113 thoughts on “Friday’s Papers

  1. f_lawless

    This is an important story and certainly one that’s bound to get no fair coverage outside of Denmark – if any coverage outside of Denmark at all.

    A Danish, large-scale, randomised control trial was conducted a while ago on how effective mask-wearing is in preventing community spread of Covid-19. It had 6000 participants and was unique in that it is apparently the only RCT on masks to have been carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic. It began in April and was completed last June. It’s now October and the results still haven’t been published.

    A few days ago, former NYT reporter, Alex Berenson, wrote to Prof Thomas Lars Benfield (one of the leading researchers on the study) asking for an update on when the results will be published. Benfield’s reply: “as soon as a journal is brave enough to accept the study”.

    Since Danish media outlet, Berlingske, has corresponded with co-researcher, Christian Torp Peterson. He revealed that at least 3 of the world’s leading medical journals, the Lancet, NEMJ, JAMA have so far refused to publish the study.

    Peterson: “We cannot start discussing what they are dissatisfied with, because in that case we must also state what the study showed and we do not want to discuss that until it is published”
    Berlingske: “Does this mean that your search results may be perceived as controversial in the eyes of some?
    Peterson: “That’s how I want to interpret it too”.
    Berlingske: “Can one interpret a controversial search result in the sense that no significant effect of mask use is demonstrated in your study?”
    Peterson: “I think that’s a very relevant question you’re asking”

    This is the point we’ve reached: the response to the pandemic has become so politicised to the point that scientific evidence that challenges that political narrative is apparently being memory-holed. Seems like the lie has become too big to turn back now.

    Here’s a thread with a link to the original Danish article and with screenshots of the article translated to English (with an online translator): https://twitter.com/andrewbostom/status/1319233804725342208

    1. f_lawless

      As former NYT reporter , Alex Berenson puts it:

      “To be clear: The Danish study is the most important research on masks. If it shows they don’t work, we need to know, so we can try other solutions. If it shows they’re harmful, we need to know, SO WE DON’T TELL PEOPLE TO WEAR THEM.


        1. Cian

          Good point. The reason (AFAIK) I am wearing a mask is to protect other people if I get infected.

          So how do you do a RCT on that? 3,000 people with masks. 3,000 without masks. How do i measure that wearing a mask stops other people getting infected?

          1. SOQ

            So if the evidence is so hard to gather- why assume they do work instead of assuming they do not?

            What we do know is that after their introduction in country after country, they did not make a blind bit of difference to the infection rates- so empirical fact based evidence should trump non science faith based rituals.

          2. Cian

            What we do know is that after their introduction in country after country, they did not make a blind bit of difference to the infection rates- so empirical fact based evidence should trump non science faith based rituals.
            Um. but we don’t know this.
            The most recent rise in ICU/Hospitalisations/Deaths in Ireland is a lot lower than in March/April. Why?
            It could be because we are wearing masks. (or better hygiene, or social distancing, or seasonal reasons, or fewer people to infect, or myriad other reasons) or most likely a mix of all the above.

            We certainly don’t know they don’t work.

          3. SOQ

            You are just speculating while conveniently ignoring the empirical evidence which is that the virus has its own trajectory, irrespective of mask and lockdowns- and rosaries.

            Real factors like seasonal changes and the amount of people already afforded at least some level of immunity are what is driving it this time around- just like the last.

          4. Formerly known as @ireland.com

            I’ll keep wearing masks until the medical people who are responsible for the health of the community tell me otherwise.

          5. Cian

            You are just speculating while conveniently ignoring the empirical evidence which is that if you socially distance and reduce the number of people people you interact with on a given day you will slow down the spread of a virus.

    2. GiggidyGoo

      This isn’t about health as much as it’s about control. Notice how ‘rules, guidelines, recommendations etc.’ now suddenly become ‘laws, penalties, controls, imprisonments’ all in the short space of 8 months.

    3. Cian

      Interesting – I hope it gets published soon.

      Out of curiosity, if this RCT study were to show that masks do provide additional protection from COVID – would that change your mind on masks and would you support them? Or would you look for reasons to rubbish the trial?

      1. SOQ

        I’ll answer that- if there was trails to the standard of those who say they do work then yes I would agree with them. But we both know that is not the case, especially as WHO have already admitted to political interference.

        So instead of prevaricating about something which is not going to happen- how about asking where did that political interference come from and what was it’s purpose?

        1. Cian

          Why do you assume that political interference made any difference?

          There is always political interference – in all directions. Whatever decision is reached will align with someone’s political interference. – but that doesn’t mean the “interference” had any bearing on the final decision.

          1. SOQ

            WHO done a complete u turn on masks so I think it is pretty safe to assume the interference has a bearing on the final decision.

            The question is- by whom and why?

            Do you not think that is a reasonable question to ask?

          2. Cian

            A reasonable question is “Did political interference affect the decision?”

            If the answer to that is yes, then your questions are valid.

          3. SOQ

            So what is the problem with disclosing whom the political interference was by?

            Pretty sure it is well known in certain circles.

          4. E'Matty

            @ Cian – On July 12, Deborah Cohen, the medical correspondent of BBC2’s Newsnight, revealed that The World Health Organisation (WHO) had reversed its advice on face masks, from ‘don’t wear them’ to ‘do wear them’. But the key fact was that it had not done so because of scientific information – the evidence had not backed the wearing of face coverings – but because of political lobbying.

            She revealed on Twitter that: ‘We had been told by various sources [that the] WHO committee reviewing the evidence had not backed masks but they recommended them due to political lobbying.’ She said the BBC had then put this to the WHO, which did not deny it.

            In March, the WHO had said: ‘There is currently no evidence that wearing a mask (whether medical or other types) by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can protect them from infection with respiratory viruses, including Covid-19.’

            The American TV news channel CNN reported on March 31 that Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies programme and former Gates Foundation acolyte, had said at a briefing in Geneva: ‘There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit. ‘In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly.’

            Earlier that same month, England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, had said that wearing face masks would do little to combat the outbreak.

          5. SOQ

            Personally I think the reason why some people are so adamant they work is because it makes them feel safer except, the virus is so small it could drive a bus through them. WHO have been very careful not to recommend them for general use of course because they know that they could be challenged.

            They were quite clever in pitching it as a communitarian rather than a libertarian politic- in other words, for the great good- but the truth is they have never been recommended for the prevention of viral transmissions until a handful of academically weak papers coincidentally appear within days of each other.

        2. Ivory Coaster

          Agree. We are led by science. I see some people are losing their nerve and calling for ‘PPE’ for nursing homes. PPE; for the sniffles. Too many sheep not enough wolves.

  2. Steph Pinker

    My eyesight isn’t the Mae West but some of the main dishes published on the front of The Star look unorthodox yet tasty: the braised beef with the hippy cabbage sounds nice, as does the smoked haddock with kangaroo and battered spinach, I’m not too sure about Rosemary’s daughter with green bears or the fleeced salmon with terrible peas, however, hard-cut chips, tarmageddon, slews of red cabbage, clarified gem lettuce with opera singing is way beyond my culinary skills – as is the repeated squash with cauliflower lice.

    I’d love to be able to read the dessert menu.

    1. Everybody

      It’s not much different to the appetisers menu, but first of all make sure that someone else is paying the bill. You don’t want to need to run when your knees get wobbly.

  3. GiggidyGoo

    Back to square one.

    Nursing Homes yet again the target of the HSE’s incompetence. Cheered on by Donnelly, who tries to hide behind the ‘I can’t comment on individual nursing homes’ line.

    And Roderick O’Gorman shows his true colours.

    1. SOQ

      So where are all those kicking The Great Barrington Deceleration now eh? There was no reason why those nursing home guidelines could not be been implemented even WITH lockdowns- because they were by far the most important part of it.

      Instead- with howls of ‘pro sickness’ and ‘let it rip’- recommendations made by some of the most eminent experts in the world on best practice nursing home care became a political football- while the government and HSE sat on their backsides and done frig all.

      If the state can interfere in its citizen’s lives to the point that they are under near house arrest then there is absolutely no reason why they cannot ring fence those nursing homes and ensure those people get the level of care they deserve- we should ALL be in agreement on that.

      So enough of the stupid petty politics- you do not have any moral superiority because if you did, you would be laying the blame firmly where it deserves to be.

      1. Ivory Coaster

        Support the Great Barrington but we might not be able to stop people dieing in nursing homes. No country has. We should be big enough to accept old people dying and MOVE ON.

        1. SOQ

          Just letting people suffer and die without even palliative care is not acceptable in any civilised country- no matter what age they are.

          It doesn’t matter if they have 6 months or 6 years to live, they still deserve our respect and still deserve their dignity.

          1. Ivory Coaster

            More people have died of suicide. Nursing homes are the thin end of the wedge for lockdowns. The mature policy is to accept that those deaths can’t be prevented and focus on saving the economy.

          2. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            this avatar is a troll, the name changes the guff stays the same,
            it doesn’t even believe what it types, it is just trying to undermine any discussion and wind you up,

      2. Formerly known as @ireland.com

        “So where are all those kicking The Great Barrington Deceleration now eh? ”

        What’s changed?

        Not all vulnerable people live in nursing homes. It is a large proportion of the total population.

        Herd immunity is not proven, is likely to be temporary.

        What has the declaration got to say aout Long Covid?

        1. SOQ

          80% of CoVid-19 fatalities in Ireland were in or from nursing homes or to put another way FOUR OUT OF FIVE. They had six months to get their act together with the full knowledge that if additional precautions were not taken, the exact same thing was going to happen again.

          That is at best incompetence and at worse- wilful if not criminal neglect.

          As for immunity- there is most definitely evidence of immunity but the time frame at present is too short to say if life long. But the fact that 80% of its make up is the same as a number of other corona viruses which post exposure DO afford life long immunity- it is highly likely to be the same. And that is not even considering cross immunity from similar.

          1. SOQ

            Again with the speculation- apart from beings somewhat new, what evidence do you have that it is behaving any differently to the other coronas?

        2. Ivory Coaster

          I wish SOQ was stronger on this. People will die. Deaths in nursing homes are inevitable and unavoidable. We should never shut down the economy, even if we can’t keep it out of nursing homes. I wish more would admit that. Nursing home deaths are the new moral panic.

      3. Cian

        What has “the Great Barrington Declaration” got to say about nursing homes?

        By way of example, nursing homes should [1] use staff with acquired immunity and [2] perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and [3] all visitors. [4]Staff rotation should be minimized.

        [1] use staff that have “acquired immunity”. How do we identify this? those that already had Covid. We have a total pool of ~55,000 people with positive tests. How many of these are nursing home staff?
        [2] perform frequent tests of staff. The HSE are doing this.
        [3] test visitors. How do you do this? I get a test 2 days before I plan to visit? Better than nothing I suppose and would stop an asymptomatic spreader of Covid.
        [4] Staff rotation minimized. How do you do this? One thing you don’t do is get the HSE to take over all homes. And what happens if your staff test positive (see #2)? Do you replace them or not?

        It is almost like keeping the amount of Covid in the community would help protect the most vulnerable.

        1. SOQ

          [1] T Cell testing is by far the most accurate means of determining is someone is immune and that test is currently not being employed because of cost. Several nurses on twitter who have already cleared it have offered their services to that home in Galway so while small scale, it is doable.

          [2] If HSE cannot provide a helicopter staff service to homes in crisis- like Galway- then I very much doubt if they are on top of the status of their front line staff.

          [3] Currently visitors are not allowed so why would that change?

          [4] A blanket ban of all agency staff being transferred between homes backed up by the helicopter service from HSE- so that adequate staff numbers are available at all times.

          Plus free proper PPE and training of course but let’s face it- until the HSE step in and take control of those homes, more people are going to die.

          It is not good enough to just say oh they are private homes so they are responsible- that is not how public health works.

          1. Cian

            Tell me more about PPE and how it will magically work in nursing homes (without asphyxiating the staff). Are the nursing home covids bigger than the public ones? Do nursing home staff breath differently than the public? Is there additional oxygen and filtered air in nursing homes?

        2. Ivory Coaster

          To be fair Cian, that part of the plan is pandering to the “oh what about nursing homes crowd”
          Realistically, our life expectancy is already too high and lowering it via herd immunity will have knock on benefits for the economy and our mental health in general.

      1. bisted

        …O’Gorman did a Tess apology on the radio this morning…he apologised for not spinning the story the way he’d been instructed…

    1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

      people around Paul are relaxed he’s a relaxing fella ;) I strongly disagree with people being happy with restrictions

  4. Cian

    Anecdote time.

    I was feeling unwell so went to my GP yesterday noon. He decided to send me for a Covid test.

    I got a text appointment before I got home for a ‘drive-through’ test at 6.30 pm last night.

    I arrived and (after checking i was booked in) I was directed to park ; there were about 8 spaces.
    1st nurse came to car window and checked my details – name, dob, address and phone no.
    2nd (pair) of nurses came to do test – again, double-checked my details, and took the swabs. Throat swab was fine, nose swab was, ugh, unpleasant.

    Waiting for results…

    1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

      all the best Cian,
      a friend of mine was recently in the drive thru for her one yr old, second time since she started creche,
      the first time while waiting for results she ended up hospitalised after a scary ambulance trip to crumlin because something simple that would have been fixed by antibiotics was let run wild while waiting for covid results,
      the baby is fine but it makes me think how many other things are being missed

        1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

          good stuff , now feet up and lots of hot fluids, maybe a nip of cask strength at bed time ;)

    2. ian-oh

      Good luck, I’ve had three and no matter that I was expecting it, that burn in the back of the nose still throws me not because it was particularly unpleasant, but its just not somewhere I am used to having any sort of sensation?

      If its just a standard infection like a cold or similar, I have taken to the honey like a duck to water, new studies show that for stuff like colds right up to flu it can have much more of a effect that previously understood so no more over the counter ‘honey and lemon’ stuff, just raw honey and let it sit in the mouth as long as you can so it gets a change to spread around inside the mouth and down to the eustachian tubes in the back of the throat. I’d still be taking paracetamol or ibuprofen but it did seem to reduce the length of a cold significantly the last two times I had one?

      And while I would always advocate for whiskey drinking, its really only good to ease immediate discomfort and not really a long term solution (I’ll need to do some penance for that blasphemous comment – 2 hot Powers and a Laphroaig should do the trick!)

      1. Junkface

        I love the hot whiskey with lemon! No cloves though, they repulse me. The last time I got the flu years ago, I really got hammered one evening watching stand up comedies. Laughed my ass off and felt much better the next day.

  5. Charger Salmons

    I have Trump down as winning last night’s final TV debate.
    And the odds on a Trump election win have been shortening this month.
    I’ve been prevaricating for a while but I finally threw a few quid on a Trump second term at 15/8 earlier this week.
    The last fortnight is going to be fascinating.

    1. Charlie

      Save your 50p toward the next can. I thought Biden shaded it but I don’t think it will have any influence on people’s decision. Trump may be 15/8 but Biden is 2/5 with Paddy ‘the scrote’ Power and they rarely get it wrong. It’s a battle between a turd sandwich and a douche.

          1. johnny

            Cases 8.4 million 75,049 +32%
            Deaths 223,023 828. +9%

            -At least 828 new coronavirus deaths and 75,049 new cases were reported in the United States on Oct. 22. Over the past week, there have been an average of 62,166 cases per day, an increase of 32 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

            As of Friday morning, more than 8,455,200 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 223,000 have died-

            thats the election.

          1. johnny

            i have dinner plans tomorrow night-restaurant reservations in hamptons.
            so today im driving from western mass a few hundred miles,crossing multiple state lines,after a nice lunch in a bougie bistro
            i check back in with you in 5 and a half weeks at which point you will have little or no economy left.

          2. Charlie

            Last place I’d want to live also…and I lived there for a few years pre game show host. We’ll be grand. I’d be a lot more concerned about the trillion problems you have.

          3. johnny

            i guess to some people a six week lock down is ‘living’ to many others it’s a death sentence,you’ve become repetitive.
            is the govt allowing you out today ?

          4. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            I didn’t say Ireland was the best place to live or indeed my first choice, it’s not an either or,
            the statement stands irrespective of life in Ireland, The US remains a country I would not like to live in.

          5. Johnny

            Oh well I love what I do and where I live,I make choices, I’m responsible for them,some work out some don’t,but I follow my dreams…..
            Need dash avoid morning traffic:)

          6. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            good for you, some of us are responsible for older parents and we set aside our dreams briefly,
            I still wouldn’t want to live there :)

          7. Johnny

            my childhood is over,im responsible for for myself, excuses bore me,my father put more than enough aside,to ensure I was not his primary care giver nor source of emotional support, he has a dog ,as the light fades and the curtains come down for him, he is happy that I am FREE to move about….have lunch go to work you know normal things….

          8. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            that comment says so much about you as a person, you’re a lovely man aren’t you, I’m glad your father is in good health, what an odd thing to score points about..

          1. Charger Salmons

            I kept it brief because I know you’re a busy little internet warrior fighting all and sundry armed only with your trusty keyboard.
            I imagine you’ve even nicknamed it Excalibur…

  6. alickdouglas

    Why is ‘herd immunity’ a bad idea for COVID?


    “…And although scientists can estimate herd-immunity thresholds, they won’t know the actual numbers in real time, says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. Instead, herd immunity is something that can be observed with certainty only by analysing the data in retrospect, maybe as long as ten years afterwards, she says….”

    “…Deaths are only one part of the equation. Individuals who become ill with the disease can experience serious medical and financial consequences, and many people who have recovered from the virus report lingering health effects. More than 58,000 people were infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Manaus, so that translates to a lot of human suffering…”

    1. NotHysterical

      The current Govt strategy for Covid is herd immunity. The approach to reaching herd immunity is the issue of contention. The Govt. want to reach herd immunity via vaccination. There are a number of problems with this.

      1) The vaccine may take years to develop
      2) If it does not take years this will be a first, and will likely involve cutting corners. Ask the Boeing 737 Max engineers how that works out? Or a Thalidomide baby?
      3) For a vaccine to be considered effective, it only has to be 50% effective, therefore problem not quite solved, more lockdowns.

      The other approach is to protect the most vulnerable, and let society function.

      1. Ivory Coaster

        Or just get real and admit that older people die all the time
        Stop reporting the number of outbreaks (false positives?) in nursing homes and move on.

      2. goldenbrown

        language has such power sometimes, innit?

        “protect the most vulnerable” – sounds sorta kind and nice
        “lock up the most vulnerable” – sounds sorta nasty and unfair

        I don’t have the answers either but ffs wouldya at least just call your spade a spade instead of that spincrap when posting comments please?

        1. NotHysterical


          Yesterday we read about a nursing home with 27 residents being cared for by 2 staff, as most staff off due to covid. Protecting the vulnerable in this case is simply providing enough staff to do the job safely.

          All the while we are living under house arrest, sorry lockdown :)

          1. goldenbrown

            I’m sorry NotHysterical…I thought your comment there:
            “The other approach is to protect the most vulnerable, and let society function”
            was related to how a broad Govt strategy in dealing with Covid across all civic society could work….or did I misinterpret something?

            “All the while we are living under house arrest” Who exactly are “we”? Would I qualify to be part of your “we”? What’s your definition of “vulnerable” and who are they?

    2. SOQ

      Ok well I can see the slanting of that piece straight off- Sunetra Gupta is not a libertarian- she is a solid communitarian and as a group, all three have being arguing for the rights of poorer people in the community immunity process.

      That it has been left to the poor, some of whom are high risk, to build it up while healthy young professional people remain in their homes is politically, quite a left wing stance.

      It is also worth noting that The Great Barrington Declaration is not anti vaccine at all- quite the opposite- their beef is with lockdowns, not vaccines.

      1. Ivory Coaster

        Agree, typical spin. The poor have the advantage of getting immunity first while their bosses stay home destroying their immune systems.

    3. Ivory Coaster

      Manuas managed it without mass graves or refrigated trucks too. Despite what Gerry Killeen says.

    1. Charger Salmons

      Only a few more days to wait before the annual Wearing of the Poppy post brings out all the barstool Republicans and the sadsacks who think a black beret makes them look tough when in reality it only makes them look like Frank Spencer.
      I usually wear my metal poppy pin from Nov 1st – the record for someone sidling up to me to whisper ‘ thank you for wearing it – without the boys it would have been all over in ’41 ‘ is five hours.
      I think the Shamrock Poppy is a wonderful idea for Irish people to commemorate the sacrifice made by all those brave Irish lads in both wars.

      1. goldenbrown

        isn’t ze poppy a Royal British Legion remembrance icon for those who were killed fighting for the British Army in WW1?

        or has it been re-marketed in some way?

        1. Nigel

          It used to be a solemn remembrance of a hideous waste of human life. Now it seems to be a celebration of the sort of nationalism and militarism that lead to that waste. The inversion is quite obscene.

        2. Charger Salmons

          It officially became a symbol of remembrance for both World Wars in 1946 but in recent years it has expanded to cover all military personnel as well as civilians killed in different conflicts.
          I wear my Shamrock Poppy with pride as a way of recognising the massive contribution of Irish people, particularly in WW2, many of whom became forgotten heroes in their own country – another dreadful stain on Ireland’s recent history.

      2. Toby

        Does it hurt that you got your empirical butt handed too you by the IRA when they attacked the mainland and scared John Major into a deal. You remember that? When London was rightly scared.

        1. Charger Salmons

          What deal would that be ?
          Peace in Northern Ireland, a Protestant First Minister and the IRA currently no nearer their main objective of a united Ireland than they were half a century ago ?
          Some deal eh ?


  7. GiggidyGoo

    Quickly following on from the Contracting Tracing debacle, here’s another.

    Covid testing lab in lockdown for the weekend. Better send a text to Martin and Donnelly. Colander Varadkar has already tipped off the Journal, so no need to include him.

    In a statement, the large testing centre said: “Due to unavoidable staff shortages the NVRL will not be able to provide any SARS-CoV-2 testing on the weekends of the 24th/25th and 26th October.”
    The testing centre will also not be open on the weekend of the 31 October.
    “Apologies for the late notice and for any inconvenience this may cause,” the statement said.

    is Reid still in the HSE?

    1. johnny

      well there’s 2% of your trade sorted,only another 98% to go,to bring you back to where you once were.
      oh trade is ‘projected’ increase by less than 1% with japan under this great amazing fab new deal……….so much winning…ah but them old wars and poppies…

  8. Charger Salmons

    How are negotiations over a EU trade deal with the US going ?

    Heh x stalled after 7 years.

    1. bisted

      …didn’t even know the EU were trying to negotiate a deal with the US…how’s the blighty/yankee deal going…now you mention it…

      1. Charger Salmons

        You’ve never heard of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership ?
        My word, it’s no wonder the EU has been able to do a job on the ignorant Irish for so long.

    2. Janet, dreams of warm feet

      thanks be, I don’t want to eat feces covered, hormone and adrenaline riddled beef and pork or watch our farmers being forced out of the market…but you lot dig in

  9. Charger Salmons

    In a move that will surprise nobody the cheese-eating surrender monkey-in-chief Macron is preparing to back down in the Brexit stand-off.
    ‘Twas ever thus with the French.
    ‘ France is preparing its fishing industry for a smaller catch after Brexit, industry members said, in a sign that President Emmanuel Macron is laying the ground for a delicate compromise to help the European Union strike a trade deal with Britain. ‘
    Go Boris !

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