hospital were “true cases”

    Yes fortunately far less people appear to be requiring ventilators at present, lets hope this continues, however, you cannot compare with SA who has a much younger population.
    The sharp rises in cases in the uk at present are mainly in the younger population, those who tend to have better outcomes with covid and less likely to need hospital support or ICU.. Cases have started to now rise in the over 60’s and the more vulnerable groups and until those cases have peaked, we do not as yet know how that is going to translate into hospital admissions or ICU

  • matt 4th Jan ’22 – 4:06pm:
    I cant read your telegraph article as I refuse to subscribe to that trash, but the figure of 1/5 being the “true cases” seem totally implausible.

    matt 4th Jan ’22 – 6:09pm:
    So I think that goes to show that your point earlier about only 1/5th of hospitalisations being the “true cases” is totally wrong…

    It’s not a fifth of hospitalisations or a fifth of admissions, it is a fifth of the increase in new Covid patients. New Covid patients can be divided into three groups: those who were admitted for complications caused by the virus, those who were admitted for some other reason (e.g. Road Traffic Accident or heart attack) and then, when tested, found to have Covid, and those who catch the virus in hospital having being admitted for some other reason. What the NHS data reported in the Telegraph article shows is that the first group now only accounts for a fifth of the increase in patients. It’s not just plausible, it’s what an informed observer would expect given what we know about Omicrons transmissibility, prevalence, and typically much milder symptoms and pathogenicity.

    …and reinforces my own opinion of why I dont and wont subscribe to the telegraph news paper

    The data is from the NHS. The Telegraph is just the messenger. The article reported on the marked difference between the Delta and Omicron variants.

    ‘Just one-fifth of new Covid hospital patients are true cases’ [28th. December 2021]:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/12/28/covid-hospital-data-should-treated-caution-many-patients-admitted/

    In the previous week, December 7 to December 14 – when the vast majority of hospitalisations were still delta – some 59 per cent of the 289 weekly rise was primarily Covid.

    For Dr. John Campbell’s analysis of incidental admissions in both South Africa and the UK…

    ‘Most omicron hospitalisations incidental’ [29th. December 2021]:

  • @Jeff

    This guys use of statistics is appalling and I refuse to watch anymore of his rubbish.

    He will pick a date for infections which show high levels fof covid or example 29th December
    He will then use a different date for Hospital admissions 22nd December. And as we know, it takes around 2 weeks after infection for someone to be admitted to hospital with covid complications.
    He then goes back to using the 29th December for deaths, which again as we know many deaths are unrecorded over the holiday period in this case from the 25th to 28th due xmas and bank holidays. So it gives a false impression that deaths are down over 30%… If you look at the last covid dashboard for the 4th January, deaths are back up 51.8% so it is silly to be using statistics over a holiday period when figures are all over the show and unreliable ( and this guy thinks he is providing sound educational material) ???

    By all means keep posting his material for others to watch if they are interested, but I certainly wont be wasting my time with it.
    I prefer to listen to our own chief medical and scientific officers who I have no reason to distrust and by seeing with my own eyes and those of my families on what is happening on the ground in hospitals

  • Peter Martin 5th Jan '22 - 3:53pm

    @ matt,

    “I cant read your telegraph article …..”

    If you right click onto Page source it’s easy enough to find the active text. Use CTRL +F to find a key word. Then Copy and paste it into Word to make it more readable.

  • matt 2nd Jan ’22 – 11:04pm:
    Is the disease therefore more serious in SA???? As it would appear more people are in a critical condition with a fewer number of cases than that of the UK

    The reports, data, and science coming out of South Africa are consistent with Omicron causing less severe symptoms than previous variants…

    ‘Dr. Coetzee slams ‘Omicron hysteria’, tells countries to ‘stop overreacting’’ [14th. December 2021]:
    https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/breaking-who-is-angelique-coetzee-sama-omicron-reaction-is-it-mild/

    The leading lady of the SA Medical Association, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, has been left ‘astonished’ by the international reaction to Omicron.

    “We clinicians deal day-to-day with real people, not statistical projections, and I can reassure you that the symptoms presenting in those with Omicron are very, very mild compared with those we see with the far more dangerous Delta variant… I believe Britain is overreacting in their response to the variant.”

    DAILY HOSPITAL SURVEILLANCE (DATCOV) REPORT:
    https://www.nicd.ac.za/diseases-a-z-index/disease-index-covid-19/surveillance-reports/daily-hospital-surveillance-datcov-report/

    ‘SARS-CoV-2 spike T cell responses induced upon vaccination or infection remain robust against Omicron’ [28th. December 2021]:
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.26.21268380v1.full-text

    Despite extensive neutralization escape against Omicron, 70-80% of the T cell response is preserved. The limited effect of Omicron’s mutations on the T cell response suggests that vaccination or prior infection may still provide substantial protection from severe disease. Indeed, South Africa has reported a lower risk of hospitalisation and severe disease compared to the previous Delta wave. Cross-reactive T cell responses acquired through vaccination or infection may contribute to these apparent milder outcomes for Omicron. The resilience of the T cell response demonstrated here also bodes well in the event that more highly mutated variants emerge in the future.

    For a short report on this paper from Dr. John Campbell…

    ‘Omicron science, good news’ [30th. December 2021]:

  • https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

    Whats Dr Jeff going to post tomorrow Jeff???

    todays figures

    Infections up 40.1%
    Hospital admissions up 58.5%
    Deaths up 131.6%

    I suspect he will wait a few days until the stats level out a bit and then will use various different dates to present figures and present a different image and call this education lol.

    I am not denying that omicron thus far appears to be less severe, however, we can not be totally certain that is the case for the elderly and vulnerable as yet…And it certainly does not lesson the strain that the sheer numbers are putting on the NHS and emergency services which is putting Thousands of non-covid patients at risk as well as the many thousands of people who are still vulnerable to covid due to comorbidities.

    I find people like this “Dr” Campbell dangerous, yes everyone is entitled to an opinion and I would not deny anyone expressing those opinions, but for someone like this to proclaim themselves as being knowledgeable and providing “educational material” to the public, when that material is questionable to say the least and all it really does is feed the anti-vaxers and the anti-lockdown type with rubbish to post on social media to encourage people to push back against any mitigation measures Governments try to use to stem the spread of covid and protect public health…..Rubbish like this has cost vulnerable peoples lives in my opinion

  • Here’s the correct link for that previous video…

    ‘Omicron science, good news’ [30th. December 2021]:

  • matt 5th Jan ’22 – 3:33pm
    …as we know many deaths are unrecorded over the holiday period in this case from the 25th to 28th due xmas and bank holidays.

    It was terribly inconvenient for a new Covid variant to arrive just before Christmas and a series of Bank Holidays. He, like everyone else, can only present the data that is available at the time.

    I prefer to listen to our own chief medical and scientific officers who I have no reason to distrust…

    Do you think that their early advice not to wear masks may have contributed to the widespread cynicism about the effectiveness of masks and many people’s refusal to wear them?

    ‘Coronavirus: Chief medical officer tells public not to wear masks’ [March 2020]:
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-uk-news-professor-chris-whitty-no-masks-advice-a9374086.html

    Chris Whitty instead advises people to regularly wash their hands

    ‘Ministers have struggled to wear a mask. Do they think it makes them look weak?’ [July 2020]:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/12/ministers-have-struggled-to-wear-a-mask-do-they-think-it-makes-them-look-weak

    Professor Whitty: “Our advice is clear: that wearing a mask if you don’t have an infection reduces the risk almost not at all.” Matt Hancock: “A front door is better than any face mask.” Dr Jenny Harries: “You can actually trap the virus in the mask and start breathing it in.”

  • @Jeff

    ” He, like everyone else, can only present the data that is available at the time.”

    Rubbish. it is how you present the data not when you present it.

    You cannot compare (1) date for infection numbers then use a different earlier date to compare hospitalisations and deaths and claim this is good news as it shows a reduction in severity….It is totally misleading information because as most people now know, it takes on average 2 weeks from onset of infection to translate into a hospital admission if that is the way the infection was going to go and sadly another 2 weeks on average for death.
    Therefore to use the system that “Dr” campbell is using to present as “education” he should be using a date for infections say the 8th December which in the UK stood at 51,342
    He should then use a date of 2 weeks after that “22nd December” to give us an idea of how that is translating into Hospital admissions which was increasing to around 1390 a day
    And then deaths around 2 weeks after that which takes us to today 334 ( Though I acknowledge unlike some these figures are distorted for the holiday periods)

    Presenting the figures in this factual way on how we KNOW these infections play out if a case is going to become severe and need hospital admission is being transparent and informative to the watcher.
    What “Dr” Campbell does is the complete opposite and picks Hospital Admissions and death rates that occurred on dates PREVIOUS to the infection dates, How is that being transparent or educational Jeff????
    If you think it is, then I’m appalled and have to question why you would peddle this nonsense and what is in my opinion dangerous nonsense that gives misleading information and cost lives of people who are gullible to believe it….

    As for the mask use…I believe in the early days a lot of it was said by medical officers due to the fear on shortages medical services were facing…. There have been plenty of peer review studies now around the world that have shown that mask use does limit the spread of covid and if FFP3 masks are used then the protection is even greater for the wearer

  • matt 5th Jan ’22 – 2:50pm:
    …far less people appear to be requiring ventilators at present, lets hope this continues, however, you cannot compare with SA who has a much younger population.

    Good to see you thinking like a scientist by identifying a potential confounding variable. So, we need data on Omicron patients on ventilators stratified by age. Another potentially confounding variable is that it’s summer in South Africa so average vitamin D levels will likely be relatively high. There is an abundance of evidence showing that vitamin D moderates the immune system and can reduce Covid morbidity and mortality. However, the medical establishment is dismissive of this, so maybe we can ignore that variable? Another possible confounding variable is that most immunity in South Africa is due to previous natural infections rather than vaccination, whereas in the UK the reverse is the case.

    Cases have started to now rise in the over 60’s and the more vulnerable groups and until those cases have peaked, we do not as yet know how that is going to translate into hospital admissions or ICU

    Yes, that’s a possible concern. Will the UK follow the generally mild outcomes seen in South Africa? We do now know that the virus is far less invasive of the lungs so that’s consistent with the science. Also, the vast majority of older people in the UK have been vaccinated with a third ‘booster’ dose.

  • @Jeff

    ” However, the medical establishment is dismissive of this, so maybe we can ignore that variable?”
    Are they dismissive?? I think you need to check your facts on that one as the NHS wrote to ALL the patients that were put on the clinically vulnerable list and offered them a 3 month free supply of Vitamin D ( I know as my mother was on that list and I ordered them for her) so before you make such assertions, i think you should check your facts.
    I was dismayed that this was a one off and the NHS did not continue to supply Vit D for free to the clinically vulnerable considering the low cost, but one assumes that the logic was once the people got into the habit of taking the daily supplement, they would continue to do so and purchase their own.

  • https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/free-vitamin-d-supplements-for-people-at-high-risk/
    and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vitamin-d-for-vulnerable-groups/vitamin-d-and-clinically-extremely-vulnerable-cev-guidance

    There you go Jeff, Proof that the “medical establishment” were not dismissive of vitamin D

    What the “respected” medical professions have been up against though is the antivax movement who peddles the myths that there are no need for vaccines as people can keep themselves safe by increasing their intake of Vit C and Zinc and taking the likes of Ivermectin

    I have no time for the likes of this “Dr” Campbell or indeed Professor Gupta who said on GB news a couple of weeks ago that she did not see the need to be vaccinating people under 60 and vaccines should have been used only on the older generation and the clinically vulnerable.
    Considering the amount of people living in the uk and world wide for that matter who have a comorbidity and are not aware of it that makes them vulnerable to covid, let alone the millions of people who live with someone with a comorbidity and furthermore the amount of people who through vaccination have avoided contracting lasting and debilitating long covid damage to their bodies….I find the views of these so called experts alarming and worry what sort of world we would be living in now where our governments to be having these as their advisors….shudder

  • matt 5th Jan ’22 – 7:14pm:
    Are they dismissive?? [of vitamin D]

    Yes, absolutely they are. The scheme you mention only offered a daily dose of 400 IU (International Units) which is a legacy amount recommended by the NHS to prevent rickets. 400 IU is only a tenth of the dose typically required for optimal functioning of the immune system in winter. The scheme was closed in February 2021. A cynic might suggest it was nothing more than a sop by then Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, to David Davis MP who has persistently campaigned from the start of the pandemic to raise awareness of vitamin D and its importance for defensive immunity.

    I was dismayed that this was a one off and the NHS did not continue to supply Vit D for free to the clinically vulnerable considering the low cost,…

    Indeed. They could have at least made it a recommendation (or even a contractual requirement) for all residents in nursing and care homes, etc. and specified a meaningful dose of at least 2,500 IU.

    For more about the importance of vitamin D and evidence for its efficacy, see the following sites and articles…

    Scots Need Vitamin D:
    https://scotsneedvitamind.com/

    On this page, below, are in reverse chronological order various publications all linking better vitamin D supply with better Covid-19 outcomes.

    In a nutshell: At our latitude and climate in Scotland, and because we all live and work indoors, we are ALL chronically undersupplied of vitamin D. I would recommend for ALL adults to take the safe maximal dose (defined by NHS, UK and European bodies): daily 4,000 IU (= 100 mcg), summer and winter.

    This open letter from scientists and doctors is informative as each signatory states the amount they are personally taking; the average is 5,000 IU (125µg) per day…

    ‘Over 200 Scientists & Doctors Call For Increased Vitamin D Use To Combat COVID-19’ [6th. February 2021]:
    https://vitamind4all.org/letter.html

    Research shows low vitamin D levels almost certainly promote COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Given its safety, we call for immediate widespread increased vitamin D intakes.

    ‘Correcting Britain’s Vitamin D deficiency could save thousands of lives’ [26th. September 2020]:
    https://archive.vn/bbcwM

    ‘Does vitamin D combat Covid?’ [10th. January 2021]:
    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/jan/10/does-vitamin-d-combat-covid

  • @jeff

    Im not really that interested in reading the links that you provided over the efficacy of Vitamin D, I already take a boosted dose myself daily, as do the rest of my family and are well aware of the benefits.

    I was just pointing out yet another of your erroneous posts where you claimed the medical profession was being dismissive, when it was nothing of the sort….Arguing on the strength of what is recommended is neither here nor there, the fact is you were wrong in your assertions and maybe you wish to correct it? after all, your sole aim on here for your continuous posts is about providing the public with facts and education right?? You don’t have any other motivation for your continuous plugging of “Dr” Campbell I am sure, despite the fact of you choosing to ignore when its point out the fallacy of his use of statistics

  • matt 5th Jan ’22 – 6:44pm:
    …it takes on average 2 weeks from onset of infection to translate into a hospital admission if that is the way the infection was going to go and sadly another 2 weeks on average for death.

    And you think Dr. Campbell doesn’t know that? He must have pointed it out hundreds of times in his videos over the last two years.

    Therefore to use the system that “Dr” Campbell is using to present as “education”…

    He’s not using a “system”. He was giving a round up of the latest statistics and highlighting data which might give an indication of the likely future trajectory of Omicron.

    Putting “Dr” and “educational” in quotation marks looks immature. He has a PhD in nurse education which researched online teaching, so he is entitled to use Dr. and it’s relevant to what he does. One wonders if you refuse to see a dentist who uses the “courtesy title” Dr. when they only have a BDS.

    …he should be using a date for infections say the 8th December which in the UK stood at 51,342

    And most of those infections will have been with Delta. This video was about Omicron (it’s in the title). Most current hospitalisations are with Delta. Most of today’s deaths will be from (or with) Delta. Looking at those isn’t going to tell us much about the likely trajectory of Omicron which is what Dr. Campbell is focusing on – trying to stay ahead of the curve. Within a few weeks Delta will be history.

    As for the mask use…I believe in the early days a lot of it was said by medical officers due to the fear on shortages medical services were facing….

    It’s hard to see how the cloth masks of unspecified material that most people seem to wear would cause shortages of hospital surgical masks which, in any case, are supplied via a different channel.

    There have been plenty of peer review studies now around the world that have shown that mask use does limit the spread of covid and if FFP3 masks are used then the protection is even greater for the wearer

    Indeed. And there were already several such studies, mostly conducted in the far east after the original SARS outbreak of 2002/03, which showed the effectiveness of masks – which is why many far eastern countries used them from the start.

  • @Jeff

    “Dr” Campbell did nothing of the sort in the latest video and slide presentation you linked too.
    He starts off presenting a slide showing 183,037 cases on the 29th December, he then presents the next slide for hospital admissions on the 22nd December for 8246 admissions and says “when you look at the admissions they are going up slightly but the average stay in hospital is lower about 3 days for someone who is admitted for a coronavirus infection, so the actual number of patients in hospital is not going up, its actually staying around about the 8k mark”
    This is clearly not true because the cases he refers to in the first slide have not even been translated into hospital admission yet and as we now already from the latest figures, hospital admissions are now over 15k.. Therefore he is wring in what he is saying and giving misleading information.

    He then moves onto Deaths in the next slide dated the 29th December and comments on how they are down 34.1% and says “this is really good news as it shows the omicron variant is less severe than the delta” which as I pointed out to you previously was totally misleading because of the under-reporting over the xmas holidays and in fact death rates have now shot up 131.6% since then…..
    Not only that, it disproves what you just said “And most of those infections will have been with Delta. This video was about Omicron (it’s in the title). Most current hospitalisations are with Delta. Most of today’s deaths will be from (or with) Delta.” “Dr” Campbell was using these stats to make an argument that omicron is less severe, wo which is it was he talking about these being omicron deaths or delta Jeff???

    I will continue to use “dr” Campbell when I am referring to him whether you think it is churlish or not…I want people to be aware when I am referencing him that he is not a Dr in the sense of when it comes to Virology or epidemiology, its called transparency Jeff

  • matt 5th Jan ’22 – 7:47pm:
    There you go Jeff, Proof that the “medical establishment” were not dismissive of vitamin D

    The closed offer and the completely inadequate dose that was supplied is evidence (not proof) that they were (and still are) dismissive. The science shows that a much higher dose than 400 IU is needed to boost the immune system (absent synthesis in the skin from UV-B in summer). It is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) who are the main impediment in the UK…

    ‘Vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19’ [November 2020]:
    https://www.rcpjournals.org/content/clinmedicine/20/6/e282.2

    Yet National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines are dismissive of vitamin D’s role in immunity, while generous in that of vitamin A. This is completely illogical as, in their joint functions, the two match each other mol for mol. […]

    It is to be hoped that the Royal College of Physicians will now advise the government that a universal vitamin D supplement averaging around 4,000 IU daily for an adult, which even NICE declares to be safe, should be taken at least during winter months.

    – Authors: Dr. David C Anderson and Dr. David S Grimes.

    ‘Covid-19: UK becomes first country to authorise antiviral molnupiravir’ [November 2021]:
    https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2697/rapid-responses

    If NICE approves molnupiravir then surely it should approve a safer, more effective, cheaper and physiological agent. The evidence base for “vitamin” D3 in innate and adaptive immunity is extensive and rapidly growing. […]

    If D3-ignoring continues much longer I have in mind a book “Medicine’s Worst Ever (ongoing) Mistake”.

    – Author: Peter H Cobbold, Emeritus Professor, Cell Biology, University of Liverpool, UK.

    Dr. David Grimes (Consultant physician and gastroenterologist) gives some background…

    ‘Covid-19 and Vitamin D: NICE fails us again’ [October 2020]:
    http://www.drdavidgrimes.com/2020/10/covid-19-and-vitamin-d-nice-fails-us.html

  • Laurence Cox 6th Jan '22 - 12:25pm

    @Jeff 5th Jan ’22 – 9:13pm said:

    “400 IU is only a tenth of the dose typically required for optimal functioning of the immune system in winter.”

    I don’t know where you get this statement from; 4000 IU daily is certainly the upper limit that the NIH in the USA recommend for indefinite consumption of vitamin D, but there is no evidence I have seen that it is the dose required for optimal functioning of the immune system in winter. The ‘bible’ on this is:

    Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56070/

    If you look at the graph on page 382, which shows the results of trials measuring serum 25OHD against vitamin D intake, you will see that the increase in serum concentration above about 400 IU daily is much slower than below 400 IU and that the scatter between studies is far larger than the change with dose.

    Whilst you can take a daily dose of 4000 IU safely indefinitely, you cannot assume that lower daily doses are inadequate, because the variation seen in the studies is so large. I know that Professor Cobbold is an advocate of large doses of vitamin D; I take 1000 IU daily myself summer and winter; but I have yet to see real proof of what level of vitamin D intake is required to have protective effects. For me the villains are not NICE but the RECOVERY trial who set up a multi-arm trial to test the efficacy of a number of drugs against covid in hospitalised patients, but did not choose to include a vitamin D arm in the trial. The very fact that covid hospitalisation was more prevalent among Afro-Caribbeans and South Asians should have been a clue that vitamin D deficiency could be a contributory cause and it should not have needed NICE to tell them this.

  • Well said @ Laurence Cox

    There are also certain conditions and medications were high doses of Vitamin D are not recommended because of the interactions that it can have on other conditions.
    I know my father is such a case due to having heart and Kidney disease and also problems with GallBladder and Gall Stones. He does take Vitamin D Supplements as recommended by his consultant but this is at a lower dose than what “Jeff” says should be the “Universal” dose.
    But Judging by all all of Jeffs other comments, he knows far better than my fathers specialists in charge of his care

  • Laurence Cox 6th Jan ’22 – 12:25pm:
    The ‘bible’ on this is:

    But that dates from 2011. Perhaps the most relevant sentence is this one…

    ‘Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D.’:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56061/#ch3.s11

    There is emerging evidence that calcitriol plays a role in the immune system that has not yet been clearly described.

    Since then, rather more has been discovered about the roll of calcitriol (the active form of vitamin D) in the immune system. Essentially, it acts as a modulator – helping to prevent the immune system from both under-reacting or over-reacting (cytokine storm). To do that optimally higher levels of vitamin D are required than needed to maintain bone and muscle health. We now know that a 400 IU dose, as (briefly) offered by the government scheme, is insufficient to optimise immune system function, particularly in the elderly whose metabolism is less efficient at converting vitamin D3.

    I’m busy today, but I’ll return tomorrow with some links to research papers, etc..

  • @Jeff

    “I’m busy today, but I’ll return tomorrow with some links to research papers, etc..”

    Im sure were all looking forward to that, maybe you will also find the time to correct your errors at https://www.libdemvoice.org/8-december-2021-todays-press-releases-69320.html#comment-565256
    and respond to my @ https://www.libdemvoice.org/8-december-2021-todays-press-releases-69320.html#comment-565257

    You keep quoting Dr “Campbell” as your source of education, therefore surely you would want to address the conflicting inaccuracies in what he actually said and what you said he said 🙂

  • Laurence Cox 6th Jan ’22 – 12:25pm:
    “400 IU is only a tenth of the dose typically required for optimal functioning of the immune system in winter.”

    I don’t know where you get this statement from;

    There was a statistical error in the RDA set by The Institute of Medicine (IOM)…

    ‘Over 200 Scientists & Doctors Call For Increased Vitamin D Use To Combat COVID-19’ [February 2021]:
    https://vitamind4all.org/letter.html

    Unfortunately, the report that set the US RDA included an admitted statistical error in which required intake was calculated to be ~10x too low. [4]

    4. ‘Letter to Veugelers, P.J. and Ekwaru, J.P., A Statistical Error in the Estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D. Nutrients 2014, 6, 4472–4475; doi:10.3390/nu6104472’ [March 2015]:
    https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/7/3/1688/htm

    While the 3,875 IU intake value needed to achieve at least 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L) in 97.5% of the population is lower than the estimate of Veugelers and Ekwaru, it should be noted first that, as Veugelers and Ekwaru had stated, both estimates are roughly an order of magnitude higher than the published IOM value. Also, it must be stressed that this input is explicitly supplemental, i.e., it presumes a daily, basal input from food and sun of some non-zero magnitude.

    In response to…

    ’A statistical error in the estimation of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D’ [October 2014]:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4210929/

    The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issues dietary recommendations on the request of the U.S. and Canadian governments. One of these recommendations is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). The RDA is the nutrient intake considered to be sufficient to meet the requirements of 97.5% of healthy individuals. […]

    This data point (600 IU vitamin D, 50 nmol/L) is the basis for the current RDA and for the IOM’s conclusion that an intake of 600 IU of vitamin D per day will achieve serum 25(OH)D levels of 50 nmol/L or more in 97.5% of individuals. This conclusion, however, is incorrect.

    The correct interpretation of the lower prediction limit is that 97.5% of study averages are predicted to have values exceeding this limit. This is essentially different from the IOM’s conclusion that 97.5% of individuals will have values exceeding the lower prediction limit.

  • Laurence Cox 7th Jan '22 - 1:32pm

    @Jeff (Part 1)

    You are half-right and half wrong. The half-right part is easy to explain. Yes, a 97.5% probability derived from the set of trials means does not imply a 97.5% probability for the whole population and this is explained by the authors you cite.

    The half-wrong part is that you have not understood the mistake that the authors you cite made. The only way to measure the true population variation from the trials is to go back to the actual data (not the trial means and standard deviations) for each individual in all of the trials and calculate mean and standard deviation from that. You also need to do a statistical check that the data points follow a Gaussian distribution. If they do not, then you have to calculate the 97.5% point from the data, not by taking two standard deviations.

    When you look at the data that they quote and specifically the yellow points in their second figure, some of them have such low serum 25OHD levels that you would expect to see clinical vitamin D deficiency in anyone with levels this low (< 10 nmol/l) Yet we know that all the subjects were healthy because that was a condition of them taking part in the trials. This strongly suggests to me that their assumption that they can replicate the population distribution from the means and standard deviations of the trials is faulty; without that assumption, their 97.5% level points and the red dashed line they also show is meaningless.

  • Laurence Cox 7th Jan ’22 – 1:32pm:
    You are half-right and half wrong.

    It’s not me who’s right or wrong; I’m just the messenger. I quoted the Veugelers and Ekwaru paper to explain the statistical error referred to in that Open Letter signed by 220 scientists and doctors.

    This strongly suggests to me that their assumption that they can replicate the population distribution from the means and standard deviations of the trials is faulty; without that assumption, their 97.5% level points and the red dashed line they also show is meaningless.

    I understand what you’re saying, but it doesn’t follow that their result is “meaningless”. Clearly there was an error and it was likely to be large. I do agree that it would be better to use the actual data.

    Over the weekend I’ll find time to post the links to some research studies.

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