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  1. OK. For what it's worth I'm going to try and explain why genomics is important in a ssRNA virus epidemic. No doubt it will end up being recited badly at a briefing, but, well, whatever. You read it here first. The COVID19 viral genome is a little under 30,000 letters long and is made of single stranded (ss)RNA, not DNA. One of the aspects of ssRNA viruses is that they mutate faster than DNA viruses, because they don't have a proof-reading capability when they make copies of their RNA to make more of themselves. This is a double-edged sword. It can be advantageous to the virus as it may accumulate mutations that increase transmissibility. It can also be a disadvantage to the virus if those mutations kill the host too quickly (e.g. Ebola) as if the host dies quickly then there isn't much opportunity to transmit the virus to a new host. These mutations are a huge advantage to the scientists though as they accumulate within transmission chains. With COVID19, extended transmission chains are called "lineages". Each lineage has a unique pattern of mutations along those 30,000 letters (we're starting to call these "constellations" now to add more terminology) which make the lineage identifiable if you have a case you want to classify. As the transmission chain continues within the lineage and more mutations are accumulated, the lineage might be split by scientists based on the new mutations. For example, the "UK variant" is lineage B.1.1.7. However, three months ago, there was just B.1.1 and three months before that, there was just B.1. If you want to read more then this paper should be of interest: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-020-0770-5 However, a lineage is a blunt tool. Mutations can accumulate within one infectious person, and then more mutations can accumulate in the person they transmit the virus to. Relatively, COVID19 is a bit slow at accumulating mutations compared to other ssRNA viruses. In most of the ssRNA viruses I've studied in my career we tend to say they exist as "quasispecies" because it's basically a cloud of virus variants which infect a single host. However, COVID19 does mutate fast enough to accumulate very distinct mutations in transmission chains and the work I did on the first week of the Isle of Man outbreak showed that it is possible to see the exact human-to-human transmission chain from the mutations alone. Many of those human-to-human transmission chains had unique mutations but were all classified as the same lineage. So when they said at the briefing today that all the cases were identical they were only looking at the lineage, not the individual genome sequences. That's where I get frustrated because analysing and clustering the viral genome sequences is a highly specialised thing that not even most major NHS labs try their hand at (which is why https://www.cogconsortium.uk/ exists). Most major hospitals don't try to do this themselves, they leave it up to people like me who know what they're doing. To conclude, the lineage is just the virological city name. The genome sequence and specific mutations unique to each case are the postcode and house number that can be used to show all the addresses that the virus visited in that city. Probably a bad analogy but hopefully you get the gist of broad/specific analyses.
    32 points
  2. Rachel has tried every which way to re-offer her services. This last tweet wasn't the first time she's reached out. Government has made it very clear they do not want her to be involved. I want her to be involved. Not because I don't like the government, not because I don't trust the government, Not because I want to see her 'win' and them lose, not because she's my mate or my old school friend or because she posts on here and seems like a bloody good egg. I would like her to be involved because what she's offering is something very very special for the Island. Something we may, should things get worse, help us to plan a way out of it. After two weeks these crucial test results still haven't come back, Today, Dr Ewart said she would 'chase them up'. Chase them up FFS? Rachel is saying she could have had the results turned around in one day. Just to remind you. This is a pandemic. We are not exempt, sea or no sea. It's is now spreading and we have a world class expert offering to assist. They may not be listening to her but they could very well listen to us if enough of us made our voices heard. I'm willing to stick my head over the parapet. By tweet, by email, to HQ - to the lot if necessary. This is a ridiculous state of affairs folks. We're being held to ransom here by some people's egos. This is NOT in the best interests of the Island. Not in the slightest. Time to make our voices heard.
    28 points
  3. Ouch, this thread is back. Not unexpected I suppose.
    27 points
  4. I think you'll find most so called anti-government rhetoric is focused on government-stupidity and government-selfishness. In recent times - under Brown, Bell and now Quayle - all too many government spending decisions have hardly been effective, efficient nor economic. Can you name ONE major IOM Govt project that has ever been delivered on time and to budget? And remember the "Scope of Government" reports of 2006 and then 2012? The whole of government and all of its systems needs a top to bottom overhaul. Nothing has been done, in fact instead it continually spirals out of control offering little or no value for money. And in this pandemic, how many non-essential government staff have been furloughed during this latest lockdown? Like the first - NONE. There are hundreds that could be - just for starters we don't need steam trains and museum staff. Yet government expect many in the private sector to survive on £280 pw or nothing and then to pay any extra taxes to make up any government spending shortfalls - including a large chunk to cover bloated government and CS/PS pensions government awarded themselves. Pissing away £1million on a diesel train is one thing. But the main difference with covid is that stupid government decisions (such as not bringing in second week testing when it was obvious to many it was needed) costs lives and livelihoods. And you think people are just going to take that quietly?
    26 points
  5. I do hope so. I'm incredibly lucky to be in the financial position to not have to worry about how much my legal fees cost, nor worry about instructing those lawyers in the first place. Is it so hard to believe that I might be an honest and genuine person who just wanted to help the COVID19 effort?
    24 points
  6. I am not trying to censor anyone, but neither should you. At first I thought IOMG did a very good job, but started questioning when the Dr Glover debacle reared its head. The letter shredding event undermined the confidence I had. Whether the letter existed or not, and if it did who it was from, was neither here nor there. But that it was used as a justification in some odd way of not only the Dr Glover situation but more importantly removing what seemed to a great many a vital tool in our armoury, on-island genomic testing. It was almost juvenile. Up until that point, I thought DA performed well; he was well briefed and could speak confidently and fluently. It seemed, however, with that letter that not only was Dr Glover treated with disdain, but so was the Great Manx Public. The subsequent misunderstandings are well aired and debated on here. In a free democracy, openness and honesty of its government is paramount. Even more so when a government takes away freedoms and manages, on a molecular level, the health, wealth and wellbeing of its people. It is new territory, we all know that, but if there had been a willingness to admit things had gone wrong, for example with the SP, testing and schools, and the mistakes were recognised and truly lessons were learnt, then I would have much more confidence in the decision making and sense checking involved. The freedoms we enjoyed last year were much appreciated, honestly, but we were warned not to be complacent. Whereas those steering the ship became complacent, they failed to prepare for inevitable return and put in place adequate systems and processes to deal with it. It is a hard and complex job, no doubt, but they have it and must rise to it. If they don't just admit misjudgements rather than very ineffectually huffing and puffing around them, then confidence is hard to be regained. See, no mention of any physical attributes? That isn't the way to argue.
    24 points
  7. There's only one solution to this mystery, an unpalatable one for sure. Someone is going to have to go buy the paper.
    24 points
  8. I have no idea whether it existed as I never saw it and am only aware of it's content from the briefing where it was read out. But the error in judgement lies completely with the Minister in deciding to use it to discredit me. It completely showed his true character, in my opinion.
    22 points
  9. Re the PAC, It was staggering, concerning and enraging all in one go. Of course there is another side to the story, but what was delivered today, the inauguration day of Manx Care, gave little hope for those involved to retrieve the position. After that, if anyone believes that IOMG in its entirety has made a good job of the response to Covid rather than being extremely lucky is not living in the real world. Was the Xmas/NYE outbreak due to the lack of testing? Were the right people advising on policy and taking the proper scientific advice? Who did write that letter and why? How are people in DHSC promoted? Is this exactly the kind of bad and corrupt governance that would justify a review by Whitehall, even short term rule until the whole bag of shite is cleared out?
    22 points
  10. I lost my job last year during the first lockdown. Compromised immune system means I can't work again where I'm mixing with the public. Since last March I've been on income support of £102 a week. That is topped up by a government pension of £117 a month. That's an annual income of £6708. My gas, electric, rates and house insurance come to £168 a month. That leaves me with a weekly income of £82 to feed me, my animals, buy fuel and food. Three weeks ago after borrowing from friends, I came off income support and launched a business. I invested all the money in stock - I have no idea when that stock will get shifted and I begin earning again. Once again - you presume you know the facts and once more you are proved wrong.
    22 points
  11. Have you never heard the term whistle-blowing? Dr G. tried every avenue and was well aware of what was at risk on her island. She isn't doing this for publicity, she's been offered far better gigs than helping out testing for COVID on a small island. But she wants to put her neck out, for the good of the island. It's a pandemic, we don't have time for cricket. We are currently in a situation that could have plausibly been avoided, if the calls for testing had been listened to months ago. The outbreak on the island is actively impacting upon people's health, both mental and physical. It's stopping people from being able to work, to put food on the table for their kids, to look after granny, and to keep the lights of their businesses on. There is also a credible risk to life, and the ongoing vaccination program, as HQ and DA often like to remind us. The Island is in a very fortunate position to have resources on the island that would actively, and arguably, uniquely for the size of the island, give us an insight into how best to trace and mitigate against the ongoing outbreak. From a quick look, I don't think this is something either Jersey or Guernsey have at their disposal. The Isle of Wight have taken to military helicopters evacuating patients to hospitals able to treat them. Everywhere is different, and I doubt there is a better opportunity for us, or the rest of the world fighting against COVID to understand how, why, where and when this virus spreads. It's a damn shame that that's going to waste because of politics.
    22 points
  12. With respect, you are. Without @rachomics on island PCR testing for covid would not have happened when it did, if at all. Of course, Rizwan Khan and Steve Doyle were vital too - sorry don’t know Dr Shields. One reason Rachel needs to be involved in testing strategy discussions is logistics. She knows better than everyone how much we can do here, and how quickly etc. It’s no good someone announcing a mass-testing policy at borders, for example, if there’s been no discussion as to how it might or might not work.
    22 points
  13. I've had some friends over from the Exmouth region this week, and took them down to the prom and Strand Street yesterday. They seemed impressed with the work going on to improve the prom to be fair. Not so much with the state of Strand Street, Regent Street, Lord Street, Duke Street, Castle Street and the WW2 bomb sites around the place. The lack of basic maintenance is shocking, shops with moss and slime on the fascias, trees sprouting from the upper floors of buildings, dirty shop windows, the new, and expensive, seating areas in Regent Street covered in slime with the woodwork having lost its appearance and waterproofing, litter, fag ends and beer stains on the granite outside 1886 (along with the grey haired smoking boozers), not to mention the low standard of shops like the second hand gadget crap. We don't obviously see it, and if we do, there is no will to do anything about it. I found myself getting annoyed with them for their criticisms and defending the place, but then I realised that I was becoming part of the problem. DBC need to bloody wake up, get rid of the people who don't see the problems and make our town something to be proud of! How long do we have to endure living in a town akin to some grimy post industrial wasteland?
    21 points
  14. Then when the scientist gives evidence to a Tynwald Committee that causes public concern about his department, he promises a point by point rebuttal. This gives the impression that everything the scientist said was guff. It's going to be so detailed he needs to give the CS preparing it time off to recharge their batteries before embarking on the task. He keeps promising for several weeks. Then when the public has forgotten the detail of the testimony he provides a much shorter response to the Committee leaving several points unrebuffed. When asked when the promised rebuttal will be published he's said all he has to say on the matter. But won't acknowledge the truthfullness of the scientist's testimony on the points he hasn't addressed. He's basically called her detailed testimony lies. Failed to prove that statement and relies on a cryptic comment that some people have an agenda. I'm only looking at it from the outside but he's right I do have an agenda - I want the Manx Government and it's ministers to behave honourably and with integrity and he's not convincing me that he has behaved that way.
    21 points
  15. I have been following MF for the CV past year it helps me deal with the situation l found myself in. My husband was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago, he is now on palliative and life extending drugs, no cure. I have a condition which effects my nervous system. We have always worked and was saving for our travel plans for when we retired . We are unable to get a internet shopping slot from Tesco, l have been trying for the past year. One of us has to go once a fortnight and accept the risk. We cannot afford the other delivery options shopping as the food is too expensive. Our income is less a quarter a month what one of us earned than what we earned previously for both of us, we have to regularly dip into our savings to keep us out the red, the heating bills are the worse as my husband feels the cold. A week ago we both sat on our sofa and cried together with the situation we find ourselves in. We go out in our car every to get fresh air and a walk on a flat area as l cant walk up steps anymore, my husband is often in pain as his cancer effects his walking. I don't want your pity, l just want people to understand how this could effect some people. We are missing our grandchildren and our children, it's not possible to us to form the new bubble as Iom government suggests. Thank you MF
    21 points
  16. If it were me, the people present at the particular venues would have been offered a test 10 days post-exposure (whatever date that happens to be) and told to isolate in the mean time. That wouldn't have affected too many people's livelihoods as their test would have been at some point this coming week and a lot of people have still been on annual leave until tomorrow morning. Yes some would have been badly affected by an isolation but I can't see any employer in this situation being anything other than supportive. Instead of logically thinking it through, they've randomly tested a number of people based on a criteria of them ringing before 11am on Saturday, rather than the criteria of their potential exposure date. That tells me that they were potentially in a reactionary "headless chicken" mode rather than a rational mode where testing is used strategically and most appropriately. If people had been booked in for a post-exposure test at 10 days they would be mostly spread evenly throughout the next week, so having the added benefit of reducing testing pressure on the lab. It would have also enabled the lab to staff appropriately in advance for particular days (for example, 10 days post-1886). Same applies to the Grandstand. Based on my experiences in the last 10 months you can probably expect that post-exposure testing approach to be applied in the near future after it's read on here by an appropriate person and thought to be reasonable.
    21 points
  17. I quite enjoy Manx Forums. There's nothing wrong with a bit of satire. Happy to defend myself, wherever that may be. I grew up knocking around Willaston so while you may believe that someone with my qualifications and standing should be supping some cocoa or a brandy while surrounded by scholarly journals and listening to Radio 3, I would say that your stereotypes need to change to reflect the realities of the modern scientist.
    21 points
  18. Even Santa will get three weeks in prison if he comes to the Isle of Man. That's what I've told my kids anyway.
    21 points
  19. Ashford for Treasury? I would have demoted him after his mishandling of COVID not promoted him.
    20 points
  20. Look, Amadeus is deeply flawed - we know that. But let's not let his error on this thread distract from the fact that Josem is real threat to the Island in the election that is less than a week away. Let me reiterate - He was a member of the right wing Australian political party He was a prominent supporter of Brexit He runs a campaigning organisaition - Manx Tax Payers Alliance - that is modelled on a UK one that is close to the Right of the UK Tory party. Yet he is standing under a false flag of "Liberal Vannin". A fellow Liberal Vannin candidate was Gubey's henchman and some decidedly illiberal views. The source of funding of the MTPA is opaque - it claims to be donations funded but you can't donate via the website It appears that it is funded by one or a small number of HNWI Josem refused to clarify the funding. The activity of the MTPA seems minimal, considering Josem is paid a full-time wage. Leading many to be concerned that the MTPA is merely a mechanism for unknown people to pay him a wage whilst he's a full-time candidate. Josem has ample opportunity to dispel these fears but hasn't. He's dismissed voters asking these legitimate questions as anonymous trolls and blocked them on social media. He claims to want government transparency, but is far from transparent himself as the failure to provide details of who is funding him demonstrates. He seems to use volunteering to boost his profile. For example, there was a paid facebook promotion of him cleaning war graves. He uses Manx symbols in the very odd way, more reminiscent of nationalists in Europe and American politicians, than the way normal Manx people do. I mean what Manx person keeps a Manx flag on a pole in their house or office so they can be photographed in front of it? He tried to use a cringey Corbyn-like slogan of "My pronouns are 'we' and 'us' not 'me' and 'I'" to sound all democratic and inclusive and ended up sounding anything but. cis people declare their preferred pronouns to avoid confusion and to normalise this process for Trans people. This is a nice thing to do. And Josem's slogan trivialises this. Reasonable people when errors like this happen would say sorry and change their slogan. No harm done Josem took to social media claiming to be a victim of the Culture Wars like a Poundshop Stu Peters. So let's focus on Josem's unsuitability for now.
    20 points
  21. In that case, it sounds like you've all the qualifications necessary, tbh.
    20 points
  22. I’d have much more respect for these back bench warriors if they’d been holding government to account properly throughout the entire administration and not simply 6 months before a general election.
    20 points
  23. Oh and I'll give up my voluntary moderator status if you like, if I can call you a fucking prick.
    20 points
  24. After today’s briefing I’m increasingly concerned that Dr. Ewart, rather than being an independent, reliable and well-informed voice of clear and comprehensive advice and information to the public, is becoming, or more disturbingly has become, simply a mouthpiece for Quayle’s view of the situation. I want more confidence in the Island’s Director of Public Health than I presently have.
    20 points
  25. I didn't withdraw my services in the middle of a health emergency. I volunteered my services in the middle of a health emergency in March, got brought on board and then at least 3 other people took credit for my skills and expertise for 8 months. I was told I didn't work for the DHSC both privately and (very) publicly in the press. So I resigned, with the expectation that I would continue the same work as the external contractor David Ashford had been describing me as. The DHSC decided to ignore my lawyers, didn't know what they needed in enough detail to write it down specifically in an agreement, tried to avoid the legal agreement route and when I insisted on it they threatened me with a negative press release if I didn't come back and help them. After that particular conversation there was absolutely no way I was prepared to do any work for them without the appropriate written agreements in place and responses to my lawyers questions. They made their choice and decided to tell the press (through David Ashford) that they could do it all on their own and didn't need me or my company's expertise. I wouldn't call that a withdrawal of services. It comes pretty close to constructive dismissal though.
    20 points
  26. We could have one every 60 yards along the prom...."£1m", "£2m"...."£35m"
    19 points
  27. At the beginning? So in 2009 when I first started Tweeting? I had a Twitter account throughout my time as a UK Government scientist before I moved back to the IoM, they had no problem with it. It just seems to me that no-one is allowed to criticise any IoM Government actions and IoM Government are absolutely livid that they don't have any control over me.
    19 points
  28. I'm sorry, but Quayle doesn't get to decide if the advice was clear. The only thing that tells you if advice was clear is how the public at large understands it. If they (or even a reasonably large percentage of them) are confused, then the advice wasn't clear. That's what 'clear' means. It's typical of the arrogance and stupidity of those who are in charge of running the Island, both politicians and civil servants, that they think all they need to do is issue a single statement at 13 to midnight on New Year's Eve and then everyone on the Island will telepathically know exactly what the meaning of it is and what to do. And if they don't it's the public's fault. The whole technique of public information is that you have to keep on repeating the message you want to get across and monitor how it is received and what queries people have and alter your message accordingly. You don't just put out a long, confusing Facebook post at the last possible minute and sit on your arse for days in the belief that everyone must understand you because you are a Terribly Important Person.
    19 points
  29. As I write this Joe Biden is on the cusp of being handed the keys to the White House. Gazing not so deeply into my crystal ball, I see this story in next weeks ‘Examiner’... ’Agneash man’s close encounter with President!’ A resident of Agneash has been telling the Examiner how he nearly met new US President ‘Sleepy’ Joe Biden. Terry Stupid, who is Chief Government Arse-Licker at Gef the Mongoose, was on holiday in Pennsylvania in 1979 when he saw a man in a big hat walking a dog. ‘I though ‘that’s a big hat’’ enthused Terry, ‘I wonder if that fella is a local big-wig with a big-hat to match’ Asking a passing local, who was being pursued by armed police, to identify the celebrity, Terry was amazed to discover that the dog being walked was none other than ‘Declan’ the Irish Water Spaniel belonging to the sister of the lawyer of the dentist whose golf partner once played piano at a wedding attended by the florist who went to college with the woman whose husband sold a car to the brother of a gardener who gave some rose bushes to Joe Biden. ‘If only Joe himself had been walking the dog that day, I’d have met him’ sighed Terry. ‘Or perhaps he’d have ignored me.’ ‘Anyway I think it was Pennsylvania, but it might have been the Pennines ‘cos they sound quite similar. Or perhaps I dreamed it’. And as Terry told us with a smile, ‘Anyway, like many readers of the Examiner, I’m a credulous idiot, so I’m not really sure if the bit about the rose bushes is true anyway’.
    19 points
  30. 0845: 4 Nov 2020 My Dearest Ellan, By the time you wake up, take the envelope off the mantelpiece and read this, I will have gone. I couldn’t handle the big ‘goodbye’. It would have been just too hard. There’s stuff that needs saying though, and a letter can be a better way. It takes the emotion out of the moment, and gives us both time to reflect on what has been, what might have been, and what is still to come. I fell in love with you at first sight. A single day in your company, a fleeting encounter, led to us spending more and more time together. As we grew closer, It was clear we could commit to a long term relationship. It took nearly two years to organise, but on the 22nd May 1998, we moved in together. It was brilliant, exciting. The more time I spent intimately in your company, the more beguiled I was by your beauty. Times we had to spend apart were hard, and when I returned that first sight of you from the window of the aeroplane, or the top deck of the boat filled my heart with joy. You were rich, and generous with it. Lavishing gifts without a care in the world. And you were strong, and safe to be with. It was pretty much perfect. But even in those early days, you had a sinister side. Because I wasn’t from round your parts, sometimes it was hard to fit in with your closest friends. Hey, I’m not perfect, but sometimes, they were just downright unpleasant. Others though were warm, welcoming and as protective as you. The ‘money’ always worried me though. Where was it all coming from? You seemed to just get richer and richer, but rather than salt some away for a rainy day, you just wanted to keep spending. I saw people try and tell you, but you didn’t want to listen. You knew best. Then, seemingly without warning, your rich uncle had money troubles of his own. And with a stroke of the pen, he cut off a huge chunk of your allowance. It was a brutal act, and one that would have led many to reflect on their life so far and what lay ahead. But you seemed to respond like a petulant child, making lots of noises but actually achieving nothing. It was difficult to watch. And then some of your friends started to move away, and set up home with your sisters in warmer climes. You tried to remind people of how pretty you were, but still they went. As well as being your lover, I actually worked for you for a long time – keeping you safe and defending your honour. When it was time for that part of our relationship to end, it was difficult to see where we were going together. With more time on my hands and a new perspective, I found out more about you than I ever could when in your arms. And there were bits I still loved, but others I felt really uncomfortable with. The spending habit was still there, along with a bit of gambling. You sometimes seemed to forget you are only a Duchess, and not the Queen, but even so, you seemed unable to control your household. Minions, doubtless encouraged by your example, would replicate your profligacy, adding more and more adornments to your palace. And to pay for it, you began to reap from the poor, making it harder for them to buy and maintain their own castles. But no matter how strong the protest, you carried on regardless. And then there was your stubbornness. So many chances to fill the coffers through new and exciting opportunities would wane simply by your predilection for talking, rather than doing. Where would we be now if just one tenth of change had been brought about? You have been lucky; despite your age, your deeper beauty hasn’t faded, but your insistence on adorning yourself with Victorian jewellery regardless of cost perhaps is part of the reason you keep one foot in the past and fail to step forward bravely into the future? So, I have had to leave. It has been the hardest decision to make, and whether it is ultimately the right one remains to be seen. I’m going to live with your rich uncle I mentioned earlier, though the timing is far from perfect. He has a considerable number of health issues at the moment, and I can see why you’ve distanced yourself from him. But he is a big lad, and will get better in time. And people still listen to him, rightly or wrongly. I do worry that sometimes people are starting to forget about you such are their own worries. I love you dearly, Ellan. This isn’t farewell, but au revoir, and I promise I will visit as often as I can. Your beauty still enchants me, and I truly believe as we remove some of the complications of our relationship my love will grow stronger. I will defend your honour in your uncle’s household, and to his wider circle of friends for evermore. But it can’t all be one way. You need to have a real look at yourself in the mirror, and have a big, grown up conversation with yourself. Beauty these days has to be more than skin-deep. I promise I’ll do the same, and I hope the next time we meet we can look back and smile at the good times we had, and talk with passion and excitement of the good times ahead. With love, xx
    19 points
  31. This is what is so extraordinary. Except it now appears they had since Wednesday morning to get the response correct and they still managed to come up with something that made a staged denunciation at a Stalinist show trial sound convincing and reasonable in comparison. It's incompetence taken to the highest level. Blaming the media for reporting stuff was never going to go down well either. I can't help wondering if Quayle is behind this - if only because not even the hapless 'communications professionals' that he surrounds himself with can be that useless. The sort of petty spite with which the whole thing was carried out and the way he got someone else to do his dirty work (he got someone else to sack Beecroft remember) do seem rather his style. But then that sort of thing is very characteristic of how many in the civil service operate - that's why Quayle was their chosen man.
    19 points
  32. How do I apply? It was. Although my Taxa Genomics insurance covers almost everything a medical research and clinical diagnostics company might need. They were given the option of reactivating me on "the bank" or paying my commercial rates. They heard my commercial rates and chose to reactivate me on "the bank". I didn't mind, I didn't need the money and wanted to help. Probably true. Give them a couple of weeks until the current reagents run out and then we'll ask this again if the legal agreements aren't in place. That'll be an interesting conversation. They are being pricks about it all. I'm calling them out. SO MANY TIMES THIS. No-one gave a damn about molecular diagnostics 8 months ago. We were a tiny, inconsequential field that dealt in identifying pathogens with DNA. Now everyone is an expert. Facebook approved. This is absolutely correct and something I support wholeheartedly. It's just that here they're not used to scientists advising. I got paid as an employee, with a payslip, ITIP and NIC deductions. I figured that made me an employee, even if I was on "the bank". David Ashford made it clear by email that I was not a "real" employee because of this and would, therefore, never be listened to. So I resigned. Oh, I tried, so many times. It took me three weeks to get an appointment with David Ashford about a rather important issue. That told me where I placed in the big scheme of things. Mine or David Ashfords? I'm not so much worried about mine. If they received the letter it's someone who knew I resigned on Tuesday night or found out on Wednesday morning. The rest of you found out Thursday lunchtime. My balls are not brass. They're titanium plated steel. The typical variety for a woman employed in science. I do. He's an ex-project manager. It definitely will. But to be honest, the**actual** lab staff are so lovely. The person who wrote the letter can't be that close to the team who do the testing day-to-day. It was. I think we had damn near all MHKS and MLCs. Howard hid behind a pillar and didn't even say "hi". I wonder why. They sure are.
    19 points
  33. Thanks for all the positive comments, you're very kind. For those less generous, I hope over the next 5 years I'll be able to prove you wrong. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm enjoying a crystal flute of Declan's tears...
    18 points
  34. Dr. Ranson's CV as set out in the news article of February 2020 announcing her arrival is most impressive. And at no point does she appear to have fucked up the acquisition of a chewing gum cleaner.
    18 points
  35. Well I'm named in this evidence, so I feel I should give my side of things. I may as well do it here as I've not been asked by the PAC, and I don't do twitter. I remember Dr Ranson calling the meeting of the senior medics of which I was one on the Sunday afternoon, 15th March 2020. We agreed how serious the situation could become, and set out a series of things the government should be doing, immediately, to convey that seriousness. At that time some people were still talking about holding TT - this was one of the suggestions we made. The following day TT cancellation was announced. We felt the message was getting through. There were clearly some comms difficulties though. The Gold/Silver/Bronze structure seemed clumsy, and as the clinical advisory group (CAG, sometimes including Public Health, sometimes not) we were unsure which group we should be feeding into. Technically it was 'Bronze Command', but it sometimes felt like we'd agree a paper, pass it to bronze, and then hear nothing more about it. Rosalind was frustrated by this, and was also under immense pressure feeling that as well as Medical Director she was also the de facto Public Health service and locum Chief Exec - Kathryn Magson was based in the UK at this stage, and Dr Ewart was on holiday. At this point I should say that Dr Ranson deserves huge credit for pulling together and leading the response at Noble's and in Primary Care. Without her grabbing the bull by the horns that Sunday afternoon I shudder to think what might have happened over here. Moving on, I was asked to look at the rudimentary modelling that had been done. I'm known as the maths geek, and am better qualified than most to do this sort of thing, although I'm not a professional epidemiologist. I started from scratch, and made my own model, coincidentally completing the first draft on 19th March, the same day we got our first confirmed case. The outputs were frightening. Rosalind and I went to Government to meet David Ashford and Howard Quayle, prior to the briefing on 25th March. By that stage it had been decided to lockdown, and showing them the model reinforced the decision. Over the next few days I refined the model. I was puzzled by the number of deaths in Italy and Spain, which seemed to be levelling off at numbers way lower than the 5-600000 predicted by Imperial. I did some more sums, and extrapolated the death data coming out of various countries who had been hit before us. I put their demographic into my model, and used it to calculate a key figure - the proportion of the population susceptible to covid. This came out at 2.5% or thereabouts, way under the 80% used by Imperial. This figure made little sense, but seemed to work to give the right sized curves. Based on this, our numbers were coming out much lower than the initial horror stories, and I argued against the need to build a Nightingale style hospital at the NSC. The group agreed to this at a presentation I gave on 1st April (I think) and we instead repurposed ward 20 to cohort positive cases from the community in an effort to prevent Nosocomial Amplification. Apart from Abbotswood, this strategy worked. Lockdown worked, we suppressed cases and achieved local elimination, and in June we were back to normal, except for travel. Hindsight is always 20/20. Rosalind couldn't accept, a few months later, that my model was correct. Specifically the 2.5% figure I used for susceptibility. She was right, in hindsight, but by the time we were arguing about it with more data that had come out, it didn't really matter. The model was no longer relevant as we had local elimination. When I made it, there was genuine doubt about how many were susceptible to covid. There were plenty of papers talking about t-cell mediated immunity, and cross-reactivity with other coronavirus infections. I thought 2.5% was very low, but the numbers worked. In hindsight, 2.5% is what you get with an effective lockdown brought in just as you're getting your health services overwhelmed. We locked down before anyone else in Europe (even though it could have perhaps been sooner) and consequently had fewer hospital admissions and deaths in the first wave. If that's tl;dr the summary is this: Dr Ranson showed great leadership at the outset, but was under immense pressure even though supported by the senior medics in the hospital. Her issue later on was that she couldn't just 'let go' of something and move on. Everything had to be right, with all i's dotted and t's crossed. Even at the expense of pragmatism as the issue was no longer pertinent. And this led to some difficulties in her working relationship with both her bosses and some of the senior medics. She got us through the first wave though, and for that she deserves much credit.
    18 points
  36. I've been looking into this today, and this might turn into a long post. If you're expecting an answer as simple as x out 19 then sorry, can't give you one. Some of the people in hospital with covid are double vaccinated, some are not. It's actually very difficult to answer the wider question of who is in hospital with covid, and who is in because of it. There are obvious cases at each end of the spectrum. For example (and this, like all cases here, is fictitious - any resemblance to actual people in hospital is coincidental), if a middle aged man is admitted with a broken ankle sustained while out running and happens to test positive, but had no covid related symptoms, we'd all agree he's in 'with' covid but 'because of' a broken ankle. If another middle aged man is admitted due to shortness of breath, low oxygen saturations and a hacking cough, who tests positive, we'd all probably agree he's in 'because of' covid as well as 'with' covid. They're simple examples. What about an elderly nursing home resident who comes in after a bump on the head having fallen over. Tests positive. Was the fall due to covid, or not? Arguable either way. Whatever the decision, the covid positivity means they can't be discharged back to the home until testing negative. How about a patient with multiple medical problems including heart failure and diabetes, double vaccinated, but comes in as they're a bit dehydrated and confused due to the hot weather. Tests positive, but no symptoms at all in the chest that they don't normally have, with their normal oxygen saturation. Does it count or not? So, although it is possible to say out of the 19 patients in hospital how many are vaxxed and how many aren't, I'm not sure as a single figure it is that helpful, without the sort of context above that I've just invented, and to do so in real life risks giving away medical information which as we know is not the done thing. Some themes that I can divulge - Unvaccinated patients are generally sicker than vaccinated. Vaccinated patients are generally older, and more likely to be admitted for reasons that are not purely down to covid. And as we've seen in the UK data, for patients in hospital with covid, a higher proportion are unvaccinated than in the general population. And we can't use generic length of stay figures, because 'dischargability' is influenced by covid status and discharge destination. A patient may be well enough to go after a couple of days, but may have nowhere to go so stays in.
    18 points
  37. David Ashford was asked by a Tynwald colleague (Edge) to supply to the Tynwald Court the point-by-point rebuttal of Dr Glover's claims made by her in front of a Tynwald Committee, an assurance he had given some weeks ago and repeatedly reiterated. He declined to do so, stating that he had previously made statements to that effect to media outlets including Moulton TV. That is not what was asked for. He was asked to supply the promised rebuttal to, and in, the Court of Tynwald. His failure to respond in the correct manner is a massive disrespect to not only his Tynwald colleagues but also the Court of Tynwald. He will not issue the point by point rebuttal because he can't, as simple as that. What we have here is Dr. Glover's science, logic and facts up against the IoMG/CS staples of deflection, bullshit and yes, lies. He's been caught out and he knows it and now so does anybody else who's interested. Fortunately for him, lots of the GMP are so disinterested or indifferent that it probably won't make much difference. I've previously used the adjective puerile in this thread to describe Minister Ashford's previous conduct regarding "the letter". I'd now like to add to that the adjectives pathetic and mendacious.
    18 points
  38. What happens next is crucial. They have too much invested to do an about turn My prediction is that they carry on with the smear campaign. It’s too late to play the victim and it’s got to be one or the other. They’ve lost a LOT of public sympathy, I’m not sure this is the time to play that card. They’ll be gathering as much info against genomics, and collecting experts and make such a fuss that we will forget that they’ve treated this woman appallingly. This government (not all of it) is toxic the treatment and actions taken toward Dr Glover have been exactly those used by a toxic individuals against their partners (brother, boss, whoever). Their victims are usually so exhausted, confused, exasperated, that they are unable to take action and just walk away pleased to have just escaped from the madness Dr Glover did not. I could not be more proud of this Manx woman right now By doing what she has done, she has said, ‘enough’, and she has said it for all of us, including the ones who walked away Nice action 💪
    18 points
  39. https://www.manxradio.com/news/isle-of-man-news/bus-drivers-at-risk-from-people-joyriding-in-lockdown/ Really? Our CM has obviously never been on a bus. The ones I have seen in the last few weeks ( and most of the time) are mostly empty and the poor fuckers riding on them don’t look like they’re experiencing any joy whatsoever. And I earn a reasonable salary, but I can’t afford to ‘joyride’ on the bus. So, it’s not the bus drivers’ fault for licking each other in the canteen; it’s not the bus company’s fault for not following health and safety at work; it’s not the government’s fault for fucking up with the Steam Packet; or for not locking down; or for opening the schools; or for not testing enough: or for not using quick genomics on island. ITS ALL THE FAULT OF THE CHAV CHARIOT PASSENGERS! Huzzah!
    18 points
  40. Genomics from last Friday just received back today. Henrietta says it will be interesting to see the results from positive cases over the weekend. She knows who she should’ve called then.
    18 points
  41. Firstly, she is Dr Glover, as in PhD. Secondly, I am not sure many of us are confusing the two. Simply, testing is "do you have it" and genome testing is "what do you have". What we are saying is she is an microbiologist with expertise in really little things and finding them. We do not have anyone else with that expertise. What we are fighting at the moment is a really little thing, and even smaller bits of it. If you have read any of her tweets, she found the very machine needed to set up the lab for testing, unused, under a cover and had another bit of kit needed. She trained other staff and from all accounts, even our beloved leaders before the spat, had set up a world beating facility so we could "test,test, test" We did not have a basic covid testing facility. Yet we stopped testing, contrary to her very learned opinion. Cynics may say it was because we didn't want any positives. Others may think that testing regardless of required isolation is a good idea because you would have a better understanding of where it is and how it was behaving. Testing, regardless of isolation, would have revealed the 1886 case, probably, and would have indicated that the then requirement of only returnees isolating in a household was not right. Surveillance being a very useful tool in any war. Lastly, it would also help in understanding if there were any changes in the virus, such as incubation period and infectiousness, such as we have with the new variant. The genome sequencing is a development from the testing that would seem to be a very useful source of information in the fight. We could quickly identify if we had a variant found elsewhere which would indicate a different approach. We no longer have that and have to send away for sequencing, with at least a two week turn around. Having those capabilities will greatly assist in future, allowing greater freedom and a sophisticated approach to borders. That is all.
    18 points
  42. Gaslighting. It's called gaslighting. I had a lot of respect for Ashford during this past spring and summer, but not now, not after the way he's handled this situation. It's appalling. It's a very small, selfish person who would wilfully jeopardise the health and safety of an entire community, rather than admit they made an error in judgement and apologise. Thank you, Rachel, for all you (and your team/company/partner) have done for the island. The vast majority of us appreciate what you've achieved, even if certain narcissists in government do not.
    18 points
  43. It was Josem of Lib Vannin who submitted the FOI request. What's unfair about your comments about Dr Glover, is that her comments aren't aimed at the ordinary front-line staff. Her "beef" is that the politicians and senior leaders didn't draw on her expertise when formulating testing policy. The political response was dismissive - focusing on her employment status rather than expertise. She resigned from whatever role she had. Bit of a storm in teacup, really. It reflects badly on the decision making process in Government and Quayle's attitude raised questions. But a line could have been drawn. But the letter turned up. There's no suggestion that the writer is a front line nurse or doctor or even one of the lab. It might be someone with a grudge. It's most likely to be one of the leadership group. In any case it is one person's opinion and because they've chosen anonymity we're not in position to weigh it's validity. Now this letter was to the Minister of Health, from a member of his department staff, alleging poor morale in the department. That's a staffing matter. The minister reads it out at press conference in direct response to a question about Dr Glover. Then shreds the letter. Is that the Government's Grievance Process? Reading the letter was out of order. An employee whether permanent, temporary or a contractor is owed a duty of care by their employer and Ashford breached his duty of care towards Dr Glover at that moment. The shreading of the letter is also wrong. It means we don't know that he read it all, or correctly and there are inaudible bits. I'm not sure what Josem was after in submitting the FOI request. But in a way that's a side issue. What matters is this letter from an employee alleging poor staff morale isn't available internally either. It's not beyond the realms of possibility it could become relevant to future disciplinary or grievance cases, we saw how dimly the Industrial Tribunal viewed Bus Vannin's cavalier approach to record keeping and processes. TL:DR - Someone in Dr Glover's position should be able to raise concerns about the decision making process at the top of government. The letter-writer and minister have unfairly sought to de-legitimise her opinion and re-position it as an attack on the hard-working staff. But to do that publicly breaches the duty of care he has to her as a sometime member of his Department Staff.
    18 points
  44. Most professions, whether they are brick-layers or engineers or micro-biologists, require qualifications (and they all have skills that I do not). It takes time and ability to acquire these skills; the more complex the subject, the more time and ability. There is maybe only one profession that requires no skill or ability (apart from the age-old profession), and that is being a politician. The attitude of the politicians in regard to this topic annoys the hell out of me. Yes, no-one is indispensable, but to replace someone like Dr. Glover is extremely difficult and time-consuming - you cannot go down the the labour exchange and get another one. On the other hand what skills do local politicians have? None - zero - completely bugger all. Anyone can do it. Anyone can stand for election. No qualifications required. In this shambles, the very people who are dispensable are the politicians. So, let's say, the manure has truly hit the fan - the covid crisis has escalated. The only way out is continuous unlimited testing. Who is most important for the IoM - a qualified micro-biologist or a politician?
    18 points
  45. She seems to be the only person with any sort of independent view left, I really admire her and I would trust her advice long before I would trust Ashfords or Quayle’s, unfortunately sheeple will disagree as they will only act when/if they’re told to do so. She seems to have a fine balance of common sense and intelligence, a lot to be admired for I think.
    17 points
  46. One issue is that most young couples want it now, the ready made new/ish house with all decorated , two cars and all the trappings. I remember when my then wife and I managed to get our first house . Ballabrooie way and it was like winning the lottery . We lived in two rooms , one bedroom and a back living room and a kitchen I had made up from contiboard . Over the next 5 years bit by bit we decorated and fitted out the rest. We were happy with what we had in those early years and it was never a issue. Ohhh a second hand car from Hadyn Minay costing £70 . How many couples these days will do that ? Expectations are so much higher sadly despite the extra drain on finances , mobile phones etc . The thought process needs to change in my view but what do I know ! Ohh and so many more couples did the exactly the same or had it harder. Just reiterate thats just the way it was and probably should be . Oh and I'm very sure lots in here can relate to this .
    17 points
  47. These are just the base plinths going in. You can all mock now, but when you see Howard and David's hands in place with 100 foot vaccination needles crossing the prom, that's when you'll be impressed. Just give them time.
    17 points
  48. Well the driver should have woken Mr Speaker up when he got to Four Roads. You can't get the staff.
    17 points
  49. "David?" "Yes, Chief Minister?" "The locals really are a fickle lot, don't you think?" "Yes, Chief Minister." "Here I am, burning the midnight oil, doing all I can for the great Manx public and now they've turned on me, what an ungrateful shower they are. And that Paul Moulton, well..." "Yes, Chief Minister." "All the effort I've put in, the concern, the hard work and now they're questioning everything I say and do! Well I don't know, it's SO unfair!" "Yes, Chief Minister." "David?" "Yes, Chief Minister?" "Peel me another grape would you, there's a good lad." "Thankyou, Chief Minister."
    17 points
  50. Everyone knew they weren't prepared to do enough testing at the most high risk time of the year, and behold, cases got through. Blame it all on the new strain and punish the Great Manx Public for their (gov) own mistakes and then hail themselves as saviours when this lockdown 'works' for taking strong early action. My contempt is boiling over.
    17 points
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