Examining The UK Government’s Claim that the Kent Variant could be 30% More Lethal

After claiming that the Kent variant was 70% more transmissible – still yet to be verified – the UK government has now gone one step further at a public press conference to claim that there is ‘evidence’ it could also be 30% more lethal. Let’s look at that ‘evidence’ and how it found its way into a government press conference just hours before the conference was aired to the nation.

Firstly, what is bizarre and quite frankly outrageous is the manner in which this news was conveyed to the public. The chain of events which led to Johnson announcing to the nation that the new variant is more deadly is disturbing, as reported here.

The story initially emerged on Twitter after ITV’s Robert Peston reported: “The government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (or Nervtag) has concluded that the new Covid-19 strain may be a bit more lethal than the existing strain.”

He was briefed about the story by the infectious disease modeller Neil Ferguson, who told Peston: “It is a realistic possibility that the new UK variant increases the risk of death… So for 60-year-olds, 13 in 1000 might die compared with 10 in 1000 for old strains.”

Given the uncertainty of the data, it is unclear why Ferguson, a controversial figure, thought it necessary to brief Peston before the relevant information had been properly disclosed. Critics may say that in a public health crisis, transparency and predictability in government decision-making is absolutely vital both to preserve public trust and to ensure proper accountability.

How in God’s name does Ferguson – who is not even supposed to be advising the government at all after he got caught with his pants down breaking lockdown rules back in the Spring to see his girfriend – get to brief an ITV reporter on issues directly relating to government policy, who then splashes it on social media, which is then communicated in very alarming tones to the nation by a Prime Minister who looks more like the Grim Reaper as each week passes? It’s an outrageous chain of communication and the scare-tactics employed are contemptible in the extreme, essentially giving justification to keep us all locked up for much longer. As Robert Dingwall, also a NERVTAG member, says in the article referenced above:

The government’s frightening and unproven claim that the new variant of the Covid-19 virus is 30 per cent more lethal is challenged by a leading member of the key body monitoring the disease. He says it is wrong to “exploit it to increase public fear.”

Professor Robert Dingwall, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, told Reaction:

“The 30 per cent more lethal claim about the virus rests on a very fragile and uncertain base of evidence. NERVTAG has expressed limited confidence in this figure, which should not be the basis for public alarm.”

He continued: “It is right not to hide possibly bad news but it is also quite wrong to exploit it to increase public fear and to try to shut down debates about the exit strategy from the current restrictions.”

How can the public be expected to have any trust in the government and follow their ever changing rules ‘to save lives’ if they are being deceived and misinformed via such grubby collaborative exercises in spreading unjustifiable alarm occurring between two-bit journalists, discredited academics and Downing Street? They can’t. They won’t. They have surely gone over the top this time.

But let’s take a look at the NERVTAG report which forms the basis of Johnson’s press conference claim, but which he probably wasn’t even aware of at the time of the announcement.

The first point of the Summary is this:

The variant of concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 appears to have substantially increased
transmissibility compared to other variants and has grown quickly to become the
dominant variant in much of the UK

Well, as it happens, the areas in which the ‘70% more transmissible’ variant first appeared (London, East Anglia and the South East) and ‘took over’ are now experiencing a sharp downturn in infections compared to other areas and it seems that the main reason for this is that the initial sharp rise in VOC infections appears to have gone into reverse, with now more pronounced declines in VOC compared to the ‘old’ variant! This doesn’t exactly fit the script of a more transmissible strain which is rapidly becoming dominant.

But what is most remarkable is that the fall in infections in London, the East and South East seems to be down principally to a fall in cases of the new variant discovered in Kent in December. Said by the government at the time to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than previous variants, it seems to be reducing at a far faster rate.

In total, the NERVTAG review report references 10 studies, with highly variable results, as below:

PHE reports and CO-CIN do not find an increased risk of death and actually report a decreased risk, which would in fact be compatible with the changes in the ORF-8 region as pointed out by Professor Racaniello [14′.10” onwards] in late December when the UK government cancelled Christmas because of this new variant. Back then, the government was saying there was no evidence of increased mortality, but I guess they done went and found some! Gotta think about Easter coming up. It would be a tragedy if families were to get together at Easter and actually enjoy some human company. I expect the Welsh government will be taping off the Easter eggs section in supermarkets as well.

The references for the 10 studies mentioned above are as follows:

1. Public Health England, 2020. Variant Of Concern 202012/01: Technical Briefing

2. Investigation of novel SARS-CoV-2 variant. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 January 2021]. 2. Ferguson, N. 2021. Non-parametric analysis of fatal outcomes associated with B1.1.7. Imperial College London – unpublished analysis.

3. Davies, N., Diaz-Ordaz, K., Keogh, R. 2021. Relative fatality hazard in Pillar 2 tested individuals with VOC. LSHTM – unpublished analysis.

4. PHE, 2021. Unpublished analysis.

5. Docherty A., Harrison, E., Semple, C. 2021. Hospital case fatality and emergence of variant of concern B.1.1.7, rapid CO-CIN report to NERVTAG and SAGE. Unpublished analysis.

You’ll note that only the PHE analyses are published and accessible. All of the others are unpublished therefore not available for inspection by the public. That’s transparency for you! You will also note that Ferguson cites his own work in the review paper which he co-authors. It’s all rather incestuous and opaque, to say the least. It’s also anything but robust, definitive, conclusive. Here are some examples:

There are several limitations to these datasets including representativeness of death data (<10% of all deaths are included in some datasets), power, potential biases in case ascertainment and transmission setting.

It should be noted that the absolute risk of death per infection remains low.

An analysis of CO-CIN data has not identified an increased risk of death in hospitalised VOC B.1.1.7 cases. However, increased severity may not necessarily be reflected by increased in-hospital death risk.

Previously, preliminary results from a matched-cohort study conducted by PHE reported no statistically significant increased risk of hospitalisation or death in VOCinfected individuals compared to non-VOC [1]

The LSHTM paper used a Cox proportional hazards model to estimate change in risk of death within 28 days of test for individuals infected with the VOC [2]

The study was based on 2,583 deaths among 1.2 million tested individuals. 384 deaths were among SGTF individuals.

Focusing only on individuals with SGTF after 1 November 2020 (no adjustment for SGTF misclassification)

A PHE retrospective matched cohort study was also reported [4]:

The odds of SGTF cases being admitted was not significantly different to non-SGTF cases (OR = 1.07, 95% CI 0.86 – 1.33).

There are potential limitations in these datasets:

The dataset used in the LSHTM, Imperial, Exeter and PHE analyses is based on a limited subset of the total deaths. This includes approximately 8% of the total deaths occurring during the study period. Of all coronavirus deaths, approximately 26% occur in individuals who have had a Pillar 2 test, and only 30% of these have S-gene data. The results of all studies may therefore not be representative of the total population.

Some laboratories only report SGTF if the PCR cycle threshold (ct) value is <30, since target gene failure can occur with low viral loads. For the LSHTM paper, no such ct threshold was applied to non-SGTF positive samples.

If there is an increase in the severity of infection with VOC B1.1.7, we would also expect to see an increase in the risk of hospitalisation. Currently, we do not have evidence of an increased risk of hospitalisation in individuals with VOC B1.1.7 but data are limited due to lags in the availability of hospitalisation data.

You get the idea. The take home message is that these studies are based on a very limited subset of deaths, they use a proxy SGTF measurement for the presence of the variant which does not account for misclassifications made due to low viral load, and they reveal that hospitalisations have not increased, but somehow deaths have. But this did not stop the government from stoking up the fear yet again by announcing that there is ‘evidence’ that the new strain is 30% more lethal as well as being more transmissible. OMG, Boris the Red tells us, you’re going to kill even more grannies if you don’t stay locked up in your home (and “wear a bloody mask in the supermarket!”) until we tell you it’s safe to come out again – which may not be until summer, by which time you’ll all be insane anyway. Haha.

Even the Fail is not that impressed:

Experts today played down fears a UK variant of the coronavirus is more deadly than the original strain after a ‘scaremongering’ Downing Street press conference last night.

Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said it is not ‘absolutely clear’ if a mutation of the virus first found in Kent is more dangerous.

Graham Medley, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it is an ‘open question’ but not a ‘game changer’ in terms of dealing with the pandemic.

And Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of SAGE subgroup the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, said it was still too early to be drawing ‘strong conclusions’ about the suggested increased mortality rate.

But evidence for increased mortality remains thin – Nervtag papers reveal the term ‘realistic possibility’ is used when scientists are only 40 to 50 per cent confident something is true.

The paper states ‘it should be noted that the absolute risk of death per infection remains low’. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said if the evidence is correct it would mean three to four more deaths per 1,000 cases.

Chief Scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance even admitted during the press conference evidence the strain is more deadly is still ‘weak’.

If this new variant was indeed more virulent, you would expect an increased viral load. This paper, published on January 15th, which finds that it is moderately more transmissible (nowhere near 70% more transmissible) also reveals that there is no evidence of increased viral load or of increased transmission among children (as was also claimed by Ferguson in late December, which no doubt influenced the horrendous decision to close down schools). Professor Pantsdown is going to have a lot to answer for when this all over.

The relative difference in growth rates of SGTF vs no -SGTF had a similar distribution in those up to high-school age (i.e . ≤15 /16 years, 5% excess (95% C I 1-8%) ) versus older (6% (4 -9 %)) (Supplementary Figure 11, Supplementary Table 2), with no evidence that SGTF positivity rates were consistently growing faster or slower in those under and over high school age.

Multiple lines of evidence support B.1.1.7 /VOC202012/01 leading to higher infection rates in adults and children, and adding to, rather than simply replacing, existing strains. However, we found no evidence that Ct values (a proxy for viral load ) were intrinsically substantially lower in SGTF-positives, in contrast to initial reports17,18, but consistent with observations that B. 1.1.7 / VOC202 012/01 infection is not more severe.

Commander-in-Thief Bidet Rejoins the Paris Accord

On the very day of his nothingburger inauguration ceremony which was so wildly popular with his 81 million voters that the White House You Tube video got 2.7k likes vs. 17k downvotes and they had to turn off the commenting, Bidet signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Accord. He also managed to cancel the biological rights of American women in favour of men who declare themselves to be women. I’m not sure whether the evidence-based science for the Paris Climate Accord is better than that for men being allowed to compete in women’s sports; I’m guessing it’s about the same.

‘World leaders’ are ecstatic of course now that the US has climbed back aboard the international climate crisis scam. They really, really were most upset that Trump pulled out in order to protect the American economy and American jobs against unfair competition from China. Saving the planet from bad weather is so much more important than the health and prosperity of the American people – and the environment, as it happens. If you believe that wind turbines and solar panels are clean green energy and that electric cars are ecologically and environmentally superior to petrol and diesel, you need your head examining, quite frankly.

World leaders breathed an audible sigh of relief that the United States under President Joe Biden is rejoining the global effort to curb climate change, a cause that his predecessor had shunned.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron were among those welcoming Biden’s decision to rejoin the the Paris climate accord, reversing a key Trump policy in the first hours of his presidency Wednesday.

“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is hugely positive news,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. Britain, which is hosting this year’s U.N. climate summit, looked forward to working with the Biden administration on the issue, he said.

Macron likewise tweeted his joy at the U.S. rejoining the Paris pact, saying that with Biden, “we will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet.”

Of course Boris the Red is overjoyed. He now has a powerful partner in crime across the Pond to push his anti-democratic Green scam/Great Reset/Net Zero agenda for the hapless residents of Prison Island UK. Fighting the “giant tea cosy in the sky” aka man made atmospheric greenhouse gases will become his new pet obsession when he eventually tires of his Covid medico-fascist tyranny (presuming he ever does). Also, the girlfriend, Princess Nut Nuts, is well into that sort of thing so he can expect extra helpings of oats if he plays his cards right. I always thought it would have been wiser to leave Dilyn the Dog and the Downing Street cat in charge, but there you are. Expect at least one major climate love-in with Bidet ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November.

Examining The Science And The Possible Origin of The ‘New Strain’ Of Covid-19

First published at Cliscep 25 Dec 2020

After claiming that cancelling Christmas would be “inhuman”, Scrooge Johnson promptly cancelled Christmas. Then Hancock cancelled Boxing Day just to make sure. Why? Because of a supposedly “70% more transmissible” new strain of Covid which was spreading like wildfire in London and Kent – and now it seems, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Oxforshire. Next year it will probably be everywhere and we’ll all have to suffer the economic and social catastrophe of Tier 4 lockdowns until we beg to be vaccinated (and probably long after that too). The name given to this ‘new strain’ is VUI 202012/01 (Variant Under Investigation, year 2020, month 12, variant 01), or B.1.1.7. Firstly, as the name suggests, it’s not a ‘new strain’, it’s a new variant – and it’s not that new. It was first reported in mid October when two samples from Kent and London sent to the Milton Keynes Lighthouse Lab were genetically sequenced by COG-UK. The dates of the samples were 20th September (Kent) and 21st September (London). Nothing much seems to be known about these ‘patients’. Were they asymptomatic (tested in the community) or did they have symptoms or were they in hospital? I can find no information at present. Had they recently arrived from abroad? That would mean the origin of the new variant might not even be the UK. Who knows.

The other thing is, it’s not a ‘new strain’ as claimed by our clueless politicians and media. To qualify for that status, it would have to have conclusively demonstrated a distinct clinical difference from other dominant strains in circulation, i.e. increased transmissibility and/or enhanced or even lower virulence. So far, despite the claims by NERVTAG and the government, no such evidence has been demonstrated. The claim of ‘70% more transmissible’ is based on modelling and is not backed up by hard data. This virology Professor explains in detail why he is not too worried by the new variant and why the claims by NERVTAG and the government are scare-mongering hype not backed up by hard science and data.

It’s a pretty damning video. He forensically dismantles the claims made by NERVTAG about this being a distinct new strain which has gained an evolutionary advantage over other, less contagious strains, basically stating that you cannot infer biological properties of a virus from limited epidemiological data only and that you must perform experiments in the field. For example, the apparent rapid spread of this new variant may simply be down to super-spreader events as it is well known that 80% of transmissions are caused by 10% of infectious individuals. He also goes through all the changes in the amino acid proteins (in particular the spike amino acid proteins) which are incorrectly called ‘mutations’ – even by the experts – and points out that the ORF8 changes may actually mean that this variant is less virulent. So even if it does turn out to be more contagious and does spread through the community, it may actually be a good thing because it will mean that a greater number of people become infected at less risk and natural herd immunity is attained that much quicker.

The government doesn’t see it this way of course. Nor does the WHO. It’s just an excuse to keep us all locked up for longer, with even more restrictions upon our personal liberty until we are forced to accept vaccination for a disease which to the vast majority does not present a major threat and is about 99.96% survivable. Ferguson doesn’t see it that way either. He was supposed to have resigned from all government advisory roles after he broke the rules of the lockdown which he was instrumental in implementing back in May. But he has now popped back up in NERVTAG and suddenly he’s the darling of the media again and the government are hanging on his every word. He’s warning us about the ‘threat’ of this new variant being transmitted by schoolchildren, bringing kids further under the jackboot of the psychopaths who are intent on controlling our lives. So don’t be surprised if schools are closed in a new lockdown in January on the ‘recommendation’ of Pants Down Ferguson who, it seems, is a turd which just cannot be flushed. The very same Ferguson responsible for the unnecessary slaughter of millions of innocent farm animals in the 2001 Foot and Mouth Epidemic and who predicted 150,000 deaths from BSE, among other catastrophic failures. Being wrong is his speciality it seems, an expertise which apparently qualifies him to give advice to the government on policies which affect all our lives, including voicing his opinion on how other peoples’ kids should have their lives seriously disrupted yet again.

Something which Prof. Vincent Racaniello neglected to mention and which is pertinent is the fact that this new variant has a large number of changes and deletions in the genome (14 changes and 3 deletions) which, on the face of it, mark it out as unique. They all ‘appeared’ at once, which is ‘unprecedented’, given the estimated mutation rate of approximately 1 or 2 per month. Lots of ‘mutations’ have been tracked, but never have 17 been recorded simultaneously in a newly discovered variant. It is also notable that a total of 8 changes occur in the critical spike region of the virus, when only 44 have been recorded previously. So it is perhaps unsurprising that the appearance of this new variant and its apparent rapid spread has caused some to worry, but is that concern justified enough to further destroy people’s lives? I think not and I will attempt to explain why not.

When I say lots of mutations have been tracked I do mean lots; in fact 12,706 ‘mutations’ up until 21 September 2020. What is remarkable is that none of those mutations have proven to have had any significant effect upon transmissibility or pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2. It’s a rather odd coincidence that this paper, published on 25th November, authored by our old friend Francois Balloux and others, only covers up to the exact date that the new variant was discovered in Kent and London. So presumably, the ‘new strain of Covid’ is not included in this analysis. But here is what the study says:

The most plausible mutations under putative natural selection are those which have emerged repeatedly and independently (homoplasies). Here, we formally test whether any homoplasies observed in SARS-CoV-2 to date are significantly associated with increased viral transmission. To do so, we develop a phylogenetic index to quantify the relative number of descendants in sister clades with and without a specific allele. We apply this index to a curated set of recurrent mutations identified within a dataset of 46,723 SARS-CoV-2 genomes isolated from patients worldwide. We do not identify a single recurrent mutation in this set convincingly associated with increased viral transmission. Instead, recurrent mutations currently in circulation appear to be evolutionary neutral and primarily induced by the human immune system via RNA editing, rather than being signatures of adaptation. 

We informally estimated the mutation rate over our alignment as 9.8 × 10−4 substitutions per site per year, which is consistent with previous rates estimated for SARS-CoV-21,2,3,4 (Figs. S1 and S2). This rate also falls in line with those observed in other coronaviruses25,26 and is fairly unremarkable relative to other positive single-stranded RNA viruses, which do not have a viral proof-reading mechanism.

Across our data set, we identified a total of 12,706 mutations, heavily enriched in C→U transitions, of which we identified 398 strongly supported recurrent mutations (Supplementary Data 3 and Supplementary Figs. 4 and 5). Employing a phylogenetic index (RoHO) to test whether these recurrent mutations contribute to a change in transmission, we found no candidate convincingly associated with a significant increase or decrease in transmissibility (Figs. 2 and 3 and Supplementary Data 4).

A much discussed mutation in the context of demographic confounding is D614G (nucleotide position 23,403), a non-synonymous change in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. Korber et al. suggested that D614G increases transmissibility but with no measurable effect on patient infection outcome21. Other studies have suggested associations with increased infectivity in vitro18,40 and antigenicity41. Here we conversely find that D614G does not associate with significantly increased viral transmission (median log10(RoHO) = 0, paired t test p = 0.28; Supplementary Data 4), in line with our results for all other tested recurrent mutations. 

These apparently contrasting results for D614G should be considered carefully. What is, however, indisputable is that D614G emerged early in the pandemic and is now found at high frequency globally, with 36,347 assemblies in our data set (77.8%) carrying the derived allele (Fig. 1a and Supplementary Data 3). However, D614G is also in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with three other derived mutations (nucleotide positions 241, 3037, and 14,408) that have experienced highly similar expansions, as 98.9% of accessions with D614G also carry these derived alleles (35,954/36,347). It should be noted that the D614G mutation displays only five independent emergences that qualify for inclusion in our analyses (fewer than the other three sites it is associated with). While this limits our power to detect a statistically significant association with transmissibility, the low number of independent emergences suggests to us that the abundance of D614G is more probably a demographic artefact: D614G went up in frequency as the SARS-CoV-2 population expanded, largely due to a founder effect originating from one of the deepest branches in the global phylogeny, rather than being a driver of transmission itself.

To summarise, what Balloux et al are saying is that they’ve examined thousands of changes in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 since it first emerged and they have found none that significantly alter the biology of the virus in terms of transmissibility or pathogenicity. One ‘mutation’ in the spke protein, D614G, which first appeared in February, was thought to increase transmissibility and virulence but turned out to be largely neutral and its spread around the globe was attributed largely to the Founder Effect, which Prof . Racaniello discusses in the video above.

Matt Ridley has a opinion piece in the Telegraph on the subject of this new variant and he makes much of the fact that it suddenly appeared with an unprecedented number of changes in the amino acid proteins, suggesting, he says, that those changes occurred artificially, not randomly, as occurred with the 12,706 mutated genomes which Balloux et al analysed. He tends to paint an alarming picture:

This number of changes would normally take months to emerge at the rate the virus typically evolves: it is less prone to random mutation than an influenza virus. What caused such a burst of evolution within perhaps a single body?

Here the story gets alarming. According to analysis by Andrew Rambaut at Edinburgh University and colleagues for the Covid-19 Genomics Consortium UK, such high rates of mutation have happened in people with suppressed immune systems who get a Covid infection that persists for months and are treated with “convalescent plasma” – essentially blood extracted from those who have recovered from Covid.

In a person with a deficient immune system, a large population of viruses can proliferate, mutate and diversify, and then the treatment selects a new strain from among this diversity.

Essentially, the virus has a crash course in evolution. If so, this casts doubt on the wisdom of convalescent-plasma treatment, pitting the possibility that it might save a life against the possibility that it might help the virus become more infectious or lethal.

As Matt points out, he is referring to a theory of the origin of this new variant put forward by a team of academics lead by Andrew Rambaut of the University of Edinburgh, in conjunction with the Universities of Birmingham, Oxford, Imperial College, Cambridge, Cardiff, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research. What they say is this:

What evolutionary processes or selective pressures might have given rise to lineage B.1.1.7?
High rates of mutation accumulation over short time periods have been reported previously in studies of immunodeficient or immunosuppressed patients who are chronically infected with SARS-CoV-2 (Choi et al. 2020; Avanzato et al. 2020; Kemp et al. 2020). These infections exhibit detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA for 2-4 months or longer (although there are also reports of long infections in some immunocompetent individuals). The patients are treated with convalescent plasma (sometimes more than once) and usually also with the drug remdesivir. Virus genome sequencing of these infections reveals unusually large numbers of nucleotide changes and deletion mutations and often high ratios of non-synonymous to synonymous changes. Convalescent plasma is often given when patient viral loads are high, and Kemp et al. (2020) report that intra-patient virus genetic diversity increased after plasma treatment was given.

Under such circumstances, the evolutionary dynamics of and selective pressures upon the intra-patient virus population are expected to be very different to those experienced in typical infection. First, selection from natural immune responses in immune-deficient/suppressed patients will be weak or absent. Second, the selection arising from antibody therapy may be strong due to high antibody concentrations. Third, if antibody therapy is administered after many weeks of chronic infection, the virus population may be unusually large and genetically diverse at the time that antibody-mediated selective pressure is applied, creating suitable circumstances for the rapid fixation of multiple virus genetic changes through direct selection and genetic hitchhiking.

These considerations lead us to hypothesise that the unusual genetic divergence of lineage B.1.1.7 may have resulted, at least in part, from virus evolution with a chronically-infected individual. Although such infections are rare, and onward transmission from them presumably even rarer, they are not improbable given the ongoing large number of new infections.

Although we speculate here that chronic infection played a role in the origins of the B.1.1.7 variant, this remains a hypothesis and we cannot yet infer the precise nature of this event.

It’s basically just a speculative hypothesis about the origin of the ‘new strain’. By their own admission, they don’t have any solid evidence it would seem and it would also appear to be the case that the two people who initially tested positive for this ‘new strain’ are not immuno-compromised patients who have suffered Covid for a long period, otherwise we would have heard about it now, I’m sure. The authors refer to several examples of enhanced viral evolution in immuno-compromised patients to back up their theory and there is an example of an immuno-compromised patient suffering recurrent bouts of Covid-19 over several months who sadly died. A series of changes in the genome of the virus were observed over the course of the treatment, but they appear to be nothing like the changes recorded for this new variant, so obviously, this particular patient was not the source of the new variant. I quote:

Phylogenetic analysis was consistent with persistent infection and accelerated viral evolution (Figures 1A and S6). Amino acid changes were predominantly in the spike gene and the receptor-binding domain, which make up 13% and 2% of the viral genome, respectively, but harbored 57% and 38% of the observed changes (Figure 1B).

Although most immunocompromised persons effectively clear SARS-CoV-2 infection, this case highlights the potential for persistent infection5 and accelerated viral evolution associated with an immunocompromised state.

So, though it is a possibility that the new variant may have arisen as a result of prolonged treatment of an immuno-compromised patient, in the absence of any patient fitting the profile, it remains just a theory. The actual origin of these synchronously appearing ‘mutations’ thus remains a mystery. It’s a possibility but we cannot definitely blame plasma convalescent therapy for the emergence of this new variant. So what else might explain where it came from?

We maybe have a clue as to the origins of this virus from the following article:

After the first official records of the virus in September, progress was slow, and it wasn’t until England’s second wave took hold in late October that cases exploded.

This, scientists say, could be because the virus strain is faster spreading and made cases rise quicker – or it could be that it was simply found more often as cases surged naturally.

At the time of the first sample the UK was averaging just 3,700 positive coronavirus tests per day. By the start of November, when samples were coming in thick and fast, the average number of positive results had skyrocketed to 23,000 per day.

Professor Loman said there was ‘no evidence’ the strain had come from any other countries, adding: ‘It’s sort of come out of nowhere.

‘We have a long gap between the first cases we saw with this variant in late September [and recent surge in cases]… It’s more likely to have evolved in the UK but we don’t know that.

‘There are very few examples of this variant in other countries at the moment – it’s really a kind of UK phenomenon.’

Well, sorry, but “It’s sort of come out of nowhere” is not adequate. We need explanations, if only tentative explanations. It’s the first time apparently, as noted above, that a virus has been discovered with so many (17) changes in the genome. These changes accumulate slowly in SARS-CoV-2 at a rate of 1-2 per month and none have so far proved to be significant in terms of transmission or virulence. So if these changes happened naturally, they might have taken several months and the question arises as to how they managed to remain unobserved until September 20th?

The first thing to note is that COG-UK first started sequencing Covid viruses back in March 2020. It should be pointed out though that until July, all sequenced positive samples were from the limited number of Pillar 1 tests in hospitals. So initially, not many samples were being sequenced. Then Pillar 2 testing got going and the number of tests rose rapidly from July onwards, as did the number of positives. In concert with the rising number of positives, more and more samples were sent for sequencing. I believe at some point, the Wellcome-Sanger Institute (who do a lot of the sequencing for COG-UK) automated their processes so they could handle a lot more samples. Also, when national and international travel restrictions were relaxed in July and August, there appeared many more SARS-CoV-2 lineages in the UK, which most likely were imported from other countries. This analysis from the Welsh Government confirms that fact:

While we have seen increases over the summer, the numbers of UK lineages remain less than in mid-March.

The graphs demonstrate the two types of lineage that are currently causing disease in Wales. 

Firstly, UK lineages such as UK5 and UK2243 have been long term causes of disease in Wales. UK5 is the largest UK lineage and was probably introduced into the UK multiple times in February/March, and became rapidly established in community transmission. As one of the largest lineages, it has continued to transmit in the community as other smaller lineages have died out. Secondly, we see a new wave of lineages arriving in Wales over the summer. Lineages such as UK389 and UK395 have never been seen before in Wales and have arrived in the August-September timescale to cause considerable numbers of cases in multiple locations, simultaneously. Examining these new arrival lineages reveals that they have arrived in many parts of the UK simultaneously, presenting a signature that is consistent with the idea that these lineages have been seeded by multiple simultaneous imports from outside Wales/the UK.

So, after the initial epidemic, which saw many different lineages, they tailed off into late spring/early summer, then genetic diversity increased once again going into late summer/early autumn, as people jetted off on their holidays and returned to the UK. Concurrent with that, we have a large increase in the number of sequencing being done from positive tests across the UK. Is it beyond the realms of possibility that the variant discovered with 17 ‘mutations’ in Kent and London in mid October, from samples donated at the end of September, could have arrived in the UK during September and have evolved naturally in another country, unnoticed, because that particular country was doing very little sequencing? Those two people carrying the virus get tested, their samples get sequenced by COG-UK and hey presto, a ‘new variant’ with an ‘unprecedented number of ‘mutations’ suddenly appears. A few months later, when it starts spreading in the community, for reasons which may have nothing whatsoever to do with the claimed ‘70% increased transmissibility’, Johnson, Hancock, Ferguson, Whitty and Vallance realise they’re onto a winner and use the new ‘mutant Covid strain’ as a perfect excuse to cancel Christmas in the UK with just a few days’ notice.

Making Good News Look Like Bad – The Fake Case For Tiers

Neil O’ Brien MP has tweeted this:

Here’s the graph he tweeted:

Do you see what they did here? They plotted case numbers per 100k of population on 12th November (y-axis) against the same quantity on 19th November (x-axis).

If cases had not changed in 7 days, any region would lie exactly on the dotted line. If cases had decreased in 7 days, the region would lie above the dotted line – and as you can see, most are above the line, with the notable exception of Kent, where cases have increased in the week from Nov 12th to Nov 19th.

So, in effect, this graph is good news but they’ve made it look like bad news by the sneaky way in which it has been presented. Had they swapped the x and y axes, most regions would appear below the line, but that wouldn’t give the right impression would it?

This graph has obviously been contructed by the government purely as a ruse to convince the casual oberver that the new Tiers are justified when they obviously are not. Who knows how much further ‘cases’ will have decreased in the Tiers 2 and 3 regions by 2nd December, but this data will be ignored of course.

Kerry’s Climate Whores

I see a lot nowadays which tends to turn my stomach, but this has to take the biscuit. Climate ‘scientists’ openly prostituting their ‘services’ to John ‘You could just as easily replace the words climate change with COVID-19’ Kerry who has apparently been nominated by fake President Biden to be ‘climate czar’ in his new administration, if he manages to secure his fraudulent election victory.

**Health Warning: the following content may induce involuntary retching and/or severe nausea.**

Yuk!

The Strange Case Of The Disappearance Of ‘Flu

Apparently, according to WHO figures, influenza cases from Week 15 (April) of 2020 have declined by 98% compared to 2019, whilst Covid-19 cases have correspondingly soared. This is very strange, you have to admit. Here are the figures:

So what on earth is going on? Is it a conspiracy? Have health departments all across the world been wrongly assigning ‘flu cases as Covid-19 cases, in effect faking the entire Covid-19 pandemic? Has the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 somehow ‘driven out’ ‘flu since April, preventing people from being infected with the ‘flu virus if they are already infected with SARS-CoV-2? Has mass mask wearing and social distancing prevented the spread of the ‘flu but not, bizarrely, the spread of SARS-CoV-2? All these explanations seem a little far fetched.

But we need an explanation. The transition from ‘flu to Covid is stark indeed. Here are the case statistics for North America and Northern Europe:

It’s ridiculous isn’t it. How can ‘flu just suddenly disappear? My guess is it did not. Flu and pneumonia are still mentioned on plenty of death certificates. My guess is that the focus on testing for Covid-19 has meant that ‘flu cases are being sidelined, but that moreover, people presenting with severe respiratory disease and dying from severe respiratory disease are those same people who, in a normal year would have presented with the ‘flu and died from it. SARS-CoV-2 appears to have usurped the role of ‘flu in the vulnerable population this year and carried off the susceptible. Not only that, it did so in many countries in a much shorter period, around March and April. It also carried off those who would have died naturally from other diseases too, like cancer, heart disease, stroke etc.

In this respect, Covid-19 is not a pandemic, but a syndemic. It has killed people all over the world by acting in synchrony with – and in some cases by displacing, as with ‘flu – other known morbidities. Very few healthy people under 60 have died directly from Covid-19. Here is what Richard Horton in the Lancet has to say and I believe it is very significant:

As the world approaches 1 million deaths from COVID-19, we must confront the fact that we are taking a far too narrow approach to managing this outbreak of a new coronavirus. We have viewed the cause of this crisis as an infectious disease. All of our interventions have focused on cutting lines of viral transmission, thereby controlling the spread of the pathogen. The “science” that has guided governments has been driven mostly by epidemic modellers and infectious disease specialists, who understandably frame the present health emergency in centuries-old terms of plague. But what we have learned so far tells us that the story of COVID-19 is not so simple. Two categories of disease are interacting within specific populations—infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and an array of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These conditions are clustering within social groups according to patterns of inequality deeply embedded in our societies. The aggregation of these diseases on a background of social and economic disparity exacerbates the adverse effects of each separate disease. COVID-19 is not a pandemic. It is a syndemic. The syndemic nature of the threat we face means that a more nuanced approach is needed if we are to protect the health of our communities.

Full Circle: Boris The Red Asks Doris ‘Net Zero’ To Head Up Cop 26

A while ago now, I wrote about May’s last poisonous swipe at the UK as she retired in disgrace, having spent over three years trying to thwart the democratic votes of 17.8 million Britons. Her ‘proud legacy’ was to be the introduction of the legally binding net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 – a statutory instrument amendment to the Climate Change Act 2008. It passed, with every single MP in Parliament voting for it. Hence Doris passed into the history books as the first leader of a major industrialised economy to enact a legally binding net zero target – which would be a ‘fine example’ to the world no doubt (of what, I’m not quite sure). We could all just forget how she tried so hard to screw Brexit voters over. With any luck, we could forget she ever existed, but no, Boris had other plans.

First, he made damned sure that we could never forget the spiteful crone’s poisonous legacy by making it a manifesto commitment and then official government policy after he became elected. Boris’s Bonkers Boiler Ban was the direct result of Doris’s bonkers net zero legislation. Now, God help us, he’s actually invited the Maybot to chair the COP26 meeting in Glasgow!

THERESA May could make a shock return to frontline politics with a major new Government job, it was claimed tonight.

The ex-PM has been asked by Boris Johnson to head up the COP21 climate change summit hosted by Britain next year.

You have to forgive the Sun – they don’t know the difference between Glasgow and Paris! But that aside, just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse with this government, Johnson goes and offers the former worst ever PM (which particular accolade he now proudly holds) a frontline role in government. God’s teeth! Is there no end to Boris’s talents? The scary part is, Doris hasn’t yet turned down the offer:

Mrs May was reported by the Sunday Times to have not turned down the offer but has not yet signed up.

Boris The Red Goes Full On Green

I told you he was mad. Didn’t I warn you he was nuts. He told us he was stark raving bonkers even before we elected him to ‘get Brexit done’. He’s using his Covid Communist take-down of the UK economy now as the excuse to drive through a ‘green revolution’ which will fail; it cannot but fail, though he will destroy UK energy infrastructure, cause massive and sustained blackouts, squander billions on useless offshore wind installations, drive energy prices sky-high and deprive the British people of their means of independent transport in order to prove that it will fail.

He will use his speech to the Conservative Party’s ‘virtual’ conference to set out a radical green energy plan to build thousands of coastal turbines.

Pledging to move at ‘gale force speed’, the Prime Minister wants to make Britain the world leader in offshore wind technology and create up to 60,000 jobs.

He will say of his ten-year plan: ‘You heard me right. Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle – the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8808135/Boris-Johnson-promises-wind-farms-power-home-Britain-ten-years.html

I can’t quite decide whether he is genuinely off his trolley and suffering from severe and incurable scientific, economic and technological illiteracy or whether he actually is acutely aware that what he is saying is total and utter bullshit. “Without guilt”? Seriously, he thinks we should feel guilty about using fossil-fuel derived electricity? When we could instead be using 100% renewable, ‘clean’, green, bat chomping, bird-slicing, cetacean and crustacean molesting, sea-view decimating, poverty inducing, rare-earth gobbling wind energy? In the final analysis, it matters not whether he is mad or bad. His clear intention now is to ‘move on’ from his catastrophic handling of the fake ‘Covid crisis’ to address the fake ‘climate crisis’, using the destruction caused by his government’s deliberate scare-mongering tactics re. Wu Flu as a springboard to jump straight back on his Green hobby horse of net zero.

The Prime Minister will claim good progress is being made on recruiting more nurses and police and say the pandemic can also be a catalyst for change, with Britain ‘building back better and greener’.  

He will add: ‘We need to give people the chance to train for the new jobs that are being created every day – in new technologies and new ways of doing things.

‘And there is one area where we are progressing quite literally with gale force speed and that is the green economy – the green industrial revolution that in the next ten years will create hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs.’

The plan is to quadruple offshore wind power so that, by 2030, every home in the UK (and every electric car) will be powered by ‘limitless breezes’. Obviously, he is nuttier than the nuttiest of Extinction Rebellion fanatics. At present, there is no technical means of incorporating 100% wind generated electricity into the grid. Above 50% penetration of zero inertia renewable energy, the grid becomes highly unstable and is likely to fail big time, resulting in huge and widespread blackouts, unless the national grid can be totally redesigned to accommodate 100% renewables in the next decade.

Boris is setting the UK up to fail. Have no doubt whatsoever about that fact. He is mad, bad, dangerous, a globalist and an eco-fanatical Green Communist – in common with the rest of the ‘Conservatives’. Replace him with Sunak, Gove, or any other serving senior Tory minister and you will get exactly the same.

This is what using wind energy ‘without guilt’ gives you. Wholesale destruction of the pristine Shetland landscape ‘without guilt’ to provide useless, expensive, intermittent, grid-destabilising ‘clean green energy’.

The Excel Hockeystick!

Just when you thought government Covid policy couldn’t get even more bizarre, along comes the Covid Cases Hockeystick courtesy of Excel. Apparently, the 12 billion pound track and trace system (which we’re paying for) uses (wait for it) an Excel spread sheet to store data on positive tests. Apparently, nearly 16,000 positive test results got left off because the maximum number of columns on the spreadsheet was exceeded and they didn’t get uploaded! So they’ve just added them on and now our cases graph looks like this:

Like, wow, that’s now a genuine bonafide Mann Hockeystick if ever I saw one! At this rate, they’ll get to 50k ‘infections’ a day by mid October no problem and then they can lock us all down at Level 3 forever. But seriously, are we supposed to believe that this graph bears any relation whatsoever to the supposed rate of spread of live infections of SARS-CoV-2 in the community? That in 2 weeks time, given that so few people are immune to the virus, this will translate into a very sharp peak in deaths? I guess it might if they store hospital death data on Excel too . . . . .

Even with all the ‘missed’ cases added on and graphed by specimen date though, the specimen date data doesn’t look quite so dramatic and scary:

Bear in mind that 250k tests a day are being done at the moment and, contrary to Hancock’s lies, they are randomly targeting asymptomatic people. These positive tests are not being generated from a majority of people who are displaying definite clinical symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This would explain why deaths are still at a very low level and are likely to remain that way – unless the government finds a ‘fix’ for the mortality data that is.

Even with the ‘lost and found’ data added back in, Whitty and Vallance’s exponential growth graph is still looking highly unlikely:

‘Our NHS’ Commits To Net Zero Carbon: Everybody Clap

NHS becomes the world’s first national health system to commit to become ‘carbon net zero’, backed by clear deliverables and milestones

You would think at a time of national crisis, with hospitals expecting to be overflowing with Covid-19 patients any time soon, following Bill and Ben, the Pol Pot Men’s (not) predicted ‘exponential’ rise in cases to 50k a day by mid October, the NHS would have other things on its mind at the moment – like the health of the nation for instance. But it seems they have ample time to pontificate about going green.

The NHS has today adopted a multiyear plan to become the world’s first carbon net zero national health system.

The commitment comes amid growing evidence of the health impacts of climate change and air pollution, and aims to save thousands of lives and hospitalisations across the country.

It’s the twin carbon evils of air pollution and climate change, conveniently lumped together for maximum effect. Ban cars, ban nasty wood burning stoves, ban nasty, smelly fossil fuel power stations, in order to make the weather better and to reduce particulate emissions, thereby making us all much healthier (and poorer, less mobile, a lot more miserable, and colder in winter). You know it makes sense – just like ‘protecting the NHS to save lives’ makes sense by kicking old people out of hospital into care homes and creating a backlog of 15 million non-Covid patients waiting for urgent treatment.

The changing climate is leading to more frequent heatwaves and extreme weather events such as flooding, including the potential spread of infectious diseases to the UK. Almost 900 people were killed by last summer’s heatwaves while nearly 18 million patients go to a GP practice in an area that exceeds the World Health Organisation’s air pollution limit.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “2020 has been dominated by Covid-19 and is the most pressing health emergency facing us. But undoubtedly climate change poses the most profound long-term threat to the health of the nation.

“It is not enough for the NHS to treat the problems caused by air pollution and climate change – from asthma to heart attacks and strokes – we need to play our part in tackling them at source.”

It’s not enough for us to try to treat the problems caused by NHS mismanagement – we need to tackle them at source, by sacking the NHS chief executive for a start, and sacking the army of mid-level NHS managers who it seems have conspired with the government to cover up the gross mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis and have (and still are) endangering the lives of many patients by keeping many hospitals half empty and not fully functioning.

Of course, the Marxist at the WHO welcomes the news:

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said: “Cutting carbon emissions is essential to protect health, everywhere in the world. I welcome the leadership of the largest single health system in the world, the National Health Service in England, in committing to be carbon neutral in its own operations by 2040, and to drive emissions reductions in its suppliers and partners. Health is leading the way to a greener, safer planet.”

Dr Watts (I presume) is the big cheese responsible for this net zero 2040 target:

NHS England convened the NHS Net Zero Expert Panel in January following the launch of the Climate Assembly UK, to take and analyse evidence on how the health service can contribute to nationwide carbon reduction efforts.

Led by Dr Nick Watts, Executive Director of The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, the Panel comprised public health and climate experts as well as patient and staff representatives.

Dr Watts and his team will engage widely to support delivery, with interventions including:

new ways of delivering care at or closer to home, meaning fewer patient journeys to hospitals;

greening the NHS fleet, including working towards road-testing a zero-emissions emergency ambulance by 2022;

reducing waste of consumable products and switching to low-carbon alternatives where possible;

making sure new hospitals and buildings are built to be net-zero emissions, and;

building energy conservation into staff training and education programmes.

Ah, there you have it, you see. Dr Watts’s cunning plan to get to net zero carbon involves getting to net zero patients, by treating most ‘at home’ presumably via video link! It’s already happening, in terms of the ‘new normal’ being ushered in by Covid lockdown hysteria. Millions of patients are being denied face to face consultations and are being telephoned at home or offered consultations via zoom. A million women who would have otherwise been scanned for breast cancer have not, either because they have been scared to seek hospital treatment for fear of catching The Covid Plague or because their routine scans have been cancelled. Just think of all the emissions saved by those women not attending hospital.

Watts again:

“The NHS’s ambition is world-leading, and the first national commitment to deliver a net zero health service. It comes at a time when the UK is preparing to host the UN climate change summit next year, and demonstrates that every part of our societies need to play their part in reducing pollution and responding to climate change.”

There is a fanatical ambition in this country it seems, prevalent in our leaders, that the UK must lead the world into the immiseration of its populace by unilaterally adopting net zero carbon targets. I wonder why that is?

Is it because we are uniquely stupid? It might seem so. I leave you with this net zero grey matter comment from Kay Boycott, CEO of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation:

Climate change poses a huge threat to lung health; with dangerous levels of pollution and extremes in hot and cold weather which can be deadly for people with lung conditions causing symptoms to flare up and putting lives at risk.