Saturday, April 4, 2020

With a voice in London once again banging the "herd immunity" drum, the time has come for Nicola Sturgeon to follow Jacinda Ardern by loudly saying "no way, not EVER"

It's going to be a source of bafflement and embarrassment to SNP members for many years to come that the Scottish Government remained in lockstep with London during the period when Vallance and Whitty were quite openly planning to achieve 'herd immunity' by deliberately allowing 60%+ of the population to be infected - a crazy and immoral strategy that would have cost hundreds of thousands of UK lives, that wasn't seriously contemplated by more than a tiny handful of other countries, and that is considered so extreme that even Donald Trump eventually disavowed it. The charitable interpretation is that Nicola Sturgeon and her colleagues were only hearing the UK government's version of "the science" and therefore didn't realise how much of an outlier it was in international terms, how sharply it diverged from World Health Organization guidance, and how catastrophic the loss of human life would have been.

But there are no such excuses anymore. Anyone who has been paying attention over the last few weeks knows the score. So now that the UK government's "chief pandemic modeller" is suggesting that the lockdown should be lifted and that we should go back to allowing most of the population to be infected and put at risk of severe illness and death, we really do need Nicola Sturgeon to immediately knock this one politely and firmly on the head. We need to hear her echoing the words of Jacinda Ardern by saying that 'herd immunity' will never be acceptable to her or to any other Scot, and that the "Four Nations" approach will be immediately abandoned if London start flirting with it again.

The 'chief modeller' in question is not from the Imperial College team, incidentally - he's Graham Medley, the head of another team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who also advise the government. The language he uses is deeply disturbing - he effectively implies that the old should be sacrificed for the best interests of the young, which suggests that he knows full well that a biblical death toll would be unavoidable if he gets his wish. But of course the whole notion of generational sacrifice is bogus anyway, because we've seen large numbers of young people become seriously ill and dying. The two nurses that were mourned today were both in their thirties. The carnage that Medley wants to unleash would be no respecter of youth.

He suggests that people should be infected in the least deadly way possible - as if there's some kind of 'non-deadly' way to catch a virus with a death rate estimated as being as high as 1.4%. He rubbishes the idea that mass-testing might form the basis of an alternative exit strategy, simply because his mathematical modelling suggests that the virus will start spreading again as soon as lockdown is lifted - but that takes us straight back to the idiotic error that got us into this mess in the first place. During the early weeks of this year, the government were totally ignoring the real world experience in China and South Korea and were putting all their eggs in the basket of mathematical modelling instead. That led them to make two huge false assumptions - a) that the virus was much less deadly than it actually was, and b) that it was less controllable by means of testing and tracing than it actually was. South Korea has clearly demonstrated that the number of new cases can be kept persistently low by that method. It would be crazy to condemn hundreds of thousands to death without at least attempting that ourselves.

The message to the Scottish Government must be: don't even think about ending lockdown until there is a credible exit strategy in place that does not involve sitting back and allowing the majority of the population to be infected. Testing and tracing would inevitably be central to any such strategy.

61 comments:

  1. I think one of the challenges the Scottish Government had at the start of this is that they don't have the ability to fund people's wages and businesses (this is still a problem if they want to go against any future removal of UK lockdown). They also didn't have the legislative ability to enforce a lockdown, like they do now.

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  2. One thing is certain is that there is going to be a public enquiry once the dust settles. At the end of this all the high ranking politicians and public health officials from all 4 nations are going to be having to explain there actions and the reasoning behind it. There are going to be uncomfortable questions, herd immunity is not going to be one of them.

    Q) Did you consider 'herd immunity at the start of this crisis.

    A) Yes, early modelling showed that developing a herd immunity would be a way of combating the virus, however latter modelling showed that this would of caused an unacceptable number of deaths.

    Q) How comes the [UK/Scottish/Welsh/NI] Government were alone in perusing this strategy initially.

    A) That is not true, France and Holland initially went down the same route, Sweden continued with the strategy.

    Q) If you had dropped the idea of herd immunity why did you continue to have models produced for it

    A) We had models run for every scenario by various organisations constantly throughout the crisis. It important that the Government has a full range of data available. If there is any lesson to be learnt its that we did not do this early enough. If we had had used multiple models earlier on we could of seen that herd immunity was not a viable solution.

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    1. Hmmm. I think the questions are going to be quite a bit tougher than that. At the point Vallance and Whitty were openly talking about herd immunity, the modelling (even though it was based on assumptions that the Chinese experience showed to be wrong) suggested a reasonable worst case scenario of a 1% death rate and several hundred thousand deaths. Was that outcome considered totally unacceptable at the time? I can't recall any minister saying it was.

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    2. The next question in the inquiry would be: "Why wasn't there contingency planning for a worst case scenario in which herd immunity had to be abandoned because the mortality rate was too high? Why wasn't testing capacity increased as a precaution? Why did you put all your eggs in the basket of a scenario in which there would be a lower mortality rate and no need for any testing?"

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  3. Or close the border .. sturgeons doing the best she can under the current circumstances.. I also think Johnson's shambolic handling of the outbreak, has strengthened her hand to be granted a S30.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. You've got to be joking. Do you think a 'mild dose' of CV19 (read 'I'm hiding in my bunker while everyone else deals with my shit') is going to weaken his hand. Wake up, pal, wake up to Police State Britain 2020 :(

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    3. Neither Johnson nor Sturgeon want a sect 30.

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  4. Scotland (in lockdown):
    Population: 5.5 million.
    Number of coronavirus related deaths as of April 4th: 172.
    Percentage of population dying with coronavirus: .0031272%

    Sweden (not in lockdown)
    Population: 10.1 million.
    Number of coronavirus related deaths as of April 4th: 358
    Percentage of population dying with coronavirus: .0035445%

    You're the percentage guy, James. Do the maths.

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    1. That's a false comparison.

      It simply means that Sweden is where we were two weeks ago when we started the lockdown. Like we are currently two weeks behind Italy. The stage you are at on the exponential growth timeline is of key importance, since pre-lockdown you are looking at a doubling every three days.

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    2. The numbers neatly show how not locking down (Sweden) results in a much larger death rate earlier in the outbreak timeline.

      I'm continually surprised that even though the UK death rate has now accelerated to nearly 5000 fatalities per week (as of yesterday). This is still dismissed as 'hardly any', even though on current trends a total of 20,000 could be dead within a week. A year's seasonal flu deaths in a fortnight, and that's with lockdown.

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    3. Hopefully, we start to see the lockdown effects kick in soon, and death rate stops accelerating in the way it is.

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    4. As of today, fatality rate has now accelerated to ~5000 dead per week UK-wide, or 4956 to be precise.

      On a positive note, maybe a hint in both Scottish and UK data of the number of new cases per day starting to level off, even drop a touch.... Hopefully the lockdown effect showing up 2 weeks on.

      Fingers crossed.

      Sadly, the deaths will continue to play catch-up given the 2 week lag here.

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    5. Do we KNOW Sweden is now where Scotland was when the lockdown began? Because if both countries are at the same point in the cycle, the numbers speak volumes.

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    6. If they are at exactly the same point in the curve, then, as per your earlier numbers, Sweden has 13.3% more deaths per capita than Scotland, which we might attribute to the lower level of lockdown in the former.

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    7. Nearer 11.8%. However, 11.8% of a difference in numbers that infinitesimal (or even, for that matter, 13.3%) is a statistical tie. If the two countries ARE at the same point in the curve, then the Swedes should be collecting bodies off the streets with bulldozers, so either they're not at the same point, or the virus is nowhere near as dangerous as it's being hyped.

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    8. 0.0035445 is 1.133 x 0.0031272, or 13.3% higher. Or, if you like, 0.0035445 is 113.3% of 0.0031272, or 13.3% higher.

      Why would the swedes be piling up the bodies when Scotland is not? There is a delay of ~14 days from infection to death. We are now seeing this in the UK as the death rate accelerates rapidly. Is up to 5000/week in the rUK now.

      So if Sweden is on the same timeline as Scotland, we should be seeing a similar death rate. Sweden's is a little higher, as you demonstrated in your original post.

      The difference would be that over the coming few weeks, we'd see the lockdown effect start to show in Scotland, but less in Sweden.

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    9. Athanasius, I really think it would be a good idea for you to take a step back and ponder the absurdity of what you're saying. This is a virus that spreads easily when people are in close contact with each other. It will therefore spread faster in a country that practices less social distancing, such as Sweden. That's a statement of fact, not opinion, and it really doesn't call for any debate or discussion. The Swedish authorities themselves wouldn't dispute it. What Tegnell *does* argue is that *in the long run*, Sweden will end up with similar numbers to the countries that took stronger action at an earlier stage. He's almost certainly wrong about that, but it's a very different point from the one you're making. You're barking up the wrong tree.

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    10. You have to take into account the distribution of the population as well. The areas around Malmo, Gothenburg and Stockholm gave population densities of around 200 people per square kilometre but large swathes of the country has fewer than 10 people per square kilometre. Around 60% of the population live outwith urban areas where an urban area is defined as having a population of 50,000 plus.

      This population distribution may have been a factor in their calculations about imposing a lockdown. However, it only takes people including infected people from the cities to make for the countryside to blow a hole in that calculation.

      I am not sure I would be prepared to bet the house, or my life, on Sweden's approach.

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    11. .0031272 is 88.2% of .0035445. A difference of 11.8. But as I've said, when you're dealing with numbers that infinitesimally small, there is no statistical difference. As to James's point, it doesn't matter how fast or easily a virus travels if it's not particularly lethal, and we don't know that it is. We know a lot of people are dying, but a lot of people die every day. We know a lot are dying with the virus present, but that doesn't mean they're dying of the virus. They're not the same thing. Nobody is going to know if this thing is deadlier than seasonal flu until the quarterly death figures come out, and that won't be for months.

      In the meantime, we cannot continue to live like this. Ledgerwood thinks we can exchange liberty for security, but we all know what that transaction yields. Collapsing the economy is no answer, and it's not a question of money over people. The economy is what everyone lives in. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of dalits, "untouchables", sitting on the sides of Indian roads because of a collapsed economy. They have no money because they're day labourers. They literally live from day to day, and with business stopped, they have no way to earn. That's just the start of it.

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    12. Athanasius at 9.51pm
      ""Ledgerwood thinks we can exchange liberty for security, but we all know what that transaction yields""

      Where on earth did I say that? I wrote about the distribution of the population in Sweden not about the economy, liberty or security. Respond to what is written not what you think or imagine has been written.

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    13. If covid has a low death rate, how come it's killed 15 and counting in a single week at a Glasgow care home?

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    14. Seasonal flu kills ~17,000 / 1 year. That's 327 a week.

      Covid has claimed 3706 in the past week. That's an order of magnitude greater.

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  5. It will certainly be a source of embarrassment to the SNP but not bafflement.

    It should also be a source of shame for Britnats but it won't be because they are ignorant and don't do shame.

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  6. Just sent copy of this post to my SNP MP asking if she can give me any assurance that Scottish Govt will reject herd immunity.

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  7. BBC noting this:

    Across the four nations, the numbers break down as follows:

    Northern Ireland: 395 people tested per 100,000 of population (total 7,525 people tested)
    Scotland: 351 people tested per 100,000 (total 19,535 people tested)
    Wales: 330 people tested per 100,000 (total 10,543 people tested)
    England : 238 people tested per 100,000 (total 136,181 people tested)

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    1. and this is a bit unfair on the devolved nations as they are also a little behind on the timeline (certainly Scotland is).

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  8. New high for Scottish testing. Now 144 tests for every 100 in the rUK.

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  9. I think NS is trying to pave the way for a different strategy here - her briefing yesterday, even as reported on the BBC, clearly told us not to listen to the siren voices that will be calling from London. I don’t think she could have made it any clearer that we will be different.

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  10. The Labour Party, formed by working people has now been totally consumed by the British State. Its leader is now a Sir, a Knight of the realm.
    The Labour Party is now a party of the right.

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  11. Anonymous 3.55 pm.

    Im no sure labour have done much more than become what they were again pre corbyn. They were consumed by the brit state a long time ago.

    Same people who have always been in the party for a long time are now being lined up for jobs again by Sir Keir. Blair babe yvette cooper , and Rachael "i will be tougher on benefits then the tories" Reeve being apparently offered positions in the shadow cabinet.

    Labour have merely lurched back to were they were under Milliband.

    I cant see the pro european sir Keir Starmer making much headway in little England can you?

    Johnson and Cummings must be laughing their heads off .As others have said , you can just hear the ribbing johnson is going to give this blairte character in the commons about defying the will of the people( in England) over the eu.

    Talk about labour jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

    The most clueless, talentless, visionless party of our lifetime.

    Labour ; "lets win back power by offering eurosceptic England a pro european leader to vote for who has baggage in trying to thwart the english leaving the eu."

    "lets win back power in jockland by offering the daft jocks another blairite like jum kilt by an egg murphy"

    Was he no the last blairite who was going to take back the jock fiefdom and suffered humiliation on a grand scale?

    Unless the tories make an even bigger feck up of covid 19 than they are , it will take something of a biblical proportion miracle to take labour into power with that shower in charge.

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  12. Scenario: Scotland continues Lockdown and England, Wales and Northern Ireland DO NOT and they go back to work. Etc,. Where does Scotland get cash to continue paying wages, etc as UK Govt would say no were not bringing any cash forward to help,. Also Republic of Ireland would be implementing similar Lockdown criteria whilst Northern Ireland was free to work and play with a 128 mile open border to the south, which would undermine everything the south was trying to achieve. It's blatantly obvious the importance of Scottish independence and Irish unity at times like these, thus being an independent Scotland with full control of its own resources and finances COULD implement a lockdown and fund it itself and guard it's border if necessary during pandemic times and a united Ireland COULD implement the same measures from day 1

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    1. Scary scenario that even my teenage/20s children were starting to realise could be a thing as we discussed stuff today.

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  13. I'd always had the feeling the UK government would just try to continue their herd immunity strategy by stealth rather than give it up...so ignoring the EU system of getting respirators, not ordering them from UK suppliers who already make them, going slow on testing, all help with that (half-hidden) strategy.

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    1. So is it just, simply, the massacre of the poor, the weak and the vulnerable future cost base? The ultimate thatcherism?

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    2. It is odd. They didn't mind the damage Brexit would do to the economy but they worry about it now, more than about people's lives. Perhaps many of them were really that deluded over Brexit or maybe this emergency is also hitting the Financial market as well as the business economy so hurting the money men who thought they were going to be OK and even make some money out of leaving the EU.

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  14. Nicola Sturgeon has been perfectly clear that she will do whatever's required to save life, but there is a problem with that inasmuch as the Tories still rule because we're not an Independent country and if she pushes too hard they will overule her and they'll love doing it while they're putting names and labels on what she's doing wrong and quite possibly even remove her and the Scottish government using their snazzy new emergency powers to rule the world with

    In 2014 Scotland voted to remain a colony of England so don't go blaming the current encumbent of FMs office on something she hasn't the power to control because the people F....d it up, because if you're going to do that you might as well switch stright over to Wings over Bath and his screwy mate Craig Murray or is it David Icke who'd blame the current FM for bread going mouldy to further their cause of the great subversion

    Oh btw send me money to my bank in England so I can keep up the good work of conning the arses out of gullible people in Scotland

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    1. The Scottish government is clearly doing better than the UK one over this ... but that is a very low bar. For instance, one thing that could have been done is a lot more testing - extra money from UK government not required for that, we could afford it. Yes we did better at testing but a lot, lot more is required.

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    2. Happy to blame you for being an idiot.

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  15. Keep sane, keep logic, we are all in a coronaviras lockdown, this is self isolation, it is voluntary, advisory only, and is still keeping our liberty, while we save lives, the police, police by consent of the public, be aware of any laws being slipped under the radar, be aware of emergency powers in and under the governments umbrella, be aware of climate change laws that take away your freedom of movement, while we’re all busy looking the other way. Be aware that economies are in financial trouble the world over and Scotland will be no different.
    We need to be alert and wide awake while we are at home resting.
    OT why is Bill Gates looking so chuffed and pleased with himself in every interview over Coronavirus, He is grinning like a cat with all the cream. Now a normal person would act with empathy and sympathy for the thousands of people dying.

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    1. Perhaps because he, Bill Gates, foretold all of what is happening now in a TED lecture in 2015?

      Perhaps because he knows that via the Foundation he, Bill Gates and his wife set up, they have given billions to combat poverty and ill health in developing countries and continue to do so during this pandemic?

      Perhaps he, Bill Gates, just has an unfortunate facial expression that in no way reflects the seriousness that lies behind that expression?

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  16. I don't know about anyone else, but the more unionists drag out the Salmond thing, the more convinced I become that he's been totally set up.

    I believe that's quite the opposite outcome to what they're trying to achieve.

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    1. To be honest with all that's going on most of the time i forget about the trial (it seems such a long time ago) until i see a nationalist tweeting/blogging about it.

      I get that they are concerned about the fact they think that members of the Scot Gov/SNP conspired to frame Salmond and that the Scot police wasted time and resources to try and find evidence against him, but this a matter for a public enquiry to investigate which obviously is not going to happen any time soon.

      As you say they are dragging things out and the more they go on the more i'm convinced that members of the SNP /Scot Gov are corrupt.

      I believe that's quite the opposite outcome to what they're trying to achieve.

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    2. Not sure what you mean. I understand the complaints primarily came from British civil servants (civil service in Scotland being an arm of the British civil service, with it's head chosen by London).

      Also, all the articles I've seen are from unionist papers.

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    3. For example, Leslie Evans - who pushed the holyrood probe - is the highest ranking British UK union civil servant in Scotland. She was hand picked by top ranking unionists in London for the job, and spends much of her time there with her bosses. She may be assigned to Sturgeon, but her boss is Westminster.

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    4. I don't like it, but am realistic in understanding that devolved parliaments are a branch of the UK government / civil service. It might have a wee saltire outside and contain some nationalist MSPs, but Holyrood is a British unionist institution filled with paid up unionist civil servants. Any corruption is British corruption.

      Until such time as Scotland as independent. Then it would be just plain old Scottish.

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    5. And of course there are quite a lot of corrupt British unionists in the SNP. Some straight up careerists now that Labour is screwed, but others just plain old, paid up infiltrators.

      This is colonial politics 101 stuff. I'm just surprised it took so long for the classic sex scandal take down attempt on Salmond. I guess 2011 just caught them off guard and they didn't really believe it would be so close. Now that Yes is 50/50, so unionist panic has them throwing everything at it.

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  17. The Unionists don't care whether the former FM was guilty or not, that doesn't matter, what's important is that they use his name in everything they say in the press and TV leaving the impression they want to create *no smoke without fire*
    Those who defend the former FM are behaving just as badly if not more so, they called for the names of these women to be released as perjurers and liars till eventually a name or two began to slip which is always inevitable, now they're screaming their collective heads off defending the womens rights to anonymity

    At the end of the day neither side cares about the truth they scream for the reason to have a cause so the cause becomes more important than the original topic because the cause gets them recognition which is the whole basis of that well known webshite that pretends to be about Independence, but it's not, it's about recognition of who's the most righteous and honestest and important

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  18. While I totally agree with the attacks on Calderwood for not following her own rules, how come unionists are not saying Charles 'should step down / his position as prince and heir to the throne is untenable in the circumstances'? He did something much worse as he knew he had it.

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    1. Tell you one thing, though - I bet you a tenner if the CMO had a penis he'd have had his jotters by now.

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  19. Scottish testing now 51% greater than the rUK. 151 tests in Scotland for 100 in the rUK. It's really shot up the past few days here to new highs.

    While the very low number of new deaths in Scotland today is welcome, I won't get too excited. Most likely just a bit of a blip.

    However the number of new cases identified per day has stopped increasing, and the number of new cases identified per tests taken is now falling. Some hope there we are seeing the lockdown effect now.

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  20. Yea the deaths are due to probelms with 7 day reporting:
    In announcing the latest coronavirus figures, with two more deaths taking the tally of hospital deaths in Scotland to 220, Nicola Sturgeon said they should "not be taken as representative of events over this weekend".

    The first minister noted that the reporting system for deaths is not fully up and running seven days a week and that she expects the figures reported today, and on Monday, to be "artificially low".

    "These figures will be reconciled on Tuesday and Wednesday

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  21. Starting to really worry about Sturgeon. With Calderwoods 'mistake', and the Salmond case, is Sturgeon surrounded by woke females, or has the British state totally surrounded her?
    Is she a plant herself?
    I can't believe i'm actually thinking this way!
    Juteman.

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  22. Big Eater From PerthApril 5, 2020 at 6:06 PM

    I fully intend to stage a one-man barbecue on the outskirts of Dunkeld, using ostrich meat to make a point.

    Can anyone advise me on the legality of this?

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    1. The goosestepping Nazis at Police Scotland wont like it and you arent high enough up the food chain to get away with it. Now if your name was Charles Windsor they might even let you shoot the Ostriches.

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  23. The bank has cancelled my Sky subscription. And now Sky won't help because I'm not vulnerable enough.

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  24. Big Eater From PerthApril 5, 2020 at 7:09 PM

    The Powers That Be have begun to move against me in order to silence my distinctive voice:

    https://twitter.com/berthanpete45?lang=en

    I appeal for your support!

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  25. Johnson admitted to hospital due to persistent coronavirus symptoms.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52177125

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  26. So, back to testing:
    GPs and other frontline staff now have enough direct experience of C-19 patients and symptoms to mean that they can, in best Dr Finlay fashion, visit and observe and diagnose. Nevertheless, those of my aquaintence are preferred to test the visibly and aurally detected C-19 patients and secure a poritive test result. For what though? Data alone? Nothing that I can see is then done with that test result that could not have been done by means of a GP report sent up the line to the ministry of truth. Recording seems to be all - so, no tracing and thus no real benefit from the testing?
    Someone prove me wrong? ( no lot you, ms Calderwood ex CMO)

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  27. I’m in my bed, you’re in yours. One of us is obviously in the wrong place. Click here and Check me out i am getting naked here ;)

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