Tag Archives: lockdown

Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown ignores the science YET AGAIN and the death toll could be huge

Mess: Johnson’s plan to ease lockdown is as muddled as his hair. Even with 80 per cent vaccine efficacy, half the population will still be vulnerable to infection.

Scientists have warned that Boris Johnson’s plan to end lockdown restrictions will cause a huge increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations – even in the most optimistic scenarios.

So much for “following the science”, eh?

It seems that

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) [said] tens of thousands more people can be expected to die from Covid because vaccines will not provide complete protection against the disease, and not everyone will have the jabs.

All scenarios led to a resurgence of cases because so many vulnerable people remained unprotected, even with high vaccine coverage.

Johnson’s plan is a bespoke model that does not correspond with any of the SAGE scenarios – but its closest equivalent, scenario three, predicts a resurgence of Covid-19 in the UK around September.

At yesterday’s press briefing on the government’s plans, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who is said to have shares in a pharmaceutical company that was working on a vaccine, warned that even with 80 per cent efficacy, half the population would still be at risk from the disease.

He said a cautious step-by-step process, with pauses of four or five weeks between each to monitor the impact, was the right way to go.

It seems strange, then, that the Johnson plan will reopen all English schools on March 8.

Scientific modellers predict that this will drive the infection rate up by between 10 and 50 per cent – negating the reductions of the current lockdown and vaccinations.

They said a limited reopening, possibly starting with primary schools, was a far better option and would allow scientists to assess the impact on infections within the community.

Johnson has ignored this good advice and intends to steamroll his easements through – as he did last year.

We all know how that turned out. Why are you letting him do it to you again?

Source: Demand from Tory MPs to scrap Covid rules ‘could bring huge death toll’ | Politics | The Guardian

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Johnson releases advance details of ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown. He’ll kill thousands more

Boris Johnson: if he tries to tell you he’s following the science by reopening all English schools at once on March 8, this is the message you need to remember.

Boris Johnson has released details of his four-test “roadmap” out of lockdown – via the media, as has become his usual cowardly method.

It is now clear that Johnson will continue habitually to release details of any plans that may be controversial through his media cronies, to provide him with advance warning if any parts of them prove unpopular.

He is a coward – as bad in his way as Keir ‘focus group’ Starmer.

Here are some details:

The “rule of six” is expected to be reintroduced for outdoor gatherings from March 29. Outdoor sports facilities are expected to be allowed to open that day, and organised outdoor sport will be permitted to return.

In April, it is hoped that domestic self-catering holidays will be allowed and that gyms, hairdressers, and non-essential shops will be able to open.

Mr Johnson’s “roadmap” will include four tests which must all be met before the next step can go ahead. They are:

  • That the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • That evidence shows jabs are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • That infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which puts unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • That the Government’s assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern

The plan will be rolled out across the country at the same time with no return to regional tiers.

But I want to focus on the very first element in Johnson’s ‘re-opening’ plan:

Initially it is understood England’s schools will all be re-opened on March 8.

It seems Johnson is not only ignoring the science in his determination to do this, but also defying nine education organisations: the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), GMB, National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), NASUWT, National Education Union (NEU), National Governance Association (NGA), Sixth Form Colleges’ Association (SFCA), Unison, and Unite.

In a joint statement, they said:

The science around the role that schools play in the overall rate of transmission is uncertain. Scientists have expressed different views on this point. What we do know is that the full reopening of schools will bring nearly 10 million pupils and staff into circulation in England – close to one fifth of the population. This is not a small easing of lockdown restrictions. It is a massive step.

These factors necessitate a cautious approach with wider school and college opening phased over a period of time. This is the approach being taken in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It allows public health experts to assess the impact of the first phase before moving to the next.

We are increasingly concerned that … to order a full return of all pupils on Monday 8 March in England … would seem a reckless course of action.

It could trigger another spike in Covid infections, prolong the disruption of education, and risk throwing away the hard-won progress made in suppressing the virus over the course of the latest lockdown.

We therefore urge the Prime Minister to commit to 8 March only if the scientific evidence is absolutely clear that this is safe, and at that point go no further than a phased return of children and young people with sufficient time to assess the impact before moving to the next phase.

We see in Johnson’s plans no indication that his decision to reopen all English schools on March 8 has any basis in science.

His demand that there will be no phased return but all school pupils will go back at once is a slap in the face for the professionals who wanted a phased return – and sheer ignorance when compared with the policies of other UK countries.

It seems clear that this weakest of UK prime ministers has caved in to pressure from his backbenchers and big business.

He may get away with it, if the vaccination programme has reached enough people by March 8 and proves as effective as some claims state after the first jab.

But I fear that he is provoking yet another spike in infections and will cause thousands more deaths.

And even if it does happen, he’ll get away with it.

He may be the weakest prime minister the UK has ever had, but he’s still above the law that oppresses you and me.

Source: Boris Johnson’s four-test ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown including ‘new rule of six’ – Mirror Online

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Senior Tories including ‘Brexit Steve’ Baker demand continuation of Covid death spiral

The image above may not be the most sophisticated graphic This Site has ever published, but it is accurate all the same.

The Tory rabble who have been pushing for more deaths in a bid to keep the economy going and their paymasters in big business happy have been pressuring Boris Johnson for another early end to the restrictions he has (laughably) encouraged us all to call a lockdown.

The infection and death rates are back at pre-‘lockdown’ levels, they say, so he she start easing us all back into work at the beginning of March.

Shockingly, arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker, clearly believing he hasn’t done enough to wreck the nation, has been traipsing around the broadcast media today, claiming that we need to give Covid-19 a chance at a third wave, for the sake of the poorest in society.

“Think of the poor!” How disgusting.

As the infographic above points out, he couldn’t care less when he voted against letting the poor keep the Universal Credit uplift they need to get by.

In this light, he seems clearly revealed as the kind of opportunist who says whatever he thinks will get him what he wants.

And he isn’t the only one:

Lockdown-sceptic Tories have piled pressure on Boris Johnson, calling on him to commit to a timetable for lifting coronavirus restrictions with a complete end to controls by the end of April.

In a letter to the prime minister, the leaders of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) said the “tremendous pace” of the vaccination rollout meant restrictions should begin easing from early March.

They said ministers must produce a cost-benefit analysis to justify any controls that remain in place after that date, with a “roadmap” stating when they would be removed.

The letter was organised by the CRG chair and deputy chair, Mark Harper and Steve Baker, and was said to have the backing of 63 Conservative MPs in all. However, scientists advising the government are warning that lifting restrictions too quickly risks another wave of the disease as big as the current one.

Of course, 63 Tory MPs in rebellion isn’t enough to bother Johnson – the Tory majority in Parliament is 80 – but it might be enough to rattle his cage, reminding him that he needs to keep his members happy.

He has already said he hopes to map out a “cautious” route out of lockdown on February 22 – next Monday.

The CRG people, led by Baker and Mark Harper, reckon they can dictate its pace – demanding that schools reopen by March 8 and hospitality businesses by Easter.

So we’ll be well on the way to another surge by Whitsun, then.

Source: Tory MPs tell Johnson to commit to lifting Covid restrictions by end of April | World news | The Guardian

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‘Optimistic’ PM plots ‘cautious’ lockdown easing. Some fools never learn

After admitting that he ignored scientific advice many times over the past year, making the Covid-19 pandemic much more harmful to the UK’s people and economy than it needed to be, Boris Johnson is planning to do it again.

What a bumbling dimwit.

According to the BBC,

as scientists warned against easing lockdown measures too quickly

Boneheaded Johnson was again planning to ignore them, saying

he is “optimistic” he will be able to set out plans later this month for a “cautious” easing of England’s lockdown.

It seems he really is determined that Covid-19 will kill more of the UK’s population than Spanish Flu. That epidemic killed 228,000 people, so there’s around 100,000 deaths to beat.

Causing another increase in deaths is the only reason any intelligent person could possibly want to open schools before Covid-19 is well and truly under control.

Johnson’s congenital imbecility might excuse him – but not his government, whose ministers should recognise that he is unfit to make such a decision and remove him to ensure he does no further harm.

But they’re not going to do that, are they?

So Johnson will set out his “road map” for easing his excuse for a lockdown (we were never really locked down – that would have meant everybody apart from vital service providers staying inside their houses, all the time, until the danger was past) on February 22.

Whatever timetable he sets then, he’ll follow. That’s what he did in summer 2020, and that’s why an extra 55,000 people died over the winter.

And he can’t stop lying!

“Our children’s education is our number one priority,”

he said – but we all know that the only reason he wants children back in schools is to deprive their parents of any excuse not to go back to work, making money for his Tory donors.

Once again, it’s all about greed.

How many people have to die for the sake of Boris Johnson’s friends’ balance sheets?

Source: Covid: ‘Optimistic’ PM plots ‘cautious’ lockdown easing – BBC News

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Lockdown democracy exposes bizarre behaviour at local council

Zoom: who would have thought that holding a meeting over the internet would reveal so much about local councillors?

My sympathies go to the people of Handforth.

Their area of Wilmslow, Cheshire, has become a place of national interest – not to mention hilarity – after a parish council meeting held via the Zoom platform went viral with more than two million views.

Sadly, the reason for its popularity is the misbehaviour of the councillors.

Jackie Weaver, from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, said she was called in to help and “support” two parish councillors to hold the planning meeting. This is what happened:

The meeting, which took place on 10 December, descended into chaos with some people muttering under their breath while others tried to speak, hysterical laughter, participants answering phone calls and members being reprimanded.

When chairman Brian Tolver, who refused to recognise the legitimacy of the meeting, labelled himself as the “clerk”, Ms Weaver said: “The chairman simply declared himself clerk and notified everybody of the case.

“There is no way of stopping him from calling himself clerk. Please refer to me as Britney Spears from now on.”

Ms Weaver told the BBC there was a “positive spin” to the video going viral as it “raised the profile” of parish councils.

But she said it also showed an element of “bullying and bad behaviour” in local councils, adding: “A lot of us are working very hard – and that includes central government – to try to do something about that.”

I’m not going to link to any of the footage from the meeting. Feel free to click on the link below if you want to see it.

My point is that this is actually good for democracy. By seeing how our councillors behave (or misbehave) we become better-equipped to decide whether we want those particular people to represent us.

It also de-mystifies the processes of local government.

I predict hard times for some of the Handforth councillors in the future, as they are called to account for their behaviour.

But they have actually done us all a service.

Source: Jackie Weaver: Handforth Parish Council meeting goes viral – BBC News

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If Johnson’s bike ride ‘didn’t break rules’, police don’t understand them

On his bike (this is an old, pre-Covid image).

You have to laugh at these desperate attempts to justify Boris Johnson’s decision to ride his bike around the Olympic Park in London – seven miles from 10 Downing Street.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick actually went on the radio and said if people exercise “from your front door and come back to your front door”… “That’s my view of local.”

Great!

This Writer is not best-located to mock this point of view as I live in one of the UK’s biggest cycling hubs, with routes flying in all directions around Mid Wales.

But if I didn’t; if I lived in a place that was 10 miles away from a cycle track – or more – and I wanted to do a bit of pedalling, it’s nice to know that Cressida Dick would fully support my decision to do so – cycling all the way there, round the track as often as I wanted, and then back home again.

That’s her view of local.

She was basically saying we can go out as far as we like, for as long as we like.

That is entirely against the demands of the current lockdown. And she is the commissioner of London’s police force.

The guidance states very clearly that, while you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)… “stay local means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live”.

Admittedly, living in Mid Wales, I’m not as familiar with London as many.

But I feel sure there are a few open spaces in central London and there was no need for Johnson to go seven miles.

So I can’t help but wonder whether anyone now facing fines for break lockdown guidance now has another excuse.

Besides saying, “Dominic Cummings,” they’ll now be able to say, “Boris Johnson.”

Source: Covid: Johnson’s bike ride ‘didn’t break rules’ – BBC News

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Rishi Sunak and Gavin Williamson: Boris Johnson’s fall guys?

Sunak and Williamson: will they take the blame for Boris Johnson’s latest chaotic lockdown?

Boris Johnson’s latest lockdown (if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, what do you call it?) has put some of his lieutenants in a very difficult position. Untenable, This Writer would have thought.

I refer to Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Sunak was described by one of the right-wingers on the Times Red Box Podcast as “The dog that does not bark in the night time” because he had made a big song and dance in August about the loss of 30,000 jobs, and in his autumn statement he had said that the government cannot continue borrowing indefinitely… but when Johnson announced what is in effect a new lockdown in England costing £1 billion a day, he at first had nothing to say.

Sunak eventually turned up on Tuesday morning, announcing that he had shaken the Magic Money Tree and found £4.5 billion to hand out in new business support grants:

As usual, what he said was not nearly as important as what he ignored:

Even Annaliese Dodds didn’t mention everything. The Tory financial response to Covid-19 – and in particular to their own measures to fight the spread of the disease – has been a travesty best described as ill-considered; at worst it was deliberately targeted to harm people whose livelihoods were at risk.

On top of that, of course, Sunak himself foisted his now-infamous “Eat Out to Die Out” (did I get that name right?) scheme on us…

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that he has restricted his comments to yet another announcement of insufficient financial support.

That Red Box Podcast went on to describe “absolute chaos in the education system” under Gavin Williamson, with “huge frustration for parents as well as children”.

Not only do the new measures mean a whole year of our children’s education will have been disrupted, and their exams cancelled, but it also means frustration for parents and teachers.

Primary school children were sent back to school for just one day before Johnson pulled out the rug from under the system. But Williamson is the one with egg on his face, because he did not give anybody involved in education any advance warning about what was going to happen.

The podcast pointed out that Williamson’s Education department actually took some councils to court when they threatened not to open schools in the autumn. Now he is demanding that they must all close. It’s constant mixed-messaging; utter confusion – and it’s causing huge anxiety.

Exams including GCSEs and A levels have been cancelled in acknowledgement of the unfairness of subjecting pupils to the same exams when they haven’t had the same opportunities to study for them.

But how will our youngsters’ academic achievement be assessed instead? Last year, Williamson rolled out an algorithm-led assessment system that (predictably, because he’s a Tory) gave all the best marks to kids at private schools and deliberately penalised high achievers elsewhere for attending state schools.

He was forced into a humiliating backslide but now we’re all agog to see what he’ll do instead, now that a second year’s exams have been cancelled. Sadly, it seems likely that he doesn’t know what he’ll do, either.

Libby Purves, one of the contributors, was asked if she had ever known an Education Secretary like Williamson in all her years of reporting on the subject and actually used the comparison with comedy character Frank Spencer that was coined by the public last month.

She went on to attack the testing system in schools. Is she right about it? “Shut 30 children in one room, test them and then 15 minutes later release them into another room of 30  – completely ignoring the fact that a lot of them are out on the school bus.”

She said education was being handled by people who don’t know anything about it – which, for Williamson, is damning.

Will either of these ministers lift a finger to provide a better service to the beleaguered citizens of the UK?

I should bleedin’ cocoa!

This Tory government simply isn’t interested in working out what to do for the best.

It is too busy watching the opinion polls and trying to work out what will be popular.

The trouble is, thanks to innovations – if you can call them that – like the so-called ‘nudge unit’ that tried to influence what people think, the government has stopped a large proportion of the population from having opinions of their own.

In effect, in trying to follow opinions that they have tried to shape, the Tories are chasing their own tails – and getting nowhere. Meanwhile the country collapses beneath the weight of their indecision.

Boris Johnson must see this. He’s as thick as mince but he has a strong survival instinct.

He’ll be looking for patsies, onto whom he can offload responsibility. Sunak and Williamson look like the perfect candidates.

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England’s new lockdown means a lot more than Johnson told us

Bad hair day: but we know Johnson insisted on messing it up before his broadcast began, because he thinks it makes him look like a ‘man of the people’.

Boris Johnson is locking down England until mid-February in the hope that the new vaccinations will show their effect by then.

That’s what we can glean from his announcement on January 4.

The alternative is that he has been told to keep everybody isolated until he knows whether the vaccine will work on the new strain of Covid-19.

You won’t have gathered that from what he told us all in his televised announcement, of course. Why would he bother to tell us what’s really going on?

Instead, he concentrated on his (false) claim that this new lockdown is needed because the new Covid variant has been pushing infections – and deaths – through the roof.

We don’t know that this is true. In fact, it is more likely that his silly attempts to tinker with the isolation he has forced on us are responsible for the terrifying increases.

Last year he insisted on having the shortest possible lockdown – starting it too late and ending it too early – because (we think) he needs to keep the economy ticking over for the sake of rich industrialists who donate generously to the Conservatives.

Keir Starmer (according to the same argument) backs him up to the hilt because he is at the beck and call of his own donors.

For clarity, here are the (new) new rules, courtesy of the BBC:

  • People cannot leave their homes except for certain reasons, like the first lockdown last March
  • These include essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise and work for those who cannot do so from home
  • All schools and colleges will close to most pupils from Tuesday with remote learning until February half term
  • Early years settings such as nurseries will stay open
  • End-of-year exams will not take place this summer as normal
  • Elsewhere, university students should not return to campuses and will be taught online
  • Restaurants can continue to offer food delivery, but takeaway alcohol will be banned
  • Outdoor sports venues – such as golf courses, tennis courts and outside gyms – must close
  • But outdoor playgrounds will remain open
  • Amateur team sports are not allowed, but elite sport such as Premier League football can continue

This Writer watched his announcement and my tweeted responses (and any discussion they prompted) say everything you need to know about what he told us:

The announcement means some people in England won’t have seen family members and friends in person for nearly a year – more than a year in some cases – by the time the new lockdown ends.

Some are likely to pass away, due to completely different causes from Covid-19, before any reunions can happen. Some have already done so.

It is absolutely tragic, but we must not let the amount of noise circulating around this issue cloud our judgement.

The peril to all of us is extreme because we are being attacked by two killers:

Firstly, the very competent murderer that is being passed from hand to unwitting hand; secondly, the killer-by-incompetence who is managing to wipe us out from Downing Street.

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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Covid-19: is Johnson about to mess up everybody’s plans YET AGAIN?

 

Boris Johnson seems to have an irrational urge to make life difficult for everybody.

Only yesterday (January 3), he was merrily telling Andrew Marr that schools should stay open outside London and southeast England, and that although stronger Covid-related restrictions were likely, they weren’t coming yet.

Many of us thought that was extremely off-colour, of course – he was condemning people to die because he, personally, didn’t feel like changing the situation so they would be saved.

Now we find he is announcing new national restrictions at 8pm today (January 4).

He’ll say the situation has reached Alert Level 5 – the NHS in danger of being overwhelmed. He will have known this for some time, of course. We could all see this from last Wednesday, or whenever the infection rate hit more than 50,000 per day.

But that is his excuse, it seems.

There’s no need to watch his broadcast, though – Robert Peston has already told us what the announcement will be!

Oh, and Hugh Pym from the BBC has got in on the act, too:

Why does Johnson bother talking to us himself when he leaks all his announcements to his client journalists?

This must be particularly hard for schools:

One thing’s for sure: whatever happens, Keir Starmer will still be the butt of many jokes:

Let’s be clear: This is the right thing to do – but it is happening far too late.

People have died, are dying, and are being crippled – possibly for life – because Johnson is too stupid to know when to stop trying to create a public relations victory and start trying to save lives.

He has not made a good decision about the pandemic since he first heard about it, back in November 2019.

That doesn’t change the facts:

I think James is being far too hopeful.

Johnson always starts lockdown too late and stops it too soon. We’ve seen that twice now.

I saw a great new term for this today: mockdown.

Let’s hope he doesn’t adhere to form and we don’t get another mockdown.

But I fear we will.

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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Schools are still open in #Lockdown2 but Johnson’s government is offering only lessons in confusion

“Perfectly safe”: this photo was taken on a school staircase after Boris Johnson ruled that it was “perfectly safe” for children to go back there in September – no social distancing, no PPE… not safe at all. Now it seems the Tories don’t even know what to do with the youngsters they have sent back there. Was it only so they could catch Covid-19 and pass it on to their parents?

Here’s a terrifying statistic:

(Let’s not have any comments from twits who don’t know term started in September and school have just come back from half-term week.)

In the last week, the figures look like this:

I sympathise with the sentiments expressed in the tweet, too.

Official figures also show 23,287 new cases recorded in the UK on Friday (November 7).

Many of these new cases – and deaths – may be attributable to the decision to reopen schools in September; children are “super-spreaders” because, by and large, they don’t take as much care not to spread germs as adults.

The fact that schools aren’t being closed is considered by many – including This Writer – to be an indication that the Tories don’t want their new English lockdown to succeed.

And it isn’t even as if Boris Johnson’s government knows what to do with all the kids who are back at school:

After the Times Educational Supplement revealed that the government hasn’t even bothered to plan the school year in advance, taking into account the possibility of Covid-19 interference in next year’s exams, it turns out that staff are working flat-out to accommodate contradictory demands from the Department for Education, some being changed within hours:

Michael Rosen is right – it is “dictatorship through incompetence”.

Where is the electorate’s power of removal? Boris Johnson has already caused a national disaster and four more years of him could finish us all off completely.

AFTERTHOUGHT: It would be well worth the Labour Party putting forward a Bill for the electorate to be able to call another election in the event of serious government incompetence.

It would be blocked – but the Tories could not do so without admitting – at least tacitly – not only that they are incompetent, but that they know they are.

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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