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GEORGE WALDEN on the biggest scandal in Sasha Swire’s political diary

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george walden on the biggest scandal in sasha swires political diary

The revelations in Lady Swire’s diaries about the goings-on in David Cameron‘s circle of friends and supporters, have been described by some as scandalous. But let’s be clear about what we should actually be shocked at.

We all have chums we collect and keep up with, from school, university or work, but the so-called ‘chumocracy’ gathered round the former Prime Minister in Downing Street was something different.

For me, that was a cosy, self-serving clique of powerful politicians with similar views, usually from exclusive backgrounds, whose principal aim in life was to stay in their privileged magic circle and keep other people out.

The effects on the rest of us were very damaging indeed.

Cards on the table. My own chums reflect my background too – privileged, not in the conventional sense, but because I was lucky enough to grow up in the era of grammar and direct grant schools. (My ‘prep school’ was on a Dagenham estate.)

The Chumocracy: The 'famously chillaxed' Premier David Cameron with his Chancellor George Osborne

The Chumocracy: The 'famously chillaxed' Premier David Cameron with his Chancellor George Osborne

The Chumocracy: The ‘famously chillaxed’ Premier David Cameron with his Chancellor George Osborne

It was also a time when two-thirds of the entry to Oxford and Cambridge was from state schools, and entry into what we think of as leading professions – the law, the City, medicine, diplomacy – was widening. In many ways, we had a far more open elite than today.

So for me, the ‘scandal’ of Swire’s Diary Of An MP’s Wife: Inside And Outside Power, is not so much in their raucousness as their reek of entitlement in a supposedly democratic age.

As a former diplomat, I was struck by the gloriously insouciant passage where Sasha Swire says her hubby Hugo really ought to have been made Foreign Secretary – not because he was Cameron’s Old Etonian chum (that is taken for granted) but because Hugo was a charming fellow and had flown to lots of countries.

Before my career in politics, I was Principal Private Secretary to Lord Carrington, who was Foreign Secretary at the time. Like Cameron and Swire, Carrington was a charming Etonian. 

But he was also a man of vast international experience, not to mention having been a decorated tank commander in the Second World War, who behaved impeccably upon the outbreak of the Falklands War by taking responsibility and honourably resigning.

As a former diplomat, I was struck by the gloriously insouciant passage where Sasha Swire says her hubby Hugo (both pictured) really ought to have been made Foreign Secretary ¿ not because he was Cameron's Old Etonian chum (that is taken for granted) but because Hugo was a charming fellow and had flown to lots of countries

As a former diplomat, I was struck by the gloriously insouciant passage where Sasha Swire says her hubby Hugo (both pictured) really ought to have been made Foreign Secretary ¿ not because he was Cameron's Old Etonian chum (that is taken for granted) but because Hugo was a charming fellow and had flown to lots of countries

As a former diplomat, I was struck by the gloriously insouciant passage where Sasha Swire says her hubby Hugo (both pictured) really ought to have been made Foreign Secretary – not because he was Cameron’s Old Etonian chum (that is taken for granted) but because Hugo was a charming fellow and had flown to lots of countries

I am not horrified by Lady Swire’s multiple ‘indiscretions’. Given the strains and stresses of public life, a bit of behind-the-scenes boozing and cursing or a little lustful commentary fails to qualify as real scandal.

The occasional ribaldry, such as Cameron’s less-than-gallant comment to Lady Swire in the course of a walk that he wouldn’t mind ‘giving her one’ in the bushes, does not upset me as much as it perhaps should.

In fact, I sympathise with his remark in a radio interview about the book that if someone kept a record of our private banter we might all feel retrospectively embarrassed. 

Prime Ministers today are under far greater pressure than those in the past, not least from the media, and they are unlikely to relax by reading 19th Century novels before Question Time, as Harold Macmillan did in No 10.

Yet the diaries are mightily revealing, not just about a bunch of mates at the top of government, but something deeper, too. Recently, there has been a dangerous narrowing at the top of society, and this is what comes out in spades. 

It is not the somewhat fetid intimacy of this governing clique that is truly unsettling so much as the smallness of their world. Before he was ejected as a Brexiteer, state-educated Michael Gove appears to have been the most meritocratic member, as well as the most brainy.

For all David Cameron's attempts to be chummy with the public, whether by telling us he is a huge fan of The Smiths, or denying that his wife was posh because she'd been to 'day school' (ie one that costs £20,000 a year), these diaries remind us just as forcibly how out of touch he and his chums were when they were supposedly looking after the interests of the British people

For all David Cameron's attempts to be chummy with the public, whether by telling us he is a huge fan of The Smiths, or denying that his wife was posh because she'd been to 'day school' (ie one that costs £20,000 a year), these diaries remind us just as forcibly how out of touch he and his chums were when they were supposedly looking after the interests of the British people

For all David Cameron’s attempts to be chummy with the public, whether by telling us he is a huge fan of The Smiths, or denying that his wife was posh because she’d been to ‘day school’ (ie one that costs £20,000 a year), these diaries remind us just as forcibly how out of touch he and his chums were when they were supposedly looking after the interests of the British people

As for the rest, they behaved as if life and politics were all a bit of an upper-caste game, one with no serious consequences, win or lose.

I don’t expect accounts of profound intellectual exchanges with our famously ‘chillaxed’ former premier, but then nor do I expect upstairs/downstairs reflections about Gove’s wife, new Mail on Sunday columnist Sarah Vine, who features largely as someone expected to do the cooking.

The humour, too, is a problem. Relentless jokiness is one thing, and some of it is certainly funny, yet what sticks in the modern craw is an overpowering sense of flippancy, a kind of ultimate light-mindedness about everything and everyone. It comes out most clearly in Cameron’s intimation that his aim was not to go on and on in No 10, like earnest, lower middle class Mrs Thatcher. He wanted, it seems, to get in to Downing Street and get out.

It’s as if the summit of his ambition was not to serve his country as its leader for as long as the electorate wanted, but merely to have done it once. Who can be surprised if a similar whiff is beginning to emanate from his old schoolmate in No 10 today? 

Then, of course, there is the little matter of Lady Swire’s brazen betrayal of her closest friends, and her laughably unconvincing show of horror at the thought of how they might resent it.

Being a snob is repugnant, but there is something worse: privileged folk who attempt to ingratiate themselves with the masses.

I suspect she might have thought of that when she was compiling her material – day by day and meticulously, rather than making random jottings as she claims. That is another thing about our elite governmental cliques: the way they tend to rat on one another, old-school friends included, not infrequently for revenge or money.

Their pretensions are in many ways aristocratic, except that no one could accuse this lot of being trapped in out-of-dates codes of honour and decorum.

As it happens, I am about to re-publish a book I wrote 20 years ago called The New Elites: A Career In The Masses. Elites themselves are necessary and justifiable, but my book argued that Britain was increasingly run by an upper-caste of anti-elitists. You see this in the dumbing down of education. In government, you see it in the new casualness flaunted by expensively educated people at the top.

Yet for all Cameron’s attempts to be chummy with the public, whether by telling us he is a huge fan of The Smiths, or denying that his wife was posh because she’d been to ‘day school’ (ie one that costs £20,000 a year), these diaries remind us just as forcibly how out of touch he and his chums were when they were supposedly looking after the interests of the British people.

Being a snob is repugnant, but there is something worse: privileged folk who attempt to ingratiate themselves with the masses.

You see it in the Government but also in many of our actors, comedians, sportsmen and women, who increasingly have been to private schools. Well-educated, well-paid people who try to compensate for their comfortable backgrounds with Leftish, woke or prolier-than-thou affectations.

And what Lady Swire doesn’t say because she doesn’t see it, is that in the end it was an inner remoteness from the public that finally forced Cameron out of office after the 2016 referendum.

Lady Swire tells us of his rage and surprise when the result was announced. The rage I understand, but not the surprise. If you live your life in a cocoon of entitlement, you are not going to sense the wind getting up outside your window or how hard it is going to blow.

Whether you voted Leave or Remain is not the point. What mattered was that Cameron was so out of touch with real folk that he couldn’t imagine he might lose because large numbers of perfectly reasonable people, especially the less affluent, were understandably worried about immigration and were led to believe that a loud No to the EU would stop it.

I described this in a book I wrote as early as 2007 after a tour of the North (Time To Emigrate?). Struck by the feelings of fear, resentment and powerlessness that I encountered, I warned that ‘over-abrupt changes could evoke an extreme response’ with great consequences for our country. They certainly did, not least for ‘Dave’.

George Walden’s book The New Elites: A Career In The Masses, is published by Gibson Square, priced £9.99. To order a copy, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193.

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UK is OUT-PACING SAGE’s ‘worst case scenario’ projections of 85,000 Covid-19 deaths in second wave

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uk is out pacing sages worst case scenario projections of 85000 covid 19 deaths in second wave

Britain’s second coronavirus wave is already on track to surpass the Government’s ‘worst case scenario’ projection of 85,000 deaths, concerning data suggests.

In a newly-published leaked paper that was circulated through Downing Street over summer, SAGE – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – warned that daily Covid-19 fatalities could rise to as many as 100 a day by the end of October.

But there are at least twice as many Covid-19 deaths occurring in the UK currently, with the seven-day rolling average number of victims currently at 230. There were 280 fatalities recorded today and 310 on Wednesday.

The SAGE projection also forecast about 18,000 new infections by this time of the year and fewer than 500 daily hospital admissions. However, the current reality of the UK’s second wave is even more dire than the scientists predicted.

By October 21, the most recently published NHS figures showed there were 1,227 Covid-19 sufferers admitted to hospitals, more than double the ‘worst case scenario’. There are, on average, 22,125 new people infected with the disease every day, according to official figures from the Department of Health.

But this is widely considered a vast underestimate of the true number of cases. The central testing programme is missing asymptomatic and mild cases of the virus, which make up the vast majority of infections, and is struggling to ramp up swabbing capacity needed to catch these people.

An Imperial College London study commissioned by the Government yesterday estimated the real number of daily infections was closer to 100,000 – which is more than five times greater than SAGE’s prediction.  For comparison, the Government announced 23,065 new cases today.

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure from scientists for a national ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown or a return to the kind of restrictions the country faced in spring.  

Already, almost 30million people in England are living in tougher restrictions than the rest of the country and 8million are in the harshest of Mr Johnson’s three-tier lockdown system. 

And it appears increasingly likely that 6million more residents in the West Midlands, North East and West Yorkshire will be dragged into a Tier Three lockdown this week, as Number 10 continues to rely on its ‘whack-a-mole’ strategy to try to contain the disease.

35000874 8892463 image a 16 1603980038237

35000874 8892463 image a 16 1603980038237

Scientists have warned the second wave of coronavirus could result in 85,000 deaths, almost double the number of victims from the first epidemic

The newly-released SAGE document claims that late February next year would see deaths peak at around 800 a day, with the potential for 25,000 in hospital at the worst part of the peak and as many as 5,000 in intensive care in England by March.

It said that under a ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ government scientists expect 356,000 to be hospitalised this winter. It added there are likely to be at least 500 deaths a day for ‘at least’ three months between December and February, meaning 85,000 could be dead by the end of March.

The leaked report warns of a second wave of Covid-19 deaths and hospitalisations far worse than the first wave, dragging on until March or April of 2021. 

The revelations came as a new Imperial College study found nearly 100,000 Britons are getting infected with coronavirus every day, according to results of the surveillance study that suggests the UK is hurtling towards a second peak that could rival the first. 

Experts behind the research warned cases were just weeks away from surpassing levels seen during the darkest days of the pandemic in March and April. Previous projections have estimated there were slightly more than 100,000 daily cases in spring, which led to over 40,000 deaths in the first wave. 

The latest official study, released last night, was conducted by Imperial College London researchers and based on random swab testing of 86,000 across England between October 16 and 25.  

35008810 0 image a 23 1603990459689

35008810 0 image a 23 1603990459689

The latest official study, released last night, was conducted by Imperial College London researchers and based on random swab testing of 86,000 across England between October 16 and 25

The latest official study, released last night, was conducted by Imperial College London researchers and based on random swab testing of 86,000 across England between October 16 and 25

The latest official study, released last night, was conducted by Imperial College London researchers and based on random swab testing of 86,000 across England between October 16 and 25

Rates of the disease also increased across all age groups, with the greatest rise in those aged 55-64 at 1.20 per cent, up three-fold from 0.37 per cent in a week. In those aged over 65, prevalence was 0.81 per cent, having doubled from 0.35 per cent. Rates remained highest in 18 to 24-year olds at 2.25 per cent

Rates of the disease also increased across all age groups, with the greatest rise in those aged 55-64 at 1.20 per cent, up three-fold from 0.37 per cent in a week. In those aged over 65, prevalence was 0.81 per cent, having doubled from 0.35 per cent. Rates remained highest in 18 to 24-year olds at 2.25 per cent

Rates of the disease also increased across all age groups, with the greatest rise in those aged 55-64 at 1.20 per cent, up three-fold from 0.37 per cent in a week. In those aged over 65, prevalence was 0.81 per cent, having doubled from 0.35 per cent. Rates remained highest in 18 to 24-year olds at 2.25 per cent

Imperial researchers sent swabs to 85,971 volunteers in England between October 16 and October 25. In total, 863 were positive (1.28 per cent) - more than double the 0.6 per cent the week before. Pictured: How cases have surged since summer, according to findings from all six phases of the study

Imperial researchers sent swabs to 85,971 volunteers in England between October 16 and October 25. In total, 863 were positive (1.28 per cent) - more than double the 0.6 per cent the week before. Pictured: How cases have surged since summer, according to findings from all six phases of the study

Imperial researchers sent swabs to 85,971 volunteers in England between October 16 and October 25. In total, 863 were positive (1.28 per cent) – more than double the 0.6 per cent the week before. Pictured: How cases have surged since summer, according to findings from all six phases of the study

MINISTERS DRAG ANOTHER 16 AUTHORITIES INTO TIER TWO LOCKDOWN 

Ministers today dragged another 16 authorities into Tier Two, as Britain creeps another step closer to a de facto lockdown and the UK today confirmed another 23,065 positive test results and 280 deaths.

Cases are up 8.6 per cent on the 21,242 announced last Thursday, while deaths have increased by 48 per cent in the same time.    

The areas entering Tier Two are: East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, Dudley, Staffordshire, Telford and the Wrekin, Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales, Derby City, South Derbyshire, the whole of High Peak in Derbyshire, Charnwood, Luton and Oxford City.

All of the areas will be hit by tougher restrictions banning socialising indoors with anyone they don’t live with from Saturday, the Department of Health confirmed. 

The key factor of Tier Two rules is the ban on indoor socialising with anyone from another household, which rules out meeting in pubs, restaurants, private homes or anywhere outside of work. People are advised not to travel more than necessary and must continue to follow the rule of six outdoors and adhere to all other national social distancing restrictions.

Department of Health officials announced the tier change for those areas this afternoon, but did not upgrade any places to Tier Three. That move had been expected for parts of the North East, where local officials have been discussing it, but they have agreed it is not yet necessary for the region.    

Political leaders there today said that spiking cases had been down to students and were now plateauing, and data would be carefully monitored and officials would meet again on Monday.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick today resisted calls from the Government’s scientific experts for another national lockdown as he said ‘you can’t have a stop-start country’ and the ‘very firm view’ remains that a ‘circuit breaker’ is not the right way forward. 

However, he conceded the ‘virus is in a bad place in all parts of the country’ as he urged the nation to ‘redouble our efforts’ to comply with existing coronavirus rules in order to slow the spread of infection.    

His comments came after the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) piled fresh pressure on Boris Johnson to impose tougher restrictions as it warned up to 85,000 people could die in a second wave. 

A ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ put forward by SAGE suggested daily deaths could remain above 500 for three months or more until March next year.    

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It found the spread of the virus accelerated dramatically in the past fortnight, with the number of new cases doubling every nine days. The national R rate is almost 1.6.

Around one in 80 tested positive, suggesting there are around 96,000 new infections a day. Experts believe this is close to the level at the peak of the epidemic in March, warning of an inevitable ‘exponential’ increase in deaths and hospitalisations.

Nearly 100,000 people in England are catching Covid-19 every day, the R rate in London is almost THREE – and one in 75 Brits are currently infectious, new Imperial study finds 

Nearly 100,000 Britons are getting infected with coronavirus every day, according to results of Government-led surveillance study that suggests the UK is hurtling towards a second peak that could rival the first.

The REACT-1 project — which has been swabbing tens of thousands of people every week — estimated there were around 96,000 people getting infected every day in England by October 25.

Imperial College London experts behind the research warned cases were just weeks away from surpassing levels seen during the darkest days of the pandemic in March and April. Previous projections have estimated there were slightly more than 100,000 daily cases in spring, which led to over 40,000 deaths in the first wave. 

The study warned infections are doubling every nine days, suggesting there could be 200,000 daily cases by the first week of November. 

Imperial researchers said it was possible that the recent wet and dreary weather had played a role in the surge in infections, by driving people indoors where the virus finds it easier to spread. But they warned it was more likely a small dip in adherence to social distancing rules across the board had opened the door for the highly infectious disease to spread more rapidly.

Imperial’s best guess is that 1.3 per cent of everyone living in England was carrying the disease by October 25, the equivalent of one in 75, or 730,000 people. Covid-19 prevalence was highest in Yorkshire and The Humber (2.7 per cent) and the North West (2.3 per cent).

The study, which will likely be used to pile more pressure on No10 to impose a national lockdown, also estimated the virus’ reproduction ‘R’ rate — the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects — was nearly three in London, a finding the researchers described as ‘scary’. It was lower in the North West, where millions of people are living under draconian lockdowns.

Overall, the R rate was around 1.6 across England in the most recent week, compared to 1.16 in the previous round. Experts have repeatedly warned it is critical the reproduction rate stays below the level of one to prevent cases from spiralling. 

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If the current growth rate continues, more than 200,000 a day will be getting infected by next weekend.

The authors said current measures were not working and there had to be a change before Christmas. If more stringent steps are to be taken, it should be ‘sooner rather than later’.

The study said: ‘We estimate 960,000 individuals are harbouring SARS-CoV-2 virus in England on any one day.

‘Whether via regional or national measures, it is now time-critical to control the virus and turn R below one if further hospital admissions and deaths from Covid-19 are to be avoided.’  

The experts said the national R rate – the average number infected by someone with the virus – was now 1.56, up from 1.16 at the beginning of October.

Lead author Professor Paul Elliott said: ‘Everything has got worse in every region. There is now rapid growth in the South where there are fewer cases.

‘We are seeing a pattern in the South which is similar to what we saw in the North a few weeks back.’

He added: ‘We are at a critical period in the second wave. There was a period when the rate of rise was decreasing and we were hopeful that the policies that have been implemented were turning the rates down.

‘But what we see this time is an increase in the rate of rise and not only a high prevalence in the North, but rapidly increasing prevalence in the South.’

Co-author Professor Steven Riley said scientists were particularly concerned by rising levels of infection among older age groups.

The study showed prevalence increased across all age groups, with the greatest rise in those aged 55-64, now at 1.2 per cent, up from 0.37 per cent a month ago. 

The REACT-1 project — which has been swabbing tens of thousands of people every week — estimated there were around 96,000 people getting infected every day in England by October 25.

Imperial researchers said it was possible that the recent wet and dreary weather had played a role in the surge in infections, by driving people indoors where the virus finds it easier to spread. But they warned it was more likely a small dip in adherence to social distancing rules across the board had opened the door for the highly infectious disease to spread more rapidly.

Imperial suggests that as many as 1.3 per cent of everyone living in England was carrying the disease by October 25, the equivalent of one in 75, or 730,000 people.  

The study also estimated the virus’ reproduction ‘R’ rate was nearly three in London. It was lower in the North West, where millions of people are living under draconian lockdowns.

Overall, the R rate was around 1.6 across England in the most recent week, compared to 1.16 in the previous round. Experts have repeatedly warned it is critical the reproduction rate stays below the level of one to prevent cases from spiralling. 

The quickening spread of the virus across many parts of England is indicative of the second wave reaching a critical stage, scientists say. 

The north is no longer seeing the fastest growth of cases – as the spread was seen to be increasing most rapidly in the south and the midlands, with London enduring the highest R rate – at 2.86. 

The study said that patterns of growth rate and the age distribution of cases in the south are now ‘similar to those [previously] observed in northern regions’.  

Steven Riley, an infectious disease expert who co-led the study, warned the country was hurtling towards a repeat of the crisis in spring and there now ‘had to be a change’ – either in public adherence or in policy – befpre Christmas to avoid another catastrophic death toll.

He said: ‘There’s a clear trend that hospital admissions are rising exponentially. Our data shows this exponential rise is to continue over the next two weeks.

‘Comparing [the winter wave] to the very peak in March is difficult, it’s probably still a bit lower [now] and the overall rate of growth is still lower.

‘But being slightly lower and slightly slower than March still means it is going up quickly and is already at a high level.’

The decision by Mr Macron to last night announce a new national lockdown in France will pile the pressure on Number 10. 

The French President claimed that 400,000 people will die of coronavirus if the country did nothing to control a second wave of infections that will be ‘more deadly than the first’.

The national measures will take effect from Friday morning until December 1 and are considered to be ‘more flexible’ than the country’s first lockdown, with all public services, schools and essential workplaces to remain open.

But people on the streets will still have to carry documents justifying their reason for leaving home – that will be subject to police checks – and bars and restaurants will close. 

State-approved reasons for leaving home include buying essential goods, seeking medical attention or taking a daily one-hour allocation of exercise.        

It came as six million more people in England were poised to be stung by Tier Three lockdown restrictions this week amid spiralling coronavirus cases.

It means 14 million people across England could be living under the top tier of coronavirus curbs by the weekend. Currently there are eight million residents in Tier Three towns, cities and boroughs in Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire.  

Last night, Nottinghamshire announced it was heading for a Tier Three lockdown and became the first county to agree to a ban on selling alcohol after 9pm, if booze is bought to consume off premises. There are fears it has set a precedent and that other regions could be forced to comply with restrictions that go above and beyond standard Tier Three measures.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Joe Exotic writes plea for help and claims ‘harassing’ prison guard is meddling in his marriage

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joe exotic writes plea for help and claims harassing prison guard is meddling in his marriage

Tiger King star Joe Exotic has issued yet another a desperate plea for help after claiming he is being cruelly and unfairly mistreated behind bars.

Exotic is serving 22 years at Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas after being convicted in a murder-for-hire plot against his nemesis Carole Baskin.

But the former big cat breeder – who insists he’s innocent of his crimes – says he’s going through hell in prison and is being targeted by prison staff in a campaign of abuse.

Exotic – real name Joe Maldonado-Passage – lays out the alleged abuse in handwritten letters, complaint forms and emails obtained by DailyMailTV and believes one guard in particular has it in for him.

He says the officer is ‘harassing’ and ‘stalking’ him and even threatened to lock him away in solitary confinement ‘forever’.

And in another bombshell claim, DailyMailTV has learned Exotic was sexually assaulted and left with gruesome injuries from his shackles at a previous facility he was held at.

It’s claimed staff at his current prison in Texas search Exotic’s room every other day, write him up for minor prison violations, berate him on a daily basis and hurl cutting insults his way, even claiming his husband Dillon is cheating behind his back.

A fellow inmate who spent time with Exotic in prison told DailyMailTV that the abuse is taking its toll on the star and he’s dropped 40lbs of weight through stress.

Tiger King star Joe Exotic has issued yet another a desperate plea for help after claiming he is being cruelly and unfairly mistreated behind bars. It's claimed staff at his current prison in Texas search Exotic's room every other day, write him up for minor prison violations, berate him on a daily basis and hurl cutting insults his way, even claiming his husband Dillon is cheating behind his back

Tiger King star Joe Exotic has issued yet another a desperate plea for help after claiming he is being cruelly and unfairly mistreated behind bars. It's claimed staff at his current prison in Texas search Exotic's room every other day, write him up for minor prison violations, berate him on a daily basis and hurl cutting insults his way, even claiming his husband Dillon is cheating behind his back

Tiger King star Joe Exotic has issued yet another a desperate plea for help after claiming he is being cruelly and unfairly mistreated behind bars. It’s claimed staff at his current prison in Texas search Exotic’s room every other day, write him up for minor prison violations, berate him on a daily basis and hurl cutting insults his way, even claiming his husband Dillon is cheating behind his back 

And in another bombshell claim, DailyMailTV has learned Exotic was sexually assaulted and left with gruesome injuries from his shackles (pictured) at a previous facility he was held at

And in another bombshell claim, DailyMailTV has learned Exotic was sexually assaulted and left with gruesome injuries from his shackles (pictured) at a previous facility he was held at

And in another bombshell claim, DailyMailTV has learned Exotic was sexually assaulted and left with gruesome injuries from his shackles (pictured) at a previous facility he was held at

Exotic - real name Joe Maldonado-Passage - lays out the alleged abuse in handwritten letters (pictured), complaint forms and emails obtained by DailyMailTV and believes one guard in particular has it in for him

Exotic - real name Joe Maldonado-Passage - lays out the alleged abuse in handwritten letters (pictured), complaint forms and emails obtained by DailyMailTV and believes one guard in particular has it in for him

Exotic – real name Joe Maldonado-Passage – lays out the alleged abuse in handwritten letters (pictured), complaint forms and emails obtained by DailyMailTV and believes one guard in particular has it in for him

He’s also unrecognizable as the colorful, larger than life animal trainer we all remember in hit Netflix series Tiger King.

These days Exotic is much more subdued, is regularly brought to tears and his trademark bleach blond hair has grown out leaving a dark brown mane.

The inmate also says Exotic’s famous ‘bangs’ are out of control after being refused a haircut for months.

In a letter laying out a long list of his worst grievances Exotic writes of the officer that’s targeting him: ‘Mr ********* cannot leave my personal life alone. It’s very scary.’

In one document called a ‘request for administrative remedy’, Exotic writes: ‘I am being harassed by Lt *********. he is trying to be a marriage counselor, not treating me as a human, impartially, fairly or respectfully. It feels as if he is stalking me on my marriage (and) my husbands (sic) bussiness (sic).’

Exotic requests that the guard – who DailyMail.com is not naming for legal reasons – ‘stop harassing me, (and) to stop telling me what to do with my husband and family matters.’

Exotic said he had asked the guard to stop and emailed other staff, but nothing was done.

The animal lover also complained that prison officers are purposely making bad copies of the hundreds of fan mail letters he receives every day.

In the formal complaint he writes: ‘I receive a lot of letters. The return address is cut off and parts of letter missing due to not copying correctly.’

He claims to have over 40 letters that haven’t been copied properly.

In one document called a 'request for administrative remedy', Exotic writes: 'I am being harassed by Lt *********. he is trying to be a marriage counselor, not treating me as a human, impartially, fairly or respectfully. It feels as if he is stalking me on my marriage (and) my husbands (sic) bussiness (sic)'

In one document called a 'request for administrative remedy', Exotic writes: 'I am being harassed by Lt *********. he is trying to be a marriage counselor, not treating me as a human, impartially, fairly or respectfully. It feels as if he is stalking me on my marriage (and) my husbands (sic) bussiness (sic)'

In one document called a ‘request for administrative remedy’, Exotic writes: ‘I am being harassed by Lt *********. he is trying to be a marriage counselor, not treating me as a human, impartially, fairly or respectfully. It feels as if he is stalking me on my marriage (and) my husbands (sic) bussiness (sic)’

In a letter laying out a long list of his worst grievances Exotic writes of the officer that's targeting him: 'Mr ********* cannot leave my personal life alone. It's very scary'

In a letter laying out a long list of his worst grievances Exotic writes of the officer that's targeting him: 'Mr ********* cannot leave my personal life alone. It's very scary'

In a letter laying out a long list of his worst grievances Exotic writes of the officer that’s targeting him: ‘Mr ********* cannot leave my personal life alone. It’s very scary’

The animal lover also complained that prison officers are purposely making bad copies of the hundreds of fan mail letters he receives every day. In the formal complaint he writes: 'I receive a lot of letters. The return address is cut off and parts of letter missing due to not copying correctly.' He claims to have over 40 letters that haven't been copied properly (pictured)

The animal lover also complained that prison officers are purposely making bad copies of the hundreds of fan mail letters he receives every day. In the formal complaint he writes: 'I receive a lot of letters. The return address is cut off and parts of letter missing due to not copying correctly.' He claims to have over 40 letters that haven't been copied properly (pictured)

The animal lover also complained that prison officers are purposely making bad copies of the hundreds of fan mail letters he receives every day. In the formal complaint he writes: ‘I receive a lot of letters. The return address is cut off and parts of letter missing due to not copying correctly.’ He claims to have over 40 letters that haven’t been copied properly (pictured)

In another complaint, this time an ‘informal resolution attempt’ over email, Exotic concludes: ‘I don’t want to deal with this anymore. Its (sic) clear Mr ********* has a personal issue with me and it needs to stop. This has started since I hit this compound when he threatened me one hour after I got here that I would never get out of the shu. This is a personal issue and ********* is targeting me and harassing me.’

One of Exotic’s fellow inmates witnessed some of the alleged mistreatment and told DailyMail.com the star is being given a rough ride.

The prisoner said when Exotic first arrived at the facility he was put in isolation – or the SHU (special housing unit) as the prisoners call it – because prison bosses didn’t immediately know what to do with him.

Because of his high profile, staff feared Exotic could be attacked or cause issues in the general population.

As a result he was kept in isolation for four months before it was decided to move him to a separate ‘quarantine’ area on the second floor of the hospital.

The area is currently being used to quarantine inmates for 14 days before they leave prison.

Being based in this unit means Exotic has no access to outdoor exercise or any other prison activities.

The inmate, who asked not to be named, said: ‘When Joe first arrived there is this corrections officer who made clear he just doesn’t like him.

‘He said to Joe, “My goal is to keep you in the SHU for as long as I can because I don’t like you”. And it all started from there.

‘First thing he told me, he showed me his mail, because they’re purposely not copying it properly for him, they don’t want him to have a fan base.

‘He gets some 150 pieces of mail a day, half are rejected so he only gets the rejection slip, but the rest they’re only copying half the letter and half the return address.

‘The staff are p***ed that they have to deal with all his mail so they’re f**king with him.’ 

One of Exotic's fellow inmates witnessed some of the alleged mistreatment and told DailyMail.com the star is being given a rough ride. The prisoner said when Exotic first arrived at the facility he was put in isolation - or the SHU (special housing unit) as the prisoners call it - because prison bosses didn't immediately know what to do with him

One of Exotic's fellow inmates witnessed some of the alleged mistreatment and told DailyMail.com the star is being given a rough ride. The prisoner said when Exotic first arrived at the facility he was put in isolation - or the SHU (special housing unit) as the prisoners call it - because prison bosses didn't immediately know what to do with him

One of Exotic’s fellow inmates witnessed some of the alleged mistreatment and told DailyMail.com the star is being given a rough ride. The prisoner said when Exotic first arrived at the facility he was put in isolation – or the SHU (special housing unit) as the prisoners call it – because prison bosses didn’t immediately know what to do with him

Exotic is serving 22-years at Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas after being convicted in a murder-for-hire plot against his nemesis Carole Baskin

Exotic is serving 22-years at Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas after being convicted in a murder-for-hire plot against his nemesis Carole Baskin

Exotic is serving 22-years at Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas after being convicted in a murder-for-hire plot against his nemesis Carole Baskin

The inmate continued: ‘They’ve wrote him up three times as well. Another inmate in the SHU gave a cop (corrections officer) three stamps and asked if they could give them to Joe.

‘The cop took them to him and then wrote him up for accepting something of value from another inmate.

‘They just keep messing with him, making incident reports about him and most are unjustified.

‘He would then have his phone or email taken away or his commissary, they are making it hard on him because he’s a celebrity.’

The inmate says the officer constantly berates Exotic and verbally abuses him.

‘He’ll tell Joe he saw pictures of his husband not wearing his ring, he’d say he doesn’t love you anymore, he doesn’t care about you anymore,’ he said.

‘Joe had a bunch of pictures of his husband Dillon and his former dead husband Travis on his wall and the CO ripped them all down.

‘He’s going out of his way to upset Joe and it’s working, he’s miserable, worn down by it. The officer even told him, “I listen to every single phone call you make and read every single email”, it’s almost like he’s stalking him.

‘They just turn his computer off for three days for no reason. He hasn’t been given any clothes, he’s wearing hand me downs from other prisoners.

‘Joe has sent some 50 emails complaining, but no one ever responds.’

And the inmate told DailyMail.com that he believes upper management at the facility are behind the mistreatment.

The inmate says the officer constantly berates Exotic and verbally abuses him. 'He'll tell Joe he saw pictures of his husband not wearing his ring, he'd say he doesn't love you anymore, he doesn't care about you anymore,' he said

The inmate says the officer constantly berates Exotic and verbally abuses him. 'He'll tell Joe he saw pictures of his husband not wearing his ring, he'd say he doesn't love you anymore, he doesn't care about you anymore,' he said

The inmate says the officer constantly berates Exotic and verbally abuses him. ‘He’ll tell Joe he saw pictures of his husband not wearing his ring, he’d say he doesn’t love you anymore, he doesn’t care about you anymore,’ he said

They added: 'It's not just the one CO, there's this other officer who is pretty cool, he tells it like it is. He told Joe, "Listen, I don't have a problem with you, but I've been told by staff supervisors that we're supposed to f**k with you at all times, we're supposed to make you miserable"

They added: 'It's not just the one CO, there's this other officer who is pretty cool, he tells it like it is. He told Joe, "Listen, I don't have a problem with you, but I've been told by staff supervisors that we're supposed to f**k with you at all times, we're supposed to make you miserable"

They added: ‘It’s not just the one CO, there’s this other officer who is pretty cool, he tells it like it is. He told Joe, “Listen, I don’t have a problem with you, but I’ve been told by staff supervisors that we’re supposed to f**k with you at all times, we’re supposed to make you miserable”

And the inmate told DailyMail.com that he believes upper management at the facility are behind the mistreatment.

And the inmate told DailyMail.com that he believes upper management at the facility are behind the mistreatment.

And the inmate told DailyMail.com that he believes upper management at the facility are behind the mistreatment.

‘It’s not just the one CO, there’s this other officer who is pretty cool, he tells it like it is. He told Joe, “Listen, I don’t have a problem with you, but I’ve been told by staff supervisors that we’re supposed to f**k with you at all times, we’re supposed to make you miserable”.

‘The officers violate his rights every day, he’s never had a haircut, his bangs are down past his nose, they’ve not given him any clothes, he wasn’t given a pillow like everyone else.’

The prisoner added that Exotic’s health and physical appearance has deteriorated.

‘He looks horrible, he’s got the big old bags under his eyes, droopy face, he’s lost a ton of weight, he don’t eat good when he does eat,’ he said.

‘The bleach blond has gone, his hair is a mess, I feel bad for him,’ he said.

Francisco Hernandez, a Fort Worth based attorney and lead counsel for ‘Team Tiger’ – the group assembled to free Exotic – slams his client’s treatment.

Hernandez claims that after three months in solitary confinement, Exotic was slapped with a fourth month because staff wrongly concluded that a phone call with his lawyer and power of attorney was a discussion about a prison break.

He said: ‘They added a month because on the very first phone call that I had with him, Ann Patrick, his power of attorney, was lawfully entitled to be a participant and Joe was distraught, crying, and desperate.

‘Ann was trying to encourage Joe, and said, “you sit tight, we’re going to get you out. We’re going to get you out. We’re going to get you out”.

‘They went to Joe and interpreted it that there was going to be a breakout attempt.

‘They’re not even supposed to be listening to my conversations with him because of attorney/client privilege, so how the hell did they know what was said.

‘They listened to every single one of his conversations, they were reading every single one of his emails. They open my attorney mail and I know because I’ve sent some tests, thrown some shiny objects at them just to see what would happen.

‘Even during COVID I found out last week that it was not prohibited from me seeing my client in person and they have refused every week.’

The prisoner added that Exotic's health and physical appearance has deteriorated. 'He looks horrible, he's got the big old bags under his eyes, droopy face, he's lost a ton of weight, he don't eat good when he does eat,' he said

The prisoner added that Exotic's health and physical appearance has deteriorated. 'He looks horrible, he's got the big old bags under his eyes, droopy face, he's lost a ton of weight, he don't eat good when he does eat,' he said

The prisoner added that Exotic’s health and physical appearance has deteriorated. ‘He looks horrible, he’s got the big old bags under his eyes, droopy face, he’s lost a ton of weight, he don’t eat good when he does eat,’ he said

They added: 'The officers violate his rights every day, he's never had a haircut, his bangs are down past his nose, they've not given him any clothes, he wasn't given a pillow like everyone else'

They added: 'The officers violate his rights every day, he's never had a haircut, his bangs are down past his nose, they've not given him any clothes, he wasn't given a pillow like everyone else'

They added: ‘The officers violate his rights every day, he’s never had a haircut, his bangs are down past his nose, they’ve not given him any clothes, he wasn’t given a pillow like everyone else’

Eric Love, the lead investigator and executive manager for ‘Team Tiger’, said Exotic’s abuse while behind bars started even before he arrived at FMC in Fort Worth.

‘He was in Grady County jail in Oklahoma first… where he was restrained. 

‘A lot of horrible things happened. We have pictures where literally the skin is off of his wrist. He was sexually assaulted… that’s a horrible thing to go through, male or female.

‘He’s transferred to the federal system and basically he can’t see his attorney. He can’t see anybody from his legal group. 

‘We have fought, hands down, left, right to try to get in. They always have an excuse, COVID. They reduced his phone calls.

‘The warden there will not let him use the phone to contact any media outlet, so we have to be his voice.

‘There’s a linen issue, he has a problem with keeping clean and good linen. They won’t provide it to him. They’ve targeted him at the prison, this poor guy is walking around with the biggest target on his back.

‘There’s a little power struggle with one particular guard over there, and we know him well.

‘Between limiting the commissary, limiting the amount of stamps that you purchase, it’s a real challenge. I mean, not only is he physically incarcerated, he’s mentally incarcerated to a whole different degree having to deal with this, all of a sudden there’s a new rule depending on whoever’s on shift that day, that’s problematic.

‘You have 1,499 other inmates in there. And for some reason, this only applies to Joe. An absolute travesty.’

Exotic's close friend and filmmaker Theresa McKeown (pictured together), says still hasn't been given an orientation despite arriving at the facility in April

Exotic's close friend and filmmaker Theresa McKeown (pictured together), says still hasn't been given an orientation despite arriving at the facility in April

Exotic’s close friend and filmmaker Theresa McKeown (pictured together), says still hasn’t been given an orientation despite arriving at the facility in April

McKeown says Exotic isn't being afforded even the most basic of rights and is being purposely ignored because of his high profile. 'They claim it's because he's too high profile to be in general population. Honestly, I just don't think they want to deal with him'

McKeown says Exotic isn't being afforded even the most basic of rights and is being purposely ignored because of his high profile. 'They claim it's because he's too high profile to be in general population. Honestly, I just don't think they want to deal with him'

McKeown says Exotic isn’t being afforded even the most basic of rights and is being purposely ignored because of his high profile. ‘They claim it’s because he’s too high profile to be in general population. Honestly, I just don’t think they want to deal with him’

Exotic’s close friend and filmmaker Theresa McKeown, says still hasn’t been given an orientation despite arriving at the facility in April.

‘He still doesn’t know what the rules are, but he keeps getting written up for violations for breaking the rules. So he’s kind of finding out the hard way.

‘He’s never been given a clean set of clothing. He’s never been in the general population, so he has none of the, even smallest perks. He can’t buy things from the commissary, all his clothes are hand me downs, he can’t get a haircut.’

McKeown says Exotic isn’t being afforded even the most basic of rights and is being purposely ignored because of his high profile.

‘They claim it’s because he’s too high profile to be in general population. Honestly, I just don’t think they want to deal with him.’

Team Tiger is currently pushing for a legal appeal to overturn Exotic’s conviction.

His attorney has also submitted an application to the White House asking President Trump for a presidential pardon.

Attorney Hernandez says the team won’t stop until Joe Exotic is released from his cage…no matter how long it takes.

‘My commitment is a 22-year commitment. I’m on Joe’s case, even if we have to serve all 22 years, I will not give up,’ he said.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus antibodies that can ‘neutralize’ the virus can last at least five months

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coronavirus antibodies that can neutralize the virus can last at least five months

Coronavirus immunity can last up to five months – and maybe even longer – in the majority of survivors, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that those who had mild-to-moderate illness, about 90 percent of people, had a robust and stable immune response against COVID-19. 

What’s more, most of these patients had antibodies that were able to neutralize, or kill, the virus, known as SARS-CoV-2.

The team, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, says the findings show it is very likely decrease the odds of reinfection – and if it occurs – severely weakens the disease.. 

It comes on the heels of a study from the UK that found a more than 26 percent decline in COVID-19 antibodies over the course of three months.  

About 70% of coronavirus survivors had high levels of antibodies, 22% had moderate levels and 8% had low levels (above)

About 70% of coronavirus survivors had high levels of antibodies, 22% had moderate levels and 8% had low levels (above)

About 70% of coronavirus survivors had high levels of antibodies, 22% had moderate levels and 8% had low levels (above)

All of the blood serum in the high groups had neutralizing activity against the virus's spike protein as did 90% in the moderate group and 50% in the low group (above)

All of the blood serum in the high groups had neutralizing activity against the virus's spike protein as did 90% in the moderate group and 50% in the low group (above)

All of the blood serum in the high groups had neutralizing activity against the virus’s spike protein as did 90% in the moderate group and 50% in the low group (above)

Patients had stable response after three months with only modest declines after five months (above)

Patients had stable response after three months with only modest declines after five months (above)

Patients had stable response after three months with only modest declines after five months (above)

‘While some reports have come out saying antibodies to this virus go away quickly, we have found just the opposite,’ said senior author Dr Florian Krammer, a professor of vaccinology at the Icahn School of Medicine.

‘[M]ore than 90 percent of people who were mildly or moderately ill produce an antibody response strong enough to neutralize the virus, and the response is maintained for many months.’

For the study, published in the journal Science, the team looked at data from more than 30,000 individuals screened at The Mount Sinai Health System between March 2020 and October 2020.

The antibody test used was the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which looks for antibodies that attach to the spike protein the virus uses to enter and infect human cells.

It is also capable of measuring the titer, or level, of antibodies an individual has. 

Antibody test results using distinct dilutions set at 1:80, 1:160, 1:320, 1:960 or 1:2800, with each score indicating the number of times the scientist can dilute a patient’s blood and still be able to detect the presence of antibodies. 

Titers of 1:80 and 1:160 were categorized as low; 1:320 as moderate; and 1:960 or  1:2880 as high.

Of the 30,000-plus patients, about 7.1 percent of patients had low levels, 22.5 percent had moderate levels and 70.4 percent had high levels.

This means more than 90 percent of coronavirus survivors had moderate-to-high levels of anti-spike antibodies.   

Additionally, about 50 percent of blood serum in the low range had neutralizing activity as did 90 percent in the moderate range and all did in the high range. 

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35007904 8893655 image a 46 1603989506424

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35007892 8893655 image a 47 1603989526105

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35007898 8893655 image a 48 1603989528982

Next, the team recalled 121 plasma donors who had a variety of levels to repeat antibody test three months after recovering and again at five months. 

Results showed slight drops after each tests, but a moderate level was retained by most people five months later 

In an interesting findings, there was an increase in levels among those who originally tested as have low or moderate antibody levels.

It may explain the findings of the British study, with 6.6 precent of those having antibody responses to the virus in June and 4.4 percent in September – because those with mild cases have responses that take a longer time to mount.

‘The serum antibody titer we measured in individuals initially were likely produced by plasmablasts, cells that act as first responders to an invading virus and come together to produce initial bouts of antibodies whose strength soon wanes,’ said first author Dr Ania Wajnberg, Director of Clinical Antibody Testing at The Mount Sinai Hospital. 

‘The sustained antibody levels that we subsequently observed are likely produced by long-lived plasma cells in the bone marrow. 

‘This is similar to what we see in other viruses and likely means they are here to stay. We will continue to follow this group over time to see if these levels remain stable as we suspect and hope they will.’   

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35008062 0 image a 49 1603989566640

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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