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How Covid ripped through London’s Jews Failed by their leaders, almost three-quarters of Haredi adults in the capital have been infected

Orthodox Jews have seen a surge in infections (Photo by Rob Stothard/(Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Orthodox Jews have seen a surge in infections (Photo by Rob Stothard/(Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)


February 15, 2021   6 mins

You have heard about the wet markets in Wuhan, the overwhelmed hospitals of Lombardy and the super-spreading ski resort of Ischgl. But for a sobering story of coronavirus contagion, Britain does not need to look so far from home. In fact, as a strikingly underreported new study has revealed, hidden away in the heart of London is a small section of society that has suffered one of the highest recorded levels of infection in the world.

The capital’s strictly Orthodox Jewish, or Haredi, community has an infection rate of at least 64% — UK-wide estimates range from 7% to 30%. And according to the new study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), that figure rises to a staggering 74% among adults and secondary school children.

When I visited the area in North London last week — the study’s researchers have asked the press to refrain from naming the community’s precise location for security reasons — there was little to suggest that it has endured a pandemic quite unlike any other in the world. Smartly dressed children skip down the steps of their schools into waiting minibuses; men with sidelocks and dark frock coats rush to synagogue, their wide-brimmed black hats draped with makeshift plastic coverings to protect them from the elements.

Storm Darcy is sending snow across this enclave of the city, with strong easterly winds wending their way from Ukraine — the same place from where the biggest stream in ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and its 18th-century codes of dress, originated. Over the past few weeks, a chill wind of publicity has also been blowing through the area, home to 25,000 Haredim — the word comes from the Hebrew “to tremble” before God — the largest community in Europe.

It culminated last month with coverage of an illegal wedding held at a state school and attended by 150 guests, though other recent stories about the community have covered everything from forced marriage to benefit fraud. But, like so much about this complex corner of London, the picture is far more nuanced than it first appears. Yes, life here is going on largely as normal, but most of the manifold physical interactions which may seem to break lockdown rules are, in fact, perfectly legal.

Unlike Christians, who may go to church once a week, Orthodox Jewish men pray three times a day, and the government has allowed communal worship in England since July 4. All Haredi children are also still allowed to attend lessons. They come under the government’s category of “vulnerable children” as they live in overcrowded households and attend schools that ban internet access at home. Even those who go to full-time unregistered “yeshivas” — which controversially escape Ofsted scrutiny because they offer a religious curriculum so restricted that they are not deemed schools under the Education Act — are allowed to continue attending, because the category also applies to “out-of-school settings”.

But their initial exposure to Covid-19 was also a product of bad timing. With its raucous celebrations and door-to-door gift giving, the festival of Purim fell in early March, less than a fortnight before the first lockdown was imposed. As one person who works in the community told me: “It was the Haredi Cheltenham Festival.”

As ever, there are also socioeconomic reasons for its high rate of infection. Larger families increase the risk of catching the virus and also mean higher-than-average levels of deprivation. The average Haredi woman has between six and seven children; the average British woman has fewer than two.

“Many families live in very crowded conditions, not out of choice but because there is a real dearth of housing,” explains Rabbi Herschel Gluck, as we talk in his back garden. The rabbi, his long white beard flowing from beneath his disposable mask, bristles at any suggestion that Haredim — known for being insular and resistant to modern mores — are “backwoodsmen” who simply don’t understand what’s going on. “I’m totally sick of this attitude that somehow we’re dealing with people who are not aware,” he says, pointing out that many use WhatsApp or have broadband for work.

And for those who don’t: “The message has been delivered in every way that you can think. We had a car going around with a loudspeaker, leafleting, advertising. If anything, I would say they are too aware. Because they are now also aware of all the conspiracy theories, the misinformation.”

One of the most unusual things about LSHTM’s study, which involved 343 households and 1,759 individuals late last year, was that it was initiated by the Haredim themselves. Its Medical Advocacy and Referral Service charity approached the scientists and even offered funding. “It’s the only time it’s happened to me in my career,” says Dr Michael Marks, who co-led the study.

Since publication, he has written in a local community newspaper warning that the data is no reason to relax. For while his findings are, on a human level, truly remarkable — some might say disturbing — they also raise profound scientific questions. If, for example, three-quarters of the community’s adults and secondary school children have been infected, does that mean that it now has herd immunity to the virus? And if that’s true, how should its existence influence policy decisions over the lifting of lockdown restrictions?

Dr Marks, however, is cautious about making any assumptions. “There isn’t a strict biological threshold for herd immunity,” he says, and especially because of the chance of reinfection and new variants, “we certainly wouldn’t think that the community has achieved [it].” Moreover, in more densely populated areas such as this one, where there are greater opportunities for viral transmission, any threshold would be higher than average.

Marks says he has no reason to believe that rule-flouting was a significant factor in driving up the community’s infection rate, pointing to non-compliance nationwide, and the fact that Haredim are merely hyper-visible. “When you see people who break the rules and they look like you, you think, oh, they’re probably just taking their dog for a walk. We notice when people who don’t look like us break the rules.”

Yet for many Haredim, it is judgment from within the wider Jewish community that is the most painful. One recent comment piece in Jewish Chronicle said that “much of the lifestyle for many Haredi communities is completely incompatible with the fundamental principles of Judaism”.

It certainly has exposed fault lines in Britain’s Jewish population. Even before the pandemic, mainstream organisations had been working hard to connect with a Haredi fringe that is in the ascendancy. Roughly 20% of all Jews in Britain are Haredi (about 60,000) — and within a decade, most Jewish children in Britain will be. But bridge-building has its limits. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, representing mainstream Orthodoxy, tweeted about the recent illegal wedding story, saying the event “amounts to a brazen abrogation of the responsibility to protect life”.

Eli Spitzer, a Haredi headteacher who knows 12 people in the community who have died from Covid, believes the runaway infection rate mainly “comes down to a lack of compliance”. He says Haredim were “just as scared as anyone else” in March and “paid an enormous price” to observe the first lockdown (you try entertaining seven children indoors without iPads or CBeebies). But he adds: “I think the horse had already bolted at that point in a community of this nature,” and it was then too late to tell people to continue turning their lives upside down to ward off a virus that had already run riot.

Though he says most have therefore “sat out” this lockdown, he is mystified by the idea that he and his neighbours have put religion above the preservation of life. “It sounds like they think there are people dropping dead all around us, that we just continue praying and we’re oblivious to mountains of corpses.”

True or not, it’s clear that Jews across the board have been disproportionately affected by Covid. Last year, Public Health England found Jewish men aged over 65 died at twice the rate of Christians, even after adjusting for socio-demographic factors. There is no data on the mortality rate among Haredim specifically, but while their infection rate is up to nine times the national average, it is unlikely their death rate will be anywhere near as high. This is because the median age of a Haredi Jew is just 14, compared with 40 for the rest of the country.

But locals are clearly conscious of the scrutiny. Signs outside schools warning that masks are mandatory are in Yiddish, the everyday language of residents here. A second set in English is there to send a message intended for non-Haredi eyes: “Look, we are upholding the rules.”

Rabbi Gluck detects a double-standard. While other minority communities — also disproportionately affected by the virus and more likely to display “vaccine hesitancy” — have received compassion, he suggests there is a sense among some that Jews have brought it on themselves. “I think people do not have the same sympathy for the Jewish community,” says Gluck. “Many people, their parents, their grandparents, were guinea pigs for science under the Nazis. We can understand that they have a certain amount of healthy ambivalence to accepting medical opinion without question.” Gluck himself was filmed being vaccinated, “so my position is clear”.

Even so, it is difficult not to conclude that there has been a catastrophic failure by a leadership that is able to wield extraordinary power. Spitzer points out that most UK Haredi religious institutions belong to global organisations that are capable of telling you “how to wear your socks”. But now, he explains, “the leaders will not issue directives that they don’t think will be popular, because they’ll lose their position.”

Still, perhaps the community’s extraordinarily high infection rate can be best understood by taking a look at those leaders who do “issue directives”. Take the case of Rabbi Yossi Teitelbaum, who allegedly circulated leaflets in December that highlighted spurious “loopholes” to the lockdown restrictions. His punishment? Earlier this month, he was put in charge of “Covid coordination” by the community’s main umbrella group.


Etan Smallman is a freelance journalist.

EtanSmallman

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A MacK
A MacK
3 years ago

Wow. High infection rates. Sounds SCARY. Given this, how does the death rate compare with the norm? That should be most interesting.
A recent study in Jewish communities, that carried on more or less normally in New York (where CV19 has been rampant) indicates that the non locked down Jewish communities fared no worse than their locked down counterparts in the NY communities.
Perhaps there’s a story in that (about overreaction to CV19)?

Cheryl Grainger
Cheryl Grainger
3 years ago
Reply to  A MacK

Covid 19 is an infection that we develop natural immunity to and the community protects itself especially as 99.96% of us will recover from an infection. Lockdowns and masks have been proven over and over not to work. Have they judged infection on symptoms or the flawed PCR test? The only comparison you can make is with death rates and that will relate to the age of the community. It is irrelevant how many get infected if they all recover. When you get a cold or even severe flu – you go to bed and self medicate – it isn’t part of a daily count. This community will be very wary of mandated treatments and rightly so – we all should be- why do you need to coerce a population to have treatment especially one that will not have full data till 2023? Why have they restricted the use of HCQ, Ivermectin and Vit D which have proven efficacy and reduce death rates? We have to look to communities and countries that have not followed the narrative.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

Almost all science advice explains that masks are not very good at all, and simply create a “feel good” we’re all in t together kinda feeling..
However, ALL governments have mandated the wearing of masks.

Control and compliance.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Total rubbish . It’s true that masks don’t give great protection for the wearer – although PP2 and above provide some protection- but they do help protect other people!

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

How do they protect others when the wearer is not infected? Many would even better protect others if they wore a gag, rather than a mask, David…

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Some of the wearers are infected. Masks reduce the likelihood that they will infect others.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

One more time: “How do they protect others when the wearer is not infected?”

Andy Clark
Andy Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

How would your average wearer know they are not infected ?
Mask are intended to work by the 1% or whatever it is that are infected not passing it on so much.
Every little helps.

Lyn Griffiths
Lyn Griffiths
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

I see where you are comiing from, but if someone is infected a mask will give you both on passing like ships in the night, some droplet protection

Brian Newman
Brian Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Because you maybe asymptomatic!!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

If you have it, stay home, don’t go out wearing a mask. This is what isolation is for, people who have it. If you have it and go out even with a mask you are being irresponsible.

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

How do you know if any of the wearers are infected?

David Smith
David Smith
3 years ago

Nope, your just repeating popular rhetoric
2020 in May the CDC Paper:
“Nonparmaceutical measures for pandemic influenza in non healthcare settings – personal protective and environmental measures”
conclused that – Although the mechanistic studies support hand hygiene and face masks to reduce infection transmissiom the evidence from 14 randomized cotrol studies (selected as those giving the most reliable evidence) Did not support a significant effect on virus and infection transmission.”
That’s the science – not the assumption or wishful thinking

Last edited 3 years ago by David Smith
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

That’s true. Fauci originally said masks aren’t necessary and he was probably right. It became a political necessity for him to change his stance, if you don’t have covid a mask does nothing to protect other people. People who have it should just stay home, don’t go out wearing a mask because they don’t do much.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Daisy D
Daisy D
3 years ago

Fauci’s change of mask dictate became a political necessity when it became clear to him that he was getting 24/7 attention for being an annoying gnat who was (supposedly) standing up to President Trump.

Last edited 3 years ago by Daisy D
R Ec
R Ec
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

yes exactly like wearing a red poppy (Nov 11), or pink ribbon (breast cancer day) or is it a plastic daffodil (?), red ribbon (AIDS day); wear a mask so you think it was some big deal after all.

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Masks are proscribed to protect others – NOT the mask-wearer!

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  Ann Ceely

’Proscribed’? The filthy things should be!

S H
S H
3 years ago

The UK death rate is 97% and not the number you quote. I question your motivation

TIM HUTCHENCE
TIM HUTCHENCE
3 years ago
Reply to  S H

On what planet is the IFR 3%?

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
3 years ago
Reply to  S H

Do you want to check your comment again?
If the death rate (even all-deaths rate) is 97% then we are well and truly stuffed. But then perhaps that is your view.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  S H

do you mean 97 % ‘survival rate’?

Simon Jenkins
Simon Jenkins
3 years ago

You’ve got it back-to-front. It is up to those who advocate masks, social distancing & lockdowns to prove that those measures actually work in a significant way that outweighs their negative effects.
Nobody has done that yet. Also, none of those studies existed pre-covid (WHO, Fauci, etc. were all against this originally).
However, and to take one example, there are many studies showing the uselessness of masks to prevent the transmission of disease; whereas there are studies that show the negative effects (such as a potential increase in the possibility of lung cancer).

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Jenkins

what do you mean by negative effects – if you mean effect on economy then good luck with comparing loos of of life to loss to economy. As for masks – as your final words say so clearly – potential increase in the possibility of lung cancer! That should be very easy to tell – Japanese and other Asian peoples have been voluntarily wearing masks for 10 years or more. I’m not aware of a sudden rise in lung cancers! Masks certainly aren’t that effective but they are damm sight better than no mask – the main effects are from protecting others although wearing a PP2 or higher mask will give you some protection

Dorothy Slater
Dorothy Slater
3 years ago

From what I have read many times, one negative effect has been a huge increase in suicides and overdoses amongst teenagers and even younger children.

As a member of the vulnerable group, I can tell you that the negative effects on many of us has nothing to do with economics and much more to do with a year when we sat alone in total isolation not seeing family or friends. There is a loss of life that has nothing to do with taking your last breath.

A friend of mine who volunteers with our death with the dignity group has had so many people wanting to end it all as soon as possible, that they can’t keep up.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy Slater

That sounds very disturbing indeed. Would you be so kind as to provide relevant links and peer reviewed papers on this. I know quite a number of very vulnerable people who although hating having to shield are doing so with the utmost stoicism. If they are the minority then we need a serious review into mental health support in UK. I really would appreciate your sources as this sounds very troubling.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy Slater

And did not regular doctor, dental, eye visits.
And overdoses and domestic violence.

Last edited 3 years ago by Trishia A
Carl Goulding
Carl Goulding
3 years ago

From my observations I would say the majority of people are wearing masks when out and about. So if masks are so effective I don’t understand why the reported infection rates are so high? So if they do not provide 100% protection aginst transmission or infection what is the percentage? The fact is nobody actually knows and never will, so where is the science that?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

Firstly, there’s transmission in unmasked situations in private surroundings (people breaking lockdown, or those situations where mingling is allowed).
Secondly, masks are not 100% effective. So what? I’d still rather reduce the chance of infected people (me, without realising it, or someone else) by 60%, 80% or whatever the figure is, rather than by zero. Your rant “if they do not provide 100% protection aginst transmission or infection what is the percentage? The fact is nobody actually knows and never will, so where is the science that?” is just an attempt to avoid the logic.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

To invoke the precautionary principle there has to be clear indication of risk and benefit. With respect to mask mandates this has not been established. There is a difference between mask mandates and individual choice to wear one based on a personal analysis of risk/benefit. For example, if you are symptomless it is highly unlikely that you are protecting anyone by wearing a mask. And there are studies to show that unless mask wearing is adhered to within strict protocols for effectiveness there is little benefit. I haven’t the energy to list them but Carl Heneghan gives a useful perspective in this address https://youtu.be/QNI2ocgosgA

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

A NPI that only offers a small reduction in risk should not be mandatory. You yourself can choose to reduce a risk, but mandating it across the board should be illegal.

Toby Josh
Toby Josh
3 years ago

Owing to the rate at which lung cells divide and tumours develop, you would never see a “sudden” rise in lung cancers. Also, ten years is not enough time to consider effects over: most cases of lung cancer in lifelong smokers, for example, are in the over 70s (ie after more than 50 years of exposure).

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

And there we have the real goal…..permanent mask wearing in public. Nope, not going to do it.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago

Japanese people have NOT been MASS masking for 10 years! The few mask, and they don’t mask ALL the time, and they’re not wearing N-95s. These endless comparisons to Japanese are ridiculous.

Gordon Wolffe
Gordon Wolffe
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Jenkins

Very well said thank you

Brian Newman
Brian Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Jenkins

Rubbish

ian k
ian k
3 years ago

HCQ has been proven to be useless. There are flawed studies on Vit D that are inconclusive unless you have a deficiency. There are no benefits to vit D supplements to those without a deficiency. Ivormectin is being studied now. currently there is no evidence either way.
These sort of unsubstantiated and/or false claims are enough to turn anyone into a government supporter.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  ian k

HCQ has been proven to be useless.
Proven by who? Not the multiple docs who have reported success with it.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The Lancet has retracted support for HCQ in this regard

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

careful, like the WHO The Lancet that had a wonderful reputation in the past has become corrupted by introducing nasty political views into what used to be an objective medical journal.

Alan Milner
Alan Milner
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

So, you believe the Lancet when it supported HCQ but disbelieve Lancet when it retracts that support. That’s a beautiful example of cherry-picking data. All scientific journals have suffered significant corruption during the past two decades. The former editors of both Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine have asserted that they did not believe in 50% of the articles published in their own journals. There were. Fraud is rampant throughout the scholarly publishing industry. No one knows how many journals there are. In 2014, one researcher counted 28,000+. More recent estimates have hit 30-40 thousand. One researcher discovered that the most highly cited (on Google Scholar) in the world in 2014 turned out to be a complete fraud, a man who did not exist, who graduated from institutions that did not exist, and whose reviewers also did not exist. Against that context, the question is why anyone believes anything any more.

Val Cox
Val Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

The Lancet is no longer a reputable journal.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Val Cox

Because the science it publishes contradicts nonsense you’ve read on a fringe website?

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

The Lancet retracted the paper that claimed HCQ didn’t work. We are still left with the “unproven” usefulness.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Well I have read 14 papers that show that HCQ doesn’t work – pre-exposure/post exposure, high doses, low doses, with early hospitalised patients and those who are seriously ill, with/without azithromycin and 10 studies that claim that it might have benefit – all with seriousmethodological flaws.
In the interest of speed you would probably be best served by reading the Mc Master University 5 starred systematic review : “The Outcome of Hydroxychloroquine in Patients Treated for COVID-19: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Can Respir J. 2020 Oct 13″
or if you prefer Really Big Numbers this study looking at 194,367 patients with SLE or Rheuamtoid arthritis 30,569 of whom were receiving low dose HCQ for the control of their symptoms. :
“Effect of pre-exposure use of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 mortality: a population-based cohort study in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus using the OpenSAFELY platform”
I am afraid that in the world of ethical medicine particularly when you are prescribing a drug with known downsides, anecdotes or “gut feeling” or personal biases or patient preferences just don’t cut it. For re-purposed drug therapies, ethically, you need to do proper trials to show efficacy and then superiority or at least equivalence (different trial designs to answer these very different questions).

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Proven by a proper trial comparing those who had HCQ against those who had a placebo.
The fact that some doctors gave people HCQ and they recovered proves nothing – people do recover because their immune system fights back. The fact that they were given HCQ proves no more about its efficacy than the fact that they were given soup containing monosodium glutamate proves that MSG cures Covid.
But of course Donald Trump endorsed HCQ, so the cultists won’t hear a word against it! Pathetic. But the same approach to science as Republicans so often display.

Daisy D
Daisy D
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Cuomo should be in permanent lockdown in a Fed pen – not only for (at the very least) negligent manslaughter of the aged, but of his mandate forbidding NY medical personelle from using the HCQ protocol on patients newly diagnosed w/Covid-19. He killed 10s of thousands of New Yorkers w/that mandate alone. And all to spite Trump.

Alan Milner
Alan Milner
3 years ago
Reply to  ian k

Vitamin D is water-soluble and has no known safety threshold. It is therefore harmless and very inexpensive. There are reputable scientists who have documented the efficacy of increasing Vit. D, especially among dark-skinned populations with a known predilection for Vit D deficiencies, to decrease the likelihood of contracting the disease and lessening the symptoms but this might be attributed to Vit D.’s known efficacy against upper respiratory symptoms rather than any specific anti-viral effect. There are no large scale studies indicating that HCQ is an effective treatment, a little episodic or even anecdotal effect. We would never have heard of the drug in this context if Donald Trump didn’t own stock in the company (according to unverified reports.)
There are good reasons to be cautious about taking vaccines that have not been well proven over time, and there are reports of significant illnesses arising from the second doses. However, there has been only one reported death involving a test subject and that may not have had anything to do with the vaccine itself.
If you are in a high risk category, as I am, the risks of taking the vaccines are far outweighed by the consequences of the disease;
One hastens to add that, while the death rate does not appear statistically significant, every death involves a number of other people who will be adversely affected by that death and, therefore, the ramifications of the disease go far beyond the death rate. With 2.4 million deaths worldwide, we are looking at a pass-through impact upon as many as 24 million people.
Even more important than that, from a national – or global – health perspective is that, with 109 million cases to date, we have no idea how many of those cases will result in debilitating long-term or life-long effects from the virus. Taking the vaccine as an anti-agathic might be wishful thinking. Taking it to avoid lifelong medical complications might be a more moving argument if you happen to be among the affected.

Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Milner

I think you’ll find that Vitamin D is fat-soluble, not water-soluble. Otherwise, what you say about its promise as an anti-Covid-19 measure is correct, provided that it’s taken in large daily dosages: 100Mg (4,000 IUs), not the 10Mg ones currently recommended by the NHS.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Hoffman

Indeed, Vitamin D3 is fat soluble, so you need to take it with some oil or fat for maximum effect. 4000 IUs is a moderate dose for daily use, but for better antiviral protection a higher dose might be needed for anyone with Vitamin D deficiency – which is most people in Britain during the winter months. 10,000 IUs might be necessary for a few weeks at least to allow the vitamin to build up in your body. But it’s important with higher doses to take Vitamin K2 as well, to prevent possible calcification and to transfer any excess calcium to the bones where it can do good.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

That it NOT what fat soluble means! It has nothing to do with digestibility but to which organs it goes to, its metabolic pathway! Vit-C excess is simply urinated because it is water soluble. We don’t pee oil, so excess Vit-D can accumulate in fatty organs. We get Vit-D from certain fatty foods. That’s why there are no toxic side effects to too much Vit-C, but there ARE side effects to too much Vit-D, because you don’t excrete it. (Hypercalcemia leads to many metabolic malfunctions, including bone loss due to reduced Potassium). Supplement in NORMAL amounts of Vit-D, but don’t “self-medicate” with it!

Carl Goulding
Carl Goulding
3 years ago
Reply to  ian k

With a large percentage of the population living indoors for the last 12 months and also with it being winter ( ie reduced exposure to sunlight) maybe the number of those with a vitamin D deficiency is significant to warrant some kind of positive action by the NHS which would result in some benefit?

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

Yes. As soon as “STAY HOME” screeching started, vit-D assessment should have become standardised, and OUTSIDE time should have been allowed in all circumstances.
10 years ago in Canada, there were big anti-G-20 demonstrations, and regular non-demonstration-citizens were caught up in the police kettling and subsequent imprisonment. The police response to jailing innocent civilians: YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME.
There’s even a play about it https://nowtoronto.com/you-should-have-stayed-home
STAY HOME orders should always be distrusted.

Jane In Toronto
Jane In Toronto
3 years ago
Reply to  ian k

You really need to do better research. I don’t know where to begin. Start with Lancetgate. Look in scholarly places for articles on vitamin A AND vitamin D (synergy), or vitamin A AND zinc (synergy). Learn what the appropriate dose of HCQ is, what stage it is administered and the importance of accompanying zinc. Look up vitamin D AND Mg. Can someone design a test of one isolated nutrient or even HCQ that is designed to fail? Yes and yes.

Jacques Rossat
Jacques Rossat
3 years ago

Spot on and pitty to see the dialog on such an interesting platform as Unherd may quickly slips to lowest level pseudo-science. Happily enough, many contributions are of a better level.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

Getting really bored hearing about vitamin D, which is not recommended by doctors, nor the mainstream press/television nor the NHS. No evidence that vitamin D supplements are useful. In fact, vitamin D is a poison if not preceded by a blood test. Harping on about vitamin D is just irresponsible.

Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Vitamin D is not a poison, it is a fat-soluble steroid hormone. It is recommended by doctors – see https://vitamindforall.org/letter.html . It is perfectly safe and a deficiency of it is associated with all the groups that have had the worst outcomes from Covid-19: the elderly, BAME folk, the obese, those with dementia. Dr Fauci himself takes 150Mg of it daily. NICE is currently recommending 10Mg/day, but that’s for bone/muscle development – a much higher dose (100Mg) is needed to enable the immune system to fight the virus. It is also very inexpensive: annual cost no more than ÂŁ12.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Hoffman

I had a routine blood test in 2019 (nothing to do with Covid which did not exist then) and the doctor noted that my Vitamin D level was low and recommended I take tablets.

Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

In the winter months almost everyone living in latitudes above 35 degrees is deficient in Vitamin D because the wintertime sun isn’t strong enough to keep our D levels up and there aren’t many good sources of it in foods. An interesting side effect: My wife and I both had a few “liver spots” (age spots) on the backs of our hands. A week after we starting taking our 100Mg Vitamin D tablets, the spots had completely disappeared.

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Chris you really should not be making such strong comments about vitamin D when you are so ill informed. Do some research and I think you will be surprised.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago

This article shows that the easiest way to provide proof of lockdown failure would be a case study of the haredim. The article states that such data is not available. You get the data you pay for. The government will only pay for data that support the official ‘project fear’ narrative. The 99.96 % survival rate is demonstrably fake news ( see fullfact.org); lockdown policy and masks, similarly, are largely supported by fake news.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

The answer to your point is in the article’s final paras esp the ones about initial non compliance and the guy now in charge of the community’s Covid coordination group!

Kathy Leicester
Kathy Leicester
3 years ago

David, if you’re such a head up my behind moron that you *haven’t* read over and over again that lockdowns are tyranny and slave diapers compromise your immune system, then you haven’t looked. You haven’t tried.
You want daddy guv-mint so saaaaaaavvveeeee yoooooooooo so you won’t get sicky sick.
Grow up.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago

Well,with such a mature and well informed opinion as yours I think I might ignore the rubbish about tyranny blah blah blah

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago

Kathy, where on earth are you coming from! Daddy Govmnt, slave diapers, sicky sick? Are you feeling quite OK ?

Sarah H
Sarah H
3 years ago

One can prove what does work. I can no more prove the non-existence of God than prove what doesn’t work since there is a small but not quite infinite possibility that something works. Rosaries? There is simply no evidence FOR His existence. Since graphed rates of infection are entirely, completely totally (capiche?) unaffected by the imposition of control measures,no signal, no blip, no change in curve, anywhere whatsoever, then THEY DON’T WORK.

Last edited 3 years ago by Sarah H
David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah H

Don’t know where on earth you get your conclusion that lockdowns don’t work! They seem to have been incredibly effective in China and in the UK each lockdown results in a fall in infections, hospitalisation and deaths. Is this just pure coincidence

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

So lockdowns work but they have to be repeated over and over again, because why?
If they worked, the infection would be stamped out. And they would not have to be repeated.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago

Indeed, if we never leave our house for the rest of our lives, we shall never again catch a respiratory virus. woopdidoo. This is not how one lives a life. MOVE ON.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah H

During each UK lockdown, previously increasing rates of infection were reversed into falling rates of infection.
If you don’t know that, you simply haven’t looked at the graphs.

Stan Glib
Stan Glib
3 years ago

Just some comments on masks since they always come up in these sections:
‱ ‘Not proven to work’ – Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
‱ It’s an extremely cheap trade-off, compared to other measures like lockdowns, in other words – in other words, unless you genuinely think it’s plausible that they cause harm, why wouldn’t you wear one? Would you rather lockdowns go on forever instead?
‱ Most importantly, many people miss the compound effect of masks – if there is a 30% chance of transmission through a mask (for example), it wouldn’t be appropriate in a hospital BUT in an ordinary situation there 0.3 x 0.3 odds of it going through two peoples’ masks = 0.09. That’s a 91% chance of preventing spread. ON TOP of that, odds of infection go up non-linearly as the viral load increases, so it may well cause a colossal benefit overall. That’s a massive, massive, massive collective effect.
Ask yourself, is the Brazillian man driving around trying to find an oxygen tank for his dying father going to be googling for spurious articles about whether masks work?
Be weary of the people insisting that they don’t; notice that they very often are strongly opposed to lockdowns + most measures aside from “do nothing, it’s just a cold, calm down”, which tells you that they simply don’t want anything in their lives to change and don’t understand second order effects.

Last edited 3 years ago by Stan Glib
Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

99.96% of us will recover from an infection”
So out of UK population of around 65 million, if every single one of us was infected, only 26,000 would die. And since only a fraction of us have been infected so far and the piece above quotes estimates of 7-30%, that would scale down to just 1800-7800 deaths so far.
Clearly you have misplaced a decimal point. Or are copying stuff from some fringe website, whatever.

Fiona Walker
Fiona Walker
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Maybe the numbers and types of people infected in care homes and hospitals have bumped up the IFR? It ripped through care homes and so many people test positive in hospital when admitted for something else so already weak. If every age group had been infected in equal proportion then the 99% could be about right.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Walker

Life expectancy in care homes is around 2 years. If they didn’t die of this, they would have died of something else anyway, soon. So all the panic is for naught. Among the under 65, there is no pandemic.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The 99.96% applies to “population that won’t die”, not “infected that won’t die”.
The point is this is a simple illness that kills slightly more elderly than an average flu seasons. Population reduction on a world scale is in the order of 0.01% while annually, 0.75% of humanity dies anyway, mostly of old age.
For Homo sapiens, life over 65 is a social construct. Our life “expectancy” has vastly outpaced our natural longevity. We’ve become a medicalised society, at a deep cost to the quality of life of all the population under that age. The Baby Boom generation centring all policy on themselves, as usual.

Irene Polikoff
Irene Polikoff
3 years ago

Take a look at the death data in the highly locked down states such as California and New York versus the states that took a more liberal approach to lockdowns such as Florida. Florida, with its open schools and restaurants, has done much better.
For masks, there is currently only one randomized controlled study on the use of masks to prevent the community spread of Covid-19. Unfortunately, it did NOT show reduction in the transmission as a result of wearing masks: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817. Previous studies have focused on other cold viruses and also did not find masks to be significantly protective.
On a more anecdotal level, my elderly mother got Covid from a substitute home care worker who was wearing a surgical mask the entire time she was in her house. We are certain that this was the person who infected my mother because of the timing. The only other person she interacted with tested negative before and after she got sick.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago
Reply to  Irene Polikoff

I think you need to re read the paper which simply concluded that there no effect above a 50% reduction!

Mike Buttolph
Mike Buttolph
3 years ago
Reply to  Irene Polikoff

You confuse cause and effect. Politicians only impose lockdowns when rates of death and infection are high and rising

David Smith
David Smith
3 years ago

David the empirical evidence that masks are ineffective and reducing virus transmission in the community setting it strong and copious and includes the conclusions made by CDC in their own research and meta and systematic studies
Just search non pharmaceutical intervention in airborne virus transmission. Even hand washing and distancing have proved hard to show definitive evidence for their effectiveness in the community setting
The proposition that lockdowns reduce death rate over time is very weak and most studies support the proposal that lockdowns only change frequency not magnitude.
I’ve posted these papers and links time and time again but The deniers, such as yourself only have ears for rhetoric and dogmatic orthodoxy and always deny that there is such evidence and yet, as here, produce no evidence of their own to support their case. The proposer of an effect are, by convention, the ones who should supply the strong evidence to support their case – which I note you have not.

Lockdown Was A ‘Monumental Mistake On A Global Scale’ Says Top Scientist And Government Adviser

Professor Mark Woolhouse, epidemiologist at Edinburgh University and adviser to the UK Government has reportedly said attempting to control coronavirus through lockdown measures was a ‘monumental mistake on a global scale.’

Woolhouse, member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours that advises the government, described lockdown as a “panic measure” that was enacted because authorities “couldn’t think of anything better to do” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Caldron Pool Aug 2020

David – This is the reasoning behind the WHO advise to use masks in the community
“Evidence on non-pharmaceutical public health measures including use of masks to mitigate the risk and impact of pandemic influenza”
was reviewed by a workshop convened by WHO in 2019; the workshop concluded that although there was no evidence from trials of effectiveness in reducing transmission, “there is mechanistic plausibility for the potential effectiveness of this measure”, and it recommended that in a severe influenza pandemic use of masks in public should be considered.

“Dismissing a low-cost intervention such as mass masking as ineffective because there is no evidence of effectiveness in clinical trials is in our view potentially harmful”.

But – They commisioned a meta and systemic analysis by the CDC again in 2020 and in May the CDC Paper:
“Nonparmaceutical measures for pandemic influenza in non healthcare settings – personal protective and environmental measures”
conclused that – Although the mechanistic studies support hand hygiene and face masks to reduce infection transmissiom the evidence from 14 randomized cotrol studies (selected as those giving the most reliable evidence) Did not support a significant effect on virus and infection transmission.”
That’s the science – not the assumption or wishful thinking
The same conclusions were drawn by Cochrane (the goto organisation for assessing evidence in the scientific community) and CEBM – the oxford university Centre for Evidence Based Medicine.
All found no evidence that masks in the community setting reduce infection transmission in covid and flu like diseases. The Science – not the dogma or social orthodxy.
It is falacious of the Who to state that lack of evidence is not evidence of lack – this is not a lack of evidence on the part of the hypothesis, ie masks do not stop infection, this is a lack of evidence for the alternative, ie yes they do. It is a factual impossibility to find irrefutable evidence that something does not work or does not exist, why because we cannot search everywhere and at the same time in all places and for eternity. Whereas the case for masks being effective only requires one such case properly investigated to be found proved – it hasn’t happened
Thats pretty convicing evidence for the propsition that masks do not work in terms of transmission, even if logically by making the abducted assumption from the mechanistic evidence it sounds like it ought to be.
Building an intervention plan based on what ought to be and not what is – is dishonest, divisive and doomed to failure

Last edited 3 years ago by David Smith
David Shipley
David Shipley
3 years ago

Where did you get this 99.96% number from? It’s certainly not the proportion of people who recover from Covid. Assuming at most 30% of the U.K. population have had it gives a death rate of 0.5% or 12 times your number.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
3 years ago

99.96% of us will recover from an infection

Gosh. So if only 0.04%, that is, 1 in 2500, don’t recover, and over 100,000 people have failed to recover, then at least 250million of us must have been infected. Out of a population of under 70million.

Last edited 3 years ago by Richard Pinch
gwenshannon1
gwenshannon1
3 years ago
Reply to  A MacK

This is what I would like to have read along with how many were hospitalised,

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago
Reply to  A MacK

Yes, exactly. What are the death rates? That would be the story here. If they are no higher than in the wider population, that would be significant indeed.

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
3 years ago

The writer says “When I visited the area in North London last week …… there was little to suggest that it has endured a pandemic quite unlike any other in the world”.
Why is this presented as a bad thing? It suggests to me that their community has come through this crisis pretty well, and of course the Jews have throughout their history survived far worse. Good luck to them, I say.

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 years ago

This article misses the main point:
If infections (positive tests) have been so much higher, what has happened to deaths?Study needs to be broken down by age group to be meaningful.
They have put themselves forward as a volenteer control group for the effects of lock downs. For that I thank them, but we need to use the data.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

Right on.
On top of that, the median age of death attributed to COVID is very nearly the median of age death from plain old death. (About 82 in Britain or Italy. About 79/80 in the United States.) So, there’s a question: Has COVID contributed to “excess mortality”?
I’ve examined weekly data from the US. COVID did marginally induce excess mortality in the US (compared to the previous five years). Meanwhile, mortality attributed to flu and other respiratory conditions are markedly diminished (so far) in the 2020/21 cold-and-flu season. Quelle surprise! And then we can wonder if total mortality will be marginally diminished in 2021 since COVID will have taken away some number of the most vulnerable people.
Alas, we all die. Harsh, but true. You’d think this was news.

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 years ago

The story is similar in the UK. Problem is that (a) Scotland and Northern Ireland report differently and the ONS have changed how they report the figures for England and Wales (88% of UK population) several times since last March. Despite statistics being my background I am struggling with public data availability. I am sure the data is there, but not easily to the public.
Key points that I am very confident about:

  • Non Covid respiratory deaths are much lower – is this real or a recording effect?
  • Overall respiratory deaths are up.
  • Overall deaths, per population, are about 12% higher than the previous 5 years. That is about 67,000 people. This makes it the worst since 2003. That is 10.2 deaths per thousand compared to 9.1 deaths per thousand in the last 5 years.
  • I cannot see any way, from the public data, to reliably attribute this rise between Covid and the effect of the response to Covid.
  • There is not enough data about age of death by cause published in the UK.
  • There is some strong evidence that annual respiratory deaths are mean reverting (low death periods followed by high death periods, and vice versa) – I will be interested to see the next few years given the last year’s deaths.

And you are correct. Nothing that has been done has saved a single life. It has simply delayed some deaths and hastened some others.

TIM HUTCHENCE
TIM HUTCHENCE
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

Spot on comments, although I make the UK death rate 1.01% in 2020 vs a 0.92% average. Which gives you 62,000 excess deaths last year rather than 66,000.
2015 602782 65110000 0.93%
2016 597206 65648100 0.91%
2017 607172 66040200 0.92%
2018 616014 66435600 0.93%
2019 615455 67530172 0.91%
2020 686000 67886011 1.01% 
Whichever number is closest, this clearly implies some ‘with’ Covid deaths aren’t really ‘from’ Covid. For instance Captain Tom. I’m struggling with the stats generally and what’s in public domain is hard to pin down – especially when comparing countries.
Comparisons get even harder from now on now of course, as the negative impacts of lockdown (on broader health including wellbeing and livelihood) and mindset (stay at home/protect the NHS etc) start to push up deaths from other causes due to late detection etc. The output of Professor Karol Sikora and Dr. Ari Joffe are particularly illuminating in this regard.

John Keepin
John Keepin
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

Well described. Essentially, I agree with that, but worth noting the definition used in the ONS death certificates reports, in the Glossary. In particular, the choice of quoting Covid-19 is not independently validated by specific examinations: “A doctor can certify the involvement of COVID-19 based on symptoms and clinical findings – a positive test result is not required.” A certain amount of psychology has an effect here, perhaps. Not only that, it could be that the whole affair has had a negative effect on certain people in that fashion, as to whether they really want to recover from whatever towards the end.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  John Keepin

Death certificates. From David Oliver, consultant in Geriatrics and Acute Medicine in Manchester :
“Completion of death certificates is a serious and regulated part of a doctor’s responsibility. The consequences for professional registration or in the courts for deliberately falsifying certificates would be very serious. We are also very aware of just how upsetting the content of death certificates can be for bereaved families and the questions they can then have… The rules require us to complete the certificate ‘to the best of your knowledge and belief’ and, barring exceptional circumstances, requires the certificate to be completed by a doctor who knew and was attending to the person before death.
Death Certificates contain causes 1a (cause directly leading to death) 1b and 1c (causes leading to 1a) and 2 (causes contributing to death but not directly related).
If Covid-19 is in our clinical assessment of the person we have assessed and treated the main cause of death, we will put it as cause 1a.
In other cases, someone might die from a complication of Covid-19 – for instance a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) or a bacterial pneumonia in which case that will be 1a with Covid as 1b or c.
In other cases, the person may have had Covid contributing to a death from another cause – perhaps by making the person weaker or more susceptible or starting a chain of events and may appear as 2.
There never was a formal requirement for a positive Covid-19 test to write Covid on a certificate if the clinical picture was clear and so yes, some patients, mostly earlier in the pandemic would have had Covid written down without yet testing positive.
… also “deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test” does NOT influence what we actually write on death certificates which by law we have to complete to the best of our knowledge and belief and which are scrutinised by a 2nd doctor.
En masse Falsification of certificates? no
… the ONS data (rather than GOV own definition for counting) are not based on some arbitrary post test time period but on what we put on the certificate based on our clinical knowledge of that patient in their final illness. If we think Covid contributed to death it goes on.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  John Keepin

But the ONS stats differentiate between deaths with Covid and deaths from Covid.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

Your comment is extremely ageist. ‘Simply delayed some deaths and hastened some others’ is like saying, ‘What does it matter because they’re old anyway.” Who are you to decide when people should die?

Last edited 3 years ago by Chris Wheatley
Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Yes I am ageist, by your rather daft definition.
If my 88 year old father and 23 year year old daughter are both seriously injured in a road traffic accident and there is only the facilities to get one to hospital and for their life to be saved – I choose my daughter based purely on age and future live expectancy. By your definition, I am ageist.
Our whole health policy is (ignoring the COVID hysteria) based on Qualys These are Quality Adjusted Life Years. We officially recognise that, with limited healthcare resources, It is preferable to treat a younger healthier person, than an older ill person. Again, by your definition, ageist.
And, yes this is putting a price on life. Even if only a relative price.
What is disappointing is that this logical and generally agreed aproach has been thrown out of the window with COVID and the government is taking no account of the deaths and other harms caused by “the cure” when formulating policy.
I am becoming more and more convinced that, when the dust settles in a couple of years, we will realise that government policy has taken many more Qualys than it has added.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

I sympathise with your personal issues because I have people in the family who are cancer sufferers. I still don’t think you have the right to comment as you do.

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Chris, It was an example, not a story.
We all die sometime. All any health policy or intervention does is hasten some deaths and delay others.
We should have a better debate about how policy is formulated given that fact.
What is the best policy (that will always be proved wrong in some circumstances) to do the most overall “good”?

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

I don’t think government should decide who lives or not. That is a discussion for the patient, the family and the physicians involved. I’m a huge supporter of dignity in dying. I don’t want a ‘policy’ to determine my death.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
3 years ago

Glynn’s discussion of QALYs uses hypothetical examples to illustrate a point about the allocation of scarce resources. This really doesn’t have anything to do with individual clinical situations, but like it or not all governments will have this system in place to ensure overall welfare of the population is enhanced not diminished. Except, it seems, when it comes to Covid-19

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

No right..?

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Glyn Jones speaks sense. We are not immortal and public health services are not infinite. Choices have to be made. As an oldie who has had his time I would not want to be prioritised over a young person who has far more to offer society than I.
However I wish we had private health services so that I could have some choice over the timing and manner of my death.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

In order to reach that conclusion, you have to assume that the harmful effect of the lockdown on the young is greater than the vast number of deaths (much greater than the current 100,000) which would have occurred if there had been no lockdown. We could be talking 250,000 or 500,000 deaths in that scenario. Complete discontinuation of cancer and heart surgery because the beds are needed for people suffocating due to covid. Hospital car parks strewn with vehicles containing the corpses of Covid patients desperate for help with their breathing, but refused admittance because hospital oxygen systems would be completely overwhelmed, so they died in their cars. Would you be OK with that?
(and even that ignores long-Covid, which reportedly is NOT radically skewed towards the old in the way that Covid deaths are – there are lots of younger people with long-Covid and there would be vastly more if the disease had been allowed to spread – indeed, the long-Covid cases avoided for younger people may be a greater lockdown benefit for younger people than the lockdown harm they have suffered)
While there clearly are bad effects from lockdown on younger people, where are the bad effects which in any sense compare with the hundreds of thousands who would have died without lockdown?

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

Of course any older person will realise that a younger person’s life is more valuable (although I daresay there is a whole debate on that). The problem is when do we stop moving the goalposts? Today it is old people who are a drain on society. Tomorrow it will be those who are ill anyway. Genetic disabilities? What point do we get to when only those who don’t smoke drink take drugs and exercise and eat healthily are those who are worthy of living? Slippery slope. We may aswell stop all medication for people over 60. Reduce the surplas population. Once you start picking and choosing who lives you have set yourself on a downward spiral.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Life and death are 100% ageist! Biology is hateful and bigoted! 😀

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

A very useful post

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

Yes, the data I would want to analyse the true impact of Covid is just not available. It seems our politicians and statisticians want to remain in ignorance. Certainly makes it easier to justify their policies

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

Lethality during 2019-2020 flu season, worldwide, was at 0.01%
That flu season ended August 23 2020 in Canada.
Lethality during 2020-2021 flu season, worldwide, has been 0.02%.
Every single year, 0.7% of humans die, 2/3 of that were over 70.
Nothing to see.
As critical experts have stated, the definition of the word Pandemic should be based on lethality to the under 65s. It’s not a “pandemic” if it’s killing those who were already dead men walking.
All other questions are simply fluff.

Irina Vedekhina
Irina Vedekhina
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

This is because the median age of a Haredi Jew is just 14, compared with 40 for the rest of the country.

Comparison in mortality in this case is meaningless, because the Haredis are so much younger than the average for the UK.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
3 years ago

Statistical analysis of any study would take care of these sorts of factors.

Harold Aitch
Harold Aitch
3 years ago

A Government paid advert for obeying the rules, maybe? Had to give up after the first few paragraphs, to much hyperbole (Squeezing in a mention of both Wuhan and Lombardy in the first sentence!)……

As the earlier commenter implies; high infection rate?! So what, Infection does not equal death (that would be fear mongering to imply that). What’s the infection fatality ratio amongst this community? Does that figure differ from the wider community? Those would be the important numbers.

A higher infection rate among those who are young and the less vulnerable, means that community immunity is gained quicker and thus the elderly are better protected, sooner. The academic papers are out there now: you lock down, you stop the spread, you get community immunity slower and the disease kills more elderly and vulnerable people.

I expected a lot better than this from Unherd, especially in light of the superb series of interviews regarding covid you’ve done through the last year via “Lockdown TV”

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

Urgh…don’t like this new format..

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

I loathe it.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Has Disqus been fired?

UnHerd web silent on the matter.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Lake
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

All of my comments so far have been removed. Something has happened.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Mine too

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Some have been reduced to one word per line, some even shrinking to one letter.
Infuriating for all concerned, but perhaps that is the idea?

I also noticed we also privileged to have one of the “ founding father” with us!
O what joy!

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Disqus is miles ahead of any other commenting system. Can you or another poster tell me how in this new format to 1) See replies to my comments; 2) See my comment history; 3) Edit comments; 4) Edit my user name. Ta very much.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

PS: Forget (4) – I see my user name has edited itself back to the orginal.

Adam C
Adam C
3 years ago

So in spite of the detailed study referred to, the “ripping through” the community of covid clearly hasn’t increased mortality. Otherwise presumably the author would have told us.
A better article would have stated that allowing covid to “let rip” demonstrably did not lead to the type of mortality increases that the author implies may have happened.
Obviously, if the author has (age-stratified) data showing increased mortality among this community vs amongst, say, Christian care-home residents or Sikhs or Muslims living in cramped multi-generational accommodation, that would be interesting to see.
Sadly, that would have taken too much imagination on the part of the author, when he could so easily write a fear-porn piece about covid “ripping through” instead.

Adam Lehto
Adam Lehto
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam C

Exactly! And as a result, the article ends up reinforcing the invidious shaming of anyone who deviates from the mainstream narrative, instead of highlighting the Haredi response as the important natural experiment that it is. There is something to learn here.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam Lehto

As regards death rates, the article says:
“Eli Spitzer, a Haredi headteacher who knows 12 people in the community who have died from Covid,
……..Jews across the board have been disproportionately affected by Covid. Last year, Public Health England found Jewish men aged over 65 died at twice the rate of Christians, even after adjusting for socio-demographic factors.
There is no data on the mortality rate among Haredim specifically”

Rather different from Adam C spinning this as “the “ripping through” the community of covid clearly hasn’t increased mortality. Otherwise presumably the author would have told us“. That’s a case of being determined to reach a conclusion despite the lack of evidence FOR it, and some evidence AGAINST it.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago

I wonder what difference the style of dress would affect vitamin D levels and if this would be a factor.

Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Quite likely. Many studies and a few random controlled trials are showing that those with Vitamin D deficiency suffer higher rates of Covid-19 infection, hospitalisation and death. The main source of D is sunshine, and those who cover up completely lack this important immune system support. The solution is easy, cheap and safe: one 100Mg Vitamin D pill a day; yearly cost about ÂŁ12.

John Keepin
John Keepin
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Hoffman

There is some wise advice from an NHS entry: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/ Adequate UV-B from the Sun depends on the seasons, and other factors – skin colour, clothing etc, but essentially when we receive enough of it, it is essentially automatic, although risks associated with sunburn is the other side of the coin.

Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman
3 years ago
Reply to  John Keepin

The NHS advice of 10Mg/day helps bone/muscle development but is far too low to help the immune system fight Covid-19. For that you need around 100Mg/day. See this letter from more than 200 doctors: https://vitamindforall.org/letter.html
The NHS is currently saying, “There have been some reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19). But there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D to prevent or treat coronavirus.” You won’t find big pharma funding any random-controlled trials because Vitamin D is so cheap: a year’s 100Mg daily dosage costs about ÂŁ12, so not much profit there. I think we’re missing a trick by not promoting its use. Dr Fauci himself has confirmed that he’s taking 150Mg/day.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Yes. Floridians live in a perpetual state of sunny undress, I miss the place dearly!

Bernard Stewart
Bernard Stewart
3 years ago

I didn’t like ‘failed by their leaders’ in the subheading. Where is the argument for this?

Graham Thorpe
Graham Thorpe
3 years ago

Why isn’t this article turned on its head and written-up as an interesting self-chosen experiment in taking a different approach to the challenge of Covid? As others point out below, it would seem that the really important information remains untold – the death rate. Perhaps that is “unexpectedly low” despite this contra-herdthink approach to the pandemic.
But no…. that story sadly seems to remain “unheard” when the very essence of this website would surely be to examine it, even if it was to dismiss it.

Thomas Harrington
Thomas Harrington
3 years ago

What a silly alarmist article, which recycles idea that so-called “cases”—generated by a deeply flawed PCR test run at cycle levels designed to create false positives and habitually used, in clear violation of the WHO’s own guidelines, in the absence of a full work-up by a physician—are in and of themselves something to be worried about. By this logic, since more than half of men over 60 or so have prostate cancer gestating in some way inside them, we have a prostate cancer emergency that is best addressed by operating on the all and taking the diseased gland out of each and every one of them. Health care is not a game of absolutes, but of percentages. We are all dying. The question is how to mitigate the worst aspects of this process and love and have some joy along the way

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

You’d think that with those infection rates, there would be dead people all over. And yet there are not. There is mention thatJewish men aged over 65 died at twice the rate of Christians,” but that leaves out anyone under 65. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned – that what was known from the outset about this virus being most worrisome for the elderly and the infirm is the case, after all.

Irina Vedekhina
Irina Vedekhina
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes, Haredis have 75% infection rate, but mortality did not go over the roof because, as the article says,
“This is because the median age of a Haredi Jew is just 14, compared with 40 for the rest of the country.”

Hugh R
Hugh R
3 years ago

Misleading op-ed.
How Covid ripped through London’s Jews, should read How Covid ripped through London’s Heradi.
My local Adat Shalom Verei’ut synagog has not been disproportionately affected.
They have closed for service, stream service, so draw your own conclusions.

There are grown-ups reading this ….don’t kid yourselves this is journalism, or that mere mention of counter-argument is ‘anti-semitic’.
The words of Smallman are the words of a mere man, they were not WRITTEN ON STONE, nor handed down to be revered.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
3 years ago

Usual poor journalism where facts and the big picture don’t matter. Infections 64 to 74%. So what? Perhaps you could put in context and say how many hospitalised or died? Lots of infections just means lots of immunity – a good thing.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Lots of infections just means lots of immunity – a good thing.”
And lots of long-Covid.
And lots of transmissions to others.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Firstly, long-covid is nothing unusual, it’s called post viral syndrome and probably doesn’t affect as many as the MSM like to make out.
Secondly, and this shows you don’t understand, immunity prevents transmission, that’s how it works! You seem to be of the mindset that transmission continues forever. Try reading up on the SIR model. A little education will help diminish your unfortunate fear.

Sarah H
Sarah H
3 years ago

How bout reining in the language. Catastrophic failure? And why is it leaders responsibility? Since when did individual responsibility disappear or is it only for certain groups? Dr Marks comments are the usual we don’t know so best hide undrr the bed stuff. And if the morbidity and mortality are no higher than in other groups then one is forced to ask ‘so bloody what?’

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

This is a very good article that maintains a level of objectivity while around the circles that the author is referring to there is near hysteria and huge rage directed towards this group of very religious Jews.
That is true in London, England, in New York and New Jersey, and especially in Israel where the Charedi community constitutes between 12-20% of the population, and because of very high birth rates will in a few years start approaching 30-40-50% and have potentially a considerable political influence.
One of the people mentioned in the article, Eli Spitzer, has written a profound article in the American intellectual magazine Mosaic – a very unlikely place for such an article – in which he explains the reasons and justifications for some of what appear to many to be quite extreme elements of restraint in the charedi lifestyle, that the author of this article indicates are not necessarily widely practised.
But the rage that I read about and hear from people that I know as othewise being basically decent, tolerant, smart people, has been something quite excessive, and often deaf to any attempt at understanding and civilized communication.
As is so often true, both sides have contributed to a very unhealthy, antagonistic siuation.

Hugh R
Hugh R
3 years ago

Misleading op-ed.
How Covid ripped through London’s Jews, should read How Covid ripped through London’s Heradi.
My local Ashkenazi Jewish community
and its synagog has not been disproportionately affected.
The have closed for service, draw your own conclusions.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago

I am thinking, rightly or wrongly that they could,be a quite self contained community. What would be interesting, if the community would agree, is to try and track how it spread amongst them, and what rates of hospitalisation and death did they experience

Last edited 3 years ago by David Bottomley
Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

it spread because some did not follow guidelines regarding limits on gatherings such as weddings and other family occasions but hundreds celebrated, packed closely together indoors in halls, and they continued holding prayer services with large numbers of people, again closely packed together, and did not close private schools.
It should be emphasized that many in that community DID observe the rules and guidelines and limitations.

Anya Chaika
Anya Chaika
3 years ago

I am a little worried about why we need to draw attention to this particular group when there are so many groups, and even countries, who are not considered to be placing Covid sufficiently above all other considerations. To focus on the minority Haredi community in England and to ignore, for example (as most peple have), whole countries such as Belorussia, seems to me to be disproportionate and mean-spirited. To argue that the majority of Jewish people are obeying the rules is a smokescreen because the effect of the article will be to focus on the allegedly selfish behaviour of a tiny minority.

This website’s promotion of Roger Hallam’s appeal to the right, without mentioning Mr Hallam’s suspension from XR for alleged anti-semitism, and this article criticising the Haredi community makes one wonder whether this website has a blindspot in relation to anti-semitism. David Baddiel has recently written a much-needed polemic regarding the de facto exception made in relation to the Jewish community by many contempary equality and anti-racism campaigners.

Come on Unherd, you can do better than this!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Anya Chaika

Personally I am quite concerned by the fact that this extremely religious community is growing so quickly in the UK. And I write as one who believes Jews to be just about the most useful and productive people in the world.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

They’re a small fraction of a tiny segment of the UK, Fraser. I don’t believe you should be worried.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

My concern is around the way that the lives of Haredi Jewish women and girls are so restricted. They are given no access to further or higher education, are expected to marry young and produce lots of children. To me, that constitutes a form of abuse. The women are responsible for housekeeping and raising the children – so Covid presents them with additional stresses. They are probably expected to care for elderly relatives too. The men seem to get away with reading the Torah and precious little else.
I feel the same way about other religions that relegate women to an inferior life.
The government is responsible for allowing these situations to exist when we are supposed to be an equal opportunities society.

Nick Jones
Nick Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Why do so many women these days think that bringing up children at home and looking after the home is relegating women to an inferior life. Many including my wife are very proud of what they have contributed in raising a happy, well grounded family. They enjoyed it and would do the same again, and they at least know where their children are, instead of working to earn more money to enjoy the material benefits. I realize that religious orders of this nature are extreme in their demands of women, but being responsible for housekeeping and raising children is hardly abuse.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Jones

I guess it is if you are forced to do it, as most women in the country were about 120 years ago.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Jones

I hope and expect that your wife married you of her own free will, and that she had a choice amongst men not necessarily of her own background, family or community.

Many of these women are severely circumscribed in their choice of spouse, surely one of the important decision anyone, man or woman , makes in their lifetime.

This community, like several other religious and / or racial groups, does that not allow that freedom to their women ( and quite a lot of men feel pressured into arranged marriages, as well). That is the oppression being referred to.

Val Cox
Val Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Are you sure this is correct (re education) or is it an assumption? In similar communities in New York it is in fact the women who are more widely educated because they don’t attend the religious schools.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

It’s a similar situation for women within Islamic communities, at least the most strictly observant. But at least within traditional Judaism, as I understand it as a non-Jew, women are regarded with intrinsic respect, even if their roles are very limited by our modern standards. Great and strong women like Sarah and Esther and Deborah and Miriam from the Jewish scriptures are revered and celebrated. The same cannot be said of Islam, which despite paying lip service to a garbled version of Mary the mother of Jesus, follows their prophet’s teaching that women are by nature “intellectually defective”, are morally defective too and more likely than men to end up in hell, have no right to refuse any demand of their husband and may be punished (beaten) if they do so, and so on. The Haredi women may not lead ideal lives as far as we’re concerned, but I would guess that actual abuse is rare.

Alexandra Thrift
Alexandra Thrift
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Most British Jews are not Haredi. Some British Jews live their lives and few people know that they are Jewish. I am interested in the part of the article where it is mentioned that Haredi jews seem to die more easily and quickly from this virus. My mother was an East End Jew and I know that one of my cousins ( both parents jewish) died suddenly, at the very start of this pandemic ( thought to be from Covid 19). So I wonder whether jews or certain sub-groups of jews are more susceptible to this virus. On the census form
there is no box to tick to show a person is Jewish. I really understand why and agree with this anonymity but it would be interesting to have studies of jewish people in general in relation to health before we are so integrated into the general population ( conversion and marrying out etc) that such studies could no longer be meaningful.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Anya Chaika

As a resident of this country, it is most important to me to understand why different U.K. communities choose to break COVID rules – which increase the dangers to other groups.
If anything, this article offered some mitigating content to a fully understandable dislike of what seems like self-indulgent behaviour.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Because they do not feel part of or beholden to the society they are living in. Some out of poverty (not having a stake in society), and others deliberately for reasons of which the kindest one I can think of is a desire not to lose their cultural roots.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Anya Chaika

I am a messianic Jew and did not find this article anti-semitic. The Charedic lifestyle is based on the rules of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) because Jewish people do not believe they were superseded by the coming of Christ as they do not recognise him as fulfilling the messianic prephesis of the OT.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Anya Chaika

I imagine because this group has the highest infection rates in the world. Worth a mention I would have thought, especially as they are living in England and behove, I would have thought, to comply with Government guidelines/rules/laws. You know, to stop the virus spreading and mutating into something we can’t deal with. And so lockdown can end and we can all go back to our lives.

Hugh R
Hugh R
3 years ago

Misleading op-ed.
How Covid ripped through London’s Jews, should read How Covid ripped through London’s Heradi.
My local Adat Shalom Verei’ut synagog has not been disproportionately affected.
They have closed for service, stream service, so draw your own conclusions.

There are grown-ups reading this 
.don’t kid yourselves this is journalism, or that mere mention of counter-argument is ‘anti-semitic’.
The words of Smallman are the words of a mere man, they were not WRITTEN ON STONE, nor handed down to be revered.

Angela Frith
Angela Frith
3 years ago

Hmm, men who don’t go out to work, women who breed enormous numbers of children, entire community subsisting on the taxpayer – do they live in Essex by any chance?

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  Angela Frith

Sounds a bit like Bradford, actually.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall
3 years ago

This is an absolutely fascinating piece, honest in its approach. To me, it implies the urgent need for follow-up research to establish the precise hospitalisation and mortality rates in this community to date. Given this community ignored lockdown and after correcting for ethnicity and poverty effects, publicly available records should throw a bright light on the real benefit (if any) of lockdown and mask wearing to illness, hospitalisation and mortality in the wider society.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago

I’m getting rather wary about the proliferation of TV news items and magazine articles highlighting the exceptionalism of Orthodox Jewish communities, whilst more or less ignoring similar events in, ahem, Brentford and Southall. To say nothing of the tolerance and even approval of rioters , sorry peaceful protestors, and the massive attendance at traveler funerals, often by people from hundreds of miles away from the location.

Now why could that be?

( posted by a Christian, btw)

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago

‘ . . .the median age of a Haredi Jew is just 14, compared with 40 for the rest of the country.’
Is this because the families usually have more children than most British families? If so, where are the contemporaries of the present generation of parents (who I assume would be the grandchildren of those who survived the last war)?

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

good question,
yes, younger charedi families often have 10 children or more, and they themselves are the children of parents who were more mainstream traditional Jews and had larger families, 4-6, not quite as large as the younger ones.
You are correct that the younger ones are the grandchildren of those who survived the war, and many people understand the larger families as an attempt to replace the lost 6 million – who were 72% of pre-war European Jewry.
The non-charedi contemporaries have gone in different directions, some have maintained a solid centrist modern orthodoxy which believes in the value of secular education and includes many outstanding professionals and academics and is very pro-Israel, some have given up being traditional in observance while still identifying as Jewish and pro-Israel, and others have assimilated, intermarried, and become politically anti-Israel.

bagshotsands
bagshotsands
3 years ago

Perhaps the pertinent factor is live births to death ratio. If their netflix deprived lockdown leaves the Haredi to amuse themeslves in a more traditional so that more of their girls end up enceinte. Then arithemtically they could be actually been in surplus from this pandemic. Maybe they’d be onto something the rest could follow. Have more SEX.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
3 years ago

This is almost racist – I say almost because it’s more just modernist, materialist, individualist bigotry against any religious world views that are communitarian and oriented towards God. Those nasty medieval pesky old Jewish men (cult leaders) leading their community astray (benighted fools) …and depriving older individuals at the end of their lives a few months of locked down living cut off from their community, their grandchildren, their God and their whole life-purpose ….Honestly, listen to yourself. You have all the arrogance, certitude, sensitivity and myopia of a teenage atheist who has just discovered the Messiah in Richard Dawkins. Grow up

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago

I think the Haredi Jews couldn’t care less about Covid and the blabla about high infection rates, that’s the lesson the non-believers could learn from orthodox-people, just believe in yourself , carry on and all will be well.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Unless you die from Covid.
Or infect others.
Or take a hospital bed from a cancer, heart disease, etc sufferer.

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Unless this, unless that… I prefer the reality that 99% procent is OK with this virus.

dehavilland
dehavilland
3 years ago

Who cares how many get infected, it is how many died that matters & were they people with cofactors? For most people this is not a particularly dangerous disease.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

This article really does reflect all that is weird and inverted about this hole mess. So a community of people at unusually low risk (young average age) have a high prevalence of infection with a coronavirus which normally causes a mild illness. They don’t have high mortality, most will be immune now, and they have been living a healthy social and spiritual life (which apparently we are supposed, in this new way and false of thinking about health, to condemn).
Surely, their leaders have led them well, while most of us are being miss-led? They have lived better, and came out at the other end no worse off (so surely, overall, better off).

Yet, again, we are asked to condemn this. What a strange, unthinking society we have become.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

‘hole’ – read ‘whole’!! Sorry!

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

PLEASE BRING BACK DISQUS.

R Ec
R Ec
3 years ago

So what is the point of your article when you write: “There is no data on the mortality rate among Haredim specifically, but while their infection rate is up to nine times the national average, it is unlikely their death rate will be anywhere near as high.” Surely that is good news, they went about their normal lives, trying to minimise the impact of the government imposed lockdown, and the death rate was lower than others who did go deeper into lockdown. So your headline of coronaV ripping through (your adjective) should then say and they survived much better than others.

Hugh R
Hugh R
3 years ago

Shame on the ‘mods’….unheard indeed.

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago

Something about the tone of this piece gives me the distinct feeling that the author disapproves of the Haredi response and does not want to see it duplicated.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

I made a comment some hours ago, still waiting approval. Am I the only on who finds it more than slightly menacing that a centuries old anti-semitic trope about Jews being plague carriers is being suggested in this headline?

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

It had not occurred to me-but it’s worth thinking about. On the other matter-“approval”-is this new format being moderated by one too busy body? Multiple posters have commented on this-is anybody at UnHerd listening besides the proctor?

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
3 years ago

One thing about mask wearing: it gives other people a message, “Don’t come too close”, and. “Don’t breathe in my space”. That has got to help prevent transmission if nothing else.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
3 years ago

A study, completed by PHE, of large numbers of NHS workers who tested positive indicated they had 95% immunity.
It would be useful to know from this community how many :-
1) Tested Positive of which how many were asymptomatic.
2) How many were hospitalised.
3) How many died and had co morbidities.
One of the subjects which is entirely absent from the narrative of where the numbers go next is the effect of Herd Immunity. Given that infection rates will be highest in all communities which live in crowded conditions with multi generational families the one place generically we need herd immunity is precisely where it will have developed. These sections of densely populated metropolitan cities will be little mini India’s where herd immunity may reach as high as 50%. Conversely out in the shires where everyone has a much better capacity to shield it maybe very low.
Given infection rates are currently trending low at the same rate among the elderly vaccinated and younger non vaccinated this maybe part of what whats driven the Positive Rate from 12.70% on the 3rd January to 2.3% on the 11th February which is following the annual trend for declining respiratory illness in week 1 to 6 which itself is an example of Herd Immunity in action every year.

Last edited 3 years ago by Michelle Johnston
Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago

Lots to think about here. First and most obvious point, there <i>aren’t</i> a mountain of corpses and they <i>do</i> seem to be getting on with life more or less as normal. The headmaster of the school may say he knows 12 people who died of covid, but unless they all had post mortems including full blood workups and biochemical examinations, he can’t know whether they died <i>of</i> it or <i>with</i> it. Likewise, Public Health England may claim Jews are dying at a higher rate than the general community, but that’s an estimate, and educated guess. Much depends on the methodology, and garbage in, garbage out. Even if it’s true, the question then becomes whether or not the difference is statistically significant.
One significant point, however, is brushed over here a little too quickly, and I suggest readers ponder its significance.
Rabbi Gluck detects a double-standard. While other minority communities — also disproportionately affected by the virus and more likely to display â€œvaccine hesitancy” â€” have received compassion, he suggests there is a sense among some that Jews have brought it on themselves. “I think people do not have the same sympathy for the Jewish community,” says Gluck. “Many people, their parents, their grandparents, were guinea pigs for science under the Nazis. We can understand that they have a certain amount of healthy ambivalence to accepting medical opinion without question.” Gluck himself was filmed being vaccinated, “so my position is clear”.
Why the disparity in attitudes towards Jews and the BAME community? Personally, I don’t blame black and Asian people for being hesitant about taking a vaccine. After all, every left-wing grifter for the last five decades has been screaming about “institutionalized racism” and how you can’t trust the government. It would be miraculous if BAME people all just took the word of establishment politicians that everything is okey-dokey about letting someone stick a needle full of chemicals into your arm. So why the anger at Jews? I would submit it’s because leftists are irredeemable racists. They <i>don’t expect</i> any better from BAME people, but they look at Jews, see white skin, and they do expect different from them. Just a thought.

skomewka
skomewka
3 years ago

I wouldn’t say the leaders of this group failed without determining the number and percentage of those that died of Coronavirus and then comparing with other groups. Having the statistics of Jews in general is not sufficient. The question is will this group become less vulnerable by getting the experience of having the illness out of the way sooner than other groups and in the long run end up with fewer deaths.

Tom Hawk
Tom Hawk
3 years ago

By my adding up, the group identified in this article account for some 40,000 infections in London. Such a number is enough to panic politicians into imposing further lockdown.

Yet this virus affects the respiratory system and is mostly spread through exhaling/coughing viral particles. It relies on close physical distance and recirculated air. In short it is spread through social behaviour. One thinks of the cluster identified around the legendary Kitzloch apres ski bar in Ischgl and various choirs being infected.

Once the majority of such activities are closed down by shutting pubs and the like, the next vector becomes self contained minority groups carrying on without changing their behaviour. Yet no one is prepared to call it out for fear of offending the wokerati. Even this article was at pains to try and avoid pointing out there is an elephant in the room.

Sarah H
Sarah H
3 years ago

On further reflection, I don’t think this article is very many steps away from blaming Hasidic jews for the spreading of disease. This has already been said publicly in New York. Be very, very careful. I enjoy what Unherd does but sometimes disagree with pieces but hey. This one is different.

Jane In Toronto
Jane In Toronto
3 years ago

I stopped reading when I saw the author was referring to +ve PCR tests as “infections”. Useless. After all this time, how could any informed writer on Covid not know how useless PCR tests are in the eyes of many, many PhDs. One could start with https://web.archive.org/web/20210214141038/https://www.globalresearch.ca/clinical-lab-scientist-covid-19-fake-wake-up-america/5737013
or go find the “movie”, #yeadonunlocked.

Fabrizio Nocivelli
Fabrizio Nocivelli
3 years ago

The authors acknowledge limitations of the study, including that approximately 40% of households that were approached agreed to take part in the study. This is similar to other national COVID-19 household surveillance studies, such as the ONS COVD-19 Infection survey – so they believe it is unlikely to be a major source of bias.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

aa

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
3 years ago

All I hear is: 3/4 of the Jewish community in London have gained immunity…

voodoopolitics
voodoopolitics
3 years ago

This would have been more interesting had the author not confused positive PCR tests with “infection”. A positive PCR test is NOT an “infection”.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago

High infection rates with no excess death among under-retirement age is FABULOUS news! More herd immunity for those infected communities!

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

For the left, pleasing at first followed by bitter disappointment

Hugh R
Hugh R
3 years ago

Anyone else think the bit about “an illegal wedding held at a state school and attended by 150 guests”, might have shone a light on a mindset that believes being “chosen by god” infers an immunity fron infections among the mere ha-goyim?

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh R

There is no reason to believe that any immunities are conferred by God. The mindset is, ‘man proposes, God disposes’. Their leaders have correctly chosen ‘herd immunity’. A minor excess of fatalities in no way weakens the strength of the community. Their leaders will believe, correctly, that their community is stonger, more cohesive, better prepared for the future.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

A minor excess of fatalities “
The article states that there is no data on the death rate, so your “a minor excess of fatalities” is a case of making it up

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh R

The wedding was not as far as we know illegal.

The attendance of more guests than current government guidelines allowed was the illegality.

Kathy Leicester
Kathy Leicester
3 years ago

Here’s the story:
The Jews dealt with a virus like adults. They lived their lives. The virus infected them and now they enjoy herd immunity. The death rate? Nothing. The illness symptoms? The flu.
This author is all weepy weepy about some faux “leadership” “failing” these people? The leadership did the right thing!
The other story: The F’ING MD who dissembles and mumbles about herd immunity….. “well, now, weeeee juuuusssssss…..”
That MD should be beaten and left in the street.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

“That MD should be beaten and left in the street.”
That’s incitement to violence Kathy.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

“The virus infected them and now they enjoy herd immunity. The death rate? Nothing.” 
Evidence that the death rate is nothing? Where does it say that? You just made it up.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Yep – and that just about sums up many of her posts

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Yep – and that just about sums up many of her posts

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

“That MD should be beaten and left in the street.”
That’s incitement to violence Kathy.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

“The virus infected them and now they enjoy herd immunity. The death rate? Nothing.” 
Evidence that the death rate is nothing? Where does it say that? You just made it up.

Kathy Leicester
Kathy Leicester
3 years ago

Here’s the story:
The Jews dealt with a virus like adults. They lived their lives. The virus infected them and now they enjoy herd immunity. The death rate? Nothing. The illness symptoms? The flu.
This author is all weepy weepy about some faux “leadership” “failing” these people? The leadership did the right thing!
The other story: The F’ING MD who dissembles and mumbles about herd immunity….. “well, now, weeeee juuuusssssss…..”
That MD should be beaten and left in the street.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

If the title of this article was on Twitter and was liked or re-tweeted by a Labour Party member they could potentially face expulsion from the Labour Party for supporting a dangerous and damaging generalisation about Jewish People.
Jews as plague carriers is a centuries old anti-semitic trope.
The article also touches on but does not dig deeper into the issue of the Haredim being the wrong type of Jew in the eyes of the Jewish Chronicle and Board of Deputies, who deem themselves representatives of the ‘Jewish Community’ in the UK.
It will be interesting to see if the Chronicle picks up on this article and condemns it as an example anti-semitism or if it is ignored as it’s not been published by the Morning Star or Canary.

andrew
andrew
3 years ago

These people choose to have large families. No-one forces them to have so many children.

andrew
andrew
3 years ago

These people choose to have large families. No-one forces them to have so many children.

Michael L
Michael L
3 years ago

Religion is opium for masses

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Deep thoughts, albeit not original. What’s your drug, Marx man?