20,000 Views in 2021

A big thank you to all the people who have visited this site so far this year. I’m on target to reach 20,000 views in total today since January 1st. This far exceeds the aggregate viewings of the previous seven years, so I must be doing something right.

These encouraging viewing figures furthermore justify my decision to go solo as a blogger.

Thank you once again! Hopefully I can continue to keep people entertained and above all, informed, in these dark times of media censorship.


Heatwaves Republished Articles: The Attribution Question

In anticipation of a major offensive from the climate alarmists re. extreme weather, specifically heatwaves and their supposed attribution to man-made climate change, I intend to republish 4 articles (using the hashtag #Rep) I originally wrote at cliscep.com from summer 2018 to summer 2019. They will be useful to refer to when further attribution studies linking specific heatwaves (the North West American/Canadian heatwave for instance) are published. As we speak, an intense heatwave appears to be brewing in Morocco and the Iberian Peninsula and if temperatures are anything like those being predicted, then the climate hysterics will be out in force blaming us ordinary folks for creating Thermageddon by driving around in cars, jetting off for two weeks in the sun every year and having the bare-faced cheek to warm our cold homes in winter using coal, gas and oil. None other than Her Majesty the Queen, who is well known for her austere lifestyle and lack of global travel on royal yachts and private jets, advises us (proles) that we must “change the way we do things” in order to make the climate great again.

Global Warming Disrupts The Smooth Opening of UK Hospitality

Today, April 12th, herd immunity Monday, is also the day that Pol Pot Belly ‘allows’ pubs and ‘non-essential’ shops to open up and warns us all not to go mad with our’ new found’ ancient freedoms which he stole from us under false pretences over a year ago.

But since April started, it’s been very cold and the past few days have seen bitterly cold northerly winds, snow showers and overnight frosts. So anyone wanting to enjoy a relaxed pint at their local for the first time in months (assuming they have a beer garden) is going to have to wrap up warm because if they don’t, they’re going to be more in danger of catching a nasty cold than getting Covid (oh, silly me, I forgot, they’re one and the same, for most people).

So pubs which ‘stick to the rules’ in order to prevent the NHS being overrun by the handful of sick and dying victims of the deadly pandemic which is ripping through the land are probably going to be disapppointed by the less than enthusiastic response to the snail-like relaxation of Covid restrictions, especially as their no doubt recently ‘vaccinated’ patrons will be forced to ‘sign in’ to the Gestapo run track ‘n’ trace system in order to sit outside in the freezing cold.

Britain, in mid-April, is in the middle of a ‘pandemic’ whilst also in the midst of a climate crisis. What a bummer.

I Have Now Permanently Departed From Cliscep

Times have changed. The UK now effectively exists in a state of tyranny. I warned about this many months ago on the Cliscep blog, but was ostracised and even personally ridiculed by contributors and commenters, who defended the adoption of masks, shot down my alleged ‘hyperbolic’ and ‘offensive’ rhetoric and now defend their decision to be coerced into getting a vaccine they don’t need, to the detriment of us all. I adopted a hard-nosed scientific approach based on data and research to argue my case against the progressive tyranny, but was overruled or ignored by the hysterical and the brainwashed, even ‘despised’ for doing so.

I have continued to try to argue my case for not getting the ‘vaccine’ but, with a few notable exceptions, am not backed up by the majority, even being accused of being ‘selfish’ and an ‘anti-vaxxer by one regular ‘sceptical’ commenter. These defamatory comments went almost universally unchallenged by Cliscep denizens.

I then noticed that my admin privileges had been removed and pointing this out I got this response:

Apologies if you can’t edit your comments. This is an unforeseen result of adjustments which have to be made to protect the site and which are proving more complicated than was thought. Blame than on WordPress. 

I seriously doubt the veracity of this statement as my admin privileges on the site have been permanently downgraded. Also, as a regular commenter and contributor and former member granted a wide range of admin privileges, I was not informed of such changes. Accordingly, I have removed myself from the site as a contributor, against the wishes of a number of commenters, I know, but sadly I must follow my instinct not to remain part of a group whose ethics and world-view diverge so radically from my own. The ‘Covid crisis’ and the psychological assault upon the populace by governments across the world has divided us irrevocably and I now believe that only a very small proportion of the population are genuinely immune to the fear-based neural programming which SAGE behaviourists, the media and governments have rolled out so horrifyingly successfully over the past year. To my concern and amazement, many self-professed ‘climate change sceptics’ have been drawn into the web of fear and deceit spun by the government and main stream media, in both the UK and in North America. Even Stephen McIntyre has succumbed!

So I’m going it alone as one of the few remaining unvaccinated, socially excluded, genuine sceptics willing to question ‘expert consensus’ and bad science in any field which my non-expert limited knowledge will allow.

If you want to see what genuine, fearless, expert scepticism looks like, on the subject of Covid and the ‘vaccines’, look no further than Delingpole’s interview of Dr. Mike Yeadon. Delingpole too, one of the original climate sceptical journalists who was instrumental in exposing ‘climategate’, has remained rock-solid throughout this scam ‘crisis’ and was one of the few to resist the imposition of masks and now strongly resists the pointless, dangerous ‘vackseens’. The world would be a poorer place without the Yeadons and the Delingpoles. I don’t do hero worship, but these two stalwarts, in addition to a minority outspoken few, have my undying respect, gratitude and admiration.



Rees-Mogg’s Ironical Tweet About Freedom and How Dryden Predicted Lockdown 350 Years Ago

Johnson tweeted this today:

Then Jacob Rees Mogg quote re-tweeted his boss:

My reply:

It’s fair to say, commenters were not impressed considering how freedom has been removed by this government. But it’s odd and intensely ironic that Rees Mogg should quote John Dryden, who seems to have seen the downfall of Britain (Albion) coming 350 years ago. His poetic opera Albion and Albanius is uncannily prophetic:

Mercury Descends.
Thou glorious Fabrick! stand for ever, stand:
Well Worthy Thou to entertain
The God of Traffique, and of Gain!
To draw the Concourse of the Land,
And Wealth of all the Main.
But where the shoales of Merchants meeting?
Welcome to their Friends repeating,
Busie Bargaines deafer sound!
Tongues Confus’d of every Nation?
Nothing here but Desolation,
Mournful silence reignes around.

O Hermes! pity me!
I was, while Heav’n did smile,
The Queen of all this Isle,
Europes Pride,
And Albions Bride;
But gone my Plighted Lord! ah, gone is Hee!
O Hermes! pity mee!

Dryden describes the ill which afflicts the nation following Albion’s departure:

Then Zeal and Common-wealth infest
My Land again;
The fumes of madness that possest
The Peoples giddy Brain

Once more disturb the Nations rest,
And dye Rebellion in a deeper Stain.

Will they at length awake the sleeping Sword,
And force revenge from their offended Lord?
How long, yee Gods, how long
Can Royal patience bear
Th’Insults and wrong
Of Mad-mens jealousies, and causeless fear?

Dryden makes plain the lament for a lost nation:

See a Sacred King uncrown’d,
See your Offspring, Albion, bound:
The gifts you gave with lavish hand,
Are all bestow’d in vain:

Extended Empire on the Land,
Unbounded o’er the Main.

Empire o’er the Land and Main,
Heav’n that gave can take again;
But a mind that’s truly brave,
Stands despising,
Storms arising,
And can ne’er be made a Slave.

Unhelpt I am, who pity’d the distress’d,
And none oppressing, am by all oppress’d;
Betray’d, forsaken, and of hope bereft:

Then he identifies those who have brought the country to this unhappy pass:

Enter Tyranny, Democracy, represented by Men, attended by Asebia, Zelota, Women.
Ha, ha, ’tis what so long I wish’d and vow’d,
Our Plots and delusions,
Have wrought such confusions,
That the Monarch’s a Slave to the Crowd.

A Design we fomented,

By Hell it was new!

A false Plot invented,

To cover a true.

First with promis’d faith we flatter’d,

Then jealousies and fears we scatter’d.

We never valu’d right and wrong,
But as they serv’d our cause;

Our Business was to please the throng,
And Court their wild applause:

For this we brib’d the Lawyers Tongue,
And then destroy’d the Law’s.

For this, &c.

To make him safe, we made his Friends our Prey;

To make him great we scorn’d his Royal sway,

And to confirm his Crown, we took his Heir away.

T’encrease his store,
We kept him poor:

And when to wants we had betray’d him,
To keep him low,
Pronounc’d a Foe,
Who e’re presum’d to aid him.

But you forget the noblest part,
And Masterpiece of all your Art,
You told him he was sick at Heart.

And when you could not work belief
In Albion of th’imagin’d grief;
Your perjur’d vouchers in a Breath,
Made Oath that he was sick to Death;
And then five hundred Quacks of skill
Resolv’d t’was fit he should be ill.

Pay particular attention to the bold. How uncannily accurate and prophetic is that? How odd that a modern politician, a member of a supposedly ‘conservative’ and ‘democratically’ elected government which has subjected the nation to a medico-fascist tyranny for nearly a year, destroying society and the economy in the process, should quote Dryden in defence of freedom! How uncannily prophetic that Dryden should identify both democracy and tyranny as the enemies of Albion, actively conspiring one with the other, to destroy the nation.

Richard Betts Finally Gives Up On Science – Embraces Politics, Ideology and Pseudoscience

Over the years, Richard Betts of the Met Office, has been the ‘sceptic’s friend’; a down to earth, reasonable, approachable, pragmatic scientist who actively sought to present a balanced view on the risks associated with climate change and to counter the alarmism and hyperbole put out in the press and supported by some of his more enthusiastic peers, as well as overtly political climate activists. Sadly, he has now jumped the shark completely, even to the point of insulting sceptics by implying that they are ‘deniers’, a term he always refrained from using. He’s even, by the sound of it, helping Extinction Rebellion fanatics arrested for breaking the law defend their actions in court by providing them with scientific ‘evidence’ which supposedly justifies their unlawful activities.

So Richard thinks that extreme weather attributions are helping to put a dent in climate denial and prove the case for urgent political action and planning and adaptation policies. In his article for Nature he says:

Now that specific floods, heatwaves and more can be attributed to our actions, decision makers can act.

This is not true. No specific extreme weather event can be attributed definitely to man-made climate change; all that can be done is to calculate the the so-called fraction of attributable risk of such an event happening by using climate models with and without anthropogenic forcings to create two ‘worlds’ and estimating the likelihood of such an event happening in the ‘climate changed’ world compared to that of the hypothetical world where no anthropogenic forcings are present. A further estimate of likelihood is also obtained by examining historical weather records for evidence of similar extreme weather events and assessing their frequency of occurrence over years and decades. What these ‘scientists’ then come up with is a figure for the supposed increased probability of such and such an event happening due to man-made climate change.

Betts knows this, but he deliberately misleads his gullible Twitter followers and readers.

These are just a few of the specific heatwaves, floods and events that my colleagues who work on ‘climate attribution’ can now show were made more likely by human impact (these and more are showcased this week in a special issue of Bulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyS. C. Herring et al. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 102, S1–S112; 2021). Now, these techniques should be applied routinely to help governments, organizations and communities to act on their responsibilities and improve resilience to extreme weather.

For too long, weather’s randomness has kept events such as these from being blamed squarely on climate change.

He goes on to directly contradict himself by then saying:

Now, we can specify increased chances for specific events. This extends to forecasts: we can identify the places that are more likely to see wildfires, mudslides and fish die-offs. Such calculations dent both climate denial and a false sense of security. They take away the argument that ‘extreme weather happens anyway, so we don’t need to worry about it’. Extreme weather happens — and these metrics pinpoint what is becoming more likely, by how much and why.

You cannot blame a particular weather event squarely on climate change if all you are able to do is give an estimate of the increased probability of such an event happening. That is not ‘attribution’; it is guesswork based upon an assumption that the atmosphere and oceans have changed mainly because of the addition of man-made GHGs, using biased climate models to quantify that change and to compare it with a counterfactual world where no GHGs were released into the atmosphere.

As mentioned above, Betts also clearly thinks that this ‘scientific evidence’ of attribution is good enough to present to a court in defence of climate crisis fanatics who claim their lives and futures are being put at risk by government inaction on climate change.

Such evidence is also useful for legal proceedings when citizens call corporations or governments to account for their role in climate change, or are on trial for taking the law into their own hands. Although the courts, not climate scientists, make judgements on these matters, the legal process needs to be informed by objective, authoritative scientific evidence; published, peer-reviewed science is crucial. I relied on this to provide an expert-witness statement for the trial of an Extinction Rebellion activist arrested after obstructing the main road on Waterloo Bridge in London. For a case against 33 European countries brought by 6 Portuguese youth applicants, the non-profit science and policy institute Climate Analytics prepared an expert report (see go.nature.com/3qmv) centring on the evidence for climate change’s rising threat to their lives.

So, let’s take just one brief look at this latest peer-reviewed evidence which Betts thinks provides the scientific framework for holding governments to account and putting climate deniers back in their box shall we.

On page 44 of the report cited above by Betts, we find an attribution analysis of the extraordinary warmth which affected the UK in February 2019, when temperatures exceeded 20C in some places of the country. It is authored by Nikolaos Christidis and Peter A. Stott.

In stark contrast to the frigid close of the 2017/18 winter in the United Kingdom (Christidis and Stott 2020), daytime winter temperatures above 20°C were recorded for the first time in the country only a year later, with a maximum of 21.2°C at Kew Gardens on 26 February 2019. Strong anticyclonic conditions at the end of the winter season steered exceptionally mild tropical maritime air over western Europe and were identified by Kendon et al. (2020) as a key driver of the extreme U.K. temperatures. Their study suggests that the atmospheric state alone would be sufficient to raise U.K. temperatures above 20°C, even without the effect of human influence on the climate. Here, we carry out a complementary attribution study to investigate extremes in the warmest day in winter.

What they are in effect saying here is that the actual cause of the extreme temperatures has been identified as a peculiar dynamic weather pattern at the time but that they intend to do another attribution study anyway just to see if ‘climate change’ might have increased the chances of such extreme temperatures if natural weather patterns had not been the actual cause of the event! This attribution study, they make clear, does not take into account possible changes in dynamics forced by GHGs. It only considers thermodynamic (GHG) forcings. Thus, in attempting to provide an alternative attribution of the warm UK weather in February, it completely ignores the actual cause of that warm weather. This is apparently what Betts considers as a good example of the scientific ‘evidence’ for climate change impacts, good enough to present to a court of law. Any decent defence or prosecution lawyer would laugh it out of court!

The CMIP5 analysis reveals that winter CET extremes like in 2018/19 are rare even in today’s warmer climate, but still about 300 times more likely because of human influence. Moreover, they are shown to become decidedly more common in the future, expected to occur at least once a century by 2100, and probably more frequently underhigher emissions scenarios than RCP4.5. While the effect of the atmospheric circulation was key for the reference event, here we only consider an unconditional framing without explicitly assessing the effect of dynamics. Previous work has suggested that Arctic warming may impact U.K. extremes via dynamical changes (Hanna et al. 2017), although this link has not been robustly established (Blackport and Screen 2020). A possible strengthening of the Atlantic jet (Lee et al. 2019) may constitute another dynamical driver of winter changes. Taking the overall effect of anthropogenic climate change into account, milder winters are expected in the United Kingdom (Murphy et al. 2018), with less frequent cold extremes and new high temperature records.

Examining The UK Government’s Claim that the Kent Variant could be 30% More Lethal

After claiming that the Kent variant was 70% more transmissible – still yet to be verified – the UK government has now gone one step further at a public press conference to claim that there is ‘evidence’ it could also be 30% more lethal. Let’s look at that ‘evidence’ and how it found its way into a government press conference just hours before the conference was aired to the nation.

Firstly, what is bizarre and quite frankly outrageous is the manner in which this news was conveyed to the public. The chain of events which led to Johnson announcing to the nation that the new variant is more deadly is disturbing, as reported here.

The story initially emerged on Twitter after ITV’s Robert Peston reported: “The government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (or Nervtag) has concluded that the new Covid-19 strain may be a bit more lethal than the existing strain.”

He was briefed about the story by the infectious disease modeller Neil Ferguson, who told Peston: “It is a realistic possibility that the new UK variant increases the risk of death… So for 60-year-olds, 13 in 1000 might die compared with 10 in 1000 for old strains.”

Given the uncertainty of the data, it is unclear why Ferguson, a controversial figure, thought it necessary to brief Peston before the relevant information had been properly disclosed. Critics may say that in a public health crisis, transparency and predictability in government decision-making is absolutely vital both to preserve public trust and to ensure proper accountability.

How in God’s name does Ferguson – who is not even supposed to be advising the government at all after he got caught with his pants down breaking lockdown rules back in the Spring to see his girfriend – get to brief an ITV reporter on issues directly relating to government policy, who then splashes it on social media, which is then communicated in very alarming tones to the nation by a Prime Minister who looks more like the Grim Reaper as each week passes? It’s an outrageous chain of communication and the scare-tactics employed are contemptible in the extreme, essentially giving justification to keep us all locked up for much longer. As Robert Dingwall, also a NERVTAG member, says in the article referenced above:

The government’s frightening and unproven claim that the new variant of the Covid-19 virus is 30 per cent more lethal is challenged by a leading member of the key body monitoring the disease. He says it is wrong to “exploit it to increase public fear.”

Professor Robert Dingwall, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, told Reaction:

“The 30 per cent more lethal claim about the virus rests on a very fragile and uncertain base of evidence. NERVTAG has expressed limited confidence in this figure, which should not be the basis for public alarm.”

He continued: “It is right not to hide possibly bad news but it is also quite wrong to exploit it to increase public fear and to try to shut down debates about the exit strategy from the current restrictions.”

How can the public be expected to have any trust in the government and follow their ever changing rules ‘to save lives’ if they are being deceived and misinformed via such grubby collaborative exercises in spreading unjustifiable alarm occurring between two-bit journalists, discredited academics and Downing Street? They can’t. They won’t. They have surely gone over the top this time.

But let’s take a look at the NERVTAG report which forms the basis of Johnson’s press conference claim, but which he probably wasn’t even aware of at the time of the announcement.

The first point of the Summary is this:

The variant of concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 appears to have substantially increased
transmissibility compared to other variants and has grown quickly to become the
dominant variant in much of the UK

Well, as it happens, the areas in which the ‘70% more transmissible’ variant first appeared (London, East Anglia and the South East) and ‘took over’ are now experiencing a sharp downturn in infections compared to other areas and it seems that the main reason for this is that the initial sharp rise in VOC infections appears to have gone into reverse, with now more pronounced declines in VOC compared to the ‘old’ variant! This doesn’t exactly fit the script of a more transmissible strain which is rapidly becoming dominant.

But what is most remarkable is that the fall in infections in London, the East and South East seems to be down principally to a fall in cases of the new variant discovered in Kent in December. Said by the government at the time to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than previous variants, it seems to be reducing at a far faster rate.

In total, the NERVTAG review report references 10 studies, with highly variable results, as below:

PHE reports and CO-CIN do not find an increased risk of death and actually report a decreased risk, which would in fact be compatible with the changes in the ORF-8 region as pointed out by Professor Racaniello [14′.10” onwards] in late December when the UK government cancelled Christmas because of this new variant. Back then, the government was saying there was no evidence of increased mortality, but I guess they done went and found some! Gotta think about Easter coming up. It would be a tragedy if families were to get together at Easter and actually enjoy some human company. I expect the Welsh government will be taping off the Easter eggs section in supermarkets as well.

The references for the 10 studies mentioned above are as follows:

1. Public Health England, 2020. Variant Of Concern 202012/01: Technical Briefing

2. Investigation of novel SARS-CoV-2 variant. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 January 2021]. 2. Ferguson, N. 2021. Non-parametric analysis of fatal outcomes associated with B1.1.7. Imperial College London – unpublished analysis.

3. Davies, N., Diaz-Ordaz, K., Keogh, R. 2021. Relative fatality hazard in Pillar 2 tested individuals with VOC. LSHTM – unpublished analysis.

4. PHE, 2021. Unpublished analysis.

5. Docherty A., Harrison, E., Semple, C. 2021. Hospital case fatality and emergence of variant of concern B.1.1.7, rapid CO-CIN report to NERVTAG and SAGE. Unpublished analysis.

You’ll note that only the PHE analyses are published and accessible. All of the others are unpublished therefore not available for inspection by the public. That’s transparency for you! You will also note that Ferguson cites his own work in the review paper which he co-authors. It’s all rather incestuous and opaque, to say the least. It’s also anything but robust, definitive, conclusive. Here are some examples:

There are several limitations to these datasets including representativeness of death data (<10% of all deaths are included in some datasets), power, potential biases in case ascertainment and transmission setting.

It should be noted that the absolute risk of death per infection remains low.

An analysis of CO-CIN data has not identified an increased risk of death in hospitalised VOC B.1.1.7 cases. However, increased severity may not necessarily be reflected by increased in-hospital death risk.

Previously, preliminary results from a matched-cohort study conducted by PHE reported no statistically significant increased risk of hospitalisation or death in VOCinfected individuals compared to non-VOC [1]

The LSHTM paper used a Cox proportional hazards model to estimate change in risk of death within 28 days of test for individuals infected with the VOC [2]

The study was based on 2,583 deaths among 1.2 million tested individuals. 384 deaths were among SGTF individuals.

Focusing only on individuals with SGTF after 1 November 2020 (no adjustment for SGTF misclassification)

A PHE retrospective matched cohort study was also reported [4]:

The odds of SGTF cases being admitted was not significantly different to non-SGTF cases (OR = 1.07, 95% CI 0.86 – 1.33).

There are potential limitations in these datasets:

The dataset used in the LSHTM, Imperial, Exeter and PHE analyses is based on a limited subset of the total deaths. This includes approximately 8% of the total deaths occurring during the study period. Of all coronavirus deaths, approximately 26% occur in individuals who have had a Pillar 2 test, and only 30% of these have S-gene data. The results of all studies may therefore not be representative of the total population.

Some laboratories only report SGTF if the PCR cycle threshold (ct) value is <30, since target gene failure can occur with low viral loads. For the LSHTM paper, no such ct threshold was applied to non-SGTF positive samples.

If there is an increase in the severity of infection with VOC B1.1.7, we would also expect to see an increase in the risk of hospitalisation. Currently, we do not have evidence of an increased risk of hospitalisation in individuals with VOC B1.1.7 but data are limited due to lags in the availability of hospitalisation data.

You get the idea. The take home message is that these studies are based on a very limited subset of deaths, they use a proxy SGTF measurement for the presence of the variant which does not account for misclassifications made due to low viral load, and they reveal that hospitalisations have not increased, but somehow deaths have. But this did not stop the government from stoking up the fear yet again by announcing that there is ‘evidence’ that the new strain is 30% more lethal as well as being more transmissible. OMG, Boris the Red tells us, you’re going to kill even more grannies if you don’t stay locked up in your home (and “wear a bloody mask in the supermarket!”) until we tell you it’s safe to come out again – which may not be until summer, by which time you’ll all be insane anyway. Haha.

Even the Fail is not that impressed:

Experts today played down fears a UK variant of the coronavirus is more deadly than the original strain after a ‘scaremongering’ Downing Street press conference last night.

Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said it is not ‘absolutely clear’ if a mutation of the virus first found in Kent is more dangerous.

Graham Medley, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it is an ‘open question’ but not a ‘game changer’ in terms of dealing with the pandemic.

And Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of SAGE subgroup the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, said it was still too early to be drawing ‘strong conclusions’ about the suggested increased mortality rate.

But evidence for increased mortality remains thin – Nervtag papers reveal the term ‘realistic possibility’ is used when scientists are only 40 to 50 per cent confident something is true.

The paper states ‘it should be noted that the absolute risk of death per infection remains low’. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said if the evidence is correct it would mean three to four more deaths per 1,000 cases.

Chief Scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance even admitted during the press conference evidence the strain is more deadly is still ‘weak’.

If this new variant was indeed more virulent, you would expect an increased viral load. This paper, published on January 15th, which finds that it is moderately more transmissible (nowhere near 70% more transmissible) also reveals that there is no evidence of increased viral load or of increased transmission among children (as was also claimed by Ferguson in late December, which no doubt influenced the horrendous decision to close down schools). Professor Pantsdown is going to have a lot to answer for when this all over.

The relative difference in growth rates of SGTF vs no -SGTF had a similar distribution in those up to high-school age (i.e . ≤15 /16 years, 5% excess (95% C I 1-8%) ) versus older (6% (4 -9 %)) (Supplementary Figure 11, Supplementary Table 2), with no evidence that SGTF positivity rates were consistently growing faster or slower in those under and over high school age.

Multiple lines of evidence support B.1.1.7 /VOC202012/01 leading to higher infection rates in adults and children, and adding to, rather than simply replacing, existing strains. However, we found no evidence that Ct values (a proxy for viral load ) were intrinsically substantially lower in SGTF-positives, in contrast to initial reports17,18, but consistent with observations that B. 1.1.7 / VOC202 012/01 infection is not more severe.

Commander-in-Thief Bidet Rejoins the Paris Accord

On the very day of his nothingburger inauguration ceremony which was so wildly popular with his 81 million voters that the White House You Tube video got 2.7k likes vs. 17k downvotes and they had to turn off the commenting, Bidet signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Accord. He also managed to cancel the biological rights of American women in favour of men who declare themselves to be women. I’m not sure whether the evidence-based science for the Paris Climate Accord is better than that for men being allowed to compete in women’s sports; I’m guessing it’s about the same.

‘World leaders’ are ecstatic of course now that the US has climbed back aboard the international climate crisis scam. They really, really were most upset that Trump pulled out in order to protect the American economy and American jobs against unfair competition from China. Saving the planet from bad weather is so much more important than the health and prosperity of the American people – and the environment, as it happens. If you believe that wind turbines and solar panels are clean green energy and that electric cars are ecologically and environmentally superior to petrol and diesel, you need your head examining, quite frankly.

World leaders breathed an audible sigh of relief that the United States under President Joe Biden is rejoining the global effort to curb climate change, a cause that his predecessor had shunned.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron were among those welcoming Biden’s decision to rejoin the the Paris climate accord, reversing a key Trump policy in the first hours of his presidency Wednesday.

“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is hugely positive news,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. Britain, which is hosting this year’s U.N. climate summit, looked forward to working with the Biden administration on the issue, he said.

Macron likewise tweeted his joy at the U.S. rejoining the Paris pact, saying that with Biden, “we will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet.”

Of course Boris the Red is overjoyed. He now has a powerful partner in crime across the Pond to push his anti-democratic Green scam/Great Reset/Net Zero agenda for the hapless residents of Prison Island UK. Fighting the “giant tea cosy in the sky” aka man made atmospheric greenhouse gases will become his new pet obsession when he eventually tires of his Covid medico-fascist tyranny (presuming he ever does). Also, the girlfriend, Princess Nut Nuts, is well into that sort of thing so he can expect extra helpings of oats if he plays his cards right. I always thought it would have been wiser to leave Dilyn the Dog and the Downing Street cat in charge, but there you are. Expect at least one major climate love-in with Bidet ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November.

Examining The Science And The Possible Origin of The ‘New Strain’ Of Covid-19

First published at Cliscep 25 Dec 2020

After claiming that cancelling Christmas would be “inhuman”, Scrooge Johnson promptly cancelled Christmas. Then Hancock cancelled Boxing Day just to make sure. Why? Because of a supposedly “70% more transmissible” new strain of Covid which was spreading like wildfire in London and Kent – and now it seems, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Oxforshire. Next year it will probably be everywhere and we’ll all have to suffer the economic and social catastrophe of Tier 4 lockdowns until we beg to be vaccinated (and probably long after that too). The name given to this ‘new strain’ is VUI 202012/01 (Variant Under Investigation, year 2020, month 12, variant 01), or B.1.1.7. Firstly, as the name suggests, it’s not a ‘new strain’, it’s a new variant – and it’s not that new. It was first reported in mid October when two samples from Kent and London sent to the Milton Keynes Lighthouse Lab were genetically sequenced by COG-UK. The dates of the samples were 20th September (Kent) and 21st September (London). Nothing much seems to be known about these ‘patients’. Were they asymptomatic (tested in the community) or did they have symptoms or were they in hospital? I can find no information at present. Had they recently arrived from abroad? That would mean the origin of the new variant might not even be the UK. Who knows.

The other thing is, it’s not a ‘new strain’ as claimed by our clueless politicians and media. To qualify for that status, it would have to have conclusively demonstrated a distinct clinical difference from other dominant strains in circulation, i.e. increased transmissibility and/or enhanced or even lower virulence. So far, despite the claims by NERVTAG and the government, no such evidence has been demonstrated. The claim of ‘70% more transmissible’ is based on modelling and is not backed up by hard data. This virology Professor explains in detail why he is not too worried by the new variant and why the claims by NERVTAG and the government are scare-mongering hype not backed up by hard science and data.

It’s a pretty damning video. He forensically dismantles the claims made by NERVTAG about this being a distinct new strain which has gained an evolutionary advantage over other, less contagious strains, basically stating that you cannot infer biological properties of a virus from limited epidemiological data only and that you must perform experiments in the field. For example, the apparent rapid spread of this new variant may simply be down to super-spreader events as it is well known that 80% of transmissions are caused by 10% of infectious individuals. He also goes through all the changes in the amino acid proteins (in particular the spike amino acid proteins) which are incorrectly called ‘mutations’ – even by the experts – and points out that the ORF8 changes may actually mean that this variant is less virulent. So even if it does turn out to be more contagious and does spread through the community, it may actually be a good thing because it will mean that a greater number of people become infected at less risk and natural herd immunity is attained that much quicker.

The government doesn’t see it this way of course. Nor does the WHO. It’s just an excuse to keep us all locked up for longer, with even more restrictions upon our personal liberty until we are forced to accept vaccination for a disease which to the vast majority does not present a major threat and is about 99.96% survivable. Ferguson doesn’t see it that way either. He was supposed to have resigned from all government advisory roles after he broke the rules of the lockdown which he was instrumental in implementing back in May. But he has now popped back up in NERVTAG and suddenly he’s the darling of the media again and the government are hanging on his every word. He’s warning us about the ‘threat’ of this new variant being transmitted by schoolchildren, bringing kids further under the jackboot of the psychopaths who are intent on controlling our lives. So don’t be surprised if schools are closed in a new lockdown in January on the ‘recommendation’ of Pants Down Ferguson who, it seems, is a turd which just cannot be flushed. The very same Ferguson responsible for the unnecessary slaughter of millions of innocent farm animals in the 2001 Foot and Mouth Epidemic and who predicted 150,000 deaths from BSE, among other catastrophic failures. Being wrong is his speciality it seems, an expertise which apparently qualifies him to give advice to the government on policies which affect all our lives, including voicing his opinion on how other peoples’ kids should have their lives seriously disrupted yet again.

Something which Prof. Vincent Racaniello neglected to mention and which is pertinent is the fact that this new variant has a large number of changes and deletions in the genome (14 changes and 3 deletions) which, on the face of it, mark it out as unique. They all ‘appeared’ at once, which is ‘unprecedented’, given the estimated mutation rate of approximately 1 or 2 per month. Lots of ‘mutations’ have been tracked, but never have 17 been recorded simultaneously in a newly discovered variant. It is also notable that a total of 8 changes occur in the critical spike region of the virus, when only 44 have been recorded previously. So it is perhaps unsurprising that the appearance of this new variant and its apparent rapid spread has caused some to worry, but is that concern justified enough to further destroy people’s lives? I think not and I will attempt to explain why not.

When I say lots of mutations have been tracked I do mean lots; in fact 12,706 ‘mutations’ up until 21 September 2020. What is remarkable is that none of those mutations have proven to have had any significant effect upon transmissibility or pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2. It’s a rather odd coincidence that this paper, published on 25th November, authored by our old friend Francois Balloux and others, only covers up to the exact date that the new variant was discovered in Kent and London. So presumably, the ‘new strain of Covid’ is not included in this analysis. But here is what the study says:

The most plausible mutations under putative natural selection are those which have emerged repeatedly and independently (homoplasies). Here, we formally test whether any homoplasies observed in SARS-CoV-2 to date are significantly associated with increased viral transmission. To do so, we develop a phylogenetic index to quantify the relative number of descendants in sister clades with and without a specific allele. We apply this index to a curated set of recurrent mutations identified within a dataset of 46,723 SARS-CoV-2 genomes isolated from patients worldwide. We do not identify a single recurrent mutation in this set convincingly associated with increased viral transmission. Instead, recurrent mutations currently in circulation appear to be evolutionary neutral and primarily induced by the human immune system via RNA editing, rather than being signatures of adaptation. 

We informally estimated the mutation rate over our alignment as 9.8 × 10−4 substitutions per site per year, which is consistent with previous rates estimated for SARS-CoV-21,2,3,4 (Figs. S1 and S2). This rate also falls in line with those observed in other coronaviruses25,26 and is fairly unremarkable relative to other positive single-stranded RNA viruses, which do not have a viral proof-reading mechanism.

Across our data set, we identified a total of 12,706 mutations, heavily enriched in C→U transitions, of which we identified 398 strongly supported recurrent mutations (Supplementary Data 3 and Supplementary Figs. 4 and 5). Employing a phylogenetic index (RoHO) to test whether these recurrent mutations contribute to a change in transmission, we found no candidate convincingly associated with a significant increase or decrease in transmissibility (Figs. 2 and 3 and Supplementary Data 4).

A much discussed mutation in the context of demographic confounding is D614G (nucleotide position 23,403), a non-synonymous change in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. Korber et al. suggested that D614G increases transmissibility but with no measurable effect on patient infection outcome21. Other studies have suggested associations with increased infectivity in vitro18,40 and antigenicity41. Here we conversely find that D614G does not associate with significantly increased viral transmission (median log10(RoHO) = 0, paired t test p = 0.28; Supplementary Data 4), in line with our results for all other tested recurrent mutations. 

These apparently contrasting results for D614G should be considered carefully. What is, however, indisputable is that D614G emerged early in the pandemic and is now found at high frequency globally, with 36,347 assemblies in our data set (77.8%) carrying the derived allele (Fig. 1a and Supplementary Data 3). However, D614G is also in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with three other derived mutations (nucleotide positions 241, 3037, and 14,408) that have experienced highly similar expansions, as 98.9% of accessions with D614G also carry these derived alleles (35,954/36,347). It should be noted that the D614G mutation displays only five independent emergences that qualify for inclusion in our analyses (fewer than the other three sites it is associated with). While this limits our power to detect a statistically significant association with transmissibility, the low number of independent emergences suggests to us that the abundance of D614G is more probably a demographic artefact: D614G went up in frequency as the SARS-CoV-2 population expanded, largely due to a founder effect originating from one of the deepest branches in the global phylogeny, rather than being a driver of transmission itself.

To summarise, what Balloux et al are saying is that they’ve examined thousands of changes in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 since it first emerged and they have found none that significantly alter the biology of the virus in terms of transmissibility or pathogenicity. One ‘mutation’ in the spke protein, D614G, which first appeared in February, was thought to increase transmissibility and virulence but turned out to be largely neutral and its spread around the globe was attributed largely to the Founder Effect, which Prof . Racaniello discusses in the video above.

Matt Ridley has a opinion piece in the Telegraph on the subject of this new variant and he makes much of the fact that it suddenly appeared with an unprecedented number of changes in the amino acid proteins, suggesting, he says, that those changes occurred artificially, not randomly, as occurred with the 12,706 mutated genomes which Balloux et al analysed. He tends to paint an alarming picture:

This number of changes would normally take months to emerge at the rate the virus typically evolves: it is less prone to random mutation than an influenza virus. What caused such a burst of evolution within perhaps a single body?

Here the story gets alarming. According to analysis by Andrew Rambaut at Edinburgh University and colleagues for the Covid-19 Genomics Consortium UK, such high rates of mutation have happened in people with suppressed immune systems who get a Covid infection that persists for months and are treated with “convalescent plasma” – essentially blood extracted from those who have recovered from Covid.

In a person with a deficient immune system, a large population of viruses can proliferate, mutate and diversify, and then the treatment selects a new strain from among this diversity.

Essentially, the virus has a crash course in evolution. If so, this casts doubt on the wisdom of convalescent-plasma treatment, pitting the possibility that it might save a life against the possibility that it might help the virus become more infectious or lethal.

As Matt points out, he is referring to a theory of the origin of this new variant put forward by a team of academics lead by Andrew Rambaut of the University of Edinburgh, in conjunction with the Universities of Birmingham, Oxford, Imperial College, Cambridge, Cardiff, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research. What they say is this:

What evolutionary processes or selective pressures might have given rise to lineage B.1.1.7?
High rates of mutation accumulation over short time periods have been reported previously in studies of immunodeficient or immunosuppressed patients who are chronically infected with SARS-CoV-2 (Choi et al. 2020; Avanzato et al. 2020; Kemp et al. 2020). These infections exhibit detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA for 2-4 months or longer (although there are also reports of long infections in some immunocompetent individuals). The patients are treated with convalescent plasma (sometimes more than once) and usually also with the drug remdesivir. Virus genome sequencing of these infections reveals unusually large numbers of nucleotide changes and deletion mutations and often high ratios of non-synonymous to synonymous changes. Convalescent plasma is often given when patient viral loads are high, and Kemp et al. (2020) report that intra-patient virus genetic diversity increased after plasma treatment was given.

Under such circumstances, the evolutionary dynamics of and selective pressures upon the intra-patient virus population are expected to be very different to those experienced in typical infection. First, selection from natural immune responses in immune-deficient/suppressed patients will be weak or absent. Second, the selection arising from antibody therapy may be strong due to high antibody concentrations. Third, if antibody therapy is administered after many weeks of chronic infection, the virus population may be unusually large and genetically diverse at the time that antibody-mediated selective pressure is applied, creating suitable circumstances for the rapid fixation of multiple virus genetic changes through direct selection and genetic hitchhiking.

These considerations lead us to hypothesise that the unusual genetic divergence of lineage B.1.1.7 may have resulted, at least in part, from virus evolution with a chronically-infected individual. Although such infections are rare, and onward transmission from them presumably even rarer, they are not improbable given the ongoing large number of new infections.

Although we speculate here that chronic infection played a role in the origins of the B.1.1.7 variant, this remains a hypothesis and we cannot yet infer the precise nature of this event.

It’s basically just a speculative hypothesis about the origin of the ‘new strain’. By their own admission, they don’t have any solid evidence it would seem and it would also appear to be the case that the two people who initially tested positive for this ‘new strain’ are not immuno-compromised patients who have suffered Covid for a long period, otherwise we would have heard about it now, I’m sure. The authors refer to several examples of enhanced viral evolution in immuno-compromised patients to back up their theory and there is an example of an immuno-compromised patient suffering recurrent bouts of Covid-19 over several months who sadly died. A series of changes in the genome of the virus were observed over the course of the treatment, but they appear to be nothing like the changes recorded for this new variant, so obviously, this particular patient was not the source of the new variant. I quote:

Phylogenetic analysis was consistent with persistent infection and accelerated viral evolution (Figures 1A and S6). Amino acid changes were predominantly in the spike gene and the receptor-binding domain, which make up 13% and 2% of the viral genome, respectively, but harbored 57% and 38% of the observed changes (Figure 1B).

Although most immunocompromised persons effectively clear SARS-CoV-2 infection, this case highlights the potential for persistent infection5 and accelerated viral evolution associated with an immunocompromised state.

So, though it is a possibility that the new variant may have arisen as a result of prolonged treatment of an immuno-compromised patient, in the absence of any patient fitting the profile, it remains just a theory. The actual origin of these synchronously appearing ‘mutations’ thus remains a mystery. It’s a possibility but we cannot definitely blame plasma convalescent therapy for the emergence of this new variant. So what else might explain where it came from?

We maybe have a clue as to the origins of this virus from the following article:

After the first official records of the virus in September, progress was slow, and it wasn’t until England’s second wave took hold in late October that cases exploded.

This, scientists say, could be because the virus strain is faster spreading and made cases rise quicker – or it could be that it was simply found more often as cases surged naturally.

At the time of the first sample the UK was averaging just 3,700 positive coronavirus tests per day. By the start of November, when samples were coming in thick and fast, the average number of positive results had skyrocketed to 23,000 per day.

Professor Loman said there was ‘no evidence’ the strain had come from any other countries, adding: ‘It’s sort of come out of nowhere.

‘We have a long gap between the first cases we saw with this variant in late September [and recent surge in cases]… It’s more likely to have evolved in the UK but we don’t know that.

‘There are very few examples of this variant in other countries at the moment – it’s really a kind of UK phenomenon.’

Well, sorry, but “It’s sort of come out of nowhere” is not adequate. We need explanations, if only tentative explanations. It’s the first time apparently, as noted above, that a virus has been discovered with so many (17) changes in the genome. These changes accumulate slowly in SARS-CoV-2 at a rate of 1-2 per month and none have so far proved to be significant in terms of transmission or virulence. So if these changes happened naturally, they might have taken several months and the question arises as to how they managed to remain unobserved until September 20th?

The first thing to note is that COG-UK first started sequencing Covid viruses back in March 2020. It should be pointed out though that until July, all sequenced positive samples were from the limited number of Pillar 1 tests in hospitals. So initially, not many samples were being sequenced. Then Pillar 2 testing got going and the number of tests rose rapidly from July onwards, as did the number of positives. In concert with the rising number of positives, more and more samples were sent for sequencing. I believe at some point, the Wellcome-Sanger Institute (who do a lot of the sequencing for COG-UK) automated their processes so they could handle a lot more samples. Also, when national and international travel restrictions were relaxed in July and August, there appeared many more SARS-CoV-2 lineages in the UK, which most likely were imported from other countries. This analysis from the Welsh Government confirms that fact:

While we have seen increases over the summer, the numbers of UK lineages remain less than in mid-March.

The graphs demonstrate the two types of lineage that are currently causing disease in Wales. 

Firstly, UK lineages such as UK5 and UK2243 have been long term causes of disease in Wales. UK5 is the largest UK lineage and was probably introduced into the UK multiple times in February/March, and became rapidly established in community transmission. As one of the largest lineages, it has continued to transmit in the community as other smaller lineages have died out. Secondly, we see a new wave of lineages arriving in Wales over the summer. Lineages such as UK389 and UK395 have never been seen before in Wales and have arrived in the August-September timescale to cause considerable numbers of cases in multiple locations, simultaneously. Examining these new arrival lineages reveals that they have arrived in many parts of the UK simultaneously, presenting a signature that is consistent with the idea that these lineages have been seeded by multiple simultaneous imports from outside Wales/the UK.

So, after the initial epidemic, which saw many different lineages, they tailed off into late spring/early summer, then genetic diversity increased once again going into late summer/early autumn, as people jetted off on their holidays and returned to the UK. Concurrent with that, we have a large increase in the number of sequencing being done from positive tests across the UK. Is it beyond the realms of possibility that the variant discovered with 17 ‘mutations’ in Kent and London in mid October, from samples donated at the end of September, could have arrived in the UK during September and have evolved naturally in another country, unnoticed, because that particular country was doing very little sequencing? Those two people carrying the virus get tested, their samples get sequenced by COG-UK and hey presto, a ‘new variant’ with an ‘unprecedented number of ‘mutations’ suddenly appears. A few months later, when it starts spreading in the community, for reasons which may have nothing whatsoever to do with the claimed ‘70% increased transmissibility’, Johnson, Hancock, Ferguson, Whitty and Vallance realise they’re onto a winner and use the new ‘mutant Covid strain’ as a perfect excuse to cancel Christmas in the UK with just a few days’ notice.