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Last week proved to be another emotive and passionate one in the House of Commons with regard to coronavirus and Brexit.

This post concerns coronavirus.

On Monday, September 14, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Rule of Six, which he announced on September 9, came into effect. It sounds rather Chinese.

It means that people living in England cannot meet in groups of greater than six, indoors or outdoors. If we do, according to him, we ‘will be breaking the law’.

He also introduced a new platoon to keep us in line: COVID marshals, to remind us of existing coronavirus rules in England — ‘hands, face, space’.

Recall that Boris said after the December 2019 election that we now have the People’s Government. Hmm.

The UK government is copying a Belgian idea. The Rule of Six reduced their second spike.

Increasingly, Britons have been looking back at Sweden, which refused to lock down. Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. Chris Whitty is our Chief Medical Officer; in May, he said that coronavirus was harmless for most people and most of us would never get it:

Michael Gove MP, a Cabinet minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, made matters worse when he confirmed that under-12s were part of the Rule of Six, unlike in Scotland and Wales, where under-12s are not. With life getting back to normal as school has started again, this came as a blow to many families:

The Telegraph reported that the Cabinet was split on the proposals (emphases mine):

… one senior Tory source said that “half the Cabinet” had doubts about the so-called ‘rule of six’, and it was “pretty hard to find a Conservative member of Parliament who agrees with all of this”.

The COVID marshals are also a problem for police and local councils:

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson’s plan for coronavirus marshals to help enforce the six-person rule was unraveling as police derided them as “Covid Wombles” and councils said they were a “gimmick”.

Downing Street admitted councils would not be given any money to pay for the marshals, suggesting volunteers could do the job, and said it would be up to individual local authorities to decide whether they actually wanted them.

It got worse, as curfews were mooted:

The Government has discussed going even further with new lockdown restrictions, and has drawn up “a well-developed proposal” for a nationwide curfew which was discussed at ministerial level.

My head spun.

Then the ministerial snitch crowd appeared on weekend news programmes to say that people must tell on their neighbours if they are seen to be violating the Rule of Six:

Political journalist Isabel Oakeshott rightly responded:

I couldn’t agree more. This is supposed to be the People’s Government, isn’t it?

History will not look kindly on 2020 with regard to the measures taken to combat the virus:

I was wrong.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said that people should not even talk when they see friends in the street, even at a distance (audio here, thanks to Guido Fawkes, and there’s video, too):

Yebbut, if you DO report what appears to be criminal activity, allegedly, the police do not want to know. Here is a printscreen of a set of comments on a Guido Fawkes thread. I call your attention to the last two. Police would rather pick on mums and their children. Ironically, that was posted on the anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Go figure.

A mild-mannered man from Buckingham called talkRADIO to say he would not comply with the Rule of Six because the Government had gone too far.

So did a lady from Brighton, saying that the Rule of Six was about:

control. They’re trying to see how much they can get away with.

Another talkRADIO host, Julia Hartley-Brewer, had a go at Roy Lilley, former NHS Trust chairman. She said:

We are being scared into thinking we have to give up our civil liberties when that won’t save lives. Being sensible will save lives.

The Telegraph‘s Salley Vickers wrote of the restrictions on her and her loved ones:

I would rather risk dying and have the joy of their company than lose that vital contribution to my own happiness.

With the festive season only several weeks away, the Daily Mail‘s Peter Hitchens told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham that the Rule of Six has:

made Christmas an arrestable offence.

Another Daily Mail journalist, Bel Mooney, wrote an editorial for Conservative Woman saying that she was surprised at the amount of resistance she received when she wrote that she would be defying the Rule of Six at Christmas:

in response to Matt Hancock’s sudden, arbitrary and illogical ‘rule of six’ diktat, I wrote a strong opinion piece (at the request of my newspaper) headlined ‘NO, NO, NO! I’m having Christmas for 14 – and no puffed-up Covid marshal will stop me’.

As you might expect, there was a huge response. I never look online, and am not on Twitter (I expect there was a lot of poison swilling around out there). I am talking about emails to me and the newspaper. What interested me was the fact that, if I am to be honest, the antis outnumbered the prosI didn’t expect that from Mail readers.

You can never tell with Mail readers, though. They’re a tricky lot.

Oxford University’s Professor Carl Heneghan and honorary research fellow Tom Jefferson wrote an article for The Spectator against the Rule of Six, saying that Boris must bin it:

At Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, we have spent years trawling through the scientific evidence on the effects of measures such as distancing on respiratory viral spread. We are not aware of any study pointing to the number six. If it’s made up, why not five or seven?

Northern Ireland has taken a more measured approach and not announced any changes to how many people can meet. These disagreements in policy reveal how decisions are being made without evidence. It seems that somebody in government sat in a cabinet office room and said six is a good idea and nobody disagreed

The problems with policy stem from the current cabinet’s vast inexperience: the Health Secretary has been in post for just over two years now; the PM and the Chief Medical Officer a year. The Joint Biosecurity Centre is overseen by a senior spy who monitors the spread of coronavirus and suppresses new outbreaks. Add to this mix the new chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, who similarly has little or no background in healthcare. Our leaders amount to little more than a Dad’s Army of highly paid individuals with little or no experience of the job at hand.

This inexperience leads to rash decisions and arbitrary policies.

One example is that entire areas can be locked down if they have 50 cases per 100,000 people. Yet the recognised alert threshold for ‘regular’ acute respiratory infections is 400 cases per 100,000.

Lord Sumption, who has been speaking out against lockdown this year, said that the Rule of Six will be unenforceable. I hope he is right:

Tom Tugendhat (Tunbridge and Malling, Con) expressed his concerns about the new rule and rightly wanted MPs to vote on it and similar measures:

It’s unlikely that the House of Lords can help, either. They already have a full schedule. We should thank Lord Lamont for raising the issue of consulting the public, however. ‘SI’ means ‘statutory instrument’:

Monday, September 14

Behind the scenes and well outside of Parliament, an email emerged dated May 23, wherein Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance stated he had pushed the most for March’s lockdown:

Guido Fawkes has the full text of the email. I am not sure how Sir Patrick thinks that a vaccine will achieve herd immunity, though.

In the first of the debates on the Brexit-related Internal Market Bill, Charles Walker MP (Broxbourne, Con) prefaced his comments by expressing his dismay about the Rule of Six, the lack of consultation with Parliament and the fining of Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers at the anti-lockdown rally on Saturday, September 12.

Thank you, Charles Walker:

This is short and well worth watching:

Tuesday, September 15

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock poled up to make a statement to MPs about the Rule of Six and testing.

Excerpts follow:

There are signs that the number of cases in care homes and the number of hospitalisations is starting to rise again, so last week we acted quickly, putting in place new measures—the rule of six, which came into force yesterday. We do not do this lightly, but the cost of doing nothing is much greater.

Testing also has a vital part to play. Everyone in this House knows that we are doing more testing per head of population than almost any other major nation, and I can tell the House that we have now carried out over 20 million tests for coronavirus in this country. As we expand capacity further, we are working round the clock to make sure that everyone who needs a test can get a test. The vast majority of people who use our testing service get a test that is close to home, and the average distance travelled to a test site is now just 5.8 miles —down from 6.4 miles last week; but the whole House knows that there are operational challenges, and we are working hard to fix them.

We have seen a sharp rise in people coming forward for a test, including those who are not eligible.

Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South, Lab/Co-op), speaking for the opposition, said:

I am grateful for advance sight of the Secretary of State’s answer. That was decent of him.

Yesterday LBC revealed that there were no tests available in covid hotspots, including Rochdale, Pendle and Bradford. Over the weekend in Bolton, where infections are the highest in the country, a mobile testing centre failed to turn up. Meanwhile, in Bury hundreds queued for five hours for a test. In Walsall, a father with his sick child travelled 76 miles to an appointment in Wales, only to find on arrival that tests had run out. Increasing numbers of teachers and pupils are not in school. In hospitals, operations are cancelled while NHS staff are stuck in limbo, waiting for tests.

The Secretary of State blames increased demand, but when tracing consistently fails to reach 80% of contacts, when less than 20% of those with symptoms self-isolate properly and there is a lack of financial security, infections rise. When schools reopen and people return to workplaces and social distancing becomes harder, infections rise. Extra demand on the system was inevitable. Why did he not use the summer to significantly expand NHS lab capacity and fix contact tracing?

Just as demand is increasing, the ability to process tests is diminishing. Post-graduate students working in the Lighthouse labs are returning to university, so why did the Secretary of State not plan for the inevitable staff shortages in the Lighthouse labs? Those commercial pillar 2 labs, The Sunday Times revealed at the weekend, have a huge backlog of 185,000 tests. Thursday’s data revealed that 65,709 test results were not returned by the end of the week. Care home residents now wait an average of 83 hours for their result. The Prime Minister promised us a 24-hour turnaround for results, so what is going on? What is the current backlog and what is the timeframe for clearing it?

We were promised a world-beating system, so why are we sending tests to Germany and Italy for processing? But, most importantly, people want to know when they will get a test and when this mess will be fixed. Today there will be thousands of ill people trying to book a test, only to be told none is available. When will people be able to book a test online again, or has the online booking system been deliberately disabled? When will ill people no longer have to travel hundreds of miles for a test that should be available on their doorstep? When will pupils and teachers out of school get access to testing, so they can get back to school? When will NHS staff have access to regular testing, so they can focus on their patients and not be sitting at home?

We are at a perilous moment. Imperial College estimates the virus is doubling every seven to eight days. We all want to avoid further restrictions or another national lockdown, but when testing and contact tracing break down, the growth of the virus cannot be tracked. The Prime Minister promised us whack-a-mole, but instead his mallet is broken. The Secretary of State is losing control of the virus; he needs to fix testing now.

Many MPs — from both Opposition and Conservative benches — said that their constituents could not get tests.

Even the Speaker of the House tweeted that his constituents were having similar problems:

The testing situation is shocking — as Terry-Thomas used to say in the Boulting Brothers films: ‘An absolute shower!’

On the upside, the British coronavirus jobs situation is improving, thank goodness (more from Guido here):

Wednesday, September 16

Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner (Ashton-under-Lyne) stood at the Opposition despatch box for Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), as Sir Keir Starmer was self-isolating:

She did a good job.

She began by saying:

Many people in the Chamber will think that the battle of Britain is today, but actually we marked the 80th anniversary of those veterans yesterday, and I want to put on record our thanks to all those who fought for our country in the past.

I want to start by reading to the Prime Minister a message that I have received from a man called Keir. Keir was not able to go to work today and his children could not go to school because his family had to wait for their coronavirus test results, despite the Prime Minister’s promise of results within 24 hours. Keir was able to do the right thing and self-isolate and work from home, but other people are not in this position, and many of them are the very people who were getting us through this crisis, such as the care workers, who I used to work alongside before I was elected to this House. The Prime Minister once earned £2,300 an hour; can he tell us the average hourly rate of a care worker in this country?

Boris was singularly unimpressed, although he had a neutral expression on his face, even when discussing Starmer:

I congratulate the hon. Lady on her elevation. She speaks of the constituent Keir, and I can tell her that—allegedly, apparently—he has had a negative test, and I do not know quite why he is not here. But 89% of those who have in-person tests get them the next day, and we are working very fast to turn around all the test requests that we get. I think that most people looking at the record of this country in delivering tests across the nation will see that that compares extremely well with any other European country. We have conducted more testing than any other European country, and that is why we are able to deliver tests and results in 80% of cases where we know the contacts.

The hon. Lady asks about care homes, and I can tell the House that today we are launching the winter care home action plan. She is right to raise the issue of care homes, and we are concerned about infection rates in care homes, but we will do everything we can to ensure that care homes and their workers are protected.

On the hon. Lady’s final point, I am proud that it is this Government who have instituted the national living wage to ensure that every worker in this country, including care home workers, is paid substantially more, thanks to the care and the work of the people of this country.

Boris listened attentively and responded sensitively to all the points that Angela Rayner raised until this point, which came several minutes in, when she said:

Infections are rising. The testing system is collapsing. When you are the Prime Minister, you cannot keep trying to blame other people for your own incompetence. We have the highest death toll in Europe, and we are on course for one of the worst recessions in the developed world. This winter, we are staring down the barrel of a second wave, with no plan for the looming crisis. People cannot say goodbye to their loved ones. Grandparents cannot see their grandchildren. Frontline staff cannot get the tests that they need. And what was the top priority for the covid war Cabinet this weekend? Restoring grouse shooting.

I suppose that is good news for people like the Prime Minister’s friend who paid for a luxury Christmas getaway to a Caribbean island and funded his leadership campaign, and just so happens to own two grouse moor estates. So Prime Minister, is this really your top priority?

The Prime Minister answered:

While the Labour Opposition have been consistently carping from the sidelines throughout this crisis and raising, frankly, issues that are tangential, if not scare stories about what is going on, we are getting on with delivering for the British public. We are not only massively ramping up. She has not contested any of my statistics today about the extent to which this country is now testing more than any other European country.

She has not disputed the massive acceleration in our programme. [Interruption.] I will answer the substance of her question, thank you very much. We are getting on with delivering on the priorities of the British people: getting us through this covid crisis; delivering on making our country safer, bringing forward measures to stop the early release of dangerous sexual and violent offenders, which I hope she will support; strengthening our Union, which in principle Opposition Front Benchers should support; and building more homes across this country and more affordable homes across this country, which she should support. That is in addition to recruiting more doctors and more nurses, and building more hospitals.

I do not think anybody is in any doubt that this Government are facing some of the most difficult dilemmas that any modern Government have had to face, but every day we are helping to solve them, thanks to the massive common sense of the British people, who are getting on with delivering our programme and our fight against coronavirus. It is with the common sense of the British people that we will succeed, and build back better and stronger than ever before.

If only.

That day, news of an upcoming curfew in London emerged.

Apparently, the British people don’t have much common sense, after all.

Currently, London has some of the fewest new coronavirus cases (i.e. positive tests, little hospitalisation):

Guido rightly wrote (emphases in the original here):

If this afternoon’s splash from the Evening Standard is true, it is a step too far. The London director of Public Health England (yes, the organisation is still limping on for now, despite the Health Secretary announcing its abolition back in August) has issued a “curfew alert” to the capital through the newspaper, saying residents could face a mandatory curfew if Covid cases continue to rise. A ridiculous suggestion that should be forcefully opposed.

Shutting pubs, bars, restaurants, and just about everything else at an arbitrary hour will obviously do nothing to stop the spread of coronavirus. If anything, the move will be counter-productive – compressing the same number of customers into a shorter time and making social distancing harder still. Or pushing social gatherings into homes not bars, which are thought to be more likely to spread the virus. This no doubt ineffective PHE [Public Health England] nannying should have been dumped when the organisation was. The government need to remember there is a limit to people’s compliance. This might just hit it.

As I write early on Tuesday, September 22, Boris is planning to bring in an England-wide curfew for pubs and restaurants on Thursday. As if the virus will know the difference between a 10 p.m. closing time versus the usual one of 11 p.m. The mind boggles.

Thursday, September 17

Matt Hancock appeared again with another update on coronavirus.

This time, it was about measures taken on lockdown in the North East of England. This includes strict adherence to household bubbles, table service only in hospitality venues and a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.:

Once again, he was straining every sinew, an expression he has been using since March:

The battle against coronavirus is not over, and while we strain every sinew to spring free of its clutches, with winter on the horizon we must prepare, bolster our defences and come together once again against this common foe.

Then he announced upcoming plans to make everyone using A&E (Accident and Emergency) departments to make a booking! Good grief:

… we are working to get patients the right care in the right place, by expanding the role of NHS 111. During the peak of this pandemic, we saw millions of people using NHS 111, on the phone or online, to get the best possible advice on coronavirus, helping them to stay safe and, where possible, to stay out of hospital, where they could have unknowingly spread the virus. It is crucial that, ahead of winter, we use this window of opportunity to seek out what worked and build on it, so we provide a better service for patients and protect the NHS. Of course, no one will ever be turned away from our emergency departments in the most serious of cases; however, we have worked with the royal colleges, the NHS and others to develop a better, quicker and more clinically appropriate service for patients by using NHS 111 first.

This is how it works. We will invest £24 million to increase call-handling capacity and to make sure there are more clinicians on hand to provide expert advice and guidance, and we will build on our trials to make NHS 111 a gateway to the emergency care system, providing a first port of call for patients. In future, rather than having to queue in an emergency ward, we are testing that people should call NHS 111 first to book an appointment with whoever can give them the most appropriate care, whether it is a GP, a specialist consultant, a pharmacist, a nurse or community services. Of course if they need to go to the emergency department, NHS 111 will be able to book them into an appropriate time slot. We want to see this approach lead to shorter waiting times and better availability of appointments for patients. We will consult on how its performance is best measured, and, with successful pilots, we will roll out NHS 111 First to all trusts from December.

This is the bit that galled me the most:

The purpose of 111 First is to improve access, including in terms of inequalities in the NHS, by ensuring that people get the right treatment in the right place and easier access if they do need to go to an emergency department, because the emergency department will know that they are coming. It is commonplace now in almost every part of our life to let people know that we are coming. If we are going to do something as important as visit an emergency department, it will help both the patient seeking treatment and the NHS to let them know that they are coming first. That is the principle behind 111 First. It sits alongside 999, which anybody should call in a serious incident.

‘People’s government’, my eye.

Nor is the NHS the people’s health service.

If you have a serious injury, you or your loved ones could be losing life- or limb-saving time by calling 111 or 999.

Based on what I read during the March lockdown, calling 111 was life-threatening. Children calling on behalf of elderly parents were told, ‘If your relative is not turning blue, do the best you can.’

Calling the ambulance service on 999 generally produced this result: ‘We’re overloaded. If you can take your relative to hospital yourself, please do so.’

Over the past few months, I have heard NHS senior executives give testimony to Select Committees. They do not want patients coming in to a hospital, to a GP surgery — anywhere on NHS property.

An absolute shower!

Speaking of absolute showers, Baroness Harding — Dido Harding, a former jockey and failed business consultant/corporate director — gave testimony to a Select Committee, the Commons Science and Technology Committee, led by Greg Clark MP (Tunbridge Wells, Con).

Wow. It was car-crash television on BBC Parliament.

Baroness Harding is, inexplicably, the director of NHS Test and Trace programme.

Greg Clark is no slouch. He pressed and pressed the same question. Did she not anticipate the increase of demand for tests after lockdown lifted?

Finally, she gave the answer.

The Independent reported:

Demand for coronavirus tests is three to four times the number available, the director of NHS test and trace has admitted.

Baroness Dido Harding, who told MPs there was capacity to carry out 242,817 tests a day, said the “sizeable” rise in demand had been unexpected.

Boris Johnson has pledged to raise capacity to 500,000 by next month – but Baroness Harding’s estimates suggest that even that figure would not be enough to satisfy demand.

Even then:

despite images of queues outside Covid-19 drive-in centres, the testing tsar said: “I strongly refute that the system is failing.”

She put the blame on SAGE …

Baroness Harding insisted current capacity had been based on modelling provided by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and suggested that around a quarter of those seeking tests did not have symptoms.

… and the testing laboratories:

Quizzed by the committee chair and former Tory minister Greg Clark on the current issues in the system, she said that the “constraint” in the testing was in processing and laboratories.

On Friday, Sir Jeremy Farrar, a SAGE member and director of the Wellcome Trust, hit back.

The Telegraph reported:

Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust, who sits on the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said the body had given “clear advice” that a fully functioning test, track and trace system should be in place

Responding to her comments on social media, Sir Jeremy said he had personally warned that a growing testing crisis was looming.

“Interesting to be blaming Sage,” he wrote on Twitter. “Has been clear, and in the advice, that the UK faced an inevitable increase in community transmission and cases after the summer and needed a fully functional and trusted test, track and trace in place.”

Sir Jeremy posted his comments from a BBC interview with Andrew Marr in June, in which he warned of a “nasty rebound” if steps were not taken to improve testing. He also re-posted an article from May in which he warned that lifting restrictions was difficult even with a fully working testing programme in operation.

The testing crisis deepened on Friday when it emerged that children at four out of five schools are staying at home because they cannot get a test

This coronavirus business will only get worse. Watch and wait.

Part 2 concerns the Brexit-related Internal Market Bill.

My posts over the past two days have been about coronavirus testing: problems with false positives from PCR tests and why some countries have had lower infection rates than most others.

The key to understanding both lies in the high number of cycles that many countries use in their PCR (swab) tests.

This Twitter thread explains the issue in detail. You might need to click on the images to see them in full. They will open automatically in a new tab:

Much of the current panic about the uptick in coronavirus cases could be because some countries are using too high a cycle threshold:

Not only are we getting incorrect ‘case’ numbers but those who have had false positives are being prevented from going about their business. Read the anecdotes in the sixth tweet:

Our leaders need to re-examine how our PCR tests are being conducted:

Will this coronavirus chaos ever stop?

For many, the cure is worse than the disease.

End of series

By now, everyone knows my thoughts on coronavirus.

Every day brings stranger news, especially for children.

This is what schools will look like when pupils return to class in Pinellas County, Florida, home to Clearwater on the west coast of the state. I don’t blame the administrators, because they are only following state guidelines. Nevertheless, this is just wrong in so many ways, even if teachers are the ones who wear masks, not the pupils:

How dehumanising and sad for children to be at the mercy of public health officials — and notional ‘science’.

What bets that we look back at this in ten or 20 years time and say, ‘What were we thinking?!’

I also wonder what the extended effect of these policies will have on more vulnerable children.

I hope they are only temporary and not in place by 2021.

There is a possibility that we will not have a vaccine for COVID-19.

It’s disappearing too quickly:

For those who have co-morbidities, a case of COVID-19 may prove fatal or leave lasting physical damage, especially to the lungs.

While coronavirus cannot be dismissed outright as not being serious, Texas statistics show that there have been far fewer COVID-19 deaths in the state than there have been from influenza. A physician, Dr Andrew Bostom, put together death figures for the two:

COVID-19 also does not affect children as much as flu or pneumonia:

This is why the Trump administration — as is the UK government — is encouraging the reopening of schools this autumn:

I understand the fear about the possibility of children carrying coronavirus home with them from public transport or an adult in the school.

In England, we had only one school closure since lockdown began. The children of essential workers and those who were under supervision by social workers were allowed to continue going to school. On June 1, all English children were strongly encouraged to return to school to finish term, which ended in July.

Here is the school near Bristol that closed in the middle of May:

The BBC reported that the school, for pupils with special needs, did not have measures in place making it COVID-19 safe. As a result, two teachers contracted the virus.

The closure was temporary, and everyone was tested for the virus.

Therefore, it is better to reopen schools than to keep them closed. The damage done in terms of falling behind academically can be hard to reverse. Children are also much safer in school than at home, especially when home is a dysfunctional environment.

On Friday, I posted about bogus coronavirus test results in Florida.

Now spurious test results are showing up in Texas:

On July 16, 2020, the Washington Examiner reported (emphases mine):

“probable” cases for people who were never tested were counted as confirmed.

“Since we report confirmed cases on our dashboard, we have removed 3,484 previously reported probable cases from the statewide and Bexar County totals,” Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the state health agency, said to the Austin American-Statesman.

In May, Dr Deborah Birx, who appeared with President Trump and Dr Anthony Fauci in America’s coronavirus briefings, ‘suggested’ that:

the actual number of coronavirus cases could be inflated by as much as 25% …

Steve Eagar, news anchor for Fox 4 in Dallas posted a Twitter thread about the discrepancies in Texas:

I’m glad this is seeing the light of day.

When you start putting together the various pieces of the coronavirus crisis puzzle, little makes sense.

These replies to Steve Eagar’s tweets illustrate the strangeness of this ‘crisis’:

Moving on to California, which is under a new lockdown encompassing most of the state, here are a few insights:

With regard to California’s state schools, it appears as if funding will be withdrawn if schools continue to stay open. The autumn term does not sound promising. This article has a screenshot of a comment from an anonymous Orange County school board member, who says, in part:

… based on the actions of the Governor, we are FORCED to do distance learning for the first semester, I fear he will try to push to the end of the calendar year. If we simply ignore, we have been told our funds will be cut … 

The article concludes with this observation, another illustration of the madness surrounding this ‘crisis’:

Got it? Gavin Newsom – release felons, make it impossible to protect yourself, shut Churches and School down completely.

Thanks to SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts who tried to split the baby refusing to assert the rights of Churches to operate – his cowardice is enabling people like Gavin Newsom to run amok. The other four Liberals we expected to rule against religious and academic freedom.

Meantime? Gavin’s kids get to go to school.

That’s because they attend a private country day school.

The stench surrounding coronavirus reeks more every day.

If you live in the United States, there’s only one solution: move to South Dakota. They had no lockdown, no masks and few coronavirus deaths:

Do I need to add that Kristi Noem is Republican?

In case anyone missed them, here are Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this series about the British public’s suspicion over the continuing coronavirus lockdown.

The June protests vexed Britons who were trying to do the right thing: staying at home and social distancing when outdoors.

All of a sudden, that flew out the window. Protesters had pride of place, yet, the rest of us still had to obey the social distancing guidelines.

That rankled, especially as we had been told we were selfish because we wanted to hug our loved ones who didn’t live with us. Think of grandparents and grandchildren.

What about people who just needed to get outdoors in the fresh air by themselves?

What about children who longed to see their friends? This former barrister and co-editor of Conservative Woman nails it:

And what about the people who freaked out over a very limited reopening of schools on Monday, June 1?

What about the average law-abiding person?

Yes, those people are ‘the problem’. We are made to feel guilty through no fault of our own.

The frustrating hypocrisy of it all:

Then we had Piers Morgan taking issue with Boris’s top adviser for trying to care for his little boy and with Labour MP Barry Gardiner for attending the demonstrations. Yet, Piers applauded his own son for taking part in the protests:

But I digress.

There was no social distancing during the protests. In fact, some police officers in London were assaulted.

However, even though Health Secretary Matt Hancock advised that the rules be kept in place over the weekend of June 6 and 7:

… the lack of social distancing was acceptable:

It was for a cause.

Health ‘experts’ said so — 1,200 of them, in fact:

Tucker Carlson had an excellent editorial on this on Friday, June 5. Anyone complaining about social distancing and protests is ‘the problem’, not the protesters and rioters. Well worth a watch. You could not make this up:

But what about the people told to leave London parks because they were sunbathing by themselves? What about Piers Corbyn who was arrested twice for advocating against lockdown? Where were the Metropolitan Police during the protests? On hand, but either taking a knee or standing by doing nothing:

Boris didn’t do anything, either. We have a Home Secretary. He could have got in touch with her.

This is what he issued on Saturday, June 6, the day of yet another protest in London over an American who died on home soil in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

‘The evils of fascism’. Don’t make me laugh, Prime Minister.

Things were no better in Northern Ireland …

… or Scotland, where thousands were expected to attend a protest on Glasgow Green:

The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, was a bit slow on the riots. Didn’t he know that American cities were being destroyed and shops across the country looted? President Trump never stopped peaceful assembly:

Anyway, there is some good news in all of this. More people in the public eye have noticed that continuing lockdown in the UK is a bad idea:

Unfortunately, a number of ‘senior figures’ from the NHS do not see it that way, primarily because of the close proximity of protesters in early June. That is not the fault of the British public and is likely to make them even angrier. They were not among the protesters. They are eager to get back to work.

In fact, said ‘senior figures’ will probably make the British public all the more suspicious about the protests. Were they timed to prevent lifting of lockdown? We’ll never know.

In any event, this concludes this series with a few key points to keep in mind:

It’s going to be a long, hot, tense summer here in the UK.

Last week, I saw another tweet on this topic elsewhere last week and thought it was a joke.

Unfortunately, it’s true:

The Christian Institute has the story: ‘Kids as young as 11 told to define hardcore porn for homework’.

The assignment was given at the Church of England’s Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull. Church of England schools largely follow state curriculum (emphases mine):

Eleven to 14-year-olds at Archbishop Sentamu Academy were told to define topics including hardcore and transsexual pornography.

Local mother Mrs Taylor called the PSHE homework “completely inappropriate”, saying her eleven-year-old daughter does not need to know “things that would destroy her mind”.

Mrs Taylor said: “She was only in primary school last year living her best life, now she is being asked to search for hardcore pornography”.

She added: “Now it’s making me think what they are learning about at school that we don’t know about. We only know about this because they’re home learning.”

Coronavirus lockdown accomplished something on the home front, it seems.

A young man whose sister attends the academy said that she, too, received the same homework:

Leon Dagon, whose 13-year-old sister also attends the school, saw the homework and took to Facebook to warn parents.

He said: “Luckily I found the work otherwise she would have typed this stuff into Google and you know what would have come up and that makes me feel sick. I felt sick thinking she was going to go onto the computer to search it up.”

Well done to Mrs Taylor and Mr Dagon.

The academy tried to downplay it:

The Academy has apologised “unreservedly” for any offence caused, claiming that students were not expected to search the terms online but instead use the materials provided.

Sure.

They didn’t think that students of that age would investigate further?

What numpties.

A local vicar agrees with that assessment:

Revd Melvin Tinker, Vicar of St John Newland in Hull, told The Christian Institute: “It was naïve in the extreme to think that children wouldn’t use the internet to look up these terms.”

He continued: “The Principal has promised to ensure all materials are fully age appropriate. What does that mean? When is ‘hardcore pornography’ an age-appropriate topic for school-children at all? The answer, of course, is that it is not.”

Revd Tinker added: “The Academy needs to stop listening to the self-appointed ‘experts’ at the Sex Education Forum and start paying a lot more attention to local parents, to the wellbeing of the children and to its legal duties.”

You can hear what he has to say in the following video, which is just under three minutes long:

He says that the lessons were not required by law, even though the academy seemed to imply that, in his estimation.

While Church of England schools are required to provide lessons on relationships, pornography lessons are not included in the guidance.

Mr Tinker says that C of E schools need to pay less attention to the Sex Education Forum and more to their legal and ethical duties towards students.

Absolutely.

Like France and other European countries, the UK is now advocating wearing face masks during the coronavirus pandemic, especially on public transport.

This Daily Mail article explores what is reopening in England and adds (emphases mine):

Firms will be told they must provide staff with face masks to be worn at work, on public transport and when shopping. But wearing face coverings will not be compulsory

Thank goodness for that.

Metro had more:

The Government is now advising ‘that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops.’ The advice continues: ‘Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances. Face-coverings are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically.’

Note that a ‘face-covering’ is not the same as a surgical mask or respirators used as part of PPE, and the advice stands that such equipment should be reserved for those who need it. Face-coverings should not be used for anyone under the age of two, or on those who may struggle to manage them correctly. People are urged to always wash their hands before putting them on and taking them off.

What a palaver!

This is what schools in Asia look like today, reminiscent of a 1970s film with John Travolta:

One thought did cross my mind about the barriers, so I was happy to see someone on Twitter mention it:

However, masks, including homemade face coverings, are not a good idea. The same goes for making them mandatory.

This woman yells that she cannot breathe with it. The mask is around her neck as she and her small child are apprehended by police somewhere in the United States:

The same Twitter user posted a two-part video, allegedly from a nurse, who explains in layman’s terms why masks do more harm than good in healthy people. In short, most hospital masks — which is why there has been a shortage of the correct ones during the pandemic — are there to keep bacteria from travelling. A bacterium is much larger than a virus droplet, therefore, wearing ordinary hospital masks for COVID-19 are useless, especially if you are healthy:

Ann Barnhardt’s website has more in ‘**UPDATED WITH TESTIMONY OF A FIREMAN** FACE MASKS ARE GENUINELY, SCIENTIFICALLY USELESS: Multiple RNs check in’. Don’t miss the photo of the man wearing an adhesive sanitary towel!

Excerpts follow.

A nurse wrote to Ann Barnhardt to say (emphases in the original, those in purple mine):

Hello Ann,

I listened to your Podcast Episode #110. Wonderful as always, and strengthens my resolve and fight. Thank you. One thing I don’t think people know about masking is that when we don a mask if we have any virus we breathe it back inside over and over again increasing viral load and weakening our own immunity, so we get sicker, which seems to be the point.

I’m an RN, graduated 2002 from (major, redacted) school of nursing. When i started my career as an ER nurse, one requirement was TB mask fitting. They fit a duck bill mask to your face and put a plastic cylinder with a vent opening over your head and sprayed a concentrated sucrose mist.  If you could taste just a bit of sweetness through mask, you were at risk for contracting TB. So again, what the hell are cloth or surgical masks gonna do?… umm make ourselves sick – that’s it. Any honest doctor/nurse/scientist/virologist knows this mask thing is bullshit.

God bless Ann keep it up. Thank you.

Another nurse wrote in to corroborate the first nurse’s comment. The second nurse says, in part:

Bottom line – if it isn’t fit tested then there’s no guarantee that the “viral particles” are being filtered out. So this mask wearing that we are all “required” to do is…..wait for it….BEE ESS.

I laugh when I see the general public wearing N95s they bought at Home Depot. Unless you fit test it (an N95), you have no idea if it’s actually “working”.🙄

It’s all a mind game.

The fireman said, in part:

Having conducted countless N95 quantitative tests for medics on base when I was still in the military, I can echo that not being fit tested for an N95 pretty much renders it useless.

The proper fit varies from person to person not only by size of the mask, but by brand. So you can’t just say you need a medium, but a medium in brand X. So optimally, your employer would have to buy the right size and right brand for each employee that they attained an acceptable fit factor in. Good luck with that. N95’s are probably the hardest masks to get a proper fit on.

This is all smoke and mirrors.

On masks, Barnhardt concludes:

And remember, folks, this ONLY applies to N95-level masks. Putting a few ridiculous layers of gauze, or even more ridiculously, FASHION FABRIC (I’ve even seen DENIM – that’s just going to give you elevated Carbon Dioxide levels – absolutely STUPID. Carbon Dioxide inhalation is a common method of stunning hogs at slaughter) serves ABSOLUTELY NO PURPOSE WHATSOEVER EXCEPT to signal TOTAL SUBMISSION TO THE LIE and to THE TOTALITARIAN REGIME.

It isn’t a “sanitary barrier.” It doesn’t block viruses, and certainly not this common cold virus. COLD VIRUSES CANNOT BE CONTAINED ANY MORE THAN MANKIND CAN AFFECT THE GLOBAL WEATHER. Such a contention is PURE, HUBRISTIC, LYING BULLSHIT.

Regarding the pandemic regulations in general, she rightly thinks these can damage susceptible children (red used in the original):

Finally, let me just put out there the call for one and all to sit in stillness and think about the intense psycho-spiritual damage that is being done to CHILDREN with each passing day that this facemask psy-op goes on.  How many children are now deeply terrified of OTHER HUMAN BEINGS in se, because of this, with the mask being a visible, frightening vector of this terror?

How many children are right now, as we speak, telling themselves internally, in simple, childish terms that they themselves could not yet articulate, but feel with tremendous force, that OTHER PEOPLE ARE SOMETHING BAD, AND THAT TO LOVE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING IS SOMETHING BAD THAT THEY MUST NEVER DO? Because other human beings are dangerous and will hurt you if you get anywhere near them.

Agreed. The unknown psychological damage right now could end up being terribly manifest in the months ahead.

Let’s now go to Technocracy, which has an article with quotes from Dr Russell Blaylock, a physician: ‘Blaylock: Face Masks Pose Serious Risks To The Healthy’. It is scientific, with medical terms and health conditions described the way they would be in medical school.

Blaylock notes America’s Center for Disease Control’s about-face with regard to masks (emphases mine):

As for the scientific support for the use of face mask, a recent careful examination of the literature, in which 17 of the best studies were analyzed, concluded that, “ None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.”Keep in mind, no studies have been done to demonstrate that either a cloth mask or the N95 mask has any effect on transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Any recommendations, therefore, have to be based on studies of influenza virus transmission. And, as you have seen, there is no conclusive evidence of their efficiency in controlling flu virus transmission.

It is also instructive to know that until recently, the CDC did not recommend wearing a face mask or covering of any kind, unless a person was known to be infected, that is, until recently. Non-infected people need not wear a mask. When a person has TB we have them wear a mask, not the entire community of non-infected. The recommendations by the CDC and the WHO are not based on any studies of this virus and have never been used to contain any other virus pandemic or epidemic in history.

He summarises the possible dangers of mask wearing to healthy people:

Several studies have indeed found significant problems with wearing such a mask. This can vary from headaches, to increased airway resistance, carbon dioxide accumulation, to hypoxia, all the way to serious life-threatening complications.

He discusses these dangers in terms of the type of mask worn:

There is a difference between the N95 respirator mask and the surgical mask (cloth or paper mask) in terms of side effects. The N95 mask, which filters out 95% of particles with a median diameter >0.3 µm2 , because it impairs respiratory exchange (breathing) to a greater degree than a soft mask, and is more often associated with headaches. In one such study, researchers surveyed 212 healthcare workers (47 males and 165 females) asking about presence of headaches with N95 mask use, duration of the headaches, type of headaches and if the person had preexisting headaches.2

They found that about a third of the workers developed headaches with use of the mask, most had preexisting headaches that were worsened by the mask wearing, and 60% required pain medications for relief. As to the cause of the headaches, while straps and pressure from the mask could be causative, the bulk of the evidence points toward hypoxia and/or hypercapnia as the cause. That is, a reduction in blood oxygenation (hypoxia) or an elevation in blood C02 (hypercapnia). It is known that the N95 mask, if worn for hours, can reduce blood oxygenation as much as 20%, which can lead to a loss of consciousness, as happened to the hapless fellow driving around alone in his car wearing an N95 mask, causing him to pass out, and to crash his car and sustain injuries. I am sure that we have several cases of elderly individuals or any person with poor lung function passing out, hitting their head. This, of course, can lead to death.

A more recent study involving 159 healthcare workers aged 21 to 35 years of age found that 81% developed headaches from wearing a face mask.3   Some had pre-existing headaches that were precipitated by the masks. All felt like the headaches affected their work performance.

As for the elderly and infirm, masks can pose far greater problems:

Unfortunately, no one is telling the frail elderly and those with lung diseases, such as COPD, emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis, of these dangers when wearing a facial mask of any kind—which can cause a severe worsening of lung function. This also includes lung cancer patients and people having had lung surgery, especially with partial resection or even the removal of a whole lung.

He goes on to explain the dangers of low oxygen levels in the bloodstream — hypoxia — which can debilitate the immune system:

While most agree that the N95 mask can cause significant hypoxia and hypercapnia, another study of surgical masks found significant reductions in blood oxygen as well. In this study, researchers examined the blood oxygen levels in 53 surgeons using an oximeter. They measured blood oxygenation before surgery as well as at the end of surgeries.4 The researchers found that the mask reduced the blood oxygen levels (pa02) significantly. The longer the duration of wearing the mask, the greater the fall in blood oxygen levels.

The importance of these findings is that a drop in oxygen levels (hypoxia) is associated with an impairment in immunity. Studies have shown that hypoxia can inhibit the type of main immune cells used to fight viral infections called the CD4+ T-lymphocyte. This occurs because the hypoxia increases the level of a compound called hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), which inhibits T-lymphocytes and stimulates a powerful immune inhibitor cell called the Tregs. This sets the stage for contracting any infection, including COVID-19 and making the consequences of that infection much graver. In essence, your mask may very well put you at an increased risk of infections and if so, having a much worse outcome.5,6,7

People with cancer, heart conditions and strokes must be very careful if they choose to wear masks:

… cancer grows best in a microenvironment that is low in oxygen. Low oxygen also promotes inflammation which can promote the growth, invasion and spread of cancers.8,9  Repeated episodes of hypoxia has been proposed as a significant factor in atherosclerosis and hence increases all cardiovascular (heart attacks) and cerebrovascular (strokes) diseases.10

In addition, when we wear masks, especially for hours at a time, we are breathing in our own bacteria, creating an incubator effect for the sinuses and lungs. For someone unknowingly harbouring COVID-19, he says, their recovery time might be prolonged, because their own immune system is compromised by cytokine storms, which occur when the body goes into overdrive trying to fight off illness:

When a person is infected with a respiratory virus, they will expel some of the virus with each breath. If they are wearing a mask, especially an N95 mask or other tightly fitting mask, they will be constantly rebreathing the viruses, raising the concentration of the virus in the lungs and the nasal passages. We know that people who have the worst reactions to the coronavirus have the highest concentrations of the virus early on. And this leads to the deadly cytokine storm in a selected number.

He reminds readers that COVID-19 is relatively benign for most of the population, therefore:

we need to protect the at-risk population by avoiding close contact, boosting their immunity with compounds that boost cellular immunity and in general, care for them.

One should not attack and insult those who have chosen not to wear a mask, as these studies suggest that is the wise choice to make.

Lisa Williams, a reporter for the Telegraph, described six things no one says about wearing a mask.

She felt cut off from people because they could not see her face, but the mask was also uncomfortable to wear:

The mask tickled my nose, felt hot and damp almost instantly, and I was constantly having to reloop it back around my ears. I found it a challenge to wear one for this short trip, let alone while performing heart surgery.

It also distracted her:

It feels suffocating, and the noise of your breath on fabric becomes distracting. You never realised your breathing was so LOUD.

Furthermore, one size does not fit all:

Although many masks have a degree of stretch, there is a big difference in how our heads are built and the average mask does not account for this.

While she says that homemade fabric masks could be useful, I rather doubt that — unless they are for short periods of time — because fabric is often treated with chemicals that should not be near our mouths or noses, or the fabric is much too thick. As Ann Barnhardt and Dr Blaylock say above, they can give us potentially fatal C02 levels.

In conclusion: beware of — rather than wear — masks unless instructed to do so by a medical professional, or mandated by law.

On Saturday, May 16, I tuned into France’s news channel BFMTV to see how the nation’s partial reopening went.

President Emmanuel Macron got an earful from medical professionals at La Pitié-Salpêtrière, the Paris hospital he visited on Friday, May 15. Late last week, he announced that, at this year’s Bastille Day ceremonies, health professionals and first responders would be honoured with medals commemorating their work during the coronavirus crisis. On Friday, as Macron was leaving, a health professional told him that he didn’t want any medal. Macron snapped back:

If you don’t want it, don’t take it.

It was a rough visit. A group of nurses listened to what he had to say, then one spoke up, bluntly demanding more pay and more recognition. Macron said that he was giving them a bonus for their work over the past two months, but she retorted that was not enough. She demanded a pay rise for all nurses, which is fair enough. They are on relatively low pay, not far from minimum wage.

Going back a few years when the erstwhile Conservative prime minister François Fillon (serving under Nicolas Sarkozy from 2007-2012) visited a care home during his tenure, he was able to hold a calm, considered conversation with the workers there, who were all CGT union members:

Allow me a small digression from Macron. François Fillon should have been France’s president after François Hollande. Unfortunately, the media put the boot into him for corruption, just as he was at a massive height in the popularity polls in January 2017, the year Macron was elected president.

In March 2020, Fillon was sentenced to two years in prison, with an additional three years suspended sentence. His wife was given a suspended three-year prison term and a fine of €375,000. (Source: Le Point.) Trumped up (no pun intended) or what? Something stinks there. The Fillons are a dignified couple who have kept to themselves over the years. They are low-profile people and devout Catholics.

This was François Fillon’s agenda for France in 2017: ending bureaucracy, sorting out France’s problems and restoring the pride in being French. In short: make France great again. Does that sound familiar?

How sad that it didn’t happen and might never happen. Who will accomplish this now?

I agree with the tweet below that the framing of François Fillon is truly a shame for France.

The video is from 2017:

These replies say that Fillon’s three-year plan, summarised above, was simply swept — balayé– under the carpet (by left-wing media, which started with one outlet and spread rapidly to the others):

Returning to the present day, a Parisian MP from France Insoumise (Unbowed France) says that it is urgent for Macron to say how soon the pay increase will be delivered and how much it will be. The second tweet includes one from health minister Olivier Véran, commenting on the ‘passionate’ feedback from the nurses:

Macron has been the latest French president to further shrink the nation’s health system, following Nicolas Sarkozy (Conservative) and François Hollande (Socialist), both in terms of hospital beds and other measures. Hospital masks were in short supply during the height of the coronavirus crisis. French housewives banded together from their homes to sew fabric masks for nurses. While those were technically useless, nonetheless, nurses were grateful for any protection whilst awaiting proper face coverings.

Early Saturday afternoon, BFMTV reported on the mask shortage, discovered in January 2020. However, it was too late, even with Macron’s government’s requisitioning every surgical mask in France. They were the wrong type of masks, but they would have to do. Hospital and care workers were desperate.

One physician working on the front line in Lyon died because he did not have the right type of mask. He caught coronavirus and, despite treatment in Marseille, never recovered. His widow and two daughters are suing the hospital where he worked. I can’t see how that will work, because every hospital experienced the same mask shortage.

Currently, there are enough masks for people living in France, who have been strongly encouraged to wear one outdoors. These are not proper coronavirus masks, but they will have to do.

It appears that Macron now has to get on with his promised reform — improvement — of a beleaguered health system. Here’s an inside look at his control room:

The replies to this tweet featuring an LREM MP are interesting. The MP says that a centralised health system doesn’t work, but the replies say that the system has been sclerotic for some time, Macron has ignored calls for improvement and there are too many hospital administrators and/or politicians involved rather than medical professionals. The response I’ve included below says that Germany spends far less money than France and has better performing hospitals, with four times more intensive care beds:

However, another BFMTV journalist reported that Macron is facing a crisis in other aspects of French society, including the gilets jaunes (yellow jackets). They are still protesting in some cities on Saturdays, although not in as great a number as before the coronavirus crisis:

Making matters worse, Macron’s political party, LREM, no longer has an absolute majority in parliament:

Ten of his MPs have left to form their own party with ten other MPs — Ecologie, démocratie, solidarité:

It is unclear whether that will have any impact on the second round of local elections, rescheduled for June 28:

However, one commentator said that Macron’s success as president will largely depend on how he and his government handle the coronavirus crisis this year. He has a few years left in his first term, which ends in 2022.

Meanwhile, during the first weekend of partial reopening, BFMTV reminded viewers that they are not allowed to travel further than 100km from home. They also cannot not leave the house to visit anyone, including relatives, unless they are going to drop something off. Visiting second homes is also forbidden. The French are allowed to travel to work, to school, to a child minder, for a funeral, for a medical appointment, for recreational purposes (limited at this point) or to shops that are open:

Late last week, some beaches in France opened so that people could have a new way of exercising. For now, reopening beaches is up to individual mayors. As the virus is still active, the beaches are ‘dynamic’, meaning that sitting or sunning oneself is strictly forbidden. Fishing is also forbidden. Beachgoers can walk, swim and surf. A one-way system is in place with an entrance and an exit:

The second tweet says, ‘This increasing surveillance is seriously getting on my nerves’:

Interior minister Christophe Castaner visited a beach in Normandy that was preparing to reopen. He said that everyone visiting beaches had to respect the rules in place, otherwise they will be closed. He hopes that beaches will reopen fully during the summer:

For those who miss culture, small museums, with hygiene restrictions in place, may reopen:

Driving schools can also open. There is no social distancing in the car, so the car windows must be open at all times during the lesson. Those taking virtual instruction are socially distanced. Driving tests can begin in June, provided there is no second wave of coronavirus:

Those worried about the impact of more drivers on the environment need not be too concerned. During lockdown, there was only a 7% decrease in particulates. That is surprising:

At 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Lourdes reopened, even if there are no dine-in restaurants. It will attract locals until travel restrictions are lifted:

Speaking of health and healing, coronavirus testing continues. In Brittany, a new cluster of infections was discovered at an abattoir:

Elsewhere in France, new infections were found in schools that reopened last week. Those schools are now closed:

One Frenchman might have a future solution to school closures. He is developing a fabric that kills coronavirus. This video shows his chair and desk covers:

Where schools remained open, this is what the scene looked like outdoors. Recess must have been fun (not). This is so SAD, beyond belief:

France’s medical agency has found that 500 medications are harmful in treating coronavirus. Incredibly, hydroxychloroquine is among them. This has to be the establishment’s figurative poke in the eye at Prof Didier Raoult, Marseille’s champion in treating patients with the drug combined with azithromycin:

The article says, in part:

Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) represents the majority of adverse cardiac reactions, in 141 out of 159 cases. Cardiac reactions comprise 69% of those reported, versus 44% where Kaletra (an antiretroviral combining lopinavir and ritonavir) is used …

The number of deaths linked to hydroxychloroquine in hospital remains at four. In view of these risks, the health agency advises that these drugs, when used against Covid-19, must be used as a priority only in the context of ongoing clinical trials.

In general, provided there is no sizeable second wave of infections, more businesses will be able to open at the beginning of June.

Philippe Etchebest, who is a chef, restaurateur, television celebrity and MOF (maître ouvrier de France), says that restaurants must reopen as soon as possible, because the government cannot afford to keep them closed. The subsidies are ‘colossal’:

Last month, Etchebest said that partial reopening will not work. Social distancing — e.g. halving the number of tables — will not bring in enough revenue. Perhaps he will be employing one of these social distancing methods:

Recently, the loathsome globalist Jacques Attali said that restaurateurs must change their business model.

Etchebest took strong objection to that, saying that he is neither a grocer nor a wine merchant. Those replying to this tweet also criticised Attali, saying he should shut up for once or retire to a nursing home. The quote from Attali on the internet is interesting:

The internet represents a danger to those in the know and those who decide things, because it gives access to information outside of received knowledge.

Bravo, Philippe:

Attali was one of Emmanuel Macron’s early mentors. Go figure.

No wonder the French are angry.

On April 23, 2020, France’s president Emmanuel Macron announced that the nation would begin to reopen on Monday, May 11, after battling coronavirus.

COVID-19 is still around, but parts of the economy — and some schools — must restart.

Health minister Olivier Véran estimates that the R number in France is 0.6.

This is only a partial reopening of 400,000 businesses, including hairdressers. A reporter explained that they have been ‘working for weeks’ on rearranging their shops for correct social distancing and hygiene. A few hairdressers opened at midnight:

In Paris, road traffic was down and the streets were still largely empty early Monday morning:

In Nice, employees at a delicatessen applauded the reopening of their establishment at 11 a.m. that day:

Cafés, restaurants and many shops remain closed.

Interestingly, 70% of the French who have been working at home wish to continue doing so, even after total lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

As is true in other European countries, social distancing and other rules are still in place.

Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner said he hoped that the French would be able to meet the challenge with intelligence and common sense. President Macron called on people to exercise personal responsibility towards others.

Below are a selection of tweets from news channel BFMTV.

On Thursday, May 7, BFMTV’s top editorialist, Christophe Barbier, who always wears his red scarf, gave his thoughts on the matter. He is known for being anti-gilet jaune (yellow jacket) and against the everyday Frenchman. He said it was vital that the construction and manufacturing ramp up activity, but wondered if the average Frenchman would meet the challenge or be fearful. It is no wonder then that someone replied with, ‘This guy frightens me more than lockdown! He really is a crazed madman!’ Other comments noted his relentless condescension towards the average man and woman:

Early Monday morning, Christophe Barbier pointed out that the French parliament did not renew the state of emergency, which the nation’s constitutional council said they would address later that day. Someone in the replies complained about France’s open borders — ‘real sieves’ — during the coronavirus crisis:

Not every political leader was impressed with President Macron’s déconfinement (release from lockdown). Jean-Luc Mélenchon of La France Insoumise (Unbowed France) was one of them. A Twitter user said it was time for him to start yet another protest movement.

Sunday should have been a ‘school night’, with those going back to work in bed early. Unfortunately, parts of France were under an amber warning for rain. Two départements in the south west had red alerts, with the worst rain they had seen in decades. So, a number of people spent the night bailing water out of their homes:

Also on Sunday, eight new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed just outside of Paris, in Clamart. The men, said to be living in ‘young workers’ accommodation’ (code for immigrant worker housing?) told health professionals they’d had no symptoms.

Meanwhile, that evening, in the heart of the French capital, a video display at the Eiffel tower thanked first responders who worked throughout the darkest days of the coronavirus crisis:

In Paris, public transport was of primary concern for those returning to work. On Sunday, the transport minister, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, went through the various preparations made for travel, among them, mandatory masks for all passengers and transport workers:

Masks were handed out at station entrances early in the week. On Wednesday, May 13, fines may be imposed in greater Paris for anyone travelling without one:

In some parts of the country, such as Hauts-de-France, coupons are necessary for travel on certain rail lines, particularly the TER. The coupons — a type of reservation, in addition to a ticket for travel — are for specific scheduled trains. No coupon, no travel. This is to ensure that there is adequate space for all travellers:

On buses and trains in Île de France — greater Paris — roundels (macarons) were placed on the floors of stations and on seats to help maintain social distancing. Unfortunately, one Métro train driver said that some passengers were ripping off the roundels from the seats. He said that one cannot impose too many rules on Parisians:

On Monday, one bus driver told RMC (BFMTV’s sister talk radio station) that people were sitting on seats with roundels on them. He said there was nothing he could do about it.

Nonetheless, the transport secretary said mid-morning on Monday, that safe travel was going according to plan. True, at that point, 95% of those taking Paris transport were wearing masks. Yet, at 6:30 a.m. that day, some Paris Métro lines were quite full, with no social distancing:

The company in charge of keeping transport vehicles clean said that ‘continuous’ disinfection would be ongoing.

Across the country in Lyon, a rather ingenious hand sanitising machine is being used on that city’s Métro:

As far as air travel is concerned, the transport secretary announced that there would be no social distancing on planes, so that ticket prices would not increase dramatically.

With regard to schools, staff across the country have been rearranging the classroom for staggered schedules and limited numbers of students:

Parents are not obliged to send their children back to classrooms at this time. A number of parents are concerned that children might bring the virus back, even though schools have put disinfecting and social distancing procedures in place, including in canteens. Teachers are also worried. Children might not get COVID-19 very often, but they can still carry it and bring it home. Children will have to think of creative ways of playing, as social distancing is also required on playgrounds.

Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, who has called on secondary school students to begin revising for the Baccalaureat exam in French language, showed the correct procedures for students returning to school. They begin with everyone washing his/her hands:

France is under a coronavirus traffic light system now, with départements labelled as green (relatively safe), amber (less safe) and red (restrictions apply). One mustn’t travel from a red zone to a green or an amber zone, for example. By and large, however, even those living in red zones still have the ability to shop, travel 100 km within their zone and get one’s hair cut:

One of the regions hardest hit is the northeastern part of France, the Grand-Est, where the regional president, Jean Rottner (LR [Conservative]) says that masks must become the norm when leaving the house. However, further south, in Nice, a case might be taken to the European Court of Human Rights protesting the mandatory wearing of masks outdoors in the city. Neighbouring Cannes and other cities along the Cote d’Azur also have obligatory mask policies.

In hospitals, health and hygiene policies are also evolving. One hospital in the north east of France has a fever detector. Hmm:

In closing, readers might be wondering if the French can meet up at someone’s home for drinks and nibbles, the increasingly popular apéro. Unfortunately, gatherings of a maximum of ten must be held outdoors, with social distancing in place. That’s going to require a fairly large garden, so it’s out of the question for most. Guests must wash their hands upon entering their hosts’ house. Everyone must receive an individual plate of nibbles — no communal bowls or plates. It sounds like an absolute pain to arrange and manage, as this report explains.

France is far from being COVID-19 free. If this partial reopening doesn’t work, it’s back to lockdown. I wish them all the very best.

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