“Reasons to be cheerful .. One .. Two .. Three .. !”
Jonathan Van Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, attempting to quell the mounting vaccine excitement at last Monday night’s press conference, flung two buckets of cold water over the Pfizer announcement.
One .. “ the train (the vaccine) was two miles down the track” and Two .. “would it get here in such stormy weather ?”Is this the ‘science’ which we must follow ?Particularly when Boris warns us against relying too much on the “scientific cavalry”, whose distant bugle call was still a long way off ..
However, there are reasons to be cautious.
  • Professor Stephen Evans, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, points out that the decision to release results while also continuing trial recruitment is unprecedented and could undermine the future of the trial. It may be ethically tricky to carry on giving a placebo to participants while knowing that a vaccine is successful.
  • Huge logistical challenges await the preservation and transportation of vaccine in ultra-cold storage at below -109F (-78C). Most health centres in Britain simply do not have the facilities to cope. So even if it is successful, there are serious concerns about whether it can realistically be distributed.
  • Many people will refuse it because
  1.  it’s “trendy”
  2.  they’ve heard contrary “advice” on Twitter
  3.  they’re more “scared” of the needle than the disease.

The Royal Society is so concerned about uptake that it is calling for anti-vaxxers to be prosecuted if they spread misinformation about the dangers. So many choices .. .. hence this scribbling under the title of Ian Dury’s classic 1979 hit.

Covid-19 in England From left to right, it reads: name of local authority (in proximity to Wyre Forest); rate of new cases in the seven days to October 25; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to October 25; rate of new cases in the seven days to October 18; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to October 18.
Top 50:
South Staffordshire         388.7 (437),            197.4 (222)
Above 300:
South Derbyshire             346.8 (372),            165.0 (177)
Bolsover                            345.1 (278),             185.0 (149)
Derby                                343.2 (883),            171.8 (442)
Chesterfield                     341.3 (358),             159.2 (167)
Walsall                              327.9 (936),            211.6 (604)
Cannock Chase               323.5 (326),           207.4 (209)
Over 250:
Sandwell                           298.7 (981),            216.2 (710)
Birmingham                      275.2 (3142),          227.5 (2598)
Wolverhampton              253.6 (668),           191.0 (503)
North Warwickshire        252.8 (165),            142.5 (93)
Rest of West Midlands:
Dudley                              243.5 (783),           150.8 (485)
Solihull                              231.1 (500),             209.8 (454)
Telford and Wrekin          221.3 (398),             154.0 (277)
Redditch                           171.2 (146),              120.8 (103)
Bromsgrove                      166.2 (166),            176.2 (176)
Worcester                         155.1 (157),              91.9 (93)
Shropshire                        125.3 (405),           84.5 (273)
Wyre Forest                     124.4 (126),             79.0 (80)
Wychavon                        115.9 (150),             89.6 (116)
Malvern Hills                     94.0 (74),              75.0 (59) _______________________________________________________________

Who’s giving us the most ‘sage’ advice ?

While Boris Johnson will be the person announcing the catastrophic decision of the net ‘Total Lockdown’, the measures are the result of a small group of scientists – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) – who, in the view of other scientists, have repeatedly got things terribly wrong.
Their arguments which have had, and continue to have, disastrous consequences for people’s lives and the economy are _
  • the assumption that the vast majority of the population is vulnerable to infection.
  • that only 7 per cent of the population has been infected, so far.
  • that the virus causing Covid-19 has a mortality rate of about 1 per cent.

In the absence of further action, Sage has concluded that a very high number of deaths will occur.

However, different teams = different predictions of mortality among sufferers _

Cambridge University                       1.4%

Imperial College (London)                1.2%

Australian study                               0.75%

World Health Organisation             0.6%

Harvard University                          0.5%

SAGE                                                0.5%

German study                                0.37%

Stanford University                       0.25%

Quatari study                                0.01%


And more about ‘Sage’ (from ‘Letters to the Editor’ of a national daily) – 07/11/20

As a scientist, I find it annoying, almost insulting, to see what emanates from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) described by politicians and the media as “science”. What emerges from Sage is not subject to any form of scientific rigour or peer review, as scientific work must be, in order to be accepted as valid. It is principally a form of modelling based on suppositions and assumptions, not on real studies. It would be better if decisions on dealing with Covid-19 were based on real data, such as that gathered by the King’s College London ‘Zoe’ study, rather than scenarios generated by Sage. It would be even more appropriate to obtain a consensus view of how to deal with the situation by examining the plethora of peer-reviewed studies available in the scientific press, rather than the opinion of one group of modellers. This is how science generally operates. The evidence behind any decision made by the Government could then be presented in an open and transparent way. We, the general public, deserve better than the current obfuscation.”Dr Keith Collard


Also seemingly ignored is the fact that, while the Covid-19 virus is new, other corona viruses are not. We had SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012 – and in the UK there are at least four known strains of coronavirus which cause the common cold, meaning that many who have been infected by other corona viruses will have immunity to closely related ones such as the Covid-19 virus. Research in both Europe and the US has shown that around 30% of the population was likely already immune to Covid-19 before the virus arrived.

Pre-eminent scientists such as John Ioannidis, professor of epidemiology at Stanford University in California, have concluded that the mortality rate is close to 0.2 per cent which means one in 500 people infected dying. Apply this to the UK and the total number of Covid deaths (around 45,000) would imply that approximately 22.5million people have been infected. This equates to 33.5% of the population and not Sage’s 7%.


The immune systems of most healthy people bypass the complex and energy-intensive process of making antibodies because the virus can be overcome by several other means of defence.

  • innate immunity which is comprised of the body’s physical barriers to infection and protective secretions (the skin and its oils, the cough reflex, tears, etc.)
  • its inflammatory response (to localise and minimise infection and injury)
  • the production of non-specific cells (phagocytes) that target an invading virus/bacterium
  • the production of antibodies that protect against a specific virus or bacterium (and confer immunity) and T-cells (a type of white blood cell) that are also specific. (It is the T-cells that are crucial in our body’s response to respiratory viruses such as Covid-19).

Studies show that while not all individuals infected by the Covid-19 viruses have antibodies, they do have T-cells that can respond to the virus and therefore have immunity. ________________________________________________________________________________

The World Health Organisation says that of the 750million people infected by the virus to date, almost none have been re-infected. That’s how the immune system works and if it didn’t, humanity would not still be here.

If some 33.5% of our population have already been infected by the virus this year (and are now immune) – and a further 30% were already immune before we even heard of Covid-19 – then, once you also factor-in that 10% of the UK population is aged ten or under and therefore largely invulnerable (children are rarely made ill by the virus), that leaves just 26.5% of people who are actually susceptible to being infected. (The Sage current prediction is 93%).



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