Now We Can’t Even Count Properly

Apparently all the England and Wales Covid-19 death totals were wrong up until 20 March 2020. On this date the Office of National Statistics (ONS) got involved and added the not-in-hospital Covid-19 deaths to the hospital Covid-19 deaths. 

One does wonder just how accurate and consistent is any of this data. Apparently the first UK death certificate which recorded a Covid-29 death was on 28 December 2019. Were there any Covid-19 tests available on that date I wonder? Still suspicions and rumours abound about the accuracy of Chinese Covid-19 death figures especially in the virus source city of Wuhan.

Also does it really matter (statistically) if 400 or 5,000 died yesterday as long as the data collection methodology remains constant so trends can be spotted (eg green shoots or no shoots at all).

 

Our National Testing Programme for Covid-19 is a Shambles – but Maybe This is Intentional

As of 1 April 2020, just 2,000 out of 500,000 front-line NHS staff had been tested. Out of a UK population of 67,886,011 only 163,194 people have been tested. There are around one million patients registered at the 167 GP surgeries in Ealing, Hounslow and Hillingdon. Policing these people’s social isolation is a total number of Police (including admin) of 1,100.

This is at such a level of unbelievable incompetence it suggests to me that this is actual Government policy. The ‘Herd Immunity’ approach may still be being pursued by the Government. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch the disease and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is not in favour of a herd immunity strategy. Some experts say the herd approach is experimental at best and dangerous at worst. 

Professor Graham Medley, the Government’s chief pandemic modeller, has broken cover and is advocating ‘Herd Immunity’. ’The Times’ and the ‘Daily Mail’ of 4 April 2020 quote Medley saying that the Herd Immunity approach is the only way out of mass isolation for weeks (months?). He claims mass isolation is leading to mass unemployment, domestic violence, child abuse, food poverty and mental ill health. Decision day for the Government is 13 April 2020 (21 days into lockdown).

 

‘The First Casualty When War Comes is Truth’

This quote is attributed to Hiram W. Johnson, a US Senator, in 1917. However ‘The Idler’ magazine of 11/11/1758 expressed very similar sentiments.

It was Secretary of State, Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP who told the House of Commons on 23 January 2020 that the NHS is fully prepared to deal with any cases of Coronavirus.

When I know I’m being sold to, I become suspicious. On 2 April 2020, Hancock delivered a sales presentation to the nation on TV and radio. He gave us all his word that by 30 April 2020 100,000 Covid-19 tests would be taking place nationally each day. I suspect very few people actually believed him. His boss Boris Johnson MP on 18 March 2020 told us all that we are moving up to 25,000 Covid-19 tests per day and aiming very soon for 250,000 tests per day. I’m unsure whether we can trust any of the Government’s Covid-19 figures but allegedly some 10,000 Covid-19 tests were carried out on 1 April 2020. So, in just 29 days we are going to increase daily testing rates 10 times over? The likelihood of this is on a scale of challenging to impossible. 

What was the most excruciating for me last on 1 April 2020 was Hancock thanking the general public, NHS staff and Public Health England over and over again.

 

Public Health England (PHE) – Hero or Villain?

Set up in 2013, PHE is responsible for ’protecting the nation from public health hazards’. PHE is the Government body responsible for disease testing. It has an annual budget of £4.5 billion and it employs 5,500 people.

On 21 February 2020, PHE declared that Corvid-19 posed only a ’moderate risk’. At that time there were 2,236 Covid-19 deaths and 75,465 Covid-19 cases in China.

There are press reports of PHE shunning co-operating offers for testing support from leading UK scientific organisations. These bodies include Oxford University Sir William Dunn School of Pathology  Francis Crick Institute and Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham.

As of 2 April 2020 only 2,000 of the 500,000 frontline NHS staff had been tested. There are just too many stories of NHS staff driving miles and queuing at a PHE test centre only to be turned away because they had not made an appointment.

If the Government’s covert approach is to ramp up testing slowly – then PHE is a hero.  If, in fact, the Government does want to test 100,000s daily than PHE is a villain.

242 PHE staff earn £100,000+/year. Yvonne Doyle, PHE London Director, earns £275,500/year.

 

159 Corvid-19 Deaths at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust Hospitals (LNWH

LNWH has registered more Corvid-19 deaths in the UK than any other NHS Trust. These deaths took place at Ealing, Central Middlesex, Northwick Park and St Mark’s Hospitals. This figure is massively larger that of any other NHS Trust.

I suspect most of the LNWH deaths took place at Northwick Park Hospital (although rumour has it that least 5 deaths were at Ealing Hospital).

Why has this happened at hospitals in Brent, Ealing and Harrow? Corvid-19 cases’ number are high in Brent (321), Ealing (265) and Harrow (251). The towns are 3rd, 7th and 8th highest out of the 32 London Boroughs (29 March 2020 PBE data).

But no-one can or should ignore the recent NHs hospital past in these three towns. From 2012 to 2019 the disastrous NHS NWL ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme ripped beds, functionality, staff and the heart out of Secondary healthcare. Huge debts were racked up and management walked (or were ‘pushed’). The recently departed LNWH Chief Executive announced her departure seven months in advance. Her very recent replacement is a one year interim. The departed LNWH  Chair left at very short notice and his replacement is a part-time 70 year old auditor. 

 

Hancock Helps Pharmacies with £300 Million

On 2 April Matt Hancock threw out a short lifeline for Pharmacies. With many (all?) GP surgeries closed to walk-in patients, it’s clear that patients are walking into Pharmacies. NHS England has been promoting Pharmacies for some time now as an alternative to GP surgeries. The lack of GPs and increasing numbers of elderly patients were two of the reasons for this.

Local Pharmacies tell me of increasing numbers of customers. Patients and Pharmacies talk about drug shortages and angry confrontations at Pharmacies. The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) says the network of Pharmacies is ‘financially extremely fragile’. The NPA says there has been a surge in demand for prescription medication. This has added to pressures caused by the NHS drugs tariff being considerably lower than the prices Pharmacies pay to suppliers.

 

Missed Opportunities: October 2016 to July 2019

Cygnus, October 2016

The three day Cygnus exercise demonstrated NHS hospitals could not cope with a major flu outbreak. The Government report on Cygnus has never been published.

UK Biological Security Survey, 2018

This survey report addressed the UK’S preparedness to deal with a pandemic. It stated ‘….we may with a pandemic fail to maximise or to tackle issues as quickly as we need to’. The survey results were ignored by the Government.

July 2019

A Government Inquiry into preparing for emerging infectious diseases was postponed due to Brexit debates.