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It is official: NPHET, Tony Holohan and Philip Nolan have no clue!

What a bunch of clowns! NPHET are allegedly the Covid “experts” in Ireland and a Dr Tony Holohan, aka Chief Medical Officer, and a Prof Philip Nolan, who heads the statisticians and modellers that tried to predict the spread of the Coronavirus, are two of NPHET’s main voices. And both have been declared as incompetent by people that know a lot more about a subject Holohan and Nolan felt they needed to give their unqualified opinion about.

The subject is Antigen Self-Tests, which are inexpensive tests for home use that many experts and government organisations see for a long time as a key instrument to stop the spread of Covid. A test costs just EUR 5 and will tell you if you are infectious (something the PCR test can’t tell!) within about 15 minutes.

In Germany the Department of Health has negotiated with suppliers to secure the availability of 130 million self tests. Self-tests are now available through pharmacies and also in supermarkets and it is recommended to test at least twice a week.

Self-tests are made available for free in the UK and, for example, parents of school kids are asked to test themselves and their kids regularly because self-tests are an essential part of the pandemic strategy. You can order up to 2 packs of 7 at a time online for free on a government website and per week around 28 mio tests are given out.

The Centre of Disease control in the USA said on 07 May that U.S.-bound international air travelers can meet COVID-19 entry requirements using self-tests. (www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/cdc-says-us-bound-travelers-can-use-some-self-covid-19-tests-2021-05-07/)

And the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is recommending that rapid antigen testing can help reduce the spread of the virus in high-risk indoor workplaces and should be used to complement other tests. (www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/stop-spread-could-diagnostic-antigen-tests-help-control-covid-19-transmission)

Closer to home, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Professor Mark W. J. Ferguson, is heading the “COVID-19 Rapid Testing Group”, that was put together by the Irish Government. And this group already said on 19 March 2021 in the section “Start Immediately” that “It is very important to initiate rapid testing programmes now.” The report looks at the all aspects of rapid tests and clearly comes to the conclusion that rapid tests, which includes self-tests, should be made available in Ireland to complement all other measures. www.gov.ie/en/publication/f50f0-report-of-the-covid-19-rapid-testing-group/

This report has been published by the government and is definitely available to NPHET, but they seemingly can’t read:

On Fri 07 May, in the daily “NPHET show” (which should have been stopped by the government a long long time ago.) Tony Holohan warned against the use of antigen tests and he went so far to even say that consumers should not buy antigen testing kits due to the risk of false results and amazingly, Holohan claimed “Their use poses a “real risk” to the pandemic response.” So CDC, ECDC, German and UK Health Ministers are supporting what poses a “real risk” to the pandemic response?? (www.irishtimes.com/news/health/nphet-warns-public-against-relying-on-antigen-tests-being-sold-in-supermarkets-1.4558458)

On 08 May, then Philip Nolan claimed in a tweet that Covid Self-tests are “snake oil”, which is even worse than saying they are useless and which also is totally incorrect and actually a dangerous statement. (twitter.com/President_MU/status/1391095650750709769?s=20)

Clearly Holohan and Nolan are either wiser than international experts… or they are incompetent clowns!

To help us assess this, let’s listen to Professor Dr. Michael Mina, an Epidemiologist, Immunologist and Physician at Harvard Public Health/Medical School. He replied to Philip Nolan’s tweet and has this opinion:

“For an advisor to your government – you don’t appear to know what you are talking about wrt rapid tests. […] You should be ashamed of your demeanor here.”

Irish Journalist Philip Nolan (same name, but different person than the misguided Professor) commented on the tweet with “My sister in the UK had five sent to her by the NHS. Is the NHS a snake-oil sales organisation, or are you just pissed off a supermarket is doing more than you are?”

With all facts considered, the tweet by Prof Philip Nolan was incompetent, ignorant and arrogant. This tweet and Tony Holohan’s warning to stay away from these tests reveals that the two “leading experts” in Ireland either have no clue or – and that would be worse – have a vested interest in only recommending PCR tests.

Nobody would claim that the self-tests are perfect but nobody is either suggesting that they shouldn’t be anything else but a COMPLEMENT to other strategies. And as such a complement, NPHET should help educating the public about their use and how best to use these tests and NOT use their personal aversion to inappropriately disparage these tests.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar would be well advised in replacing Tony Holohan and Philip Nolan after this revelation of clear incompetence and instead trust people like the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government Professor Mark W. J. Ferguson.

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And to give a little bit more detail about what Holohan and Nolan got so upset about:

Supermarket chain Lidl is selling Rapid Antigen self-tests since this week. The tests are manufactured by Xiamen Boson Biotech Co and are called “Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Card” with CE mark and with completed validation studies carried out in Germany. They are in the EU’s list of approved tests (ec.europa.eu/health/sites/default/files/preparedness_response/docs/covid-19_rat_common-list_en.pdf) and have an impressive 93.8% sensitivity and a 100% specificity.

The tests are available in Lidl Ireland for about EUR 25 for 5 tests.

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Update (10 May):
With additional posts, Prof Dr Michael Mina has made an attempt per Twitter to school Philip Nolan on the meaning of “test sensitivity”, on the shortfalls of PCR tests and on the importance to detect infectiousness in a public health context. But he also is sensing something MUCH MUCH more relevant. In his last tweet he wrote “Your comments are squarely at odds with the science and appear to instead be motivated by something else.” (twitter.com/michaelmina_lab/status/1391636626250604546?s=20)
Now Health Minister Stephen Donnelly just HAS to step in and take action!

Questionable Hotel Quarantine in Ireland – The mess gets worse!

The Irish government getting into this deeper and deeper and the mess is getting worse and worse. The 12-day Hotel Quarantine from Level 2 countries (Countries with high-risk status because of Covid infections) is allegedly to protect Ireland from travellers who are carrying the virus into Ireland.

Oddly it was decided that no testing is enough, people from 33 countries have to quarantine even if they had negative PCR tests from before they left and from after arriving in Ireland. The 33 countries are a weird collection of mainly poorer countries with only one single European country among them. Austria seemed to get little love from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, because they found themselves on this strange list.

But it is getting worse and worse. On Thursday 01 April (allegedly not April Fool’s joke!) another 26 countries were added to the list. The countries are
Albania, Andorra, Aruba, Bahrain, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Ethiopia, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Serbia, Somalia and Wallis and Futuna Islands.

Isn’t that a strange list again? Bonaire? Sint Eustatius and Saba (I don’t even have a clue where that is!) or Wallis and Futuna Islands??

For a moment, let’s assume that they are super dangerous Covid countries. A silly idea, but let’s assume:
I am not sure if you have learned the arrivals information of Dublin airport off by heart, but I BET that you will have never seen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba or Wallis and Futuna Islands on the arrivals screen. And if there is no direct flight then every passenger coming from there might or might not actually come from there and definitely will have to pass through some other country which is then the actual country the passenger is deemed to have come from. So without direct flights, the inclusion of these countries already doesn’t make sense.

But now let’s have a look at their population and Covid situation.
Bonaire has 20,100 inhabitants, Sint Eustatius and Saba have 3,138 and 1,933 inhabitants and the Wallis and Futuna Islands have 11,500 inhabitants.

Well, it turns out that Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are three different islands that are together called “Caribbean Netherlands” and together they 1,462 cases and 12 deaths. That is 54,112 cases per 1 mio population and 417 deaths per 1mil population. Interestingly, the Netherlands, which are NOT on the list, have 75867 cases per 1 mio and they have 968 deaths per 1 mio. (All figures are from the start of the pandemic.) Ireland has 946 deaths per 1 mio.

So Caribbean Netherlands are on the quarantine list, but the Netherlands are not?  Why would that be? Ohhh, the Netherlands are in the EU and Caribbean Netherlands not!?

And you probably guessed that Wallis and Futuna are not looking too bad either. 37,000 cases per 1 mio and 361 deaths per 1 mio. (Their total number of deaths is actually just 4.) A THIRD of the deaths per 1 mio than Ireland, but Wallis and Futuna are a danger zone!!! VERY odd!

So how do they compare with some of the European countries? In all cases, the first number is the cases per 1 mio and the second number is the deaths per 1 mio.
France        72,523 / 1,473
Italy            60,088 / 1,827
Germany   34,200 / 922
Spain        70,376 / 1,615
UK              63,878 / 1,861

and just for comparison again:

Caribbean Netherlands 54,112 / 454
Wallis and Futuna 37,000 / 361

That quarantine list makes sense, right??? NOT!!!!!!!!

There is a slight weakness in the numbers above: I used total number of cases and total number of deaths since March 2020 as provided by www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries and it is possible that the Covid activity right now appears to be a lot higher and it was averaged out over the year. But if there is a TOTAL of 4 deaths it doesn’t look MADLY dangerous.

An interesting article here www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2021/0401/1207372-quarantine-donnelly/ describes that Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney got France, Germany and Italy taken off the list for POLITICAL reasons.

So if anyone claims that the hotel quarantine measures are there to protect Ireland, they are wrong. IF that was the intention then every country that currently has any Covid cases should be on the list. No matter where this country is! And then country by country should be checked and taken off the list if the cases/deaths numbers are below a clearly defined and publicised threshold.

The list is a purely political list that shows even a degree of xenophobia and discrimination towards poorer countries and countries we have less contact with. The UK should DEFINITELY be on the list. The USA should be! Estonia and a few other Eastern European countries seem to struggle with Covid in a bad way right now and that would justify putting them on it.

And then the RTE article adds another component:
“Speaking on Highland Radio today, Mr Coveney said: “This is primarily about Irish people coming home … should we be putting them into a hotel and charging them for the privilege?””

Ohh, so the list is NOT to protect against a virus, but it really is just to keep foreigners out? Or rather: If it affects our own, then we can’t expect them to pay for a stupid hotel quarantine that won’t make any difference anyway. But if it is foreigners from Wallis and Futuna or from Brazil or South Africa, then we let them bleed?

And finally: The first thing that should have been done IF it was about a virus, is to close the border to Northern Ireland, because you can STILL fly into Belfast and drive to Dublin to avoid the Hotel Quarantine completely.

Smoke, screen and mirrors!!! Do not trust any politician or any NPHET member. There are hidden agendas everywhere.

Lockdowns probably don’t work!?

During the week I found and read a really interesting book. It is called “Covid: Why most of what you know is wrong” by Swedish Medical Doctor Sebastian Rushworth. The book is available in the Kindle Unlimited Programme or as a Paperback on Amazon here amzn.to/3ujx7Br
Rushworth explains first what happened in Sweden, then provides a lot of detail about the statistics and methods of calculation and about the science behind what we are told in this pandemic and all the time explains why we are fed wrong information. It is a REALLY interesting book that I would recommend to everyone who keeps reading news about what is happening for the last 12 months.

One of the suggestions he is explaining is that lockdowns do not help to reach the main target and that governments and “experts” are actually focusing on the wrong target. The right target is to avoid deaths, not to avoid infections! Infections will happen and infections in healthy people are no big problem. The obsession with number of infected people is completely distracting from the main target and gets governments to do stupid things, like total lockdowns that are not substantially helping to reduce the number of deaths.

But this is only one aspect of the book. There is a lot more in it and if you check out the description on the Amazon Page (amzn.to/3ujx7Br) you will get the full picture. Importantly, Rushworth does NOT subscribe to any conspiracy theories, but explains every one of his points with publicly available scientific research.

Definitely worth a read if you don’t want to be lied to and especially if you have a Kindle Unlimited plan do NOT hesitate and check the book out as soon as possible!

(If you don’t have a Kindle Unlimited plan you can sign up for a free 30 day trial – assuming you are eligible – here www.amazon.co.uk/kindle-dbs/hz/signup?tag=dubeveguiforf-21 Kindle books can be read on your computer or on your mobile phone or tablet, you do NOT need a Kindle for it.)

Covid-19 Fines – Have they lost it?

Covid-19 Fines – Have they lost it?

For the speedy resolution of wars, insurgency and other conflicts, the concept of “Winning Hearts and Minds” is used in modern times. It means that one side is trying to win the conflict not by the use of superior force, but by making emotional or intellectual appeals to convince supporters of the other side.

The idea behind it is that if you convince the other side of the sense of your actions, then you need to fight less and you will ultimately be MUCH more effective, efficient AND there will be less victims.

Our (previous) government made a weak attempt in using this strategy in early days. We were told that laws can’t be enacted to prevent people from breaking the lockdown and Simon Harris kept telling us that we should just hold together for one more push before things would get better.

The current  government is clearly taking a different route. Laws are suddenly possible and they are in place and are used a LOT. This week the RTE News reported that the crazy amount of 4500 people have been fined for breaching Covid-19 regulations. www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2021/0205/1195336-garda-restrictions-fines/

The total amount of serious crimes that lead to a charge or summons in 2019 was just measly 550 and out of more than 16,000 burglaries that happened, it seems that just 13 were punished appropriately, based on Central Statistics Office details. www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-rcd/recordedcrimedetection2019/crimesleadingtochargeorsummons/

I really hope that I am misinterpreting the numbers and that someone can tell me that I made a big mistake, but if not, then this means that breaking the (random) 5km movement restriction is pursued with significantly more vigor than burglaries. :-O
I think we can clearly say that the government has lost the support from the people. Maybe a serious “Winning Hears and Minds” approach would have us in a different place?

How to lose the people’s support for anti-Covid measures!

How to lose the people’s support for anti-Covid measures!

You would think that people who are doing something the second time around will have learned from the first time and will do everything better, right? But strangely it seems that leopards really don’t change their spots, as the saying goes, at least not easily. :-O And it also seems that learning is harder than we think. We do make mistakes even if they stare us in the face. I know that and you might know that too!?

But before this turns into a psychotherapy session ;-) I should explain that I am (at least in part) referring to our politicians and their learning from the first lockdown. We will be for another good while in this lockdown… but they really didn’t learn!!

Things weren’t perfect the first time around, but we largely did what we were told, because it was quite clear and because we thought we understood why we did it. But then we realised that the politicians and “experts” really had no clue either and so the second time around the approach should have been to explain things better and to make it easier to adhere to the rules. More laws, threats (penalties, even prison) for breaking some of the rules and sending gardai to stop shops from selling their normal items (as they we allowed the first time around) is NOT the way to do it.

Instead it is a guarantee to lose the support from the people! And being out on the streets and in shops, it is clear that the trust and support is gone. The current nonsensical rules over “essential products” show that the government has no clue of what lockdowns mean to you and me. Closing SOME aisles of supermarkets, making it illegal to buy stationary or a towel, but legal to buy alcohol is a ridiculous over exaggeration.

Leo Varadkar who didn’t do too badly the first time around has totally screwed up this time (www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/1025/1173788-coronavirus-ireland/) and our temporary other Taoiseach, Micheal Martin is just continuing his non-impressive handling of an admittedly challenging situation.

There are two effects that the “making illegal” of selling any extra products in supermarkets apart from things that are required for survival will have: The first effect is that as soon as shops are open fully again, there will be a mad run on shops with the consequence that even before Christmas the infection numbers will increase like crazy again. And the second effect is that even the bit of money that is made through selling a chainsaw in Lidl or a fleece jacket in Aldi or a child’s runners in Dunnes during the lockdown will now make its way to Amazon, instead of staying in Ireland. The government is showing the middle finger to any “buy local” campaign and in the end the small retailers that they allegedly want to protect with this stupid rule will not get the business anyway.

 
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