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The Aldershot manager is interesting.....
at 09:45 20 Jan 2022



SB
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Great stuff from Murray
at 08:10 18 Jan 2022

Great to see him playing so well against seeded players back at the Aussie open.

Given this issues he's faced and the metal hip it's incredible stuff.

Must be annoying for those seeds expecting "easier" matches in the early rounds to come up against an unseeded Murray playing at a good level.

SB
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A good high-level summary on virus evolution
at 10:58 11 Jan 2022

There has been a lot said recently about how viruses tend to get milder and that covid becoming endemic means we can now look to stop vaccinations.

This article does a pretty decent job of summarising the truths and fallacies of those two points for those that are interested:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/11/will-covid-19-become-less-dangerou

SB
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What on earth is going on?
at 15:16 8 Jan 2022

This is fabulous stuff, proper football.

McKenna working wonders on the training pitch already it seems, the players seem to be on another level and working together.

SB
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Bizarre situation ongoing at Chester FC
at 15:44 7 Jan 2022

Because the ground is partially in England and partially in Wales the Welsh government are saying they are in breach of covid rules for having fans at their matches given the different rules between the countries.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-59906505

SB
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Man accused of Chris Whitty assault contests charges in dressing gown
at 10:07 22 Dec 2021

Ridiculous stuff if you read the quotes:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/dec/21/man-accused-of-chris-whitty-assa

Like the way his lawyer refused to defend him anymore for "professional reasons".

SB
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Infrastructure seems to be taking a big hit now
at 11:07 21 Dec 2021

Due to staff absences from covid, mostly likely Omicron one would guess.

- 100 ambulances out of commission in London
- 40 out of 142 fire engines out of commission in London
- Nearly 5000 NHS staff absent in London
- 100 Scot rail trains cancelled
- LNER cancelling 16 mainline services

Going to be hard for some people to get home for Christmas on public transport at this rate. Also getting a bit dangerous if emergency services are losing large portions of their workforce.

SB
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Travel from the UK to France banned from tomorrow
at 09:23 16 Dec 2021

Am guessing that could mess up quite a few Christmas plans:


Doesn't look like business is a valid reason to travel anymore either.

SB
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Some difficult discussions are going to have to be had in Westminster
at 16:28 15 Dec 2021

Clearly most of the country don't want more restrictions which is absolutely understandable but Omicron is absolutely running riot.

78000 cases today is massive, a 19% increase on cases from last week and more importantly as of Saturday hospitalisations are up 10.4% so that's likely more than that given we have seen a huge jump in cases since Saturday.

Deaths are slightly down this week but that would lag behind hospitalisations.

Given >10 million aren't yet boosted it's hard to see how the current level of restrictions are going to do anything given the steep rise in cases even with them. Most of that rise is going to be from the SE and London as Omicron is only thought to be 5% of cases up North but once it hits there it's going to keep on rising.

It's an impossible situation now where people absolutely understandably don't want more restrictions but without it the trend is only going to go one way over a short time horizon.

Perhaps at the very minimum the schools should close for the last 2 days of term and WFH should become mandatory rather than advice.

What are peoples thoughts? Would people want some tougher restrictions for a few weeks or do we agree with the Tory rebels that enough is enough?

Boris is speaking at 5pm, we shall see what he says. Either way, getting your booster is absolutely key now.

SB
[Post edited 15 Dec 2021 16:32]
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Amazon to sell PCR tests for travellers
at 23:36 13 Dec 2021

Now I know that Amazon aren't many peoples favourite company but they are planning to start selling PCR kits for 40 GBP and if that means the dubiously granted contracts run by Tory mates aren't cleaning up at 100 GBP a pop or whatever they are charging now then that's probably a good thing.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/dec/13/amazon-to-sell-low-cost-pcr-cov

SB
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Covid level raised to 4 and Johnson to speak at 8pm
at 17:19 12 Dec 2021

Not sure what that means in reality, guess we will find out in a few hours.

SB
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Chaplin totally lost his head
at 15:32 11 Dec 2021

[Post edited 11 Dec 2021 15:33]
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Wasn't he offside? (n/t)
at 15:24 11 Dec 2021

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Italian man tries to avoid vaccine using a fake arm
at 13:40 9 Dec 2021

An Italian man is facing charges of fraud after turning up for his Covid-19 vaccine wearing a fake arm.

So determined was he to dodge the jab but still obtain a health pass, the anti-vaxxer may have paid hundreds of euros for the silicone prosthetic.

The bizarre episode at a vaccine hub in Biella, a town close to Turin in the northern Piedmont region, came a week after Italy announced measures barring unvaccinated people from a host of social, cultural and sporting activities.

After completing the bureaucratic formalities, including signing a consent form in front of a doctor, the man, aged 50, sat down and lifted up the sleeve of his shirt as he prepared for a health worker to administer the jab.

Initially, the health worker did not notice anything odd, as the silicone looked similar to skin. But after taking a closer look and touching the arm, the medic asked the man to take off his shirt. His plan foiled, the man, who has not been named, then tried to persuade the health worker to turn a blind eye.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/03/italian-man-tries-to-dodge-covid-v

It's like the Father Ted episode with the 5-aside competition:



Bizarre stuff.

SB
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New Omicron variant discovered (BA.2) which introduces issues with PCR tracking
at 16:39 7 Dec 2021

Unfortunately scientists have discovered a second variant of Omicron (BA.2) which no longer has the S-gene dropout on the PCR tests.

This was being used to track the spread of Omicron because Delta doesn't cause this dropout so if it appears on the PCR then they know it's Omicron.

The PCR still detects the BA2 variant as covid but not specifically as Omicron without a genetic analysis which isn't going to be possible for all the PCR tests.

This version of Omicron is genetically distinct enough that could behave differently and it might actually get it's own title.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/07/scientists-find-stealth-version-of

SB
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New study on the longer-term affects of severe covid infections
at 08:26 1 Dec 2021

"Severe Covid infection doubles chances of dying in following year "

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/01/severe-covid-infection-doubles-cha

It's obviously a correlation so should be looked at with a bit of caution but the correlation seems to be clear enough that they are willing to put it forward.

Also worth nothing that they saw a greater correlation in the under 65's:

"The increased risk of dying was greater for patients under 65, and only 20% of the severe Covid-19 patients who died did so because of typical Covid complications, such as respiratory failure."

“We conducted a previous study that showed that patients with severe Covid-19 who recovered were at significantly greater risk of being hospitalised in the subsequent six months,” said ProfArch Mainous of the University of Florida, the lead author of the study. “This new study extended that to investigate mortality risk over the next 12 months.”


Get the vaccine and boosters people.

SB
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Unfortunately it's looking like the red listing wasn't enough
at 13:43 26 Nov 2021

Certainly not a criticism of the government here, they moved as quickly as they could have but unfortunately the detection of new variants is always going to be laggy.

Cases in Israel from Malawi (not on the red list).

Cases in Belgium from Egypt (via Turkey) (not on the red list and no contact with red list countries).

Seems the cases are coming from routes well outside the defined source countries which I guess is to be expected.

SB
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2021 World Chess Championship
at 13:30 25 Nov 2021

I know that chess isn't for everyone but for those that like it the first world championship in 3 years starts tomorrow.

It's Carlson vs Nepomniachtchi and below is the 538's take on the match:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/as-chess-booms-magnus-carlsen-returns-to-de

Chess has experienced a boom during the pandemic seeing a surge in popularity in both playing and watching tournaments. This has been helped by the rapid format being the preferred format for online tournaments where each player gets 15 minutes or less for their moves. The prize money has also increased with it's popularity, the winner of the world championship will take home 1.2m USD.

SB

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Why we need to vaccinate the world against covid
at 23:05 24 Nov 2021

Very early days so certainly nothing to panic about but there has been a new variant of covid sequenced which has a very large number of mutations on the spike protein (32) and seems to have originated in Botswana.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/24/scientists-warn-of-new-covid-varia

Only 10 recognised cases so far so clearly nothing to worry about but it does highlight that mutations can and will occur going forward. Having such a large number of mutations on the spike protein could mean that antibodies don't recognise it as covid and don't attack it. Hopefully it will be far less infectious than Delta and thus will not gain any traction (at the moment that is unknown).

It's speculated that such a huge burst of mutations likely happened in a chronic infection in a patient with a weak immune system (such as someone with untreated HIV) because it's unlikely to happen in someone with a well functioning immune system.

It does serve to highlight why we need to be funding vaccines doses for the developing world and countries which cannot afford them because these could be the areas where patients like the one described above exist and where "bursts" of mutations like those in this variant can happen.

Unfortunately it doesn't seem like the richer nations are really behind the Covax program as fully as they could be.

SB
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Longer term protection from AZ in the elderly
at 08:37 23 Nov 2021

I listened to an interesting interview this morning where a scientist was suggesting that the European countries are seeing a higher rate of hospitalisation amongst the vaccinated elderly because they mainly used Pfizer for their vaccination programmes.

Research seems to be showing that whilst Pfizer creates a better antibody response in the general case, AZ creates a better T cell response in the elderly and thus might give better longer-term protection from hospitalisation in that cohort.

Please note this isn't a peer reviewed study, just a working theory so it will be interesting to see if this is backed up by a full study.

SB
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