But hopes the world-beating vaccine roll-out will mean lockdown curbs can be significantly eased any time soon were shot down today by Mr Hancock, who unveiled the latest suite of border curbs and warned they could last until the Autumn when booster vaccines will be available.
– The Cabinet Office refused to deny that the draconian new laws were incoming after UK’s streets were busy
– They instead pointed to Matt Hancock’s vague statement on rules earlier today: ‚Follow the rules we’ve got‘
– Hancock refused to speculate when asked if harsher measures coming, such as curfews and closing nurseries
– Whitehall source said potential changes included introducing ban on people leaving their homes more than once a week
Sir John Bell, regius chair of medicine at the University of Oxford, said stubborn NHS bureaucrats were standing in the way of a high-speed mass inoculation programme that could prevent many further deaths.
“The NHS has the theoretical capacity to immunise everybody in five days if they want to, but I don’t get the sense they are really motivated,” Bell told the Times.
Prof Whitty commended the public for their efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 and noted the hope offered by various vaccines, but he echoed other experts in saying it would be some weeks before the jabs start to reduce the number of people taken to hospital.
(2) Clearly what is happening is a reclassification of deaths. Non-Covid deaths are being reclassified as ´Covid deaths’ by means of ramped up PCR testing. Which begs the question: why are they doing this, if not to justify lockdowns and other restrictions?
Palantir was co-founded in 2004 by Paypal owner and billionaire Peter Thiel. What the blog doesn’t reveal is that Palantir’s client list has included amomgst others, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the Centre for Disease Control, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, Special Operations Command, West Point and the IRS.
Furthermore, in 2016, it was revealed Palantir had a $34.6m contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and helped the Customs and Border Protection Agency create the Analytical Framework for Intelligence (AFI) system to track immigrants.
Nor does the blog mention that Palantir worked for UK intelligence and was awarded contracts to handle vast data sets on UK citizens for British spy agency GCHQ.
UK government has published the contracts it holds with private tech firms and the NHS for the creation of a COVID-19 data store, just days after campaigners fired legal shots over a lack of transparency.
Available on the openDemocracy website, the contracts describe how the arrangements between the NHS and Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and AI firms Faculty and Palantir (which subcontracts to AWS) will operate.
As Palantir’s executives were preparing over the summer to release shares publicly for the first time, they faced a challenge: how do you convince investors to buy into a 17-year-old company that has never turned a profit?
(03 September 2020)
At the moment it seems that a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positive result is the only criterion required for a case to be recognised.
“In any other disease we would have a clearly defined specification that would usually involve signs, symptoms, and a test result,” says Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford and the editor of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. “We are moving into a biotech world where the norms of clinical reasoning are going out of the window. A PCR test does not equal covid-19; it should not, but in some definitions it does.”
Normally, two doctors are needed to certify a death, one of whom has been treating the patient or who knows them and has seen them recently. That has changed. For Covid-19 only, the certification can be made by a single doctor, and there is no requirement for them to have examined, or even met, the patient. A video-link consultation in the four weeks prior to death is now felt to be sufficient for death to be attributed to Covid-19.
As a result, ministers are considering introducing tougher measures as part of the crackdown, including possibly making face masks mandatory in busy outdoor areas.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has appeared in adverts urging us to stay at home as the new variant of the virus rips across the country.
(09 Dec 2020)
Vallance and chief medical officer Chris Whitty were asked if there was something that could be done in the structure in scientific advice that could be a bit more forensic about those restrictions on the sector that have a very big impact on certain people. The scientific advisers said they are trying very hard to get data but can´t give specific data on it, and nor can anyone else across the world.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has said that Boris Johnson’s tier system is “no longer strong enough” to deal with the new more virulent variant of coronavirus.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said at the time that it was ‘just not possible’ for Ferguson to continue advising the Government. But this was not true. The professor was said to have resigned from the SAGE advisory committee. But did he? Not really. A current State website lists him as a member of the ‘New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group’ (NERVTAG). Minutes suggest he was only ever away from that for a few weeks.
The Wrexham plant is able to produce around 300 million doses of the vaccine each year, and has been producing 150,000 phials a day for months in readiness to roll out the vaccine across the UK.
The CP Pharmaceuticals lab will carry out the „fill and finish“ stage of the manufacturing process. This involves dispensing the vaccine into vials ready for it to be sent out across the country.
The 18-month agreement with parent company Wockhardt was announced back in August.
Government sources have indicated an announcement later will see more areas move into tier four – „stay at home“.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to detail the changes – which could be introduced within days – in the House of Commons after 14:30 GMT.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust who advises Number 10’s advisory panel Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said: „We’re not going to be free of this pandemic by February, this is now a human endemic infection.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab could be approved early next week by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), after the final cut of data was submitted by the Government last Monday.
Government sources say that between 12 million and 15 million people have been identified as likely to require hospital treatment if they contract coronavirus, or be at risk of dying from it. Once this group has received the vaccine – which some officials hope could be achieved by the end of February – then the NHS would no longer be at risk of being overwhelmed if the virus spread through the greater population. That would remove the main argument for shutting the economy at a stroke.
A source said: ‚The path to liberation is finally becoming clear.‘
„We have seen the best of British at every stage, from our world-leading scientists working around the clock to carry out vital research, to builders and engineers constructing new facilities.
“Manufacturers are boosting their capabilities and hundreds of thousands of people in every corner of the UK are taking part in clinical trials — developing, finding and preparing for a vaccine has involved us all.
“It has and continues to be a truly UK-wide effort and one which showcases what a fantastic nation we are.”
The Government is aiming for two million people to receive their first dose of either the Oxford vaccine or the Pfizer jab within a fortnight as part of a major ramping up of the inoculation programme.
Scientists took a common cold virus that infected chimpanzees and engineered it to become the building block of a vaccine against almost anything.
Before Covid, 330 people had been given ChAdOx1 based-vaccines for diseases ranging from flu to Zika virus, and prostate cancer to the tropical disease chikungunya.
The virus from chimps is genetically modified so it cannot cause an infection in people. It can then be modified again to contain the genetic blueprints for whatever you want to train the immune system to attack.
The hope in Downing Street is that the Oxford vaccine will get the green light by the end of the year. This would allow the Prime Minister to start laying out plans for restrictions to be lifted.
The MHRA drugs regulator has been doing its final review of the vaccine for three weeks now, since November 27, with a decision expected by next Tuesday.
However, they made a decision about Pfizer and BioNTech’s jab within 10 days of being instructed to do so by the Department of Health.