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Vaccines: A Measured Response - What is the science behind the anti-vaccine movement, and is it any good? Let’s find out!

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Cumboy sniping from the sidelines, as if his own hands are clean:

 

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London: Tens of thousands of people died because of incompetence, indecision and neglect by Boris Johnson and his government, the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser has declared during evidence about Britain’s chaotic handling of the pandemic.

Dominic Cummings – a key force behind Brexit and Johnson’s thumping 2019 election win – savaged his ex-boss during seven hours of damning testimony on Wednesday which sent Downing Street into damage control.

Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings were allies but have fallen out.

Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings were allies but have fallen out. CREDIT:AP/GETTY IMAGES

“When the public needed us most, the government failed,” Cummings said. “Tens of thousands of people died who didn’t need to die.”

Cummings confirmed a frustrated Johnson once said he would rather see “bodies pile high in their thousands” than order a second lockdown over winter - a remark the Prime Minister has repeatedly denied making.

However, Johnson did not deny on Wednesday that he quipped COVID-19 was “only killing over 80s”.
 
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings says the government “failed” the British people in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
 

Appearing before a parliamentary inquiry into what went wrong during the initial outbreak in early 2020 and the second deadly wave over Christmas, Cummings also claimed:

  • Johnson once thought coronavirus was like swine flu and suggested that he be injected live on television to prove COVID-19 wasn’t dangerous;
  • as the pandemic took hold in Italy, the Prime Minister was distracted by negotiations over his divorce and plans by girlfriend Carrie Symonds to announce her pregnancy;
  • the UK’s most senior civil servant urged the government to liken COVID-19 to chicken pox and floated the idea of mass infection parties to help build herd immunity; and
  • Johnson expressed regret about ordering the first lockdown and told colleagues he wished he had instead behaved like the mayor in the film Jaws, who insisted the beaches remain open.

Nearly 130,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

The government has faced repeated questions about why it waited so long to introduce a lockdown last March, never closed the borders and had little testing equipment and personal protection material available for frontline health workers.

A sign on a deserted street in Hackney, London in April 2020.

A sign on a deserted street in Hackney, London in April 2020. CREDIT:GETTY

“The government itself and Number 10 was not operating on a war footing in February on this in any way, shape or form,” Cummings said. “Lots of key people were literally skiing in the middle of February.”

However, he reserved his strongest criticism for Johnson, who he likened to a “shopping trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other” which could not be controlled.

Asked whether Johnson was fit to hold office, Cummings replied: “No.”

He also said Health Secretary Matt Hancock deserved to be sacked for “at least 15 to 20 things”, including lying to colleagues and the public during the pandemic.

Cummings regularly advised Johnson that “we are going to kill people” unless Hancock was fired. Johnson nearly moved against his health minister at the start of the pandemic but opted against it.

A spokesperson for Hancock denied the Health Secretary had lied.

In one of his more serious charges, Cummings claimed Hancock had reassured cabinet colleagues that people being transferred from hospital to nursing homes would be tested before they were transported - something which didn’t happen and led to thousands of deaths.

“While the government rhetoric was, ‘We have put a shield around care homes and blah blah blah’, it was complete nonsense,” he said.

Cummings said the government’s initial plan was to achieve herd immunity and not impose measures to halt mass community transmission. The government eventually realised that strategy would kill hundreds of thousands and crush the National Health Service, so changed course to introduce a lockdown in late March.

This confusion delayed action by crucial weeks, Cummings said. He also said the government operated on the mistaken belief that the British public would not accept widespread lockdowns and track-and-trace regimes.

“Those two assumptions were completely central to the official plan and were both obviously completely wrong.”

He also recalled that as the pandemic gathered pace, senior civil servant Helen McNamara walked into one meeting and said she had just been told by bureaucrats that there was no plan to deal with the impending disaster.

“I think we are absolutely f---ed,” McNamara said, according to Cummings. “I think this country is heading for a disaster, I think we are going to kill thousands of people.”

The political implications of Wednesday’s revelations are unclear. Johnson is riding a wave of popularity in Britain due to the government’s world-leading vaccination program, and Cummings’ own credibility was damaged when he seemingly broke lockdown rules last year to drive from London to northern England despite having COVID-19.

Asked whether he had failed the public, the Prime Minister told Parliament on Wednesday: “The handling of this pandemic has been one of the most difficult things this country has had to do for a very long time. And none of the decisions have been easy.

“At every stage we have tried to minimise loss of life, to protect the NHS and have followed the best scientific advice we can.”

Dominic Cummings arrives for the parliamentary committee hearing.

Dominic Cummings arrives for the parliamentary committee hearing. CREDIT:AP

Cummings was a key player in the Brexit campaign and then followed Johnson into Downing Street as his chief adviser. He quit last November during a power struggle, prompting claims his attack on Wednesday was motivated by revenge.

Cummings was repeatedly challenged on why he didn’t do more at the time.

“There’s no doubt in retrospect it was a huge failing of mine and I bitterly regret I didn’t hit the emergency panic button earlier than I did,” he said.

“I failed and I apologise for it.”

Cummings said he had decided by late last year that Johnson was unfit to lead Britain and regretted not resigning when the Prime Minister procrastinated about a second lockdown last year.

“I’m not smart, I’ve not built great things in the world, it’s completely crackers that I was in [Downing Street], the same as it’s crackers that Boris Johnson was in there,” Cummings said.

“Any system that leaves people with the choice between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn is obviously a system that’s gone extremely badly wrong. There are thousands of people in this country who could offer better leadership than those two.”

Cummings also slammed the civil service for being unprepared for the pandemic and compared the situation to “lions being led by donkeys”.

His evidence offers a small insight into what can be expected at a royal commission-style inquiry that is scheduled to begin next year. Cummings urged MPs to demand the probe be brought forward to this year.

“There is absolutely no excuse for delaying it. And the longer it’s delayed, the more people will rewrite memories, the more documents will go astray, the more the whole thing will just become cancerous.”

 

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just curious, what's the mask situation in everyone's area? Texas lifted it's mandate months ago, but everyone kept wearing them and most businesses still required one. but since the CDC made the announcement a few weeks ago, they've been slowly been becoming scarce out there in the wild. businesses have mostly dropped their requirements now. I'm fully vaccinated and stopped wearing one for the past week or so. obviously if somewhere I go requires one I'm going to oblige, but I'm not feeling like I really need to wear one any more, thanks to the shots.

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11 minutes ago, zero said:

just curious, what's the mask situation in everyone's area? Texas lifted it's mandate months ago, but everyone kept wearing them and most businesses still required one. but since the CDC made the announcement a few weeks ago, they've been slowly been becoming scarce out there in the wild. businesses have mostly dropped their requirements now. I'm fully vaccinated and stopped wearing one for the past week or so. obviously if somewhere I go requires one I'm going to oblige, but I'm not feeling like I really need to wear one any more, thanks to the shots.

businesses still requiring them here. my county has only just this week moved to one of the lower danger risks for infection so that's good. i wear when when i go to stores and will as long as they require it if not longer.. had a vax'd friend over the other day and didn't wear one inside which was first time for that. 

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, zero said:

just curious, what's the mask situation in everyone's area?

Masks are mandatory in public transport (trams, buses, trains) in Helsinki; highly recommended in public places like shops and malls. Finland is over 40 % first dose, nearing 10 % second dose. Depending on the prevalence of infections in an area, some of the social distancing restrictions have been lifted, the general rule of 2 metres is still in effect, but it's allowed to gather in groups of ten at the moment. I always wear a mask when out and about and indoors, and probably will until the orders and recommendations are lifted.

Wearing a mask is a non-issue to me, even after my upcoming second dose - there will be a lot of people who still haven't had their first when I've had my booster come end of July.

Edited by dcom
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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, TubularCorporation said:

Apparently the US isn't counting breakthrough infections if the people who get them aren't sick enough to be hospitalized...

source?

that's is contrary to what i have seen and i just searched it and found this cdc.gov page, recently updated, which shows the US counting breakthrough infections if people are hospitalized. 

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7021e3.htm

Edited by very honest
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Posted (edited)

That's exactly what I said, they're counting them if people are hospitalized, but apparently if they aren't hospitalized they don't get publicly counted.

 

Which is worrying if, like me, you have people close to you who are immunocompromised and can't be vaccinated.

 

Either way it's pretty rare, but underreporting has been so bad across the board that it's frustrating to hear about another potential flavor of it.

Edited by TubularCorporation
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Meanwhile in China:

Guangzhou residents queue for jabs after four cases reported https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3135095/coronavirus-guangzhou-residents-queue-jabs-after-four-cases

Also basically everyone from Guangzhou traveling anywhere else in China has been told to quarantine.

But anyway, FOUR confirmed cased and FIVE asymptomatic cases and they start implementing lockdown measures. That's a bit different approach to most of Europe and US.

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, TubularCorporation said:

That's exactly what I said, they're counting them if people are hospitalized, but apparently if they aren't hospitalized they don't get publicly counted.

 

Which is worrying if, like me, you have people close to you who are immunocompromised and can't be vaccinated.

 

Either way it's pretty rare, but underreporting has been so bad across the board that it's frustrating to hear about another potential flavor of it.

sorry, i misread. but my link also indicates that breakthrough cases that do not involve hospitalization are also counted:

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A total of 10,262 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine breakthrough infections had been reported from 46 U.S. states and territories as of April 30, 2021. Among these cases, 6,446 (63%) occurred in females, and the median patient age was 58 years (interquartile range = 40–74 years). Based on preliminary data, 2,725 (27%) vaccine breakthrough infections were asymptomatic, 995 (10%) patients were known to be hospitalized, and 160 (2%) patients died. Among the 995 hospitalized patients, 289 (29%) were asymptomatic or hospitalized for a reason unrelated to COVID-19. 

 

Edited by very honest
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Posted (edited)

Good News:
Number of people Vaccinated is increasing steadily.
Most of the most vulnerable people seem to have been vaccinated.
Number of Covid-19 infected people in hospitals is decreasing.
Number of Covid-19 deaths is decreasing.
Bars, restaurants and other social and cultural places are reopening.

Things are looking up.

Let's hope that less privileged countries will be able to do the same soon too.
The sooner, the better.
So less people have to suffer.
And so the virus has less chance to mutate.

Let's hope we can reach the percentage needed to reach the herd immunity threshold.
(about 70% of the total population?)


Percentage of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered to people worldwide: (1st dose + 2nd dose)
547970294_2021-05-28-World-VaccinationsPercentages.thumb.png.f60dae0cb051d2de499c1457116fa898.png

Percentage of citizens with first Covid-19 dose:
1057348824_2021-05-28-World-FirstDosePercentages.thumb.png.fba67255311b4906a809413f1d299476.png

Evolution of Covid-19 numbers in Belgium:
839015750_2021-05-28-Belgium-Graphs.thumb.png.d354bc7880bce2bff110c9cc38ced38c.png

Edited by MaartenVC
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All epidemics end, vaccine or no vaccine. The Spanish Flu ended. The Black Death ended.

And yes, in those cases, herd immunity did it. We reached it the hard way — down the stone paths in the cemeteries— but we got there.

But herd immunity is not the whole picture. Nor is it what constitutes “the end.”

By that I mean: the Black Death and the Spanish Flu ended only as epidemics.

The pathogens that caused them didn’t vanish. They’re still with us. But you don’t need transmission exterminated to say an epidemic is over. You just need it manageable.

Herd immunity is not a moment in time. President Biden is never going to say: “Today, at 9:04 A.M., on the deck of the U.S.S. Moderna, the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 signed our general terms of surrender.”

Instead, this virus is slowly becoming endemic: something we live with.

The End IS Near. No, Seriously. (Donald G. McNeil Jr./Medium)

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Posted (edited)
On 5/28/2021 at 5:16 AM, MaartenVC said:

Good News:
Number of people Vaccinated is increasing steadily.
Most of the most vulnerable people seem to have been vaccinated.
Number of Covid-19 infected people in hospitals is decreasing.
Number of Covid-19 deaths is decreasing.
Bars, restaurants and other social and cultural places are reopening.

Things are looking up.

Let's hope that less privileged countries will be able to do the same soon too.
The sooner, the better.
So less people have to suffer.
And so the virus has less chance to mutate.

Let's hope we can reach the percentage needed to reach the herd immunity threshold.
(about 70% of the total population?)


Percentage of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered to people worldwide: (1st dose + 2nd dose)
547970294_2021-05-28-World-VaccinationsPercentages.thumb.png.f60dae0cb051d2de499c1457116fa898.png

Percentage of citizens with first Covid-19 dose:
1057348824_2021-05-28-World-FirstDosePercentages.thumb.png.fba67255311b4906a809413f1d299476.png

Evolution of Covid-19 numbers in Belgium:
839015750_2021-05-28-Belgium-Graphs.thumb.png.d354bc7880bce2bff110c9cc38ced38c.png

 

great post and very true. also it's nice to enjoy the good news.

but it prompts me to post this counterpoint, which you allude to. zeynep has been one of the most astute and prescient journalists covering covid and here's her latest message. click the tweet to view the full thread. 

 

Edited by very honest
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Props to the researchers who made this HQ vaccine possible.This is some bad ass vaccines we got here.I remember early in the pandemic when people were speculating that it could take years and years for a vaccine.But they pull it off and with high grades.

Edited by thefxbip
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For @Zephyr_Nova and @yekker and anyone else in this area:  I received the link to book my second shot today. Earliest date to book was June 18th, so that's just over ten weeks in the end. This is considerably better than the proposed 16 week wait between doses in Canada. So I thought I'd share the good news! The wait shouldn't be that long for you too :biggrin:

 professor farnsworth futurama GIF

Edited by toaoaoad
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