90 Year Old Woman Receives First Covid Jab

But why are we forcing our nation’s most vulnerable to run a gauntlet of disease to receive a potentially lifesaving vaccine?

The UK’s health system has significant access issues.  It is also entering the winter period during a pandemic.  And the NHS can’t cope with seasonal flu numbers even in a normal year.  It remains to be seen how the winter flu season coupled with Covid will impact NHS Trusts performance.  Firstly, on the positive side, there are indications that the incidences of flu are significantly lower than in previous years.  The fact remains that even with lower flu rates, NHS hospitals will be struck by their annual winter crisis overlaid by the pandemic.

The government has decided that the best way to distribute the new Covid-19 vaccine is to hand it to an already overstressed, and in some cases dysfunctional system.  Descriptions of the planned distribution indicate it will revolve around patients having to access large hard to access NHS Hospitals.   To complicate matters, the Pfizer vaccine requires recipients to take a second jab 30 days later to be effective.  

We still have not fully calculated the impact that Covid has had on patients when care was denied or delayed.  There is reporting suggesting that waits are conservatively being pushed much further than a year.  We may never know the real number of deaths caused by delayed diagnosis and treatment. As it is hard to capture undiagnosed people who never entered the system.   

What we do know is that the UK routinely scores at the bottom of measured cancer survivorship. Even before the pandemic began.  In 2019 when compared against six comparable national health systems, the NHS was last. The main reason the UK languishes at the bottom of performance charts for cancer survivorship is access to diagnostics.  

Long waits for scans from machines that typically reside in large NHS hospitals are killing patients.  When the impact of Covid is finally measured, many thousands will have lost their lives. Many from not being able to access simple diagnostics.  This will also apply to the millions who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. The disruption of just administering a jab is not what the struggling NHS needs.  Even if it delays one person’s scan, who then goes on to die, it should be seen as one too many.  The reality is that it will most likely impact thousands.  

This approach also relies on the struggling NHS ambulance service. Transport those who can’t make it on their own to the place where they will receive the vaccine. This, at a time when isolation from potential exposure to the virus is the most effective way of preserving life.  Picking recipients up with others at risk in enclosed vehicles. Then transporting them to places riddled with disease and the virus itself, is inviting infection.  It’s exactly the best way to spread it to the elderly.

On the face of it, it makes sense to take people to hospitals. Use already scheduled appointments as a way of distributing the vaccine quickly.  The reality is much different; The NHS will have to re-task staff to administer the jab. Allocate space in already crowded hospitals containing potential super spreaders.  It is by far the best way to distribute the vaccine for the NHS.  And there’s the problem.  Transporting the elderly from relatively safe nursing and private homes into bug-riddled facilities is precisely the wrong thing for patients.  Requiring them to congregate in small vehicles with others is again, the wrong thing for elderly patients.  It is a recipe for disaster.  

The explanations for the current vaccine delivery will revolve around the NHS knowing who requires the vaccine.  An insistence they have the medical facilities needed to safely administer jabs. And the logistical capability in the form of NHS ambulances to transport patients.  The NHS has the necessary cold chain equipment to store the highly volatile vaccine.  All true.  The reality?  During the winter, as the NHS itself admits, the service tips into crisis.  This year’s predictions are for catastrophic impacts on patient access and care.  That includes the poorly performing ambulance trusts.  Relying on an ‘in crisis’ institution to deliver the most important inoculation programme in 100 years is folly.  By its own admission, the NHS can’t provide care this winter for many who should have access to its services.  

The NHS’s growing dysfunctionality has forced a 20% increase in NHS patients turning to the private sector for care. They pay out-of-pocket to access orthopaedic, gynaecology and ophthalmology surgeries as the NHS queues only continue to balloon.  Average cost is on average £12,000. Admittedly, we have a long tradition of stepping outside failing state services to access quality.  That is certainly so with our willingness to pay taxes and send our children to very expensive private schools.  There is a difference between a middle-aged couple gainfully employed choosing to send their children to a private school. And a pensioner who has contributed their entire life to the NHS, paying to restore their ability to walk or see.

The NHS solution centers around its already overwhelmed infrastructure.  Requires the patient to take the risk.  The government should have thought this through out of the proverbial box.  Injections are not rocket science.  With the changes by the MRHA allowing allied health professions not in the NHS to administer jabs. There now exists a deep pool of health professionals to draw from.  The cold storage of the vaccine at -70c is technically challenging. But that issue must have already been resolved by the companies who deliver the vaccine to hospitals.  So, if cold storage is mobile the rest of the delivery supply chain is easily transported.  Why didn’t we work from a position of protecting the patients and targeted distribution?

By taking the vaccine to patients. We free up the already struggling NHS to take care of those they are currently unable to. Or at the very least, not let care slip for even more patients.  We de-risk the exposure of the vulnerable to the virus. Cut out the need to use unreliable, overcrowded ambulances from the process.  As stated, this is not a complicated problem requiring the use of specialized medical facilities, or even doctors’ surgeries. Vaccines for children are given in schools.  There isn’t any reason other than the storage requirement that this vaccine can’t be administered from mobile clinics.

An immediate rethink needs to occur around the future delivery of the vaccine.  Possible solutions may involve the armed services, private sector, or even practices of physiotherapists as fast, safe, and unencumbered providers.  Taking a patient’s exposure from multiple people in high-risk in crisis facilities to one person in a safe setting. Be it their room in a nursing home or a socially distancing compliant mobile clinic, should be a priority. We must take the vaccine to patients and not require them to potentially put their lives at risk to accommodate an overwhelmed NHS. 



Brexit For Our Time!

Knife to a Gunfight

Johnson has always fancied himself as a modern-day Churchill. The last-minute “deal” on Brexit was more reminiscent of Chamberlain. Another Sir, Sean Connery, once famously said, “never bring a knife to a gunfight”. In some respects, we didn’t even have a knife. Claims that the EU was “mean”, and didn’t deal in “good faith” fails to acknowledge that the EU’s first duty is to secure the best deal possible for the single market. The right thing for our government to have done was to have taken the same attitude towards our negotiating stance. Instead, we lept out of the bed completely naked, screaming divorce.

Another issue is the EU doesn’t trust us. They would have loved to keep us in the Union. They expressed this wish by handing us the best deal out of any members. Was it mean when we went to Brussels year after year complaining and asking for more? Or, was it looking after our interests? The EU saw it as dealing in bad faith. It seems they were excellent students.

What Deal Did We Get?

We don’t really know, is the truth. Much of what is to come has not been settled. We did get a deal for fisherman. In fact, that’s about all Boris could point to in his news conference. That and the laws we wouldn’t have to bow to. Unless we want to trade with the EU. He left that bit out.

Johnson’s promise to have a non-tariff border was a lie, much like the £350 million for the NHS. Those were his two big promises. Neither were true. Does anyone remember that? Other than fishermen, we did secure tariff-based trade for manufacturing. Those businesses are busy trying to conform to the new reality. Yes, I said tariff-based trade. The added paperwork and cost is substantial and may make many uncompetitive. We have already experienced the queues brought about by delays at the channel. Just in time supply chains are a thing of the past for now, and that will also have a negative impact on British manufacturers.

The government brings up fish a lot. Even that wasn’t an overall success. In five years we may well be back to fish wars. Remember those? A return to the good old days, you know, blackouts, the IMF bailout, and strikes. Can’t wait.

We do have a deal most of which is undefined. Little like a mortgage with a payment amount to be determined at some point by the bank.

What About the 80%?

Johnson and his barrow boys have yet to mention what’s going to happen to the majority of our economy, services. We are a service-based economy. They are too busy selling day-old fish. Fish accounts for less than 1%, although you would have thought we all owned boats.

The largest contributor by far to GDP is financial services. They are currently in limbo. The firms based solely in the UK are. Those with offices in Europe are downsizing UK operations and expanding in places like Frankfurt and Paris.

Any chance the EU will cry foul for us? Stop International firms moving people and money to Europe? Yeah right. No, the reverse. In the same way, we took advantage of the single market to make London an international finance hub, the single market countries who have long wanted a piece of London’s action will be hard at work building empires off our back. They have already moved trillions of pounds in assets out of the UK.

He’s Behind You!

It’s probably fitting that a Brexit deal appeared during the Pantomime season. They have all the same elements. A feckless arrogant character who can’t seem to keep up with his nemesis requiring help from the audience. In our case the audience failed to participate.

We are where we are, an idealistic mess punctuated by throwing our toys out of the pram. The EU didn’t hand us a bad deal; we created it ourselves and the government owns the results. That’s why they are spinning hard pointing to fish and ignoring elephants.

Brexit Was Always Going to Be An Idealistic Train Wreck – But Now It’s Even Worse

Fail to plan, well you know the rest

Brexit was always a macabre comedy. We have stumbled from one blunder to another. Applied smoke and mirrors during negotiations because we lacked any defendable position. Used the word unfair a lot. Gone to Brussells with threats and returned with absolutely nothing. The EU actually have a defensible negotiating stance. Unfair to be that prepared. wouldn’t you say? If it wasn’t going to be hard enough clawing our way from under the rubble of failed negotiations, we now have been deeply layered by manure. It’s a Covid addition. You can argue we weren’t to know, but that’s the problem with crap plans. They’re, well crap.

This morning the government announced crisis talks to avoid pre Christmas food shortages. Merry Christmas and a happy Brexit might complete the announcement.

No Food and Possibly Vaccine

The new strain has worried mainland Europe to the extent that they have effectively closed not only personal travel but trading routes. The ones which carry just in time food for our shops. It was timely for the government to tell food stores to stock up. Let’s hope they listened.

Not only are we locked down in our homes, bubbles burst, but we may also be facing food shortages. And a lot of other stuff for that matter. Germany has put these new measures in place until the end of January. Belgium and France are still deciding the length of their embargo. The vaccine comes from Belgium. Where’s that? Greasy spoon outside Calais?

Needless to say, it looks like this will stretch past our decree absolute with our former partner the EU. It was always going to be a challenge to sort out how something as dysfunctional as the no-deal Brexit would work. Let’s inject a little reality into the picture; it wasn’t ever going to work. There are many in the train’s first-class carriage slamming down lashings of Port who don’t want it too. They most likely have their wish, we will proceed from chaos to complete shambles in one move.

If incompetent politicians weren’t enough

We are not in a good place. The Brexiteers who told us a little pain was necessary to get to nirvana and a trade deal with Equatorial Guinea, are about to perform surgery without anaesthesia. It’s probably a good thing we aren’t having people round for Christmas. We wouldn’t be able to feed them.

History tells us that ideologies are dangerous. Only they would think that executing on no plan during a pandemic was good for the country. Not to mention trying to deliver a flawed plan in a perfect environment. It was already highly likely we would feel that good Brexit pain in 2021 and lots of it. Given the current state of our borders, that’s guaranteed and there may be much worse to follow.

At The Present Rate of Inoculation – It will Take At least 14 Years To Complete the Task

Number of Inoculations in a Week Heralded

The government announced this week that they had administered 138,000 Covid vaccinations in one week. To be fair, they are just getting started so that number should move up. The US Centres for Disease Control by comparison, is projecting 7 to 10 million people receiving the vaccine. Taken on its face. The UK rate of 138,000 compared to the US is pathetic. The media loves to compare raw data and ignore population size difference, so let’s be fairer. If we agree that the US population is roughly 5 times that of the UK, our rate of inoculation adjusted for the US population would be 685,000 per week. Roughly one-twelfth of the US rate. At our current rate of inoculation, it will take 14 years to administer a two-part Pfizer jab.

The Math

Let’s define our variables. Total UK population is 68 million. Roughly 16 million Brits are 17 or younger. That group will not initially receive the vaccine. Which leaves us with 52 million people who need the vaccine. Again, let’s keep this simple. It will take 377 weeks to administer fully the first of two inoculations needed for the Pfizer vaccine if it is to be effective.

If we translate that to years? More than seven to administer the first half of the Pfizer vaccine to the entire population. 14 years to complete the task. Let’s say the University of Oxford’s one-part vaccine is approved. Currently, there has been little news surrounding where it might stand other than positive sound bites from the company. For argument’s sake, let’s say it does. People will only need one jab, and let’s also assume we are able to quadruple our jabs per week. We are down to 94 weeks to complete inoculating everyone above the age of 17. Just shy of two years.

Hold on I hear people say. What about all those Pfizer folks that have already had a jab? They haven’t gone away. In fact, those who need the second jab will be at the front of the queue. It’s reasonable to assume it could take a month or two to work through that backlog if the Oxford vaccine became available today. Without a 30-day booster, the recipients of the first Pfizer jab start all over again. Either way, they are still in the count.

The Reality

It is unlikely that the NHS will have the internal capability to significantly increase the rate of patient flow related to administering the jab in the near term. They have few options that would allow that to happen which don’t require putting others in their care lives at risk. The NHS could do a number of things to free up capability to administer more jabs. They can ignore those presenting at A&E. They could cancel needed operations. Delay diagnostics for potential cancer patients and others with life-threatening conditions. There is any number of variables. All of them translates into pain, suffering and potential death for those they should be caring for.

In another post, I outlined a very effective way to administer the vaccine and free up the NHS to care for the patients who need it. If we don’t address this problem now, it is very likely we will still be talking about ways to get out from under the pandemic a year from now. Also, thousands will die needlessly, businesses will continue to close and we will have buried ourselves in a mountain of personal and national debt.

The Future?

The elephant in the room is how long will the jab be good for? Even scientists don’t know the answer to that question. What if we have to start all over again in six months?

Hilarious article about Jill Biden’s Ed D.

The head exploding faux incredulity over Mrs Biden’s inappropriate use of an honorific has hit fever pitch.

There is little doubt the elites who are complaining most. Were most likely sniping about the use of Jill’s Dr over gin and tonics before the conservative media’s incoming fire.

Great read from NR

Jill Biden’s Doctorate Is Garbage Because Her Dissertation Is Garbage

Remedies For China’s Role In The Pandemic | From the Hoover Institution

The more we learn about the origins of the coronavirus, the more the case against China grows. Chinese doctors and scientists encountered COVID-19 patients as early as November 2019, but Beijing suppressed their efforts to research the virus and warn the world. While the emergence of vaccines holds hope for an end to the pandemic, the campaign to hold China to account,
— Read on www.hoover.org/research/remedies-chinas-role-pandemic

Tap Your Brexit Slippers Together Three Times and Get a Covid Test?

Covid Tests and NHS Access Say it All

Covid tests are a distilled Brexit reality. Want to get a Covid test in Croatia? €70 back in 12 Hours. Italy? €80, back in 24 hours. Florida that bastion of people dying in the street due to private healthcare? Free. Result in 12 hours. The UK, free at the point of use healthcare? £275, back in 36 hours, if you’re lucky. Want to see? have a cataract? 2-year wait on the NHS. Wink and a nod between you and your NHS doctor. Do it tomorrow in the private hospital for £3000. Can’t walk, need a new Knee? 2 years plus NHS wait. Jump the queue for £12,000 in your local NHS hospital. Free at the point of use if you have a couple of years to be invalid. Burden on the family or you enjoy pain. But remember, it’s free at the point of use. Covid tests are the petri dish of what’s to come. Overpriced, incompetent delivery and a complete lack of customer service with little choice.

What About Brexit?

Anyone remember the seventies? Supermarket shelves were almost empty? Choice? Nonexistent. If you holiday in France or Spain, you will know that quality, choice and price all trump UK food stores. Not to mention other retailers. This week the government told stores to stockpile food. We’ve got the EU right where we want them! Anyone want to guess why? What will change at the end of this month to make the situation any better? Apparently a “Canada style arrangement”. What the hell does that mean? It’s not as far fetched as the “Australian Arrangement” though. Both ignore the first rule in trade. Keep it local. Trading with Subsaharan countries or being allowed to stay 90 days in Switzerland is fluff. They’re blowing smoke. Welcome to the third world where idealistic platitudes substitute for reality.

It’s a good guess the green and pleasant land we were promised never really existed. Instead, we will be regressing towards the days when we had to beg the IMF to financially bail us out. The reason we joined the single market in the first place. If you can’t go forward, why not head to the worst situation we found ourselves in over the last 100 years. Makes sense. Might want to try cigarette burns to extremities. That will show them. The old story of I hit him in the knee with my face.

Where do we go From here?

Now that we are hell-bent on regressing back to the future. Ignoring the fact we have been a far more financially vibrant and successful country since joining the single market. Where do we go from here? Cliff, lemmings comes to mind. We’re heading towards a precipice we have no idea as to its severity. How far we fall. If we are lucky, not much. Brexiteers tell us the pain will be worth it. For how long? Don’t be so daft. Stupid question remoaner. Just jump off the cliff and shut your mouth.

Why ask a simple question like, “How will this impact my family?” Close your eyes and believe, moron………………….

Brazilian Health Regulator Says Chinese Authorities Have Not Been Transparent About Covid-19 Vaccine

The move is a blow to China’s vaccine diplomacy efforts which have seen one of its vaccines getting approved for use in Bahrain and the UAE.

Source: Brazilian Health Regulator Says Chinese Authorities Have Not Been Transparent About Covid-19 Vaccine

Has News of Hunter’s Criminal Investigation Ripped the Bandaid Off an Already Festering Wound

Joe Biden’s team announced earlier this week that his son has been the target of a Department of Justice criminal investigation into his taxes. Most media outlets, having now decided to cover the 4-month-old story, are reporting it is even broader than taxes and is potentially looking at money laundering.

As discussed in a previous article, the timing of the press flood gate activation is intriguing on a number of levels. Only two months ago those same news platforms were branding any suggestion that Hunter was in some way tainted by any of the “fake news”, as Russian disinformation. Credibility will have been flung from newsroom’s open windows. Hypocrisy’s shrill whistle will drown out any protestations that they were merely keeping an election fair. The most important question is why now?

It’s a fair assumption that the incoming Harris administration has no more use for the aging Biden. They will most certainly see him as a potential road bump to a smooth rollout of a folder full of new policy and Executive Orders. They may also see a continued association with Biden and through him, his son, as severely damaging going forward, requiring a swift separation.

The old but new again Hunter investigation will certainly lead to the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. If appointed, Biden would fire a prosecutor at his peril. Not to mention the many public statements supporting the position when it was aimed at Trump. If one was appointed, the investigation would be a slow drip of revelations and ultimately court appearances by Hunter and potentially Joe Biden’s brother. As with Trump, coverage of the administration’s successes will be drowned out by negative unrelenting newsflow. With the Trump exit, CNN and the others will have to fill the void if they are to survive. If Biden is hoping they will continue to cover for him, its a huge roll of the dice.

If you can remember back to the beginning of this year; Trump was impeached for calling for an investigation of Hunter Biden. In light of this weeks revelations, it would appear warranted. It also calls into question the partisan vote to impeach Trump, the weak evidence produced at the hearings before the vote predicated on Hunter having done nothing wrong.

We may see calls for Joe to resign even before his inauguration from the Democrats. If he does leave office in the first 100 days, that will rightly call into question the legitimacy of the US election. Not to mention it may irreparably damage both the media and Democratic Party. The majority of Democrats are still middle of the road. Trump may have convinced them to ignore the loony left and vote to get the irritant out of office. When the Trump vacuum is filled with news of Biden corruption and policies which lurch the party to the left, we may well see a reaction by the centre and left of centre Democrats not too dissimilar to the Trump affect.

The other problem Biden has is that unlike Obama’s entrance to the Presidency where he had 70% approval nationally, Biden’s hovers around 50% and that was before the Hunter revelations. Starting from a deficit and standing under a thunderstorm is not an enviable position.

Biden’s Foreign Policy Team Will Be Firmly Fixated on China – The UK Will be Lucky to Get a Mention

There are two things that give us a clear indication of a Biden Administration’s focus on both trade and substantive foreign relationships. One historical and the other is taking form as I write. Historically, the Obama/Biden government focused on China as a worthy trade partner and currently, Biden’s China centric appointments to his foreign policy and trade team. Neither should give Europe or the post-Brexit UK any comfort.

As Vice President, Biden focused on China. He made multiple trips to Beijing. He frequently referred to these during his presidential campaign as being one of his core strengths in repairing the relationship with China, trampled on by Trump with tariffs and continued rhetoric painting China as an adversary.

The new Biden team is very pro-China. It consists of several former executives from American big tech who view the EU as a declining and increasingly regulatorily hostile environment.   China is the real prize for global tech players.   Presenting itself as sensible around regulations and market constraints, and the promise of exponential growth.

There is also the disparity in population.  Europe’s 385 million, after the UK’s departure, is less than a third of China’s 1.4 billion.  Britain’s 65 million one-twentieth the size.  Faced with spending time with a declining EU and a relatively small British market, Biden will most likely choose to allocate resources where he can get the most bang for the buck.  His focus on China will also be sharpened by the hundreds of millions that flowed into his campaign from US companies stroking Chinese market growth plans.  They will be looking for a return. 

There are the stories in the 70’s during the early stages of the common market, when American negotiators would take meetings with the then 250-million-person Europeans. Promising to pick up with the UK off the back of those meetings.  They never took place.  It may well be the turn of the EU to find that the excitement of a new market with significant growth opportunities will place them firmly outside a closed door.   The UK should be wondering if we will even be in the building.

Several articles have painted the President-Elect as a pragmatist.  If correct, Air Force One will be on the ground in Beijing early January.  

Brexit Ends as It Begun – In Chaos

From the day a stunned Boris Johnson took the stage to proclaim Brexit was a reality, to today, we have fought an uphill EU exit battle utilising our ill-advised negotiating position of the victim.  That indefensible stance has led to failure and a last-ditch attempt to find common ground, over a dinner, that collapsed into the French Onion Soup.  Was there a splash?  We may never know.  

The UK has always been on the back foot from the day we voted to leave the EU.  As Sir Sean Connery once famously said, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.  Unfortunately, we didn’t even have a knife, plan, leverage, or any of the other necessary components needed to complete a successful negotiation.  Claiming the other side is ‘unfair’ plays to those bent over the table, but not to those causing the bending.  So, we entered the most important negotiation of our modern era, completely unprepared, and have never recovered ground.  

What did we expect to happen?  We had slapped the collective European States in the face by saying we didn’t want to play anymore and expected they would nod their heads agreeably and immediately launch an effort, regardless of how painful it would be to the EU, to assist us out the door.  For our part, we would point out all the things we didn’t like about the common market and expect them to not apply to us on exit.  “We don’t want to abide by your regulations any longer”, ignoring that all other non-EU nations selling goods and services into the common market must comply with EU regulations and requirements if they are to gain access.

Most in Europe don’t understand the UK decision and many average citizens have taken it personally.  We callously dismiss these feelings to our detriment.  This body of 250 million customers of UK goods and services may decide buying EU is an appropriate way to answer a UK snub.  Our intolerance of Europe will most likely manifest itself in intolerance of us.  The government loves to tout the world is our oyster scenario where we replace the EU market with others more lucrative.  Trade is best practised with those closest to you within efficient and fluid supply chains.  Bear in mind the EU is the world’s largest single market.

If we were the world’s supplier of cuddly toys and offshored assemblers of high-end phones, that would be a different story, but we are not.  Our manufacturing industries have disappeared, and what we are left with is primarily services.  Services require connectivity and trust.  When we bust out of the EU, we will alienate almost 50% of our international trade, £294 billion.  Are EU competitors going to be hounding their governments to repair this break?  No, they will be too busy filling the gap.  There is a high likelihood much of the £294 billion will never be recaptured.  The election of Joe Biden has also cast significant doubt on a US trade deal with the new administration.  Biden is a strong supporter of the EU and has far stronger relationships with EU members than he does with Britain.  It is questionable that he will tarnish his EU ties by fast tracking a UK deal.  That leaves the World Trade Organisation, formed to allow third world countries access to first world markets.  The sophisticated services offering of the UK are not the items Ghana or other emerging markets routinely put in their shopping basket.  Australia?  Fantastic ties as a Commonwealth member, but significant cost implications due to distance even in this era of Zoom calls.  Filling even half of the £294 billion gap is challenging to say the least.  To secure any meaningful restoration of trade lost requires Europe.        

As the saying goes, we are where we are.  That said we need to start treating EU like the customers they will become at the end of this month, and recognise that replacing the EU market is not going to happen and that we need them more than they need us to be successful.