Coronavirus

Reservations

Friends and family with MAs and MSCs and MDs (I’ve not heard from any PhDs) have urged me to take the vaccine. It’s quite wearing. Younger ones, batchelors perhaps, have said they want me to be around to see their unborn children – as though the vaccine would make me immortal, invulnerable to every other ailment as well as Covid. These people are highly intelligent, capable, loving and hard working. I try to engage them in discussion. Most don’t really want to know but some have promised to come back to me when they have considered my objections.

Part of the problem may be that I can be unduly long-winded so here, as succintly as I can manage are the principal reasons for my reservations (I don’t say ‘hesitancy’):

1. The new vaccines have not been adequately trialled and assessments of safety and efficacy based on such trials that have taken place are of dubious validity. We should be appalled that essentially experimental vaccines are being rolled out on a global scale.

2. The record of some of the pharmaceutical companies making these vaccines, notably Pfizer, is one of proven corruption and does not inspire trust. Nor does the past and current performance of the British government in this crisis inspire trust.

3. There has been no public discussion of the relative merits of the vaccines and no discussion that takes objections to any or all of them into account.

4. Questions have been raised about suspected adverse reactions to vaccinations, in particular questions concerning blood clotting, found in a small number of recipients. Concern about this clotting has led some countries to temporarily suspend their rollout of the Oxford Astrazenica vaccine. Further, in an open letter to the European Medicines Agency a number of doctors and scientists “question whether cardinal issues regarding the safety of the vaccines were adequately addressed prior to their approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)” and suggests a mechanism whereby the vaccines might cause the blood clots reported.

5. Besides concerns about adverse reactions in the short term we might be concerned about the long term implications and possibly effects of a possibly long term vaccination programme on the natural immune systems of populations as well as individuals.

6. I have seen no evidence that vaccinations administered during the past three months have resulted in a fall in mortality, morbidity or the rate of infections.

Covid-19 Excess Mortality

Dr Sam Bailey raises questions in this video about the causes of deaths attributed to Covid-19 and also about the attribution of excess deaths to the virus. It’s fair to say that she questions and challenges the dominant narrative about the pandemic. I already know how a possible majority of people will react to this. Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure’ comes to mind. It often does these days.

“By mine honesty, If she be mad, ….Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,Such a dependency of thing on thing, As e’er I heard in madness.”

A Personal Tragedy

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.”

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/10/02/caro-o02.html

Critical Thinking Required



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

and

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.

Between Light and Darkness

On some level that will not be appreciated by many it is true that we are caught up in a dance between forces of spiritual light and darkness and that our world will never be the same again. I fully understand that many people will consider me weird for talking in this way but I will do it anyway.

The issue, for me at least, is not about supporting or resisting lockdowns or other measures of control, or changes in our lifestyles .. its about whether our intentions are bent towards principles of justice, freedom, equality and love.

Many of us have had comfortable lives within the present order but it has been at the expense of those of us, globally, who have been excluded and exploited. The intention of the ‘dark forces’ is not a just, free, equal, compassionate world it is a world of oppressive control that is increasingly materialistic/mechanistic, one that is spiritually dead.

The intention of the ‘forces of light’ is that we should transcend our selfishness and separateness from each other, transcend the spiritual isolation of which the current physical isolation is a reflection and a consequence.

We have separated ourselves from the natural world, from our biomes and microbiomes, from Being and from other beings, and from acceptance of the natural cycles of life, growth, change and death. Through self-transcendence or selfishness-transcendence we will bring about a world that is aligned with the Will of God; a Kingdom of Heaven.

What world do you intend? This is important because the world that emerges for you depends on your intention and the world in which your world resides depends on our collective intentions.

England’s Z-Score

Z-scores are used to compare mortality pattern between different populations or between different time periods. The higher the Z- score the greater the difference between the expected number of deaths in a given period and the total number of deaths actually recorded.

The graphic shows that the UK as a whole has a higher number of excess deaths than any other European country and that England has a higher number of excess deaths than other nations in the UK.

How does this square with the relaxation of the lockdown in England?

I’m not saying that the lockdown shouldn’t be lifted – of course it should be lifted but Johnson said that he is going to be ‘led by the science’ and my criticism is that he doesn’t seem to be led by that. A science led response would question the particularities of conditions and responses that have caused England to be more strongly impacted than elsewhere. Decisions should be based on the answers to those questions and they should be implemented in a graduated way consistent with restarting the economy in a rational manner.

Johnson said that all workers who were unable to work from home should go back to work. This is impossible because it is quite obvious that people in sectors of the economy, such as hospitality, that are locked down will not be able to return. Perhaps Johnson meant construction and manufacturing, perhaps he meant other sectors too but what he said was ‘all workers who cannot work at home’. I’ve been listening to people trying to unpack what he meant all day. This is not good enough. The minimum that should be expected from a leader is clarity and that has been wholly absent.

Source of Graphic: https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/

Bojo Returns ..

Sorry. I don’t get this. This level of incompetence does my head in .. anyway this is a cartoonisation but not an exaggeration.

What should have been done?

  1. A phased return to work with those identified as most essential returning soonest.
  2. Ensuring that there is a plan for covid-19 safety and monitoring in all industries. This would include risk assessment and risk minimisation plans agreed with employers and unions.
  3. Coordination across the UK rather than England being treated differently.
  4. Better transport logistics – or at least show that there has been some consideration of this.

Bojo said that coming down a mountain can be more difficult than going up. Yep. That’s why we don’t run headlong down the bloody things.

The Mind Killer

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Frank Herbert, Dune

I read this novel Dune long ago, when I a teenager. The Bene Geserit quote came to mind today and I played with another app on my phone to cartoonise myself and my thought. The quotation is very relevant and perhaps Dune is very relevant too.