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Wednesday, September 15th, 2021, 6:00 am

Wales and England Excess Deaths, by Week

THE other week I wrote about how “excess deaths” (UK figures)became harder to get from the government directly, so instead I got figures for Wales and England alone — from a source that has a paywall and hence I took this screenshot. For Scotland and Northern Ireland the figures would add more to the totals, but what’s noteworthy is that this summer, a lot more than last summer, in England and Wales we sometimes have 1,200-1,300 more deaths than usual in a single week. I wrote about that too. It will be interesting to see what happens this coming winter. It can say something about the AstraZeneca vaccine efficacy.

Excess deaths UK

Friday, September 10th, 2021, 11:22 am

e.ON or ‘E.ON Next Energy Limited’ Possibly the UK’s Worst Energy Supplier

Video download link | md5sum 29054acc51742e85c3b317abfd2fec10

LAST year we unwillingly (but not unwittingly) became customers of ‘E.ON Next Energy Limited’ — to use the legal/registered name — after they had bought our longtime energy supplier, a company called NPower. Things have been hectic since then because the price hikes keep coming, without any reasonable or defensible excuses, the customer support is truly awful (customer disservice), they barely take any meter readings, and they severely punish anyone still not interested in a so-called ‘smart’ meter. The video above summarises the past week’s experiences that I had with the company, citing along the way conversations I was having with them months ago when we inquired about change of supplier. Judging by about 100 bits of feedback I’ve collected online, many other people have similar complaints if not much worse.

Someone urged me to file a complaint with the ombudsman and given the way things have progressed so far, maybe I will. The way I see it, they never got my consent (to treat me so badly as a customer); heck, they merely copied my bank details and other personal details from a supplier they had bought. The acquisition should have been blocked; instead, now we have loads of clients being obstructed and subjected to gaslighting.

To be fair, I was forewarned several years ago when a good friend of mine ranted about his supplier (he said it was “e.ON” — a company I had not yet heard of). Whether they call themselves e.ON or E.ON Next and use greenwashing buzzwords like “sustainable” or “renewable”, remember they’re a truly awful company you definitely want to avoid.

Friday, September 3rd, 2021, 12:03 am

The Number of Brits Who Died (and Still Die) Because of COVID-19 is a Lot Higher Than the Official Figures

THE truth of the matter is, COVID-19 changed everyone’s life. No matter where in the world; no matter what class. For reasons which I hope are mostly understandable, this blog has been mostly about coronavirus (and — by extension — health) lately. I make no excuses or even apologies for it. It’s neither regretful nor unreasonable. Earlier today I decided to study just to what degree the numbers which are published online tell us the situation or explain the true severity of it. It would be a mistake to blindly believe artistic interpretations by a government that looks for positive spin (to make itself seem responsible and competent).

So, as always, first look for the raw data, which isn’t easy to manipulate (high risk of getting caught for it). We did that before, e.g. with August fatalities. A couple of weeks ago we reflected a little, noting that there are two “types” or “kinds” of “COVIDiots”: people who think COVID-19 is “Fake News” and people who think it is “Old News” (hence they stop wearing masks, they’re overcrowding places etc.) and both groups are harmful for different but partly overlapping reasons.

According to the official government Web site, more than 25 million Brits still have not received a couple of jabs and they’re clearly not “anti-vaxxers” (that’s a fringe group which rejects every vaccination; don’t overuse this label or low-level insults; it is not helping!).

Let’s examine the numbers. It’s presented like this (and reported in the media accordingly):

UK vaccination

Figures like 90% (“88.6%”) are an alluring mirage, but another way to put it is, about 37% of the population did not receive two jabs or only about 63% of the population did. Some who got the first jab will never get a second (I have some friends like that; the first one knocked them out and they’re suffering long-term consequences; I heard the same from other countries that don’t use AstraZeneca’s problematic product).

So, where are we today? I’ve attempted to find the source data, analysing the underlying data rather than artistic interpretation of it. This is the latest I was able to find about excess deaths in England.

Excess deaths in England

This suggests that in a one-year period, in England alone, over 100,000 Englishmen/women died of COVID-19 and COVID-19 was mentioned in the death certificates of more than that.

As we noted here just under a month ago, in August 2021 about FIVE TIMES MORE Brits died than the prior August (12-13 months ago). We’ve not improved, have we? Don’t go back to the office if you can get the job done from home. I’ve been saying this for months!

Now that about 200 Brits die each day with COVID-19 during peak times/weekdays when the counting takes place and tallies get updated it seems like we made the right choice. We stay home (indoors) except when we run outside or buy food.

Directly and indirectly, going by numbers like excess deaths (the number which really matters most), it wouldn’t shock me if the lives of a quarter million Brits already ended because of COVID-19. They perished faster because of an under-prepared NHS and policies caused by a corrupt government that privatised the NHS (funneling tax money to Tory donors). Where’s accountability for politicians who took bribes? This includes Borisnaro “let the bodies pile up high” Johnson.

This was the last England report on excess deaths (more than 6 months ago). Why did they stop? For England alone (one of 4!), mind you, not counting Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Did the regime stop issuing excess deaths report for the UK? I’m unable to find more recent figures; it seems like the last report was in February. Many people died around that time in overcrowded hospitals.

A lot of this reminds me of how Russia (governed by gangsters like Putin) ‘cooks’ the numbers; to quote a report from July, “the mortality rate increased by 340,300 people in 2020, but only 42.5 percent of these deaths were caused by COVID-19 (that’s approximately 144,700 deceased). The remainder died of pneumonia (a 2.4-fold increase), diabetes (up 26 percent), nervous system diseases (up 21 percent), and “of old age” (up 20 percent).”

It’s very easy to misattribute deaths. It also looks suspicious that every day in August Russia reports almost the same numbers for COVID-19 (as does China; it’s always zero!).

“Proekt’s source close to the Cabinet believes that coronavirus fatalities may also have been included in these categories,” the report says.

The statement I liked most was, Russian authorities are “fighting statistics instead of problems…”

I think we’re the same with our Borisnaro.

Thursday, August 19th, 2021, 3:37 am

Vaccination is Good, But the Current Vaccination Strategy (of Overwhelming Fear/Hysteria) Will Fail to Convince Sceptical People

tl;dr: vaccination is good, but the communication strategy is bad if not terribly awful (there’s misunderstanding of why some people reject this vaccine; calling them all “anti-vax[x]ers” is counter-productive and over-simplistic)

Get the injection... While we prepare the next one
Today’s vaccine hesitancy won’t be effectively confronted by threats, collective shaming/scapegoating, and ‘well-meaning’ misinformation (white lies). We need a better approach.

THIS post is not against vaccination. So get this notion out of your head and actually read the arguments if you’ve already leapt to the wrong conclusion. In my family, everyone is vaccinated; for COVID-19 only half of us are, as half of us have opted for very strict self-isolation, enabled by the type of job we do. More on that in a moment… (also see “Workers Should Never be Forced to Work in an Office (for Jobs That Can be Done Equally Well From Home)”)

I myself am not an immunology expert, but I do read what those people (experts, not mere card-carrying ‘faith’ followers) have to say. They’re not exactly divided, except on more pertinent issues. I have had a lot of time (over a year) to think about this and I try to rely only on reputable sources, i.e. not social control media and any media captured by the industry (or vaccine profiteers who resort to unnecessary exaggerations which can in turn alienate people).

My best friend, a university professor and lecturer in the area of cells (close to COVID-19 territories), regrets getting vaccinated so early because he did not know at the time about side-effects associated with already-inflated (swollen) knees — a chronic issue he has had for decades. A specialist later told him that many others suffer similarly and can now barely walk. They rushed. We’re still studying some of the effects and improve the protocols by which vaccines are administered. The vaccines too are changing and we get a better understanding of how to treat patients if they’re hospitalised with it (for example, overuse of ventilators can create a harmful dependency, so these should only be a last recourse in many cases). It’s all — or mostly — still work in progress and eventually we’ll find a way to live or co-exist with this virus. It’ll never go away completely; we cannot eradicate the flu for example. False dichotomies won’t convince everybody.

I wrote a lot about the subject in this blog and elsewhere and my thoughts on this are personal; I can defend my arguments and I can provide sources. I’m not looking for a fight.

First of all, as I’ve repeatedly said, if you work outdoors, then by all means get vaccinated. Given the known long-term harms of merely contracting the thing (or “long COVID”), it makes sense to never contract the thing at all, irrespective of vaccination.

Almost any vaccine will do (lower efficacy ones are less likely to cause short-term illnesses and side effects). If you are ill to begin with, consult a physician first. They would likely be sincere rather than pushy. Adding one illness to another can be lethal and one might get ‘lost in statistics’ if/when things go wrong (Norway already cautioned against this).

Working from home all the time is a privilege. I realise I’m different. I’m in a unique and fortunate position. I cannot speak as if everyone else is in the same position. So, in other words, my choice or my advice cannot be treated as universal. I recognise, moreover, that there are shared homes (shared with potentially reckless tenants who think it’s all just a “hoax” and act accordingly). So not all “home workers” are safe either; it depends on who they live with.

Suffice to say, not everybody can work from home. It depends on the occupation and the sector (e.g. hospital/nursing, food production, construction etc. cannot be done remotely, except more administrative roles).

Yesterday I read about “Lambda” being trotted out like a sort of “version inflation” — to borrow software terms — which seems almost arbitrary (everything mutates all the time; it’s like code changes in software). Each time they rename the thing they make people feel like today’s vaccines are outdated or some worthless, low-effect “yesterday’s product”. That’s not helping at all! It also leads, potentially I think, to a sort of “buyer’s remorse” among those already vaccinated.

As a matter of priority, the media should quit all the baseless fear-mongering, such as claiming people won’t be able to fly or find employment without getting vaccinated (as a fallback, testing exists). Any time you get caught in a lie you lose credibility, so instead focus on actual facts. I have a friend who felt remorse about getting vaccinated because he felt like he had been misled into it (the flying thing). This friend is an athlete. He needs to travel for competitions.

Suffice to say, there are special cases where imposing vaccines on people would contribute to the worst of narratives (some have gone as far as comparing vaccination to actual death camps). Stop pushing this idea that pregnant women and kids too should be vaccinated. It’s not helping; it alienates yet more people.

So what to do as a matter of universal policy? First of all, keep distance. It’s not antisocial. People can be understanding, especially in these difficult times. By all means, especially outdoors, use a mask to protect those around you (from droplets mostly). Masks aren’t perfectly effective — far from it — and double-masking won’t hurt (not even physically), with one being disposable and another washable to reduce waste. Masks help protect others from oneself. So it’s down to societal solidarity. Wear a mask; don’t be an arsehole. And masks aren’t politics or a symbol of allegiance to some party; don’t politicise sanitation.

In this blog I have long opposed opening up stadiums where people get in contact with hundreds of other people, many of whom asymptomatic carriers. The media should quit blaming or scapegoating those 27 million Brits who aren’t yet vaccinated; there are many children who bring it home from school/kindergarten, but the media is far too sensitive to portray children as a bunch of lepers.

Going back to my own case, my wife and I are in a very unique position. Mostly because we’re not extroverts and we have the luxury of working from home (since ages ago)… and moreover, having chosen not to have children, the ‘vector’ by which COVID-19 can come home is limited to guests (like a person coming to take meter readings) and food items from the outside, which can be washed extensively. For non-food items, a 3-day quarantine period works well enough. We’ve managed to keep clean/safe and we quit going to the gym when we heard about Borisnaro’s not-so-brilliant “freedom day” plan (basically mass infection, which isn’t the same as herd immunity).

We don’t reject COVID-19 vaccines, which are still a dynamic thing; we intend to get vaccinated for this at one point (we’re pro-vaccination but mostly trust the long-established vaccines, e.g. measles and polio, which won’t beget “mild polio” or “mild measles”, just no polio and no measles at all; they also don’t require annual or biannual “boosters”). We even encourage others to have them depending on their circumstances.

Speaking of the science, we already know being vaccinated does not prevent one from becoming a carrier and passing it on, it just significantly improves chances of survival especially among the elderly and other vulnerable groups with already-serious/underlying conditions. Those are just the facts. Those who can benefit a lot from vaccination probably got a couple of jabs (no matter which vaccine) already, at least in richer Western countries. Some got a third.

As I said earlier, the media is currently reinforcing this idea that it’s a never-ending ‘subscription’. All the headlines about boosters, third jabs, “Lambda” etc. are not helping! Change your communication strategy.

I could just as well mention patent monopolies and ‘cartel’ pricing — a subject worth tackling separately so as to not muddy the water by mixing different issues (both legitimate, but economic arguments aren’t the same as safety).

Unlike the media, the NHS has done reasonably OK, I think. It hasn’t pissed me off or insulted me. The tone of the NHS letters we receive is reasonably OK, unlike their high frequency which wrongly assumes repetition alone will change one’s position. (“Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”)

At the moment, at least here in the UK, our government is targeting youngsters and children to make the numbers look better and hide the loss of vaccination momentum, which is nevertheless increasingly evident. Offering people shots in Primark seems laughable because the place isn’t sterile and people resistant to the idea of receiving a shot aren’t likely to be swayed just by a change of venue. To make matters worse, they might later associate Primark with several days of fatigue if not illness — hard to see how that’s good for business!

I have no idea who makes the key communication decisions in the UK, but whoever that is, sack him/her/them. They’re not helping. Speak to people and study their beliefs, don’t preach to them from high horses.

Friday, August 13th, 2021, 3:17 am

In First Ten Days of August 2021 We Have 7-8 Times More COVID-19 Deaths Than the Same Period Last Year

Yo dawg, I herd you opened up everything; Don't worry, only old people like you are dying

I HAVE done the number crunching, based on the NHS data.

Deaths With COVID-19

“Number of deaths of people who had had a positive test result for COVID-19 and died within 28 days of the first positive test. Data from the four nations are not directly comparable as methodologies and inclusion criteria vary.”

2020

10-08-2020	13	
09-08-2020	8	
08-08-2020	14	
07-08-2020	12	
06-08-2020	9	
05-08-2020	6	
04-08-2020	14	
03-08-2020	15	
02-08-2020	10	
01-08-2020	11

Total: 112

2021

10-08-2021	48	
09-08-2021	53	
08-08-2021	70	
07-08-2021	86	
06-08-2021	86	
05-08-2021	91	
04-08-2021	74	
03-08-2021	67	
02-08-2021	75	
01-08-2021  89

Total: 739


Deaths within 28 days of positive test by date reported

2020

10-08-2020	18	
09-08-2020	5	
08-08-2020	3	
07-08-2020	12	
06-08-2020	18	
05-08-2020	14	
04-08-2020	18	
03-08-2020	1	
02-08-2020	5	
01-08-2020	13

Total: 107

2021

10-08-2021	146	
09-08-2021	37	
08-08-2021	39	
07-08-2021	103	
06-08-2021	92	
05-08-2021	86	
04-08-2021	119	
03-08-2021	138	
02-08-2021	24	
01-08-2021	65

Total: 849

Thursday, July 29th, 2021, 3:35 am

Workers Should Never be Forced to Work in an Office (for Jobs That Can be Done Equally Well From Home)

Think of the environment, too (commuting should be minimised)

You can't defeat me: coming to the office; you; COVID-19

TWO years ago I took a train down south and traveled to the office, probably for the first time in about a year (usually that’s the interval to be expected, owing mostly to company Xmas parties; that annual ritual of socialising with colleagues). I did not know it would be the last time. Last July we shut down the physical office, due to COVID-19, without intentions of ever reopening it. There was not much practical use for it anymore (regardless). That was almost exactly one year after I went there to sign some papers. I started working from home around 2007. Back then there wasn’t much need for me (anymore) to have physical (face-to-face) meetings, so I could get stuff done from home and occasionally travel if a meeting was strictly necessary. It took another 13 years before that sort of ‘work style’ (or ‘lifestyle’) became sort of ‘normal’.

Companies which try to compel staff to return to the office or force people to get vaccinated risk losing that staff altogether. Some companies that planned to pull staff back in (where bosses can oppress them from behind their shoulders, physically/literally) keep pushing back the dates, seeing that COVID-19 isn’t going away, with new waves and/or variants showing a resurgence. Here in the UK we’ve totally lost control of the thing — a subject I’ve written about extensively in this blog lately.

Working from home, for my kind of job, makes sense. It’s a lot better for me physically and mentally. I’m close to our pet fish, I can cook proper food (not some junk), and I can dress as it suits me (for comfort, not looks). I bathe every time I need to (no communal showers), I have privacy when I take or make voice calls, and I can run in nearby parks, far away from busy centres of towns (where there’s no safe place to run — away from pollution and traffic).

I totally understand why those who invested heavily in office estate are panicking. But they took a risk by gambling the money on a future of so-called ‘open offices’ with very steep rents; let them suffer from their poor investments/decisions. Don’t compel workers to lower their standards of work (and living) to ‘retrofit’ someone else’s bad investments.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021, 8:42 am

27 Minutes to Cancel BT Order (Even Though I Was Very Clear It Needs to be Done as Soon as Possible), But Still Not Done on Compensation

Previously in this mini-series: Part I, Part II, What Bad BT Engineering Looks Like, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI

IT has been confirmed that my order is now canceled. I’ve had enough! I was so patient and forthcoming; I was willing to wait and forgive, but everybody has limits and this is well past the “third strike”…

I phoned BT at 8AM when the lines opened. I spoke to a guy to whom I made very clear it needs to get done as soon as possible and I don’t want delays and obstruction; he attempted to pass me to the “customer retention” team (cancellation team; they use other euphemisms) and I made it clear to him it would need to take less than 5 minutes.

As advised, he said he would speak to them about it first.

I waited on the line for 7 minutes before giving up and hanging up.

I phoned the number again.

It did not go through to an advisor.

I phone the number again (third time).

Once again, it did not go through to an advisor.

Weird. Is that like some ‘DDOS protection’ or something?

I phoned a fourth time and finally got through to a lady, who after further questions said that the order has been canceled. But then we proceeded to cancellations and finally, after 27 minutes, she said she would need to speak to a manager.

I said she would need to settle that and would phone me back when it’s all confirmed.

So, in summary, it took half an hour, even in a rush (I made it clear several time it needs to be done quickly) just to cancel an already-problematic order. That’s not even counting the compensation.

They make it really hard for people to cancel things like impending orders, even if they are assertive yet polite. I kept apologising to the lady in case that seemed tone-dead, knowing it was not her fault and nothing for her to take personally. I know they’re subjected to tough working standards. Here’s a new article about it. They’re human beings, unlike the corporations.

I kept my manners and composure and went through it as fast as I can. I knew they would probably try to slow things down, tire me, and so on. As I type this she has phoned me back to confirm the compensation, assuring I will hear nothing more about this case and won’t be bothered by it. Time will tell if that promise is kept. I want to spend not a moment more on this. I never even asked for this service. BT pushed it onto me. Don’t let the same thing happen to you. Don’t become an early adopter or an experiment of corporations. They’d lie to people for their consent.

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