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Thu, 01 Oct 2020
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Andrew Neil interviews Anders Tegnell: A second wave and what Sweden got right

anders tegnell
Andrew Neil interviews Anders Tegnell, Sweden's state epidemiologist. He asks what the country has got right in its response to coronavirus, whether a second wave is coming, and if the UK can learn from his approach.

Nils Anders Tegnell is a Swedish physician specialising in Infectious disease and civil servant, and the current state epidemiologist of Sweden. He was employed by the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease between 2004 and 2005, and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare between 2005 and 2012. He returned to the Institute for Communicable Disease in 2012 as a head of department. He has served as state epidemiologist since 2013, first at the institute, and later at the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

In his positions, he had key roles in the Swedish response to the 2009 swine flu pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic.


So much for liberty: Massachusetts mandates flu vaccinations for students of all ages

flu shot
© Getty
Influenza immunization will be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending child care, pre-school, K-12, and colleges and universities in Massachusetts, state public health officials announced Wednesday, in an effort to reduce respiratory illness and flu-related sickness during the coronavirus pandemic.


Officials say that all students will be expected to have received their flu shot by December 31, 2020, unless "either a medical or religious exemption is provided."

Homeschooled students, from kindergarten through 12th grade, are also exempted, as are college students engaged in remote learning only (students who "attend any classes or activities on campus, even once," will need to be vaccinated).

Comment: Time to pull your kids out of public school and homeschool them yourself. The state has decided that your body is no longer your choice.

Snakes in Suits

In stunning reversal, CDC says it published new guidance on risks of 'airborne' COVID-19 'in error'

After publishing guidance warning about the serious risks of "airborne" infection associated with SARS-CoV-2, the CDC just seriously harmed its own credibility by acknowledging Monday that it had posted the new guidance "in error", following a pressure campaign from the WHO.

Scientists have been gathering evidence that the novel coronavirus plaguing the world spreads via aerosol particles practically since it first emerged, and back in July, a group of 200 scientists sent a letter to the WHO urging the international public health agency to change its guidance on the spread of the disease. The problem scientists argued is that the WHO hasn't updated its views to incorporate new research showing that aerosol spread is a much greater threat than touching contaminated surfaces, or via large droplets spread by close contact between individuals.

Yet, the WHO has refused these overtures, and this week it successfully convinced the CDC to do the same.


Covid death rates dropped as doctors rejected ventilators

Ventilators being delivered to the NHS Nightingale Hospital in March
Death rates among seriously ill Covid-19 patients dropped sharply as doctors rejected the use of mechanical ventilators, analysis has found.

The chances of dying in an intensive care unit (ICU) went from 43 per cent before the pandemic peaked to 34 per cent in the period after.

In a report yesterday, the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre said that no new drugs nor changes to clinical guidelines were introduced in that period that could account for the improvement. However, the use of mechanical ventilators fell dramatically.

Before the peak in admissions on April 1, 75.9 per cent of Covid-19 patients were intubated within 24 hours of getting to an ICU, a proportion which fell to 44.1 per cent after the peak.

Comment: One has to wonder then, just why were doctors putting COVID-19 patients on ventilators if they were so detrimental to their health?

Chart Pie

Fickle Americans strongly favored filling any Supreme Court opening in 2020 - until there was a vacant SCOTUS seat, polls show

Ruth Bader Ginsburg cutboard
© Reuters / Joshua Roberts
A cardboard cutout of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is held up after her death, in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC
Two-thirds of US voters said as recently as September 15 that any Supreme Court vacancies should be filled without delay before November's election, but some of that support vanished when hypothetical became reality.

A Marquette Law School poll conducted from September 8 to September 15 - ending just three days before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death - found that 67 percent of Americans said hearings on a new nominee to the Supreme Court should be held in 2020. Support for filling a court vacancy without delay was strong across the political spectrum, with 68 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats, and 71 percent of independents saying hearings should be held.

Comment: Ruth Bader Ginsburg death opens complex partisan chessboard affected by timeline, COVID-19, election


Thousands join students-led protest in Thailand demanding new government & monarchy reform

Thailand 2020 anti government protests 1
© Reuters / Soe Zeya Tun
Protesters attend a mass rally to call for the ouster of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's government and reforms in the monarchy, in Bangkok, Thailand.
Bangkok has seen its biggest rally in years, as almost 20,000 gathered outside the Grand Palace to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and the limiting of King Maha Vajiralongkorn's powers.

Saturday's action is the largest since the day Prayuth came to power during a military coup six years ago, which also saw thousands on the streets.

People in Thailand have been taking to the streets since mid-July, calling for the sacking of the government, a new election and constitutional changes.


UK government stokes fear over coronavirus readying for 2nd total lockdown as some MPs and the public pushback


With his ministers locked in debate this weekend over whether to introduce a second lockdown that would devastate the economy, the Prime Minister (pictured today at Westminster Abbey) announced that he was creating a new legal duty for people to self-isolate if they test positive for the virus or are told to do so by Test and Trace staff.
Matt Hancock warned today that Britain was at a 'tipping point' in its battle against a second devastating wave of coronavirus - and refused to rule out Londoners being told to work from home again.

Comment: The effect on the economy and people's lives in the short and long term is a lot more disastrous than just 'working from home'.

The Health Secretary also warned that a second total UK lockdown was a possibility as ministers brought in fines of up to £10,000 under strict new laws on self-isolation, amid fears rules were simply being flouted.

Mr Hancock said there was a danger the numbers could 'shoot through the roof' unless effective action was taken to halt the spread of the virus.

The UK recorded 3,899 new Covid-19 cases and another 18 deaths today, slightly down on yesterday's 4,422 but still part of a large spike.

Despite dire warnings about the economic impact of another complete shutdown, the Health Secretary said it was still an option if the measures already taken were not effective.

Gesticulating enthusiastically, Mr Hancock told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: 'This country faces a tipping point.

Yellow Vest

Police charge at lockdown protesters in Trafalgar Square, London

London protest lockdown

Lockdown protesters in Trafalgar Square, London
Police in London clashed with protesters Saturday at a rally against coronavirus restrictions, even as the mayor warned that it was "increasingly likely" that the British capital would soon need to introduce tighter rules to curb a sharp rise in infections.

Scuffles broke out as police moved in to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in London's central Trafalgar Square. Some protesters formed blockades to stop officers from making arrests and traffic was brought to a halt in the busy area.

The "Resist and Act for Freedom" rally saw dozens of people holding banners and placards such as one reading "This is now Tyranny" and chanting "Freedom!" Police said there were "pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers."

Comment: Considering the tyranny Australia is currently suffering under, it's no wonder many in the UK are worried the same dystopia will not be long for their own country:

Arrow Up

Ultra-Orthodox protest Israel's 2nd lockdown, 'use protests as cover to flout restrictions'

ultra-Orthodox Jews
© AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
A fire burns as ultra-Orthodox Jews protest against coronavirus restrictions in Bnei Brak, September 20, 2020.
Ultra-Orthodox protesters held demonstrations in several cities on Sunday evening against the national coronavirus lockdown, with some suspected of using the demonstrations as a ploy to evade travel restrictions.

Under the three-week lockdown that took effect Friday, Israelis may not travel more than a kilometer from their homes, except for an essential need, though several exceptions were made, including for protests.

Ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday this weekend, police received numerous requests to approve ultra-Orthodox demonstrations after the holiday's end, raising their suspicions. Officials believed some of the requests were legitimate, but many were cover for travel, according to Channel 12.

Comment: One mainstream commentator wrote of the general Israeli reaction to the 2nd lockdown:
"Anyone who strictly complies with those rules will be perceived, in their own eyes and by others, as being a sucker," she wrote. "We will visit friends furtively and say that we're going to the pharmacy ... We'll find a way to attend prayer services ... We'll shrug off the need to wear a mask. And the public's voice will rise to the heavens, saying: 'We showed you, you can't tell us what to do'."
See also:

Light Saber

Thousands of Belgian medical doctors and health professionals sign open letter pleading with authorities and media to listen to actual science on Covid-19

© Pixabay/fernandozhiminaicela
The following letter has made an impact on public health authorities not only in Belgium but around the world. The text could pertain to any case in which states locked down their citizens rather than allow people freedom and permit medical professionals to bear the primary job of disease mitigation.

So far it has been signed by 394 medical doctors, 1,340 medically trained health professionals, and 8,897 citizens.

* * * * *

We, Belgian doctors and health professionals, wish to express our serious concern about the evolution of the situation in the recent months surrounding the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We call on politicians to be independently and critically informed in the decision-making process and in the compulsory implementation of corona-measures. We ask for an open debate, where all experts are represented without any form of censorship. After the initial panic surrounding covid-19, the objective facts now show a completely different picture - there is no medical justification for any emergency policy anymore.

Comment: If you'd like to sign the letter, click here and scroll down to the blue box.