Category: Covid-19

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Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 5 – a closer look at Lateral Flow Tests UPDATED

Emma Monk

One of the areas where I keep coming across a lot of misinformation relates to Covid-19 testing. I covered all the various misconceptions surrounding polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, including what it can and can’t detect, whether there are lots of false positives and whether the inventor of PCR really said PCR shouldn’t be used […]

Virtual unreality and the over-centralised state

Mick Fletcher

It is not the worst decision taken by the current administration, but one that neatly encapsulates the insularity and arrogance of our over-centralised government: the powers that enable local authorities to function safely during the pandemic by holding meetings on-line will lapse on 7 May, and will not be renewed. The reason, to be blunt, […]

¿Cómo nos ven? How the Spanish press sees us

Mike Zollo

“Always look at both sides of the argument before you decide”, my father used to say in his wisdom when I was young. His life’s experience had taught him that: he had grown up as a young man who was categorised as an ‘enemy alien’ in 1939, yet who volunteered to join the British Army […]

Will the south-west’s MPs join Charles Walker’s milk protest?

Sadie Parker

It was a depressing, foregone conclusion that MPs would vote to renew the excessive powers granted to government under the Coronavirus Act 2020. Another dull afternoon in the Commons was in prospect, when suddenly the debate took a turn for the bizarre. An MP got up on his hind legs to give one of the […]

Listen to our debate on the future of the NHS and healthcare

Anthea Simmons

On 24 March, WCB ran the second of a series of Zoom Q&A events on hot political and socio-economic topics. In the wake of the publication of the Government’s white paper on the future of health and social care, the sale of GP practices to a US healthcare provider, privatisation of test and trace, the […]

How the government killed and maimed us in Feb/Mar 2020

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen is calling for an inquiry into the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. He has asked people to share this piece widely. Please sign this petition, calling on the government to hold that vital inquiry. Feb 3 2020Boris Johnson – speech in Greenwich “And in that context, we are starting to hear some […]

Walking for health

Barbara Leonard

Just over a year ago I was one of small group of volunteer walk leaders sharing thoughts about a new virus being talked about on the news in the UK. Some of us had just returned from visits abroad where warnings about Covid 19 and measures to limit its spread were already happening, in sharp […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 4 – taking a look at testing

Emma Monk

One of the areas where I keep coming across a lot of misinformation relates to testing ‒polymerase chain reaction (PCR), lateral flow tests (LFT), false positives, false negatives, and whether the inventor of PCR really said PCR shouldn’t be used to test for Covid-19! It is easy to get confused by the different molecular biology […]

Trolled by our own government

Anthea Simmons

Ever get the feeling that this government starts each day wondering what it can get away with? It must seem easier than taking candy off a baby to dole up a heap of lies and cruelties and get us to swallow them and say we’d vote for more. I mean, what are those polls about? […]

Letters to the editor: a sonnet, Article 16 and wolf into dog…

Editor-in-chief

The Crony Virus pandemic rages:Toryus Pestis Old Etoniens.Ravaging, in exponential stages,The NHS, the land, it never ends!Symptoms include combustion, if you’re poor,Or fat contracts, if you’re well connected.The rich reward of the revolving door:Your kind donations will be reflected.Weeks of total lockdown is the best fixBut the virus makes no money from that,So, distracts with […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 3 – taking a look at vaccines

Emma Monk

Much of the misinformation and confusion surrounding Covid-19 relates to whether the vaccines are safe and effective. It is completely understandable to have questions, and no-one should be dismissed for wanting to find the best information out there. I will do my best, using all the available evidence, to cover some of the questions I’ve […]

Steve Baker: from St Austell to Austrian School

Tom Scott

A leading figure in the so-called Covid Recovery Group, Baker is a disaster capitalist with an impressive string of disasters to his name. In recent months, a group of hard-right, ‘lockdown-sceptic’ Conservative MPs has been lobbying vigorously for an early exit to lockdown. And one of the loudest voices in the so-called ‘Covid Recovery Group’ […]

Thank EU for our speedy vaccine approval?

Sarah Cowley

So much vitriol and gloating about the fact that (having signally failed in every other aspect of pandemic management) the UK government has a vaccine rollout plan that is proving so much swifter in delivery than the one across the Channel in the European Union (EU). Sluggish, rule-bound European Medicines Agency (EMA), the naysayers say: […]

Pecs, flags and vaccines

Anthea Simmons

Action Man Johnny Mercer, Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View (or ‘less view, please’ as one wag tweeted) is quite keen on posting shots of himself in various stages of disrobement, albeit often at the beach. He has even appeared semi-naked lathering up Dove shower gel for an ad run in the USA. He’s rather […]

Gav’s latest whoopsie cost £425m and a Cornish school is not happy

David Hencke

Company predicted “successful business performance” on the back of feeding poverty stricken children The spectre of poor children going hungry during the Covid 19 crisis is something the government have had to be put under pressure to remedy – notably by Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United footballer. But now it has emerged that even when […]

Seesaw Corona war

Terry Riordan

As a retired microbiologist I’ve watched events over the last year with horror and anger. Following the recent excellent Debunking Covid Myths by Emma Monk and the inimitable piece by Femi Oluwole, I want to discuss some grey areas and the significance of new developments, and suggest how we move forward. In many ways the […]

Between Two Worlds

Doro Williamson

Doro Williamson is 11, and lives with her parents on the southern edge of Dartmoor, Devon, UK. This poem was written while schooling at home, as part of her English work, assigned by her year 6 teacher after looking at alliteration and juxtaposition. Between Two Worlds The liminal lockdown kept us at homeFraying our tempers […]

Sunshine smile and soulfood from Syria

Anthea Simmons

“I say to fellow immigrants ‘put in to this country. Do not take out. Put in.’” Khaled Wakkaa has been living in Exeter since March 2017, when he arrived from war-torn Syria and years in refugee camps in Lebanon, with his wife Dalal and young daughter Lemar (now joined by a little sister born in […]

Vaccine ‘wars’? What on earth is going on?

Sadie Parker
globe, syringes like missiles doing battle

“EU vaccine war explodes,” screamed the Daily Mail in its first edition. Then hours later its headline had changed to “EU Jabs Climbdown” as it accused the EU of performing a ‘screeching U-turn’. Wait. What? There had been a war and it was all over eight hours later? What on earth was going on? It […]

Misinformation costs lives, David Warburton. Spread facts, not fiction

Emma Monk

On 8 January, MP for Somerton and Frome David Warburton gave an interview to the Somerset County Gazette containing a great deal of misinformation. Short of a small link to a fact-checking website in the middle of the article, his views were printed uncontested. Is it right for an MP to be given a platform […]

100,000 dead. “We truly did everything we could”. REALLY?

Femi Oluwole

With 100,000 Covid deaths, Journalists better mention that Boris Johnson: Feb 2020 Said he wanted UK to have the loosest reaction to Coronavirus. Skipped 5 Cobra Meetings. March 2020 Told people to shake hands Allowed mass crowds May 2020 Denied the Stay Home order existed to save Cummings Seriously!? This was a #DowningStreetBriefing SPECIFICALLY on […]

Coping with Covid-19 in a ‘pueblo blanco’

Mike Zollo

I’m afraid I am one of those people who feels ill whenever I am confronted with the jingoistic boastfulness, British exceptionalism and tribalism generated by Brexit.  It is especially sickening to see it amplified in any public statements made by the Government in connection with the pandemic. I have never been willing to be dragged […]

Long Covid kids

Sammie McFarland

A year since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all become armchair experts. It’s hard to remember a time when it was new and we had so little information about what to expect if we were unlucky enough to catch it. A few key messages emerged early in the first lockdown in March. […]

Future prospects blighted by the pandemic – a student writes

Bella Enoizi

The impact of Covid-19 on university students has been overlooked by both government and the media throughout the pandemic. Neither has support been received from the governing bodies of Higher Education institutions, in terms of either policy or financial relief. Where students have been mentioned by the media, it has only been to blame them […]