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Coronavirus: Lockdowns DON’T reduce death rate, study claims

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coronavirus lockdowns dont reduce death rate study claims

Lockdowns have not had a big impact on coronavirus death rates around the world, scientists have claimed.

Dozens of countries have been forced to tell people to stay home and close shops in a bid to stop the Covid-19 pandemic since it broke out in January.

But now a study has claimed the drastic measures don’t even work. They found whether a country was locked down or not was ‘not associated’ with death rate.

Instead the health of each nation before the pandemic largely played a role, including obesity rates and age.

It could explain why countries such as Britain – with some of Europe’s worst obesity rates – have had such a high death toll.

The early closure of international borders seemed to lower cases, but did not translate to real lives saved. 

Lockdowns have not had a big impact on coronavirus death rates around the world, scientists have claimed. Pictured, a closed shop in Britain

Lockdowns have not had a big impact on coronavirus death rates around the world, scientists have claimed. Pictured, a closed shop in Britain

Lockdowns have not had a big impact on coronavirus death rates around the world, scientists have claimed. Pictured, a closed shop in Britain

The study compared mortality rates and cases in 50 different countries worst hit by the pandemic up until May 1.

Experts from the University of Toronto and the University of Texas calculated that among these badly-hit nations, only 33 out of every million people had been killed by the virus.

That rate, however, has since increased markedly, and is now at 80 per million globally, and still rising. Britain has seen 670 deaths per million.

The researchers constructed a mathematical model to measure the impact of each country’s response on coronavirus cases and deaths.

They then compared this to demographic factors such as age, smoking and obesity. 

Dr Sheila Riazi and colleagues found imposition of lockdown measures succeeded in stopping health systems becoming overwhelmed by a surge in patients.

This was the UK Government’s primary aim when it imposed restrictions back in March – to protect the NHS and ultimately save lives. 

WHAT DO OTHER STUDIES SAY ABOUT LOCKDOWN SUCCESS?

Another study from University of East Anglia suggested draconian stay-at-home orders and shutting all non-essential businesses had little effect on fighting coronavirus in Europe.

But the same scientists discovered closing schools and banning all mass gatherings did work in slowing outbreaks across the continent. 

Other leading scientists have claimed Britain’s COVID-19 outbreak peaked and started to decline before the official lockdown began, arguing that Number 10’s drastic policy to shut the UK down was wrong. 

However, some studies directly contradict the theory that lockdown was pointless.

A scientific paper from Imperial University in London published in June found lockdown likely saved almost half a million lives in the UK alone.

Coronavirus lockdowns across Europe probably prevented up to three million Covid-related deaths, the team led by Professor Neil Ferguson found.

The UK, Germany, Spain, France and Italy each dodged up to 500,000 coronavirus deaths or more because of their draconian policies, the team estimated.

A separate study also published in June suggested around 500million Covid-19 cases were prevented by lockdowns in six countries, including the US.

A study of 149 countries suggested earlier lockdown restrictions slashed the number of Covid-19 cases. 

Researchers measured how numbers of Covid-19 cases changed over the course of the pandemic and whether they dropped in the days following strict rules.

Physical distancing measures such as closure of schools, workplaces and public transport, a ban on mass gatherings, and full-scale lockdowns led to a larger reduction in cases when they were implemented early than late – 14 per cent compared with 10 per cent. 

It took an average of nine days for countries to recommend social distancing once the first case was detected there. But some countries took far longer.

Britain was one of the slowest to introduce the life-saving lockdown measures along with Thailand, Australia and Canada. 

It took 45 days from the first reported case, on January 31, for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to advise social distancing on March 16. The full lockdown didn’t come for another week, starting on March 23.

Cases shrunk by 17 per cent as a result, which was higher than the average but low compared to fast-reacting Andorra where cases dropped by 36 per cent.  

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But although this raised the chance that someone with Covid would recover from the virus, it did not actually translate into a significant reduction in death rates.

Restricting movements and closing borders also had no significant impact on Covid-19 fatalities, even if early border closures appeared to significantly lower cases and lessen the peak of transmission, preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed. 

Countries with widespread mass testing did not appear to have fewer critical cases, or deaths per million, the study claimed.  

‘Government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality. 

‘The number of days to any border closure was associated with the number of cases per million.

‘This suggests that full lockdowns and early border closures may lessen the peak of transmission, and thus prevent health system overcapacity, which would facilitate increased recovery rates.’ 

But the scientists didn’t find any evidence that this actually saved lives.

It was population demographics and underlying health – particularly obesity rates – which has determined which countries have been worst-hit by the virus, the researchers found.

Nations with above-average obesity rates were 12 per cent more likely to have significantly higher death rates than those without.

It’s relevant for Britain – which has one of the biggest obesity problems in Europe – with two thirds of adults and a third of children overweight.

The authors wrote: ‘Consistent with reported COVID-19 outcome data from Europe, the United States, and China, higher caseloads and overall mortality were associated with comorbidities such as obesity.’

Countries with a higher median population age were 10 per cent more like;y to have a large caseload.

A surprising finding was that nations with higher smoking rates had fewer deaths.

It adds weight to the emerging argument that tobacco use may protect against coronavirus, with a slew of studies finding bizarrely low levels of smokers among hospital patients.

The researchers, however, warned the findings may just be because countries with high smoking prevalence tend to be those with younger populations.

Young people are less likely to get severely ill from the coronavirus, and therefore countries with a younger population have tended to be less badly hit by the pandemic.   

The team also found wealthier nations had fared worse, probably because international travel meant more cases were imported at the beginning of the crisis.  

This, they believe, is due to ‘accessibility to air travel and international holidays’, as ‘travel was identified as an important factor contributing to international viral spread’.

The team, writing in the Lancet online journal EClinicalMedicine, said: ‘Government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of Covid-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.’ 

Some experts are skeptical of the findings, however, suggesting the findings have been exaggerated.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter of the University of Cambridge, said: ‘A large number of possible predictors are put into a model with only 50 observations, and then the resulting formulae are over-interpreted.’

Dr Louise Dyson of the University of Warwick, said: ‘While population demographics such as median age and obesity prevalence were found to be associated with increased mortality, this should not be interpreted as implying that these were more important than government interventions such as lockdowns.’   

It comes amid mounting concern that the full-scale shutdown on Britain’s movement will have devastating consequences.

The resulting economic impact is expected to drive up physical and mental health problems both in the short and long term. 

Professor Mark Woolhouse, an infectious diseases expert at Edinburgh University and a member of the UK Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, warned earlier this month: ‘When the reckoning comes we may well find that the cure turned out to be far worse than the disease.’ 

But other British scientists have been adamant the lockdown was necessary, and was so important it should have been enforced weeks before it was, on March 23. 

Professor Neil Ferguson – the academic whose work led to Britain’s lockdown – says the lockdown likely saved almost half a million lives in the UK alone. 

His team at Imperial University in London found coronavirus lockdowns across Europe probably prevented up to three million Covid-related deaths.

‘Professor Lockdown’ has also conceded that, in hindsight, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if the lockdown had come a week earlier. 

A separate study also published in June suggested around 500million Covid-19 cases were prevented by lockdowns in six countries, including the US. 

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Divorce lawyer told female staff to ditch cardigans and be ‘discreetly sexy’ in dress code email

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divorce lawyer told female staff to ditch cardigans and be discreetly sexy in dress code email

A leading divorce lawyer told female staff to ditch cardigans and be ‘discreetly sexy’ in a 1,000-word dress code email. 

Ayesha Vardag, who runs law firm Vardags in London‘s Old Bailey, wrote staff a lengthy email titled ‘Attire and image — dress code and beyond’. 

In the email, the ‘diva of divorce’ reminded staff they needed to be ‘looking fabulous at all times’ according to Legal Cheek

Ayesha Vardag wrote staff a lengthy 1,000-word dress code email advising women to dress 'formal' but also 'discreetly sexy'

Ayesha Vardag wrote staff a lengthy 1,000-word dress code email advising women to dress 'formal' but also 'discreetly sexy'

Ayesha Vardag wrote staff a lengthy 1,000-word dress code email advising women to dress ‘formal’ but also ‘discreetly sexy’ 

She advised women to dress ‘formal’ but also ‘discreetly sexy and colourful and flamboyant’ and should aim for a ‘Chanel/Dior/Armani look’.

Ms Vardag also noted they shouldn’t wear anything ‘homespun or homely’ adding that ‘cardigans are almost never ok’.  

According to the email, sent in July 2019, she said that women must wear ‘elegant’ shoes but doesn’t say they need to be high-heeled. 

She added: ‘I feel high heels have been disenfranchising and disabling women for decades.’

There are also rules laid out for men, who are told to go for a ‘Savile Row look’ but stresses that woolly jumpers ‘are a no-no’.

This is also the case for ‘super-tight trousers or pointy toes’ which are ‘sternly frowned upon’.  

Ms Vardag runs law firm Vardags in London's Old Bailey and sent the email advising staff to look 'fabulous at all times'

Ms Vardag runs law firm Vardags in London's Old Bailey and sent the email advising staff to look 'fabulous at all times'

Ms Vardag runs law firm Vardags in London’s Old Bailey and sent the email advising staff to look ‘fabulous at all times’ 

They are also advised to wear ‘classic’ shoes that are ‘black’ because, as the old adage goes, ‘never wear brown in town’.

Ms Vardag concluded the email with wisdom on health and fitness adding, ‘eat well, move a lot, watch what you drink, get outside as much as you can, and glow.’

Stephen Bence, Vardags director of strategy, said that staff have ‘a full understanding of the standards’ but that an occasional reminder is needed. 

He added that they hold themselves to the highest possible professional standards’ including their dress code which employees ‘consent upon’ when they join.   

Ms Vardag concluded the email with wisdom on health and fitness adding, 'eat well, move a lot, watch what you drink, get outside as much as you can, and glow'

Ms Vardag concluded the email with wisdom on health and fitness adding, 'eat well, move a lot, watch what you drink, get outside as much as you can, and glow'

Ms Vardag concluded the email with wisdom on health and fitness adding, ‘eat well, move a lot, watch what you drink, get outside as much as you can, and glow’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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US Air Force B-52 bomber sent ‘distress signal’ over Gloucestershire

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us air force b 52 bomber sent distress signal over gloucestershire

A US Air Force B-52 bomber has sent out a distress signal after a mid-air emergency over Gloucestershire, it has been reported. 

The aircraft transmitted a ‘squawk code 770, indicating general emergency, near Tewkesbury, UK’, according to FlightRadar 24.

It is not clear what the incident was but planes regularly send out emergency distress signals for even minor problems.  

The aircraft transmitted a 'squawk code 770, indicating general emergency, near Tewkesbury, UK', according to FlightRadar 24 (file image)

The aircraft transmitted a 'squawk code 770, indicating general emergency, near Tewkesbury, UK', according to FlightRadar 24 (file image)

The aircraft transmitted a ‘squawk code 770, indicating general emergency, near Tewkesbury, UK’, according to FlightRadar 24 (file image)

Two of the giant planes flew over central Gloucester, towards Hartpury, Ashleworth and Tewkesbury, before coming back round over Up Hatherley, Shurdington, Brockworth Hucclecote and Barnwood. 

They were Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, with the identities BALOO51 and BALOO52 and flying at an altitude of over 9,000 feet. 

The nuclear-capable planes can each deliver 30 tons of bombs, missiles and mines. They’re also protected by a remote control cannon. 

There are six of the planes based at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds. 

More to follow.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Andrew Neil will lead new news channel to rival BBC and Sky aiming to reach those ‘unheard’ by media

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andrew neil will lead new news channel to rival bbc and sky aiming to reach those unheard by media

Andrew Neil will lead new 24-hour news channel to rival BBC and Sky aiming to reach those who feel ‘underserved and unheard’ by the media.  

The broadcaster will be the face and chairman of GB News, signalling the end of his relationship with the BBC, where he has been one of the most respected political interviewers.

Plans are in place for ‘Britain’s news channel’, aimed at those who feel ‘underserved and unheard by their media’, to launch early next year.

The broadcaster will be the face and chairman of GB News, signalling the end of his relationship with the BBC

The broadcaster will be the face and chairman of GB News, signalling the end of his relationship with the BBC

The broadcaster will be the face and chairman of GB News, signalling the end of his relationship with the BBC

The channel could shake up the TV news landscape, currently dominated by Sky News and BBC News.

As well as being appointed chairman, broadcaster and former Sunday Times editor Neil, 71, will host a flagship evening programme in primetime.

This will lead the programming line-up.

He said: ‘GB News is the most exciting thing to happen in British television news for more than 20 years.

‘We will champion robust, balanced debate and a range of perspectives on the issues that affect everyone in the UK, not just those living in the London area.’

Neil, best known for The Andrew Neil Show, as well as This Week and Daily Politics on the BBC, added: ‘We’ve seen a huge gap in the market for a new form of television news.

‘GB News is aimed at the vast number of British people who feel underserved and unheard by their media.’

The BBC confirmed this summer that Neil’s self-titled show would not return to TV screens after it came off air during the pandemic.

It said at the time it was in discussions about a new interview series with Neil.

Political interviewer and publisher Neil recently dismissed speculation that he was in the running to be the next BBC chairman, saying on Twitter that he has ‘no interest in the job’.

At a time when the BBC and commercial media companies are cutting jobs, GB News said it hopes to create at least 120 positions.

They include more than 100 journalists in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with the channel. 

Global media and entertainment company Discovery, Inc is the lead investor.

GB News will feature more than 6,500 hours of content a year, made exclusively for the channel, which has secured broadcasting licences from Ofcom.

It has been founded by media executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider.

They said: ‘Andrew Neil epitomises what GB News is all about.

‘He’s an exceptional journalist, brilliant interviewer and fearlessly independent.’

They plan for the channel to reach 96% of British television households via Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media.

The BBC confirmed this summer that Neil's self-titled show would not return to TV screens after it came off air during the pandemic

The BBC confirmed this summer that Neil's self-titled show would not return to TV screens after it came off air during the pandemic

The BBC confirmed this summer that Neil’s self-titled show would not return to TV screens after it came off air during the pandemic

GB News will broadcast seven days a week across the UK and Ireland and will be available globally on GB News digital platforms.

Sky launched a 24-hour news channel in 1989 and the BBC followed, in the UK, in 1997.

Former Sky News executive editor John McAndrew will be director of news and programming and ex-Sky News Australia chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos has been appointed chief executive officer.

GB News said that more announcements will be made in the coming weeks. 

The BBC has thanked Andrew Neil for his work at the corporation following the news he will be the face and chairman of GB News.

A statement said: ‘We’d like to give our heartfelt thanks to Andrew for his many years of work for the BBC, during which he’s informed and entertained millions of viewers. 

‘We wish Andrew every success in his new role; we’re sorry the US election coverage will be his last BBC presentation work for the foreseeable future but he will always be welcome at the BBC.’ 

From the ‘Empty Chair’ to Owen Jones: Some of Andrew Neil’s ‘greatest hits’ at the BBC

Andrew Neil explains why he wants to interview Boris Johnson prior to the election

Andrew Neil explains why he wants to interview Boris Johnson prior to the election

Andrew Neil explains why he wants to interview Boris Johnson prior to the election

The ‘Empty Chair’: Neil vs Boris Johnson, December 2019

Mr Neil delivered a direct interview challenge to Boris Johnson during the 2019 General Election, telling him it was ‘not too late’ to accept his invitation to chat before the poll.

Mr Johnson had refused to be interviewed by Mr Neil, who had spoken with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson.

During an ’empty chair’ moment,Mr Neil said: ‘There is of course still one to be done, Boris Johnson. We have been asking him for weeks now to give us a date, a time, a venue. As of now, none has been forthcoming.’ 

‘It is not too late. We have an interview prepared. Oven-ready, as Mr Johnson likes to say. The theme running through our questions is trust – and why at so many times in his career, in politics and journalism, critics and sometimes even those close to him have deemed him to be untrustworthy. 

‘It is, of course, relevant to what he is promising us all now.’

Neil vs Ben Shapiro: May 2019

Mr Neil clashed with US conservative commentator Ben Shapiro on the BBC’s Politics Live last year.

Mr Shapiro was subjected to a tough interview by Mr Neil about previous remarks he had made, including ‘Israelis like to build, Arabs like to bomb crap’ and his support for new abortion laws in Georgia.

The American, formerly of Breitbart, then accused Mr Neil of bias and suggested abortions after more than six weeks of pregnancy were brutal.

‘You purport to be an objective journalist,’ Mr Shapiro said. ‘The BBC purports to be an objective, down-the-middle network. It obviously is not, it never has been, and you as a journalist are proceeding to call one side of the political aisle ignorant, barbaric and sending us back to the dark ages.’

Mr Shapiro later said that he had been ‘destroyed’ by Mr Neil in the interview.

Neil vs Owen Jones: January 2019 

Mr Neil and commentator Owen Jones clashed in a row during the broadcast of the This Week programme.

The row began after Mr Jones made a film about far-Right protesters who harassed him and other journalists.

During the debate, Mr Jones raised Mr Neil’s work outside his role at the BBC as chairman of the Press Holdings media group which publishes the weekly magazine The Spectator.

As the debate drew to a close Mr Jones claimed the editorial line of The Spectator and other papers legitimised some far-Right views, provoking an angry response from Mr Neil.

Mr Neil told Mr Jones: ‘Your smears and lies about me are not going to be dealt with tonight so just move off it.’ 

Neil vs Paris jihadists: November 2015

Mr Neil delivered a rousing speech against the Paris attackers who ‘slaughtered 132 innocents to prove the future belongs to them, rather than a civilisation like France’. 

In his rousing message, he listed the artists and theorists who shaped French culture and who overshadow ISIS’s beliefs and acts.

‘I can’t say I fancy their chances. France. The country of Descartes, Monet, Sartre Rousseau to Camus, Renoir, Berlioz, Daft Punk, Zizou Zidane,’ he said. ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité and crème Brulee.

‘Versus what? Beheadings, crucifixions, amputations, slavery, mass murder, medieval squalor and a death cult barbarity that would shame the Middle Ages.’

He then thundered: ‘I think the outcome is pretty clear to everyone but you. You will lose. In a thousand year’s time, Paris, that glorious city of lights, will still be shining bright as will every other city like it. And you will be as dust, along with the ragbag of fascist Nazis and Stalinists that previously dared to challenge democracy and failed.’ 

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