Category Archives: Medicine

Doubling the fear

As the largest recession in British history begins to bite, the government has decided to spend a good chunk of its debt on campaigns (and more “draconian” legislation curtailing freedom of advertising, etc) on fighting obesity. The justification? That it has emerged that obese patients are perhaps twice as likely to die from Coronavirus infection as others.

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More on revolving-door exit strategies

Currently, two days before the wearing of face masks becomes compulsory in shops, the UK tally of COVID-19 deaths has dropped to only 65 daily. Where I live, in England’s west country, there have been no deaths at all for over a fortnight. Absolutely the right time to curtail liberty, then.

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This is the Night

Here’s another lockdown video for you , once more from a remix of an old recording of one of my songs. The views of The Vegetable Man have been encouraging, so the effort seems worthwhile. This one’s in darker vein than the last, and would probably be more effective when countries produce their first emergency budgets after lockdown and, in the UK particularly, reveal just how big a knife we’ve stuck in the economy. The Nobel Prizewinner Michael Levitt estimates that, whereas the usual averaged cost of a death (using “quality added life years,” or “QUALYs”), and therefore the “economic” health cost of saving it medically, is £40,000, the cost … Continue reading

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Optimophobia in science

The leader of the UK opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, was quoted on the BBC news today as saying that if there is any increase in the Coronavirus “R-number” it will be the direct fault of the government. And therein lies much of the cause of the current fear pandemic across the world.

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The New Normal – a Brave New World

YouTube algorithms gave me a “blast from the past” last week, in the form of videos by Dr Vernon Coleman. Vernon was writing for the same medical periodicals as I was back in the early eighties, though he started five years before me, and because he gave up clinical practice, was also writing for the major newspapers and producing books long after I eased off on that aspect of my career.

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Save the NHS

That slogan, together with “Stay Home,” has been dropped from England’s political messaging, but it’s an interesting one to focus on a little in the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 saga.

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Lockdowns, stable-doors, etc

This is really just recycling the work of others, but since such stuff gets little consistent press coverage, it’s worth pondering on the day when Boris Johnson is set to announce Lockdown v1.02. By all accounts this is more or less the same except for asking the airlines to function under a two-week visitor quarantine rule, and public transport to cover its costs with only 10% of its usual passenger numbers. The new normal, it seems, will have everybody walking and cycling to their old folk’s lunches. Who needs to leave the villages anyway, when the roads are in such disrepair because Road-tax dries up?

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The curse of care homes

Internationally much has been said in the last week about a wave of COVID-19 in care homes. My Canadian cousin said it showed how dangerous they are, though of course it just shows that they are full of the elderly, the main target group of SARS-CoV-2.

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Fie on your experiments!

The title is a (mis)quote I used back in 2011, here. I’m reminded of it by a typical headline in the Telegraph today: “Watch: Will Sweden’s coronavirus gamble pay off?”. But as a spokesman from Sweden said not too long ago, the real gamble – or unevidenced experiment, to be more precise – is being conducted by the other nations, including America and Britain. Sweden has just based its response on universal precedent.

Posted in History, Medicine, Politics and sociology, Science | 2 Comments

It’s the same the ‘ole world over…

It’s the poor wot gets the blame. I’m increasingly of the opinion that the “precautionary principle” that’s so prevalent in the current crisis, and in many other recent public applications of science, is a highly dangerous one.

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