NOT the government food hamper for our oldies!
Did you know that there are ‘Covid Deniers’? Amazing, isn’t it! There’s more to this story, and there are other aspects which are starting to rear their ugly heads, like police control and checkpoints, like the re-kindling of the war between Old and Young and last not least the EU, China – and ‘tests’
Let’s look at that ‘denier’ story first. It’s about fake news being distributed via social media. The report in the DT names and shames various users who have come up with crackpot stuff, writing that these users and groups
“ […] are being tracked by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a charity dedicated to preventing false and divisive lies and myths spreading across the web. “I took our file on these groups to Facebook executives to express our deep concern”, said CCDH chief executive Imran Ahmed. “But nearly two weeks later, they have still not taken action to enforce their own policies and remove them.” (link)
While you might be puzzled why crackpottery now concerns this obscure ‘CCDH’, it’s all about ‘not feeding trolls’, and they only do what the WHO is demanding:
“Throughout the outbreak the World Health Organization has been vocal in warning that fake news can be as damaging as the virus itself. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the WHO, has repeatedly said that the world is fighting an “infodemic” as well as a pandemic.” (link)
That DT article reads like a puff piece for this CCDH group, but they’re not alone. MPs are also doing this:
“MPs have asked the public to send in evidence of fake news about the coronavirus spreading online. A parliamentary sub-committee on online harms is looking to collect examples of misinformation with which to confront social media giants and ask what they are doing to tackle the issue. They particularly want to see evidence of misinformation spreading on private channels, such as WhatsApp.” (link, paywalled)
This is not just about combating ‘fake news’, this is about controlling what is published on social media while calling on us to turn into snoops. The same social media are however applauded when they ‘bring the nation together’. If you wondered about that funny noise outside your house yesterday evening (e.g. here), here’s the answer:
“On Thursday night, Britons applauded those looking after our loved ones from their windows, doorsteps or balconies. The message has been circulating widely on social media and hundreds of thousands of people across the UK participated.” (link)
Inevitably, videos of this ‘event’ were circulating on … social media! Social media = good when campaigning for nice things, bad when allowing ‘trolls’ access. We note that, by using the label ‘Covid Deniers’, people voicing their questions and concerns about the way this pandemic is being managed and used to curtail our liberties are put into the same basket with crackpots and trolls – just as in the decades-long Climate Change debate.
Are we being ‘shamed’ into not asking how come our ‘experts’ have changed their opinions and proposals about dealing with the pandemic? See for example this report on yesterday’s Question Time, where the editor of the Lancet was confronted with what he had said earlier as he attacked the government’s measures:
“In the last week of January […] he tweeted something to the contrary. He wrote: “A call for caution please. Media are escalating anxiety by talking of a “killer virus” plus ‘growing fears’. In truth, from what we currently know, 2019-nCov has moderate transmissibility and relatively low pathogenicity. There is no reason to foster panic with exaggerated language.” (link)
At that time he relied on the WHO reports who were downplaying this pandemic until March 11th. He was criticising the hysteria and panic already being displayed in our MSM. There’s also the rather intriguing report on that model used by Johnson’s advisers to implement Lockdown Britain. The key sentence is:
“They’ve been tracking it since it first broke in Wuhan in December 2019.” (link)
I’m not going into the merits of this model, I just want to draw your attention to that sentence. It suggests that there’s a huge uncertainty about when this virus actually broke out, putting another question mark on the Chinese numbers.
Then there are the tests which are now the be-all and end-all to fight the virus. Different countries apply them differently. The one effect on the pandemic mass-testing has is the tracking down of contacts and imposing self-isolation on them. But let me repeat myself: tests are not “the cure”! Here is a rather good article on testing and modelling – worth having a look.
However, if, due to a lack of test kits, countries use different strategies then the numbers of cases and deaths reported in the MSM, as if this were a competition, simply cannot be compared. They are used to criticise the government for failing to provide sufficient test kits. There’s a shortage everywhere – but perhaps that might be due to something else, not ‘government failing:
“As the coronavirus took hold in Wuhan in February, staff of a Chinese government-backed global property giant were ordered to buy up vast quantities of western medicines and medical equipment to send to China. Sources within the company told the Sydney Morning Herald that it was an international endeavour by the Greenland Group to scour the world for bulk supplies of surgical masks, thermometers, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitisers, gloves and paracetamol for China’s health system. According to a company newsletter, the Greenland Group’s overseas offices brought up three million protective masks, 700,000 hazmat suits and 500,000 pairs of protective gloves from “Australia, Canada, Turkey and other countries”. (link, paywalled)
That article in the Times has been surreptitiously redacted since yesterday so that now there’s no link to the Sydney Morning Herald article. Therefore, I went and had a look and found the pertinent quote:
“In a statement to the Herald, the Greenland Group confirmed the shipment of medical supplies in January and February” (link)
The group, according to their own statement, started bulk-buying in January, precisely when China had informed the WHO that this was a new virus, without human-to-human transmission. It looks as if such references which serve to throw doubt on China’s COVID-19 information policies must be hidden – why? At least we should congratulate The Times for reporting about this bulk-buying: no wonder these things are now in short supply everywhere!
That brings us to the sacred EU. Rishi Sunak had to ask the EU for permission to hand out support to small businesses, as our friends at facts4eu report (link). No wonder the announcements of his measures took so long! Then there’s the story about ventilators. Johnson is being castigated for not jumping in with both feet into an EU procurement scheme (link, paywalled). Discerning readers will note that it’s again about ‘EU good’ and poor little Britain not being able to do anything.
And so, finally, to the ‘war between the generations’. Here’s an article about the dangers the virus poses for the invincible youth who might transmit the virus unknowingly while The Times asks:
“whether it can be right to inflict such damage on the long-term economic prospects of younger generations to halt the spread of a disease whose victims are predominantly the elderly.” (link, paywalled)
Just as with Brexit, it’s “Teh Old” being accused to ‘steal the future’ of the young. Thus the advice for the elderly, now under house arrest:
“People over the age of 90 should think twice about going into hospital during the coronavirus outbreak to avoid “clogging up” the NHS, the former chief scientific adviser has suggested. Professor Sir David King urged frail elderly people to consider refusing hospital treatment during the crisis because their chances of survival were slim.” (link)
Might we call this a proposal for ‘pre-emptive self-triage’? And will this cut-off point of 90 years now, be lowered to 70 later? Who knows! You might be interested to know who this ‘expert’ is:
“Sir David, 80, the nation’s chief scientific adviser under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, led the response to the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, and has since become a leading figure in the climate change movement.” (link)
I wonder if Sir David King would applaud or condemn the latest government wheeze: distributing ‘food hampers’ to the 1.5 million oldies sitting at home alone (link). There will even be biccies in it! When I saw the photo of a sample hamper accompanying this article I shuddered. Why would anyone allow the government to dictate what they should eat when the nation isn’t yet on rations? Should this scheme go ahead, I wonder if those hampers will contain fresh produce. After all, there’s another government initiative being talked about:
“A nationwide initiative is expected to be launched within weeks to encourage anyone from university students to laid off hospitality workers to pick fruit and vegetables in the “national interest”. The Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is also believed to be discussing with the Department for Work and Pensions the possibility of directing job seekers towards seasonal work.” (link)
Well, I dunno if this will see the light of day. Doing hard labour outdoors might not be something which will attract our metropolitan army of volunteers.
If you plan to go out to catch the sun beware of Plod who are fierce in controlling that only essential journeys are made, using check-points and even drones (link, paywalled) to deter day-trippers. I wonder if I’m now a Covid-Denier when I say that this attitude, the ‘advice’ for the elderly, the ‘food hampers’ scheme, are signs that the ‘cure’, the Lockdown, might turn out to change out Nation for a long time – and not in a good way.
But still, there’s enough to be cheerful about – not least the spring sunshine – and if all else fails, I recommend … whistling! Take care but stay vigilant and question everything. Regard being called a ‘Covid Denier’ as badge of honour: we’ve been here before!