Category: Coronavirus

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The Telegraph confirms Yorkshire Bylines story

Anthony Robinson

Ten days after Yorkshire Bylines published a story concerning the flawed computer code used by professor Neil Ferguson at Imperial College to model behavioural strategies for Covid-19, the Telegraph have written their own report: Modelling behind lockdown was an unreliable buggy mess, claim experts – essentially confirming the details. The Telegraph provides more expert evidence […]

Government U-turn in track and trace fiasco?

Juliet Lodge

The government seems yet again caught in trying to find its own makeshift solution for controlling the coronavirus pandemic. After abandoning the initial herd immunity strategy in favour of the World Health Organisation approach of test, trace and isolate that has seen much lower mortality wherever it was adopted, UK authorities seem on the brink […]

Our Plan to Fail: the UK Government’s Covid-19 relapse strategy

Helen Davidson

The government’s announcement of the publication of its 60-page strategy, Our Plan to Rebuild, for reopening the country, quickly turned a sensible and pragmatic approach to easing lockdown into an unnecessary scramble to rescue the government from another mess of its own making. Helen Davidson discusses how the indecent haste to implement the strategy coupled […]

Disagreement over schools reopening

Charlie McCarthy

With five working days left until schools are meant to reopen for nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children, doubts remain over their role in spreading the virus. This debate about children as vectors of the virus is becoming critical. Osama Rahman is director of analysis at the Department for Education (DfE) and chief […]

Testing the tests – false negatives and testing errors

Helen Davidson

Discussion about the number of tests completed each day continues unabated. In the meantime, the low rate of home testing kits being returned – and their error rate, which may be as high as 30 per cent – goes largely unreported. Based on accounts of people self-testing, Helen Davidson examines why the failure rate might […]

Trump launches Operation Warp Speed

Clarissa Leung

Fear “America first”, not Covid-19. “Don’t ask me, ask China” retorted the US President Donald Trump in a press conference on Monday after being challenged by Weijia Jiang, the Asian-American White House correspondent of CBS News, who questioned his “America leads the world in testing” statement and competitive approach to fighting Covid-19. In times of […]

“Boris is culling you” says Twitter

Hecate

Twitter’s verdict on steps to end the lockdown was swift and brutal. ‘Tory voters – at the next election – Stay home-Protect the NHS’. Matt Lucas summed up the ‘go out but not out out’ message as he mimicked the squeezed vowels typical of Johnson’s speech. Quips scoffed at “an entire cabinet of Graylings”, fiddling with the […]

The Cygnus Report on pandemic flu preparation – ignoring the advice

Dr Stella Perrott

Following publication of the number of care home deaths due to coronavirus, much media attention has focused on the government’s response to concerns raised in 2017 in the Exercise Cygnus report(published by the Guardian on 7 May 2020). The report highlighted potential difficulties for the care home sector in a flu pandemic. Stella Perrott considers […]

Computer model used to develop government Covid-19 strategy allegedly “unusable for scientific purposes”

Anthony Robinson

Explosive allegations have been made by a programming ‘expert’ that the underlying code of the program used by Imperial College in London to model population behaviour in response to different Covid-19 measures, was itself deeply flawed and regularly produced different outputs when given the same inputs. The work at Imperial, done under professor Neil Ferguson […]

Dilemma for early years practitioners when schools reopen

Dr Pam Jarvis

Vigorous discussion has now begun about how to organise the back to school process, with questions raised about full-time or part-time attendance, and which age groups are to return before others. One important concern that has not yet hit the headlines is the issuing of personal protective equipment (PPE) to those who work with very […]

PPE: the truth about your personal protection

Peter Robinson

The phrase ‘personal protective equipment’, or PPE, was unfamiliar to many before the current crisis. Builders wearing hard hats and high visibility vests were familiar, as were police officers wearing stab vests and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus. These sights are unlikely to raise comment. But now we see members of the public in gloves and […]

We need to discuss the way out of lockdown

Juliet Lodge

The Government’s reluctance to discuss an exit strategy from Covid-19 suggests it’s trying to hide something, yet again. The public is getting fidgety and wants to know what strategies might surface. But we also want to protect our loved ones and prevent the collapse of the NHS. It’s not unreasonable to expect that when these […]

Face masks: Government U-turn by public demand

Nigel Young

Prof. Nigel Young explores how public ethics are influencing government coronavirus policies. The Government’s justification for recent sudden policy changes has been the public’s demand for action. This appears to be their preferred option when the policy would potentially have been unpopular if enacted by decree. So, rather than ‘following the science’, the Premier League’s […]

Yorkshire’s mental health agencies respond to the Covid-19 crisis

Jimmy Andrex

Covid-19 doesn’t have to infect you to affect you. As the side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic begin to manifest themselves in the form of anxiety and stress, recognition is growing of the toll this is taking, particularly on key workers. Organisations in the NHS, public health and the third sector – that reeled like […]

Funerals: rituals and grief during the Covid-19 pandemic

Jimmy Andrex

Improvisation has replaced ritual for those whose job is to help us at times of grief. Locked down, we are robbed of our perspective. Some things become invisible. A few days ago outside a funeral directors in Wakefield, there was a sparse gathering, mainly dressed in black. They loitered: maintaining social distance, but unsure; their awkward body language […]

Coronavirus: is it becoming the Brexit argument continued by other means?

Anthony Robinson

Brexit continues to be the unseen thread that runs through everything happening in this country, even coronavirus. The pandemic has somehow become a proxy for Brexit and for some people it is the continuation of the European campaign by other means. Brexiteers are clearly worried about the impact Covid-19 might have on the government and […]

Chapel FM’s Shopping Forecast helps locals get their daily bread

Jimmy Andrex

How Seacroft’s Shopping Forecast is helping locals get their daily bread. Tesco Extra has plenty of everything today. Except flour. How do we know this? Because every day, Elliott Moon from East Leeds FM’s Keeping a Distance, Staying Close programme asks locals to text and phone in while they’re shopping. In fact, the other day, […]

Home education in a pandemic – how we de-schooled almost overnight

Charlie McCarthy

School’s out for summer – or is it out for longer? In the space of just one weekend we de-schooled our country. What does this mean for the future of education? In ‘De-schooling Society’ (1971) Ivan Illich, the philosopher critic of the institutions of modern culture, put forward a series of suggestions for learning for […]

Peers call for a public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 crisis

Dr Stella Perrott

Fifteen senior peers, including Chris Patten, Bob Kerslake and Helena Kennedy have written a letter to the Financial Times calling for a full public inquiry into the UK’s handing of the coronavirus crisis. They argue that the public but particularly “health and care professions, the medical science community and those who have lost loved ones […]

Does a Sheffield think tank have the remedy for the coronavirus crash?

Jimmy Andrex

Universal Basic Income. At last year’s G8 summit, those three words were the big story. They came from UBI proponent Rutger Bregman, whose Taxes! Taxes! Taxes! speech was all over social media. UBI is a simple idea. You address inequality and poverty by giving every adult free money, with no conditions. That’s it. Coronavirus has brought UBI […]

Green New Deal training event goes online in lockdown style

Jimmy Andrex

Lockdown. 2020’s word of the year. The word that sent us into a toilet-roll stockpiling frenzy. The word which has brought the entire world to a standstill (apart, it would seem, from football in Belarus). Lockdown, which began the week before the first national organising training of Green New Deal UK. One might expect a […]

Easter Bunny visits Wakefield foodbank

Louise Houghton

“Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean!” Ryunosuke Satoro (Japanese poet) What a strange Easter weekend we’ve all had. With everything that’s happening in the world today, it would be all too easy to focus on the constant stream of tragic stories, negativity and division. We could spend each day reporting our […]

The Bubonic Plague – lessons for the modern age

Dr Stella Perrott

In 1347, the bubonic plague swept through Europe arriving on the UK’s shores in 1348; possibly caused by marmot fleas which transferred to rats as it moved from Central Asia to Crimea in about 1343. A secondary strain, pneumonic plague was transmitted from human to human through infected droplets, much like the COVID-19 virus today. […]

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