Category Archives: Tests

#Tory plans for #Covid19 have fallen into incoherence. Can anybody #makeitmakesense?

Boris Johnson says the UK’s position with regard to Covid-19 is “incomparably better” than it was this time last year.

I don’t get it, so I’m willing to bet that you don’t either.

Covid-19 infections in the UK have skyrocketed over the Christmas period – and that’s just those we know about!

At the time of writing, the number of new cases in England and Scotland stood at 157, 758 on January 3. Those for Wales and Northern Ireland were not included in the figures from Public Health England.

And there is a shortage of test kits, meaning the figures available to us are likely to represent only a fraction of the real total.

Only 42 deaths have been recorded. Again, these are likely to be a fraction of the real total, but the figure is one of the best This Writer has seen in months.

The number of hospitalisations is not listed on any of the press releases I’ve seen, but it likely to be around 9-10,000.  That’s about 50 per cent more than the previous week, indicating that while the Omicron variant may not kill people, it will certainly put them in hospital, tying up NHS resources.

The government’s response? Revive Nightingale hospitals.

That’s right. Apparently eight new Nightingales are being set up in car parks across the UK, aiming to provide 4,000 extra beds for Covid-19 patients.

Sadly, there are no extra NHS staff available to run these so-called hospitals. The NHS is overstretched, just staffing the genuine hospitals it has. Boris Johnson’s claim to be recruiting 50,000 new nurses had the same validity as most of his pronouncements (in other words, none at all) and Sajid Javid’s appeal for former healthcare professionals to help out has fallen on deaf ears.

It seems both men are hoping that nobody will realise that a tent in a car park without hospital staff isn’t a hospital; it’s just a tent – in a car park.

Heaven help you if you end up being sent there.

While all this was going on, the government assured everybody in England that it was perfectly safe to enjoy New Year parties – without any health protection measures at all. This was probably motivated by fear of being shamed again if evidence comes to light of more Downing Street parties at a time when people were not allowed to enjoy themselves, and hope that the inevitable increase in Covid cases comes as those with other causes start to tail off.

Oh, and the shortage of NHS staff is not being addressed at all. In fact, the Tories have refused to provide the FFP2 or FFP3 face masks that will protect them from being infected by their patients, meaning he is deliberately directing the NHS towards what could be its worst ever winter crisis.

Then there’s the question of schools.

The new term begins on January 4 (which could be today, depending on when you’re reading this), with only one health protection measure in place: secondary pupils must wear masks.

There is no plan to address the acute shortage of teachers caused by the government’s refusal to impose protections on their health after the Omicron variant arrived in the UK.

This means classes – and indeed entire schools – are likely to close this month.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has told head teachers to consider merging classes (to ensure that pupils who may not be infected have a chance to catch Covid from those who are?) or sending groups of pupils home if staff absences reach critical levels.

This suggests that his own appeal for former teachers to volunteer to help has fallen on the same stony ground as his colleague Javid’s did within the NHS. And quite right, too – retired staff are in the Covid-19 danger zone and must consider their own safety first.

So government policy is another massive contradiction. Health protection measures are minimal and the assumption is that schools will stay open until closure is the only choice remaining to them – meaning they must become breeding grounds for the virus, once again.

Calls for better ventilation, filtration, and social distancing have been rejected by the government – possibly because acting on them would involve spending money, and the only spending the Tories plan to do on Covid-19 is wasting cash by handing it to their friends (no matter how amateur they may be).

Sadly we cannot expect opposition to any of these hare-brained policies from Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

Starmer supported, to the hilt, everything Johnson has done – and failed to do – about Covid-19. That includes demanding that schools should stay open.

A U-turn now would leave him and his Tepid Tory party wide open to criticism from the real Tories.

Labour had the chance to demand school safety, support for the vulnerable, and help for businesses but squandered it. Now it is too late for Starmer to change.

Add it all up and it makes nonsense of Boris Johnson’s claim that the UK is in an “incomparably better” position than this time last year.

We are on the edge of a cliff and he is trying to push us over.

That’s unless you can make it make sense for the rest of us.

Social media comments on the information supporting this article – and more – are below:

‘Record’ #Covid19 infection rate is probably a fraction of the total because: no #tests available!

I’m all right, Jack: like Boris Johnson, This Writer has now had the Covid-19 vaccine booster injection. It won’t stop me catching the Omicron variant so I’m still wearing a mask out and conforming with all the safety procedures recommended here in Wales.

Official figures show a record 183,037 Covid-19 infections were recorded on December 29.

Sadly, that number is likely to be a fraction of the total because the Conservative government that spaffed £37 billion of public money on a privately-run test and trace scheme (that didn’t work) is still utterly unable to provide enough tests – either lateral flow or PCR – for those of us who need them.

The government’s response has been to provide “out of office” messages.

And Boris Johnson disappeared for more than a week. Asked where he had been, he said “Inside the country” – instantly indicating to all of us that he has been raving it up in some foreign holiday destination owned by one of his friends and gifted to him on the sly (again).

(This next one is just for fun.)

Oh but hey! Johnson also offered reassurance by saying nine-tenths of people in intensive care have not had the booster jab:

Official policy is to do nothing, despite the fact that official infections are three times what they were just two weeks ago.

It might be reasonable to say that, if the number of hospitalisations and deaths has significantly dropped.

But with even official infection rates rising exponentially, there will come a day on which hospitals will be overwhelmed again – especially because medical teams are being forced to stay away from work because they can’t get a test result.

Which day, do you reckon? New Year’s Day? New Year’s Eve?

Today?

All because a bunch of media hacks told us Jeremy Corbyn was a wrong ‘un after he told them how Boris Johnson was planning to kill the NHS.

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False positive: Vox Political’s Covid journey was brief… for now

Test results: presumably this is the way my PCR test turned out.

The text message came in just after 7pm yesterday (Wednesday): “Your coronavirus PCR test (or other lab test) result is negative. It’s likely you did not have the virus when the test was done.”

So my lateral flow test was a false positive. What a relief – or at least, it would have been if Mrs Mike’s negative result hadn’t come in a couple of minutes earlier. So I was mentally prepared.

And it seems I’m not the only one to have a welcome surprise…

In fact the greatest relief was the fact that I don’t have to put up with texts, emails and phone calls from various Covid-related government organisations.

Oh, the bureaucracy!

I had seven texts from ‘NHSresult’ and three from ‘NHSWALESTTP’ (the track and trace mob).

I also had a phone call from track and trace, who stopped being interested when I started listing people I’d met and places I’d been, and opted to email me a questionnaire instead.

The instructions with the LFT kit said I had to notify the NHS online, so I logged in and went through a lengthy process to identify myself and provide my test result. Then the site told me to order a PCR test for myself and anybody else, meaning I then had to go through the same lengthy identification procedure I’d just been through, plus a new lengthy ID process so I could get a test for Mrs Mike as well.

I then received a further nine emails telling me what to do, what not to do, and where not to do it.

And I had to go online again to fill in that contact tracing questionnaire.

Blimey!

If I’d really had the virus, I wonder whether I would have been up to any of it.

But I don’t have the virus. Or at least, I don’t have that virus.

I do have something, it seems. Don’t know what but the symptoms are persisting.

So, while I don’t have to self-isolate any more (thank goodness!) I’ll be cooling the social life for a while – especially after what I heard about what people who really do have Covid-19 have been doing.

After all, if I don’t have Covid now, I can still catch it any time.

Next time I go to the pub, you’ll know who I am. I’ll be the one wearing two masks, with a cover over his pint, sucking it up through a straw.

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Tory corruption: North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson REPEATEDLY boosted companies that employed him

Master and servant: Owen Paterson with his boss, Peter Fitzgerald of Randox. Funny that… wasn’t Paterson supposed to be working for the people of North Shropshire?

North Shropshire’s Tory MP Owen Paterson has turned out to be as corrupt as they come – using his position as a public representative to boost the private interests of two companies. And it seems thousands of people may have died as a result.

Paterson is set to be punished for corruptly using his Parliamentary position to win contracts for two companies that employ him.

Yes, it is corruption. Yes, it is against Parliamentary rules. He should be booted out of the Palace of Westminster and told never to come back. In a proper, working democracy he would be arrested and sent to prison.

Would you like to know what will actually happen?

He’ll be suspended from Parliament for 30 working days.

That’s right – he gets a month’s extra holiday.

Here’s the report on Sky News:

And here’s the BBC:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone opened an investigation into the MP following accusations he had lobbied on behalf of two companies who employed him.

Her report said he was a paid consultant to Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods and had made approaches to the Food Standards Agency and Department for International Development ministers about the companies.

The commissioner also found Mr Paterson had breached the MPs’ code of conduct by using his parliamentary office on 25 occasions for business meetings with clients between October 2016 and February 2020 and in sending two letters relating to business interests on House of Commons headed notepaper.

The report noted that there was no immediate financial benefit secured by the two companies-

Oh, really?

That would be Randox Health. Perhaps the Commissioner didn’t notice this significant fact because her report only goes as far as February 2020.

Randox was awarded its £133 million contract in March 2020 – and, yes, it was a closed process – unadvertised and with no other companies being asked to bid.

A month later, Paterson was a party to a call between Randox and James Bethell, then the Tory minister responsible for Covid-19 testing supplies.

Randox was hired to supply 2.7 million testing kits – but 750,000 of them were withdrawn after spot checks in July found that some of the kits, supplied by a Chinese manufacturer but sent out by Randox, were not sterile and could therefore be contaminated.

The failure delayed plans to provide regular testing for English care home residents and staff. We later discovered that Tory government failures to protect care homes resulted in around 30,000 unnecessary deaths.

But that was no concern for Randox – its contract was extended for a further six months in October last year. Again, the process was closed – unadvertised, with no other companies permitted to bid.

Much of this information may be confirmed by reading this Guardian article.

In fact, it should have been to safeguard the health of the people of the UK – especially, in this case, care home residents and staff. Instead, thousands died – possibly because he vouched for a company that provided substandard testing kits.

And his punishment is a 30-day holiday.

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Cognitive dissonance: Javid’s indifference heralds new UK Covid catastrophe

The caseload and the culprit: every other nation now has far fewer Covid-19 cases because they don’t have a selfish and incompetent government led by selfish incompetent Boris Johnson.

This Writer took a Covid-19 test today. The result was negative, you’ll be pleased to hear.

No, nobody passed on the virus at the successful Festival of Resistance at which I spoke over the weekend.

While I had been there, Mrs Mike had attended a gathering to celebrate her best friend’s granddaughter’s 16th birthday. The day after, the girl’s stepfather tested positive.

Mrs Mike had not been near him but she took a test on Monday, along with her friend. Both came out negative – and this was good, because we were due to attend the funeral of Mrs Mike’s beloved grandfather on Wednesday (yesterday) and she would have been devastated to miss it.

So we attended the event, along with many others (he had been 99 years old and a pillar of the Royal British Legion), and it was only when we were driving back from the crematorium that Mrs Mike received a message from her best friend, that she had taken a second test and it had come out positive.

Imagine the effect on Mrs Mike, who had just attended such a large event, full of senior citizens who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 – and alongside her daughter, who is pregnant. We all wore masks at the ceremonies, but not at the social event between the service and the cremation; and not in the car with my stepdaughter and her fiance, or in their house afterwards.

It is therefore a great relief that neither of us have the virus and could not have passed it on.

Shall we discuss the press conference by that utter maniac Sajid Javid now, in this context?

The day after the official figure – of deaths within 28 days of a positive test – hit 223, its highest level since March, and 43,738 daily cases – which is around the current level of nearly 50k per day – he said infections could more than double to 100,000 per day during the winter.

That isn’t news; we’ve been hearing it since late summer. The tragedy is that Javid isn’t interested in doing anything about it.

He won’t re-impose restrictions or lockdowns. He says the precautions people take are for them to judge – but my own experience over the last few days shows that people simply are not good judges in that respect.

If Javid expects infections to more-than-double, then it is reasonable to believe he has come to the same conclusion.

Why doesn’t he re-introduce social distancing rules, or even lockdowns, then? He doesn’t care.

His attitude is that his donors have waiting long enough and now they want to start making money again. If people die… too bad.

Of course, some people have done very well out of our suffering, let’s not forget:

It’s a shocking dereliction of duty by a UK Health Secretary. No doubt he will surround himself with excuses, and with friends in the Tories’ client media to mouth them, but that won’t change the evidence.

I note what he said about people attending parties – but it simply isn’t realistic. People aren’t going to wear masks at such events because they are there specifically to get closer to their friends and loved ones and masks get in the way. It is his job to ensure that people don’t need to – and he simply isn’t doing it.

Instead, he lied that we are closer to normal than we were a few months ago…

He said he has secured hundreds of thousands of doses of new antivirals – great! But the UK has a population of 68 million. Who will get those drugs first?

Four million people have had booster injections of Covid-19 vaccines, he said. Why so few?

UK Health Security Agency chief executive Jenny Harries said the number of deaths was moving in the “wrong direction” – which is a curious choice of words. The fact that, after more than a year and a half, there are any deaths at all shows that the UK government’s Covid-19 policy as a whole has been moving in the wrong direction since the start.

And she has contributed to this, of course:

Javid said it was still his belief that people in the UK should “learn to live with the virus”. Like MPs will have to, after their disgraceful display of masklessness at Prime Minister’s Questions?

(Obviously I was at the funeral and didn’t see PMQs. If you did, could you see Javid in the Chamber with his mask on?)

How strange that nobody in the mass media has bothered to mention this point. Have they been told not to?

He said pressure on the NHS was not “unsustainable” – but this is nonsense; he had to call in the Armed Forces to help cope:

His words were also directly contradicted by the National Medical Director of England, Stephen Powis:

And he said contingency measures are in place if the situation becomes “more challenging” – but are not needed yet.

If not now – when? The UK has the highest infection rate, the highest death rate, and the worst government response of any nation in the world! Deaths are at 1,000 per week and have been for months – that’s equivalent to 50,000 per year. The current infection rate means 2.6 million people are likely to contract the virus per year, increasing to a possible 5.2 million – and Javid is happy with that.

That is not the attitude of a Health Secretary but of a homicidal maniac.

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Tory protection racket: party chairman’s firm sold Covid-19 tests at a premium when NHS had none

Boris Johnson and Ben Elliot: The latter became Tory chairman when the former became prime minister and then, during the Covid crisis, was miraculously able to provide tests to its rich clients – for a price – when the NHS just couldn’t get hold of them for free.

This is further evidence suggesting that Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is a racket being run to enrich the prime minister and his cronies.

Take Ben Elliot, Tory party chairman since Johnson became prime minister in July 2019.

He founded a concierge company called Quintessentially and remains a director and shareholder.

How much richer did that company become by being able to provide Covid-19 tests to its clients – at £300 a pop – when the government run by his mate Boris was – apparently – struggling to supply any tests at all to the population at large?

Do you believe it’s just a coincidence that this money-making opportunity happened to Johnson’s crony?

Here’s The Times, of all sources:

The Conservative chairman’s company arranged for its clients to buy coronavirus tests for hundreds of pounds while the government was struggling to ramp up testing capacity, The Times has learnt.

Quintessentially, a luxury concierge company, arranged for its wealthy clients to purchase PCR and antibody tests in April last year, during the pandemic’s deadly first wave.

Quintessentially’s co-founder, Ben Elliot, has been co-chairman of the Conservative Party since July 2019, when Boris Johnson became prime minister. He remains a director and shareholder.

The company, founded in 2000, boasts of its ability to “take care of every aspect of our members’ lives, ensuring they’re engaged and experiencing the absolute best the world has to offer”.

Do you think it’s even remotely possible that the – Boris Johnson – government will allow any kind of independent inquiry to take place?

Source: Ben Elliot’s company Quintessentially sold Covid tests to clients when NHS was struggling to increase capacity | News | The Times

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There’s a really simple reason recorded Covid cases have fallen but deaths are up

It’s not over: the reason recorded Covid-19 infections are falling is that school pupils aren’t being tested; they’re on holiday.

News media like the BBC are all over the fact that the number of recorded Covid-19 infections has dropped for the seventh day running.

They’re practically ignoring the fact that the daily death total has leapt to 131 – the highest number since March.

Bit of a discrepancy, that.

The reason could be that fewer people have been tested over the last seven days.

The reason for that?

Most of the schools broke up for the summer nearly a week ago. Our kids aren’t being tested any more.

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Hancock denies claim about Covid-testing care home residents. What DID he mean, then?

Matt Hancock: hopefully the next time any news media show a picture of him in a car, it will be after he has been removed from his job as Health Secretary for lying to Parliament and the public, and for deliberately allowing more than 40,000 care home residents to die by failing to provide them with “the resources they need”.

Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock is dissembling maniacally in a desperate attempt to deny causing thousands of care home deaths.

He’s telling us that he never claimed, during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, that care home residents were being tested for the disease before being discharged from hospital back to those homes.

Perhaps he didn’t say so in as many words.

So the question arises: what did he mean when he told us on May 15 last year, “Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes. We set out our first advice in February… we’ve made sure care homes have the resources they need”?

Clearly, one of the resources necessary to ensure that care homes are protected from Covid-19 is the testing of people going into those homes, to ensure they don’t have it.

Boris Johnson was caught lying about care homes on May 13 last year, when he claimed that the government imposed a lockdown there before the national lockdown started at the end of March 2020.

In fact, the Tories followed out-of-date advice from Public Health England, published on February 25 that year, until March 12 – by which time thousands of deaths were taking place in care homes across the UK.

That advice stated: “There is currently no transmission of Covid-19 in the community. It is therefore very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a care home … will become infected.”

Therefore government policy was not to provide any protection in care homes at all.

Between March 2 and May 1, 2020, no fewer than 12,526 people died with Covid-19 in care homes.

Covid-19 testing did not begin in those homes until July last year, by which time more than 29,000 people had died there. At least a further 11,000 people died after testing began, bringing the total to more than 40,000.

Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that [bolding mine] “we brought in the policy of wanting to test everybody who went into a care home as soon as we had those tests available”.

That is not what he, nor his boss Boris Johnson, told the public at the time. Bizarrely, he still claimed

 that he had been honest and straightforward with people during the pandemic.

That is clearly a lie, right there.

We know that care homes were being treated as though there was no possibility at all that any of their residents could have Covid-19, right up to March 12, 2020 – 10 days after people there had started dying because of the virus.

We know that Hancock had claimed that he had thrown a “protective ring” around care homes by providing them with “the resources they need”.

What resources did Hancock mean in that statement?

It occurs to This Writer that any such resources must include the facilities to isolate residents from their fellow residents after returning from hospital, and the ability to test them for Covid-19 before allowing them to mix with anybody else at all.

If Hancock is now saying that government policy at this time was that it wanted to test people – but wasn’t actually to test them – then logic dictates that it did not provide care homes with the resources they need.

That would mean Hancock lied to Marr, because he lied to the nation in May last year.

Taking this further, logic suggests that his reason for lying was the fact that by the time he made his false claim, more than 12,526 people had died because the government had not provided care homes with “the resources they need”, after having claimed that it had.

I am reminded of the image Dominic Cummings supplied, of a whiteboard covered with ideas about how the government intended to cope with Covid-19, early in 2020. At the bottom is the question: “who do we not save?”

It seems likely that we now know the answer to that question.

And it seems Hancock is trying to slither out of responsibility for allowing those unnecessary deaths to happen.

This Writer hopes that when Hancock faces a joint meeting of the Commons Health and Science committees during the week, his fellow MPs point out these facts to him, along with one more fact: deliberately lying to Parliament is still a sacking offence for any member of the government.

He’s a slippery, treacherous creature but Hancock has set a trap for himself. Let’s hope his Parliamentary colleagues have the intelligence to spring it on him.

Source: Covid: Matt Hancock responds to Dominic Cummings’s care homes remark – BBC News

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Dido Harding wants to run English NHS. Where there’s no accountability, there’s no shame

Fiasco: Dido Harding (left) was appointed by Matt Hancock (right – not the donkey, although it probably has more brains than him) to run a privatised Covid-19 ‘test and trace’ scheme (hence the Serco logo) under the NHS banner. It was a disaster. Now she is thinking of applying to be the new boss of NHS England. What do YOU think will happen if she gets the job?

The former jockey who cocked up the UK’s Covid-19 “test and trace” efforts – so badly that £37 billion of public money couldn’t put it right – now wants to inflict herself on the English NHS.

Dido Harding has made a name for herself as the worst possible choice to run any organisation, ever since her lamentable stint as boss of Talk Talk.

Her tenure at the head of “test and trace” almost certainly caused thousands of unnecessary deaths.

But there is no accountability among Tories. She has not been called to face justice for her failures, and she never will be.

Just you think about the colossal amount of harm she could do to the nation’s health if she gets a job running England’s NHS.

The Tories would love it; it would be the best advert for full privatisation they could possibly have.

Source: Former Test and Trace boss Dido Harding considering bid to lead NHS England

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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One rule for them: Gove ‘pinged’ by Covid track&trace – but won’t have to self-isolate

Michael Gove: he didn’t have to self-isolate after coming into contact with Covid while watching Chelsea in the Champions League final – because he is an over-privileged Tory politician and considers himself to be above the rules that apply to the rest of us.

Once again, a Tory government minister is being allowed to ignore the rules that apply to the rest of us – because he can.

Michael Gove went to Portugal to watch the final of the Champions League – itself a thing that only people with a certain amount of money and the privilege that goes with it can do.

While he was there, he came into contact with someone who has (or at least had) Covid-19 – and was alerted to the fact by the Covid “track and trace” app on his mobile phone.

But not for him the inconvenience of having to self-isolate for weeks at a time! Oh no! He’s far too entitled for that!

Instead, he is taking part in a “pilot scheme” that nobody has ever heard of before now, in which he will instead undergo daily Covid tests.

Presumably he will still be in contact with his government and Cabinet colleagues – potentially exposing them to whichever variant of the virus he may have caught as well.

I’m partly inclined to say, good luck to the lot of them and they’ll only have themselves to blame if they all end up with the Delta variant (or whichever version is in vogue at the moment).

But he’ll probably get off scot free; it will be a false alarm and some Tory head-wagger will lecture us about what a wonderful step forward this “pilot scheme” is – for privilege people like him.

Richard Madeley put his finger on the heart of this matter when he asked that corrupt Tory liar Robert Jenrick about the incident on Good Morning Britain:

“One rule for you and one for us” indeed. And you’ll have noticed that Jenrick sees nothing wrong with that at all.

Source: Covid: Michael Gove alerted by NHS Test and Trace after Champions League trip – BBC News