The Anonymous Widower

Atheists Less Likely To Die From Covid-19 Than Believers, Research Finds

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

People without religious faith are less likely to die from Covid-19 than believers, according to the first analysis of its kind from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This paragraph gives some actual statistics.

For Muslims the figures were 198.9 deaths per 100,000 males and 98.2 deaths per 100,000 females. Among Christians, the death rates were 92.6 for men and 54.6 for women, and among Jewish people 187.9 for men and 94.3 for women.

These are my observations.

The Average Death Rate

The average death rate of these religious groups is 121 per 100,000 people or 1 in 826 people.

The Number Of Coeliacs In The UK Population

This page on the NHS web site says this about the number of coeliacs in the UK population.

Coeliac disease is a condition that affects at least 1 in every 100 people in the UK.

But some experts think this may be underestimated because milder cases may go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed as other digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Reported cases of coeliac disease are around 3 times higher in women than men.

I hadn’t known the last point, but all my coeliac friends and acquaintances, with two exceptions are female! The two male exceptions are both chefs!

Thinking about the last point, I do wonder if women are more likely to have coeliac disease as the disease can affect their natural functions, so they are likely to go to the doctor with a problem, that could be a coeliac symptom, like the inability to conceive.

Diagnosed Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet And Cancer

It has been shown by Joe West at Nottingham University, that diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet are less likely to get cancer, than the general population.

Does this mean, that this group of people have a strong immune system?

Diagnosed Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet And COVID-19

Various doctors have said, that COVID-19 attacks people with compromised immune systems.

So do diagnosed coeliacs ona gluten-free diet get a measure of protection from COVID-19 from their strong immune systems?

Ashkenazi Jews And COVID-19

My coeliac disease comes from my great-great-great-grandfather, who was from Konigsberg in East Prussia.

In those far-off days at the start of the Nineteenth Century, if you were a Jewish male in East Prussia, you had to leave at eighteen, unless you were from one of the privileged Jewish families.

As my ancestor wasn’t he hopped on a boat and ended up in Bexley.

Luckily, I was diagnosed as a coeliac at Addenbrooke’s hospital at the age of 50. My health, which had been poor off-and-on improved immediately and considerably, once I was no longer eating gluten.

But in the Jewish population, there are a lot of undiagnosed coeliacs, who probably have poor immune systems due to their diet.

Are they like targets in a shooting gallery for the evil COVID-19 virus?

Christians And COVID-19

I do wonder about communion rituals.

Especially, as some churches insist that wheat must be used. Even if you’re coeliac.

Surely, your health is more important.

Why Are Women Less Likely To Die?

If undiagnosed coeliac disease is an explanation, as the disease is three times more common in women would explain it, as they’d all be on protective gluten-free diets.

Muslims And COVID-19

Most Muslims come from areas, where coeliac disease is rare and are probably on a gluten-free anyway.

But they do appear to suffer high levels of other diseases like diabetes, that compromise your immune system.

June 19, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jews In The UK And COVID-19

This article on the Times of Israel is entitled Coronavirus-Related Death Toll Jumps To 458 Among UK Jews.

  • According to Wikipedia in 2011, there were 263,346 Jews in the UK.
  • This gives a figure of 0.174% for the percentage of Jews, who have died.
  • According to UK government figures, 35, 341 have died from COVID-19.
  • According to Wikipedia, the UK population in mid-2019, was 66,796,807.
  • This gives a figure of 0.053% for the percentage of the UK population, who have died.

From these simple figures Jews are over three times more likely to die of COVID-19, than the general population.

Why are Jews, so much more likely to die of COVID-19, than the general population?

In A Thought On Deaths Of The Elderly From Covid-19, I postulated that there could be large numbers of undiagnosed coeliacs in the over-60s, who because of compromised immune systems, would be more susceptible to the virus.

I also said that the number of undiagnosed coeliacs over sixty-five could be as high as 120,000. These would have all been born before 1960, when it became possible to detect coeliac disease in children.

I am also fairly sure, that my coeliac disease came from my Ashkenazi Jewish genes.

This second article on The Times of Israel is entitled Jewish Charity Warns Of Coeliac ‘Stigma’ As Half-A-Million Said Undiagnosed.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A Jewish charity says there is a “stigma” surrounding coeliac disease in the Jewish community, after a national charity warned that there were still half a million people in the UK who are undiagnosed.

I would assume that the half-a-million figure refers to all the population of the UK, as there are only about half that number of Jews in the UK.

Could coeliac stigma mean that there many older Jews, who are coeliac, have not been diagnosed and their poorer immune systems make them more vulnerable to COVID-19?

A Wider Picture

This article on Times of Israel is entitled How COVID-19 is hitting Jewish communities around the world.

It is well-worth reading.

Conclusion

I should say, that I’m no medic, but just a humble engineer, mathematician and statistician, who has nearly sixty years experience of analysing data.

That experience, says that undiagnosed coeliac disease, is not helping our fight against COVID-19!

 

May 20, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , | 8 Comments

The Purfleet Ro-Ro Terminal

This article on the BBC is entitled Essex Lorry Deaths: 39 Found Dead Were Chinese Nationals.

The tragedy has got me wondering, where did the lorry enter the UK.

So I drew this Google Map of Purfleet.

Note.

  1. The c2c rail line between Fenchurch Street and Southend via Grays, that runs West-East across the top of the map.
  2. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link runs diagonally across the corner of the map.
  3. The approach roads to the Dartford Crossing running North-South at the East of the map.

The Purfleet Ro-Ro Terminal lies to the South-west of these railways and road, with piers for the ships strewtching out into the River Thames.

If you enlarge the map by clickjing on it, you’ll see rows of trailers parked ready to cross the Channel or having just arrived.

You canm also see it from Eurostar and other high speed trains or when going South on the Dartford Bridge.

Immigration

Illegal or legal, there is always a lot of strong views about immgration.

  • In Did The Tailor Of Bexley Come From Koningsberg?, I discuss how my paternal great-great-great-grandfather came to the UK from Konigsberg in Germany, which is now Kaliningrad in Russia!!
  • On my mother’s side my family were French Huguenot and probably came over some decades earlier.

So I tend to have a variety of views about immigration depending on the point being discussed.

  • For instance, is it right to deny those who were persecuted like my ancestors for religious reasons, the right to come to the UK. I’d be a hypocrite.
  • On the other hand, those who want t come for criminal reasons should be turned away.

The Chinese, a number of whom perished in the Purfleet trgedy are a difficult group to think about. China is a place, where I would not want to live and if I had the money to get out, I would want to leave, as many have over the years. Twenty years ago, I met a Chinese lady of my age, who’d escaped by swimming into Hog Kong.

Darwin talked of natural selection and in some way immigration is natural selection at work.

The intelligent, ambitious and resourceful ones, are the immigrants who tend to get to their preferred destination. The ones who lack these character traits either stay put or don’t make it.

I often think of my Jewish great-great-grandfather, who at eighteen had just qualified as a tailor after serving his apprenticeship. The law in the City was that if you were a Jewish male of eighteen and not one of the privileged families you had to leave.

So he jumped on a ship and ended up Bexley. No doubt, being a tailor, he was able to find a small space for his tools.

I certainly, think I inherited some of his good genes along with those for coeliac disease.

But was my ancestor any different to the skilled Iraqis, Brazilians or Ethiopians today?

 

 

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Father’s Politics

In a A Trip To The Berlin Olympic Stadium, I said this about my father’s politics.

My father hated both extreme-right and extreme-left politics with a vengeance and I can honestly say, that I never heard him tell a racist joke.

With the rows going on this morning about  antisemitic elements in the Labour Party, I looked up Stalin and antisemitism in Wikipedia.

My father had a Jewish male line, but no religion of any kind, although the more I learn, his outlook on life and morals were fairly Jewish.

In the Battle of Cable Street, he was there to stop Oswald Mosley and his supporters marching through the East End.

I know he moved in left-wing Tory Party circles, nearly stood for Parliament against one of Mosley’s supporters, and once said he had been at the League of Nations in Geneva. But, he remained largely silent about what he did in the 1920s and 1930s.

But I do think his Jewish genes drove him to take up his strong centrist views, especially when you read about Stalin and the Jews.

It is one of my regrets in life, that I didn’t find out more about my father’s life, in what must have been exciting times for those, who thought about politics.

 

March 26, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Labour Alienates The Jews And Drivers And Owners Of Diesel Vehicles

I come from mixed Jewish/Huguenot lines and my philosophy is probably humanist, although I’m a confirmed atheist.

But if I’m wrong, finding Heaven could be a bonus when I die!

This article on the BBC is entitled Labour ruling ‘fails Jewish community’, says Chief Rabbi.

Individuals, like Livingstone have no place in an inclusive political party.

This article on the BBC is entitled Date announced for London ultra low emission zone.

I am not against the ultra low emission zone, just the way that it is being brought in unilaterally in London.

We need ultra low emission zones all over the country and there is many things we can do.

  • Cross-city railways and trams.
  • More hybrid and electric buses when they are available at an affordable cost.
  • Park-and-ride facilities.
  • Trucks should be more environmentally and cyclist friendly.
  • Grants will probably be needed to scrap older diesel vehicles and invest in new trucks and buses.

The one thing that is right is to bring in the zone in 2019, which will be just after the Central London section of Crossrail has opened.

There needs to be measures from Central Government, but as ever, staying in power comes first.

I have a feeling that London’s ultra low emission zone will not be good for Sadiq Khan in London, as it’s going to cause inconvenience for many in London.

 

 

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corbyn Courts The Jewish Vote

This article on the Jewish Chronicle is entitled How the unveiling of Labour’s antisemitism report turned into a Corbyn calamity. This is the first paragraph.

It was the political equivalent of running into a burning building with a can of petrol and liberally chucking the fuel over anything you could find.

What Jeremy Corbyn did this morning almost defied belief. Even in these extraordinary times, it was an act of such reckless abandon that veteran political correspondents watched open-mouthed.

Mr Corbyn came to the launch of his party’s report into antisemitism, conducted by Shami Chakrabarti, after the worst week of his decades-long political career.

I’d gone to their web site to get a digest after reading the various tweets after the Jewish MP; Ruth Smeeth was abused.

I’m not Jewish, but I have Jewish genes, so I certainly wouldn’t vote for the Labour Party, even if they were the only non-Fascist candidate.

 

 

June 30, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | 8 Comments

My Father Has Been Proved Right!

My father described himself as a left-wing Tory. Today, he would probably have approved of the views of the likes of Michael Hesseltine or Kenneth Clarke.

I’m not sure what he actually did in politics, but I do know that he once worked at the League of Nations in Geneva before the Second World War. During the war, he was for some time a Civil Servant, but apart from one or two clues, I don’t know much. I should have a look at Kew and the web site.

I also know that I never heard him say anything racist and when someone questioned why he actually printed letterheads and wedding stationery for the local black community in Wood Green, he rebuked them by saying that as long as their money had the Queen’s head on it, he’d do business with everyone.

I also know that he was firmly anti-fascist and was at the Battle of Cable Street, where as he said, all the East End stopped Mosley and his Blackshirt thugs, marching through.

Recently, I took a taxi, where the driver had had talks with his Jewish grandfather, who had also been at Cable Street. His grandfather, like my father was adamant that it was not just the communists who stopped Mosley, but a wide alliance of right-thinking people in the East End.

I use the term London Mongrel to describe myself and my father used it himself, in my presence a couple of times, which is where I picked it up. You have to remember that the Nazis referred to people who were part-Jewish as mischling, which roughly means mongrel or half-breed. My father wasn’t Jewish but his great-great-grandfather, who I refer to as the Tailor of Bexley, was probably a Prussian Jew, who had run away from Napoleon.

As the term dates from the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, it would very much have been a term of the time my father was on the fringe of politics, so it is no surprise that he used it.

Incidentally, I’m probably more of a mongrel than my father, as my mother’s father was a Huguenot engraver and her mother was a posh lady born in Dalston Junction from Devonian yeoman stock with the surname of Upcott. Cullompton Museum told me that the family were very much involved in the development of worsted serge and made a fortune from it.  This section in the Cullumpton Wikipedia entry, says more about the cloth trade and the Upcotts.

I once asked my father, if he’d ever wanted to stand as an MP and he replied that he’d been asked to put his name forward as a candidate for a by-election, but a young Duncan Sandys was chosen instead, which my father thought was probably the right choice.

Searching Wikipedia says that this was the Norwood By-election of 1935. Wikipedia says this.

The by-election was held due to the resignation of the incumbent Conservative MP, Walter Greaves-Lord. It was won by the Conservative candidate Duncan Sandys.

An Independent Conservative candidate was fielded at the by-election by Randolph Churchill, who sponsored Richard Findlay, a member of the British Union of Fascists to stand. This got no support from the press or from any Members of Parliament, despite Randolph being the son of Winston Churchill. Ironically, in September that year, Duncan Sandys became son-in-law of Winston and brother-in-law of Randolph by marrying Diana, the former’s daughter.

Knowing my father’s strong anti-fascist views, it fits with his version of the tale. The other thing that fits, is that although my father had met and liked Winston Churchill, he had no time for his son, Randolph.

Indirectly, I think I benefited from my father’s political contacts, as after the war, when he rebuilt his printing business in Wood Green, his largest customer was Enfield Rolling Mills, whose Managing Director was John Grimston, the Earl of Veralem, who was eight years younger than my father and had been MP for St. Albans a couple of times.

When in the early sixties I needed a summer job to earn money and I couldn’t have my usual one in his print works, as my father’s business was bad, my father phoned the Earl and asked if he had something that would suit.

The Earl of Veralem said yes and I had a very good job in the Electronics Laboratory for two summers, where I learned an amazing amount about life and making things.

I have no idea of the Earl’s politics except that he was a Conservative MP and very much thought to be a good boss of the company, by those with whom I worked.

One view of my father’s though, was that as he hated the likes of Hitler and Stalin equally, he said several times to me, that the extreme left are no different to the extreme right.

Reading this article on the BBC entitled Livingstone Stands By Hitler Comments, I can only conclude that the Labour Party has proved my father to be right.

April 30, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sensible Solution To A Local Religious Problem

The Tour de France is creating a problem for the Jewish community in Leeds, as the synagogue is on one side of the route and the congregation general live on the other. So crossing the road twice is going to be difficult on the Sabbath.

Radio 5 have just had an interview with the local rabbi and it was amazing as he told how he dealt with all the problems and decided to have services on both sides of the route, in a synagogue and a school. He’s also timed everything to fit in with the race, so his congregation can also see the race, if they want to.

This interview should be played to all of those religious fanatics around the world, as a practical example of how to celebrate your religion, without imposing any limits on others.

July 4, 2014 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , | 2 Comments

Four Memorials In Warsaw

Warsaw has a sorry history in the last hundred years. I took the tram to slightly outside the city centre to visit these four.

Sadly the Museum of the History of Polish Jews was closed as it was Tuesday.

The links to the appropriate Wikipedia pages follow.

1. Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East

2. Monument to the Ghetto Heroes

3. Umschlagplatz

4. Willy Brandt Monument

 

 

 

April 29, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Blue Plaques In Cable Street

I generally note the blue plaques I pass, as I walk around. This morning, I was on the way to pick something up in the area and passed two.

The Angel Of Cable Street

The Angel Of Cable Street

Hannah Billig seems to have been a remarkable doctor.  But then she was awarded a George Medal for courage and bravery in the Blitz and she was called the Angel of Cable Street.

Jack Kid Berg

Jack Kid Berg

This plaque to Jack Kid Berg was a hundred metres or so further on. He seemed to have had an good and long life.

I also seem to remember that along with Ted Kid Lewis he was one of my father’s sporting heroes.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Health, Sport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment