Analysis Exclusive

Medics: study shows 50-75% of CV-infected at any time have no symptoms – Johnson’s test/PPE failings are making us infect patients

Italian town’s programme drove new cases down to zero – but also revealed worrying information about how virus is spread that UK medics say mean that the government is putting them at risk and forcing them to transmit infection to patients
A nurse wearing a basic face mask that the WHO says is ineffective

Medics speaking on condition of anonymity have told the SKWAWKBOX that a study of the epicentre of the Italian coronavirus outbreak shows that Boris Johnson’s failures are forcing them to pass on the disease to NHS patients whose existing illnesses make them more likely to suffer lethal complications – and to fuel the spread of the virus among the UK population.

Johnson’s government is still ignoring World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance to ‘test, test, test’ all citizens for the virus – and health specialists believe that this, combined with the ongoing lack of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS staff is forcing doctors, nurses and other NHS staff to infect patients as they care for them.

Vò and asymptomatic transmission

The Italian town of Vò near Venice saw the first coronavirus death in Italy and the rapid spread of the virus among the population. But the town recently cut the rate of new infections to zero by implementing a programme of repeated testing of every person in the town and isolating any people found to be infected, along with their close contacts.

But a study of the exercise – which was implemented by Sergio Romagnani, former professor of Clinical Immunology and Clinical Medicine at the University of Florence – and the results of the testing revealed a shocking statistic, one that has not been emphasised by the UK press or news broadcasters:

At any given moment, half to three quarters of the people infected and transmitting the virus were showing no symptoms.

This meant that the town was only able to reduce the spread of the disease because it was testing everyone, whether they showed symptoms or not.

No tests, no tests, no tests

In spite of the WHO call for every government to ‘test, test, test‘, the UK has restricted testing to those admitted to hospital for emergency treatment for coronavirus symptoms.

Not even those who come in with even quite severe symptoms – only those admitted, as a video released by the worried mother of a nine-year-old sufferer typified.

On top of this – and in spite of the claim at Johnson’s press conference last week that NHS PPE supplies are ‘perfectly adequate’ – the government is still not making suitable PPE available to NHS staff on the front line. Staff who will be treating people every day either likely to be infected, or infected but showing no symptoms and in hospital for other issues.

NHS critical care doctor and Doctors’ Association chair Dr Rinesh Parmar spoke out this morning on the BBC about the ongoing lack of suitable equipment:

An intolerable situation

As Dr Parmar noted, the lack of PPE is putting both NHS staff and patients at risk. But other medics point out that the results of the Italian study show that the fact that most people passing on the disease have no symptoms.

And that the government’s continued failure to test staff or provide suitable PPE is therefore creating a lethal cocktail in which staff are becoming infected – and then passing on the disease to patients they are treating or moving.

Many of them already ill and therefore most vulnerable to the lethal complications of the virus.

One doctor told the SKWAWKBOX:

“First do no harm” is the fundamental principle of being a doctor – and yet the government is putting us in a position where we are likely in many cases to be doing more harm than good.

This isn’t just about the people who come in showing coronavirus symptoms. Any patient coming in, for example to A&E, could be infected and not know it – and pass it onto the staff they interact with. Or the doctor or nurse treating them could have it and pass it onto patients.

It’s an absolute nightmare and the government is showing little or no sign of doing anything meaningful about it.

Another medic, who had studied and made notes on Romagnoni’s report of the Vò testing campaign, said the UK’s tactic of testing only admitted sufferers was a complete misdirection of resources:

The study showed that 50 to 75% of those infected are asymptomatic, but they are a formidable source of contagion, being largely but not exclusively of a younger age group than those with symptoms.

Within this community isolation of all the infected persons led to a substantial fall in the infection rate within 7-10 days. This shows that “massive action surveillance” is required, with the aim of finding and isolating all infected persons.

But it is unnecessary to swab symptomatic patients, since they should automatically be isolated, and treated as required.”

What [testing] capacity the UK has should be being used to make sure that front-line staff who have to deal with the infirm and elderly have regular tests so that they can know as far as possible that they are not spreading the disease to vulnerable groups.

The current UK strategy is completely at odds with this, whilst posing as based on “scientific” advice. Basically the government is deceiving the public by not admitting that their failing strategy that it is adopting, far from being the result of expert advice, is due to its own ill-preparedness.

As a result, the NHS will be overwhelmed with cases needing respiratory support, a significant percentage of whom will have acquired the infection from health or social care staff.

The evidence from Vò and the gross negligence of the Johnson government to prepare for the pandemic mean that the doctors, nurses, paramedics, care workers and others looking after the sick, disabled elderly, will be spreading the disease to those they are caring for.

Johnson’s complacency and incompetence mean that the people caring for those most at risk of serious pneumonia and death are at some point likely to be infecting them.

Regular testing of all such workers is the only way to protect patients and staff – so why are Johnson and Hancock continuing to ignore the evidence?

Why were they unprepared – and why are they still not taking steps to put it right?

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48 comments

  1. Don’t believe Johnson’s lies. He and his contemptible associates, and “experts” willing to flog their professional integrity should be condemned. They lie when they say the have new information. They need not have read ‪Skwawkbox.org‬ . Reputable professionals were saying the same seven or eight weeks ago IN PRINT & IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. To tow a contemptible line of “herd” immunity and flattening curves with incoherent gibberish are even more despicable. It is not “science” to allow hundreds of thousands to die from an extremely contagious “new” virus. It is not hindsight to point this out. It was pointed out here on ‪Skwawkbox.org‬ and elsewhere including the WHO and the Lancet. ➕ we had the VISIBLE EVIDENCE of the experiences in China and its neighbours. Isolate test test test & trace. Equip the key members of our society with the tools AND proper protection. Aprons, masks, and gloves… PROPER not cheap Tory trash.
    Also KEY workers must obviously include those who clear away our recycling and rubbish. Also, the street cleaners, supermarket workers especially checkout staff. Prison staff… ALL OF THEM‼️

  2. Coronavirus: UK lockdown began after France ‘threatened to shut border with Britain’

    President Emmanuel Macron reportedly called Boris Johnson on Friday night France threatened to close its border with Britain unless it introduced shutdown measures to stop the threat of Coronavirus, aides to President Emmanuel Macron claimed tonight.

    The head of state’s staff said that he called Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday night and told him that unless the situation quickly changed ‘France would have no other choice but to refuse entry for all travellers from the United Kingdom.’

    Mr Johnson responded by announcing the shutdown of pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants, bringing Britain in line with its EU neighbours.
    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/coronavirus-uk-lockdown-began-after-21732779

    1. That is correct SH. Johnson & Cummings r extremely inconsistent. How do you reduce a spike in infections and spread, by allowing a deadly “unknown” virus to spread❓ No proper equipment for those on the frontline, endangers those on the frontline ➕ increases spread. We had the advantage of observing, China, South Korea etc and Italy. Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings have no excuse. He has been vague and inconsistent. Flip-flopping daily only after his hogwash gas been pointed out.
      We need a Jeremy Corbyn led government now.
      🌹🌹🌹

      1. What we need and what we’ve got are two very different things thanks to those who voted against their own, their family and their communities welfare.

  3. Couple of things about the town of Vo make me doubt that its experience is transferrable – ie I don’t think it’s a model that can be copied more widely.
    Wikipedia shows a population under 3500 and falling in 2004.
    It’s a very small town, probably mostly older retired people, the young having left for jobs in the cities – that would likely mean the people of Vo travel far less and are much easier to track and trace than the average younger, working, partying, cafe meeting, sleeping around, commuting populations in cities.
    The period of “apparently well but infectious” is obviously the problem – test, test, test can only be universally effective with enough testers to test whole populations repeatedly – I believe Vo was entirely exceptional in that regard.

    If we the non-essential personnel self-isolate effectively enough for long enough, it ought to be possible for the essential personnel who run the constant risk of infection to be ‘tested, tested, tested’ with the resources we have available.

  4. Latest figures just released – In the last 24hrs there has been another 651 deaths in Italy

  5. https://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/UKNews1/idUKKBN218131
    Johnson acting only when he is shown up. He has always been a lazy joker. No discipline. No care for other people. Ambition and selfishness are deadly in combination. Just like Iraq invading Tony Blair & Alastair Campbell. No human life is important for those creatures. Money, personal ambition and infinite vanity (Blair), control those creatures.

  6. Interesting that Macron aides say he phoned Johnson on Friday to say if the UK didn’t seriously limit the spread then France would close the border with us. As the Mirror pointed out most EU countries would follow that lead. I imagine a lot of Asia would also not welcome Brits or those travelling from the UK to bring the virus back home. It’s OK I guess for there to be two reactions, let it rip or serious lockdown but it means a world divided – or more precisely, the UK isolated. No wonder soon after Macron’s call further restrictions were announced and Johnson begged the nation to lockdown voluntarily. No doubt he promised more to come if they didn’t. . A trade blockage from the EU would be another disaster and very possibly the coup de grace for British business.

    1. What surprised me was the Airbus A380s – BA, Malaysian Air, Singapore, and Emirates in particular running several flights DAILY to & from the Asia, West coast USA & Dubai which is a HUGE International hub to Heathrow another hub. Thus guaranteeing the spread of Covid-19. Up to today, though Emirates announced they would suspend flights to the UK, it is extremely late. The Tories do everything to please the barbaric head-chopper of Dubai as he prosecutes the Tory proxy war on Yemen. But on no level and from no perspective can the inhumane negligence of Johnson & Cummings be justified by science. It is deliberate. 🩸🩸🩸

      1. I’ve been checking out the Macron threat story and most media has it – even the BBC who put it surprisingly bluntly. The only newspaper which makes no mention of it whatsoever, despite it explaining what happened on Friday was the Guardian. Not a dicky bird despite massive coverage from all over the world from Germany to Brazil. No mention of France and it’s part in our politics was mentioned.

      2. Paul, contrast the Guardian with the express‼️ Even when i was addicted to buying too many newspapers, the express never even got slightly considered. So how low us the guardian and BBC when express, torygraph & times cover the unforgivable actions and lack if Boris Johnson & Dominic Cummings❓
        https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1258646/Coronavirus-chart-graph-death-rate-UK-Italy-lockdown-fears-latest

        The above is EXACTLY as expected due to failures of Johnson to learn from Wuhan & South Korea etc. Test, test, test, trace, isolate and have PROPER personal protection available in ADEQUATE quantities. Frontline ie interaction intensive people who are vital for society to run properly… TRANSLATE = the people the Tories Blue & Red despise… frontline staff need the tools to function properly. HOT AIR waffle from Boris Johnson is USELESS.
        Only a TRUE Labour government would have had a properly resourced NHS and other services. Only a true Labour government could deal with pandemics. Check history. Expect to find that under Conservative administrations & policies here abroad, we have invasions, refugees, proxy wars, more refugees, epidemics and pandemics and Hedge Funds which donate hundreds of millions to their puppets in government. AND the same Hedge Funds trading FURIOUSLY on the back of tragedies… suffering… grief. Tory backers bet on distress. That is one reason why attempting to get rid of them demands more steely resolve, dynamism, strategy and being CONSTANTLY on the offensive. To react after events is too late. To hope that something nice will happen is pathetic dreaminess. The general public has a menu of ideas to consider. We have to ensure our ideas are at the forefront of the public consciousness. The public consider what is put before it. Ideas compete for consideration. We must name sure the true Labour view is ALWAYS present. CLEAR🌹 BOLD🌹 ENERGY 🌹
        With the PERSISTENCE & CLARITY & COURAGE Labour values deserve.

    2. “A trade blockage from the EU would be another disaster and very possibly the coup de grace for British business.”

      AND that is precisely what Brexit is …

      and they are still at it the loonies from the Torygraph

      “Regaining full independence from the EU at the end of this year will help to reduce the impact of a Eurozone financial crisis on the UK, senior Brexiteers have said.
      Speaking as they launched a new, cross-party think tank, Owen Paterson, the former Tory cabinet minister, and John Longworth, the ex Brexit Party MEP, claimed that Britain would be in a stronger position to recover from a slump if the Brexit transition period ends on schedule, at the end of December.”

      Christ can someone give them a dose of CV19 … pleaseeee !

  7. BBC Website ‘what we dont know about Corona Virus deaths’
    Is a perfectly good article on what is occurring
    Basically how many will die from Covid 19, not many
    How many will die from underlying conditions, normal number for this time of year
    Which is between 8k and 27k
    The only defence is herd immunity until we find a vaccine, sooner the better,
    Then we can deal with Covid 20

    1. Doug – That’s all well and good, as long as you or your loved one’s are not unfortunate enough to be one of the many collateral deaths. Forgive me but I’m feeling much more inclined to believe the conclusions of UCL and the advice of the WTO than Dominic Cummings’ propaganda on the BBC.

      The only defence is herd immunity until we find a vaccine, sooner the better,

      I for one won’t be going to any Covid-19 ‘parties anytime soon, thanks but no thanks.

    2. The biggest load of bollocks is the idea that everyone who contracts Covid 19 with underlying conditions will die
      Sooner we develop immunity, quicker scientists to get to a vaccine
      More will die from lack of resources after 10 years of Austerity,
      Need to work on criminal charges against red Tories and Blue Tories

      1. Doug – “The biggest load of bollocks is the idea that everyone who contracts Covid 19 with underlying conditions will die”

        I wasn’t aware anyone was claiming that. You are of course entitled to put your faith in the out of step fantasies of Boris and his pet behavioural ‘scientists’ but I’ll be sticking with the opinions of UCL & the World Health Organisation to guide me.

      2. Doug…I know its difficult to cast aside the propoganda from the BBC,but the sooner we all realise that this broadcater of the Tory party may damage your health or even kill you then we will all be more secure..Teams of Doctors arrived here in Cambodia yesterday with “State of the Art” testing equipment able to diagnose infection within 2hrs or less.To deliberately infect people,like johnson intends is a Crime against humanity and he and his government must answer for it in the Haig.The rest of the world have caught on to whats going down in Britain and its not Test,Test,Test,but lunatic inaction backed up by compliant Scientists and the establishment broadcasting corporation.Even the third world here in Cambodia recovering from genocide and a insane dictator have more morality and common sense than to allow an evolving and possibly mutating virus to spread.Remember that Insane dictators and a destructive ideology are not confined to the jungles of Cambodia.

    3. DOug , some figures for you to consider
      Herd immunity requires an 80% population infection level I believe , World population =7.5 Billion at @80%=6Billion infections
      present fatality rate is 13% ,( checks calculator ) and that = 780,000,000 dead . I’d say that’s one hell of a lot dead wouldn’t you .
      WW2 killed world wide 78 Million .

      WW deaths as of today from CV19 ,, 14,210 (WHO SIT REP 62)
      Our turn in Johnson experimental UK Labs is yet to come and the WHO graphs shows us on a trajectory steeper than Italy and their NHS is better than our run down one ( thanks to the Tories )

      I agree the sooner the better for the vaccine ( approx 1 year away ) , herd immunity would be useless against a future mutation
      Miss representing the seriousness of the situation as you have tried to do helps no one , least of all our fantastic NHS staff , who are trying very hard to get people to understand the seriousness of this virus .
      Your supportive stance for Johnson / Cummings strategy undermines their work .
      To see them at work and just how brilliant then try this
      https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NHSCovidHeroes&src=trend_click

      1. https://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/herd-immunity

        “Herd immunity only works if most people in the population are vaccinated (for example, 19 out of every 20 people need to be vaccinated against measles to protect people who are not vaccinated). If people are not vaccinated, herd immunity is not guaranteed to protect them…

        Unlike vaccination, herd immunity does not give a high level of individual protection, and so it is not a good alternative to getting vaccinated.”

      2. Thanks for the math, rob. the herd immunity stuff of Cummings & Johnson is just that, with unprintable adjectives. It will fool some, all of the time. Before vaccines we had no choice. There was no decency in not protecting the most vulnerable from the get go… unless one deliberately wished to cull those Cummings & Johnson consider to be expendable. I have a little book i retrieved from storage. It provides a little blurb about 15 people with illnesses the Nazis and other eugenicists, would have deemed to make their lives not worth preserving. Those expendable people include Beethoven and Mozart.

        QUESTION: Name one Hedge Fund “titan” anyone would regard as vital to a positive state of mind of any broad set of people❓ ❓ ❓ No. Me neither.

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8139529/Flights-Italy-Iran-China-landing-Britain-despite-UK-coronavirus-lockdown.html

  8. Paul, i’m not surprised by the Guardian. I heard their ex political editor say that they were aware of the MPs abuse of expenses but they kept it quiet so they could get stories from the politicians. He said the same on LBC i think it was. Cannot remember who the presenter was. Seem to remember it being in the morning. Would have noted it but alas tons of stuff from that epoch is in storage.

    Anyway the DM has the Johnson Cummings obscenity here
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8139499/Furious-Downing-Street-blasts-claim-Dominic-Cummings-backed-sacrificing-pensioners-coronavirus.html

    Do u hear any outrage from the AS slandering brigade❓❓❓ No me neither. Not a whisper. Will the MSM brigade be badgering Johnson to apologise❓❓❓
    Don’t hold your breath.

  9. CLOSED CASES 112,174 worldwide

    Cases which had an outcome:

    97,574 (87%)Recovered / Discharged

    Deaths 14,600 (13 per cent)

    Worldometer

  10. Even after all thats been said about the BBC the elderly especially remain glued to the State broadcaster and lap up the poison that will kill them.Propoganda to kill will need to be answered one day in the Courts of justice.and people whoever powerfull and honoured are not excluded from responsibility for mass murder of the elderly and vulnerable people in our so called Society.And that includes the nodding donkeys in the toilet paper.

  11. Neoliberal ultras believe that only the ‘market’ can find the best solution and its operation must be protected from interference. Ideologues see Coronovirus as constituting a ‘market’ and testing, tracing contacts, PPE, anti-virals are ‘interference.

    Such suspicions are confirmed by Sunday Times story. The one in which Cummings is supposed to have said that the govt’s strategy was ‘herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad’.

    And frankly, it is the most plausible explanation as to why the Tories have been so reluctant to take the most obvious measures to tackle Covid19. For example, why no worries about personal protective equipment for the NHS staff .. because they’re best placed to spread the infection? Eg keeping schools open … because children are very effective at spreading the disease .. ditto race meetings, pubs and clubs? Eg lack of testing and tracing contacts… because it helps to spread the disease?

    As Boris Johnson said ‘Take it on the chin’ and sorry about your loved ones…

    The narrative is the only thing that has changed … the science hasn’t… and Nudge Theory is not science.

    1. You may well be right. Its almost as if the Tory announcements that they were going to close the pubs and clubs were designed to cull the less intelligent by encouraging them to go out with their mates for one last night out. (maybe literally)

  12. Benign neglect….The command of the English language and the intention of the Tory establishment party is well summed up by the French papers and the French PM Contrast that with our toilet papers and our fearless BBC,all of who need to answer for it one day soon.They may have won the election for the government,but a higher court will judge them one day.

    1. SARS-CoV-2 =COVID 19 the ’19’ refers to the year it was first identified. If it mutates ’20’.

      1. On the one hand we have the World Health Organisation, UCL and numerous other eminent scientists along with the actual physical evidence of piles of dead people in the likes of Italy and Spain and on the other we have Dr Hilary on the BBC proselytising the government line. I know whom I’m placing my trust in.

    2. SARS-CoV19. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2019. The ’19’ refers to the year it was identified and sequenced. There are already two distinct strains called ‘L’ and ‘S’, although I’m not sure what ‘L’ and ‘S’ are short for.

      Based on the usual rules of viral nomenclature, a subsequent outbreak would still be called SARS-CoV19, but with a code at the start or end to refer to the structural differences between that and the original virus. For comparison, flu (yes, I know it’s a completely different virus, but the rules of nomenclature apply) is categorised by the particular ‘H’ and ‘N’ proteins (haemaglutanin and neuraminidase) it carries. So, H5N1 flu, or H1N1, or whatever. Slightly complicated by the fact that there are, I think, 4 different main flu virus species, A to D.

  13. This latest very scary report from The Guardian, that a previously completely healthy and fit 36 year old nurse in the Midlands is now fighting for her life on a ventilator suggests all the smug assumptions of so many younger people , and Cummings and Johnson, that coronavirus is just a plague to conveniently wipe out us tiresome ‘bedblocker’, ‘golden pension scrounging’, oldies, is seriously incorrect ! https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/23/fit-healthy-36-year-old-uk-nurse-intensive-care-coronavirus
    If this turns out to be the near future UK experience more generally as the virus reaches Italian levels, we can wave goodbye to a lot more of our vital, heroic, grossly under-equipped, medical staff, and that ‘maximum of 500,000 dead’ figure could well be an underestimate. But the half-witted ‘Doug’ posting utter complacent nonsense as usual on here aint bothered – he thinks it’s going to be 20,000 dead max, and especially not including HIM !

    1. Bad Penny
      Read BBC article, not me saying it,
      Baseline how many extra deaths, answer, not many
      It is criminal that health staff and frontline not being protected and tested, that’s another inquest to be had
      For reliable and sensible information watch Dr Hilary on GMB
      Might calm a few headless chickens on here

    2. You are an always eccentric, now utterly complacent, fool, Doug. On so many different issues on this site, not least the WASPI women. But on this one even that perennial troll, Steve H, has much more of a grip on reality on this vital issue than you. In a mere three weeks or so of yet more dithering and unchallenged propaganda bullshit from the government, we will be into current dire Italian levels of seriously ill and dead, especially in London, without the now rapidly failing Italian’s starting point, comparatively relatively good , medical resources. We can do without your chirpy, smug, reality denying, nonsense, thanks.

      1. Bad Penny
        Your fucking entertaining no one but yourself
        Not nice in a public forum

  14. My point is the major threat to life will be if the criminally under resourced NHS is swamped.

  15. On the politics of covid 19,
    Like brexit it doesn’t really fit into a fucking ism,
    It does however finish the argument on Austerity, there is no going back now on public services and role of the state
    Let the financial pandemic wipe out whats left of socialism for billionaires

  16. People who have ignored government advice aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic are “very selfish”, says the health secretary.
    When messenger is a serial story teller,flip-flops,slopey shouldered and harbinger of doom what else can be expected.This is the start of the spin to blame the public for not responding like experimental rats to nudge theory.

  17. I’ve been looking for volunteering options.
    Registered with FluCamp who say they’re “looking at” starting COVID-19 research with a “milder” coronavirus, but not quite yet.

    I’d have thought supermarkets, charities & other distribution centres would have been starting to register volunteers by now for drivers to deliver to the quarantined as and when existing workers become infected – but can’t find a thing.
    I asked the BBC to create a single contact & information point for registration of volunteers – suggested local coordination by BBC local radio would be very effective – no response.
    The BBC is uniquely positioned to be able to carry out those functions.

    As of now there appear to be many small, independent, local special interest groups – doing great work I’m sure but the coordination needed seems completely lacking.
    The number of websites offering “help and information” has ballooned to the extent of being impossible to discriminate what’s useful and what’s a waste of time.
    THERE NEEDS TO BE ONE OFFICIAL INFORMATION SOURCE.
    One would hope YouGov would fit the bill but far from it – what little there is is repeated ad nauseam in different forms, apparently by different departments and authors over dozens upon dozens of pages.
    Worse than useless.

  18. Like probably everyone else here I’ve no time for Alastair Campbell – and apparently neither has the BBC when he’s criticising the Tories instead of Corbyn.
    He was doing that just now until he was cut short mid-sentence to make room for yet another repeated segment on a bunch of stupid questions from people too dumb to cross a road.
    What a surprise.

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