75 thoughts on “Thursday’s Papers

  1. f_lawless

    Another article on Norway’s lockdown, now deemed to have been ineffective by the Norway’s public health authority:

    “Camilla Stoltenberg, director of Norway’s public health agency, has given an interview where she is candid about the implications of this discovery. ‘Our assessment now, and I find that there is a broad consensus in relation to the reopening, was that one could probably achieve the same effect – and avoid part of the unfortunate repercussions – by not closing. But, instead, staying open with precautions to stop the spread.’ This is important to admit, she says, because if the infection levels rise again – or a second wave hits in the winter – you need to be brutally honest about whether lockdown proved effective

    That’s a sign of a healthy relationship between state authority and citizens.Surely the HSE is able to conduct some kind of similar investigation into the effectiveness of the shutdown measures here, I would imagine. Could we expect Tony Holohan – the man who advised against an external review of the CervicalCheck scandal – to speak openly and honestly about its conclusions even if they were to reflect badly on the HSE?

    1. Cian

      Do you think that Norway’s report reflects badly on their original decision? Or was it saying that with hindsight/the additional data gathered in the last 10 weeks they could have done things differently?

      1. SOQ

        If I am correct in what I said yesterday- that there was two viruses in circulation instead of just one, and there is no reason to assume that is not the case, the lock downs were effective because one of them was seasonal. If anything lock downs would have been more effective for flu because it is less infectious.

        Given this scenario- the idea that overall fatalities work out the same in the long run may not be the case. Lock downs may in fact save lives because there is no reason to assume the flu will be as bad next year, even if CoVid-19 is still around.

        Whether hygiene and social distancing would have been just as effective is another story but in a fully functioning economy- in some cases, that is just not possible.

        1. Who am I now

          Two viruses? there could be 22 viruses or 222 SOQ, they all mutate constantly,
          One item speculated on was that there were three main strains early on, and so the worst ones visited Northern Italy etc.

          1. SOQ

            The two viruses I am referring to are Flu and CoVid-19. Flu having disappeared upon the arrival of CoVid-19 it appears- which is scientifically impossible. .

      2. f_lawless

        @Cian yes I do think it reflects badly. It now seems to be conventional wisdom that putting populations into lockdown/shutdown was a reasonable response to the situation. But the reality is it had no solid scientific grounding. Even as far back as 2006, the concept was completely refuted by a team of researchers headed by Dr. D.A. Henderson who had been the leader of the international effort to eradicate smallpox:

        “There are no historical observations or scientific studies that support the confinement by quarantine of groups of possibly infected people for extended periods in order to slow the spread of influenza… It is difficult to identify circumstances in the past half-century when large-scale quarantine has been effectively used in the control of any disease. The negative consequences of large-scale quarantine are so extreme..hat this mitigation measure should be eliminated from serious consideration”

        Worth reading: https://www.aier.org/article/the-2006-origins-of-the-lockdown-idea/

        I think a kind of groupthink/ herd mentality took hold of many European authorities. The bogus modelling of Imperial College – which included advocating for lockdown measures – seems to have played an influential role – despite Neil Ferguson’s track history of making flawed, wild predictions that never came to pass.

        Also, at a certain point, a narrative emerged in much of western media that China’s draconian response was an exemplary model of how to tackle Covid. But again, it was amid a lack of solid scientific data as Prof Ioannidis pointed out at the time- or as he dubbed it, “a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco”. I’ve read speculation that China used outbreak as a chance to train for repelling a biological warfare attack – which could be a plausible explanation for their extreme response?

        1. SOQ

          Apart from Ferguson’s crystal ball gazing, I suspect the real reason for such an OTT reaction was that western authorities feared it was made made, or at least tampered with. That China kept changing its story didn’t help nor that WHO colluded in the initial cover up.

          One thing to bear in mind is that China has only two BSL 4 lab out of a global total of 55- 15 of which are in the US and 9 in the UK so it was not in the west’s interests to be openly discussing the possibility of a leak but you can be certain it was a consideration.


    2. Formerly known as @ireland.com

      The Spectator? I wouldn’t use it to wipe…………

      Exhibit A – UK and Sweden

      Exhibit B – Australia, New Zealand.

      I’ll stay in Australia, thanks.

      1. Cian

        It all depends.

        If a cure/vaccine is found/created soon and there can be no more COVID deaths – then Australia and New Zealand did good.
        If there is no cure/vaccine we just have to realise that there is a cohort of people that will die when they get COVID – they can’t be cocooned forever. While UK/Sweden are getting back to normal, Australia and NZ will be getting their (belated) first wave.

      2. Fintan Frobisher

        You must feel right at home in Australia.
        They think culture is what grows on the inside of their shower curtains.

        1. V'ness

          I can honestly say, and be certain enough to swear it on the lives of the few people I give a sh!t about,

          I don’t have an inferiority complex
          I’m not a bit afraid of where I’m from
          Or who I am

          Loud n’ proud bhoy

    1. dav

      Ah sure what’s another load of dead bodies to feed into the economy..

      “As of Tuesday, Sweden had recorded more than 34,440 cases and 4,125 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins University data, the country’s number of daily new coronavirus cases has seen sporadic spikes and drops since Sweden recorded its first case in late February.
      According to the AP, the country is reporting one of the highest mortality rates from the virus of any country, with about 40 deaths per 100,000 people. The country’s unemployment rate stands at 7.9% and is expected to continue to rise.
      And figures from Our World In Data, an online research publication based at the University of Oxford, indicated that Sweden recorded the most coronavirus deaths in Europe per capita over the seven days from May 12 to May 19”

        1. Cian

          If you don’t test people for COVID then how can you attribute their deaths to COVID?

          from your article: “people were advised to seek a test only if they had shortness of breath and fatigue or a fever of 99.5 degrees for four days. These rules were administered with a strict bureaucratic efficiency.”

          That would suggest that someone that died after 3 days of a shortness of breath, fatigue or a fever…. weren’t tested and weren’t counted as COVID.

          1. SOQ

            If you don’t test people for COVID then how can you attribute their deaths to COVID?

            Is that not we have being doing here? The whole thing has been so slanted towards CoVid-19 to the exclusion of practically every other possible cause of death, it is downright bizarre.

            We had a bad flu in December which magically disappeared despite the fact that it is the biggest single seasonal killer- WHERE DID IT GO?

            And then we say there is a large number of fatalities unaccounted for- really? Nothing on their death certs at all?

          2. realPolithicks

            My mother passed away in March (not from Covid), she had to be tested for Covid 19 before the funeral parlour was allowed bring her to their facility so I don’t know why you think people are not being tested.

          3. SOQ

            My sincere condolences on your bereavement realPolithicks- losing your mother is never easy, We may have clashed on occasion but I wish you the strength to get through it and- a virtual hug, if that helps. I hope you are ok. xx

            Yes all fatalities on the island of Ireland are tested but that is only ‘with’ rather than ‘from’. Assuming these tests are actually accurate, ‘with’ is an indication of ‘from’ but by no means definite. My point is that just because a new virus has arrived, it does not mean people have stopped dying from other things.

          4. realPolithicks

            Thank you SOQ, I appreciate it. She was 84 and had pretty bad Parkinsons, she was ready to go and honestly I’m grateful that she didn’t have to suffer through these last few months.

          5. SOQ

            If I may recount an experience- two family funerals from either side within two weeks of each other and- very different. First was 12 year long term alzheimer’s- a relief nearly- acceptance- second was massive heart attack- complete shock- devastation.

            Nobody cried at the first and everyone cried at the second but both sad in different ways. It brings up questions as to how you would like to pass but we don’t have a choice- maybe it is better that way.

            Take care of yourself during this period- whoever you are.

          6. realPolithicks

            A persons death is always difficult to deal with and it’s particularly difficult at this time as people are prohibited from being with their loved one in their final moments or attending their funerals. We’re living through some tough times and it will be interesting to see how society looks when we get past these initial stages. For the record I’m a 57 year old man who was born in Dublin but has been living in the US since 1987(but have managed to retain my sanity for the most part although my kids might disagree). You take care of yourself also.

          7. SOQ

            NO- people do need to brave and question what they are told but there is no new normal- there is no initial stages- RIP Larry Kramer.

          8. Cian

            Its not a conspiracy – its a fact.
            Ireland has tested 50% more people than Japan – even though Japan’s population in 25 times bigger! You can’t honestly compare the two.

            As for conspiracies – there was a *lot* of talk just before the Olympics was cancelled that Japan was underreporting COVID cases/deaths. first one I found: https://www.firstpost.com/health/coronavirus-outbreak-tokyos-infection-spike-after-olympic-delay-sparks-questions-over-under-reporting-8204371.html

    2. Formerly known as @ireland.com

      Sweden bet everything on herd immunity. It isn’t working out so good, is it? Ireland shut down too slowly. Ireland should have closed the international borders, or forced all arrivals to have 14 days in quarantine, ideally under the supervision of the state. I know the land border complicates things. Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania closed their borders to other Australians (Vic, NSW, ACT). Unconstitutional, probably, but effective.

  2. Birdie

    These play pods are just stupid. The whole concept is daft. I can’t even imagine the stress and cost this will inflict on child care providers. I expect many will shut down completely.

    This is completely anecdotal and has no scientific basis. But on my daily walk with the kids I’ve noted that this week people adhering to social distancing is now 50:50.

    In lighter news, that Stevie Wonder segment in the star is gas!

  3. Fintan Frobisher

    Cummings story running out of steam although ‘phone lines between the BBC and Guardian will be red hot today as they try to think up ways of keeping it going.
    Where’s that O’Bertie Begorrah feller with his claims this will bring down Boris?
    Remember folks Twitter isn’t real life.

      1. Fintan Frobisher

        They don’t need to spin.
        Not a single question about it on last night’s live briefing.
        Joe Six Pack doesn’t really care. It’s a Remain moan-fest with all the usual suspects stamping their feet.
        I can’t wait for their screams of pain when Blighty walks away from Brexit talks at the end of June.

        1. Nigel

          They don’t need to, neither do you, a bit of truth and honesty would probably sort things out, but they and you do anyway.

          1. Fintan Frobisher

            In life’s Ying and Yang think of yourself as Piers Morgan and me as Professor Karol Sikora.
            And try to shine a ray of warmth and compassion into your sanctimonious life.
            It’ll make you feel good.

          2. Nigel

            In life’s ying and yang I think of you as a troll addicted to the serotonin hits you get from lying and saying bad things out loud and myself as just some guy.

        2. scottser

          so a ministerial resignation and calls for cummings’s sacking by 40 tory mps is a ‘remain moan-fest’?
          you’re full of it today seoinín
          watch the track and trace effort fall on its arse as the uk citizens now cite cummings as a justification for ignoring containment advice and protocols.
          i genuinely take no pleasure in typing this but the uk is in line for a devastating second wave. i’m actually looking forward to a hard brexit – yous filthy tans can keep it to yourselves.

          1. Fintan Frobisher

            yous ?
            You actually typed that word ?
            By jove, the laughs are starting early on here today.

          2. scottser

            yeh yous. you’re in ireland lad, and this is how we talk. if you don’t like it you can always do one back to tan land.
            but yeah, focus on the grammar so you don’t have to address the point.
            you’re so obvious seoinín.

          3. Fintan Frobisher

            We must mix in different social circles.
            None of my chums would use the word yous.Even the chaps in overalls I enjoy a pint with at the end of a long day at the coal face.
            Yous.How very droll.

        3. Fintan Frobisher

          A final comment on this.
          Wolfgang Munchau is one of the most insightful commentators around – he rarely gets it wrong about the EU.
          And the media.
          ” UK political commentators are very predictable. Only a few manage to separate their own personal political views from their analysis. ”


      1. Fintan Frobisher

        Nah, the curve has been flattened.
        They’ll have another try at the end of next month but the pubs will be open by then and Blighty in the summer is a delightful place to be.
        Speaking of which am I the only person who is beginning to look around at flights this summer.
        Ireland,like the UK,is not on the list of countries from where people can visit Greece yet but I see that nice Mr O’Leary has flights to the islands from July 1st.
        What does everyone think ?

        1. Who am I now

          I didn’t know Greece was keeping tabs on us
          Thanks for this information

          So what we do have to do, fly to Germany first?

          1. Fintan Frobisher

            Anyone from these countries is allowed into Greece as of June 15th .
            Cyprus, Israel, Germany, China, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Norway.
            Ryanair flying into these places.
            Heraklion Crete
            Kavala International
            Preveza – Aktion
            Not sure about the loophole.Would they demand evidence of a home address ?
            Very tempting though.There’s a taverna just round the corner from here that does a superb stifado and it’s a while since I’ve had a good stifado, ooer missus.

    1. Fintan Frobisher

      An investigation by Durham Police has found Cumings ” might have commited a minor breach ” of the lockdown rules when he drove to Barnard Castle, however they won’t be taking any further action against him.
      They did not consider his journey from London to Durham was in breach of any rules.
      And with one bound he was free.
      Official statement from Plod.

      ” On 27 March 2020, Dominic Cummings drove to Durham to self-isolate in a property owned by his father.

      Durham Constabulary does not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises, Mr Cummings committed an offence contrary to regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. (We are concerned here with breaches of the Regulations, not the general Government guidance to “stay at home”.)

      On 12 April 2020, Mr Cummings drove approximately 26 miles from his father’s property to Barnard Castle with his wife and son. He stated on 25 May 2020 that the purpose of this drive was to test his resilience to drive to London the following day, including whether his eyesight was sufficiently recovered, his period of self-isolation having ended.

      Durham Constabulary have examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle (including ANPR, witness evidence and a review of Mr Cummings’ press conference on 25 May 2020) and have concluded that there might have been a minor breach of the Regulations that would have warranted police intervention. Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing.

      Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis. Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.

      In line with Durham Constabulary’s general approach throughout the pandemic, there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public. Durham Constabulary has not taken retrospective action against any other person.

      By way of further context, Durham Constabulary has followed Government guidance on management of alleged breaches of the regulations with the emphasis on the NPCC and College of Policing 4Es: Engage, Explain and Encourage before Enforcement.

      Finally, commentary in the media has suggested that Mr Cummings was in Durham on 19 April 2020. Mr Cummings denies this and Durham Constabulary have seen insufficient evidence to support this allegation. Therefore Durham Constabulary will take no further action in this matter and has informed Mr Cummings of this decision. “

      1. scottser

        he wangled a regulation made for victims of domestic abuse to suit himself.
        he’s a silly and a liar.
        that is all.

    2. ReproBertie

      “Where’s that O’Bertie Begorrah feller with his claims this will bring down Boris?”

      Another thing I never said. It’s a sad state of affairs when you have to invent statements from me in order to make yourself feel better. Thanks for giving me all that free space in your head though.

  4. Johnny

    Zep heard about the incredible interest among ‘sheet readers in guitar bands and solos, so the heaviest of the heavy rock bands the biggest act of the 70’s has…..

    “Led Zeppelin took the stage at London’s O2 Arena on December 10, 2007 for the band’s first headline show in 27 years and one of the most wildly anticipated concerts in rock ‘n’ roll history. From May 30 at 8pm UK time and for 3 days until June 2, enjoy the concert film of this historic live performance right here on the official Led Zeppelin YouTube channel.”

    Premieres May 30, 2020


  5. Truth in the News

    Wheres the Irish Times article on the HSE leaked report on deaths in care homes
    the majority private ones, who is going to be held to account for this scandal
    and when will Mary Harney’s so called “Fair Deal Scheme” be abolished, how
    many of the victims were included in this scheme, and now who will protect their
    assets which can be escheated under the terms of this scheme where residents
    have died due to the Virus.

  6. Fintan Frobisher

    The future for Nissan’s Sunderland plant looks to be secure for years after the Japanese company said it will shut its Spanish factory.

    Closing the Barcelona plant means the UK factory will become Nissan’s European manufacturing hub.

    Sunderland has about 6,000 employees and supports about 27,000 jobs in its supply chain.

    Shutting the Spanish plant, which has 3,000 staff, along with two smaller factories nearby, could mean production of models relocated to the UK.

    Production in Barcelona ground to a halt at the start of this month when some staff went on strike after plans to cut a fifth of the workforce were announced.

    Heh x 33,000


    1. Rob_G

      That’s good news; perhaps they will give jobs to all of the unemployed Honda, British Steel, and Ford workers

    1. millie in handcuffs

      No because I’m not a silly who sees job losses as a means of scoring points in some meaningless internet wee weeing contest.

      But you have your priorities.

      1. Fintan Frobisher

        Could you perhaps point out where I was cheering on job losses ?
        I’m celebrating the fact that 33,000 UK jobs are safe.There’s probably quite a few skilled Irish people amongst them as well.
        Despite Brexit.
        Heh x 52%

        1. millie in handcuffs

          From the jubilant tone of your comment, I gather that you’re hoping all those job losses will lead to a ‘win’, or an announcement of new jobs for the UK.

          No such plan, as far as I can see, has been announced, so you’re effectively celebrating job losses in a country that was decimated by the coronavirus, in the hopes that the UK might benefit from this post-Brexit.

          Which, for all your ‘paddy’ jibes and heh-ing, is in particularly poor taste, even for you.

          1. Fintan Frobisher

            Methinks you’re trying a little too hard.
            The decision to close the Barcelona plant is partly a self-inflicted wound.Its workforce chose to go on strike rather than accept redundancies in a rationalisaton plan which car companies across the world make all the time.
            Today’s decision secures 33,000 jobs in Sunderland.
            The mention of Brexit was in response to Project Fear suggesting the Nissan plant would close post-Brexit.
            So cheers all around in Frobisher Towers.

  7. Who am I now

    What Fintan does on his day off

    The Ombudsman rejected a complaint that the satirical Ross O’Carroll Kelly column in The Irish Times contained racism towards English people. The complainant took issue with a column detailing “anglophobic abuse” by children towards English fans at a rugby match.

    Mr Feeney said he accepted the complainant was offended “by the remarks made by the fictional children” but “that there was no intention to cause grave offence or to stir up hatred on the basis of nationality.


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