News | Anorak - Part 6

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Coronavirus: Dr El-Hawrani, the NHS and the death of facts

Four newspapers lead with the death of Dr Amgad El-Hawrani, an NHS and private earth nose and throat consultant who was infected with coronavirus before he died. All newspapers call him Dr Amged El-Hawrani, even though the NHS knew him as Dr Amgad El Hawrani. This is his profile on the NHS website:

NHS doctor covid-a9

Having renamed the doctor – although a filing at companies house does give his name Amged El-Hawrani – the papers tell the story of how a talented man at the top of his field came to die at just 55 years old. The Times leads with news what he picked up an infection from a patient.

Amged El-Hawrani

So Dr El-Hawrani picked up Covid-19 virus from a patient. Fact. Well, no. It’s just a maybe. After the headline news has grabbed your eyeballs, the Times tells its readers:

A consultant ear, nose and throat specialist has become the first frontline hospital worker to die in the fight against Covid-19 after seemingly contracting the virus from his patients.

So he could have come into contact with the disease anywhere. We’re looking at likelihood not facts.

Amged El-Hawrani, 55, died on Saturday night at Leicester Royal Infirmary after testing positive for the virus and being treated on a ventilator for the past two weeks.

We do not know where Dr El-Hawrani caught Covid-19. But the story is out there that he caught it on a ward as he worked for the NHS. The headlines suggest that much. We hear an opinion:

The death of Amged El-Hawrani, 55, an ear, nose and throat specialist, marks a sad moment in Britain’s fight against coronavirus but is a familiar story in countries around the world (Kat Lay writes).

In China, Iran and Italy doctors from his specialty seem to have been particularly likely to become hospital in-patients or even die from the virus. Another ENT consultant, in Sheffield, is said to be improving after receiving critical care. The nature of ENT doctors’ work means they have to get close to patients’ faces — and coronavirus spreads through droplets from sufferers’ noses or mouths. This means that specialists are particularly likely to be exposed. Research suggests that those exposed to a higher initial “dose” of the virus are more likely to suffer a severe form of the disease.

Amged El-Hawrani

The Mirror calls Dr El-Hawrani a hero and links his death to a demand for more protective kit.

Ear, nose and throat specialist Dr El-Harwani, who died on Saturday, is understood to have contracted the virus several weeks ago.

Understood by whom? We’re not told. We do not know where the doctor caught the virus. Low down the front-page story, the Mirror concedes: “It is not known how Dr El-Hawrani contracted Covid-19.” But that fact comes after readers are told:

NHS England described Dr El-Hawrani as the first practising hospital doctor to die of the virus…

Might he have caught the disease elsewhere? Did he travel overseas recently? We’re not told.

As worrying footage of a nurse working in a coronavirus ward wearing only basic protection was passed to the Mirror, the Doctors’ Association UK said it was “deeply saddened” by Dr El-Hawrani’s death.

And it urged the Government to make a priority of “protecting the lives of the life-savers”.

The facts are thin. But that does not stop the Mirror from spreading anxiety. Aren’t things safer than they were several weeks ago when Dr El-Hawrani caught the disease now that the country is under lockdown, patients are being tested for Covid-19 and awareness is growing? It’s not ideal, of course, this is dangerous work – and medics come into contact with sick people every day of their working lives in GP surgeries and hospitals. But without facts media should be cautious about using a man’s death for any narrative purpose other than to mourn it and empathise with his family’s loss.

Amged El-Hawrani

The Guardian reports:

A 55-year-old hospital consultant has died of coronavirus, underlining the danger to frontline NHS workers.

It’s horrible news. But we do not know how Dr El-Hawrani caught the disease.

Amged El-Hawrani

Did Dr El-Hawrani take on private patients? If he did, as many consultants do, might he have contracted the coronavirus working with them and not on the “frontline” for the NHS? But the media narrative has not time to entertain that possibility:

Did he only work for the NHS? No papers mention that Dr El-Hawrani also worked in private medicine.

About Private Healthcare UK

Private Healthcare UK was established in 1996 and helps patients to find information about private medical treatment, hospitals, clinics, doctors, specialists and health insurance.

Amged El-Hawrani private NHS

And there’s BUPA – “A leading international healthcare group, we run care homes, health centres, dental centres and hospitals, offer personal and company health insurance and provide workplace health services, health assessments and chronic disease management services including health coaching.” In short: private healthcare.

Dr El-Hawrani

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment

Coronavirus: When Dr Amgad El-Hawrani died the media went into overdrive

Dr Amged El-Hawrani

When Dr Amgad El-Hawrani died the media went into overdrive. Dr El-Hawrani, 55, was an NHS ear, nose and throat consultant at Derby and Burton hospitals. He died last night at Leicester Royal Infirmary. He had tested positive for coronavirus Covid-19. Thoughts should be with his loved ones. But big media has a narrative.

Sky News says he “died after testing positive for coronavirus”. No mention is made of any other health concerns Dr El-Hawrani might have suffered. The Independent says: “NHS England has said the 55-year-old was the first front-line worker to die in the fight against Covid-19.” ITV makes the link between his profession and the illness explicit: “Consultant, 55, dies after testing positive for coronavirus.” He was, says the Leicester Mercury, “the first hospital worker to be killed by Covid-19 in this country”. But we do not know how or where he contracted the disease nor if his work was linked to his getting it and dying. Was he tested because he was a hospital patient or a hospital worker? Did he die with the disease or from it? Did work with private patients contribute to his death?

Only the Mirror says the doctor’s efforts in fighting coronavirus contributed to his death. But not one other publication says the same, which is unusual, especially given how when one paper breaks a story the others rush to copy it, as with the tragic case of Chloe Middleton. Says the Mirror:

An NHS consultant who contracted coronavirus while on the frontlines of the battle against the virus has died in hospital at the age of just 55.

Dr Amged El-Hawrani
Dr Amged El-Hawrani coronavirus

These are worrying times for NHS workers and all medial professional whose jobs bring them into contact with very ill people. Some circumspection is required if anxiety is not to spread.

Oh, and according to the NHS, it is Dr Amgad El Hawrani nor Amged, as every single mainstream newspaper’s website reported it as:

Amgad El Hawrani
Amgad El Hawrani

Such are the facts…

Posted: 29th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Hong Kong police issue chilling threat to freedom

Hong Kong police liberty

British police in Derbyshire remain a few steps behind their Hong Kong counterparts in the rush to curtail civil liberties and hard-won freedoms as humanity faces Covid-19.

A tweet from Hong Kong’s finest tells citizens that sedition will not be tolerated. You will closed down should you be found guilty of “seditious intention”. Free thought or ideas will be not be tolerated.


Let’s be vigilant and not let the State use the coronavirus horror to stymie the people.

Posted: 29th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

May 16 2020: The Moon, Venus and Jupiter will make a smiley face in the sky over North America


This May 16, a crescent moon beneath Venus And Jupiter will form a smiley face in the sky. The occultation, says ABS-CBN News, will only be visible from the USA and Canada.

Smiley face moon venus jupiter
Sunday May 16, 2010 in Manila, Philippines

Posted: 29th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment

Hilary Clinton says Donald Trump has made ‘America first’ only at Coronavirus deaths

Hilary Clinton coronavirus

As Donald Trump outdoes god by bringing not one man back from the dead but the entire country – making the divine’s Good Friday into Trump’s Great Friday – Hilary Clinton, the politician he beat to become President uses the coronavirus for her own ends. She tweets: “He did promise ‘America First’.” The US now “leads the world in Coronavirus cases”, says the New York Times. People are ill, anxious and dying. Clinton snipes and tries to score cheap points. Trump v Clinton really was the nadir in US politics.

Posted: 28th, March 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment

Covid-19 : Turning a young woman’s death into a media storm

Covid-19 coronavirus reporting
A report on Chloe Middleton on the BBC News Website

When Chloe Middleton died, the Guardian described her as “the UK’s youngest coronavirus victim”. Well, not quite, because the the paper added: “her family believe.” The paper today says the young woman’s death “has not been recorded in the official toll because of confusion about how she died, the Guardian can reveal.” Last week, Chloe Middleton suffered a heart attack. Soon after her arrival at Sough’s Wexham Park hospital she was pronounced dead. Having been told Miss Middleton had a cough, a coroner suggested her death was related to coronavirus Covid-19. But the hospital says that is wrong. She had not rested positive for the virus.

An NHS source is quoted. “They [her family] have been given the information officially from the coroner that this is [a] Covid death. And that’s their understanding of it.”

Reporting was dire. The BBC was quick off the mark. A young woman, a private individual who died far too young, became evidence of something to worry all younger people. The BBC notes in its story: “There have been concerns that younger people were ignoring warnings over its spread, believing the contagion was only a danger to the elderly.” They’re worried. So facts matter. The Times added:

Coronavirus Chloe Middleton

Her shattered parents made a note about their loss on Facebook. Media read it and reported it. This was in The Times:

The death of Chloe Middleton, a healthy 21-year-old, prompted her mother to warn that the illness was not something that young people could shrug off.

Diane Middleton wrote on Facebook: “To all the people out there that think it’s just a virus, please think again. [I am] speaking from a personal experience — this so-called virus has taken the life of my daughter.”

Miss Middleton is thought to have died on March 19 and is the youngest victim of the virus in Britain to be named.

The family had heard the mis-diagnosis from the coroner and understandably took it as true. They wanted to prevent more deaths and suffering. The media didn’t bother to check. Chloe’s Middleton’s mother wrote on Facebook:

“To all the people out there that think it’s just a virus, please think again. [I am] speaking from a personal experience — this so-called virus has taken the life of my daughter.”

No fact checking. And once one big news organ says it’s a fact, the others pile in:

Chloe Middleton coronavirus
Chloe Middleton Coronavirus

Often, we do not know we are ill until we get pain, trauma and the resultant diagnosis. For media to react with such haste and disregard for facts is lamentable. That they did so in the tragic story of a young woman and a devastated family reeling from her loss is hideous.

People are dying from coronavirus but facts do not tell us how many die because of the virus or with the virus. Circumspection is required if the media is worth a damn.

Posted: 27th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Derbyshire police do The Hunger Games – coronavirus drone targets Peak District walkers

Derbyshire police

Derbyshire Police have published footage from their drone cam of people walking their dogs and hiking in the Peak District.

As Derbyshire Police shame people for exercising and not breaking the law miles from urban areas, we wonder if they’ve seen footage (aka: TV news) of life in London, where people are still riding the Tube (message to Derbyshire’s brain’s trust police: it’s a train system that runs underground; yeah – for real!).

Stop Press: Derbyshire police guidance:

Members of the public should only leave their homes for the following reasons:

shopping for basic necessities

for one form of exercise a day

for any medical need

to travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary”

List of approved exercises on application but are thought to include: flying drones, chasing wrong ‘uns and staring at people.

Posted: 27th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

March to Beat Coronavirus – #StopTheSpread

March coronavirus

Hashtags, candlelit vigils and songs cannot defeat Coronavirus. We need to do more. So join the March To Stop The Spread this April 1. Join thousands of activists in cities across the world and harness the power of other grassroots movements like Stop The War, #bringbackourgirls and Bollocks To Brexit. Standing shoulder to shoulder we can beat it.

Spotter: Comics With Problems

Posted: 26th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Internet Archive creates National Emergency Library for instant access to its 1.4million books

Shut indoors you can read and read thanks to the Internet Archive which has suspended waiting lists for the 1.4 million book on it shelves by creating a National Emergency Library.

During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.  

This library brings together all the books from Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, and much of Trent University’s collections, along with over a million other books donated from other libraries to readers worldwide that are locked out of their libraries.

And you can help:

  1. Read books, recommend books, and teach using books from the National Emergency Library
  2. Sponsor a book to be digitized and preserved
  3. Endorse this effort institutionally or individually
  4. Share news about the National Emergency Library with your social media followers using #NationalEmergencyLibrary
  5. Donate to the Internet Archive


Posted: 26th, March 2020 | In: Books, Key Posts, News | Comment

Child breaks down as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and the Chinese restaurant close forcing her to eat mum’s cooking (video)

Fast food child

Jo Charlton post the following video of her daughter having a meltdown over the closure of fast food eateries. “Just like to add… we didn’t live off of takeaways!!! The world has ended for layla today x,” says Jo.

Just like to add… we didnt live off of takeaways!!! The world has ended for layla today x

Posted by Jo Charlton on Monday, 23 March 2020

Posted: 24th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment

Stay at home: That NHS Text sent to 1.5million ‘vulnerable’ Britons as Coronavirus fear mounts


This text message was delivered to around 1.5 million Britons yesterday afternoon:

NHS Coronavirus Service: We have identified that you’re someone at risk of severe illness if you catch Coronavirus. Please remain at home for a minimum of 12 weeks. Home is the safest place for you. Staying in helps you stay well and that will help the NHS too. You can open a window but do not leave your home, and stay 3 steps away from others indoors. Wash your hands more often, for at least 20 seconds.

Read more advice about staying safe at home.

We will send you more messages with information.

To opt out reply STOP

Why anyone would call ‘STOP’ on such advice is moot. But the NHS needs to act, even if a blanket email to so many people not based on their location, degree of wellness and dwelling is flawed.

Hit the link in that text and you’re told why you got the text:

What do we mean by extremely vulnerable?

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

Solid organ transplant recipients

People with specific cancers:
people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.

People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

What are you going to do?

Posted: 24th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Coronavirus Law : the newspapers lead with house arrest

We’re all under house arrest in the UK – unless you need to go shopping, jogging or sell discount trainers and anoraks at Sports Direct. (Prime Minister Boris Johnson says all UK shops selling non-essential goods must close. Sports Direct says it is “uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible”. And you can betcha last cough drop its staff agree.) The coronavirus is among us. The “invisible killer” (copyright: all media) is the only story around.

Coronavirus newspapers

“End of freedom,” the Daily Telegraph declares. “Britain shuts up shop,” says Daily Mail. The Sun says we’re under “House arrest”. The Daily Mirror calls it a “national lockdown”. The Financial Times says the Government had not choice but to enforce social isolation. The Metro shows how people were ignoring the polite advice as they packed themselves into stuffy Tube trains in London. (How long can the freebie Metro and Evening Standard newspapers last without commuters?) Not one newspaper is critical of anything the Government has ruled., including fines for anyone caught breaking the rules, which can amount to three people not from the same house playing football together.

Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers

Posted: 24th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment

Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore make staff homeless – blame it on admin error

The Colyumbridge Hotel new Aviemore, Scotland, has been making news. The “perfect escape for an unforgettable family vacation” has sent out a letter telling employees to get thee hence. Coronavirus is apparently behind the mass sacking in which some staff were told to leave the hotel accommodation immediately.

The hotel’s owners, Brittania Hotels, says it was all a misunderstanding. The company tell the Liverpool Echo: “With regards to the current situation regarding staff at our Coylumbridge Hotel and being asked to vacate their staff accommodation. Unfortunately, the communication sent to these employees was an administrative error. All affected employees are being immediately contacted. We apologise for any upset caused.”

You know how these errors go: a virus infects your world, types a letter and tells everyone to get out or else. Other companies should take note of this and increase their virus protection.

Posted: 21st, March 2020 | In: Money, News, The Consumer | Comment

Coronavirus: A ‘useful’ cull on Scotland’s old and infirm

Coronavirus cull

Do we much care what former government officials say or think? Over Brexit we were told that we should. Ex-politicians and wonks got to opine on the BBC and big media on how their replacements were getting it wrong. Tony Blair and his spin doctor Alistair Campbell were ubiquitous, telling us that the will of the people was to remain in the EU. Others with spoon-shaped profiles also proliferate. Here’s Professor June Andrews. She said the coronavirus might be “useful” in killing off NHS bed blockers. The virus would take elderly “out of the system”. The system is more important than the patients that give it purpose. The system is all.

Her words are news because, as you know, Professor Andrews is, it says here, the former director of the Scottish Government’s Centre for Change and Innovation. “Fury as ex-Government health official says coronavirus pandemic would be ‘useful’ for killing off NHS bed blockers,” says the Sun. “Coronavirus could be ‘quite useful’ in killing off NHS bed blockers, says ex official,” reports the Mirror. “Former Scottish government worker claims a coronavirus pandemic ‘would be quite useful’ in killing off NHS bed blockers in the wake of the first UK death,” says the Mail, which included the following reactions from Outraged of Twitter:

Professor Andrews Coronavirus

Speaking at Holyrood’s public audit committee, The Herald reports she said:

“If you’re on the board of a care home company, a pandemic is one of things you think about as a potential damage to your business because of the number of older people it’s going to take out of the system. Curiously, ripping off the sticking plaster, in a hospital that has 92 delayed discharges, a pandemic would be quite useful because your hospital would work because these people would be taken out of the system.”

The paper adds:

Professor June Andrews recognised her comments were “horrific” but gave an honest assessment of the potential consequences of a large-scale coronavirus outbreak.

Chief executive of Age Scotland, Brian Sloan, was quick to call the Prof’s opinion “breath-takingly callous” and “nothing short of barbaric”.

The Indy notes:

Prof Andrews, who is an adviser to the Dementia Services Development Trust, said she had since been targeted by people online for her comments. “The one thing I had learned from this is I should never use irony,” she said. I “was asking the question about what the politicians were expecting to happen; do they just expect the old people to disappear.”

Andrews wrote into the Herald’s letters page:

I WISH to express my concern about the selective reporting of my evidence at the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

We were discussing NHS leadership failings and future workforce and I wanted to make the point that people working in NHS Scotland have an impossible job, even before the coronavirus struck, because tough planning and strategy decisions have been politically ducked.

We have known for decades that the number of older people needing care is rocketing, yet no provision has been made outside the hospital – which is not a safe place to be if you do not really need to be there. Access to care homes and home care is clearly limited, otherwise no one would be a delayed discharge patient in hospital.

Perhaps the coronavirus outbreak that we are experiencing will finally force politicians to listen to what staff and NHS managers are unable to say, which is that we have to make provision in the community for older people to be cared for properly.

Professor June Andrews, Edinburgh.

Her fuller comment is thus:

“As a nurse my job is to be kind, but I also rip off sticking plasters, so sometimes it seems unkind what you have to say. If you’re on the board of a care home company a pandemic is one of the things you think about as a potential damage to your business because of the number of older people it is going to take out the system. Curiously, ripping off the sticking plaster, in that hospital I’m thinking about that has 92 delayed discharges, a pandemic would be quite useful because then your hospital would work because these people would be taken out of the system. Now that sounds like a horrific thing to say, but it is the case that somehow or other we have put people in the wrong places by not having the kind of strategic views we should have. That means that politicians who don’t want to think about bad things before the election, need to think about putting income tax up even higher in order to pay for more care in care homes and they need to think about whether they reinstate geriatric hospitals.”

Irony might be dead. Can we get a second opinion?

PS: This also in the outrage Telegraph:

Opinions to deadline until we’re all dead.

Posted: 20th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Ward off Alzheimer’s with grumbling and circumspection

Good news for moaners: researchers at the University of Geneva and the University Hospitals of Geneva) have found evidence to suggest that being cantankerous can ward off Alzheimer’s. The research, to be published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, tracked a cohort of 65 senior citizens (aged 65 or older) for five years. They tested for amyloid accumulation and brain deterioration. And they monitored cognitive aptitude and personality. Data links curiosity and contrarianism with those who displayed less progressive neurodegenerative disorder. So keep asking questions and demanding better.

 Spotter: The Big Think

Posted: 19th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Anti-Coronavirus hand gels from Bulgarian vodka and Bristol gin

hand sanitzer alcohol

‘Hand gets?,” asked my Bulgarian friend Vanya. “Nah. Use vodka and tissues.” What;’ good in London is better in Bristol, where Bristol gin distillery Psychopomp is using some of its alcohol as hand sanitizer and giving it to locals in exchange for a donation to charity.

Posted: 19th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment

Coronavirus: Fox News debates the unknown knowns and known unknowns

Coronavirus has placed the UK on a war footing – and we all know what war is good for: yep – hours and hours of strident to deadline punditry. Every nodding head who knew all about politics and Brexit is now an authority on the Covid-19 crisis. In this video the Washington Post highlights the of Fox News, whose pundit know one thing and that thing is always true fact. You can wonder, of course, why the WaPo is bothering to tell its readers why something they most likely don’t watch is rubbish – maybe it helps shore up notions of what their news outlet isn’t and maybe is.

The Washington Post says:

For weeks, some of Fox News’s most popular hosts downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, characterizing it as a conspiracy by media organizations and Democrats to undermine President Trump.

Fox News personalities such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham accused the news media of whipping up “mass hysteria” and being “panic pushers.” Fox Business host Trish Regan called the alleged media-Democratic alliance “yet another attempt to impeach the president.”

Back here in the UK, we’d had one thing reaffirmed: people all live in society. Do we try to mitigate the virus or suppression? Do we allow people to think for themselves, pay heed to official information channels and leave the to-deadline media to veer between calling it a hoax and trailing the apocalypse.

Posted: 19th, March 2020 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment

UK Health Minister Matt Hancock puts his advice behind a paywall: Get FREE Coronavirus information from experts

Coronavirus COVID-19 has replaced Brexit as the media’s focus point. Thankfully, people more versed in such illnesses are here to cut through the to-deadline blather. You can tune into free online course by London’s Imperial College called ‘Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19‘.

Or you could pay to hear the thoughts of UK Secretary of State for Health & Social Care and MP for West Suffolk Matt Hancock in the Telegraph.

MAtt Hancock Coronavirus

Many publications have pulled down their paywalls for Coronavirus news.

Update: You can now read Matt Hancock’s words for free. But the free course from actual experts is a better use of your time.

Posted: 15th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Coronavirus Cup bias: Liverpool to be awarded PL title and West Ham stay up

With top-flight football banned until April 4 at the earliest as the coronavirus bites, fair minds have been pushing their agendas. West Ham United’s vice-chairman Karren Brady insists that the Premier League season has to be declared void if no more fixtures are possible. “Sorry Liverpool,” says the woman to the table toppers and whose club is only out of the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference. “As games in both the PL and in the EFL are affected, the only fair and reasonable thing to do is declare the whole season null and void,” says Brady in her Sun column. “Who knows who would have gone down or come up if the games have not actually been played in full?” Can we guess? It is, she concedes, “A huge blow to Liverpool who might be robbed of their first title in 30 years.” But robbery is fine so long as it’s “fair and reasonable”.

But over in the Telegraph, we learn: “Liverpool are still likely to be crowned Premier League champions, even if the coronavirus crisis causes the season to be abandoned… a senior club executive revealed on Friday night that there was little ­opposition to awarding Jurgen Klopp’s men their first English title for 30 years following what threatened to be the longest suspension of the professional game since the Second World War.” An unnamed senior Liverpool FC executive says the Reds win the title because it seems likely they would have won it anyhow. Sport isn’t unpredictable. Liverpool won’t do a Devon Lock. Liverpool get the the Coronavirus Cup and the other teams get… Well, what? To applaud from their sick beds?

There are, of course, financial implications, wages and transfer debts must be paid and there is lost broadcast revenue,” says Brady, “lost matchday income but this pales into insignificance as the health and well-being of everyone must come first.” To say nothing of the cost of West Ham’s relegation from the Premier League, which she doesn’t.

Posted: 14th, March 2020 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment

Cold, Flu or Coronavirus? This handy chart helps you identify your virus


The bloke sat across the aisle who just sneezed violently on the Tube, bus or train? Worry not. It looks like coma mon cold. The woman with the nagging dry cough in the row behind? Move seats – although it’s probably too late. That could be the Coronavirus.

Other viruses on the London Underground: toxic dust particles and 121 nasty bugs. In 2016, Staveley Head commissioned a study by microbiologists at London Metropolitan University to see what bugs were on the Tube. The London Under the Microscope project spotted 121 different bacteria and mould types on public transport – including nine antibiotic-resistant superbugs. A ride on the Tube might mean sharing a seat with Staphylococcus Aureus (the bacteria responsible for toxic shock syndrome), E.coli, Klebsiella Pneumoniae and Serratia.

Posted: 13th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Premier League: suspend season as Leicester players catch Coronavirus

After the N.B.A. suspended its season on Wednesday after one Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus, the Premier League is under pressure to call off the current football season as three Leicester City players get the bug. In Spain, La Liga has been suspended for “at least the next two rounds of matches” because the entire Real Madrid squad is into quarantine because of coronavirus.

“We had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs,” said Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers. “It would be a shame if the Watford game were postponed], but the public’s health is the most important in all of this. The game is all about the players and the fans and if you have one of those not there, it’s obviously not the same.”

Time to call the season off. Hard cheese, Liverpool.

Posted: 12th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment

Coronavirus kills media paywalls

Coronavirus pollution

Such is the huge level of internet traffic generated by the coronavirus story that many publications have torn down their paywalls for coronavirus coverage. They want your clicks. Well, not quite, maybe. They say it’s because they are doing a public service (and don’t want you clicking elsewhere for free).

Kottke highlight how the walls came tumblin’ down at:  The AtlanticWSJTalking Points MemoGlobe and MailSeattle TimesMiami HeraldToronto StarStatDallas Morning NewsMedium and the NY Times.

In the UK, we have the trusty BBC – you’d mis it if it went.

Image: more people are staying in as Coronavirus hits.

Posted: 12th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Coronavirus and SARS: Why do new diseases come from China?

Coronavirus Wuhan china

Why did Coronavirus strain COVID-19 begin in China? Vox takes a look:

Both SARS and COVID-19 are in the “coronavirus” family, and both appear to have emerged from animals in China’s notorious wildlife markets. Experts had long predicted that these markets, known to be potential sources of disease, would enable another outbreak. The markets, and the wildlife trade that supports them, are the underlying problem of these pandemics; until China solves that problem, more are likely to emerge.

China’s wildlife-farming industry has been shut down by Chinese officials.

Posted: 11th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Coronavirus panic: Daily Star doubles as toilet roll


Panic over. The Daily Star is offering its readers a free ‘cut out and keep’ toilet roll with every newspaper. “BOG OFF!” screams the headline – Buy One Get One For Free? No need to panic buy toilet roll when you have daily newspapers. There are not plans to print newspapers on absorbent tissue paper, nor for The Sun to offer discount subscriptions to Jeremy Corbyn supporters. Says one Guardian executive: “It’s a tissue of lies.”

Posted: 10th, March 2020 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment

Coronavirus toilet roll panic: ‘No toilet rolls kept in this van overnight’

Coronavirus toilet roll panic: 'No toilet rolls kept in this van overnight'
Coronavirus toilet roll panic: ‘No toilet rolls kept in this van overnight’

Coronavirus is giving people the runs – and they’re running to the shops buy stacks of toilet rolls. The way to stop panic buying is to remind people that no research has disproven a link between toilet roll and coronavirus. Be warned.

File under: fake poos.

Posted: 10th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment