Prof Carl Heneghan: can we trust Covid-19 death numbers? (17.07.2020)
Accompanying article here: https://unherd.com/thepost/prof-carl-… Professor Carl Heneghan is Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University, and has been paying close attention to the Covid-19 statistics. In a post yesterday evening he revealed an extraordinary detail: the Public Health England daily death totals announced to the media include anyone who has ever tested positive for Covid-19 — even if they recovered completely. Key quotes: • There was “massive confusion” about different Covid data between England’s health bodies. “Public Health England figures are about double the ONS figures because PHE are reporting anybody who has had a positive Covid death in the past… This will get increasingly confusing as we go into the next Winter because there could be a new outbreak and new deaths while also still reporting on historical deaths… This is a problem for epidemiologists and media… ” • Even a “28 period cut-off is still not ideal for accurate death numbers because there is “immediate cause and underlying cause… Immediate cause means you’ve had Covid within 21 days but outside of that, it becomes the underlying cause — something that contributed to your death but wasn’t a direct cause. A 21 day cut-off would be helpful because it gives a clearer understanding of that distinction” • “We follow excess deaths which is the most accurate information about what’s going on at that moment, but it can’t tell you what those deaths are caused by” (i.e. people not coming forward with heart attacks etc) • “There’s an important distinction between lives lost and life years lost. One of the things we’ll be watching very closely over the next six months is how many people would have actually died in the next six months… That’s where the excess deaths really matter. If we start to see it trend significantly under for the next few months, we’ll start to come forward with information that suggests there was a group of vulnerable people that any respiratory infection would have shortened their life.” • “In the media you’ll always hear about catastrophe and the consequences of that. One of the things we notice is that when you don’t hear anything that usually means there’s good news happening. So when Sweden looks worse you hear about it but when it’s not so bad, like now, you never see it in the media.”
Oxford epidemiologists: suppression strategy is not viable (18.07.2020)
Read the accompanying article on UnHerd here: https://unherd.com/thepost/oxford-epi… We wanted to learn more about the current state of the pandemic and the direction it was headed. Joining Freddie Sayers was Prof Heneghan and his Centre for Evidence Based Medicine colleague Tom Jefferson who shared their thoughts in this wide-ranging discussion. Have a watch above, key quotes below… 00:00 – Intro 2:55 – Masks • Tom Jefferson: “Aside from people who are exposed on the frontlines, there is no evidence that masks make any difference, but what’s even more extraordinary is the uncertainty: we don’t know if these things make any difference…. We should have done randomised control trials in February, March and April but not anymore because viral circulation is low and we will need huge number of enrolees to show whether there was any difference”. • Carl Heneghan: “By all means people can wear masks but they can’t say it’s an evidence-based decision… there is a real separation between an evidence-based decision and the opaque term that ‘we are being led by the science’, which isn’t the evidence”. 9:26 – Pandemic life cycle • CH: “One of the keys of the infection is to look at who’s been infected, which shows a crucial difference when comparing the pandemic theory to seasonal theory. In a pandemic you’d expect to see young people disproportionately affected, but in the UK we’ve only had six child deaths, which is far less than we’d normally see in a pandemic. The high number of deaths with over-75s fits with the seasonal theory”. 14:00 – Covid seasonality • CH: “The stability of the virus is far less when the temperature goes up but humidity seems to be particularly important. The lower the humidity, the more stable the virus is in the atmosphere and on surfaces… It’s now winter in the southern hemisphere, which is why places like Australia are suddenly having outbreaks.” 20:37 – Lockdown • CH: “Many people said that we should have locked down earlier, but 50% of care homes developed outbreaks during the lockdown period so there are issues within the transmission of this virus that are not clear… Lockdown is a blunt tool and there needs to be intelligent conversations about what mitigation strategies can keep society functioning while we keep the most vulnerable shielded”. 25:20 – Nightingale hospitals • CH: “They are the wrong structure. What you need is fever hospitals which were here until around the 1980s or 90s. They were on single floors and had isolation within isolation. Theere were no lift shafts and staff were trained, which meant that everyone was protected from each other… It looks like at leats 20% of people got the infection while they were in hospital” 27:30 – Suppression strategy • CH: “The benefits of the current strategy are outweighed by the harms…When it comes to suppression, only the virus will have a determination in that. If you follow the New Zealand policy of suppressing it to zero and locking down the country forever, then you’re going to have a problem… This virus is so out there now, I cannot see a strategy that makes suppression the viable option. The strategy right now should be how we learn to live with this virus” 32:45 – Response to the virus • TJ: “I am a survivor of four pandemics and for the other three, I didn’t even realise they were going on. People died but nothing changed and none of the fabric of society was eroded like this response… Do I see steps being taken at a European level about learning from our mistakes and changing policies? The answer is no… 39:30 – Politics of the virus • CH: “We as individuals are part of the problem because sensationalism drives people to click and read the information. So it’s a big circle because we’ve created the problem — if we put the worst case scenario out there, we will go and have a look. If you want a solution, you’ve got to get people to stop clicking on this sensationalist stuff”. 43:30 – IFR • CH: “We will be down about where we were with the swine flu: around 0.1-0.3% which is much lower than what we think because at the moment we are seeing the case fatality”. • TJ: “If you look at the whole narrative, it was distorted from the very beginning by the obsession with influenza which was just one or two agents and nothing else existed. We’re no different now”.
Vaccine group sues Trudeau government for „draconian and unjustifiable“ response to COVID-19 (10.07.2020)
TORONTO, Ontario, July 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Vaccine Choice Canada, a not-for-profit society founded by families who have suffered from vaccine reactions and injuries, is suing Trudeau’s Liberal Government along with Ford’s Government of Ontario to hold them “accountable” for their “overreach and the draconian and unjustifiable measures taken in response to COVID-19.”
“The mass and indiscriminate containment of citizens, the restriction of access to parliament, the courts, medical and educational services, the destruction of local economies and livelihoods, and the requirement to physically distance, along with the forced use of non-medical masking are extraordinary measures that have never before been imposed on the citizens of Canada,” the group stated in a press release.
“The impact of these aberrant measures on our physical, emotional, psychological, social and economic well-being is profoundly destructive and these actions are unsustainable, unwarranted, extreme and unconstitutional.”