Tag Archives: COVID-19

Top scientist condemns #Covid19 ‘lack of leadership’ and demands international #vaccination

He’s right, you know: Sir Jeremy Farrar quit Sage so he could tell you the government is wrong about Covid-19.

Isn’t it funny how scientists instantly start singing a different song, the instant they stop being employed by the government?

Sir Jeremy Farrar quit the Tory government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) last month.

Now he is joining the growing number of people calling for vaccines to be supplied internationally, rather than being rationed according to which countries can pay.

He accused rich countries of taking “a very blinkered domestic focus, lulled into thinking that the worst of the pandemic was behind us”.

“The longer this virus continues to spread in largely unvaccinated populations globally, the more likely it is that a variant that can overcome our vaccines and treatments will emerge,” he wrote. “If that happens, we could be close to square one.

“This political drift and lack of leadership is prolonging the pandemic for everyone, with governments unwilling to really address inequitable access to the vaccines, tests and treatment.

“There have been wonderful speeches, warm words, but not the actions needed to ensure fair access to what we know works and would bring the pandemic to a close.”

He’s right, of course – and the emergence of the Omicron variant has proved it.

It is believed to have developed in a country that has not been broadly vaccinated: Covid is much more likely to mutate in places where vaccination is low and transmission is high, while immunisation greatly reduces the change of new variants emerging.

So providing the vaccine to poorer countries is a matter of survival, not profit.

But just try telling that to Boris Johnson after he spent the last – almost – two years helping Tory donors and friends profiteer from Covid!

Source: ‘Lack of leadership prolonging Covid pandemic’ says top scientist warning UK is heading ‘back to square one’

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#BorisJohnson #sleaze #scandal of the day: another MP with a second job

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions.

Boris Johnson is facing tricky questions again:

Apparently Winchester MP Stephen Brine repeatedly claimed on the public Register of Members’ Interests that he’d been given the green-light to take a £1,600-a-month job with Sigma Pharmaceuticals by a Parliamentary watchdog, just months after quitting as a Public Health minister in March 2019.

This was not true, it seems. And the company was given a Covid-19 contract worth £100,000 subsequently. Did Brine act as a lobbyist? Both he and the firm deny it. But they would, wouldn’t they?

And with corruption in government at an all-time high, it seems unlikely that we’ll get the facts, whether they’re innocent or not.

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#BorisJohnson’s #Covid19 #Christmas booze-up: why won’t #CressidaDick investigate?

His most infamous comment: let’s not forget that Johnson is believed to have said “Let the bodies pile high in their thousands” months before the alleged Christmas party at Downing Street on December 18, 2020. They did: on the day of the party alone, 489 people died with Covid-19.

She doesn’t have to – she already has the names of everybody who attended and may start prosecutions whenever she wants. She just doesn’t want to.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We’re all aware of the situation, I hope: it emerged a few days ago that Boris Johnson hosted a huge Christmas Party at 10 Downing Street, with attendees packed together “cheek by jowl”, while the rest of London was on Tier 3 lockdown and on a day when 489 people died from Covid-19.

There is a question over why it took so long for this to come out; were political correspondents like the BBC’s Laura Kuennsberg and ITV’s Robert Peston invited? If so, did they go? If so, is that the reason they didn’t report the breach of Covid regulations – that they were as guilty as everybody else? If so (again), then they should not be in the jobs they have if they’re so quick to lay themselves open to compromising situations so easily.

Downing Street has said that all the rules in force at the time were observed, but this cannot be true; if there was any kind of party involving many people, then the rules were broken.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick – now there’s a woman who has compromised herself thoroughly for the Tory government! – initially refused to investigate the alleged incident, saying she had not received a complaint about it.

Judging from the volume of entries in This Writer’s Twitter feed, that situation has now been rectified. Here’s just one example:

So, it seems, she has changed her tune and is now saying that the police don’t investigate crimes retrospectively.

Sorry, what?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but police can only ever investigate crimes retrospectively! They have to have been committed before any detection work can happen at all. We don’t have any Minority Report-style ‘pre-crime’ units (and that’s just as well because the film suggested that it wouldn’t work if we did)!

So it’s a nonsense excuse.

Furthermore, it has been pointed out that Downing Street is under police guard 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. Everybody entering has to be signed in; everybody leaving has to be signed out.

So the police already have a list of everybody who attended the alleged party on December 18, 2020 – or should have.

Perhaps they destroyed it. That would be embarrassing because there are possible situations in which such lists may be required in the name of national security.

Perhaps Ms Dick’s name is on it. That would also be embarrassing.

In any event, officers on duty would have seen the people going in, and they must have seen the state of them by the time those people left. If all else fails, those officers could be interviewed.

What has become abundantly clear, though, is that nobody with the ability to do it has even the slightest interest in investigating the allegation that a boozy party happened in Downing Street during lockdown, meaning the prime minister of the UK broke his own rules.

That fact alone makes Johnson look as guilty as a puppy sitting next to a pile of poo.

It also indicates that we have people in positions of authority whose only interest is in abusing those positions for their own personal gratification – and in protecting each other from the consequences if those abuses are discovered.

It’s bitterly offensive to all the families whose loved ones died alone that day because Johnson’s rules for the rest of us required family members to be distanced from their relatives who had contracted the virus.

It would be foolish of us to believe that Boris Johnson, Cressida Dick, or anybody who attended that alleged party, cares about their loss in any way at all.

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#MattHancock is talking himself into a corner over his friend’s #Covid19 #contract

Matt Hancock and Alex Bourne: nothing to see here, according to the former Health Secretary.

I agree with Matt Thomas about this:

But to his words I would also add that misleading Parliament about such a contract should also carry an automatic penalty: expulsion.

It seems clear that Matt Hancock arranged a preferential deal for a Covid-19 contract with a company that acted as a ‘front’ for Alex Bourne, who used to run a pub close to Hancock’s constituency home in Suffolk.

Bourne has said he offered to supply the government with vials for Covid-19 tests via a WhatsApp message to Hancock. He ended up with a £40 million contract, despite having had no previous experience of providing medical supplies.

The contract was provided to a supplier already approved by the NHS – Alpha Pharmaceuticals, who then sub-contracted the work in its entirety to Bourne’s company Hinpack – apparently because Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care had demanded it.

Hancock told Parliament that any suggestion Bourne’s firm had been favoured because of his connection with the then-Health Secretary was a smear (as it implies corruption). He said: “I have heard this point about this pub landlord and I just want to tell her and the House, and put it formally on the record, and after this I hope the Labour party will also stop this slur, that the man in question never got nor applied for a contract from the government or the NHS at all. It is a fabrication pushed by the Labour party. It’s a load of rubbish.”

He added: “Of course, the Department of Health and the NHS does not have a say in sub-contracting arrangements.”

But the government did know that the work was being sub-contracted to Hancock’s company because it was written into Alpha’s contract. We have no reason to believe that Alpha, which is based in Harrow, Middlesex, had any knowledge of Hinpack prior to the awarding of this contract.

It seems clear that the contract was constructed carefully in order to put distance between Hancock and his acquaintance, although information has emerged proving that Hancock, as Health Secretary, had personally referred Bourne on to a government official.

His claim that he did not corruptly arrange for Bourne to get the work has been rubbished by Labour figures – to his face on Robert Peston’s ITV show when he clashed with Jess Phillips:

She’s wrong about a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them.

When the details of the sub-contract came out, Labour’s Annaliese Dodds demanded that Hancock return to Parliament to set the record straight:

He did respond, as follows: “This point of order and the point made in it demonstrates very clearly that there was no contract between the firm being discussed and the department or the NHS.

“So what this has done is demonstrated finally and for the record that there was no such contract between my constituent and the department or NHS. No matter how hard they look or how deep they dig, all that will be discovered is a lot of people working hard to save lives. That’s what was going on.”

That seems like bullshit to me.

Hancock recommended Bourne to a government official after having been contacted by Bourne.

He was responsible for awarding contracts.

A contract went to a company that then immediately passed on the work to Hancock’s friend, apparently because Hancock demanded it:

And, think about it: if you wanted to give plausible deniability to a corruptly-awarded contract, wouldn’t you do it by ensuring that it was a sub-contract that you could then say had nothing to do with you?

This Writer thinks Hancock’s story stinks – and I am looking forward to new information that the Good Law Project, which has been investigating the case, may turn up.

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Even if you don’t believe in #Covid #vaccines, you should support the #TRIPSWaiver

Covid-19 is really exposing the ethical vacuum at the heart of the pharmaceutical industry, isn’t it?

Vaccines have been around for more than 220 years. Our kids are routinely vaccinated against diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and tetanus; we have ourselves vaccinated against more exotic diseases if we plan to travel to foreign countries. The companies making the vaccines are paid for them, and that’s fine.

But Covid-19 has created a huge opportunity for those companies because their vaccines are desperately-needed to stop people dying in a rapidly-spreading pandemic. They are charging huge amounts of money for their jabs and this is restricting the distribution of these substances around the world; if a country’s government can’t afford it, the people don’t get it.

The knock-on effect is that the people of these countries catch Covid-19 and it mutates, creating new variants, some of which are immune to the current vaccines.

It is unreasonable to restrict life-saving treatments in this way; it creates further threat to us all.

But the pharmaceutical companies are hiding behind TRIPS – the Agreement of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property that restricts the right to manufacture vaccines to those companies that have patented them.

Labour MP Clive Lewis is supporting calls that initially came from South Africa and India to waive these companies’ patent rights temporarily, in order to make all of us safer, rather than just making a small number of shareholders richer.

Here’s his explanation of the issues – which shouldn’t be discounted just because he’s mistaken about the name of the new variant:

Even if you don’t want vaccination for yourself – for whatever reasons of your own, this is something you should be able to support in order to allow other people to have the choice that you’ve taken.

But here’s one thing:

Isn’t it sad that Mr Lewis has also to appeal to his own party leader, Keir Starmer, to do the right thing?

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The #Omicron variant doesn’t mean other #Covid19 strains have gone away. Read and weep

Covid-19: some readers have complained about This Site’s use of a graphic. It’s the one I used at the start and I’m going to carry on using it!

Isn’t it handy that the Tories can distract us all with fears about a new variant of Covid-19?

Isn’t it weird that reporting of Covid-19 generally seems to have fallen off?

But isn’t it also handy that we have people who can provide us with the juice that they’re trying to hide?

So come on, Boris Johnson! On your feet, Sajid Javid!

We want to know why the UK has had two and a half times as many Covid-19 infections as the most heavily-infected European country since your “Freedom Day” farce.

And we’re particularly keen to hear your explanation of why we have had to suffer around double the number of deaths seen in our most terminal neighbours.

(That’s according to Tory government figures which are wrong, mind. The Tories want you to think 145,140 people have died. More accurate ONS data suggests nearly 170,000 people have died. This Writer tends to think even this is a conservative estimate.)

Scientific information suggests the symptoms of Omicron are mild – headaches and tiredness. If that’s true, then I’m not fantastically worried!

Like most of the population, I don’t really want to know about a disease that will make me feel a bit drowsy and headachey. I want to know about the disease that’s likely to kill me.

What really gets my goat is having the facts withheld from me.

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#Covid19: #Omicron – and another #Tory bid to ruin our #Christmas

Risk: this is a German advert showing how masks reduce the risk of catching Covid-19 and its variants. People in the UK should take heed because the advice from our own government isn’t worth the time taken to listen to it.

There comes a time when even the most tolerant observer must give in and admit that the government is deliberately sabotaging its own fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Doesn’t there?

Surely, if you didn’t reach it in July when Boris Johnson condemned millions more people to catch the virus and at least 16,000 to die of it with his misnamed “Freedom Day”…

… you must have reached it now, with Sajid Javid’s contradictory and nonsensical plan to battle the so-called Omicron Variant that has apparently arrived here from South Africa.

We know from experience that certain steps need to be taken to stop the spread of a new variant – especially one that is considered highly-infectious:

Travel from its countries of origin must be stopped (or at least severely restricted), and all visitors from those countries tested – before they have contact with anybody other than those who were on the plane (or whatever transport) with them. There’s none of that in Javid’s plan.

Working people should be told to work from home, rather than being forced to come to offices where the disease could be spread. Javid absolutely will not permit this, for reasons unknown. It won’t even harm the economy so what is his argument against it?

Everybody should go back to wearing masks in public places immediately. Javid said mask-wearing should resume on buses and in shops, but not elsewhere – and from Tuesday (November 30).

And of course schools should be masked up and ventilated, and all efforts made to ensure that children don’t catch and spread the virus in any form. We’re seeing no changes in schools at all.

Possibly the worst act of sabotage is the one the Tories pull all the time – creating a false division between “us” and “them”.

In this case, it seems our capitalist vaccine manufacturers decided that, having provided protection to the UK (and others, I’m sure), Johnny Foreigner could pay double and more.

Oh, and – as previously noted – a large number of vaccines were lost because they hit their “use by” date before they could be used.

As a result, developing countries have been much slower to vaccinate:

This doesn’t mean they have been more successful at stopping the spread of the virus – as some have insisted.

According to the BBC, high numbers of cases increase the risk of mutations, thereby increasing the risk of a mutation that leads to a new variant – because it has changed in a way that helps it survive.

So while the Omicron variant is likely to have come from a single “Patient Zero” who was unable to defeat the virus, it is likely to have been made possible by the virus infecting a large number of people; this particular person was just the one whose illness created a new threat.

So it is also important to take action now that will ensure that everybody is vaccinated against the virus and able to fight it. Sajid Javid has said and done nothing about this.

Meanwhile, the parade of Covid-19 nonsense continues to march across our TV and computer screens.

Andrew Marr, who should have known better, actually asked Health Secretary Sajid Javid whether Omicron was more transmissible than the others because “it transmits through the air” – just like every single form of Covid-19But most of the public will have heard this without engaging their brain to spot the error.

Of course the NHS is being ramped up with 50,000 new nurses – right? Wrong. Instead, Javid has announced “NHS Reserves” – a scheme to drag retired NHS staff back out to cover the gaps in care created by 11 years of Tory resource starvation and nearly two years of a deadly pandemic.

I think this plan is known as “Everybody get out and push”.

The NHS is, in fact, less well-equipped to fight Covid-19 than it was in March last year because Javid and his forerunner Matt Hancock have quietly closed 5,000 NHS beds in that time, with no explanation given.

Oh, and if you thought the Covid-19 gravy train had stopped rolling…

Put it all together and it seems unreasonable to ascribe this level of wrong-headedness to simple incompetence.

It’s a deliberate attempt to sabotage the fight against Covid-19, isn’t it? And just in time for Christmas.

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If a new Covid-19 variant started in Africa it’s because countries like the UK withheld vaccines

Back in the UK? A new Covid-19 variant could be spreading here because western governments refused to provide vaccines to Africa in good time.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has reacted in typical slow fashion to the threat of a new Covid-19 variant from South Africa.

He said the variant “may pose substantial risk to public health” as it has “an unusually high number of mutations” and added that “we must move quickly, and at the earliest possible moment” to prevent its spread in the UK.

Too late, I think.

And if it is, our Tory government is probably doubly to blame.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t vaccine distribution to many African countries delayed because the manufacturers wanted more cash, and then because they couldn’t be used, having reached their expiry date?

It’s no good saying Africa had managed to restrict the virus more successfully than the so-called developed nations if this has only given it a chance to become more deadly!

And it lends credence to conspiracy theorists who want us to believe organisations like our Tory government are using the virus and its variants to control us – pitching us from one threat to another while they follow their own selfish agendas in the background where they can’t be seen.

Think of the £300 billion spent on Covid-19-related commercial contracts, most of which were not honoured.

Boris Johnson and his Health Secretaries Matt Hancock and now Sajid Javid had the opportunity to show the world how to defeat a deadly pandemic and they didn’t. Instead they sank into a mire of duplicity and “let the bodies pile up in their thousands”.

It seems this latest scare is simply the next chapter in their catalogue of corruption.

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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.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The virus and Vox Political (or: Mike comes down with Covid)

Rampant: Covid-19 is now on the loose in This Writer’s body (apparently). Of course I blame Boris Johnson for his government’s deliberately-incompetent handling of the pandemic.

I tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.

It had been a fairly normal morning; I had been working on new articles, but I didn’t feel right. My throat had that dry feeling you get before a sore throat develops and I was starting to feel a bit nauseous.

So I asked Mrs Mike to find the lateral flow tests we’ve had since she had a scare and I took one. And it said I had Covid-19.

I had no idea where I contracted the disease – if I really have. I had to order up a PCR test for confirmation and won’t actually know until tomorrow.

Mrs Mike was furious about it. She has a few things she wanted to do this week and, faced with the prospect of 10 days in self-isolation, seemed to consider that I had caught the virus as a personal slight against her.

She feels better now, because a woman full of cold from contact tracing told her that, if her test comes back negative, she can still get out and about. I’m not sure that’s a particularly good idea…

And the reactions from some of my friends, when I called round to warn my contacts that they could have it too, were… interesting.

Some of them were very sympathetic, but were utterly uninterested in taking the test themselves; they honestly didn’t see why they should have to.

Others told me horror stories about people like the local pub darts team whose match was called off because half of them had tested positive – so they all went on a pub crawl instead.

And how about the staff at a local hotel who refused vaccination because they believed the lines that Covid-19 was a hoax? Apparently they are both now seriously ill with it. Not only are their own lives in danger but they’ve been all over a hotel, meaning they could be super-spreaders.

That’s most likely where I caught it.

I see from the news that the vast majority of people in intensive care with Covid are unvaccinated.

And stories about deaths are proliferating again:

And nobody cares.

It may be because of this: I’m double-vaccinated and I don’t feel too bad. I don’t feel great, but at the moment I’ve had worse bouts of ‘flu.

But the fact is that there are people (like the hotel staff mentioned above) who haven’t had the vaccine – and, I expect, people for whom it won’t be effective.

Nobody seems to care about infecting them.

So the infection rate mounts and the deaths rack up.

I’ll write more about my experiences later.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

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And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook