All posts by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

Hancock and England’s dash to be first in the Vaccination League will cost lives

After weeks in 3rd place, with only sad Wales below them, England has pushed past Scotland into 2nd place in the UK league for the percentage of its population vaccinated.

The Conservative Government, with their adolescent obsession to be ‘world-beating’ contaminates everything they do.

How have they overtaken Scotland?

It’s clear from comments yesterday.

In the Commons yesterday, replying to a question, Matt Hancock said that 24% of care home residents had been vaccinated. Sufficiently stupid or just callous, he didn’t think to conceal the figure.

On the same day in her media briefing, the First Minister announced that the figure for Scotland was 80%.

Also, in Parliament yesterday, Phillipa Whitford pointed out:

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation was very clear that those who live in care homes were the top priority for vaccination against covid-19.

The Conservative Government, blaming refrigeration problems with delivering the Mainz (Pfizer) vaccine in care homes has prioritised mass vaccination centres where those younger, fitter and thus less at risk, can be expected to stand and queue outside, to maximise throughput.

A price will inevitably be paid for this in deaths in care homes where, according to PHE, outbreaks doubled last week.

First Minister and Professor Leitch dump Gordon Brown’s ‘think tank’ droppings

Failed Chancellor Gordon Brown (69)

‘Research’ by failed Chancellor and failed Prime Minister, Gordon Brown’s ‘think tank’ drew an angry rebuttal from the First Minister and the National Clinical Director, Professor Leitch, yesterday.

It was good to see after too much polite passivity in the past. No doubt Leitch will be accused of various things by opposition politicians.

The Herald, of course, pounced on the story but there was less media attention than I feel sure Broon would have expected. Is he disappointing them?

A Scottish Government spokesperson was first to describe the report’s findings as ‘false‘ and insisted ‘We find – and therefore isolate – more contacts per case than the rest of the UK which means we isolate more potential cases without the need for testing.’

Leitch repeated the ‘false‘ before explaining to the eejits in Broons’s team: ‘We don’t test every contact because we want that disease out of circulation, we want it in homes, self-isolated. And that’s where we do very, very well.’

At the briefing, when asked about the report the First Minister who got an A in Research Methods, I’m told, said the methodology was clearly flawed because: ‘If you look at the methodology, you can see that it’s flawed, because it would imply that Northern Ireland in recent days has had a detection rate that’s greater than 100%, which is clearly not possible.

I’m strangely not up for dissecting these droppings myself. Maybe a reader is in the mood?

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Failed Prime Minister Gordon Brown (69)

Philippa Whitford exposes UK Government’s disregard for JCVI advice on vaccinating care home residents

All talk and no action in May 2020 and today in 2021.

Today in response to a question by Philippa Whitford, Matt Hancock confirmed that only 24% of care home residents in England have been vaccinated. Also today, the First Minister indicated that 80% of care home residents and staff have now been vaccinated. Some councils, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire claim 100%.

Yesterday, in Parliament, Whitford explained in greater detail:

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation was very clear that those who live in care homes were the top priority for vaccination against covid-19. Due to integration of health and social care, Scottish health boards were able to deliver the Pfizer vaccine into care homes in December, and well over 70% of such residents have already been vaccinated across Scotland. In my own health board, the phase is almost complete. So can the Minister explain why in England care home residents were not the first cohort to receive the Pfizer vaccine in December, and as only a quarter have received their first dose, when does he expect all such residents to have been vaccinated?

People over 80 years are now being offered vaccination, but there are only 1,200 sites to cover the whole of England—a similar number to Scotland, which has less than 10% of the population. This means elderly people are being asked to travel long distances, despite their age and the fact that many will be also shielding. As the letter does not offer the option to wait and have their vaccine at a local GP surgery, does the Minister recognise that many are now feeling pressurised into travelling, despite the current dangers? So will he take this opportunity to clarify that the vaccines will gradually be made available through all GP surgeries and that elderly patients who cannot travel long distances will be offered a further opportunity closer to home?

The Minister will be well aware of the public concern about the decision to delay the second dose of each vaccine so as to ensure more people receive the first dose more quickly. With the current surge in covid cases, I totally understand the rationale for this approach. So can he explain why there have been more than 300,000 additional second doses given over the last week, despite the JCVI announcement on 31 December, and can he guarantee that sufficient quantities of the Pfizer vaccine will be available by the end of February to ensure those given their first dose in early December will receive their booster on time?

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-01-11/debates/FCE7E743-A654-4421-A1EA-5CF4C6512AFF/Covid-19Vaccinations

Made up, Scare story

You can tell when one of these non-research profs uses his title to pontificate. Never having so much as seen a research methods course, they’re content to use rumour and casual observation in place of the hard evidence the people deserve to see. BBC Scotland, of course, don’t care as long as they get an SNP-bad headline.

Today:

A shortage of NHS staff could prevent the opening of the NHS Louisa Jordan to Covid patients if capacity is exceeded elsewhere, a leading doctor has said. President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, Prof Mike Griffin, said the increasing numbers off work was a “major problem”. The Scottish government has previously said that staffing plans were in place to deal with peak demand.

If capacity is exceeded? After six days of a falling infection level, down 30% on 7th January, with Covid bed occupancy at only 50% and ICU at only 18%, that’s just an ill-informed scare story.

Staff off work? At less than 2% compared to 5.8% in April and a quarter or less than that in England?

Try checking some facts ‘prof.’

Scotland fights its way out from under the bully’s shoulders

Typically Anglocentric, the Independent’s Anthony Cuthbertson writes as if devolution had never happened, to lump us in with England’s nightmare.

It’s not good but after 9 months of devolved power over the pandemic strategy, Scotland has saved thousands of lives that would have been lost if we had stuck with the 4 Nations or UK strategy, which all of the opposition parties favoured.

Yet as admissions increase hospital-acquired Covid level is far lower than in England and lower than in November

Returning to Reporting Scotland’s one anonymous woman’s campaign to make sure you’re not thinking things are better here, it’s worth looking at her claims that: ‘some patients were now contracting coronavirus in hospital‘ and later ‘last year they were fine but with this new strain they are just not practical.

Well, of course they are. They have been since the beginning of the outbreak. Face masks were never expected to stop the aerosols carrying the virus. Some hospital-acquired infection is inevitable. See this:

Figure 1 is an epidemic curve of COVID-19 cases with first positive specimen taken during an inpatient stay. The length of the bars are the counts of COVID-19 cases during each week, from week ending 1 March to week ending 13 December 2020, with the bars broken down by hospital onset status: non-hospital onset (day 1 or 2 of in-patient stay), indeterminate hospital onset, probable hospital onset and definite hospital onset. The chart shows a steep increase in overall cases and definite hospital onset cases until a peak on week ending 5 April. This is followed by a decline in overall cases and definite hospital onset cases since this peak; few cases were observed during July and August. An increase has been observed in overall and definite hospital onset cases since week ending 30 August.
https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/population-health/covid-19/hospital-onset-covid-19-cases-in-scotland/

Two things.

One, if the new strain is making the same masks not practical, why have hospital acquired infections flatlined at around 2% of all cases though overall admissions have almost doubled?

Two, for context, hospital acquired infections in English hospitals are running at between 18% and 25%!

The Ongoing Problem of UK Hospital Acquired Infections

It’s not just shoddy journalism. It’s far worse than that.

It’s TRUE! A wee lassie told me!

From BBC Reporting Scotland this morning:

‘PPE for NHS staff isn’t sufficient to stem the spread of coronavirus in hospitals with the new Covid variant!’

Wow! That’s disturbing news. Who is it from?

A research group at Edinburgh University? No?

The Scottish Government’s advisory group? No?

A professor of virology? No?

An infectious diseases consultant? No?

A hospital infection control officer? No?

Any consultant? No?

Any doctor? No?

A covid nurse? No?

Any old nurse? Yes, but she wanted to stay anonymous.

Oh.

‘That’s what a nurse working in a non-Covid ward has told BBC Scotland.’

Did the nurse share her concerns with colleagues, with infection control folk in the hospital? Why did she come straight to BBC Scotland? More family connections? Sent there by an opposition politician who should be trying to do something practical about the problem if there is one?

This is not London but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was

From BBC Scotland this morning:

The latest figures show the lowest number of daily cases since December BUT hospital numbers are higher than they’ve been at any point in the pandemic.

Then the same information is then just repeated BUT it’s not explained. The reporter tells us that infections have fallen ‘slightly’. From the 7th to the 11th, it fell by 867 and in now 33% lower. If it had gone up 867, that would be ‘NEARLY A THOUSAND!’

The BBC has a royal charter obliging it to inform but it doesn’t.

There’s a reason why the hospital admissions are high even though the infection numbers are falling. It’s not the simple balancing out of good news with bad news to keep you from thinking the Scottish Government measures are working.

You know.

https://www.travellingtabby.com/scotland-coronavirus-tracker/

The infections level peaked on the 31st of December and stayed high until the 7th January, before falling for the last 5 days. There’s a lag before hospital admissions rise:

https://www.travellingtabby.com/scotland-coronavirus-tracker/

New admissions began to climb around the 4th January, 4 or 5 days after the infection peak and can be expected to plateau soon. We’ve seen this pattern before. It is predictable. Things are not out of control.

Most importantly missing from the BBC reporting, as always – capacity.

Even as it peaks, only around 1 500 out of 3 000 Covid beds are occupied, 50%. Only 126 out of 700+ ICU beds are occupied -18%.

This is not London but BBC Scotland prefer not to inform you of these facts and risk have you thinking the Scottish Government is doing so much better than the utterly incompetent Johnson regime.