I do not want to go back to a normal where my worse days are better than the best days of many children across the world.
I do not want to go back to a world where the goods I take for granted are in fact granted by the exploitation and dispossession of billions.
Our freedoms can be taken from us, our wealth can be misappropriated and our communities can be broken so easily because we permitted freedom and wealth to be taken from others and felt no sense of community with them.
Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
Our freedoms of speech have been restricted, our freedoms of thought have been limited and manipulated, and our collective wealth has been misappropriated long before the current dispensation.
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery None but ourselves can free our mind”
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again … and again.
The position that the Labour Left finds itself in today is a logical consequence of all the things the Labour leadership and membership have accepted in the past. The removal of Rebecca Long-Bailey from her front bench position and the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn are the logical consequences of premises and principles adopted by the leadership of the Labour Party and acquiesced to by its membership:
“The only acceptable response to any accusation of racist prejudice is self-scrutiny, self-criticism and self-improvement.”
~ Rebecca Long Bailey 12 Jan 2020
Do people really not appreciate what this statement implies? How dangerous it is, and how humiliating, because it deprives the potentially innocent the right to speak in their own defence? Do people not realise that its effect is potentially racist because those who are most subject to having their voices silenced, to being accused of speaking out of turn and to be presumed to have nothing of value to say are the black and the poor? It is most often power that accuses and the powerless that stand accused.
“Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support,campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.”
~ The Ten Pledges
This is the fifth article of the Ten Pledges made by the leadership of the Labour Party in January of this year. What it means is so clear and its wrongness so clear that I feel foolish attempting to make it more clear, but a logical consequence of the acceptance of this principle is that any member now supporting Jeremy Corbyn should now be suspended themselves.
Premises and principles have corollories and that if you accept the premises you implicitly accept its corollories?
“When an expert looks into a problem you have – whether it’s a doctor, a mechanic, or a plumber – you take their advice and follow it without thinking twice.
So when the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), and imminently the Equalities and Human Rights Commission give the Labour Party specific recommendations about how we need to root out the poison of antisemitism from our movement, our starting point must not be to dispute their proposals but ensure every single one is implemented unless we can rationally explain why not.”
~ Emily Thornberry 8 Jan 2020
“Without thinking twice” says Thorberry. Think about that if you will. How can you rationally explain why anything might be wrong unless you accept the possibility that it might be wrong, unless you are prepared to think again and to question both yourself and those who are ‘advising’ you.
“Without thinking” the Labour Party has abandoned the obligation to think, it has become explicitly hostile to reasoned discourse and to human decency. Starmer’s endorsement of the of the Overseas Operations Bill and of the Covert Intelligence Sources Bill is an implicit endorsment of torture and murder that has been acquiesced to by the great majority of Labour MPs.
The endorsement of savagery is the ultimate consequence of the abandonment of reason. I note with respect that a small number of Labour MPs including Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott have oppossed these bills:
It is not the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, but the suspension or expulsion, of decency, compassion and reason from the Labour Party and from our public consciousness that most concerns me most and that should concern all of us.
I saw this today and am mightily impressed. I’d not heard of Jeremy Rifkin before but what he says is worth listening to closely.
What is the difference between the ‘Third Industrial Revolution’ that Jeremy Rifkin is talking about here and the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ ? The following definitions are both from Wikipedia:
“The Digital Revolution (also known as the Third Industrial Revolution) is the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to digital electronics which began in the latter half of the 20th century, with the adoption and proliferation of digital computers and digital record-keeping, that continues to the present day.”
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution (or Industry 4.0) is the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology. Large-scale machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and the internet of things (IoT) are integrated for increased automation, improved communication and self-monitoring, and production of smart machines that can analyze and diagnose issues without the need for human intervention.”
For Rifkin the Third Industrial Revolution is founded on ‘Three Internets’:
A Communication Internet A Digitalised Renewable Energy Internet An Automated GPS Transport Internet
What most interests me in Rifkin’s presentation is his contention that these three Internets are by design distributed and decentralised rather than centralised. Although I’m far from being familiar with these concepts it seem to me that the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, by contrast, points to greater centralisation through Artificial Intelligence. The phrase was coined by Klaus Schwab, head of the World Economic Forum in a book of the same name. His vision is one of close integration between humanity and AI systems even at a biological level.
Both Schwab and Rifkin offer visions that respond to impending crises that are very real.
Rifkin begins his lecture by noting the following epoch defining facts:
Half of humanity is now better off than their ancestors before the industrial revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries
…but 40% of the human race making $2 a day or less and are arguably worse off than their ancestors before the industrial revolutions.
The very wealthy .. the 62 wealthiest humans own more accumulated wealth than that of the poorest 50% of the population.
Climate change .. is never properly explained .. climate change changes the water cycles of the planet. Increasing temperatures mean more concentrated precipitation leading to unstable weather – storms, floods.
We are in the 6th Extinction event. This is not a model. Over the next 7 decades we could lose half of the species now in existence.
We need a new economic model. For both developing and industrialised nations.
The rest of the lecture is about how the distributive aspects of the Three Internets could provide the new economic model.
Resolutions, revolutions and religions depend not only on a clear vision of a perfectionable future but on the releasing of the past. As is often the case the Christ put it very well when he warned against putting new wine in old wineskins. But we hesitate to make a clean break with the past and in hesitating the future and the present are lost.
Autumn is a time for letting go .. I realise that there is much that I need to release, to clear out of my life, in order to move on.
Socialism is a political theory and a set of principles that people calling themselves socialists argue about. These principles derive from correct ethical premises concerning the equal worth of individuals and our essential unity of being. A fuller understanding of and commitment to the premises would facilitate the implementation of socialism’s mostly correct principles but most socialists regard the premises I mentioned as metaphysical and prefer talk about scientific materialism, about the rights of groups rather than individuals and seek to implement new pecking orders rather than work to eliminate hierarchical orders altogether.
It is not what we call ourselves that matters, it is what we do.
The Internet is both boon and bane. It is an externalisation of the collective conscious and unconscious of its users. As an information world it interacts with the power dynamics of the material world on which it is built but these dynamics are not necessarily the same.
Everyone does what they do. For better or worse writing on the Internet is what I do. I may put together a book at some point but wrting like this, conversationally, has value of a different sort. I like the transcience of it.
It matters what people think of what I write and if they think of it at all. I won’t pretend it doesn’t. The thing is not to fear what men say .. caring what men (and women) say is human.
To practice unconditional love with ourselves or anyone is to automatically practice it with everyone since being anyone in particular, including being ourselves, is merely a condition of being and unconditional love must love every state of being.
It is not a particular condition of Being that is to be loved it is the Beingness beneath the condition.
Every death is a loss for someone and the death of a young person is a particularly unbearable tragedy for parents who expect to age and pass before them and for siblings and peers who expect to grow and grow old with them. We have these expectations because dying young is an exception. Dying young as a result of Covid-19 is an exception too, and a rare one. The possibility should not be ignored but the risk must be assessed and our responses as individuals and as communities must be proportionate to the the size of the risk. We can and should discuss proportionality at some point but the point I want to make here is that pointing to and using a particular case to make a general case and a political point seems to me to be bad science and bad argument and maybe even bad taste.
Chad Dorrill apparently died as a result of the particular and rare circumstances with which the Covid-19 infection interacted. To use this to support not opening up educational facilities is, to put it mildly, intellectually and emotionally dishonest.
From the article:
“According to Tonia Maxcy, a family friend, doctors suspect that COVID-19 triggered an undetected case of Guillain-Barré syndrome in Dorrill. Guillain-Barré causes the body’s immune system to attack nerve cells. It was also linked to the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil in 2015, where it caused paralysis in those affected by the syndrome. As of June 29, according to the journal Neurological Sciences, there have been approximately 31 reported cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome caused by COVID-19 worldwide.”
Today I go for a long walk and run. This is part of my new challenge 1,000,000 steps by the end of the year; so an average of over 10,000 steps every day.
Why? Well part of the reason I’m doing this, the running, the intermittent fasting, the Tai Chi, Yoga and so on is, certainly, to become more fit and to reach my ideal weight of 10 stone by Christmas. But there’s a bit more to it than that.
From late July to the first half of September I’ve been pretty good in following a routine of practice that featured long runs, cold showers and fasting. Far from perfect but overall about as good a run of practice as I’ve been able to manage at any point in my life; certainly as far as practicing on my own goes, away from ashrams, dojos and courses. For the past two weeks or so I have lost momentum and have been less diligent.
Looking back over my life I confess that I have not been a digiligent disciple of any one path or discipline but there has, equally, always been a connection to something that I could call ‘the Path’ or ‘the Way’. Whether Yoga or Aikido, or more recently Taichi, Qigong and Wing Chun, some practice has connected me to the Path. I believe that it has helped me to stay in reasonable physical health over 67 years but this may equally be down to good fortune. I have gone for long periods doing very little of any practice but returning again and again to some practice has been essential for my sense of emotional and spiritual integrity.
For me the Path is not confined by or to any particular practices nor does it require any set of beliefs. Practices connect me to the Path but they are not the Path. Neither running nor meditation is the Path but they take me, while I am engaged in them, up and away (as it were) from the concerns that keep me bogged down in the particularities of my life. Those particularities are, as it says on the tin, particular to each of us. They include our concerns about money, work, family, relationships, conflicts, health and the whole process of living and dying from birth to death. Our personal landscape of existence.
Our practices, whatever they are, however ‘well’ or ‘badly’ we do them, enable us to be in a place where, for a while, the particularities do not exist. Where, for a while we can feel connected to a purer, less conditioned sense of being. It is common enough, a cliché I suppose, for teachers to say, as we enter a meditation space or a dojo, that we should leave our worries, with our shoes, at the entrance.
Practices are not the Path but they are of the Path depending on our relationship with them, our dedication to them, our treasuring of them and our constantly returning to it through them. It is through the sense of return , welcome and rightness that we recognise the Path.
“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.” ~ Rumi.
It is now very common for those who dissent from the narrative of Covid-19 being an unprecedented crisis necessitating unprecedented restrictions on public life and private freedoms to be labeled ‘covidiots’ whose actions are selfish, deluded, irresponsible and a danger to public. But it’s becoming increasingly clear, as doctors and scientists voice their concerns, that this dissent has more support from ‘the science’ than does the ‘official’ pandemic narrative. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that those who don’t question the narrative and attempt to deter questioning are the ones who are being irresponsible.
In a stunning development, [Dr. Mike Yeadon] a former Chief Science Officer for the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer says “there is no science to suggest a second wave should happen.”
The increase in positive test results cannot be used to predict a second wave of illnesses and deaths. Yeadon points to flaws in the PCR test for the presence of Covid-19 that result in false positives and positives that do not indicate current infection and infectiousness.
Despite efforts to suppress dissent there are many voices in the medical and science communities across the world that argue that the dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic were overhyped in the first place and that it is now essentially over. They argue that some responses to the virus, such as lockdowns and masks, have been unnecessary and have done more harm than good.
A group of over 500 Belgian doctors and over 1600 other medically trained staff signed an open letter dated 5 September that begins:
We, Belgian doctors and health professionals, would like to express our serious concern about the evolution of the situation in recent months surrounding the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We call on politicians to be independently and critically informed in the decision-making process and in the compulsory implementation of corona-measures. We ask for an open debate, where all experts are represented without any form of censorship. After the initial panic surrounding covid-19, the objective facts now show a completely different picture – there is no medical justification for any emergency policy anymore. The current crisis management has become totally disproportionate and causes more damage than it does any good. We call for an end to all measures and ask for an immediate restoration of our normal democratic governance and legal structures and of all our civil liberties.
‘Fact checkers’ attempted to delegitimise this letter when I posted a link to Facebook groups on the grounds that some claims about the wearing of masks were false or unproven. This prompted me to responded by writing an earlier article: Checking the Checkers.
The wearing of masks is currently presented as completely sensible and unproblematic and wearing them has become mandatory in some situations but in March the government was advising against wearing masks.
Members of the public could be putting themselves more at risk from contracting coronavirus by wearing face masks, one of England’s most senior doctors has warned.
Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer, said the masks could “actually trap the virus” and cause the person wearing it to breathe it in.
“For the average member of the public walking down a street, it is not a good idea” to wear a face mask in the hope of preventing infection, she added.
The question must be asked ‘why the change?’ And if there are good reasons for the change in advice and policy does that mean that the concerns that Jenny Harris raised were wholly unwarrented? If they were not wholly unwarranted then surely there should be some kind of ‘mask protocol’ giving guidance on how to safely use and care for masks? The failure to give proper guidance must diminish the effectiveness of mask use and possibly endangers some users.
In addition to, and perhaps more important than, the issue of masks, the Belgian open letter raises a concern about the drive to develop a vaccine for the Covid-19:
Survey studies on influenza vaccinations show that in 10 years we have only succeeded three times in developing a vaccine with an efficiency rate of more than 50%. Vaccinating our elderly appears to be inefficient. Over 75 years of age, the efficacy is almost non-existent.38 Due to the continuous natural mutation of viruses, as we also see every year in the case of the influenza virus, a vaccine is at most a temporary solution, which requires new vaccines each time afterwards. An untested vaccine, which is implemented by emergency procedure and for which the manufacturers have already obtained legal immunity from possible harm, raises serious questions. 3940 We do not wish to use our patients as guinea pigs.
On a global scale, 700 000 cases of damage or death are expected as a result of the vaccine.41
If 95% of people experience Covid-19 virtually symptom-free, the risk of exposure to an untested vaccine is irresponsible.
Besides the potential dangers of a covid vaccine we should also consider the costs to governments of investing in such a vaccine. Might it not be more effective to tackle issues such as poor, overcrowded, housing, nutrition and health and social care that make some disadvantaged communities more vulnerable?
There is evidence that poorly judged responses to the pandemic have already cost more lives than they have saved. We read in the British Medical Journal that:
Only a third of the excess deaths seen in the community in England and Wales can be explained by covid-19 …
David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, said that covid-19 did not explain the high number of deaths taking place in the community.
… on 12 May he explained that, over the past five weeks, care homes and other community settings had had to deal with a “staggering burden” of 30 000 more deaths than would normally be expected, as patients were moved out of hospitals that were anticipating high demand for beds.
Of those 30 000, only 10 000 have had covid-19 specified on the death certificate. While Spiegelhalter acknowledged that some of these “excess deaths” might be the result of underdiagnosis, “the huge number of unexplained extra deaths in homes and care homes is extraordinary. When we look back . . . this rise in non-covid extra deaths outside the hospital is something I hope will be given really severe attention.”
He added that many of these deaths would be among people “who may well have lived longer if they had managed to get to hospital.”
It has been argued that the number of excess deaths is a very central measure in assessing of the impact of Covid-19. The high number of excess deaths has been used to counter the argument that very many of those who died of or with the infection would have died very soon anyway. However it seems that two-thirds, 20,000, of these deaths were caused not by the virus but by the response of government and public institutions to the virus.
Perhaps it is time for those who have accepted the pandemic narrative as sold to them by their governments and political leaders to ask a few questions or at least to have sufficient epistemic humility to permit others to ask questions.
The basis for labeling this comprehensive article false, an open letter from medical professionals in Belgium, is a single claim that the Fact Checkers summarise as:
“Wearing face masks can cause carbon dioxide toxicity; can weaken immune system”
They assess this as incorrect, arguing that:
“Face mask filters are small enough to keep out infectious droplets containing viruses, but gas molecules such as carbon dioxide and oxygen can still pass through freely. Healthcare workers who wear masks for long periods of time do not demonstrate significant impairment in work performance, as would be the case if masks did cause hypercapnia.”
“There is no scientific evidence supporting the claim that the use of face masks weakens the immune system.”
The review challenges what the article contends about the effectiveness of facemasks and the side effects of wearing facemasks. I decided take the time to review the review, challenge the challenge and fact check the fact checkers. I hope that at least a fe people will take the time to read what I’ve written.
It actually is important.
1. On the Effectiveness of Masks:
The Belgian Doctors Letter argues:
“Oral masks belong in contexts where contacts with proven at-risk groups or people with upper respiratory complaints take place, and in a medical context/hospital-retirement home setting. They reduce the risk of droplet infection by sneezing or coughing. Oral masks in healthy individuals are ineffective against the spread of viral infections.”
The Fact Checkers say:
“The claim does not specify which types of face masks it refers to. In healthcare settings, the two main types of masks used are surgical masks and N95 masks. N95 masks, named for their ability to filter out at least 95% of airborne particles, are also called respirators. Of the two, N95 masks have a tighter fit and thus provide more protection than surgical masks. The purpose of these masks is to reduce contact with infectious droplets (aerosols), which can be generated by someone who coughs or sneezes, and thereby minimize the risk of infection transmission. These masks have become of particular importance given the COVID-19 pandemic.”
There is no disagreement that masks are useful and effective in healthcare settings. The contention by the Belgian doctors that their use by healthy individuals in non-clinical settings is ineffective against the spread of of viral infections is not addressed in this paragraph.
The Fact Checkers note that there are two types of mask used in clinical settings, specifically surgical masks and N95 masks. In government guidance documents we read that surgical masks do “NOT provide the wearer with a reliable level of protection from inhaling smaller airborne particles and is not considered respiratory protection.” It is the N95 masks that filter out at least 95% of airborne particles. (see: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pdfs/UnderstandDifferenceInfographic-508.pdf)
The face coverings used by the public in non-clinical settings are not generally of N95 standard. The fact checkers may be considered somewhat disingenuous in conflating the effectiveness of N95 standard masks with masks used by the general public, which are likely to be of, or below, surgical mask standard.
2. On the Side Effects of Masks:
The Belgian Doctors Letter argues:
“Wearing a mask is not without side effects. Oxygen deficiency (headache, nausea, fatigue, loss of concentration) occurs fairly quickly, an effect similar to altitude sickness. Every day we now see patients complaining of headaches, sinus problems, respiratory problems and hyperventilation due to wearing masks. In addition, the accumulated CO2 leads to a toxic acidification of the organism which affects our immunity. Some experts even warn of an increased transmission of the virus in case of inappropriate use of the mask.
“Our Labour Code (Codex 6) refers to a CO2 content (ventilation in workplaces) of 900 ppm, maximum 1200 ppm in special circumstances. After wearing a mask for one minute, this toxic limit is considerably exceeded to values that are three to four times higher than these maximum values. Anyone who wears a mask is therefore in an extreme poorly ventilated room.”
The Fact Checkers say:
“While it is true that hypercapnia can be life-threatening, the claim that it can be caused by wearing face masks, either surgical masks or respirators, is unsupported and runs contrary to existing evidence. The masks act as a barrier to keep out aerosols, but the materials used are still porous enough to allow gas molecules like carbon dioxide and oxygen to pass through, which are many times smaller than viruses. The size of a carbon dioxide molecule is estimated at about 230 picometers. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent for COVID-19, is about 60 to 140 nanometers, which is about 260 to 600 times larger.”
“The claim is also clearly contradicted by empirical evidence. Healthcare workers wear both types of masks for long hours at work without reported impacts to their work performance. Hypercapnia causes symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness, which would have occurred had they been affected by CO2 toxicity.”
But in the letter the Belgian Doctors note that:
“Hospitals have a sterile environment in their operating rooms where staff wear masks and there is precise regulation of humidity / temperature with appropriately monitored oxygen flow to compensate for this, thus meeting strict safety standards.”
Thus neither the masks worn in clinical settings not the conditions in which they are typically worn are comparable with the non-clinical wearing of masks.The Belgian Doctors’ letter also contends that
“some experts even warn of an increased transmission of the virus in case of inappropriate use of the mask.”
This is not contested by the Fact Checkers in fact the Checkers note that
“the [US] CDC does caution that … those who decide to use a mask should also exercise caution when removing the mask, as infectious aerosols may potentially contaminate the external and internal surfaces. The U.S. CDC has advised that cloth masks should be regularly washed, and that individuals should wash their hands and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth after removing their mask.”
This is consistent with the advice given in March this year, six months ago, by the UK government and top doctors who warned that members of the public could be putting themselves more at risk from contracting coronavirus by wearing face masks:
Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer, said the masks could “actually trap the virus” and cause the person wearing it to breathe it in.
“For the average member of the public walking down a street, it is not a good idea” to wear a face mask in the hope of preventing infection, she added.
“Further large-scale studies are required to verify the effect of wearing a mask for a longer period …. Until these studies are available, making such claims without supporting scientific evidence is hazardous and dangerous, especially in this very historical moment.”
It may be correct that further large-scale studies are required but given that decisions have been made NOW to mandate the wearing of masks in non-clinical contexts it is surely proper that the implications of wearing such coverings should be discussed in terms of their efficacy, their side effects, their standards and the proper protocols for their use.
It is hazardous and dangerous, especially in this very historical moment, not to have that discussion.
The following text is from the Web of Love website. I think it is can be particularly helpful:
This is a beautiful and simple visualisation/meditation/prayer. Not selling any ‘religion’ here but it may be worth a try 🙂
The Web of Love is an energetic web which connects the sacred essence of all beings in our world. In the deepest part of ourselves, there is in each of us a beautiful, divine essence which wants nothing more than to love and be loved.
The Web of Love, though invisible to our eyes, interconnects all of us through that deepest essence. It literally surrounds and envelops our planet and all who live here. We are all interconnected through sacred love. It is up to each of us how much we choose to be aware of this connection.
We are all capable of giving and receiving limitless amounts of love. Many of us have forgotten this and ended up feeling alone or uncared for in our lives. The Web of Love reminds us of our true nature. It is a call to join together in sharing the abundance of sacred love that flows within and between us all through consciously connecting with the web.
Connecting with the Web of Love
Breathing the Web. Here is a simple, yet powerful way of connecting with the Web of Love through breath. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a sparkling, colorful web connecting the deepest essence of all people in the world. You can place your hands over your heart or the center of your chest as you do this. Take a few deep breaths as you open to this beautiful image.
Now, while taking a slow, very deep inhale, silently say to yourself:
Your sacred love flows in to me
Then slowly exhale fully while thinking and feeling:
My sacred love flows out to you.
Repeat this a few times while opening your heart to all the love present. Make sure to fill your lungs completely on the in breath and to exhale fully on breathing out. Breathing sacred love like this for just a minute or less can powerfully shift you into a more open and loving space. Try it now, and invite yourself to really let the love flow.
The “you” in these sacred love statements can be all people in our world, or any individual you choose. For some, it might be easier to start by imagining the one to whom you feel closest in your life. Breathe the web with that special someone in mind and let the love flow between you.
Then with each following breath, envision other people in your life and do the same. When you are ready, envision groups with which you are involved and eventually all people who share our world. This simple breathing exercise can be deeply meaningful in either a personal or a global context. Consider joining with other caring people around the world in doing this.
There may be times when you want to breathe the web, but can’t remember the words above. “Love to me, love to you,” is all you need to feel the web as you breathe. You can create your own sayings, too, with words that are more meaningful to you. The most important element is your intention to connect with all people on this beautiful planet through the Web of Love.
I written a few things about the pandemic over the past months, much bemoaning the division into tribes of the covid-compliant and the covid-defiant whereas we should be looking beyond this narrative to the meta-narrative of power that it is a part of. Here is my current position on all this.
First on masks. I believe that masks do provide some protection against the transmission of coronaviruses and the evidence and arguments I’ve seen supports that. The question for me is are they a proportionate response to the risks.
Given that the number of daily reported Covid-19 related deaths has fallen dramatically in the UK since the height of the pandemic (now about 1% of the numbers at the peak) and daily reported infections have fallen less dramatically (now about 20% of the numbers at the peak) it seems that
a) transmission of the infection has become less likely
b) the infection is less harmful to those who currently have it.
Figures for reported deaths are more meaningful that figures for reported infections since the latter will vary with the volume of testing and also the accuracy of testing.
I am not claiming the Covid-19 is not harmful and lethal to many, I am suggesting that since its lethality is arguably much less that it was we should be asking if particular prophylactic responses such as masks and particular elements of lockdown measures remain appropriate and proportionate. We should be asking what levels of Covid-19 morbidity/mortality require the use of what specific measures including masks. We must ask this because:
a) Covid-19 is likely to remain part of the human microbiome (the community of microbes coextensive with human communities) for the forseeable future notwithstanding any assault by vaccines. Should, therefore, masks and social distancing remain part of our social protocols for the forseeable future?
b) Current specific measures have had and continue to have disruptive and damaging consequences that I hardly need to outline.
c) Proposed specific measures such as mandatory or near mandatory vaccines are highly problematic. If people are unclear about why the proposed vaccines and vaccine regimes are problematic then they should ask more questions about safety and efficacy.
While we are considering these points we should also consider all the anomalies in mask protocols. For example it is curious that the government is encouraging people to go out to restaurants where they necessarily have to remove masks and where there is more danger of orally ingesting viruses while requiring people to wear masks in all shops where there is little danger of oral ingestion.
I am neither pro nor anti mask. I am pro critical thinking and I think that there have been serious deficits of critical thinking in our collective response to this virus. The ham handed suppression of voices on mainstream and social media that question the official narratives about Covid-19 suggest that our governments are not keen on critical thinking.
I am not going to expound on any speculations regarding global conspiracies but we should note as facts that.
a) There has been an enormous transfer of wealth from communities and small businesses to the billionaire owned corporations during this crisis.
b) An enhanced security and surveillance apparatus together with greater legislative powers is being set up.
c) There is an apparent and increasing convergence of state and corporate power in operating the new or enhanced security and surveillance structure.
I am not pro or anti government. I am pro democracy, in particular discursive or deliberative democracy. That is not what we have now. What we have now, arguably in the UK and demonstrably in the US, is more akin to oligarchy.
There is a tendency on the part of the political right to support government on actions sold as pertaining to national defense and a tendency on the part of the political left to support government on actions sold as pertaining to national welfare. It is surely pertinent in both cases to ask if the government is pursuing a national interest or the interests of the oligarchs, if it is pursuing the interests of the people or the interests of the established powers.